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Subject: Top selling wargames rss

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David Sims
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I saw a thread detailing the top selling games to end Dec 2014.

I thought it would be interesting to see the same data restricted to wargames, however I haven't got a clue as to how to search the database for this information.

Anyone wish to educate me?
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Roger Hobden
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Q: Top selling wargame ?

A: ASL

Spoiler (click to reveal)
everyone is selling their ASL games these days


devil
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GMT says that Twilight Struggle is their best seller ever with 70,000 copies printed to date.

In contrast, while Fire in the Lake had an initial print run of 7500, Cuba Libre's first print run was closer to 2500, and the average GMT game has a print run around 3-5k.

In the SPI book Wargame Design, their chapter on printing games talks about print runs in the 10s of thousands. Their ill fated game Dallas had 80,000 copies printed.

Best selling wargames are still the AH and SPI games from the 1970s and 1980s.

Ticket to Ride has sold over 1.2 million copies.
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Gilles Daquin
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Mallet wrote:
Q: Top selling wargame ?

A: ASL

everyone is selling their ASL games these days

devil


not sure what's really funny about blasting a game that many of us like.

thanks Leroy for the information about the number of prints, always have wondered about it.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.
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Carsten Bohne
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I suspect the geeklist you're referring to is built by somebody accessing the BGG database and counting the owner changes. The easiest way to find out how he's doing that is probably by asking him directly. IIRC the guy is pretty accessible...
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Jim F
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Tifast wrote:
Mallet wrote:
Q: Top selling wargame ?

A: ASL

everyone is selling their ASL games these days

devil


not sure what's really funny about blasting a game that many of us like.

thanks Leroy for the information about the number of prints, always have wondered about it.


Well I think ASL is an excellent game but I sold it off before buying it all back again at great expense.

As the nice woman in the booth told me, there's nothing wrong with a light tease.
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In the GMT web page you have the top selling of the year for their products of course http://www.gmtgames.com/c-43-best-sellers-current-year.aspx
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Sphere wrote:
Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.


If Twilight Struggle is currently at 70,000 copies sold, then it isn't even halfway to PanzerBlitz's territory. In 1980 Avalon Hill said that PanzerBlitz had sold over 200,000 copies. Add to that number however many copies Avalon Hill sold in the 80s and 90s.

Source: The General Index and Company History page 9 (1980).
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Tifast wrote:
Mallet wrote:
Q: Top selling wargame ?

A: ASL

everyone is selling their ASL games these days

devil


not sure what's really funny about blasting a game that many of us like.


I dunno, I thought it was pretty funny myself.

Quote:
thanks Leroy for the information about the number of prints, always have wondered about it.


You're welcome. My information isn't official, I'm just citing the GMT folks, and Greg Costykian on the SPI info.
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Crito wrote:
Sphere wrote:
Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.


If Twilight Struggle is currently at 70,000 copies sold, then it isn't even halfway to PanzerBlitz's territory. In 1980 Avalon Hill said that PanzerBlitz had sold over 200,000 copies. Add to that number however many copies Avalon Hill sold in the 80s and 90s.

Source: The General Index and Company History page 9 (1980).


Yup. Today may be the golden age of wargames in terms of product and selection, but the golden age of sales was 40 years ago...
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Eddy Sterckx
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leroy43 wrote:
Crito wrote:
Sphere wrote:
Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.


If Twilight Struggle is currently at 70,000 copies sold, then it isn't even halfway to PanzerBlitz's territory. In 1980 Avalon Hill said that PanzerBlitz had sold over 200,000 copies. Add to that number however many copies Avalon Hill sold in the 80s and 90s.

Source: The General Index and Company History page 9 (1980).


Yup. Today may be the golden age of wargames in terms of product and selection, but the golden age of sales was 40 years ago...


Sure, but how many of those sales back then were to wargamers ?

AH games were for sale in general retail stores. How many of their sales happened because a kid already had Monopoly ? How many copies were bought by people who had no clue about wargames, opened the box, took one look at it and put it away on the top shelf of a closet until finally disappearing in a landfill upon a move ?

Now, you could argue that a sale is a sale and it doesn’t matter for the publisher what happens with the game afterwards, but I’d say that today’s wargames sales numbers are more real in the sense that they represent sales to wargamers, so are a better indication of how the hobby is doing.


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Michael Sommers
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
AH games were for sale in general retail stores. How many of their sales happened because a kid already had Monopoly ? How many copies were bought by people who had no clue about wargames, opened the box, took one look at it and put it away on the top shelf of a closet until finally disappearing in a landfill upon a move ?

And how many were sold to non-wargamers who promptly became life-long wargamers as a result?
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Eoin Corrigan
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eddy_sterckx wrote:


Now, you could argue that a sale is a sale and it doesn’t matter for the publisher what happens with the game afterwards, but I’d say that today’s wargames sales numbers are more real in the sense that they represent sales to wargamers, so are a better indication of how the hobby is doing.



The counterargument is the contention that the majority of today's wargame sales are for the purposes of collection, as opposed to play.

I think a combination of:

- A large annual volume of wargames published;
- A static or declining market in terms of its population; and,
- A market which has a reasonably large amount of disposable income (as it's principally composed of reasonably well educated males in their 40s and older;

result in a hobby in which wargames are bought in large numbers, but are not played as much as they are perused, shelved and fetishised. As opposed to played.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Eoin Corrigan wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:


Now, you could argue that a sale is a sale and it doesn’t matter for the publisher what happens with the game afterwards, but I’d say that today’s wargames sales numbers are more real in the sense that they represent sales to wargamers, so are a better indication of how the hobby is doing.



