Daniel West
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So, I must start this out by admitting my shame. I am a chronic downsizer. I don't like having a large collection of games. As a result, if I feel a game is getting stale, I let it go, which is a great feeling in and of itself.

Recently though, I've been reconsidering whether some of the games I let go should have stuck around a little longer. I even repurchased Condottiere, which I'm really looking forward to playing. Well, one other game I got rid of was Glen More. I decided to look it up. The game brand new had an MSRP price of $35. The current lowest price on Amazon for a used copy is $99 before shipping. There is also a copy on Ebay going for $65 with a few days left, so you know it will end at a much higher price.

My question is why doesn't Rio Grande simply do another print run of that game. They already have all of the printing specs, so it wouldn't require much work. Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost. It would almost be like they are printing money. While I understand quite a bit about the game industry, that one choice doesn't quite make sense to me. Can anyone open my eyes?
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Eric Johnson
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There may be a small group of people willing to pay a high price for an OOP game, but that does not mean there are enough people clamoring for a game to reprint it. Profit margins are pretty small, and "new" games can often bring in more money from the gamers and collectors.
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High prices mean that demand is high relative to the supply. They don't say much about how big that supply and demand are. There may be a small number of interested buyers competing over a small number of copies for sale. Print runs tend to only be economical with certain minimum amounts and the demand might be below that.
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Matt Neil
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Besides what has already been mentioned, the world of contracts and agreements behind the scenes of game publishing can have an impact that isn't immediately evident.

For example: some english language versions of Hans im Gluck games were previously released by Rio Grande Games, but that has changed to Zman Games now. Rio Grande Games can't publish anything affected by that agreement, and ZMan has their own publication schedule. And there are stranger issues than that, involving the designers, publishers, artists, etc.

It's like when the DVD release of a popular TV show gets delayed or never happens, because an agreement couldn't be worked out with the people that own the rights to the music that was part of one of the original TV episodes.
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A company wants to make a game. Due to the manpower and materials of the initial setup, the cost is $10,000* before the notion of volume is even discussed. With such a high initial cost, The company would have to make a lot of units in order to recoup their expenses.It isn't simply the fact that the units would sell, but how quickly it would sell. Glen More may have gained more interest after it's print run, well after it would have made it practical to receive another print run. For Glen More specifically, it may have been a lower profit margin due to all the playing pieces the game contained. Even for a lighter euro, it has a lot of bits. Other games may have suffered the same fate. With RGG, they may see significantly greater short and long term success with some of their other games. With a lot of well-known games under their belt, they don't have a need to reprint games like Glen More, even if it makes me sad.

*hypothetical, made-up number
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Speculator prices on Amazon, eBay etc != demand.
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Team D20 wrote:
So, I must start this out by admitting my shame. I am a chronic downsizer. I don't like having a large collection of games. As a result, if I feel a game is getting stale, I let it go, which is a great feeling in and of itself.

Recently though, I've been reconsidering whether some of the games I let go should have stuck around a little longer. I even repurchased Condottiere, which I'm really looking forward to playing. Well, one other game I got rid of was Glen More. I decided to look it up. The game brand new had an MSRP price of $35. The current lowest price on Amazon for a used copy is $99 before shipping. There is also a copy on Ebay going for $65 with a few days left, so you know it will end at a much higher price.

My question is why doesn't Rio Grande simply do another print run of that game. They already have all of the printing specs, so it wouldn't require much work. Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost. It would almost be like they are printing money. While I understand quite a bit about the game industry, that one choice doesn't quite make sense to me. Can anyone open my eyes?


A lot of them should be reprinted, and in short, a lot of them will be reprinted. Take Coup, which currently has sky-high prices compared to its MSRP of $15. A reprinting is in the works.

There also might be misleading pricing data on the fixed price sites. We tend to assume that markets and supply and demand operate efficiently and that prices estimate demand, but that isn't always the case. I'm a book collector, and a few books I want can only be found for $400 dollars or so at bookdealers, but when the same book comes to auction, it doesn't get more than $50. When there aren't many copies of something, sellers sometimes just prefer to throw out an outrageous price and then hope to get lucky.
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Jacob Bazar
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Sometimes the price increases simply because the game is out of print, not because the game is anything amazing. People on BGG will start talking about a game more once it goes out of print. It has that special aura that all possessions that others can't just go out and buy have. Exclusivity. Only a board game fan with impeccable taste and a thorough knowledge of the field would own such a game. etc, etc....

Many of these sought after games aren't really any better (or are worse!) than games that are readily available.

