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Subject: Why is this not available anywhere? rss

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Dustin Taylor
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If there is one thing I've grown to despise about this hobby, it's the piss poor job that publishers do creating enough copies of a game. This is from Z-Man games. Not some tiny publisher. With the board game market exploding the way it has over the last 5-6 years, why is this still a thing we are dealing with? This same thing happened with Caverna.

It's getting old.
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How long did Caverna take to get reprinted? I wasn't paying attention at that time.

I'm hoping Odin has another reprint lined up. I think the demand is definitely there even at a $65 USD price.
 
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Z-man is 2nd worst in my experience. MMP is the absolute worst company at stubbornly refusing to print enough copies of games, and utterly failing to reprint games that have skyrocketed in price in the OOP marketplaces. It's frustrating as hell.
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Nick ChemE
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spunXtain wrote:
If there is one thing I've grown to despise about this hobby, it's the piss poor job that publishers do creating enough copies of a game. This is from Z-Man games. Not some tiny publisher. With the board game market exploding the way it has over the last 5-6 years, why is this still a thing we are dealing with? This same thing happened with Caverna.

It's getting old.


Let's do a little back of the envelope calculation.

Let's assume they want to do an economical size print run of 10,000 units to keep the price down.

If they have a markup of let's say 60% of cost is printing, that puts the unit price of $40 since the MSRP is $100.

That means the cost of this print run would be $400,000.

Do you think it's likely they have these funds lying around?

What happens if they over estimate the demand and print too many? You get your copy exactly when you want it but thousand of copies are sold at a loss to clear them out. This could easily turn a successful profitable product into a net loss.

Of course if they are too slow on getting product out, the demand wanes as people lose interest.

People become rich or go bankrupt by these types of decisions. It's not simply a matter of just doing a piss poor job.

It's called business and business exist to make money. If they make you happy at the same time, that's just a bonus.
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Marco Teti
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I didn't even know this game was available till I saw a Solitaire games at your table post just recently. Looked into it and saw a Dice tower review and a walkthrough from another you-tuber.


The game looks really good yet, not available anywhere. There's
demand. Much Like Arkham horror the card game they certainly did not know how much that game was in demand.

Now since I got interested in Feast for Odin, Le Havre looked good too now it's not available anywhere.
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Greg S
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Quote:
Let's assume they want to do an economical size print run of 10,000 units to keep the price down.


That's a gross over-estimate for 99.9% of board games -- more like 2000 to 4000 for most games.

More publishers need to use kickstarter or kickstarter-esque solutions for meeting demand for popular board games. Get all the money up front, get it more directly without all the middle-men in the game publishing food chain, keep the spice flowing!

Furthermore, more publishers need to use kickstarter or kickstarter-esque solutions for meeting demand for classics that haven't been in print in years. A game like Winner's Circle has enormous pent-up demand and would be a smash-hit kickstarter project, as the recent Korean reprint proved.
 
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Nick ChemE
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Qualm wrote:
Quote:
Let's assume they want to do an economical size print run of 10,000 units to keep the price down.


That's a gross over-estimate for 99.9% of board games -- more like 2000 to 4000 for most games.

More publishers need to use kickstarter or kickstarter-esque solutions for meeting demand for popular board games. Get all the money up front, get it more directly without all the middle-men in the game publishing food chain, keep the spice flowing!

Furthermore, more publishers need to use kickstarter or kickstarter-esque solutions for meeting demand for classics that haven't been in print in years. A game like Winner's Circle has enormous pent-up demand and would be a smash-hit kickstarter project, as the recent Korean reprint proved.


That's fine, cut the print run in half and you still have a chunk of change that few of us 99%'ers have available to us.

Print runs of that size are probably the norm but likely not for a big box Uwe game.
 
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Troy Winfrey
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I've been on BGG coming up on 10 years. A lot of more recent folks might not remember when Z-Man was independent and ROUTINELY had to dump games via Tanga, the big stuff discounter. Asmodee bought him and now the publishing schedule is greatly restricted. Also, many games they ran will never be reprinted (Space Empires, the Merchants and Marauders and Clash of Cultures expansions, etc. etc.), since even though those were successful, demand just isn't enough to get them reprinted.

More recently, I've noticed that the prices for a lot of Tasty Minstrel titles (City Hall, Captains of Industry) have also hit fire-sale levels (like, $15 for a full-box game). I preordered both those games at a nice but not ridiculous discount. I am not going to do that again, since I don't want the experience of having a title available for "dump" prices when I paid more.

Of course, this hurts companies like TMG, since fans notice and begin to associate your product with deep discounts. It was starting to hurt Z-Man too.

