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Subject: An Answer to: "Why does this game cost so much?" rss

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IA Seldon
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So, with the new Kickstarter coming up we're seeing this question come up again with some frequency, and I'd like to answer it with a simple comparison.

To start, I'd like to say that I recently began playing a game by FFG called Star Wars Armada. It's fun, it's fast, it's fleet-on-fleet actions, and it's Star Wars. Shit is crazy fun. But what, you ask, does this have to do with KD:M and it's insane price tag?

Let's look, shall we?

A core set of KD:M costs $400 plus shipping and tax. The entire game is in the box, but some assembly required, so add some plastic glue for $8. Just the basics here, no paints. After assembly you can play till you cut yourself in agony. You get 17 pounds of stuff, and if you want to know what that looks like just go watch an unboxing video on youtube.

Starter set of Armada is $99.95 and tax. Everything you need to get started is there...all three ships, 10 fighter squadrons, and the accoutrements that go with them. Not much, really. In fact, quite skimpy.

Most people actually end up buying a second starter kit just to get doubles of the cards, ships, rulers, dice and tools, because they are more expensive to purchase as singles considering you'll want more rulers, dice, copies of the cards (need multiples), and the fighters. So, another $99.95 there.

But, wait! Clever marketing made sure that the single-ship releases for the same ships all came with different cards that are actually worth having! So, players will chuck out another $39.95, $19.95, and $19.95 again for those three starter ships.

But new ships are here as well! And they look Spicy! So Spicy that having x2 copies of each ship would make you just that more competitive down at the games store, and they'll let you beat that snide little punk Paul. God...just goddamn it, Paul. Each ships individually costs $39.95 and $29.95 for rebels/empire.

And then there are the fighter squadrons. And those squadrons are AWESOME. MUST. BUY. NOWWWWWWW! At 19.95 each, with only two squadrons of each fighter variant. So, probably buy x2 copies of the rebels and imperials.

So, right now, you're looking at a rough $420 before tax and shipping on all of this. And this was the core set and wave 1 of this game. They are now on Wave 5.

Don't get me wrong, I like Armada...but the price comparison to KD:M is beyond a joke. There are single monsters in KD:M that weigh more than seven of these ships put together. And while they look good and nice, they just aren't jaw-dropping awesome.

Summing Up:

Anytime someone hits that "Why is it so expensive?" button that seems to be on the keyboard of anyone who just encounters the game, I want to laugh. I really do. This game is not expensive. You're just seeing the purchase all at once and not in the drips and drabs you see in other minature games. That is the market point of minature games - you hook your customer with a relatively expensive core set, then show them all the cool little upgrades that they can buy in much smaller cash installments...that add up in a hurry as you want another one of "these" and four of "those" and Holy Shit! "That One" is freaking badass!

I can also reference CCG games here as well, where every quarter you see an expansion release with 36 pack box sets go for $100 and you'll obviously want to get more than one just to get the good cards.

I'll say it again. This game is not expensive. You're just seeing it as a lump sum. It is a big sum, but compare that money against a game like Magic: The Gathering, or Star Wars Armada, or Warhammer 40k? It's cheap. And you get a whole lot more in one big black box than you do against anything else of equivalent value.



Now, I'm done with my rant.

Ready to accept the fires of consequence.
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IASeldon wrote:
So, with the new Kickstarter coming up we're seeing this question come up again with some frequency, and I'd like to answer it with a simple comparison.

To start, I'd like to say that I recently began playing a game by FFG called Star Wars Armada. It's fun, it's fast, it's fleet-on-fleet actions, and it's Star Wars. Shit is crazy fun. But what, you ask, does this have to do with KD:M and it's insane price tag?

Let's look, shall we?

A core set of KD:M costs $400 plus shipping and tax. The entire game is in the box, but some assembly required, so add some plastic glue for $8. Just the basics here, no paints. After assembly you can play till you cut yourself in agony. You get 17 pounds of stuff, and if you want to know what that looks like just go watch an unboxing video on youtube.

Starter set of Armada is $99.95 and tax. Everything you need to get started is there...all three ships, 10 fighter squadrons, and the accoutrements that go with them. Not much, really. In fact, quite skimpy.

Most people actually end up buying a second starter kit just to get doubles of the cards, ships, rulers, dice and tools, because they are more expensive to purchase as singles considering you'll want more rulers, dice, copies of the cards (need multiples), and the fighters. So, another $99.95 there.