Being able to resell a game on ebay for more than what you paid for it does have a certain charm to it, you must admit.
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Sean Carrick
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Having observed game price fluctuations over the last few years, a high secondary market demand does NOT equal a high primary market demand. RoboRally is the game that most springs to mind, as every time it goes out of print, it starts selling for $100+, but every time it's in print, it sits on shelves and ebays for $15-$20.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is another one. When first published, it bombed so badly, Toys R Us was clearancing it out for $10. Six months later it started going up in value on Ebay. Up until the reprint, it was going for upwards of $300 dollars. Then the reprint happened, and I believe sale have been somewhat underwhelming.

On the other hand, I have seen some OOP games have huge price tags that eventually cool down (Mare Nostrum was over $100 at one point, and can now be purchased for as low as $20). If you wait a couple years, Glen More may have cooled down and you'll be able to pick it up for a more reasonable price. Alternatively, since you like getting rid of games, might I suggest looking up the trade list and seeing if anyone is interested in a game you're willing to part with?
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VPG ran into this problem fairly early on, when they shifted from their old production methods (maps printed on paper, fairly thin counters which were cut on a hand-pressed die, poly-bags rather than boxes). After starting to release games in their new/improved "Gold Banner" quality fans started clamoring for the older games to be re-released in the new upgraded format. The problem is that converting the old game files into the new format ends up costing the company almost as much as it does to create an entirely new game, and new games outsell older ones which are upgraded by nearly two-to-one.

Even though there may be demand on the secondary market for copies of older games there are a lot of folks who simply aren't going to be willing to pony up the cash to purchase another copy of something they already have (even if it has improved quality components). In the overwhelming majority of cases it's just not economically viable for a company, particularly a smaller company that's operating on narrow margins, to devote the time and resources to re-releasing a game.
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I'll have to check, my wife isn't generally a gamer, but she does have a few Ravensburger games she received as gifts.

Based on the cover I see, I think she may actually have Glen More.

** then again, maybe not - since I see it's a 2010 release, I think the box I'm thinking of was from earlier than that.

 
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Team D20 wrote:
So, I must start this out by admitting my shame. I am a chronic downsizer. I don't like having a large collection of games. As a result, if I feel a game is getting stale, I let it go, which is a great feeling in and of itself.

Recently though, I've been reconsidering whether some of the games I let go should have stuck around a little longer. I even repurchased Condottiere, which I'm really looking forward to playing. Well, one other game I got rid of was Glen More. I decided to look it up. The game brand new had an MSRP price of $35. The current lowest price on Amazon for a used copy is $99 before shipping. There is also a copy on Ebay going for $65 with a few days left, so you know it will end at a much higher price.

My question is why doesn't Rio Grande simply do another print run of that game. They already have all of the printing specs, so it wouldn't require much work. Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost. It would almost be like they are printing money. While I understand quite a bit about the game industry, that one choice doesn't quite make sense to me. Can anyone open my eyes?


Don't get me stahhhted. It baffles me how "shut up and take my money!" can be misunderstood.

One of the big confounding problems I see is that, for the same printing costs, a new game would probably sell better from the publisher.
 
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Mike Geller
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You can get a German language copy of Glen More from places like Game Surplus for $30. You only need to print a single page of translations of the special buildings in order to play.
 
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Most reprints will make money through people new to the game, not those few who have it sitting on a wish list. Unless something has significantly changed since the original release there is no reason to think that it would do any better second time around. And if it had done well enough first time around then it wouldn't have gone out of print in the first place.

Games only to get later editions and reprints if they do really well, or if enough time has passed since the original came out that the market (and possibly game) has changed enough for a significant portion of it to see the reprint as a 'new' game.

You can see this in how FFG operates. They take a game that has done ok in the past and update and re-release it to a market that considers it as a new thing. If some of those titles had merely been reprinted a few years earlier they'd not have done so well.
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Daniel West
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Good thoughts guys. I should have more thoroughly defined my question. I am definitely aware of the idea of a small market that has high demand. That concept mirrors the situation I discussed with some friends last year when Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii was going for $80 in Gamestop. Several people were mad that Gamestop would raise the prices on that particular game. I realize that there are a limited number of gamers who want to buy a JRPG, and those limited few would be willing to pay any amount to get it, so there was no reason to try and sell at a lower price. Those that weren't going to get it at $80 also weren't going to get it at $20.

The same can be true of board gamers for sure. There can definitely be a limited number of people who comprise an entire market for a game and they will pay any price. Nevertheless, in my perception, Glen More, like Coup and Biblios is not one of those games. I can easily see the casual Settlers/Ticket to Ride crowd adding it to a small collection of medium weight, relatively quick titles. Perhaps that perception is wrong, but my focus on the question was intended to apply to those games that have a wide appeal potential.
 
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The absolute worst is when the game is on Top 10 lists all over the place, is constantly recommended, all the major reviewers have featured it, and is highly rated on BGG. Man, it's mind blowing.

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As they might say on Pawn Stars: Just because people are asking $100 over MSRP, doesn't mean they are getting it.
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Team D20 wrote:
Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost.

