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Subject: Is this game overpriced given the component quality? rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
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I read a lot of the posts about game graphics, and I looked at the pictures, and finally I got the game. So now I can give an informed opinion.

Component wise the game IS overpriced. Duh. But you're not paying for just components, you're paying for a smart game, and you get that in spades. I wish it had been cheaper, of course, but I don't feel cheated. I feel I got my money's worth.

As they go, the component quality is decent.

The cards have a cool retro look and are easy to read with clear graphic elements that tell you who can be hired, who can be promoted, who has to be paid.

The wooden pieces are decent although I have a problem with the soda and beer. The shapes are too similar and I think the beer should have been brown or tan (green beer?!?).

The map boards are a bit dull. Just a smidgen more subtle color would have gone a long way. I do understand the need to keep things graphically clean but I think they could have been jazzed up a smidgen with no harm done. Even more, the marketing counters are on the dull side. These could have been snazzed up and slight color variation could have made it easier to tell radio from billboards etc. The restaurant chits are also duller than they have to be. Brighter colors would have made them easier to tell apart. (I like the names, though.)

The real crime is the money. White on one side?!? Whose brainstorm was that?!? So if the money gets flipped over you have no idea what denomination it is? I know a lot of folks use poker chips, great for them, but for those of us who stick to game components the money is awful. Shame!

So overall decent enough components, especially the wooden pieces and the cards. The money is a blemish, but hardly a critical one. Despite the modest component quality I remain very pleased with the game. It's very smart and I'm sure will provide many pleasurable plays.

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Marcel Wapstra
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Alain Boudreault
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Every time I buy a music CD or a Movie on Blue Ray...
I think about components..
You can buy a blank CD for 25 cents... and a Blue-Ray disc for less than a dollar... I get rub every time on component...

And it's worst if you buy digital... You have no component...
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Max G
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There has been a lot of comment on FCM's component so I am glad you have been able to be objective about it and understand what you paying for.

To add a few comments ( a lot which has been said before ):

- 20 to 30 years ago, nobody really cared about components. The best components then were almost the equivalent of the worst now. We didn't worry to much about it because fundamentally we were buying a game and not a product

- Component quality these days obviously varies. I am a fussy gamer but I honestly can't think of one game offhand in the last 10 to 15 years I have played that I have noticed poor components. They all reasonably good to excellent as far as I am concerned.

- As previously mentioned, FCM has great components which were intentionally designed as such to balance aesthetics, in game functionality and theme. The map gets VERY busy so IMHO any further graphic emphasis would serve as a distraction more than anything.

- Today IMHO there is to much over emphasis on components relative to game quality and a lot of gamers have become conditioned to components over game quality. This I feel is driven in part by the Media, Kickstarter exclusives, clever marketing, the big game companies driving components, franchise releases like Star Wars that lend themselves very well to component emphasis and the fact gaming is no longer a niche hobby and there are a large amount of casual gamers out there that value components as high, if not higher than core game design quality.

Obviously if you can get the best of components and game design that is first prize, but remember you are fundamentally paying for the quality of the game. Much the same if you buy an amazing novel, piece of jewellery, painting, music release, fine wine etc. They are of similar size to a poor quality one but the price will vary dramatically because of the quality, time and effort put in. As with most things in life, quality costs more and cannot be equated to the physical element you are purchasing.

Quite frankly, I also love the fact that FCM has been thoroughly playtested and has been released as a proper game. I don't want to play yet another game that needs house rules, variants and/or more expansions to correct the issues in the base game.





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Kirk Thomas
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FCM has an excellent online implementation that is completely free. Splotter has also given permission for online implementations of Antiquity and Indonesia, which are also both excellent.

I find that my opinions about component quality are similar to my opinions about human looks - about one in 30 humans are truly beautiful by any standard, and about one in 20 are truly disadvantaged in the looks department. Everything in between is just personal taste.

I think FCM component quality is above average, but it's definitely in that middle 90+ percent. I wouldn't rave about it, but I absolutely wouldn't bash it.

Overall, whether a game is overpriced based on the one perspective of component quality isn't a question I would ask (or answer) myself. I wouldn't pay $50, much less $125, for any game components based on just the quality of the components.

I think the Splotter team provides exceptional value for what they charge, especially when I can play face-to-face or online.
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crambaza wrote:
Nope


Came to post this.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Sometimes I feel that people look at criticism of their beloved games the same way they look at criticism of their beloved spouses. "How dare you criticize him/her. She/he is perfect in every way!" Now, clearly they are not perfect, but they'll never admit this. Of course, why should they?