So the NUMBER ONE problem you have to solve in boardgaming is correct estimation of demand. This is a very difficult problem to solve for anyhow--see the book, record, and other hit-driven markets--but at the scale of a boardgame production it's close to impossible. There just aren't enough resources and skilled people.

Given this, though, I'm beginning to suspect that Essen is too close to Christmas. In the past five years in particular, big hits there can't get extra printings to satisfy world demand in time. I'm not sure what the answer is, especially for American gamers.
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I'm not sure what the answer is, especially for American gamers.

Patience.
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Murr Rockstroh
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It's available at Funagain Games.

It's available on Amazon.com

It's even available on eBay.

There are also copies listed here on BGG in the Marketplace.
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SgtTenor wrote:
I didn't even know this game was available till I saw a Solitaire games at your table post just recently. Looked into it and saw a Dice tower review and a walkthrough from another you-tuber.


The game looks really good yet, not available anywhere. There's
demand. Much Like Arkham horror the card game they certainly did not know how much that game was in demand.

Now since I got interested in Feast for Odin, Le Havre looked good too now it's not available anywhere.
Why not do what everyone else did and use BGG to figure out which games to get before they sell out?
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Clyde W
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Murr wrote:
It's available at Funagain Games.

It's available on Amazon.com

It's even available on eBay.

There are also copies listed here on BGG in the Marketplace.
My copy is up for trade.
 
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Andy Leighton
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johnyutah7 wrote:
spunXtain wrote:
If there is one thing I've grown to despise about this hobby, it's the piss poor job that publishers do creating enough copies of a game. This is from Z-Man games. Not some tiny publisher. With the board game market exploding the way it has over the last 5-6 years, why is this still a thing we are dealing with? This same thing happened with Caverna.

It's getting old.


Let's do a little back of the envelope calculation.

Let's assume they want to do an economical size print run of 10,000 units to keep the price down.

If they have a markup of let's say 60% of cost is printing, that puts the unit price of $40 since the MSRP is $100.

That means the cost of this print run would be $400,000.

Do you think it's likely they have these funds lying around?


Your numbers are way off. Out of the MSRP you have retailer's profit, distributor's profit, Z-man's profit, and production costs.
Still for 10K copies it may just be a 6 figure sum, but is probably a bit below.

Still plenty expensive. Which is why production runs are fairly low if there are not guaranteed sales, which is why production runs are often shared between the German and English editions where feasible (obviously this can't be done for language dependent components).

Also there are only so many board game production slots. Pre-Spiel is the busy period with many new games being produced. I don't know if that means slightly higher prices for production in the lead-up period but it wouldn't surprise me. If so a smaller print-run for Spiel and initial retail and then a larger one a month or so afterwards when the initial stock has been sold through seems reasonable.
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Aaron Yoder
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SgtTenor wrote:
Much Like Arkham horror the card game they certainly did not know how much that game was in demand.


This game hasn't even been released yet.


(edited b/c my well-meaning ribbing was not taken as such, but the point still stands)
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William Korner
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I preordered it like I did Caverna and other games that I am worried about getting a copy.
 
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andyl wrote:

Your numbers are way off. Out of the MSRP you have retailer's profit, distributor's profit, Z-man's profit, and production costs.
Still for 10K copies it may just be a 6 figure sum, but is probably a bit below.

Still plenty expensive. Which is why production runs are fairly low if there are not guaranteed sales, which is why production runs are often shared between the German and English editions where feasible (obviously this can't be done for language dependent components).

Also there are only so many board game production slots. Pre-Spiel is the busy period with many new games being produced. I don't know if that means slightly higher prices for production in the lead-up period but it wouldn't surprise me. If so a smaller print-run for Spiel and initial retail and then a larger one a month or so afterwards when the initial stock has been sold through seems reasonable.


I admittedly know nothing about numbers. However, it's not like Feast for Odin is a complete unknown game from a brand new designer. It's a game from a well known and established developer. Any business typically would know going into a project what the conservative sales estimates would/should be. It shouldn't be too hard to take Caverna's sales and use that to do a very conservative first print run that at least ensures people who want the game at 'launch' can buy it.

I get that companies would rather under print than risk spending a bunch of money on a game that doesn't sell. Absolutely. But I think the underprinting of some big games, such as AFFO, is more just bad planning and missed opportunity than anything. I don't think any business should be advertising a "launch" or "release" date for a game that people can't go out and actually find most places. Maybe the US is different, but a quick scan of my limited Canadian online options shows it being sold out everywhere and no idea when it will be available again. And no idea that WHEN it becomes available, that it won't be like 1 copy due to another anemic printing. I check my FLGS regularly for new releases and haven't seen it show up there either. Not that they didn't get a copy or two but people had pre-ordered them. But I know I'm also interested in the new family Agricola and they only got 1 copy which was immediately gone as well.
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Elijah Longwell
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Mools wrote:
andyl wrote:

Your numbers are way off. Out of the MSRP you have retailer's profit, distributor's profit, Z-man's profit, and production costs.
Still for 10K copies it may just be a 6 figure sum, but is probably a bit below.

