Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
19 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Affordability - what is your cost per session per player? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dan Fielding
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I find that even an expensive game comes out to about $5-10 per person for an evening of fun.

$100 game / 4 players / 3 evenings = $8.33 plus snacks = $10
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Vande Ven Jr.
United States
Verona
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is how I like to rationalize too

A 3D IMAX movie would cost $15 for 2-3 hours of entertainment ($5-7.50/hour). But a $150 board game with expansions (I'm looking at you, recent Scythe purchase) will provide game play for 1-4 players for many hours on end. That recent Scythe purchase was about $150, but I have gotten about 17 people hours out of it already, so that is down to $8.82/hour and dropping with each play.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
T. Dauphin
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar

Not to rain on your parade, but i feel the need to express a somewhat different view.

I get the need to assess the value of a game, especially when they can be really expensive. I suppose if you were to buy a game for $150 and only play it once, that you would have to re-evaluate the point of such a purchase. However, I really like it when we think about our activities in terms of the satisfaction or happiness they bring. What value can you attach to the time spent with friends playing the game? Not just that you spent X hours playing it, but that you managed to play it with some cool people? What value can you attach to the hours spent on an activity that is not only fun and relaxing, but is also therapeutic?

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When I was a kid, Monopoly probably came into our house when I was 8. I played it over and over until I went to college. Same with the many other games we had as children.

Today I see modern games the the same way: I buy them. My friends and I play them over and over for the rest of our lives . . . or for many years, at least. Games are not consumables. They're not a one-time event like a movie or a restaurant meal. They're a permanent part of my life.

Yes, some games get played more often than others. And a few games turned out to be less fun than we expected. I'm not 100% perfect in my selections.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Weber
United States
Spencer
Iowa
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EllenCaroline wrote:
Games are not consumables. They're not a one-time event like a movie or a restaurant meal. They're a permanent part of my life.

Agreed. Some of the games in my collection that get the most plays were among my cheapest acquisitions. These are also the ones that have gotten my kids saying on an almost daily basis, “Dad, do you wanna play a game?!?!”

My fatherly heart rejoices at such words!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Fielding
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I'm not doing a cost per hour, but a per evening. So an evening is 3-4 hours of time.

I figure any game will get 3 plays before we know how good it is. Good games get played endlessly, in rotation with all the other good games.

But overall, you need to add up the cost of all games purchased in order to figure the marginal cost of the evening.

In fact, knowing your current marginal cost is really low can allow you to purchase an expensive game. Worst case is you sell it for less than you paid.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Bolland
United States
Apple Valley
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Press PLAY
badge
Loooooooooooooooon!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I buy the vast majority of the games my group plays. My total cost of games divided by total hours played over the last two decades is about $4 per hour. That doesn't even take into account the number of players! If I factor in the number of players (4 players on average seems about right), it's $1 per player-hour.

Since our game night average about 4 hours, that's $16 per evening for me or $4 per evening per person.

Now that's value!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Candace Mercer
United States
Olympia
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Also - the low income gamer here - don't forget resale value! Most games hold a reasonable value, and some even increase. So gaming can actually be nearly cost free entertainment when you factor that part in!

And like me, now that I have a reasonable collection - about 100 games - if I want a game, I usually have to sell a game, which isn't too hard as my tastes evolve, and I outgrow content, so pretty much my expenditures are minimal - cause I count shipping costs too - in that I have to sell enough game to cover shipping, or get free shipping.

And man, I hate to say it, but my games are also a form of savings account. They are there if I ever have an emergency. This is literally house of cards financial management, but I have been disabled with chronic pain for 20 years now, so I am pretty poor.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
flag msg tools
Not something I care about.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gregor K

Arizona
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Personally, $5 per hour, no matter how many people are involved, is my aim.

If I've bought a game for $30 and I've played it 6 times for an hour or so, I feel like I've received my full investment and I'm pleased with my purchased.

I try not to buy any games if I have any on my shelf that I haven't logged plays to meet that $5 per hour expectation that I have. Once I've received my personal quota on each game, I consider purchasing a new one. It keeps my wallet in check, and motivates me to play more.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Aggravating people worldwide since 1964
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can't think of a single time I ever sat down to play a game and thought about how much it cost me per hour. Except for a few outliers, I can't remember how much I paid for my games. All I know is that most of my purchases are in the $100 - $150 range (to get free shipping) and I usually get anywhere from 2 - 6 games for that price.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pasi Ojala
Finland
Tampere
flag msg tools
Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
badge
The next Total Solar Eclipse holiday in 2024 in USA? See you there!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and all three expansions for less than 200 euros, 300 plays, 4-6 players (average perhaps 4.5), usually about 2 hours. Less than 7 eurocents per hour.

