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Subject: To reprint or not to reprint, that is the question? rss

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Brian Schwartz
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Hey all,

I'm a relatively new gamer (about 3 years now), and I am still trying to figure out what makes a game get reprinted or not.

Take the classic area control game, El Grande, which I have heard positive things about and has been out of print for the last 2 years or so. What makes a "classic" like El Grande not be reprinted? Is it sales before the print run ended? Or is it supply and demand? (I'm sure other new gamers like myself would love to jump at the chance to buy this game)

I understand games like Caverna, where the print run did not satisfy the demand, and a reprint is eventual.

Just looking for some insight, especially from there who have been into the hobby for a while.
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Zoe M
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My guess for El Grande is that if you have a major milestone coming up, you wait until then for the reprint. I'd expect a 20th-anniversary edition next year.
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Hobie
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This is the one glaring downside of the hobby. It's almost like the board game industry is a giant flea market stand. Buy it while you see it or else it might not be here next week.

Just my sense is that there are a number of titles in the 2002-2007 era that are just now coming to the end of their (often over published) print run. When these run out, it will probably take a very special occasion for another print run.

Even now, there are a number of games in the top 100 that are OOP.

Fortunately, given enough time, they should be reprinted. Goa being a good example. However, the wait in between can be quite frustrating.
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Bryan Thunkd
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A large portion of the people who are candidates for buying board games, i.e. boardgamers, already own a copy. And of the people who don't own a copy, a lot of them have already played it a few times. So it's not necessarily something they're dying to play, at least not as much as a new "hot" game they've never tried.

I suspect there's a sweet spot for how many board games to print in a print run. So somebody somewhere has probably looked at some numbers of how many they'd have to sell, and estimates of how many new gamers are coming into the market per year, how long it's been since the last print run, how high used copies are selling for, etc.

From a seller's perspective it's much better to wait until the game is so unavailable that demand is through the roof and their next print run sells out almost immediately rather than try to rush it and end up with a print run that is selling sluggishly.
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Walt
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While big companies can keep standards like Catan, Carcassonne, Alhambra, or Ticket to Ride continuously in print, smaller companies--even companies the size of Rio Grande Games have to choose their battles, as it were. Even Hans im Glück had to crowdfund Saint Petersburg (second edition) because they couldn't afford to do it and all their committed new projects.

Additionally, many (most?) publishers who reprint a game after a period of unavailability "improve" the game so existing owners will want the new version. Examples include Goa, Factory Fun (and Corné van Moorsel is working on a new hex FF!), or the previously mentioned Saint Petersburg (second edition).

Also, it's not like printing a Print & Play game at home. It's very complicated. I discussed this in detail when Mayfair Games was reprinting Treefrog Games' Automobile:
Re: Bit of a discussion: why does it take publishers so long to get something published?
Re: Bit of a discussion: why does it take publishers so long to get something published?
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Liz Spain
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It's pretty simple, really. If a game is selling and the print run is about to sell out, most companies will print another run (if they have the capital). However, if sales are slow enough that it would take too long to sell another print run, or that capital has a better chance invested in a new title, the old game won't be reprinted.

Some companies are a lot more cutthroat than others, though. Word through the grapevine is that some of the up-and-coming companies won't reprint even a successful game if the 1st run doesn't sell within a year. In an industry where only a few titles dominate sales, it makes sense to try again for a smash hit with a new title.
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roger miller
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All of the above comments show a lot of understanding. The other thing to remember is the cost of games goes down like a rock the more you make at one time. So a large run is way more cost effective per unit than a smaller run. Reprints are tough in that you usually do not expect same demand as when game was new so you are printing smaller run with higher costs per unit but public really will not want to pay more for the game.
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Jacek Wieszaczewski
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rmiller1093 wrote:
All of the above comments show a lot of understanding. The other thing to remember is the cost of games goes down like a rock the more you make at one time. So a large run is way more cost effective per unit than a smaller run. Reprints are tough in that you usually do not expect same demand as when game was new so you are printing smaller run with higher costs per unit but public really will not want to pay more for the game.
On the other hand you can be quite sure that the game won't turn out to be a complete disaster. If first print run sold out, sooner or later the reprint will as well.
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Greg Aleknevicus
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hsiale wrote:
If first print run sold out, sooner or later the reprint will as well.