So you all go on loving FCM. Refuse to accept that there may be a few minor graphical weaknesses. It's ok. I understand. My wife is perfect too.

(And remember, I think this is a great game. My initial rating is a "9".)
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Adam Kazimierczak
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So if components don't really matter and the tactile and eye candy aspect of a game is negligible then why not play exclusively online? Well playested games and pretty but functional design are not mutually exclusive. Splotter spartan has come to be a hipster chic thing on BGG, but if I'm going to play a game that looks like a prototype I'd like it to actually be one.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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kaziam wrote:
So if components don't really matter and the tactile and eye candy aspect of a game is negligible then why not play exclusively online? Well playested games and pretty but functional design are not mutually exclusive. Splotter spartan has come to be a hipster chic thing on BGG, but if I'm going to play a game that looks like a prototype I'd like it to actually be one.

I love eye candy in games; my copy of Agricola is totally tarted up. I'm a big fan of Forbidden Stars, War of the Ring, and Star Wars Rebellion because they are good games AND have tasty toys.

I am not a lover of spartan for spartan's sake. I've argued with a few folks on BGG about this very thing, often.

All that said, I don't think FCM looks like a prototype at all! I thought it had a few minor graphic dings, hence my post, but I still think it's a mostly well presented game. Clear sturdy cards (which are the centerpiece of the game), check. Solid wooden components, check. Well written and edited rules, check. Prototype? That's a dern fine prototype you got there pardner!
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kaziam wrote:
So if components don't really matter and the tactile and eye candy aspect of a game is negligible then why not play exclusively online?


Because there is something to playing a game in person. I can play chess happily with the most minimalist chess board, but the in-person experience is certainly different from an online experience. However, just because I enjoy playing in person doesn't mean I always prefer to play on gussied up chess sets. Those sets tend to be used more as artistic pieces than anything.

Quote:


Well playested games and pretty but functional design are not mutually exclusive. Splotter spartan has come to be a hipster chic thing on BGG, but if I'm going to play a game that looks like a prototype I'd like it to actually be one.


I'm not sure that referring to "Splotter spartan" as "hipster chic" is something that makes sense at all. The function of these games matters far more than the form, which to my mind is the opposite of the label of hipster. (or chic?)

This isn't to say that form and function must be separated. But certainly splotter fans are mostly interested in function, and form is not a value-added attribute.
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Kevin Gillette
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The game is so good. But the components are so ugly. So no for the price and the fact it is selling like gang busters.
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skutsch wrote:
So overall decent enough components, especially the wooden pieces and the cards. The money is a blemish, but hardly a critical one. Despite the modest component quality I remain very pleased with the game. It's very smart and I'm sure will provide many pleasurable plays.

I agree with just about everything you said, except that I like the asthetic of the boards. I think they look like something from the fifties, which was a great choice as it fits the theme and the other art, and it has the added bonus of making the game easier for me to play. Oh, one other thing, I love the way the marketing tiles look, but I after reading what you said about making them easier to distinguish from one another, I think you are spot on here. I wouldn't change them, again because I like the asthetic, but they could have been made easier to tell apart.

And that's sort of the whole point to all this kerfuffle about component quality and production value. Of course the game isn't perfect, but you change anything (except maybe the money, yuck) and someone will say, "But that's my favourite bit!"

Splotter is a strange company. Heck, the back of their boxes are blank! I mean come on. Blank? Ridiculous, right? Well no, I actually really like that about Splotter games. They are the only games in my collection of nearly 1000 games (Yikes, time to sell some games...) that have blank backs, and I like it. Why? Because.

Anyone who thinks the game isn't worth the asking price because of the way the game looks is right, for them. I love the game A la carte purely for the components. The game is silly, but the components make it something I want in my collection. It's okay to be swayed by components.

On the other hand, two of my favourite games of all time, Advanced Civilization and Antiquity (another Splotter) have, especially by today's standards, abysmal components, but I would never pass up an opportunity to play them.

You can never please everyone, and that's great. Diversity is a wonderful thing...
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thegillettefive wrote:
The game is so good. But the components are so ugly. So no for the price and the fact it is selling like gang busters.


I'm pretty sure that it is selling like gang busters for a Splotter game because it is their best looking and themed game, a real step up for them.
 
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The components could absolutely be better, but the same process that gave us the "OK" components also gave us the fantastic design. I wouldn't want changing one to have a negative impact on the other.
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skutsch wrote:

So you all go on loving FCM. Refuse to accept that there may be a few minor graphical weaknesses. It's ok. I understand. My wife is perfect too.