But, wait! Clever marketing made sure that the single-ship releases for the same ships all came with different cards that are actually worth having! So, players will chuck out another $39.95, $19.95, and $19.95 again for those three starter ships.

But new ships are here as well! And they look Spicy! So Spicy that having x2 copies of each ship would make you just that more competitive down at the games store, and they'll let you beat that snide little punk Paul. God...just goddamn it, Paul. Each ships individually costs $39.95 and $29.95 for rebels/empire.

And then there are the fighter squadrons. And those squadrons are AWESOME. MUST. BUY. NOWWWWWWW! At 19.95 each, with only two squadrons of each fighter variant. So, probably buy x2 copies of the rebels and imperials.

So, right now, you're looking at a rough $420 before tax and shipping on all of this. And this was the core set and wave 1 of this game. They are now on Wave 5.

Don't get me wrong, I like Armada...but the price comparison to KD:M is beyond a joke. There are single monsters in KD:M that weigh more than seven of these ships put together. And while they look good and nice, they just aren't jaw-dropping awesome.

Summing Up:

Anytime someone hits that "Why is it so expensive?" button that seems to be on the keyboard of anyone who just encounters the game, I want to laugh. I really do. This game is not expensive. You're just seeing the purchase all at once and not in the drips and drabs you see in other minature games. That is the market point of minature games - you hook your customer with a relatively expensive core set, then show them all the cool little upgrades that they can buy in much smaller cash installments...that add up in a hurry as you want another one of "these" and four of "those" and Holy Shit! "That One" is freaking badass!

I can also reference CCG games here as well, where every quarter you see an expansion release with 36 pack box sets go for $100 and you'll obviously want to get more than one just to get the good cards.

I'll say it again. This game is not expensive. You're just seeing it as a lump sum. It is a big sum, but compare that money against a game like Magic: The Gathering, or Star Wars Armada, or Warhammer 40k? It's cheap. And you get a whole lot more in one big black box than you do against anything else of equivalent value.



Now, I'm done with my rant.

Ready to accept the fires of consequence.


Comparing one expensive game to a bunch of other expensive games doesn't make the first one cheap (or a good deal). They're ALL just expensive. There are plenty of other games with miniatures you could get for a hell of a lot less.

But I'm not down on Kingdom Death. Amazing game, and worth it to me. But I just accept that it's expensive. And if you want an answer to 'Why does the game cost so much?', it's pretty simple. Because people are willing to pay for it!
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IA Seldon
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My point was rather that people seem to complain endlessly about the price point of this game, but then are just as likely to turn around and drop as much or more money on another game that simply "looks" less expensive because you're buying it in smaller installments.

It's the hypocrisy of it all. Even comparing the game to just straight board games, or even video games...I've known friends to spend massive amounts of money on a single board game (Twilight Imperium) and we only played the game three times. Then they went out and bought more board games, which we would play once or twice, then more games, which would be played a few times...

You see the pattern?

If a player is interested in the game, has seen some demo videos an YouTube and said to himself, "That looks right up my alley," then the price point is more of a budgeting problem. And if you get turned off by the price...well, miniatures games weren't for them anyway most likely. Because that's what KD:M is, a minis game with a story and a civilization builder.
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Joshua Nash
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Actually, I think this is a fantastic argument. A quick calculation says I've spent just under $250 for all the Descent 2e stuff I've got-excluding shipping. (And my collection is far from complete.) I was fortunate enough to get KDM for $325 (shipping included). So yeah, the "one lump sum" argument holds up nicely, IMO.
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Pete R.
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The premise that KD:M is expensive still holds true even after your analysis. Rationalizing the cost is oftentimes a result of buyers remorse for making such a big single investment. Best to just agree - it is expensive and move forward from a discussion standpoint from that fact.
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Michael McFall
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A factor I do not see anyone taking into account for is this:

During what the factory industry calls "product realization" Adam kept rejecting first samples. He kept choosing the highest quality he could afford.

I'm not just speculating on that, I read the updates as he posted them.

Anyways... where the cost comes into play is, anytime you keep going back to the drawing board, "product realization" goes up in price.

I work in a Aviation Electronics factory and I see this all the time.

When I read those updates, I knew he was going to have to make up the cost for that somewhere. The pinups and the $400.00 price tag seem to be the solution.

Even so... I agree somewhat with the OP. Considering what you get $400.00 isn't a bad deal.
 
