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Subject: Is a lust for clearance mentality hurting boardgaming? rss

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Richard Hutnik
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I was going to post that I saw Puerto Rico at Barnes and Noble, but saw a thread was already posted.

Well, in the thread, I was seeing multiple posts how people want stuff to not sell and end up on clearance so they can save some money.

I can understand saving money via mail order and maybe not buying anything at Barnes and Noble personally. But, actually rooting for poor sales? Isn't this pretty much kicking one's own legs out?

As for myself, I want the games to sell out, and get restocked and Barnes and Noble to carry Puerto Rico over Spongebob-opoly. I would also like for Avalon Hill stuff not to hit sub-$10 clearance at Toys R Us.

Comments? My take is if boardgamers are going to be penny-pinching cheap buggers, the industry is going to have problems.



 
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Paul DeStefano
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Where were you when Nin-Gonost was still full price ...
 
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Chris Bailey
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docreason wrote:
As for myself, I want the games to sell out, and get restocked and Barnes and Noble to carry Puerto Rico over Spongebob-opoly.


Good argument and I agree.
 
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Mark Buetow
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Well, I paid $12.95 for War of the Ring from BN on clearance. I paid $50 for Niagara: full price. I guess I'm entitled to judge others and/or be a hypocrite either way.

The simple fact is, Barnes & Noble carries that stuff on a seasonal basis but it doesn't really sell and isn't really their forte. I work at a Sears whose main Electronics sales are big TVs and digital cameras. But we've got guitars and accessories and keyboards for Christmas. Go figure. Some people will buy it but most of it will end up really cheap as they try to get rid of it. Why not take advantage of that?



 
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Larry Welborn
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I just bought Hey! That's My Fish! for full price at the local B&N to support their effort. Frankly, I hope that B&N can sell enough games at MSRP to increase their selection and to stock games year round. Why? Because the more people that are exposed to these games, the better chance that games continue to be profitable for the companies, designers, etc. More profitablity equals more games, etc.

Having said that, however, I wouldn't turn down a good deal on a clearance sale and I will continue to buy most of my games online.
 
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Michael Barnes
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Speaking with all due respect to some of my clientele (apart from you, Steve- you know who you are), boardgamers are some of the most pinch-purse consumers I've ever seen. I've seen people balk at spending $30 for a new copy of a game but go all a-twitter over saving $2-3 on a damaged box copy. I've seen folks staunchly refuse to spend $50 on a quality new release but spend an equal amount on clearance rack junk like Edison & Co., Ido, or Power Lunch (it's true). I'm convinced a lot of boardgamers will buy anything for under $10, even if it's complete crap, just to pad their collection. Witness the thrift store phenomenon- who _really_ wants a copy of Upwords or the Worst Case Scenario board game? I've seen people lose their damn minds over yard sale quality games just because they were cheap.

Getting a little off topic there...more salient to the point is this anecdote. Tipping the hat to the erstwhile Paul DiStefano, I bought some Nin-Gonost for my store directly from him last year and I thought it was a pretty good game. I played it in the store, demo'd it to any willing customer, and the consensus was good. The problem is, no one was buying it and I heard repeatedly "I'll wait until it's on clearance". So I took a big loss on it, and it wound up being closed out at pennies on the dollar- customers descending like vultures to pick up a bargain without concern that their FLGS had lost money on its investment. Sad, the game deserved a better fate than that. Most customers ultimately don't give a rat's ass about supporting a publisher or even a FLGS when given a choice between spending an extra dollar or saving one. And really, why should they?

It's tough, because who _wouldn't_ rather buy something on clearance? As soon as I saw that B&N had all these games, my first thought was "after Christmas clearance". Joe Public ain't gonna buy them (at least not in any quantity) and the hobbyist ain't gonna buy them because they'll get them through a discount source or wait for clearance. Does it hurt the hobby? Not really. But it does hurt the potential for seeing more games in mainstream outlets when large retailers look at their sales figures and see that they brought in X amount of merchandise that sold on clearance below cost.

