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Subject: A kick in the teeth rss

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Matt Fullenwider
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Am I the only one that feels like this is a kick in the teeth to those who helped support the base game even being published in the first place by pre-ordering it? Why is this an Essen exclusive? Why isn't Valley Games setting aside a certain amount to be sold on their website so those who can't get to Essen can have a shot at the expansion, instead of just leaving it as "any unsold at Spiel will be available later"? Maybe it's just me and I'm over-reacting, but this seems like yet another customer service misstep by Valley Games.
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Brent Gallmann
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At the very least... If they never sell this beyond Essen, they are losing out on some great profit potential. This is something that they could sell exclusively from their website pretty easily.
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J C Lawrence
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maelic001 wrote:
Maybe it's just me and I'm over-reacting...


Yes.

You pre-ordered Container (I presume) and so you got your game as ordered and now even have the promised bonus containers. Valley Game's obligation to you is done -- you have no reason to expect more.

As an aside, I expect that the expansion will be available after Essen, both as copies left over from Essen and via the secondary market.
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J C Lawrence
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D Erasmus wrote:
At the very least... If they never sell this beyond Essen, they are losing out on some great profit potential. This is something that they could sell exclusively from their website pretty easily.


Great profit potential? Clearly you are talking about some other industry than game publishing. Selling from their website would incur warehousing and other overhead costs, making the financial risk on an expansion (already rather high) even higher.

Expansions have small and unstable markets. They sell to only a tiny fraction of the population that bought the original game. They end up being nearly blind wagers. It is extremely hard to accurately estimate how many copies of a given expansion will sell, especially if the original game wasn't a smash hit/SdJ. The result is that expansion print runs are small (to minimise risk), thus making printing costs high and margins feather thin. The ideal is for an expansion to sell out nearly immediately else the cost of warehousing and suck capital overrun the very minimal profit margin.
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Steve Bachman
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maelic001 wrote:
Maybe it's just me and I'm over-reacting, but this seems like yet another customer service misstep by Valley Games.

No, this is not a customer service issue at all. As clearclaw pointed out, VG does not owe pre-orderers of the base game first crack at any expansions. The "kick in the teeth" is a clear overreaction because the base game is a complete - and excellent - game and the expansion is unneeded for proper play.

This is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity for good public relations and marketing for VG. If they had made enough copies for all of the pre-orders, given them first crack at ordering them prior to Essen, and then took all of the unpurchased ones with them to The Show, it might have been extremely "profitable" in less than tangible ways. Considering the flak they've taken regarding "what is the point of pre-ordering", this could have been The Answer for them. Pre-orders getting first crack at limited editions or expansions could really have been a boon for them.

For many businesses, missing golden opportunities and taking unworthy risks are often the differences between success and failure. I don't think VG will collapse due to this at all, but I really think they could have gotten a lot more out of it.
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J C Lawrence
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Ward wrote:
Pre-orders getting first crack at limited editions or expansions could really have been a boon for them.


+1
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Matt Fullenwider
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No, those that pre-ordered the original Container aren't entitled to anything more. We got our game (considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games) and we got our pre-order bonus of the plastic containers (yet again, considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games). There may very well be logistic reasons for this expansion to be released first in Essen; if the game is being printed in Germany, it's probably cheaper to pick it up there, sell as much as they can, and have less that they have ship back home with them. By "customer service" I meant much as Ward did above with his public relations comment. No, those that pre-ordered the original Container aren't entitled to anything more, but giving North American customers (not just those that pre-ordered) a shot at purchasing the expansion would be a nice gesture on Valley Games' part. (But considering Otrex only bothered to thumbs up some of the snarkier replies to this thread, and not actually address it himself, I really doubt that will happen.)
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J C Lawrence
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maelic001 wrote:
We got our game (considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games) and we got our pre-order bonus of the plastic containers (yet again, considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games).


Odd, I saw lots of communication from Valley Games here on BGG, on BGN and elsewhere about the customs, shipping, production etc status of the game and the containers.

Quote:
But considering Otrex only bothered to thumbs up some of the snarkier replies to this thread, and not actually address it himself, I really doubt that will happen.)


Looking above apparently you consider my comments snarky? Huhn. There's no snark there I'm afraid.

Aside: This is one of the reasons I loathe thumbs. They are too ambiguous to actually mean anything. I expect that in this case he was merely commenting on the two points of 1) copies of the expansion will be available post-Essen unless there's a run on the booth, and 2) Expansions are large and difficult financial risks for a small publisher.

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maelic001 wrote:
No, those that pre-ordered the original Container aren't entitled to anything more. We got our game (considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games) and we got our pre-order bonus of the plastic containers (yet again, considerably later than when we were told we were with little to no communication from Valley games). There may very well be logistic reasons for this expansion to be released first in Essen; if the game is being printed in Germany, it's probably cheaper to pick it up there, sell as much as they can, and have less that they have ship back home with them. By "customer service" I meant much as Ward did above with his public relations comment. No, those that pre-ordered the original Container aren't entitled to anything more, but giving North American customers (not just those that pre-ordered) a shot at purchasing the expansion would be a nice gesture on Valley Games' part. (But considering Otrex only bothered to thumbs up some of the snarkier replies to this thread, and not actually address it himself, I really doubt that will happen.)