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Joshua Nash
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Strom40 wrote:
The premise that KD:M is expensive still holds true even after your analysis. Rationalizing the cost is oftentimes a result of buyers remorse for making such a big single investment. Best to just agree - it is expensive and move forward from a discussion standpoint from that fact.


The way I understand OP's arguement isn't from trying to pretend like KDM is inexpensive. Rather, he seems to be arguing that KDM isn't prohibitively expensive in comparison to other games. At least in comparison to games that have lots of expansions.
 
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Brian C
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I see what you're saying, and it's also my only defense for the pricetag: there's a lot of game there for that money. A lot of highly polished campaign gameplay. I feel like that's a rare commodity, though Gloomhaven may bring us something similar for a lot less.

Not to say that you don't get your money's worth otherwise; if you're into painting and displaying gorgeous miniatures, I don't know if there's another game out there like this either. At the very least it's at the top end of that food chain too.

But that's where I'd love to see a cheaper version of the base game in the upcoming KS without all the extra survivor minis. I don't want to put a price tag on anything, but even buying that version for $200 would be worth it just for the gameplay IMO.

So FWIW I agree with you OP, this game feels like it comes with like 3 big box expansions already inside it. It's worth a hefty price tag, but that extra slice on top that goes towards the army of survivor minis just exacerbates things.

I think if he should come out with a cheaper version of the game that doesn't demand the buyer be a huge minis fan in order to fully enjoy, the answer to the question posed by this thread must be simply: because it's a great campaign game (leaving out any mention of minis whatsoever).
 
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Pete R.
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JPN38 wrote:
Strom40 wrote:
The premise that KD:M is expensive still holds true even after your analysis. Rationalizing the cost is oftentimes a result of buyers remorse for making such a big single investment. Best to just agree - it is expensive and move forward from a discussion standpoint from that fact.


The way I understand OP's arguement isn't from trying to pretend like KDM is inexpensive. Rather, he seems to be arguing that KDM isn't prohibitively expensive in comparison to other games. At least in comparison to games that have lots of expansions.


I disagree:

Quote:
This game is not expensive




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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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"Some Assembly Required".... ha ha ha ha

I wish it was only "some"

There is a lot of game, replay and nice miniatures in the base game.

$400 worth?

The only real way to tell is to take the $400 and divide it by the number of hours you've played. Do the same for other games in your collection... was it worth it?

(yes, I know this thinking may be flawed but it is how I justify some of my expenditures)
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IA Seldon
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JPN38 wrote:
Strom40 wrote:
The premise that KD:M is expensive still holds true even after your analysis. Rationalizing the cost is oftentimes a result of buyers remorse for making such a big single investment. Best to just agree - it is expensive and move forward from a discussion standpoint from that fact.


The way I understand OP's arguement isn't from trying to pretend like KDM is inexpensive. Rather, he seems to be arguing that KDM isn't prohibitively expensive in comparison to other games. At least in comparison to games that have lots of expansions.


Let's be fair: With the expansions this game is massively expensive. But I'm talking about what it takes to get a good solid game from whatever flavor of hobby you have.

In the SW Armada example, that Core + Wave 1 cost is what you would be looking at purchasing to play the game how it is most commonly played: as a wargame in competition with other wargamers at a hobby shop and in a tournament. That's a big draw for wargames and for this game in particular.

However, the core for KD:M just packs it all in and doesn't require a second player to just play the game. And then you have all the varients, the armor kits, the slectable paths to travel...you just get a lot more from KD:M than you do from other games at their $400 price point, and once bought, the core is all you will ever need. Mini games like Armada, or ccgs like Magic practically demand that you continue to pay in order to keep playing the game, even locally.
 
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Just a quick question, which is not intended to make a point or anything about the price and might therefore be a bit off topic:
What do you guys think would the game be worth if you leave out all the plastic? I watched one of the Unboxing-Vids and man that is a lot of plastic, but not that much cards or other stuff. Since I'm not really into assembling that many minis, I skipped this game so far and I am keeping my fingers crossed for Cardboard-Minis during the upcoming KS, since I find the whole idea of the game pretty cool.
 
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Michael McFall
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I hope they make cardboard minis too, similar to the ones in "Okko". I will definitely buy it in addition to what I already have.

I think it would be a smart marketing decision too because an entire new group of people would then "pull the trigger".
 
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IASeldon wrote:
It's the hypocrisy of it all.


It's not hypocrisy. It's cash flow.