Whoa whoa whoa, hold it right there. What hard evidence do we have that "demand is so high"? Have you canvassed distributors for how many copies they would order? Realize that one thousand games is a significant fraction of a typical print run, which generally does not sell out for most new games. You are making an assertion with no basis in fact.
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I can think of several answers to the OP.

- The rights for the product have reverted, and the projected sales wouldn't cover the cost of renewing those rights. (This happened with Mille Bournes recently).

- The game is based upon an intellectual property, and the holder of that property either won't give out a license, or wants way more than what a game company could afford. (Dune comes to mind here).

- The game might be going for a lot in the aftermarket, but its not THAT big of a seller. (Republic of Rome certainly fits that bill, as do many Euro titles that were good games, but not necessarily big sellers.)

- The game IS in the middle of possibly being reprinted, but legal issues surround the project and might kill it completely. (The Up Front! reprint story comes to mind here.)

- The game might be a European release, and the American company can't get the rights for American distribution, for whatever reason. (Starfarers of Catan is a good example of this.)

So there are many, many, many reasons why this can occur.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:


- The game might be a European release, and the American company can't get the rights for American distribution, for whatever reason. (Starfarers of Catan is a good example of this.)


Is there anywhere I could read up on this? I've always wondered why Starfarers isn't still out there.
 
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chris leko
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I agree that high prices for some niche games does not mean demand. Look at Origins: How We Became Human. Probably won't ever be reprinted (or might not be for a number of years). The market for it is so small that there's no point to reprint it. It sucks for people looking for it who need to spend too much, but that's what tax returns are for... at least, that's what I tell myself.whistle
 
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sdiberar wrote:
Team D20 wrote:
Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost.

Whoa whoa whoa, hold it right there. What hard evidence do we have that "demand is so high"? Have you canvassed distributors for how many copies they would order? Realize that one thousand games is a significant fraction of a typical print run, which generally does not sell out for most new games. You are making an assertion with no basis in fact.
What would be a typical print run? If selling out a first print run is tough, then a game that has sold out two print runs should be considered for a third for sure. As for the demand, according to the game's page here on BGG, there are over 500 people wanting a copy. This would again be something I'm unsure of, but how does that number look in a publisher's eyes?
 
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Darilian wrote:
I can think of several answers to the OP.

- The rights for the product have reverted, and the projected sales wouldn't cover the cost of renewing those rights. (This happened with Mille Bournes recently).

- The game is based upon an intellectual property, and the holder of that property either won't give out a license, or wants way more than what a game company could afford. (Dune comes to mind here).

- The game might be going for a lot in the aftermarket, but its not THAT big of a seller. (Republic of Rome certainly fits that bill, as do many Euro titles that were good games, but not necessarily big sellers.)

- The game IS in the middle of possibly being reprinted, but legal issues surround the project and might kill it completely. (The Up Front! reprint story comes to mind here.)

- The game might be a European release, and the American company can't get the rights for American distribution, for whatever reason. (Starfarers of Catan is a good example of this.)

So there are many, many, many reasons why this can occur.

Darilian
Definitely all legitimate reasons.
 
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Team D20 wrote:
sdiberar wrote:
Team D20 wrote:
Since the demand is so high, they could easily do another print run of a thousand games and sell those almost immediately, which means little storage cost.

Whoa whoa whoa, hold it right there. What hard evidence do we have that "demand is so high"? Have you canvassed distributors for how many copies they would order? Realize that one thousand games is a significant fraction of a typical print run, which generally does not sell out for most new games. You are making an assertion with no basis in fact.
What would be a typical print run? If selling out a first print run is tough, then a game that has sold out two print runs should be considered for a third for sure. As for the demand, according to the game's page here on BGG, there are over 500 people wanting a copy. This would again be something I'm unsure of, but how does that number look in a publisher's eyes?


Probably pretty crap. Printing stuff is expensive, printing only a few copies is really expensive. (I can't speak for board games, but you don't really turn on a book printing machine for less than several thousand copies without losing a lot of value.) Shipping stuff is also expensive. Getting a bunch of different components from about the place and then getting them printed, shipped, assembled, packed, etc? It's expensive.

Unless you have a lot of firm sales (hello Kickstarter) or reliable clients (FLGS' not BGG users) lined up there's no way you're doing a reprint. It's an easy road to going out of business.

Ain't no one reprinting a game based on prices on the BGG market. It's all about their large customers (game stores and distributors) going "I need 50 copies more" them saying "what if we can only deliver them in 4 months?" and that stores and many others saying "4 months is ok, I just want those 50/100/200/etc copies!"
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Daniel West
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Of course, BGG wishlist are only a sampling of those that would buy a game, which is why I wonder how that number looks. Would a publisher see that at least 500 people want it enough to put it on their wishlist, and conclude that they could sell in actuality 4 times that amount?
 
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