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Subject: Card game vs Board game rss

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Rob Sherwood
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Had this thought today. Is it more likely for a publisher to accept a card game over a board game or a miniatures game, as it would be cheaper to produce in the long run?
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Jim O'Connor
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Disney Rob wrote:
Had this thought today. Is it more likely for a publisher to accept a card game over a board game or a miniatures game, as it would be cheaper to produce in the long run?


No.

It really depends on the quality of the game.

Are you discussing the same game that could either be cards, board, or minis?

Are you trying to figure out what kind of game you think you should try designing for the easiest route to publication?
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Stentor Danielson
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IANAP, but I would guess what's most important to a publisher is profit margin -- how much more than the manufacturing cost can they get customers to pay for it, and how many people will buy it? Card games are usually cheaper to manufacture, but because of that they sell for less (but they might sell more of them due to the lower price).
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Walt
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If you can, it's good to make a game inexpensive to produce. The publisher can load it with bits if he wants a "bigger" game. Example: Ra was designed as a card game; the publisher changed the cards to tiles and a bag, added wood bidding markers (the suns), and a big wooden auction marker.
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Rob Sherwood
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Absolutely quality would play the big part of the choice. I mean if a mini's game were great, and the card game not so good, the company would obviously go with the better game. I guess what I was saying is this, if the company had to choose one of only two, would they go for the game with the lower production cost (and lower profit margin), or the game with the higher production cost (and profit margin) but also risk factor?
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Walt
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Disney Rob wrote:
Absolutely quality would play the big part of the choice. I mean if a mini's game were great, and the card game not so good, the company would obviously go with the better game. I guess what I was saying is this, if the company had to choose one of only two, would they go for the game with the lower production cost (and lower profit margin), or the game with the higher production cost (and profit margin) but also risk factor?

First, I think you misunderstand the term "margin". It's a percentage. Typically a game store has a 50% margin, that is, they pay 50% of the MSRP and get 50% as gross profit (gross meaning, before they pay rent, salaries etc.)

The publisher is thinking of some target price for the game. Maybe $40 to $60 for a big game, down to $5-10 for a simple card game. He has to allow 20% of the MSRP for the distributor and 50% for the store, so he's left with $3 per $10 of MSRP. He needs his own profit and he has to pay for printing, bits, box etc.

So, if a game is cheaper to produce, the publisher might be able to get more profit in. On the other hand, he has to produce a game whose value feels right to his customers. Ra is one example. Another would be Dominion. Dominion could have come just as a huge brick of 500 cards, but that's ten normal (French) decks, so many people might be dissatisfied if it cost more than $20-30. But by putting in a nifty organizer and putting the game in a big box, it feels okay at $50.

So, suppose you have a good game you want to publish that can be, like Ra, just cards or fancy. First, the publisher will consider what his budget allows--can he afford to make the more expensive version? If he can make either, a professional publisher will pick the one he thinks will be most profitable--that may mean adding cheap fluff and a big box to a card game, or it may be leaving it a card game. A hobby publisher will pick the one he thinks fits his vision of the game or the company.

I think the bottom line is, having the option is always good.
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Paul Sztajer
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I'd actually cite risk as the main reason you'd want to start with a card game: the cheaper a game is to produce, the less risk a publisher is taking on. Taking the risk down in this way would possibly let them take a bigger risk in other areas, such as theme, unusual mechanics, being a first-time/unknown designer and so on.

The bigger the publisher, the less this is a factor (as they'll be more immune to a single bad game), but the more competition you'll have.
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