A retailer told me many years ago that $20 was the impulse price for purchasing. Another retailer says it still is. And you may have heard of a game called "Magic the Gathering" which sells its "booster packs" at under $5 a pop.

Well, guess how much money some people have spent on Magic. Hint: It's more than $400.

Now, if you're comparing a $400 one-time purchase vs. a $400 one-time purchase, maybe we can get somewhere. I'm not sure if a $400 KS purchase (eg. a CMON pledge) is the same as a $400 KD:M base game, but maybe others do. Perhaps compare a $400 KD:M base game purchase vs. a $400 game console?

But, again, it's easier to save up for a $5 booster pack than it is for a $400 boutique game.
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It's actually quite simple: this game costs a lot. By "a lot" I mean that getting game plus expansions at once will cost a paycheck for a lot of people, and"a month of work" is a solid definition for "a lot".

But this game does not cost "too much". And that is what gets me and a lot of people. You earn your money, you spend it on something that's awesome and is lived as an experience, not as a pastime, and some random schmuck that (of course) never felt what you felt, never tried what you tried, comes out and implies you are an idiot, because some other thing that has nothing to do with it costs a lot less.

A SUV costs a lot, but if you live in the countryside you maybe are not an idiot for buying it, it does not cost too much.

An army of Warhammer and 40k costed £150 in the 90s for some high 1500 points that became 2000 with equipment, I accumulated right of them (sold some, bought some). I have all teams of lrb6 blood bowl, eight gangs of necromunda with outlander, two different talisman sets, three fleets of man o'war. Miniature gaming is expensive, this is absolutely on par with the big guns there.
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It's pretty simple-- print run size, cost of printing, cost of design, etc.

I've done a fair bit of small print runs (3&4-digit quantities), and, knowing how much books, cards, die cuts, HIPS molds, setup fees, illustration commissions, sculpting commissions, shipping, etc. cost, and then markup to actually make a profit/take some of that money for your own time, it's pretty reasonable.

I was pretty shocked when I saw the retail price, but, ballparking it (the best one can reasonably do w/o a ton of work), the game is certainly not unrealistic. IDK if it's overpriced to compensate for losing money on some of those KS pledges etc., or underpriced because he didn't want to push past $400 because that'd make even more people balk, but it's in a sane realm compared to production costs, unless they're dramatically different than what I/my clients paid.
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t3clis wrote:
It's actually quite simple: this game costs a lot...

But this game does not cost "too much". And that is what gets me and a lot of people... Miniature gaming is expensive, this is absolutely on par with the big guns there.


This was missing from the initial post.
Keep in mind to others who play several board games (rather than a specific miniature set), this IS unusual for one game, since one game (ie "Blood rage" or "Dead of winter") costs 50 dollars.

However players may get more enjoyment out of a specific miniature set than players from a particular board game.
 
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It is a place where Adam Poots shows his love of awesome over his business sense.

Only comparing games that have approximately the same number of minis will show you that the Kingdom Death starter box is priced way higher than other core games in the field.

Have I spent more than $400 on Super Dungeon Explore? Yes, I have. But I started out with a full experience core box that cost around $90. Then I bought an expansion for +/-60, then another, then another and eventually spent a lot.

Zombicide is the same way. Sure, you could get each standalone game, and it adds up- but you don't have to start out with such a large purchase. You can start out at +/-$70 and go from there.



Kingdom Death is priced high for a core miniatures board game. If I were running the show, I'd probably have re-arranged the contents of the core box- and made sure it could be sold for something more comparable with the market($180 is probably the highest I'd go, and only if I absolutely could not let anything else go).

I'm sure I'd have skimped on all the extra bits on the armor sprues at very least (maybe just made them available separately, like the "naked armor sets").


Now, I am not saying that the game isn't worth $400. In fact, I think that the most impressive thing about this game is that I find it to be absolutely worth $400 (and more with expansions).

The game is really that good (including the whole experience- minis too).
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odinsgrandson wrote:
Kingdom Death is priced high for a core miniatures board game. If I were running the show, I'd probably have re-arranged the contents of the core box- and made sure it could be sold for something more comparable with the market($180 is probably the highest I'd go, and only if I absolutely could not let anything else go).


That's a good point. Many publishers will separate the designer's original content into one or more expansions. Settlers of Catan, in fact, is such a case. As I read it, the original design was the base game and first expansion. But, since base games are entry points to a franchise and gamers will only pay so much for a game (regardless of its content!), the original game was split into the base game and first expansion. I *think* this also happened to the Lord of the Rings boardgame.

