Ben G
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I'm curious if anyone has had a luck selling small box games lately? Love Letter was very successful for AEG and of course you have your retail friendly card games like Uno or Skip-Bo.

Can anyone chime in who's successfully sold an idea? Any active publishers here willing to talk about the viability of producing and selling small games?

For a bit of clarification in size and scope, I personally categorize these games as:

1. Being under $20 in price, and usually closer to $10.
2. Containing few components. One or some of these - 12-60 cards, a small board, a 30 or less cubes.
3. Shipping in a box size that ranges from tuck box (think a pack of cards) to a 5.5" by 3.5" box (or other custom but similarly sized boxes).

Your milage may vary with those specifications, but that's roughly what I'm thinking.
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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    It's not mine, but I know ZBS is working to publish the fourth version of Pocket Battles right now. I believe it is due to retail for $14.99.

             S.

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R.J.
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I would search successful kickstarter campaigns and see who is already publishing such games and doing well marketing them.

i have seen a bunch that fit your description.
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Shawn George
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I can't speak from any personal experience (as I'm not a game designer), but it seems like Indie Boards and Cards tries to publish at least 1 small game like this every year.

Additionally, Crash Games is launching a "Pub Games" series that are meant to be quick, cheap, portable, easy to teach, and contain few components. Council of Verona is the first game in that series and fits all of the criteria that you described, so I'm sure they'd be interested in hearing about more games like that.
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Nate K
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Travis with Indie Boards & Cards looks for such games.
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Wally Jones
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My favorite designer us John Clowdus of Small Box Games.

That should say something.
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Shaun Taylor
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Not from the publisher side, but the FLGS side of things, I can say that games in the $10-$20 range that demo quickly are easy to sell to casual/non-gamers and non-gamers looking for gifts. If you do not have luck with publishers, I recommend seeking out your FLGS and selling direct or on consignment.
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Ben G
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zedward wrote:
Not from the publisher side, but the FLGS side of things, I can say that games in the $10-$20 range that demo quickly are easy to sell to casual/non-gamers and non-gamers looking for gifts. If you do not have luck with publishers, I recommend seeking out your FLGS and selling direct or on consignment.


Thanks for that unexpected, but entirely awesome answer Shaun!
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Mikel Blaauw
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zedward wrote:
Not from the publisher side, but the FLGS side of things, I can say that games in the $10-$20 range that demo quickly are easy to sell to casual/non-gamers and non-gamers looking for gifts. If you do not have luck with publishers, I recommend seeking out your FLGS and selling direct or on consignment.


When you cant join em beat them at there own game , might make sense to try this out first to see if it goes well?
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Nicholas Vitek
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I personally believe there is a good market for sub-$20 games that meet certain criteria. It would depend on the type of game that you're looking at doing, but I do know that publishers are interested in such games.
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Matt Loomis
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I haven't got one published, but just looking at successful games in this genre, they tend to be devilishly simple, with a ton of hidden depth.

See:
Hanabi
Coup
Coloretto

There are also a ton of unsuccessful ones that generally involve humor to carry the game, making them something you generally don't bring out in front of "casual" gamers. It's a tough nut to crack.
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Austin Andersen
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I'm sure if it can turn a profit someone will be interested.
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Nicholas Vitek
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All the X-Dice games (Zombie Dice, Martian Dice, etc).

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Rocco Privetera
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Nich wrote:
All the X-Dice games (Zombie Dice, Martian Dice, etc).


...Ninja Dice (couldn't help it).

But seriously - One big advantage of games in this category - with the exception of custom dice, I imagine a first-time self-publisher or Kickstarter has a better chance of getting a game like this made. At an impulse buy price, with components that can be reliably sourced in the US (if that's your home country) or even made as a print-on-demand like through Game Crafter, low funding levels, etc.

If you have a game in your designers pocket, make it!
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Contig the fallen
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I have bought several of these (such as The Resistance) and part of the appeal for me is that they're good fillers and also easier to back on kickstarter due to being less of a risk (assuming they are appealing).
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Cardboard Edison
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Our game Tessen was picked up by Van Ryder Games early this year, and there was a successful Kickstarter campaign a couple of months back.

