Recommend
133 
 Thumb up
 Hide
173 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7] | 

Tapestry» Forums » General

Subject: From the Publisher: Review Embargos, Quality vs Price, and BGG Ratings rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I spent this past weekend at an out-of-town wedding in rural Virginia, which severely limited my internet access (though I was able to chime in on rare occasions when I was sitting next to the wi-fi hotspot). When I returned, I learned about some Tapestry-related conversations that I thought I might address all in one place. Let's jump right in!

Review Embargos


For our last 7 product releases, we've implemented an embargo date for the advance copies we send to reviewers. The primary reason is that we do not want to rush reviewers--we want them to have ample time to play the game, evaluate it, and compose their thoughts so their reviews can best serve potential customers. Without an embargo date, reviewers can feel pressure to be the first to release their review.

The date I've chosen to end the embargo for all 7 of those products is the day that our direct preorder begins. I want someone to be able to watch a review, decide that they want the product, and instantly be able to order that product (there's no risk of them forgetting). Our preorders last a few days--it's not like there's a race to watch/read reviews--and even if some people don't discover the reviews until after the preorder, our games are constantly reprinted and are available from retailers worldwide.

Quality vs Price


Among its many components, Tapestry features 18 prepainted landmark miniatures. I knew this was a risk for several reasons (the aesthetic of a painted miniature is highly subjective, and it involves an increase in cost/price). However, Rom Brown's sculpts inspired Tapestry's design, and throughout the development process they continued to feel like an integral part of the experience of building a vibrant, colorful civilization.

Some have wondered if Tapestry's price (which isn't publicly information yet*) could have been a lot lower if we had used tiles or unpainted miniatures instead. For tiles, absolutely, the game would be cheaper, but the presentation would have been dramatically different.

For unpainted miniatures, though, the difference in MSRP would have been minimal. The MSRP I selected for Tapestry is artificially lower than what it should be based on a 5x multiplier on manufacturing costs (i.e., a game that costs $8 to make would have a $40 MSRP). So even though unpainted miniatures are cheaper to make, the actual difference in MSRP would only be approximately $10. 

Just like any component in any game, it's the job of the publisher to decide if the increase in quality is worth the increase in price. I think a $10 increase in price for prepainted miniatures in Tapestry instead of monochromatic or grey miniatures is absolutely worth it. Plus, there will be plenty of places where you can purchase Tapestry for less than MSRP, including directly from Stonemaier Games from September 4-7.

*Why haven't we revealed the Tapestry MSRP? Because we're not selling it yet, and we don't want anyone else selling it until we start to sell it ourselves.

Ratings

Recently, Rotten Tomatoes made the news when they announced that people would only be allowed to rate movies on their platform if you could prove that you've actually seen the movie. Makes sense, right? How can you indicate how much you like a movie if you haven't actually seen it?

The most popular rating system for tabletop games is here on BoardGameGeek. Anyone can rate any game on BGG at any time for any reason. The hope, obviously, is that people only rate games that they've played, but it doesn't always work out that way. There's an entire subculture on BGG of people who give unreleased games a 1 rating (out of 10) for a wide variety of reasons, as well as others who try to counteract those 1s by rating a game 10.

We're not going to get into a debate about how this system works. You're welcome to enter ratings as you wish. Rather, this is about how and when you choose to look at ratings on BGG or elsewhere (for any type of product).

Basically, the takeaway is that I recommend only looking at the ratings for any product after a critical mass of people have actually received it. I doubt that any of the 120+ people on BGG who have rated Tapestry have actually played it (particularly the final printed version), especially given the review embargo.

***

This post is reflective of my personal, subjective opinions based on my experiences producing and marketing games while trying to look after the best interests of our customers. I can't claim to always achieve that goal, and sometimes I have to make choices that lead to a successful company so that we can continue to make stuff for our fans (otherwise the price for all of our games would be $1!).

If you also have some opinions to state as such, you're welcome to do so in the comments. I'm also happy to answer your questions.
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arnaud Fradin
France
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
I'd be curious to know what you think about the landmark abilities variant that was submitted, and why it might not be a good idea to give them abilities at all if you had considered it at some point ?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duarte
Portugal
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
blazcowicz wrote:
I'd be curious to know what you think about the landmark abilities variant that was submitted, and why it might not be a good idea to give them abilities at all if you had considered it at some point ?
I was going to ask the same thing.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I found through extensive playtesting that ongoing abilities were too easy for players to forget. Landmarks are representative of being the first to do something, not as functional buildings (you're not going to be using an armory built in 1200 in 2019).

I typically don't comment on house rules or variants until they're extensively tested. Ideally they're proposed by people who have actually played the game in the first place.
84 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cosme Benito
Portugal
Montijo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Personally, I really like games with great components and I don't mind paying more for a game that has better components. When given a choice between a normal version and a Deluxe version, I usually buy the deluxe version. I'm happy to have painted miniatures out of the box.