Remember, when something's on clearance someone is losing money and trying to recoup an investment. It's not really an issue for Gigandamungous corporate stores like B&N, but clearance-table vultures do hurt the little guys. A lot of times though it _is_ the retailer's fault for ordering crap products or things that have no sales longevity- but everyone makes mistakes, like the time I ordered 12 copies of Beowulf and had to sell them for $15 a piece! cry
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Robert Zurfluh
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Nothing wrong with trying to get a game or two when they go on clearance. Most of the time when I am @ B&N, nobody is even looking at the games, because the Mall shopping crowd doesn't really know what it is. But hey, look there is a rack with Superman-opoly - cool. And Scene it the Superbowl commercial Edition - whatever.

I hope B&N sells a ton of games at full price. Most of the stuff they have right now, I don't want. I may get it at a reduced price....but close to msrp after my member discount....nah.

I'd pick up a copy of Hey! That's my Fish if I need a quick gift for someone. But for the price, I'd rather support my favorite retailer, who always gets me the stuff the next day.

 
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I find it fascinating how niche-hobbyists (which hobby doesn't matter) can allow their views of business to become skewed.

Quote:
As for myself, I want the games to sell out, and get restocked and Barnes and Noble to carry Puerto Rico over Spongebob-opoly.


For what purpose? So you can sit at home confident that designer games are on the shelf at Barnes & Noble? As long as there is *some* market for designer games, they will always be available. Games don't need to be carried by large chains in order to ensure their survival.

Quote:
I just bought Hey! That's My Fish! for full price at the local B&N to support their effort.


Absolutely insane. Why don't you just mail a check to Barnes & Noble and thell them to "put it into their "Designer Game Initiative"?

Quote:
Why? Because the more people that are exposed to these games, the better chance that games continue to be profitable for the companies, designers, etc. More profitablity equals more games, etc.


True enough, but is there some perceived shortage of quality games to which I am unaware? There are currently more high quality games available than I could personally exhaust in a lifetime. In fact, that's one the best things about boardgames... the fact that (unlike electronic gaming) they rarely become obsolete with time.
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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Just thinking about it...they have Shear Panic. That is a game that definately does well if there is one out on display. Heck, my wife had to have me get it when she seen how it looked at my FLGS (they had one out for display). Unfortunately, they really are not able to have something like that out as a demo (they have the games stacked in the middle of the aisle). I think if they did have a demo of that, or Hey!, they would sell some.
 
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Simon Robinson
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I've been shouting into the wind on this point for a long time; you don't get smemthing for nothing. A lot of people want things that are ultimately mutually exclusive...cheap prices and excellent quality. HOW!? If you want cheap prices then you are going to get poorer quality pieces / production and so on. How many threads have you seen bemoaning companies that outsource production to china / taiwan etc. etc. Why do you think they are doing this? Because a whole load of tight wads want things cheap.
My second gripe is what we in the UK call the TESCO phenomena (Tesco is a huge supermarket chain that stocks just about everything)
We have a love / hate relationship with TESCO...
Because they can buy things in huge bulk quantities they can drop the prices...TESCO is cheap! We love TESCO!
Because nobody can do this as well as TESCO, other companies go to the wall...TESCO is taking over! We hate TESCO!
Personally, I always buy from my local stores (Wayland's Forge / Spirit games / Shire games) they may be a tad more expensive, but I'm helping the little guy and hopefully inproving variety and choice.

So back to your first question, Yes, I think cheap-lust is a bad thing.

Man...I don't do serious messages, I normally just make inane and ridiculous comments and wander away...I need to go and sit down for a bit.
 
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Mike Pranno
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Is there any chance that market saturation and/or the varying degrees of quality gamers' games play into this equation? With the number of visible companies slowly growing and churning out more and more titles, is it really any surprise that clearance items are "expected" to exist? The real problem is that some of us (sometimes myself included) half-expect that the prices of the true clearance market dregs and bottomfeeders should be transposed over the the good stuff, because, after all, the game components are of identical quality (not really). Economics be damned.

I think we should discuss online pricing systems instead....



