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Subject: why so expensive? rss

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Doug Moore
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I looked over the materials and cannot see why this game is $61 (USA)

the reviews seem to say it is worthy by game play, I get that. but the contents just seems meager. did I miss something?
 
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Isn't it the average price of a board game when the company is not a major one (which can lower the prices because of mass production)?
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Luke Heidebrecht
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I'm no expert on the economics of board games - but its not just about materials - number of units produced probably plays a major factor (smaller print run would likely be more expensive).

I think its pretty well marketed at that price in comparison to other similar games. Of course, there also isn't much point in comparing the price of games from one company to another.
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lorddog wrote:
I looked over the materials and cannot see why this game is $61 (USA)

the reviews seem to say it is worthy by game play, I get that. but the contents just seems meager. did I miss something?


Yes.
Sounds like you're about to miss out on a great game. You will not be counting the 61 greenbacks on your tenth play of Nemo's War--get it, or get gouged when you realize you could have had it for $61.00.
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Christopher Schall
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Wow, 61 is a steal for this one. Your choice, though.
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Jakub Kircun
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The components are top notch in my opinion. $61 seems like a pretty standard price for a lot of games; gone are the days of the $35 game. The Kickstarter price was $56 so naturally retail will be higher. Also there seems to be a lot of demand, which also drives the price up.
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Doug Moore
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perhaps I make a comparison to scythe at $54

just looking at the components I would guess this game $35-$40 range.
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Mark Chaplin
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lorddog wrote:
perhaps I make a comparison to scythe at $54

just looking at the components I would guess this game $35-$40 range.


Three things:

1, You're not just paying for a box of stuff, you're paying for the design and artistry and quality involved (that's why Sharknado DVDs are like a £1 and Alien Covenant is £15 - even though the price to manufacture each disc is probably the same).

2, Scythe has a print run possibly ten times that of Nemo's War. Simple economics dictates that Scythe will be cheaper to manufacture.

3, I'm guessing you won't be convinced, due to your loaded question.




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Nathan Hansen
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The MSRP on Scythe is $80.

Many online stores sell it for less, but that just means they are willing to make less margin per unit they sell. They buy at a discount based on an $80 MSRP.
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Scott Everts
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Print run size. You can't compare a game printing 10k units to one printing 3k units. The price per unit varies DRASTICALLY depending on number of units printed.

That's why Hasbro can sell games for $20 that others must sell for $40 with similar components.

The game is more then the components, there's designers, artists, producers. A whole staff of people involved behind the scenes that would like to eat and have a roof too.
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Ben
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Did you mean $51.00? That's what Minature Market (US) is selling pre-orders for (which is less than what I paid to kickstart it).
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Wes Erni
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"How could a game without miniatures cost so much"? may indeed be a valid question for the "big" companies in gaming -- I don't really know, my "inside knowledge of the industry does not extend into the economic details. But I do have knowledge of the "effort level" of some of the companies, and the real question to me is "Why is skilled human labor being treated as irrelevant".

I know the amount of time spent on Nemo's War second Edition was staggering. I have been perusing the "triple-digit" number of (usually extensive) e-mails that I exchanged in the last 3+ years on this project lately (to refresh myself on its developmental "arc"), and I am starkly reminded of how much of my life was spent on this game. And I know Alan Emrich spent MUCH more time, I suspect Ian O'Toole spent more time, and I am sure Chris Taylor spent more time overall (though not strictly on the Second Edition). And there many months of intensive playtesting before I joined the project, as well many months of playtesting that I was not even allowed to see afterward (I think people were getting a little tired of my input). And before that I know there was equally intense in-house work -- I don't know how many VPG staff was dragooned into working on this project, but given Alan's passion for Nemo (and he IS the boss), I bet it was an "all-hands on deck" situation at times. And this is for Second Edition of an already successful game.