It feels like you changed the question here - the answer to the question in the thread topic can be "no" without implying (or stating) that the game is perfect and there are no weaknesses (component-wise, since that's the topic).
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Tarnop wrote:
The components could absolutely be better, but the same process that gave us the "OK" components also gave us the fantastic design. I wouldn't want changing one to have a negative impact on the other.


Why should it? In what regard are these two things (fantastic design and high quality components) mutually exclusive? I don't see why one should inherently suffer should the other improve.

I think FCM is an excellent game, and it was in my top 2 picks for game of the year last year. I also don't mind the components, and I always value function over form, but I can understand the criticism some levy regarding some of the components (the money and the map tile graphics in particular). In this age of boardgaming, many (perhaps most) gamers expect excellence in both design and component quality. Given the price tags on some of these games, I don't consider that expectation entirely unreasonable.
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I agree that I wish they would have printed the money on both sides. But other than that I actually really like all of the graphic design and components.

Whether it was intended or not, the game feels like an old American game. And I mean American in every way. Even the very bland utilitarian, board seems to fit the theme in my opinion. It evokes the 1950's in the U.S. where the suburbs were planned in neat little grids and every street was the same, every house was the same, every happy smiling face was the same. (I know, this is more of a mythical version of the 1950's of in the U.S. but cultural mythology has power.)

Strangely, I feel that if they would have given the tiles some subtle modern graphic design, which would have given the tiles some "life," they would have actually undercut the feel and mood of the game. When I open the box I feel like the game is 65 years old. And it is interesting how the cards and player aids all depict a shiny happy (white male dominated) society where anything you want is right in front of you!... and yet, the board, mechanics, and game play, are all cold, utilitarian, ruthless capitalism.

That is the 20th century U.S. in a box.

Again, I am not sure if this was intended but it is accidental genius if it wasn't (in my opinion).

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skutsch wrote:
Sometimes I feel that people look at criticism of their beloved games the same way they look at criticism of their beloved spouses. "How dare you criticize him/her. She/he is perfect in every way!" Now, clearly they are not perfect, but they'll never admit this. Of course, why should they?

So you all go on loving FCM. Refuse to accept that there may be a few minor graphical weaknesses. It's ok. I understand. My wife is perfect too.

(And remember, I think this is a great game. My initial rating is a "9".)


But whether FCM has graphical weaknesses wasn't your original question. Your rhetorical question was whether FCM is overpriced given the component quality.

Economics indicate that it is not overpriced but rather underpriced because it is very difficult to find in stores even though it is currently undergoing its fifth printing since December.

The original question would have more gravitas if sales were lagging—in which case, graphical weakness might be an explanation for why the prices were too high.

But in the actual case that presents, FCM is simply not overpriced.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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grammatoncleric wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Sometimes I feel that people look at criticism of their beloved games the same way they look at criticism of their beloved spouses. "How dare you criticize him/her. She/he is perfect in every way!" Now, clearly they are not perfect, but they'll never admit this. Of course, why should they?

So you all go on loving FCM. Refuse to accept that there may be a few minor graphical weaknesses. It's ok. I understand. My wife is perfect too.

(And remember, I think this is a great game. My initial rating is a "9".)


But whether FCM has graphical weaknesses wasn't your original question. Your rhetorical question was whether FCM is overpriced given the component quality.

Economics indicate that it is not overpriced but rather underpriced becuase it is very difficult to find in stores even though it is currently undergoing its fifth printing since December.

The original question would have more gravitas if sales were lagging—in which case, graphical weakness might be an explanation for why the prices were too high.

But in the actual case that presents, FCM is simply not overpriced.

If you are simply going by supply and demand, yes, of course, FCM is not overpriced. Also, the sky is blue.

I was suggesting something more subtle, the idea of value for your money. Are you getting a "fair" (hard to define) return on the money invested in the game. This is not simply about supply and demand. People might be charging forward, throwing their wallets at Splotter, paying whatever the price is, but still be getting less than a fair return on their cash. Months and years later, as the feeding frenzy dies down, they'll look at those horrible Splotter games and sigh with regret at their foolishness paying for such an overpriced game.

In the stock market, people refer to overpriced stocks. Obviously, given the way the market works, the stocks are priced exactly correctly, at the moment they are sold. However, stock analysts are suggesting that somewhere down the road, the price will sink, because, once the frenzy has sided down, the real value of the company in question will become apparent.