+1

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clearclaw wrote:
Looking above apparently you consider my comments snarky? Huhn.

-3.14159265

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Kevin Nesbitt
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Hello again,

Just to clarify, I gave "thumbs up" to earlier posts in this thread because they contain information which is well-reasoned and balanced. Specifically the first post mentioned that likely the game will be available after Essen via leftover stock and the secondary market (true), and the second post which briefly explained the potential perils of printing an expansion (also true).

I do, however, like the idea behind offering the expansion to preorder customers first; I'm just not sure how that could possibly be policed. For example, should we cross-reference each person who orders to a list of people who preordered the base game and remove names which don't match? That seems like a waste of resources.

I think it's pretty safe to say that if we managed to sell through all 1000 copies at Essen that we would be very interested in pursuing printing a few more for the North American market. No promises, but I think if someone wants a copy of this expansion, they're probably going to be able to get it, assuming they don't wait 3 months after Essen to do so.
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Ricardo Rodrigues
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I have nothing against an expansion for container and I will probably buy it in Essen but saying that all the pre-order process with the game and with the containers (that I am still waiting for, like the Generals for Hannibal) was good!!!!
For months we did not ear a word from Valley Games, I wrote them mails asking for the containers and the Generals and got no reply, so please lets be real here, there customer service SUCKS
Their games are of really good quality, that is why I continue to pre-order from them but their customer service needs some re-arrangements.
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otrex wrote:
I do, however, like the idea behind offering the expansion to preorder customers first; I'm just not sure how that could possibly be policed. For example, should we cross-reference each person who orders to a list of people who preordered the base game and remove names which don't match? That seems like a waste of resources.

Just make it available to anyone who wants it in that case. People who bought the game are the main market for the expansion anyway. Why not just put it up for sale on your website now with the understanding they will ship post-Essen. Then sell the unsold copies at Essen (basically a reverse of the plan you have right now).

It's a win-win. People here have a much better chance to get an expansion to the game they enjoy and you'll have something to sell at Essen as well. Since the idea is sales and not exclusivity, this will make it a safe bet all around.

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johnnyrobo wrote:
Just make it available to anyone who wants it in that case. People who bought the game are the main market for the expansion anyway. Why not just put it up for sale on your website now with the understanding they will ship post-Essen. Then sell the unsold copies at Essen (basically a reverse of the plan you have right now).


Because then they run the risk of not having enough stock to cover orders -- especially orders which are placed during Essen? That would be inviting a PR disaster.

Quote:
It's a win-win. People here have a much better chance to get an expansion to the game they enjoy and you'll have something to sell at Essen as well. Since the idea is sales and not exclusivity, this will make it a safe bet all around.


And if the print run isn't sufficient to cover both venues, who is left holding the bag?
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clearclaw wrote:
johnnyrobo wrote:
Just make it available to anyone who wants it in that case. People who bought the game are the main market for the expansion anyway. Why not just put it up for sale on your website now with the understanding they will ship post-Essen. Then sell the unsold copies at Essen (basically a reverse of the plan you have right now).


Because then they run the risk of not having enough stock to cover orders -- especially orders which are placed during Essen? That would be inviting a PR disaster.

Quote:
It's a win-win. People here have a much better chance to get an expansion to the game they enjoy and you'll have something to sell at Essen as well. Since the idea is sales and not exclusivity, this will make it a safe bet all around.


And if the print run isn't sufficient to cover both venues, who is left holding the bag?

Meh. If the demand is for more than 1,000 they will invite a PR disaster in your book. What is up for sale, being 500 or 1,000 is entirely up to VG to decide.

VG can split it anyway they like (250 for orders here, 750 for Essen). It's their call. In the end, sales are sales. This way it lets those who enjoy the game a chance to order and not wait to see what is leftover from Essen.

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otrex wrote:
I do, however, like the idea behind offering the expansion to preorder customers first; I'm just not sure how that could possibly be policed. For example, should we cross-reference each person who orders to a list of people who preordered the base game and remove names which don't match? That seems like a waste of resources.

I would email all of the pre-orderers explaining that there is a one month window for ordering the expansion. To order it, they would need to reply to your email, thus limiting the need for cross-referencing.

Even if you had to go through the web interface and cross-reference the list of orders, how many are you really expecting considering you only printed 1000 copies in the first place? If you had a coupon code setup, you could utilize that. Or, if your web store is set up so that each user has an account that they have to sign in to, they could be given access that way. How you set it up is up to you, but the idea is to give pre-order incentives that are truly special.