I do understand everyone else's point of view, though. If having the miniatures painted adds 10$ to the price, I can imagine that having miniatures instead of cardboard tokens adds at least 20$ to the price. Probably more. I can see 20$ being the difference between too expensive and just right for some people.

I always wonder if the best choice isn't to release a deluxe pack. The core game would have cardboard tokens and you could buy the painted miniatures on the side. In this example, it could cost 25$. I'm sure you've considered it and there's a reason not to do it this way, but I'd like your input anyway.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
King Maple
Estonia
Tallinn
Harjumaa
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
There's an entire subculture on BGG of people who give unreleased games a 1 rating (out of 10) for a wide variety of reasons, as well as others who try to counteract those 1s by rating a game 10.
Don't forget that the opposite is also true: mass 10s for unreleased game to be countered with 1s. Especially true with hyped Kickstarters.
40 
 Thumb up
0.26
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arnaud Fradin
France
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
I found through extensive playtesting that ongoing abilities were too easy for players to forget. Landmarks are representative of being the first to do something, not as functional buildings (you're not going to be using an armory built in 1200 in 2019).

I typically don't comment on house rules or variants until they're extensively tested. Ideally they're proposed by people who have actually played the game in the first place.
I understand the reasoning on ongoing abilities, and that's why he gave them one-time effects, more as a reward for being the first than a new functional building.

As for your second point, yes I totally respect that, I was more curious to know why they don't have one-time abilities than to make you comment the variant.

I'd be curious to test it, but I love the landmarks as they are and I'm getting the game, everything that I've seen and read until now makes me pretty sure I'll love it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomas Gudmundsson
Iceland
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for yet again giving insight into how Stonemaier runs its business. The decision on painted minis is very informative.

All I would like to add is that the behavior of raters makes someone like myself sad that I can't rely on the ratings. I would very much like for it to be something that you could rely on. For example: "Here are two similar games, this one is rated higher so I should try it out".

The staff behind BGG have been trying to control how the rating of a game impacts its ranking with the Bayesian formula of smoothing out the average rating. I would be very interested in seeing BGG ignoring rankings that are made before any official release date (for sale at a Con). I would also be interested in seeing rankings that only include users that have registered a play or registered the game as owned - even though that can be easily bypassed it is extra effort for a user to "rate bomb" a game and might deter some users.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Clarke
United Kingdom
Caithness
Scotland
flag msg tools
Avatar

Thank you for making this game Jamey.

Your patience is incredible. I can't imagine how tiresome it must feel to be contantly asked by all and sundry, why you did or didn't do something.

29 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cosme: I like the simplicity of one SKU. It's easier to distribute and it reduces consumer confusion. Also, my vision for the game--what I thought was the best experience of the game--is one specific thing, not several variations.
45 
 Thumb up
5.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duarte
Portugal
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
(you're not going to be using an armory built in 1200 in 2019).
Well it doesn't have to be a 1200 armory, it could represent the idea of armory, but a 2019 update version.

So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
I would not forget about a power if it was helpful to me, for sure.

With all do respect (because you know more about game than I do), I don't think that explanation is very satisfying..
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Maisonneuve
Canada
Quebec
Quebec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dna_Boy wrote:
jameystegmaier wrote:
(you're not going to be using an armory built in 1200 in 2019).
Well it doesn't have to be a 1200 armory, it could represent the idea of armory, but a 2019 update version.

So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
I would not forget about a power if it was helpful to me, for sure.

With all do respect (because you know more about game than I do), I don't think that explanation is very satisfying..
There is plenty of games with ongoing bonus that I played where I forgot to use the said bonus just because I didn't have that bonus every game so it was not an automatic to think about it.

Just for an example, yesterday I played Grand Austria Hotel and in our first game we totally forgot that we could scrap a dice to reroll the dice.

So I am totally on Jamey side with this one.

17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cosme Benito
Portugal
Montijo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
Cosme: I like the simplicity of one SKU. It's easier to distribute and it reduces consumer confusion. Also, my vision for the game--what I thought was the best experience of the game--is one specific thing, not several variations.
That's fair, thanks for sharing.

tomasgudm wrote:
All I would like to add is that the behavior of raters makes someone like myself sad that I can't rely on the ratings. I would very much like for it to be something that you could rely on. For example: "Here are two similar games, this one is rated higher so I should try it out".
Unfortunately I feel like this is an utopia, even if you ignore people voting out of spite/love.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jozef Zero
United States
Sarasota
FL
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hey, i'd buy that for a dollar!

but honestly, the buzz suggests that the MSRP will be reasonable,
and given SG track record, attention to detail, and ongoing customer satisfaction, i have little argument with the tried and true development methods you incorporate.

especially given the fact that you are very above board with product communication, and dedication to the culture,( whether it be fan base, or public at large, who are now more than ever dabbling and enjoying gaming) the line draws well towards this being a satisfying release for you and many, many of us who will have the opportunity to engage in Tapestry.

i am all in, but my bias is rendered as part of many who do trust the brand, and your hard work and judgement to produce what we as consumers want to have. No criticism should be underestimated, rather as we invite such opinions it will only facilitate growth and the possibilities of excellence.

excellence cannot be bought at any price, but its value can be realized and achieved, progressively, and to mutual benefit.

