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Subject: If this game was so great, why did it go out of print? rss

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Mark Turner
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I have been eyeing this game, and think it looks pretty nice, but I have that niggling question: Days of Wonder dropped it.

Days of Wonder are not a fly by night outfit, and didn't see a long-term market for this. And yet here is a kickstarter promising the same game bolder and better. What's the dynamic behind this?
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David Knepper
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MrMT wrote:
And yet here is a kickstarter promising the same game bolder and better.


That, of course, is a personal opinion, not a fact! whistle
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Ian Klinck
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Quality does not always translate to popular success. I think Colosseum is a great game.
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Matt Tonks
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I may be wrong on this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that there had been an issue over the rights with Kramer.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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MrMT wrote:
I have been eyeing this game, and think it looks pretty nice, but I have that niggling question: Days of Wonder dropped it.

Days of Wonder are not a fly by night outfit, and didn't see a long-term market for this. And yet here is a kickstarter promising the same game bolder and better. What's the dynamic behind this?


You could ask the same question about the 6-pages (and counting) of classic and "great" games listed on this thread
If you had the power to bring one game back into print what would it be? And why?

Some games have easy answers (Dune = Herbert estate; Glory to Rome = mismanaged company) but more often then not, great games go OOP due to the chaotic whims of a relatively small industry with small print runs (as opposed to books for example - but, even great books go OOP!).

Sometimes even a great game just doesn't bring in enough sales to justify keeping it in print.
Sometimes a great game just can't seem to build enough buzz or find an audience (see Qu├ębec).

If you follow the hobby long enough, you will see that even the great games are continually going OOP, then coming back in print, sometimes with the same publisher, sometimes a different publisher. (although there are exceptions, as evidenced by the thread above, some of those games are 30 years OOP and still not reprinted; but many of the games on that thread will probably be reprinted within a few years) It's just the nature of the industry. Look at El Grande, a Top-30 BGG game despite being 20+ years old - and yet, it was OOP for several years.

TL;DR:
Being great does not insulate a game from going OOP; great games go OOP all the time, and if they are truly great, they will be reprinted.
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Mitch Lavender
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Apparently it was overshadowed by TTR and SOC which were the sweethearts of the DoW catalog at the time. Colosseum's popularity didn't really start until after it went OOP and people actually bought it, played it and loved it. It was still widely available until a couple of years ago, so it hasn't been rare for very long.

All that said, watch a couple of reviews/run-throughs of the DoW version of the game (the new version uses the same rules) and see if it's for you. I'm excited about the new version.
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Nathan Ehlers
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It's fine, but the ending is scripted. People regard it higher because they can't get it or haven't played it in years. Understand that it's meant to be a fun little family game that crams in a little bit of lots of mechanics (roll and move, set collection, trading, auction, putting on a show, etc). I certainly don't regret selling my copy a while back when the prices were gonzo. I'll likely not pick it up again as there's about a dozen games on my shelf that do similar kinds of things that I'd rather play.

DoW over produced it and was literally giving it away at one point because it just wasn't selling. There's a lot of possible reasons it wasn't selling, but the bottom line is supply > demand. Now that we're a few years out and demand caught up with supply, you have a new company moving in with the idea of meeting what they perceive as increased demand. My gut says it's a bad bet (either for the company or an individual trying to speculate on it). Then again, KS effectively provides insurance against that bet. They could produce just the 1500 copies or whatever that have already sold on KS and be done with it. Seems unlikely, but that could happen.
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Nathan Ehlers
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JohnnyDollar wrote:

TL;DR:
Being great does not insulate a game from going OOP; great games go OOP all the time, and if they are truly great, they will be reprinted.


Crappy games go OOP too. There's no connection between the quality of a game and it's availability.

There's also no connection between the quality of the product and it's demand (re: price) in the secondary market. Board games are very much like stocks. There's some amount of research and conscious choices you can make about them, but their prices dramatically rise or fall based on the fervor of the people. If you're buying and selling mostly through BGG, then you're necessarily connected to the craziness here.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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sirgalin wrote:
JohnnyDollar wrote:

TL;DR:
Being great does not insulate a game from going OOP; great games go OOP all the time, and if they are truly great, they will be reprinted.


Crappy games go OOP too. There's no connection between the quality of a game and it's availability.



That's why I wrote "being great does not insulate a game from going OOP" rather than "there's no correlation between 'greatness' of a game and going OOP." Initially I had written the latter, but then I thought about it and clarified the point, because, as you say, a bad game will very likely go OOP. But we could list hundreds of great games that have also gone OOP, at least temporarily.
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Michael Frost

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So true about Quebec. Great game that is seriously underrated. My GF and I love the 2-plyr game. Just a joy to play and look at.

I've found in my large (20-40) weekly board gaming group that there is what I call the tyranny of the shiny new game syndrome. People have to be the first to buy some new game. Most are mediocre. But since new games come out all the time we see a ton of mediocre new games. Which means that the established classics get seriously neglected. I started a "neglected classics" project. In a group that has been gaming for 4 years we'd NEVER played classics like Torres, Mexica or Java. Now rectified. Thankfully Mexica got a recent magnificent reprint. Same for El Grande. I think Colosseum was owned by one player who came infrequently. Hope the reprint changes that! And for a variety of reasons, usually tied to the game having been played so (too!) much back in the day, some great older games just have no interest in our group (Puerto Rico, which I think has been played just 2 or 3 times in 4 years).
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David Mills
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I remember that there was some hype leading up to the release, but when the game came out it faded into obscurity, at least on BGG.

The comparisons with Princes of Florence hurt the game - it's not as deep and thinky, and some fans were disappointed. Lighter, family-friendly games like Colosseum also out of fashion on BGG at the time.

Regardless of the game's fates in the market, Colosseum was always been a hit in my world, and one of my favourites since it came out.
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Michael Frost

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And it probably helped Princes of Florence that there was an expansion, and that the expansion later made it into the reprint version. Though in my large gaming group in the past 4 years I've seen PofF played exactly once, which we did recently as part of our "neglected classics" series of play, though someone thought it might've been played at least one other time.
 
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