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Subject: What are meeples worth to you? [Poll] rss

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Miles Ratcliffe
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We're looking over the pricing for our game and would like to know...what are meeples worth to you? If the game doesn't have meeples when it could/should (particularly if advertised as a stretch goal on Kickstarter), is it less appealing to you? I put together a poll but I'd really like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Note: The costs are for our game which includes 16 player pieces (4/player) which are placed on cards/areas other players have in front on them. This marks the bonuses a player has when targeting those areas.

Poll
1. With the scope of the game in mind (not cost), which would you prefer?
Punchboard Tokens (any size + art)
10mm Wooden Cubes
14mm Wooden Meeples/Pawns
2. Now, with the cost in mind, what would you prefer to pay for on top of the retail price? (16 pieces/game)
Punchboard Tokens (any size + art) [FREE, no extra charge]
10mm Wooden Cubes [+$3 MSRP]
14mm Wooden Meeples/Pawns [+$5 MSRP]
3. Finally, what do you think of each these options?
  I'd avoid this option, it sounds cheap/unappealing I don't like this option but I'll make do if the game's good I'm happy with this option, no complaints
Punchboard Tokens (any size + art)
10mm Wooden Cubes
12mm Wooden 'Mini' Meeples
14mm Wooden Meeples
16mm Wooden Meeples (Carcassonne size)
      107 answers
Poll created by golddmaster
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Pete Goch
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It's all a great big "depends" and I don't mean the adult undergarment.

See The Manhattan Project for a game that "should" have wooden meeples but instead has chunky cardboard workers. It works perfectly for that game.

If you can design components that fit the board and other spaces as perfectly with artwork that also fits so seamlessly then, yes, it can be done without compromising the aesthetic appeal.
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David J. Mortimer
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Personally if the pieces are being used like workers then I tend to think circular pieces work better than cubes if meeples are ccost prohibitive . Cubes tend to be resources. Of course I have played a lot of Caylus (cylinder workers) & Agricola (disc workers) so this is probably tainting my view.

I do think something more substantial than cardboard would be expected as a worker. Again resources are fine as cardboard.
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Alison Mandible
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Apparently I'm in the minority! Maybe it was the mention of art on the punchboard tokens that got me. I find a flat art-filled marker much easier to pick out visually than a meeple. For one thing, punchboard can have a nice white margin around the art to make it stand out, rather than needing meeple colors which contrast enough with the board to make them visible.
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Miles Ratcliffe
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It is all dependant on a lot of things but here I'd like to get your perceived impression.

Ideally, we'd like to go with full-sized meeples although we also want to try and keep costs. The odd thing is that having 1 punchboard (which is all we need for the rest of the game) works out at practically the same cost as getting 2. This is due the size and quantity of a small-scale production (1500-2000 copies). We've costed out each of the components I listed so it's great to get some more opinions.

I know a couple of people said they'd prefer punchboard tokens although, personally, I think it just wouldn't be the same without meeples. I think it's an interesting topic. :)
 
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Nat Levan
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I'd recommend worrying about this once you know how much the rest of the game is going to cost.
If you talk to retailer/FLGS owners, they will tell you that the price barrier is what matters, not the incremental amount. I.e. If the cost takes it from 36-39, it is probably worth it, but if it goes from 38-41, that's a major barrier to sale.
As a buyer, I totally agree with that. I don't buy games based on whether it has cubes or meeples or cardboard, I but it based on gameplay and price. Although unless it's a micro-game, or there is a compelling reason mechanically, I'd avoid smaller-than-normal-sized meeples.
As a designer, It depends how they are used. If they are only moved a little bit, or are used more as markers, cubes might be appropriate. Worker placement calls for much more movement of pieces, and sturdier wooden tokens are called for. I have a game where you need two-sided workers, to indicate who has moved. Meeples work because you can lay them down. Cardboard works because you can flip it, plus it's easier to make a custom "miner" meeple outline and print it with a custom back than to actually make a wooden miner meeple. (See Province for a good reason to go with cardboard). Depending on the original, you can always consider providing upgraded tokens with an expansion later.
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John Breckenridge
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Punchboard tokens are less likely to be played with by a fidgety player waiting to take his turn, whereas little wooden bits will get stacked and arranged into cube walls and acrobatic meeple pyramids.
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Jordan Booth
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My main concern would be that the pieces support the theme and art. Cardboard and meeples are both fine as long as they fit with theme and art. Plain cubes are a bit of a turn-off because of the stigma that has built up around "just another cube pusher".
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Miles Ratcliffe
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jbrecken wrote:
Punchboard tokens are less likely to be played with by a fidgety player waiting to take his turn, whereas little wooden bits will get stacked and arranged into cube walls and acrobatic meeple pyramids.

