And a list of everything the publisher has said about the game from that thread:
We are finally able to start revealing some of what we have planned for the reprint of Container. We have not yet finalized every last detail (more on that in a minute), but we can talk about our general plans, and then update this thread as we move along.
First, you may wonder why there hasn't been an update in the past few weeks. The answer is simple: We're trying to do something very special since this will be the 10th Anniversary edition of Container. But at the moment this must remain a secret because the production costs of our idea are very high, and so far this has resulted in an unreasonable MSRP estimate for our customers that we want to improve upon without having to sacrifice our high production standards. So, as we continue to work on this idea we will hopefully have more to share very soon. You are welcome to guess what this idea might be, but for now we can neither confirm nor deny any guesses!
Here is what we can tell you about right now, and that is that there will be totally new add-on content included with the 10th Anniversary Edition! Right now the working title for this add-on is called "The Investment Bank", and it has received a very positive response in testing, even though the core elements of the content date back to 2007.
Let's talk about the Investment Bank in some detail, but before we begin, let's also mention that this content is designed as an add-on, so you can play with or without it at your choosing. In fact, you might enjoy playing both ways since the resulting economy behaves differently with and without the content.
"The Investment Bank" is a new board which sits alone in the ocean. This investment bank plays like an AI player. On this board there are three brokers/agents (we'll just call them "brokers" for now), and they have a small supply of cash and containers to start the game. They are looking to earn profits for the bank, and like a bank their efforts can be aided or hampered by the performance of the economy-at-large. Since Container is a "pure economy" which is determined by the collective actions of the players, the Investment Bank's progress can be very interesting to watch.
For one action, a player can call one of the brokers to arrange a deal. They make an offer of cash for some containers, or alternatively they make an offer of containers for cash, choosing any one of the six available boxes (three holding cash, three holding containers).
The deal is not final until the broker shops around for better prices (they're a broker, after all, and they seek maximum profits). When calling the broker, the player takes a broker deal card and then marks it with the offer they're making and also marks the box which holds the containers/cash they are seeking to purchase.
On a later player's turn, they can improve the offer by making a higher offer, and then they receive the broker's card. If the turn comes around to any player that starts their turn with the broker card already in front of them, their deal has been accepted and they receive the containers or cash in exchange for their bid. Their bid (containers or cash) is then equally distributed amongst the brokers at the bank, meaning each broker now has more to offer the next time around. The player then collects their purchased items - Cash goes right into their hands, and containers move to the dock at the Investment Bank ready for pickup by the player.
Only one such broker deal can be in play at any one time, so when and what to make a bid on can be a compelling decision.
What is more, any time a player purchases their own shipment, the government of the island makes an investment in the banking system, and distributes the cash to the three brokers. This helps to counteract a hyper-deflation scenario, though as with the original edition of the game, hyper-inflation and hyper-deflation are persistant threats to the health of the overall economy. Container is a game without a safety net, after all!
The Investment Banks is also responsible for lending to the players and they earn interest that way too.
The playing time is not extended with this add-on content, nor is the game complexity. Instead, this content offers players a different experience which will please even the most experienced Container player.
We hope you've enjoyed this first bit of news about Container. We'll pop by to answer questions from time to time, noting that circumstances may not allow us to answer each and every one. But we'll also have more updates for you as we prepare to officially launch the project.
At this time, we expect there will only be one version on offer due to exceptionally high production values/costs. Our answer may change in the future, but for now, with such an expensive production cost the only way the project makes sense is to provide one version of the product (the anniversary edition).
Target date for the Kickstarter effort is "soon", though we hope to update that before too long. If you're okay with a non-binding guess, I'll say before the end of July.
We are also considering offering advance preorders via our website for those that want to obtain Early Bird pricing, but we're still awaiting final production costs before we decide on that plan. We'll definitely post here if that's going to be an option for our BGG friends.
If we were to offer the pre-KS preorder, it would be open for only a fairly short period of time and the price would be the same as the early-bird pricing on the KS, with the difference being the KS is limited by the number of pledges and our own website preorder would be limited by a certain amount of time.
There are a couple technical points to be considered. For example, if the KS Early Bird is $X plus free shipping, our website shopping cart cannot duplicate the deal that way. Instead, we would mark down the preorder price by the average expected shipping rate, meaning some preorder customers could fare a couple of dollars better and some a couple of dollars worse than the Early Bird. That being said, it should only be a couple dollars either way at maximum, and as I mentioned before, we'll accept unlimited Early Bird preorders for a short duration of time, so you won't have to be refreshing Kickstarter every 2 minutes in order to try to obtain an Early Bird there.
