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Subject: Promos and Mini-Expansions . Where's the difference? rss

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Christian Gienger
Germany
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As Essen Spiel is approaching, there has been a discussion in the promo-Geeklist about what are promos, what they should be and when does promo stop being a promo.
I'd really like to have some more opinions about that.

My thoughts on the subject:
For me a promo is just the short form of promotional item and I think promotional items should be free as they are promoting something that someone should be more likely to buy then. Good examples are the alternate art promos for Archon: Glory & Machination which were given out in great numbers to draw people to the booth and try the game. It was a promotional item that I really liked, also because it doesn't have any impact on game play.

Then there are always the Power Grid promos at 2F-Spiele that are available for a donation to charity. I still don't know if you could get them for free by donating 0, but as it's not a cash grab, I don't mind. Is there a difference to promos that cost a fixed amount of money that's also dedicated to charity (Carcassonne promo for Dominion a few years back)?

Also there are promos that are given out when you buy a game at a fair. I actually understand the reasoning and I think they're promos.

Then there are promos that you get when you preorder something to pick up at the fair. I wonder if this is just missing confidence in the product. You get something if we get your money before you can test the game. Sure on an economic point of view the money the publisher has is a lot better than that he may get at the fair, but wouldn't be the promos to people who buy at the fair not result in higher sales? I'm sure the number of people preordering, especially with more family aimed games is pretty small compared to those preordering. Also I consider this a disservice towards the people not checking every game weeks in advance. (though I might do something like that...whistle)

Then there's the other side of promos:
Among the front line there are probably the Queenies. They are sold for a considerable amount of money (5€+) and usually available after the fair. Are these still promos or small expansions? 5€ is already a price for a real game. (Hanabi is about 5€ in Germany for a year or so now to go with the example listed in the geeklist).
These Queenies and similar stuff are usually not limited to a single event, so I really think they're not promos, but expansions.

What about promos/expansions that are limited to a given convention and still cost money. How do you consider that? I personally think they're the worst one.

Also I think there's a big difference in the game play value of the expansion/promo.

If it's some nice to have like alternate art or one card in 100 that will show up every 10 plays and then blend in with the other cards, I think it's a perfect promo item to draw people to the game and maybe getting them to buy it. I also don't think that it doesn't matter if those are limited to a single event.

When promos really impact the game play, I think they shouldn't be limited to a single event. For example the new town markers for Terra Mystica were available for free in Essen 2013 and really improved game play a lot and I will never play a game of TM without them. Really, I'd make proxies if I happen to be at a place with a game without them. But after the fair they're sold on the web (for 2 €?). I think this is a great way to have those promos. You're promoting your game at the event with free stuff, but everyone will be able to get the stuff for a price that basically covers shipping and handling.

tl;dr
What do you think about promos? Do you think there are different kinds?
 
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Pete
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In my world, promos are marketing tools and I expect to get them for free, and mini-expansions are designed products that I expect to pay a small price or to be included in the price of the base game.

Also, I expect a promo to play within the current rules of the game, whereas I expect a mini-expansion to add new rules.

Pete (is a nobody, so these are 100% some random guy's opinion)
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