Haha, that's very true! I didn't think of that...maybe it's some sort of selling point ninja

Sivilized wrote:
I'd recommend worrying about this once you know how much the rest of the game is going to cost. If you talk to retailer/FLGS owners, they will tell you that the price barrier is what matters, not the incremental amount. I.e. If the cost takes it from 36-39, it is probably worth it, but if it goes from 38-41, that's a major barrier to sale.

We have this figured out. The game is a card game in-line with other titles at the $29.99 price point minus meeples. At the lower quantity of 1500 units, we can't match that price point with meeples/cubes included although can at a higher quantity.

The options we have is a larger production (higher Kickstarter funding goal–probably best avoided), start with/champion punchboard tokens and exclude meeples, or increase the price. It's an interesting choice and so it always helps to be more informed.
 
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Brian Thomas
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If they're being placed in front of other players, the problem I'd worry about with flat tokens is being able to tell who's are who's from across the table. 3d pieces like cubes, disks, or meeples would make it easy to determine that at a glance.

I guess the question is, is that information relevant to your game?
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Jake Staines
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
Plain cubes are a bit of a turn-off because of the stigma that has built up around "just another cube pusher".


This depends very much on the gamer, though. If you have a eurogame then no amount of flashy art on thick die-cut card tokens is going to excite someone who doesn't like resource management. Look at the varied disappointed reactions to Android!





Personally, I would never consider die-cut card counters for components which are predominantly going to be placed some distance away from the players for whom they're relevant. Why? Because they're always going to be harder to make out than coloured wooden shapes which stick prominently up from the game surface. The most common problems are:
- getting lost in the board art beneath them
- reflected light making it difficult to see the printing on the token itself.

If you have to use die-cut card, I'd suggest looking into plastic stands so that you can have them mounted upright at 90 degrees from the surface to maximise the chances of seeing the damn things from a metre or two away.
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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I think if you have the punch out pieces, you need to budget for stands. That probably evens up the cost differential.
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Steve Zagieboylo
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I think that there is a big difference depending on how they are used.

Scenario 1: There are a lot of things on the board, including some punched-out pieces that stay on the board across turns. The players' tokens are placed, possibly moved around, and collected up every turn, and a game is typically 20 turns.

Scenario 2: It's a clean board and the only pieces every placed on it are the players' pieces. They are just placed and never moved during a turn, of which there are only 8 or 10 in a game.

Scenario 1 they really have to be meeples, or at least a decently sized solid piece, so that it is easy to pick them up without bumping the other pieces that have to remain in place. Scenario 2 it doesn't matter. (Obviously, these are the extremes, and there are shades of grey.)

Note that a focus test or a play test would never tell you "The player pieces need to be Meeples" unless you had another game designer in the group. They might say that the game is too cluttered, frustrating, or slow, or any of a variety of things that all come from the aggravation of trying to pick up the player tokens without bumping the other things on the board.
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M. Rubinelli
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Would the meeples fit in the box? My impression is that going from $29.99 to $34.99 crosses the line between card game and light board game, but having custom dice and nice meeples may be enough to give buyers the perception that they are getting their money's worth.
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Miles Ratcliffe
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Sam Houston wrote:
I think if you have the punch out pieces, you need to budget for stands. That probably evens up the cost differential.

Perhaps... then again, for the difference in cost, we might as well go meeples (which should probably be better suited and less fiddly to use).

Zag24 wrote:
I think that there is a big difference depending on how they are used...

Scenario 1 they really have to be meeples, or at least a decently sized solid piece, so that it is easy to pick them up without bumping the other pieces that have to remain in place. Scenario 2 it doesn't matter. (Obviously, these are the extremes, and there are shades of grey.)

I completely agree and there is that grey area. With our game, in particular, your pieces are played on/beside other players cards. They then stay there until the card is removed from play, perhaps on a later round. With this in mind, I'd say it falls right in between your two scenarios (the grey area). I think the punchboard tokens would probably work just fine (if made in the right way) although meeples would be better suited to the task.

rubinelli wrote:
Would the meeples fit in the box? My impression is that going from $29.99 to $34.99 crosses the line between card game and light board game, but having custom dice and nice meeples may be enough to give buyers the perception that they are getting their money's worth.

The meeples would indeed fit inside the box, we're looking at a ~9.25 x 6.15 x 2" 2-piece box (235 x 156 x 51mm, standard size). The question is the perception you talk about. Apart from the meeples, the game will also have 108 cards, 62 punchboard tokens (most as victory points/resources), 2 custom dice and a spot die. $29.99 to $34.99 is definitely the price range, based on our costs, this goes back to my original question: 'What are meeples worth to you?'

As it's looking, it does seem like sticking with 14mm meeples (custom to match the theming of the game) would be best. This option coupled with the dice and level of artwork should be enough to warrant an MSRP of $34.99. Then again, for Kickstarter, we'll be able to offer a discount and bring the base level pledge to $29.99.

Thanks for all your responses.
 
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