Again, all of this is still just an idea. Nothing is yet confirmed, so while we are happy to have visitors to our website, there is nothing posted there just yet (we will inform everyone via this thread and our newsletter if this opportunity becomes available).
At this time there is no feasible way to make a separate production of the add-on content without significant cost and complication.
For example, the content uses the same card size as the money, so the factory produces those as a single sheet. In order to supply the content in small batches separately, the factory would then have to discard 80% of the sheet and take out only the cards from the add-on.... but they'd still charge for the full sheet plus the extra hand-labour of manually removing and packing the individual cards.
I know that's not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear, but hopefully it's a bit more useful to you than just telling you "no" without explanation.
Now the good news is that, if we can accomplish the production specs we have in mind, owners of the original Container may find that they want to upgrade to the anniversary edition anyways.
Yes, it will be all-new artwork for this edition. We're not ready to talk about who the artists are just yet, but I can say it is a combined effort between experienced artists.
In fact, I *can* show you a little sample of the cover draft if you'd like to see it. In fact, here it is now:
Remember, of course, this is not laid out into a final cover just yet, but rather it's the base image for the cover.
Also, keep in mind that Container is a fast-flowing game with a need to have precise and identifiable record-keeping on the game components themselves. The contents will look very good too, but the style will shift a little to something that is easily maintained by the players and that avoids mistakes. The original edition shows that feature well, with clearly defined pricing areas and minimal chance to confuse one section with another.
We'll have more artwork to show in the near future, but hopefully you like the cover art concept.
Agreed - it's an area where a little bit of realism can be sacrificed in order to promote better gameplay. We'll keep the colours a bit further apart than the previous edition.
We're going to do something a bit closer to the cover image above. So, more like Green/Red/Blue/Brown/White as opposed to Brown/Brownish/Orangey-Brown. :whistle:
That leaves a bit of a challenge for selecting boat colours... but that shouldn't be too difficult to solve.
It is unknown at this point if the KS project will be available outside North America. We were very dissatisfied with our EU fulfillment partner, and ultimately have decided to break ties with them for this kind of project.
At present we are looking for other options including an EU retailer who is capable of handling preorders and fulfilling them. We welcome suggestions on this front since our preference would certainly be to make it available for preorder in the EU. The game will reach the EU via normal distribution at the very least.
We do have a partner in Canada now for our Canadian backers so that should help control some of the shipping costs for them.
Wow, certainly quite a lot of circular logic exploding in this thread. It makes for an interesting study as to how this kind of thing can get out of hand.
i) Person A says: "I hope this won't be too expensive" (a reasonable thing to say).
ii) Person B says: "It's probably going to be in the $120 - $150 range"
iii) Person C says: "$150? I'm not paying that!"
iv) Person D says: "Shame on the publisher for making something so expensive for us!"
v) Person E - ?: "Kill the publisher!"
In reality, we've only stated that we wanted to do something special for the 10th Anniversary of the game, and that we believe owners of the previous edition will probably be enticed to purchase the new edition too. We have also stated that we're seeking to keep the MSRP as reasonable as possible.
That being said, here are things which are true:
i) There will be one edition of Container. It will be a 10th Anniversary Edition. It will include some new content (see initial post in this thread). Because Container is a niche game, there is neither the budget nor the demand to supply multiple versions.
ii) We are seeking an MSRP of between $70 and $90 US Dollars. It remains to be seen if we can accomplish that price target and still get our ideal level of production included. This compares well to the original edition's MSRP of $60 (10 years ago).
iii) We further expect our edition will be of higher production quality than the original edition. As with all Mercury Games products, we combine a high level of production quality with a reasonable MSRP with the goal of maximizing value to our customers. We would never publish a product that does not meet our high standards of production, but that doesn't always have to mean a ridiculous price, either.
iv) Finally, I should say that the only source of accurate information in this thread is myself or other members of the Mercury Games team. Anything else masking as fact is speculation. We certainly appreciate all the anticipation that the return of a classic game can bring, but we ask for your patience while we provide you with further details as they become available.
That's difficult to say: We expect that a fair percentage of people owning the original would certainly have interest in the new edition, but I doubt we'd obtain a 100% participation rate in the new edition from that group. So, we have to assume that there are others out there who know the game and would gladly purchase a copy if they found one that represented good value. Participation from both these groups is critical to the success of the project because we'll be talking about a relatively small print run (and if it sells out, that doesn't necessarily guarantee a follow-up printing either).
In the end, the new edition should be a great version to own as your first copy, and a very reasonable upgrade for folks who enjoyed the first edition.
But we'll hopefully have more on that repeat-buyer incentive soon - just have to clear up these production side decisions/issues to ensure maximum value.