While this is somewhat true, it overlooks a critical aspect of any business: cashflow. While those games are sitting on shelves (or a distributor's warehouse), the publisher is not being paid. The money that's tied up in that inventory is money unavailable for payroll, rent, printing fees, etc.

It is far, far, far better to sell 8000 units in a six-month period, than 12000 units over five years.
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Matt Brown
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Also, licenses expire. StarCraft: The Board Game isn't coming back. It looks like Uncharted: The Board Game is following a similar pattern.

In terms of El Grande, it is the wait for it being out 20 years and demand to build back up.
 
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RCH RCH
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beardandglasses wrote:
This is the one glaring downside of the hobby. It's almost like the board game industry is a giant flea market stand. Buy it while you see it or else it might not be here next week.


That's a good comparison. You also don't know when you are going to find a good deal and it's usually worth checking around when a game goes OOP. The majority of my purchases at my FLGSs tend to be OOP games that they are still selling at list price. Suddenly, paying MSRP for a game that is new in shrink doesn't seem like such a bad deal.

I live in an area with a lot of game stores (I think I have 9 or 10 within a 15 minute drive). I've seen games like T&E, In the Year of the Dragon, and Glen More all on the shelves within the past month. I was happy to pick up the first two, already owned the third.
 
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Walt
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Collection wrote:
That's a good comparison. You also don't know when you are going to find a good deal and it's usually worth checking around when a game goes OOP. The majority of my purchases at my FLGSs tend to be OOP games that they are still selling at list price. Suddenly, paying MSRP for a game that is new in shrink doesn't seem like such a bad deal.

I've bought a fair number of games because I like them and they might go out of print. I generally buy from an OLGS, so a lot are ~$25, current Amazon price for many: $100-200.

I would never suggest buying anything one can't afford--credit card debt is a bitch!--but if you have free cash, buying a great game doesn't seem to be a bad deal. (Not that I would consider it a real investment.)

Still, I'm not sure buying highly rated, low production number games is a bad investment--but, you have to account for shipping costs, losers etc. (Also, keep in mind that an un-, or at least semi-scupulous, seller could post a message such as this to benefit from a tightening market.)
 
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Bart R.
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I've also read in an related topic that the demand for classics to be reprinted is often grossly overestimated. Even if a thousand people here on BGG are asking for a reprint, that doesn't say much about the actual demand in the marketplace. Even those thousand people may choose to buy another game in the end. Game companies probably have a much better view on actual demand.

Also, a reprint may well demand almost as much of your company's resources as a completely new game. For example, the art may need to be redone, the rulebook rewritten, new rules playtested or components upgraded. Even if you don't do any of that, you still need people to oversee the publishing process and those people aren't working on new games that are probably more lucrative for the company.

Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see Endeavor republished, but I'm not holding my breath soblue
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Chad Steward
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Three main reasons:

1.) Licensing Issue - License ran out and it would be too difficult/impossible to get the license back. Starcraft the board game was a great example mentioned earlier.

2.) Production Cost - The game is too expensive to be reprinted. This is seen a lot in games with miniatures, because the molds might need to be redone, but the game might not have the mass appeal it had before. Molds are really expensive. This is the reason Heroscape will likely never be reprinted.

3.) Sale Volume - Since the game is no longer the "New Hotness" it likely won't sell fast enough to be worth it, even if a lot of people want it. This is where Kickstarter has begun saving the day, because it allows publishers to see if there is enough demand there to fund a project that otherwise would have been too much of a gamble.
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