It is true that a great deal of work was done by people who were "paid" only by a rather nice playtest kit, and a chance to participate in a very special game. And I know Ian was paid a fraction of his normal professional "artist" fee for what became a 3 year "labor of love". But I find it hard to believe patrons should simply "expect" such "discounts. I know I would get paid thousands of dollars by my students for my level of effort alone on this -- I don't see why Alan and other VPG staff (this being THEIR "day-job") shouldn't get paid for their efforts. And anyone who thinks they are building retirement homes on their VPG salaries, just doesn't know the boardgame industry. I know VPG "lost their shirt" with their first big Kickstarter campaign (Dawn of the Zeds) because of their inexperience in the TRUE costs involved -- I am rather surprised they got the price point down to what they did for Nemo 2. Since I was quite happy with the "old VPG" components, my opinion might be worth little here, but I was impressed by the component quality of the Second Edition (and actually they do have one "mini").

But every game company puts in that level of efort, you say. ABSOLUTELY NOT. A couple of years ago I was given a game to "take a look at", AFTER it was published -- soon I became a playtester, then a developer, then a co-designer in rapid order to "fix issues". I think there is a very decent game there now, but where was all this work before being published. And this example is hardly singular -- the industry is rife with good ideas and pretty baubles that are gameplay failures (at least to me) because no one spent the effort. Trusting the designer to perfect his work is as ludicrous as telling an author to proofread his novel -- it is astonishing how the mind repeatedly fails to see what someone with a different perspective regards as obvious. Despite all of the effort spent on proofreading, errors and ambiguities have "slipped through the cracks" to the published game. I know I am useless as "proofer", I know exactly how the game works and my brain refuses "to see" alternative meanings. There was some awkwardness in the proofreading process caused by the "China production" that didn't help, but overall Nemo has a far better rulebook than many games with much bigger budgets.

Good gameplay doesn't just "happen", certainly not when enmeshed with strong narrative (says the man with admittedly only passing interest in theme) -- it takes more than a designer having a "good day". VPG is hardly perfect, they make gameplay a priority and do a very credible job of balance, but they do fail as well. I know that sounds like lukewarm praise, but the industry standard has not "impressed me" over the decades (from my view both "inside" and "outside" the design process of companies). I just can't see measuring a game by its "bits".

Edit: One additional point that is very important (at least to me), VPG never expects their customers to be their playtesters -- if there is something fundamentally wrong with their published game they (or at least Alan) are mortified. Nothing is ever designed to be routinely "patched" over time.
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Daniel Wilmer
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I'm not qualified to answer the details of the actual individual costs involved in producing, testing and distributing this game.

It may be more useful to answer your question with a quick comparison (that you have clearly already done) on a couple of well known American online retailers to give some equivalent cost ($59-65) games:

Scythe
Pandemic on the Brink 2nd ed
Mage Knight
Terra Mystica
Arcadia Quest
Forbidden Stars
Near and Far
Escape Big Box
Robinson Crusoe
Dominion Intrigue
Cyclades
Pirates Cove
Blood Rage
Claustrophobia
Age of Conan
Inis
Pandemic legacy
War of the Ring.

That is quite a list (one also based on availability, I'm also sure some will be cheaper shopping around).

And so to the actual question, is this game worth my money?

While matching components may be one way of assessing value, the effort put into the design, the manual, the whole production and how it actually plays can be hidden behind just observing components. Are you looking for a deep solo challenge with simple aesthetic or a detailed miniature driven worker placement? What do you want for your money?

There has, for example, been some criticism on Gloom of Kilforth's wooden tokens that they not match the decadence of artwork. But do they function? Do they really feel out of place? Was there time and thought behind their production and inclusion? Does that even matter? To me they are perfectly fine and certainly more luscious than card tokens. But why should what I think matter?

Component quality and value for money are important considerations. But neither of them define alone whether a game is worthy of your time.

For my kickstarter greens (about $56 dollars including forward shipping via group pledge) Nemo's war has excellent production values and fabulous gameplay. There are perhaps areas that could be improved for the cynical perfectionists out there but none that impact on the actual game, which is a real gem. It is also a glorious table hog. I have no doubt the retail cost reflects both the size of the production run and the publishers calculation on an acceptable profit margin to allow their business to continue.

The question to every consumer is how do they value if a product is worth their hard earned cash and time. You have to decide that on your own as I suspect you already have but hopefully the collective pod of Nemo fans (your main audience here for good or ill) has helped you make a slightly more informed decision with as little bias as BBG'ily possible.

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Doug Moore
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I didn't ask "And so to the actual question, is this game worth my money?"