...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Mann
United States
Gladstone
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You do a great job. Keep doing what you are doing.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Proper-Lee
United States
Levittown
NY
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd like to know if you think that the decision to have pre-painted minis will affect reprints to a significant extent? While it's a $10 difference at this point in time, will the price have to change for a third printing, and if it's successful, do you think the extra time needed for the pre-painting will affect any timelines on your side?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Hayward
msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dna_Boy wrote:
[q="jameystegmaier"]So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
As a designer, I can tell you that power level and memorability of ongoing abilities are less linked than you'd expect.
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carlos Colin
Mexico
Tijuana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tomasgudm wrote:
"Here are two similar games, this one is rated higher so I should try it out".
I think that's why the "Fans also like" section was implemented, that way you can see if the general feel of the game might align with your tastes, other than just a number you are unsure where it came from. It can be a highly rated game that rubs you the wrong way...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
klz_fc wrote:
I'd like to know if you think that the decision to have pre-painted minis will affect reprints to a significant extent? While it's a $10 difference at this point in time, will the price have to change for a third printing, and if it's successful, do you think the extra time needed for the pre-painting will affect any timelines on your side?
That's a good question. I don't think so--maybe a week or two at most, but I can plan ahead for that. As for price changes, I really try not to change an MSRP after setting it, so I have no plans to change Tapestry's MSRP.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duarte
Portugal
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PeterCHayward wrote:
Dna_Boy wrote:
[q="jameystegmaier"]So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
As a designer, I can tell you that power level and memorability of ongoing abilities are less linked than you'd expect.
So, with so many games that have special abilities/powers in each game, what makes someone forget about it and why it should be removed because some ppl forget?

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jussi-Pekka Jokinen
Finland
Riihimäki
flag msg tools
At your service!
badge
When in Rome...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been especially puzzled about the uproar around the review embargo. I work in communications, so I'm fairly familiar with how and why embargos are used. They are rarely - if ever - used to obfuscate something. The most common use is what Jamey suggests: giving the reporters time to make a proper article. Simple as that.

For some reason, however, some rather caustic people are spinning theories about Tapestry being a really, really bad game and the embargo tries to hide this fact. Which is very, very weird, as we have a bunch of unboxing videos, a Rodney(tm) video, a ton of design diaries, and other stuff. We have ten times the amount of information we need to make the decision to buy or skip the game. If the embargo is a conspiracy to hide something, I would suggest that Jamey should never go into the spy business, he'd be like, the worst in it.
64 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Smith

Michigan
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dna_Boy wrote:
PeterCHayward wrote:
Dna_Boy wrote:
[q="jameystegmaier"]So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
As a designer, I can tell you that power level and memorability of ongoing abilities are less linked than you'd expect.
So, with so many games that have special abilities/powers in each game, what makes someone forget about it and why it should be removed because some ppl forget?

Amount of items to remember, and how easy it is to see the ongoing abilities.

You can remember a civ card because you only have 1. It's also on a large card next to your play area that should be a good indication. Generally just one Tapestry card will apply during an error, so that's not challenging either. With that, the card is directly in front of you to reference. However, it seems that a player will get multiple landmarks and a reference sheet of each ongoing activity would need to be developed and not as clearly in the player's play area.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ramon Mercado
United States
Stafford
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
(you're not going to be using an armory built in 1200 in 2019)
Clearly you haven't work for the US government.
29 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duarte
Portugal
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dettigfan222 wrote:
Dna_Boy wrote:
PeterCHayward wrote:
Dna_Boy wrote:
[q="jameystegmaier"]So, if your play-testers forgot about the abilities so easily, maybe the abilities tested weren't very useful..?
As a designer, I can tell you that power level and memorability of ongoing abilities are less linked than you'd expect.
So, with so many games that have special abilities/powers in each game, what makes someone forget about it and why it should be removed because some ppl forget?

Amount of items to remember, and how easy it is to see the ongoing abilities.

You can remember a civ card because you only have 1. It's also on a large card next to your play area that should be a good indication. Generally just one Tapestry card will apply during an error, so that's not challenging either. With that, the card is directly in front of you to reference. However, it seems that a player will get multiple landmarks and a reference sheet of each ongoing activity would need to be developed and not as clearly in the player's play area.
Just add a card with the building ability then.
It's just one more card that it's right there in front of you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
King Winter
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jamey,

Thank you for always taking the time to answer questions and be so engaged. Your transparence and dedication make you a role model for the boardgaming world. It must be tough to always answer so many questions from many different people, and it isn't wrong that people have questions, it just shows your dedication that you actually answer them!


Keep on rockin, I will be pre-ordering Tapestry the day it comes out bc it looks AWESOME
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7] |