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AFAIK, many publishers who create digital versions of their board games do so in the hope that it'll drive users to buy their physical, boxed versions. It's a niche market of a niche market, so they may not make enough $$ on the app alone to recoup costs.

I take it some of these users will buy the digital version as a means to try it out before committing more $$. Me... the main reason for digital board games is either or both of I want to free up more time to play other board games that are competing for my time (and budget), or just to be able to try out the game. Nowadays, I don't really have any bg groups, so those digital bg are often in lieu of the real deal.

Do other folks feel this way?
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Sometimes I buy them to try games out before I buy a physical copy, sometimes I buy them because I like the physical version and want the app to play when I don't have time to play it in my gaming group.

Just depends on the situation.
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Paul DeStefano
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I don't think I've ever bought the physical after the digital of any game...
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Trevor Taylor
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Buying the digital version of Sentinels of the Multiverse actually meant I traded away the physical copy. My ownership of physical copies of games is based solely on those which I either can't get digitally, or want to play with my gaming group or partner. I'll often buy digital versions of games that I want to play quickly while alone. The only game I've recently bought a physical version of after playing digitally is Alhambra.
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George Louie
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ackmondual wrote:
AFAIK, many publishers who create digital versions of their board games do so in the hope that it'll drive users to buy their physical, boxed versions. It's a niche market of a niche market, so they may not make enough $$ on the app alone to recoup costs.

I take it some of these users will buy the digital version as a means to try it out before committing more $$. Me... the main reason for digital board games is either or both of I want to free up more time to play other board games that are competing for my time (and budget), or just to be able to try out the game. Nowadays, I don't really have any bg groups, so those digital bg are often in lieu of the real deal.

Do other folks feel this way?


I've bought 3 physical copies of games after playing the iOS version. Alien Frontiers (AF), Haggis and Star Realms.

For AF, I bought the iOS version after reading a review and because the physical version was out of print at the time.. After playing the iOS version, it really convinced me that I had to buy (Kickstart) the physical version. I'm pretty happy with both versions.

Similarly, I tried both the iOS version of Haggis and Star Realms prior to purchasing the physical version. I'm a bit disappointed with Haggis, I don't think the component quality of the physical game is all that good.. and the game itself is not really all that interesting..

Star Realms, I played alot of it on iOS, and really enjoyed it, but i've yet to get the physical copy to the table. I'm not sure why, I just think it seems to be in that nowhere's land, between not really a filler game for a group, but not really long enough for a full game, either.. I even bought 3 copies of the game, with the hopes to get it to the table, but for some reason it never seems to make it.

I've bought and played the Ticket to Ride (iOS), Catan (xbox) & Puerto Rico (iOS) in digital versions after playing the physical verions. While I'll happily play any of those games with my gamer group, I don't really enjoy playing them on my Ipad or Xbox. They just don't hold my interest as much..

I've played digital versions of Quantum, Jaipur, K2 & Takenoko on BoardgameArena.com. AFTER I had already played or owned the physical versions. They're fun to play online if you can't get your gamer group to play.. but I by far prefer the face to face versions..

So, to answer your question.. I don't think all publishers only release digital versions as a lead-in to selling physical copies. Some offer them as travel or solo options/extensions of the physical versions. I sometimes use the digital version as a trial version (AF, Star Realms & Haggis), but just as often, if not more often, use them as way to play a game I enjoy either solo or while I'm mobile.

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Larry L
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I have never bought a boxed version of the game after buying the electronic version. I always would rather get something else instead. The Agricola ap worked in the publisher's favor as I bought Caverna partly because of it.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I've both bought digital apps for games I already own, and bought the physical game for a digital app I own.

Apps and the physical copies fill different needs for me. If I'm at a board game night, I'm not going to whip out an ipad and have everyone play over the ipad... that would be painfully awkward. And if I'm sitting at the dentist's waiting room, I'm not going to try to get a game going with a physical copy of the game.

Having an app means I can always get an AI game going, regardless of where I am or what time it is. Having the physical copy means I can get my friends to gather around a table and have a fun time. One doesn't work for the other.


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Kevin Keefe
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I've only bought a few games on iOS (Star Realms, Ascension, Alhambra). In each case, I already owned the physical game and just wanted it to play on the phone.
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Christian Gienger
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It depends very much on the game. The deck builders like Ascension and Star Realms are just perfect in the digital version and I really never want to play those games in their physical form again.

Other games I played digitally and then bought the real game. This usually wasn't on the phone (I don't own a tablet) but on sites like BGA, BSW or yucata.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Haven't even bothered to buy a digital version of any game. I'll stick to my physical copies of the games I want to own/play.
 
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Brandon H
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Star Realms is getting mentioned a lot. I downloaded the free version, then bought the physical game. Just last week, I finally sprung for the full digital version (not the Gambit expansion...yet). I like to think I'll still play the physical copy -- I love the tactility of real games and the sound of cards flipping -- but now that I have pass n play with no shuffling, no miscounting, no missing potential moves, no rules confusion, it's probably not going to happen. Maybe at work during lunch or while camping.

I purchased a used Reef Encounter after playing it on spielbyweb. Can't play it in person on the site, and besides, it's so pretty.

I play physical Ticket To Ride more than digital.
 
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Phil Hendrickson
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Thunkd wrote:
I've both bought digital apps for games I already own, and bought the physical game for a digital app I own.