Still plenty expensive. Which is why production runs are fairly low if there are not guaranteed sales, which is why production runs are often shared between the German and English editions where feasible (obviously this can't be done for language dependent components).

Also there are only so many board game production slots. Pre-Spiel is the busy period with many new games being produced. I don't know if that means slightly higher prices for production in the lead-up period but it wouldn't surprise me. If so a smaller print-run for Spiel and initial retail and then a larger one a month or so afterwards when the initial stock has been sold through seems reasonable.




I admittedly know nothing about numbers. However, it's not like Feast for Odin is a complete unknown game from a brand new designer. It's a game from a well known and established developer. Any business typically would know going into a project what the conservative sales estimates would/should be. It shouldn't be too hard to take Caverna's sales and use that to do a very conservative first print run that at least ensures people who want the game at 'launch' can buy it.

I get that companies would rather under print than risk spending a bunch of money on a game that doesn't sell. Absolutely. But I think the underprinting of some big games, such as AFFO, is more just bad planning and missed opportunity than anything. I don't think any business should be advertising a "launch" or "release" date for a game that people can't go out and actually find most places. Maybe the US is different, but a quick scan of my limited Canadian online options shows it being sold out everywhere and no idea when it will be available again. And no idea that WHEN it becomes available, that it won't be like 1 copy due to another anemic printing. I check my FLGS regularly for new releases and haven't seen it show up there either. Not that they didn't get a copy or two but people had pre-ordered them. But I know I'm also interested in the new family Agricola and they only got 1 copy which was immediately gone as well.


Having an established game dev on the box doesn't guarantee sales. Sure, with a developer like Uwe Rosenberg you'll sell a decent amount no matter what. Still, there's no way to know if this will be the next Agricola or just a flop. Even a good game can struggle if it isn't received well by reviewers. With a game that looks as intimidating as AFFO and has a MSRP of $100, that's a big risk to take. This just isn't a game that someone is going to casually walk into a game store and pick up on a whim. Also, don't forget that the print run is ordered before reviewers get their copy. There are just too many unknown factors to risk a huge run on. If it sells out? Great! They can order more! The people that were anticipating it should have preordered it anyway. If it doesn't sell well, good thing they didn't order such a huge run! That would lead to an even less likelihood of producing such a big game again.
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Joseph Pinkley
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To go back to the original question of this post, it's because AFfO is probably in the top 5 best games ever made, possibly the actual best. Should have hopped on the hype train when you had the chance, because it's very real. Sorry to kick a man while he's down, but the game is insane and I play my copy almost every day. Good luck.
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clydeiii wrote:
SgtTenor wrote:
I didn't even know this game was available till I saw a Solitaire games at your table post just recently. Looked into it and saw a Dice tower review and a walkthrough from another you-tuber.


The game looks really good yet, not available anywhere. There's
demand. Much Like Arkham horror the card game they certainly did not know how much that game was in demand.

Now since I got interested in Feast for Odin, Le Havre looked good too now it's not available anywhere.
Why not do what everyone else did and use BGG to figure out which games to get before they sell out?


Because those of us who are expert BGG users are quite aware of the many, many, many Geeklists entitled things like "Incredibly Hyped Games That Actually Sucked Big-Time," and most of these were loooong before Kickstarter.

The problem is that actual playtesters you can trust are generally thin on the ground until it's too late to preorder...i.e., at Essen. Given the recent trend of $100 productions, a lot of us remain gunshy.

I'd like to see more intelligent use of Tabletopia to address this problem. Release a full playable demo in May or June, about the time you're prepping the thing for print. Take orders in-app and set up a second print run, possibly expand the one you have, well in time for Christmas. It's the same thinking as a "showcase" bands tour, to broaden exposure to the group's music before the album drops (and in the old days, it gave you an idea of how many to make, which was not a trivial problem).

Again, though, this kind of sophisticated marketing may be beyond the financial and talent reach of many game companies. If you can do it really well, honestly, you're throwing away money by doing it for games.
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Also 'sold out' doesn't have to be bad for the publisher at all. You cannot tell me that apple wouldn't be able to foresee amount of phones needed on launch day. They deliberately have less to fuel the hype. Dunno if boardgames are big enough to risk such a market manipulation, but it would be one more point to stay on the conservative side. If it flops you have less expenses. If it doesn't if fuels the hype (and its not like the need to carter for christmas shopping here. This one will most likely be only bought by gamers themselves even after christmas.
 