The counterargument is the contention that the majority of today's wargame sales are for the purposes of collection, as opposed to play.

I think a combination of:

- A large annual volume of wargames published;
- A static or declining market in terms of its population; and,
- A market which has a reasonably large amount of disposable income (as it's principally composed of reasonably well educated males in their 40s and older;

result in a hobby in which wargames are bought in large numbers, but are not played as much as they are perused, shelved and fetishised. As opposed to played.


Reg. collecting vs play : the success of Vassal says otherwise.
Reg. declining population : CSW just published their annual stats : increases all over the board with more CSW Expo attendees, more forum members, more everything. Even the local wargame convention moved to a bigger location a couple of years ago and attracts a lot of youngsters.


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Eoin Corrigan
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eddy_sterckx wrote:


Reg. collecting vs play : the success of Vassal says otherwise.
Reg. declining population : CSW just published their annual stats : increases all over the board with more CSW Expo attendees, more forum members, more everything. Even the local wargame convention moved to a bigger location a couple years ago and attracts a lot of youngsters.



I use Vassal for VASL a lot. I'm not aware of any log of active players, broken down by game. I would be very much surprised if the non-VASL Vassal playing population is terribly significant. I also suspect that the majority of Vassal play is of older, well established titles with healthy playing communities.

I agree that the aging demographic of wargamers has been overstated in the past. My wargame of choice is ASL and I meet and play new, young ASL players from all over Europe at the tournaments I attend. Which is fantastic. However, I don't think these new wargamers are replacing those leaving the hobby on a 1:1 basis.

My core point is this - 2014 wargame sales and the the rate of publication of new titles is a very imperfect metric of the health of the hobby if one considers that the hobby is playing, as opposed to collecting.

Arguably, there are too many wargames published every year, by an order of magnitude. The net result is excessive titles cannibalizing player bases.
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John McD
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I think the growth in boardgames generally means more people spill into wargaming out of curiosity or subject matter interest.

I'm one such, still play more euros than wargames but I do play both and five years ago I didn't.

In one of the major UK booksellers this Christmas you could (of course) buy Monopoly, Risk and 7 Wonders, but they were stocking Memoir '44 and Command & Colors: Napoleonics too.

Honestly, I don't think they should have stocked C&C, it's too much for someone expecting Risk but the broadening of the consumer base is there. It'll probably take some more time for it to fill in the retiring wargamers who bought in the '70's but I wouldn't write it off.
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BlackSpy wrote:
I think the growth in boardgames generally means more people spill into wargaming out of curiosity or subject matter interest.

I'm one such, still play more euros than wargames but I do play both and five years ago I didn't.


I know 2 people like that. One came in through Twilight Struggle, the other out of curiosity about what this "wargame" thing on BGG was all about.
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Craig H
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Sphere wrote:
Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.


Of course in those days, wargames didn't go out of print as quickly as they seem to today.
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Mark J.
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Print runs and sales are two different things.

Just from anecdotal evidence I think the wargame hobby is healthier than ever. The growth of computer and console gaming along with the resurgence of boardgames has removed much of the social stigma that used to be associated with wargames.


BlackSpy wrote:
I think the growth in boardgames generally means more people spill into wargaming out of curiosity or subject matter interest.


^This, Euros and computer games are complementary to wargames and anything that increases interest in related subjects is good for the hobby.

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Roger Hobden
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Actually, I posted a survey (poll) on BGG a few months ago concerning buying and selling ASL during the last year.

The buyers / sellers ratio was ten to one.

The absolute numbers were about 300 vs 30, IIRC.

Just for the record.

cool

PS: some people seem to have no sense of humour.

EDIT: added the absolute numbers.
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Sphere wrote:
Avalon Hill titles in the 1970s sold in huge numbers by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised if PanzerBlitz sold twice as many copies as Paths of Glory or Twilight Struggle.


With over a quarter of a million copies sold, I wouldn't be surprised if Panzerblitz outsold all wargames of the past five years combined.

As for the question of collecting, the proliferation of titles, and whether the hobby is growing I'll say this ...

It's never been easier to find an opponent.

We rarely play the same game weekend after weekend. We might play a boardgame on the computer. But in my 40 years of wargaming I've never had an easier time finding opponents. Or for that matter finding copies of a game I want.

Now finding the time to game ... that's still a problem.

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Bob Long
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My first wargame
PanzerBlitz, bought it in a used book store for about 2 bucks in the late 80's. Played it a few times, put it away, life happened marriage, kids, job, coaching sports in the community, then discovered Euros when my daughter was in college and when I started teaching.

Now play TS, Academy Games, with my middle school students. I remember when my old buddies played eastern front war games in the 80's. They played them speaking German and always argued about who was going to have to play the Russians.

So, even though the selection is greater today, there were no video or computer games competing with All board games not to mention wargames.

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eddy_sterckx wrote:
BlackSpy wrote:
I think the growth in boardgames generally means more people spill into wargaming out of curiosity or subject matter interest.

I'm one such, still play more euros than wargames but I do play both and five years ago I didn't.


I know 2 people like that. One came in through Twilight Struggle, the other out of curiosity about what this "wargame" thing on BGG was all about.


I can speak to this, as I'm an example. I've become interested in wargames in the last few years; my progression was Classic Risk ---> Memoir '44 ----> Combat Commander. I don't play the heavy stuff - and probably never will - but I never would've even considered something on Combat Commander's complexity level if I hadn't whet my appetite with Risk and Memoir.
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