I stated that gameplay probably does make it worth my money at $61

I was just asking why, looking at the materials involved, is the price that high.

I am fully intending to buy the game on everyones ratings of it alone.
my question isn't about "worth".
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Daniel Wilmer
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lorddog wrote:
I didn't ask "And so to the actual question, is this game worth my money?"

I stated that gameplay probably does make it worth my money at $61

I was just asking why, looking at the materials involved, is the price that high.

I am fully intending to buy the game on everyones ratings of it alone.
my question isn't about "worth".


Hope you enjoy Nemo's War, the seemingly worthy gameplay, the seemingly meager components and find out why this game is $61.
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Nathan Hansen
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lorddog wrote:

I was just asking why, looking at the materials involved, is the price that high.


Most companies take the cost of manufacturing and freight divided by the total size of the print run to get a "landed cost" per unit then apply a multiplier to get an MSRP. Different companies use different multipliers but I think most use either x5 or x6. A x5 multiplier ensures that when they sell to distributors at 60% off they make enough money that by about the halfway point of a print runs sales they have fully recovered from the initial costs.
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Chris Hansen
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lorddog wrote:
I didn't ask "And so to the actual question, is this game worth my money?"

I stated that gameplay probably does make it worth my money at $61

I was just asking why, looking at the materials involved, is the price that high.

I am fully intending to buy the game on everyones ratings of it alone.
my question isn't about "worth".


Well, in regards to price, I'd say your question has been answered, and in a couple of cases, in some detail. The question now is, has it been answered to your satisfaction, or do you still believe the price for the game is too high?
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Tom R
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Two paintings displayed in a gallery are on the same size canvas, and use the same amount of paint. Why is one $150 and the other $500? They should be the same price right? RIGHT!?
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Jason Clubb
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IMHO, the game is more than worth it.

YMMV
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lorddog wrote:
I looked over the materials and cannot see why this game is $61 (USA)

the reviews seem to say it is worthy by game play, I get that. but the contents just seems meager. did I miss something?


Worth (value), just like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. At least in this case.

You describe the contents as meager; to me the production seems plush.

You feel $61.00 is too much for what you get. I paid $75.00 through Pledge Manager and I feel it's worth every penny.

I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but you also allow that it has reviewed well. For me, gameplay, 'enjoyment' if you will, always takes precedence over components. In this case I feel like it's a beautiful production though.

Honestly, if you feel like it's priced too high, don't buy it. Only you can decide whether it's worth the money to you.
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Derry Salewski
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phormio wrote:
lorddog wrote:
I looked over the materials and cannot see why this game is $61 (USA)

the reviews seem to say it is worthy by game play, I get that. but the contents just seems meager. did I miss something?


Worth (value), just like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. At least in this case.

You describe the contents as meager; to me the production seems plush.

You feel $61.00 is too much for what you get. I paid $75.00 through Pledge Manager and I feel it's worth every penny.

I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but you also allow that it has reviewed well. For me, gameplay, 'enjoyment' if you will, always takes precedence over components. In this case I feel like it's a beautiful production though.

Honestly, if you feel like it's priced too high, don't buy it. Only you can decide whether it's worth the money to you.


That wasn't his question.

It's been answered.

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lorddog wrote:
I looked over the materials and cannot see why this game is $61 (USA)

the reviews seem to say it is worthy by game play, I get that. but the contents just seems meager. did I miss something?

Ah, but have you weighed the box and all its bits? On a price per pound basis ...
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Yugblad wrote:
2, Scythe has a print run possibly ten times that of Nemo's War. Simple economics dictates that Scythe will be cheaper to manufacture.


I think that our first print run of Scythe was around 25K copies. When we set the price of the game for the Kickstarter, we didn't know that we'd get the amount of backers we got, but if I remember correctly we gambled and priced it based on costs for a large print run. Of course, not so large a gamble that it risked making us unable to deliver if the Kickstarter didn't go much over the funding goal.
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Mark Boulter
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The art work is worth $61...
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Don Clarke
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There's a very simple test of appropriate pricing: if the publisher is driving around in a ......... (insert favourite luxury car, I'll say Ferrari) then the game's overpriced. If, however, any Ferrari-money is being diverted and reinvested in great games and development, then the game is appropriately priced.
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