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Subject: Attracting retailers' attention to a new game..! rss

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Andrew Prowse
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What are people's experiences regarding getting retailers to take you seriously when you're trying to put games in their hands?

eg: I've spoken to stall-owners at game conventions about once a game is made, how you can sell it through retailers. Some people say that a retailer might only take ten copies, others say that retailers will expect hefty discounts (but the % amount varied depending upon who you speak to).

If all goes well, in September, I will be launching a Kickstarter (Top Hats And Treachery), which will hopefully go straight into the hands of backers. If I don't manage to attract a distributer (unlikely as a first-time campaginer), then I'll be reaching out to retaillers up and down the country, to help me sell sizeable amounts of the game to the wonderful, wonderful gaming public.

What advice do people have for not crashing and burning in discussions, or just hitting a brick wall in negotiation. If I'm not a big successful company already - how do I get them to take a chance on a new game?

Thanks very much for the advice, comments and opinions - I'm here to learn!

Andrew / GMFIRST.
 
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Mike Jones
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Good luck. Personally I think you need to get a distributor. Have you talked to someone like game salute?

For retailers, are you talking about FLGS or a larger OLGS?

From discussions with my FLGS it seems she is paying 40% to 50% off MSRP depending on game, distributor, min order etc. Of course that's a majority, but I am sure there are outliers.

I do know she stepped out on a limb and 6 copies of a Kickstarter games directly from a comoany and was able to only move 2 or 3 of them and hasn't done that since then.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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while this subject is "retailer" related, imho your better forum audience is one of the forums over at....

https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...

where this is probably a FAQ

again imho ymmv
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Jeff Rietveld
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GMFIRST wrote:
What are people's experiences regarding getting retailers to take you seriously when you're trying to put games in their hands?

eg: I've spoken to stall-owners at game conventions about once a game is made, how you can sell it through retailers. Some people say that a retailer might only take ten copies, others say that retailers will expect hefty discounts (but the % amount varied depending upon who you speak to).

If all goes well, in September, I will be launching a Kickstarter (Top Hats And Treachery), which will hopefully go straight into the hands of backers. If I don't manage to attract a distributer (unlikely as a first-time campaginer), then I'll be reaching out to retaillers up and down the country, to help me sell sizeable amounts of the game to the wonderful, wonderful gaming public.

What advice do people have for not crashing and burning in discussions, or just hitting a brick wall in negotiation. If I'm not a big successful company already - how do I get them to take a chance on a new game?

Thanks very much for the advice, comments and opinions - I'm here to learn!

Andrew / GMFIRST.

Tough one. I like doing Kickstarters, but certain aspects of Kickstarter go against some of my typical practices, like spending money months ahead of time.

Honestly, in my store, I WILL order some copies upon release if:
1) I can get the game from distributors.
2) You will sell me only 2-3 to start with, with little shipping cost, at a normal wholesale discount.
3) You consign the games to me, and I pay you when they sell.

#1 would be the best, but likely pretty tough.
#2 would be the easiest, but may not be economically feasible for you.
#3 would mean you get the most $ per item sold, but also gives you the risk of the store not paying. It is the most risky for you.


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Kevin B. Smith
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Honest curiosity: Is the boardgame publisher-distributor-retailer similar in the UK to how it is in the US? I noticed the OP is in England, and wasn't sure if that mattered.

Tangent: Since the specific game wasn't linked from the OP, I assumed there was no BGG entry for it. Turns out there is: Top Hats And Treachery. It appears to be a 2-deck tiny box, and gameplay looks like light "take that". I was thinking the type of game and how it is presented might affect how it could be marketed to retailers.
 
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eclectic games
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UK retailer here.

Question 1 - Is it good? Answered by my assessment, ideally based on a demo, but at the very least by having read the rules.

Question 2 - Is it well priced with appropriate retail margins? If I'm not making at least the margin I usually get from buying games from Esdevium, (primary UK distributor) then I'm less likely to be interested. Side note, if you want to get it into distribution, which increases the chance of me ordering some, you need to get your COGS down far enough to have enough room for both retailer and distributor to make their margin.

Question 3 - Physical quality, packaging, artwork etc. This is the same set of criteria I use when ordering through Distribution and pretty much goes 'how is this going to look on my shelves, and do the components and box size match the RRP expectations for this game?'

Question 4 - How many do I have to order, and do I have to pay shipping? With about 6-12 new games coming out each week, I generally order 2 of anything I'm not hugely sure will sell lots and fast, so having to order six of something is more of an inventory risk than I'm usually willing to take on an unknown quantity.


Extra criteria with Kickstarters - Did you maintain the RRP you expect me to sell at on your campaign? If your RRP is £29.99 and you were getting the game to backers for £20, I'm not likely to work with you - you've undercut me at the very beginning.

Has your Kickstarter eaten up all the demand for this game, or are there people who want it? Value judgement on my part, based on how many backers you had, and the buzz around the game.

Have you printed enough extra units that if there is a strong demand and take-up, you can keep up supply? If I order six, put effort into selling them, create demand and can't order any more from you, I'm not going to be a happy retailer.

Bonus points - Providing me with a demo copy for the store library to help sell the game, coming and promoting the game at one of our regular games events (which run at least twice a week evenings, and once a month Saturdays), demonstrating that you understand how three tier distribution works and have a business-focused attitude, rather than a hobbyist naive enthusiasm. Being VAT registered. (Yes, I'm old and grumpy, I've been doing this for ten years, and I've seen a lot of games and games designers in that time. Most were terrible and/or not commercial, one or two were amazing.)

Becky Ottery
Director - eclectic games
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eclectic games
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There are significant differences between the US and the UK, mostly relating to cost of retail space and overheads, Value Added Tax (Sales Tax) included in the RRP (MSRP), being given a 'cost price' from the distributor, not a % discount off MSRP (although it works out similarly, there's just enough difference to make it actually relevant) and that we are small enough that there is a default exclusive on a whole bunch of things since there is one main distributor in the UK.

No Target or Wallmart, so their exclusives may or may not make it over here.

Three tier distribution is very much a thing, although not mandatory for getting product in stores. Mostly, Kickstarter creators have difficulty getting Cost Of Goods low enough to have enough room for both distribution and retail to make full margins, at least on first print runs and in general.
 
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Tom Powers
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Absolutely the biggest question is: will it sell?

As previously mentioned, the game must be fun, good quality, and good value for the money. If any of those are not present, it will be an uphill battle.

You should know all of this BEFORE you start production. Get as many objective opinions as you can (game reviewers, retailers, etc., NOT friends or family members). Too many games have been published that end up sitting in warehouses just costing the publisher money. If the game has limited appeal, you should limit the print run (which will increase the price, making it even more difficult to sell).

In other words, measure 10 times, and print once (if warranted).

Tom
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