Still, cost of a play is not a consideration when purchasing games. The considerations are: is the game suitable for the group, for the timeframe, can it get playtime, and does it have the potential to be 8 or higher. With a steady group it's hard to find new games that can replace old ones.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dillenbeck
United States
Deerfield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It varies wildly by game, and I am uncertain for my overall collection. As long as it is less than the $50 per hour per person cost of nice theater or concert tickets or an wedding anniversary dinner out, I'm okay with the hobby being expensive.


Also, no clue because I recorded individual plays and time rather than sessions. There have been sessions where we might have played Pandemic 3-5 times easily, and there are some that are only 1. There are game nights where we only have 20 or 30 minutes to play, and "game nights" that are 18 hour all-day events. Sometimes we play half a day at 2 and then a 3rd or 4th joined in - and other times I play just solo with a couple hour breaks to do chores.

Again, my attitude is shifted a bit. I don't pay for cable TV anymore. That is $100+ less per month than what I used to be paying (I am mostly active during the middle of the night, and when all my premium channels went to infomercials I decided paying a ton of money to be shown ads was stupid - and Netflix was superior to cable streaming services). I stopped eating out as much. $10-$20 a person times 2 people times 1-2 times per week is a lot of game purchasing power. I don't go to movie theaters. Even at $10 per ticket for 2 people with no extras 1-4 times a month can add up, especially when paying $40 for Sierra Madre Games titles or games like Leaving Earth.

In the end, I think of it in terms of my budget and entertainment dollars. If my budget says I have $50 a month or $250 a month for entertainment expenses (eating out, movies, theaters, concerts, cable TV, etc), that's my budget. I have chosen to shift that budget predominantly into boardgaming. Yes, even my video game budget has shifted there. If I'm in budget, then its all good - I don't obsess over costs.

Oh, and another complication - not all my games are bought for playing. I spend money on games I will never play because of aesthetic value (bought it to look at) or because I was interested in its design (to read and understand the history of where my current games came from, as well as what was tried in the past and did or didn't work). Those throw off the collection evaluation as a whole.

Finally, the complication of show pieces or "collectors/anniversary" editions. If I spent $400 on the War of the Ring Anniversary edition, it is very different than if I bought just the retail game - and boy is there a difference in Takenoko's collectors edition and the retail game. They don't really change the entertainment you get out of a game a lot, but they drive up cost metrics.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Keane
United States
Medford
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
If I feel any urge to calculate cost per session and rationalize my purchase, then the game wasn’t/won’t be worth buying/keeping. For the games I own and keep, I want to have already played it so much and/or expect to play it so much, that it will come down to pennies per hour of gameplay. But really the joy I get from playing a game I love is not measured by how many hours it spent on the table.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Engelmann
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
Congress of Gamers conventions
badge
Eric's actual photo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gronak wrote:
I find that even an expensive game comes out to about $5-10 per person for an evening of fun.

$100 game / 4 players / 3 evenings = $8.33 plus snacks = $10


Assuming an opportunity cost (what you could be earning doing some other activity) of $25/hour, per player, the purchase cost of most games is irrelevant.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Webb
United States
Western Mitten
flag msg tools
designer
badge
GET A SILK BAG FROM THE GRAVEYARD DUCK TO LIVE LONGER.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The largest metric for me, if I were using your subject header as the baseline, would easily be alcohol and food costs as we generally provide those as snacks for our players! I would guess that we spend at least 10-15$ per player for snacks / foods / drinks, probably not much more than 5$ total per player for the 3-5 games played in a session

Most of my game collection is old, like dirt old to people here, over 10 years old. I do have newer stuff that gets played, but I think the actual true cost per play of most of my games, especially if you break it down per player, is very low at this point; particularly if you average it out over the plays per item in the collection as my current Friendless stats average is 9.49 plays per game owned and an average of probably 3 players per game (a fair amount of 2 player stuff, we most frequently have 3 now, but I, at one point played 4-5 players a lot too).

Really though, this sort of cost breakdown is, I'm not sure, useful for much more than justifying a lot of expensive games purchases. If you break down the cost per person, yes, it isn't that bad, but most people aren't in the business of taking all of their friends out to a movie and buying them all snacks and drinks as part of that experience. At least not the people I know! If you are in a group that has roughly equal reciprocity as concerns purchasing games and hosting, then it might roughly work out, as you would be collectivizing the economic burden out, but if you are providing games and snacks regularly, then even averaging out costs will likely leave you paying more than you would be for more standard group activities where each person or couple pays their own way.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Why would I care about the cost per player if I'm the only one paying?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Andersson
Sweden
Rimbo
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gregrrr wrote:
Personally, $5 per hour, no matter how many people are involved, is my aim.


Same here (Or 50 swedish krona).

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
T Y
United States
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I actually keep a spreadsheet of my games so that I can maintain an up-to-date calculation of cost per session as well cost per hour of play. The cost includes the base game, expansions (opened or not), and sleeves/etc.

Individual cost per session ranges from infinity for the ones on my shelf of shame to under $1.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.