I can confirm that this will not be a Game Salute project.
Regarding the expansion, it is important to point out that some of the mechanics in that expansion are already addressed/improved with the new content. For example, the player loans of the first expansion are now handled by the investment bank. The player loans were undoubtedly a fun way to play around with relative interest rates, but they did complicate and extend the game in a way that is not necessarily pleasing to everyone. The investment bank solution handles the loans in a much more elegant way.
I should note here that the beginner variant from the base game, which was basically "Return a container to the bank for $2" is now also removed for the same reason; the investment bank does it more elegantly and it doesn't add length to the game like the previous rule did.
The limit cards were an add-on intended for newer players - most experienced players would choose to play without them since good common sense is a better strategy than any arbitrary limits imposed by those cards. In my view, the limit cards could even be seen to detract from a game of Container where everyone was an experienced player, since the open nature of Container is what makes it special. Not that I regret designing the limit cards, but rather if you're reading this thread chances are you're an experienced enough gamer that you probably don't need to use them and might find them a little too limiting.
The luxury containers element from the expansion seems to be the most well-received overall, and they do bring a different way of scoring to the game. This is one add-on that may make an appearance as part of a larger expansion at a later time, but will not be in this edition. While it's an interesting mechanic, it does add complication and game length, something that may not be intimidating to the experienced gamers likely reading this thread, but it's not necessarily a good thing for a wider audience. As such, while it may reappear later, it won't be right away. The new edition will be compatible with the luxury containers right out of the box, however.
What I can tell you is that if this reprint of Container is successful we will most certainly pursue additional content for the game, and we already have a couple of neat ideas which have tested well. The reason those ideas aren't included with this edition is the same as before: they add complexity and game length beyond what we feel some/most will tolerate. We note that a lot of people reading this thread will probably like them a great deal, of course!
Obviously cost plays a factor in some of these decisions too. I won't bore you with the details on that, but Container will be the most expensive game we've ever produced, bar none. Adding in something like luxury containers makes an already expensive production practically impossible. Quite honestly for what we want to accomplish with this new edition we're already flirting with the impossible (more news on that front soon, hopefully)
So, the short answer to the expansion question is: A couple mechanics are already improved and included, one mechanic is no longer necessary, and another stands a good probability of making an appearance at a later time. If you simply must play with that mechanic though, you could do so right away with minimal effort as it is compatible with the new edition.
Sorry, just to be clear on this point, luxury goods are certainly compatible with the new edition, just not available from Mercury Games (not yet, at least).
And yes, we expect the rules to describe the "original" rules for play before talking about the Investment Bank as an option to add-on. We believe the majority of players will ultimately choose to play with the add-on, but the game will play just fine with or without it. In fact, the gameplay experience is different depending on which option you choose, just like how a real economy would be different if suddenly the investment component of the economy appeared or disappeared at will.
We never make arbitrary rule changes just to spur sales. That's always going to be true for any Mercury Games product.
I will admit, however, that we are further improving the production standards over the last edition to spur sales. I think anyone who owns a Mercury product would tend to agree that we don't cut corners on production quality.
Thank you, I worked a long time on those to get those player loans right, and full credit to the testing/development group back in 2007 that tested that with me multiple times per day until it was done correctly, especially after having spent so much time testing the economic system overhaul that I created for the base game just a few months before.
In the end though, a good design needs to be willing to sacrifice a little bit in order to achieve better game flow. While I do agree that the player loans were a fun way to achieve a mini-market on loan interest, it does represent a break in the action, and an overall slowdown in gameplay. I still think the player loan mechanic is novel and interesting (obviously I'm biased, of course), but I think this is not enough to ignore a more efficient way of getting a similar experience.
On the flip side, reverting back to the original game rules where loan interest simply leaves the game reintroduces the problem with unnecessary leakage in the money supply. Players already have lots of ways to intentionally/unintentionally destroy the money supply and in a game environment where one or more players are taking loans to build infrastructure (and have that money exit the supply too), having loan interest exit the game is not conducive to game flow in an already cash-poor environment.
Instead, the new version seeks a balance between the two, and loan interest temporarily leaves the game and goes to the investment bank. Players wanting to access that revenue can do so by interacting with the brokers and then that money reenters the supply. But interestingly enough, the Investment Bank can also create short-term fluctuations in the container supply, which is something that was harder to accomplish with the previous version. That is perhaps one of the strongest new elements introduced with the Investment Bank content and we think experienced Container players are going to be pleased with all the new strategies that can be employed. It's also one of the secondary reasons to leave out the luxury goods mechanic for now, the Investment Bank is a more elegant variation on that mechanic, but unlike the luxury goods mechanic, it doesn't slow down the game.