Apps and the physical copies fill different needs for me. If I'm at a board game night, I'm not going to whip out an ipad and have everyone play over the ipad... that would be painfully awkward. And if I'm sitting at the dentist's waiting room, I'm not going to try to get a game going with a physical copy of the game.

Having an app means I can always get an AI game going, regardless of where I am or what time it is. Having the physical copy means I can get my friends to gather around a table and have a fun time. One doesn't work for the other.


I agree completely. Also, sometimes I use an app or online version of a game to try out a title that I'm not sure about. I learned Jaipur on BGA, then bought a physical copy to play with my wife. I learned Tigris & Euphrates on the app, and will be buying the physical new edition when it comes out later this year. Furthermore, I learned Can't Stop on BGA. Then I bought both the app and the physical version, to play in different settings. Going the other way, Ticket to Ride (physical) is a favorite game of my wife. I got the app on iPad, and we often play it while waiting for a concert to begin or a doctor's appointment.

I think digital and physical versions of board games complement each other very well. It is a symbiotic relationship.
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Brandon H
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On the flip side: I recently played a friend's Mr Jack Pocket. I loved it, but the friend is probably the only one I'd ever play it with. So I bought the digital version. I've logged hundreds of solo plays in just a couple of weeks (and I have expansions that, as far as I know, aren't available for the physical game to boot).
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Ian Klinck
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Playing the physical version >>> playing a digital version.

I've bought several games after playing them on Yucata.de. Most of what I have on my iPad, I've played elsewhere, but there are a few I've picked up after playing there. The iPad/phone versions of the games are just for when I can't play the real versions with people.
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Liam
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I use digital version as an audition of the real thing. I've certainly picked up games based upon enjoying the digital version.

Some digital versions have replied me from buying the physical game... or playing the digital version again.
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Thunkd wrote:
Having an app means I can always get an AI game going, regardless of where I am or what time it is. Having the physical copy means I can get my friends to gather around a table and have a fun time. One doesn't work for the other.

The thread also questions whether or not folks feel obligated to also buy the boxed version strictly as a means to better support the publishers. Of course, no1 is expecting any of us to have digital bg substitute boxed versions of them and vice versa.

I suppose this is akin to those who have their own thoughts about better supporting the hobby and the ol' buying online vs. FLGS debate.
 
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Jeff Wood
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Digital games do very poorly around a table with one player staring into the tablet making choices and the others not able to even see the game situation to think about it.

So, I get physical copies of those games that are good for group gatherings. If there is a solitaire AI version out there, the digital version is likely to be picked up as well for when I travel and can't meet up.

Two different uses, and the medium to match.

(Note: this is about the same question of 'Do you bother to get the novelization after seeing the movie?' or vice-versa)
 
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William Aull
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It's worked both ways for me: I played the Ascension iOS game then bought physical copies--I recently traded my physical copies as it was so much cleaner playing the iOS game. Much less clean-up and less quabbling about rules since the iOS was the judge and jury on everything.

I also bought Sentinels of the Multiverse due to the iOS app, and I much prefer the physical board.
 
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Kent Reuber
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I usually don't buy a PDF of boardgames if there is a physical version available. I'd rather not mount boards, counters, etc.

Miniatures rules and magazines are a completely different thing. Here I want the ability to search, and, if I like, print out some or all pages. I can store them on my cloud drive (SugarSync), and have them available whenever I like, and I don't have to devote shelf space to them.
 
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George Louie
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ackmondual wrote:

The thread also questions whether or not folks feel obligated to also buy the boxed version strictly as a means to better support the publishers. Of course, no1 is expecting any of us to have digital bg substitute boxed versions of them and vice versa.



oops.. good point.. the answer is "No!" I feel ZERO obligation to buy a physical copy after buying the digital copy.

Too further that thought, in some ways, the digital versions have the potential to be more profitable than the physical copies. Low price point, instant and easier distribution, no physical limitations on components, shipping, etc. all push towards higher volume of sales and profits.
 
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I only buy boxed versions of games, never the digital ones. However, if we are talking books, I have a tendency of buying paperback, and then also download it to my Kindle, to be on the safe side.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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ackmondual wrote:
Of course, no1 is expecting any of us to have digital bg substitute boxed versions of them and vice versa.
negatrev wrote:
Buying the digital version of Sentinels of the Multiverse actually meant I traded away the physical copy. My ownership of physical copies of games is based solely on those which I either can't get digitally, or want to play with my gaming group or partner.
 
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I find that most digital versions come out way after the board version is out.

I find I own probably all the board game versions of the games I liked already, and I don't buy the digital versions of boardgames I don't like.

So I guess my answer is I am more compelled to buy a digital version if I already own the cardboard version.
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Ray
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I love using apps to let me try out a game or to play a game when no opponents can be had. But if I like an app, I always buy the physical game.

That being said, the Sentinels of the Multiverse app has completely taken over my physical copy of the game, since I play it solo and it's so well done. But I have no plans of getting rid of the physical game and still would get expansions.
 
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Dustin Schwartz
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I played at least 200 games of Star Realms in the app before buying the physical copy, which has since seen nearly 50 meatspace plays.

Also, if Blizzard ever puts out a physical version of Hearthstone, I'd buy that straight away.
 
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