 
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Larry Welborn
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Skadar wrote:
I find it fascinating how niche-hobbyists (which hobby doesn't matter) can allow their views of business to become skewed.

Quote:
I just bought Hey! That's My Fish! for full price at the local B&N to support their effort.


Absolutely insane. Why don't you just mail a check to Barnes & Noble and thell them to "put it into their "Designer Game Initiative"?


Why insane? It was a game that I wanted, my FLGS didn't have it in stock and with my 10% B&N discount, it wasn't much more expensive than ordering it online, plus I got it immediately.

Quote:
True enough, but is there some perceived shortage of quality games to which I am unaware? There are currently more high quality games available than I could personally exhaust in a lifetime. In fact, that's one the best things about boardgames... the fact that (unlike electronic gaming) they rarely become obsolete with time.


A fair statement. Many people get a lifetime's enjoyment out of one or two games, whether it is chess, euchre, backgammon, or Settlers. But I like to play new and different games and don't mind paying to do so. So, I feel it is in my best interest for the hobby to thrive. But, like you say, if no new games are produced, I still have more than enough to keep me occupied.
 
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John Di Ponio
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Hmmm....it's all economics and how you view your purchases! I do almost all of my shopping online! This site gives me most of the reviews I need....I pay attention to what my Geekfriends say about certain games. Then, I order! Most wargames (Streets of Stalingrad and the like) I order DIRECTLY from the publisher! Many have P500 or like programs now and I tend to support those. Most other what I call 'mainstream games' I buy from one of 4 sites: Thoughthammer, Cardhouse, Boards&Bits and Boulder. All have FANTASTIC prices and deliver in a very timely manner. Would I buy from Barnes ad Noble??? If it is something I have really desired and KNOW that I can not get it for substantially cheaper on my game sites then yes...I would be happy to support. Then again...I go to B&N for books...not games!!!!
 
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Robert Wilson
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docreason wrote:

Comments? My take is if boardgamers are going to be penny-pinching cheap buggers, the industry is going to have problems.





I agree

I like it when ppl say they will wait for the stuff to go on clearance

and then later on lament that noone carries any games....
 
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Neil Carr
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My take is that the reality is that these games won't sell, or not in the numbers that would require them to stay on the shelf for years to come. So it's inevitable that they'll get discounted and dissapear.

When Hasbro Avalon Hill began putting their line out in mainstream stores it was obvious to me that eventually they'd all get deeply discounted and then vanish. In all the years of looking on Toys R Us shelves the only thing that has stayed up there that has survived within the hobbyist realm of games has been Axis and Allies, the next closest thing to that is Risk 2150, but I doubt it will have the legs of A&A.

Likewise, when Eagle Games kept creeping into more and more mainstream outlets it made me completely unsurprised when they imploded as a company, presumably by overextending themselves, though overproduction matched with huge licensing fees. The American marketplace can't become the German marketplace, or at least not for another decade or two of slow development.

So at least for me it's just the reality that the sales won't be there and it will go away, so what I think is "oh cool, it's a nice try but in five or six months those will be 50% off!"
 
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Paul DeStefano
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echoota wrote:
Hasbro Avalon Hill began putting their line out in mainstream stores


Starship Troopers by Avalon Hill was in Toys R Us in 1976. Since then, their games have been in and out of mainstream distribution based on various deals and print runs. It is no new phenomena.
 
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I don't know B&N restocking methods but in some cases clearance blowouts do not always means loss. If you get 100 games in stock, sell 75 for full pop then blow out the last 25 to get them out of the store before they get in the way for the next seasons sales items it could be considered a success rather than failure. It depend on how you look at the numbers. If the numbers for just the promotion are looked at it might be looked at as a success, lets do it again next year.