The fact that Tessen was portable (less than 100 cards) and quick-playing was a big selling point.
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Christopher M
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It seems like Japon Brand may have some luck with Machi Koro. It's small boxed, but I believe the price may be higher than $20 currently.
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Dennis Hoyle
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We're interested in getting into more "small box" games at http://bellwethergames.com/.
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Michael Carter
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For me, $10-$20 games fit into the impulse purchase category. They are easy to find a place on the shelves for and they are easy to get to the table at the end of the night or before the heavy games come out. I have a soft spot for elegant games, and a lot of times the cheap games are very elegant.
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Ben G
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mlcarter815 wrote:
For me, $10-$20 games fit into the impulse purchase category. They are easy to find a place on the shelves for and they are easy to get to the table at the end of the night or before the heavy games come out. I have a soft spot for elegant games, and a lot of times the cheap games are very elegant.


I have that same exact spot! It's about midway down my left cheek I think. For quite a while I resisted buying Love Letter because I thought there wouldn't be much too it.

Then I caved and now I love that game. It spurred me to start designing small/micro games for several reasons.

1. I love the style of game that can be relatively deep, tons of fun and completed in 20 minutes.

2. It seems like a good way to start experimenting with design, mechanics and themes without plunging into a big box game.

3. Inexpensive even from a PoD point of view, so I can get a few of these out into the wild on my own if publishers aren't interested. That way I can gauge interest on my own.
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Curt Covert
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Curt from Smirk and Dagger Games here.

As a publisher, I think small games like the one you describe definitely have an important role. I would certainly consider one that had the right 'Smirky' appeal for my line. My second release was of that type, Dead Hand: Chaos Poker. It was a very solid hit for me in the height of the poker craze and the lower cost made it any easy buy for a lot of folks. They become great impulse buys and you can expect to turn a little more volume as a result, which helps given that less is made for each purchase.
Finding the right blend of compelling game play and modest production costs is no small feat. But when it's right, it's right.
Curt

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Stephane Guibord
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My wife and kids love shot and easy games. Sometimes, there is just 30 minutes before the kids goes to bed and we want to play something quick with them.

I recently kickstarted and received Dungeon Dice and "walk The plank" and both games were a good success with the family. I think they would sell at around that price point at retail as well. We also have zombie dice and "Get bit".

One of my favorite one is Dungeon Dice. I'm a sucker for themes (I tend to gravitate toward games with strong themes and arts). The box is amazing, the cards are as well.
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Ben G
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Smirky wrote:
Curt from Smirk and Dagger Games here.

As a publisher, I think small games like the one you describe definitely have an important role. I would certainly consider one that had the right 'Smirky' appeal for my line. My second release was of that type, Dead Hand: Chaos Poker. It was a very solid hit for me in the height of the poker craze and the lower cost made it any easy buy for a lot of folks. They become great impulse buys and you can expect to turn a little more volume as a result, which helps given that less is made for each purchase.
Finding the right blend of compelling game play and modest production costs is no small feat. But when it's right, it's right.
Curt



Hey Curt! Thanks so much for chiming in! First, let me say that I and my day-job-lunch-game crew are still very much in love with Cutthroat Caverns and its various expansions.

Second, it's good to know that there are publishers out there interested in this space and that it's not such a small space as to be nonviable in terms of sales and making a profit (to pay people to make more games)!
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Ben G
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Guibs wrote:
My wife and kids love shot and easy games. Sometimes, there is just 30 minutes before the kids goes to bed and we want to play something quick with them.

One of my favorite one is Dungeon Dice. I'm a sucker for themes (I tend to gravitate toward games with strong themes and arts). The box is amazing, the cards are as well.


I too am very much enjoying Dungeon Dice. Strangely, I hadn't even considered that when I first posed this question.
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Jin Juku
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Level 99 Games does a lot of small games. They did a Kickstarter for the
Minigames Library, and, I think, are looking for games for another edition of that.

Check them out at http://www.lvl99games.com/
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