Zombicide and Pathfinder are other examples of the base game content being an inexpensive entry point to the franchise, with the expansion sets being more expensive for the content compared to the base set, but, of course, not more expensive than the base set. I guess that less expensive base sets are a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that they're the most content for the least price, so customers buy it, and that they're produced in greater quantities than the expansions, so publishers can offer it at a low price, if they want to. Note that, as with the Cryptozoic Walking Dead game, for mass market, the base game may be the *only* product available.

However! With a product split into two, the total cost of the two products is typically greater than if you were to put all the content into one product. Big Box sets (Carcassonne, Dominion, Escape) typically cost less than if you were to buy the base game and expansions separately. So, for KDM, if the target audience is going to buy all this content anyway, might as well package it as one more expensive product. If it hits mass-market, KDM may very well have less content as well as less expensive components.

I think I better start saving up my money... laugh
 
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What's this?

You take the expansions of a game to justify the cost of another game which expansions you just decided not to consider?
If you want it all, you are around 1200$, excluding shipping and border fees.
Take Armada, buy all the bells and whistles, you are not there. Not even close.

Yes, it sounds a lot like you are trying to justify your expense.

This game is what it is and what it is depends on what you can afford.

Saying a Ferrari is not expansive because yada yada is almost insulting people who can't afford it.

If you can, just buy it but then don't slap your money on the other's face.
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Joseph Sharkey
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Hahaha, yea @IASeldon there is no way that KDM is NOT expensive. $400 is not chump change.

Now is it good value for the money? Hell yes, beyond anything you can find out there. But you really should reword your post and argument. You do yourself a disservice by wording it as such and ruining the good points you make throughout.

But yea, if this game was JUST the minis for $400 you would not be able to get a better deal from GW or PP (Privateer Press) for their minis, which are is the level of quality you are getting here, and from a company (a single guy really) that does not have the economy of scale and market deals that GW and PP have. And THEN you have all the great game content the massive book, and all the cards and tokens.

I've dropped a ton on board games and expansions and yea I would still go back and buy KDM and expansions again. But definitely need to have the discretionary income to afford it. There is something to be said for GW, PP, and FFG having small sets you can buy piece by piece. It makes for a smaller barrier of entry, but doesn't mean one is a bad deal or the other is a great deal. But it does mean that I can go try out Imperial Assault and Descent to see if I like it (then fall into a hole completing my Descent 2nd Ed. set... ), where as if I had not seen an in-depth playthrough of KDM and have extra income to spare plenty for a bg such as it then there is no way I would be grabbing it. Can't fault people for that.

And yea, of course plenty of people drop more in other hobbies, but that is just a value judgement. Everyone has what they are into and that skews what they "can afford" regardless of actual income.
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I think Kingdom Death: Monster is a board game that is priced like a tabletop miniatures game.

With a minis board game, you can have a full experience at around $100. Expansions cost $30-$60.

With a tabletop minis game, it depends on the game, but a lot of the more popular ones require a $400 investment to 'really' play.

Most tabletop minis companies do what they can to bring down the buy-in price with much cheaper starter boxes with large discounts on the minis.


Now, I don't think it is unreasonable to spend $400 on a game- or even $1200. I do think that making it the buy-in will price a lot of people out of your game, and there's definitely a crowd that'd love to play KDM but don't have $400 all at once to spend on it.
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Dane P
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Why does a game that costs so much come with such terrible artwork on the board and all the cards?

I saw it once, liked it, and could deal with the price if everything wasn't black and brown.
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huh. I'm rather fond of the artwork on the boards, tiles, books and cards.
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BubbaBull wrote:
Just a quick question, which is not intended to make a point or anything about the price and might therefore be a bit off topic:
What do you guys think would the game be worth if you leave out all the plastic? I watched one of the Unboxing-Vids and man that is a lot of plastic, but not that much cards or other stuff. Since I'm not really into assembling that many minis, I skipped this game so far and I am keeping my fingers crossed for Cardboard-Minis during the upcoming KS, since I find the whole idea of the game pretty cool.


It would still be quite expensive. There are actually a bit over 1000 cards in total, and the cards are all very high quality. Maybe not the best comparison but how much would the equivalent number of Magic The Gathering cards cost? There is unique artwork and careful design in every card and the rulebook is packed with great artwork plus there are tokens and terrain. I think half of the cost is non-plastic components.

I came from Warhammer so KDM doesn't seem too expensive.
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