For more obscure games to make it beyond the niche market a little marketing would go a long way. I see Nin-Gonost was mentioned early in the thread. I remember when there was post about the blowout of this game from the companies website. The first time I had heard about it and I quickly researched it on the geek. The game looked good and I was tempted but with a hyphenated nonsense name like Nin-Gonost you could practically put free hundred dollar bills in the box, one per customer and it would still not sell out. I would bet if you put out two versions of the exact game one named Nin-Gonost the other called something like Dungeon Smash, the later would out sell the former 20 to 1 on the name alone. Those who wait with bated breath at the mere mention of a new game and have read the first reviews seconds after it's posted probably don't care what it's called and will support small print runs just fine but to go beyond that level of sales renaming it something that sounds cool and gives the buyer some idea about the theme of the game will go a long way in it's promotion.
 
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Michael Barnes
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Quote:
nonsense name like Nin-Gonost


Sort of like Caylus, Thurn und Taxis, or Tempus, huh? Definitely a barometer of failure. laugh
 
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Having had a least 10 different niche hobbies over the years, I sadly have to agree that board gamers seem to be the biggest pinch-penny niche I have every seen: by far.

There does indeed often seem to be pricing worry with most niche hobbies, but the combination of insisting on perfect quality, combined with wanting to save every penny upon release must be absolutely maddening to anyone even having the most passing thought of catering to this group of consumers.

I have been spending at least $2k a year on games for as long as I have been able to afford that (15 years?) with "personal fun" being my only guideline. I'm surprised that boardgames are now back on the map for my purchasing thanks to great companies like FFG, Mayfair, Dow, Rio Grande, and similar.

I definately shop for good pricing, but would never think of "waiting for clearance" on any game I actually wanted. Then again, I am fortunate to have a nice budget here, and those who are struggling to make ends meet should never be blamed for being careful with their lettuce

The fact is that a boardgame can be the best value in entertainment possible e.g. the $10 Chess board that a guy has been playing with daily since he was a kid and is now 70 years old... 100,000 hours of fun for $10 (even early 20th century dollars) is a value that is probably impossible to beat.

So, I'm sure that board games attract those seeking value in entertainment... that is probably a good chunk of what causes this whole syndrome.
 
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I haven't had a hobby where a lot people in it weren't cheap. Did you think this is isolated to Boardgaming?
 
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Michael Barnes: A lot of the Penny Pinching is a matter of simply wanting more games. I have $200. I can get 10 cheap games or 4 mid-expensive games. That's a huge difference. I definitely browse for prices a fair bit. But it adds up when you have 300 games upwards! Now you're talking about a penny pincher who has spent almost $10,000 in games.

Everyone else: Is it actually good if B&N carries games? That could mean a total demise of the few FLGS around... Just a thought.
 
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Larry Welborn wrote:
Why insane? It was a game that I wanted, my FLGS didn't have it in stock and with my 10% B&N discount, it wasn't much more expensive than ordering it online, plus I got it immediately.


A bit harsh on my part. Sorry about that. But I was under the mistaken impression that you purchased the game with the intention of supporting their cause as your primary motivation.

I don't mind paying full retail for a game when the urge for instant gratification hits.
 
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Quote:
Perhaps I'm alone in the camp that sees things being fine the way they are. I don't care if people "convert". I have enough opponents as it is.


I agree! I couldn't care less what happens to game sales at Barnes & Noble; I'm never going to buy a game there anyways. I buy all my games online where I can get the best prices, so it really makes no difference whether or not B&N stocks them. As for "converting" people, most non-gamers might look at gamers games if they were stocked at B&N, but they're going to put them right back down after seeing the prices. Nobody's going to spend $50 on a board game they've never heard of.

As for penny-pinching, it really adds up when you have a large game collection. If I had spent $5 extra on every game in my collection, I'd have spent almost an extra $2500! That's a big deal!
 
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BashiBazouk wrote:
I would bet if you put out two versions of the exact game one named Nin-Gonost the other called something like Dungeon Smash,


Gee, there's an idea. What about releasing Nin-Gonost in starter called Dungeon Clash?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19473

Boy, I wish I thought of that.

heyyyyy.... Wait a minute....
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ced1106 wrote:
Whenever I hear "let's suppport the hobby", I'm hearing wishful thinking to change the laws of economics.


Exactly right. This is the point that I had in my head, but couldn't get through the keyboard.
 
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