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Links: Researching the Past, Sabotaging the Present, and Pricing Games for a Successful Future

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: World's Fair 1893
Randy Hoyt from Foxtrot Games details why a game's MSRP should be five times the cost of the game and why violating this rule could jeopardize the future of your publishing efforts. An excerpt:

If you have been around the publishing side of the board game industry for any time at all, you've probably heard that a game's MSRP should be five times (5×) its cost. Yes, five times! I heard this when I first started, but I couldn't really understand how that could be necessary. ("I'm not making board games to get rich or anything!") I still hear from many Kickstarter project creators who question this multiplier, but I finally have a good enough understanding of all the numbers to explain it. Here's how I would state the advice:

If you plan to sell your game through distribution and if you hope to sell out of your first printing and do a second one, your MSRP must be at least 5× your total landed costs.
In a second post, Hoyt examines this question from the point of view of someone running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first printing of a design.

• If you want to risk burning hours at a time looking at games of the past — and you might given that you're on BoardGameGeek right now — I suggest you head to The GAmes Research Database (GARD), or even more specifically the publication database, then start checking out the gamenames to see what wacky stuff you can find. The Infants' Cabinet of Fishes, anyone? Credit for this find goes to designer Tony Boydell, who wrote in his BGG blog about an exhibition of vintage board games that subsequently led to this discovery.

Board Game: Saboteur
Board Game: Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions)
Board Game: Saboteur: The Duel
• The more I look at sales numbers for games, the more I realize that most of the activity in the market takes place invisibly, far away from the watchful eyes of geeks. As another example of this, I point to Fréderic Moyersoen's Jan. 2016 post (which I've edited slightly) about sales in the Saboteur line:

The past year 2015 was amazing for Saboteur. The annual sales have reached 300,000 copies per year, which is an increase of 50%. The total sales are now 1,400,000 copies. Saboteur Duel, the lastest version, is also selling good with 40,000 sold copies. The game is now also available in the Turkish language.
From gallery of W Eric Martin
• I'm late to the party on covering this, but U.S. bookstore chain Barnes & Noble will hold "Casual Game Gatherings" each Thursday night in March 2016 in 56 B&N stores to introduce one "light strategy game" to newcomers and established gamers. From the press release: "Barnes & Noble store employees will be running demos for new players and providing a place for fans to play as well. Promotional items for four of the featured games will be given to those that participate in a demo of the featured game (while supplies last)." The remaining games to be featured in March are Splendor (March 17, with a playmat for participants), Codenames (March 24), and Lanterns: The Harvest Festival (March 31, with four promo tiles).

Which stores will be featuring these events? You can see the list in the press release for this event, which you can download from the Splendor: Playmat page.

• Designer Christian Strain suggests how "to put the right type of fun in your game" by detailing the pros and cons of things like the gamble, the sacrifice, the character, and so on. This assumes, of course, that you want to create a game strictly for fun, something Strain doesn't question in his opening lines: "Game designers approach games in their own way. The goal, however, is essentially the same: make something fun." Not necessarily, says I.
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