I'm happy to say that Giochix.it will take care of European distribution of Container reprint :)
More news as soon as possible!
Further to the Michele's note about Giochix.it taking care of European distribution of the new edition, what is specifically being referenced is the initial preorder/Kickstarter program. Giochix.it and Mercury have arrived at terms to allow European customers the chance to participate in a preorder hosted by Giochix.
Ultimately we feel this will be a better fit for our EU backers since it should help further reduce shipping costs. This will mean that European customers will not be able to participate directly in our Kickstater, but will be able to obtain a preorder directly from Giochix.it.
We'll have additional details soon, but we're happy to have found a solution that should mean good results for our European friends.
The only edition planned at this time is an English edition.
Still working on it. We were not satisfied with the postal service's treatment of our Australia/NZ backers with our last project and so we have no intention of using the postal service again for those countries.
Unfortunately, we have no concrete answer just yet, but it is being worked on.
Just wanted to stop in here despite the new game listing for Container 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition
to note that some pictures are up
in the images section showing the new container and ship design!
At some point we may want to migrate this discussion over to the new game listing, but I'll be sure to post a link if/when we do.
Just ton answer some of the recent questions here.
i) Ships and containers: Yes, these are CAD concepts. While they may appear to be plastic, the final material is slated to be solid resin (exact type of resin TBD). In fact, the boats will be solid-body too, no hollow cavity in the bottom. Definitely a solid piece, but we felt that a cavity in the bottom would raise the center of balance too high, and we want to avoid tipping containers into the ocean, right?
ii) Ship Size: Our testing shows that the larger size is easier to manipulate for most people. This is because it is easier to get a firm grasp on both the ships and containers. Of course, this might not be 100% true for everyone.
With the sizing, we initially considered ships at a size of 9" or more. The problems this created were numerous since any increase in length comes with a relative increase for all other dimensions too. A 9" ship in solid resin would be extremely heavy, take up a massive amount of table space, and result in a ridiculous production cost. In fact, the MSRP we calculated for such a production would have been $150 or more. We recognize that some people would be willing to pay that much for a super-sized edition, but the drawbacks of extra weight and bulk would have made the project impractical.
Instead at this size, you still get a very large set of components without the need a weightlifting belt. The MSRP then also becomes reasonable and most people will have the table space to actually play the game.
iii) MSRP - We continue to strive to hold to our initial estimate of $70 - $90 MSRP. The ongoing issue for us has been our desire to pack as much quality in the box as possible and still offer a reasonable price to our customers. With the size of the components and the high-end nature of the resin we intend to employ, the pricing we're getting back would normally force an MSRP of about $120. After much discussion amongst the Mercury team, we'd rather take less profit on this game and get the production quality that we want than to ask customers to pay over $100.
For that reason, at this time we still expect to hold to our original estimate for MSRP, and our best guess at this moment would be $85 - $90. That is subject to change, however, as we have been informed that these ships are going to cost more than we were told initially.
In return, we are going to ask our customers to consider supporting our Kickstarter effort, and we also expect to have details on a website "Early Bird" preorder opportunity later this week. We'll post the details here on BGG when we have them.
That's a good question. The answer is that as the size of the ship is reduced to approach the original size, the rate of cost savings drop dramatically. This means that further shrinking the ship doesn't accomplish a whole lot of savings for our customers.
Applying the reverse case where we increase the ship size further, you can imagine that as the ship size is increased, the amount of volumetric material rises sharply as well, since the ship has to grow in all three dimensions in order to remain in scale. This means the rate of rise in production cost increases as well.
Just to put that into an example, a 4.5" length ship costs $X. A 7" ship costs 2X. A 10" boat costs say, 5X.
So the challenge is to pick a nice large size that doesn't break the bank but still allows us to have the size required to show the level of detail that we want. At this size, we believe we have found a good balance between looking great and a reasonable price.
I think you've given this a good amount of thought and I appreciate the well-meaning feedback. But our sizing is set at 7" and has been for some time.
But I can tell you that some/most of the ideas you've thought through here are identical to what we worked through as well. As a later poster suggested, we found 7" to be the sweet spot where you came to the conclusion that it was 6". And yes, we did have the same thoughts as you when the original plan was to produce a boat of 9" in length.
I should also note that going down in size would not make the luxury containers expansion feasible at this time as the production savings from 7" to 6" are negligible against the set costs for the sculpt and mold.
There are a lot of considerations when trying to work through something that may otherwise appear to be an easy decision, and your post does a good job covering some of them.