BTW, I am not a pre-orderer of Container so I wouldn't benefit from such a plan here. I just want to see Valley Games succeed and mend some fences with their customer base (not all of the tons of complaints are from those who have a false sense of entitlement; some are truly legit). The thing about business, especially small businesses, is that PR, Marketing, and quality Customer Service are often viewed by bean counters as "a waste of resources" because it is usually a direct cost with an indirect return on investment. That's unfortunate because it doesn't take too many threads on BGG to see which game companies have the best/worst reputations, and the impact on sales is likely significant but difficult to quantify.
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Ward wrote:
I would email all of the pre-orderers explaining that there is a one month window for ordering the expansion. To order it, they would need to reply to your email, thus limiting the need for cross-referencing.

Even if you had to go through the web interface and cross-reference the list of orders, how many are you really expecting considering you only printed 1000 copies in the first place? If you had a coupon code setup, you could utilize that. Or, if your web store is set up so that each user has an account that they have to sign in to, they could be given access that way. How you set it up is up to you, but the idea is to give pre-order incentives that are truly special.

BTW, I am not a pre-orderer of Container so I wouldn't benefit from such a plan here. I just want to see Valley Games succeed and mend some fences with their customer base (not all of the tons of complaints are from those who have a false sense of entitlement; some are truly legit).

Another great idea which seems entirely workable. But as someone who pre-ordered Container, I honestly don't expect preferential treatment. I would like to see that those who enjoy this game be given the chance to pick up this expansion up.

It seems there's a consensus that there will be "some" available after Essen, so why not give your existing customers a shot first and not relegate them to waiting for leftovers?


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johnnyrobo wrote:
Meh. If the demand is for more than 1,000 they will invite a PR disaster in your book.


No, as they won't have sold copies to website users that they don't have stock for (having sold it to Essen attendees).

Quote:
What is up for sale, being 500 or 1,000 is entirely up to VG to decide.


I'd guess that the print run number is between 1 and 2 standard deviations lower than their best models can predict for 3-month sales volume. If pushed I'd estimate a total print run of around 300 but I could be way off there.

Quote:
I would like to see that those who enjoy this game be given the chance to pick up this expansion up.


It will be available to game fans, just first to Essen attending game fans. If you really want it then go to Essen. If you choose not to go to Essen then wait, along with the rest of us, for the post-Essen copies.
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clearclaw wrote:
johnnyrobo wrote:
Meh. If the demand is for more than 1,000 they will invite a PR disaster in your book.


No, as they won't have sold copies to website users that they don't have stock for (having sold it to Essen attendees).

Quote:
What is up for sale, being 500 or 1,000 is entirely up to VG to decide.


I'd guess that the print run number is between 1 and 2 standard deviations lower than their best models can predict for 3-month sales volume. If pushed I'd estimate a total print run of around 300 but I could be way off there.

Quote:
I would like to see that those who enjoy this game be given the chance to pick up this expansion up.


It will be available to game fans, just first to Essen attending game fans. If you really want it then go to Essen. If you choose not to go to Essen then wait, along with the rest of us, for the post-Essen copies.

Blather. Whether it is sold at Essen or online is immaterial. Affording a X% of stock for online sales here will garner some advantages. The importance of those advantages is up for VG to decide.

Of course it's stating the painfully obvious that it will be available at Essen to game fans, and that buying a ticket to Germany will secure one a copy. However there are ways to let fans of the games jump through fewer hoops.

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Paul Sauberer
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Realistically, this is a non-issue. Kevin said they are printing 1000 copies of the expansion. That should more than cover the number of copies they will sell in Essen. I am sure that the VG guys are making plans to transport the bulk of the expansion back to Canada.

Just to reiterate, they are printing 1000 copies of the expansion. Given that the base game is still readily available and the likely print run of the base game this print run of the expansion will probably cover the demand for at least a few months.

If they were to sell out at Essen, the VG guys would probably reprint it as fast as they can. That would be after they cleaned the stains out of their trousers, because selling out like that would undoubtedly cause them to be soiled.
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Psauberer wrote:
1000 copies


Whoa. I'm impressed.
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clearclaw wrote:
Psauberer wrote:
1000 copies


Whoa. I'm impressed.

Well, that was part of the initial announcement and is on the game page itself. shake
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Ward wrote:
Well, that was part of the initial announcement and is on the game page itself. :shake:


Hunh. So it is. I don't think I ever viewed the actual game page before.
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clearclaw wrote:
Ward wrote:
Well, that was part of the initial announcement and is on the game page itself. shake


Hunh. So it is. I don't think I ever viewed the actual game page before.


Or read Kevin's response on this page it seems...

otrex wrote:
I think it's pretty safe to say that if we managed to sell through all 1000 copies at Essen...


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I guess that Kevin is the person to talk with there. I had a BAD time with the other person there at Customer support but Kevin seems to want to try and get thigs worked out with people.
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