All that said, I also don't think FCM is overpriced. It's a bit expensive, more than some folks would want to pay, but you also get an excellent game for that cash.

Part of my reason for making this post was to inform people, especially those for whom component quality is an issue, about what you get in the box for your hard earned cash. From my completely biased point of view, is the amount charged "fair." My answer, yes, but based on the rules, given that the components have some issues (for those of us who like pretty blingy components).
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skutsch wrote:
grammatoncleric wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Sometimes I feel that people look at criticism of their beloved games the same way they look at criticism of their beloved spouses. "How dare you criticize him/her. She/he is perfect in every way!" Now, clearly they are not perfect, but they'll never admit this. Of course, why should they?

So you all go on loving FCM. Refuse to accept that there may be a few minor graphical weaknesses. It's ok. I understand. My wife is perfect too.

(And remember, I think this is a great game. My initial rating is a "9".)


But whether FCM has graphical weaknesses wasn't your original question. Your rhetorical question was whether FCM is overpriced given the component quality.

Economics indicate that it is not overpriced but rather underpriced becuase it is very difficult to find in stores even though it is currently undergoing its fifth printing since December.

The original question would have more gravitas if sales were lagging—in which case, graphical weakness might be an explanation for why the prices were too high.

But in the actual case that presents, FCM is simply not overpriced.

If you are simply going by supply and demand, yes, of course, FCM is not overpriced. Also, the sky is blue.

I was suggesting something more subtle, the idea of value for your money. Are you getting a "fair" (hard to define) return on the money invested in the game. This is not simply about supply and demand.


Our system of economics exists so that supply and demand can determine these kinds of questions, rather than people in ivory towers deciding the masses want shiny components. Clearly the boardgame market elsewhere is not filling something that Splotter delivers in terms of value, or else FCM would not be underpriced as it is.

That is to say, it is unreasonable to say "this isn't a matter of supply and demand, it's a matter of value", because the whole point of supply and demand is that value is fluid. [changing with respect to supply and demand]

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The whole point of value is that supply and demand are also both fluid (changing with respect to value).
 
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jman wrote:
The whole point of value is that supply and demand are also both fluid (changing with respect to value).


This is false. Changes to supply and demand indicate whole shifts of their lines. So for instance, discovering a new way to mine for aluminum which makes it much easier to mine is an increase in supply. Simply mining more aluminum is not an increase in supply. Along the same lines, if I say I am selling my aluminum for $5 a ton, that doesn't change the supply or demand of the aluminum. [price does not affect supply and demand, though it does affect quantity sold]

Maybe the FCM "translation" is that simply producing burgers does not increase the supply. Hiring a burger chef does, though, since now burgers are fundamentally easier to acquire. Similarly, offering discounts does not affect the supply or demand of burgers/pizzas/drinks sold--- discounts just affect who they are sold from.
 
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McJarvis wrote:
jman wrote:
The whole point of value is that supply and demand are also both fluid (changing with respect to value).


This is false. Changes to supply and demand indicate whole shifts of their lines. So for instance, discovering a new way to mine for aluminum which makes it much easier to mine is an increase in supply. Simply mining more aluminum is not an increase in supply. Along the same lines, if I say I am selling my aluminum for $5 a ton, that doesn't change the supply or demand of the aluminum. [price does not affect supply and demand, though it does affect quantity sold]

Maybe the FCM "translation" is that simply producing burgers does not increase the supply. Hiring a burger chef does, though, since now burgers are fundamentally easier to acquire. Similarly, offering discounts does not affect the supply or demand of burgers/pizzas/drinks sold--- discounts just affect who they are sold from.


Suppose you have two burger places. One produces high beef content tasty burgers that leave you healthier and more satisfied. However, their ad campaign sucks, so they don't get very many customers, even with their low low prices. The other burger place can charge much more and get more demand because of their great marketing campaign. Their burgers are mediocre, customers aren't thrilled, but they don't know about the better burger place and so keep coming to the mediocre one and paying the high prices.

I think it's safe to say that the bad burgers are overpriced, you're not getting good value for your money. The few lucky souls who have found the good burger place are thrilled to get the better value burgers.

(This whole thing sounds like a FCM scenario!)

This is not ivory tower stuff, this is the real world. Sometimes people pay for something because they don't know about options they would prefer. One of the problems in the market is that sellers, particularly service sellers, often have too much asymmetrical knowledge. Examples: doctors, auto mechanics. So they can upsell you on stuff with poor value.

A perfect market where buyers and sellers have all the knowledge they need to determine value does not exist.
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