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Unfortunately not all copies of the Z-Man version have been shipped to NA right away. The good news is that those copies should arrive within the next two weeks. A reprint will be done soon as well, as far as I know.
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elilong wrote:

Having an established game dev on the box doesn't guarantee sales. Sure, with a developer like Uwe Rosenberg you'll sell a decent amount no matter what. Still, there's no way to know if this will be the next Agricola or just a flop. Even a good game can struggle if it isn't received well by reviewers. With a game that looks as intimidating as AFFO and has a MSRP of $100, that's a big risk to take. This just isn't a game that someone is going to casually walk into a game store and pick up on a whim. Also, don't forget that the print run is ordered before reviewers get their copy. There are just too many unknown factors to risk a huge run on. If it sells out? Great! They can order more! The people that were anticipating it should have preordered it anyway. If it doesn't sell well, good thing they didn't order such a huge run! That would lead to an even less likelihood of producing such a big game again.


I get your general point, but still disagree and here is why. Rosenberg has a fairly good seized library out right now. He has a wide variety of games and prices out there. I don't think it is unreasonable to look at what his lowest selling game that is a comparable product and base your estimates off that product. Hell, I didn't even say "print that number" but make a conservative (ie. low) estimate and go from there.

I don't expect a game to come out and fully meet demand in a single printing, but waiting for a game to be released only to find it sells out in seemingly minutes, and from my own personal experience, FLGS doesn't even get it in (yet?). That tells me the first printing was more a bare minimum order than an actual well-thought out launch of what is realistic to expect for sales. It was just a case of "Oh well, its cheaper and easier for us to do a bunch of tiny printings and make people wait rather than do anything else".

Maybe I'm being unfair? I did see the post that not all copies have been sent to NA yet. That actually makes more sense to me than the idea they made zero estimates on what a decent print run would be. But the bigger issue for me now becomes, when I got to the FLGS today over my lunch hour, and if AFFO isn't there but something else is...do I just pass AFFO by and forget about it in favour of something else? Maybe two something else's considering the price?
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nan3000 wrote:
Unfortunately not all copies of the Z-Man version have been shipped to NA right away. The good news is that those copies should arrive within the next two weeks. A reprint will be done soon as well, as far as I know.

Thanks for the heads up! Even brief word like "A reprint is on its way, maybe in the next month" helps comfort people who are trying to be patient.
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Mools wrote:
elilong wrote:

Having an established game dev on the box doesn't guarantee sales. Sure, with a developer like Uwe Rosenberg you'll sell a decent amount no matter what. Still, there's no way to know if this will be the next Agricola or just a flop. Even a good game can struggle if it isn't received well by reviewers. With a game that looks as intimidating as AFFO and has a MSRP of $100, that's a big risk to take. This just isn't a game that someone is going to casually walk into a game store and pick up on a whim. Also, don't forget that the print run is ordered before reviewers get their copy. There are just too many unknown factors to risk a huge run on. If it sells out? Great! They can order more! The people that were anticipating it should have preordered it anyway. If it doesn't sell well, good thing they didn't order such a huge run! That would lead to an even less likelihood of producing such a big game again.


I get your general point, but still disagree and here is why. Rosenberg has a fairly good seized library out right now. He has a wide variety of games and prices out there. I don't think it is unreasonable to look at what his lowest selling game that is a comparable product and base your estimates off that product. Hell, I didn't even say "print that number" but make a conservative (ie. low) estimate and go from there.


Err Merkator. That didn't do so well and it was at a much lower price point that Odin.

Quote:
but waiting for a game to be released only to find it sells out in seemingly minutes, and from my own personal experience, FLGS doesn't even get it in (yet?). That tells me the first printing was more a bare minimum order than an actual well-thought out launch of what is realistic to expect for sales.


As Frank said in the message above yours, some of the first print run hasn't even made it over to the US yet.
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Board game publishers are not giant companies that can just print a ton of copies of a game and wait for it to sell. Most publishers are just a handful of people. Plenty of publishers have explicitly stated how difficult it is to estimate exactly what the market demand for a game will be. Yes, Asmodee owns Z-Man now, and they're a large publisher relative to other board game publishers. We're not talking huge corporations here.

Kickstarters work for some publishers, but I don't think it means all publishers should use it as a preordering system. Kickstarter takes a percentage of the funding, so it probably wouldn't make sense for some publishers to bother with that extra fee. That's money they could invest into future print runs.

I understand the frustration of a game being out of stock, but publishers are keenly aware of when this happens and, with most games, there will be additional print runs. To echo what others said above: publishers are businesses whose aims are to make money. They do want you to buy their game, but they also can't print so many that they lose money on it either. I agree that if you are concerned about securing a copy, then preordering would be the best way to go about it. Or, look for it on a secondary market.

Best of luck to you.

(Edit: wording.)
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