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Subject: Eco-friendly gaming rss

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Benny Sperling
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Okay, so as a future game publisher, I find myself doing battle with the notion of being environmentally friendly with the notion of putting out games that are comparable to games currently on the market.

My question is this: If I published an eco-friendly version of a game I would publish the normal way would anyone be interested?

The stock would be 100% recycled, it would use soy-based ink and come in a recycled container. However, unless I can figure out a way to coat the cards with some sort of eco-friendly varnish, they won't be coated and by that token will not be comparable to games currently on the market except for Cheapass Games.

Feel free to comment, I know gamers like to play games that look and feel nice and I want to ensure that I put out high quality, but at the same time it would be awesome to be eco-friendly as I plan to use solar power for the printing energy as well.
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T. Nomad
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If the game itself is a good game, I will always buy an eco-firendly version over a cheaper non-friendly one. Hell, I just spent a year waiting for a series fo games to be muled by traveling friends and family, rather than having them shipped.

My favourite supermarkets are the ones which list how far a product has travelled to go to the shelf.
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Will
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Benny if you do so count me as a customer and a promoter.
 
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Mark Buetow
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Why aren't standard materials eco friendly? Why not go with the best components regardless of origin? If you use soy ink, you're going to raise the price of soy milk and soy burgers. devil
 
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tommynomad wrote:
Hell, I just spent a year waiting for a series of games to be muled by traveling friends and family, rather than having them shipped.


A games mule eh. Some games are illegal in some countries meaning they might have had to....zombie

I can only hope the games were small and the boxes didn't have pointy edges.

Benny, I'm on the side of quality over eco-friendly I'm afraid. Gaming is the one thing I do 'for me' and I want quality.

I take caring for the planet seriously but feel I do enough in other areas to compensate for my gaming tastes.

Hope the feedback helps.
 
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Will
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If anybody know the game XEKO you will see that quality is SUPERB there even with golden soy inks. In fact XEKO has the cards with the best quality on the market. Hard stock doesn't mean a good printing, lamination doesn't mean the proper use of colors. Game designs depend on the quality of the game itself plus the quality of the materials.

I also think people get used to some things they are not aware have nothing to do with quality. For example people tends to think life means to wake up at 7, go to work, have lunch, more work, back to home or the gym and then go to sleep. Usually an office bunny doesn't know any better and even without the office on the weekend he/she is constrain by what they are used to. In my country meat eaters for example tend to think they cannot change but when the inflation hit us meat was too expensive and several soy market developed here. Now you can find a lot of vegan merchandise that wasn't years before. People got used to eat a lot healthier and they do not know it. When you ask somebody hit by the crisis you will notice they haven't change much, but they bought what the market provided and in that case it was a healthier option: vegetables. These days our capitol city is more estable so people went back to meat because old habits are hard to quit, yet the vegan market is stronger than ever not because it was meant to be vegan but because opportunity hit and some got used to the new option.

I think a new brand can be set on the board game business with eco-friendly games... if they are good games, of course.

Care to try ?
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Jeffrey D Myers
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I think that our worthy publisher is concerned about carbon footprint, oil resource consumption, etc., not only the landfill problem....

I think that linen finish is still possible with paper products, so be sure to aim that direction!

Edit: added "only".
 
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Will
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Also think that if a game is good... everybody will buy it no matter what.
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tommynomad wrote:
If the game itself is a good game, I will always buy an eco-firendly version over a cheaper non-friendly one.


thumbsup I tend to agree with this line of thinking. thumbsup

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B C Z
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I would worry more about WHERE it was printed then WHAT it was printed on/with.

If I had a choice between 'made in China' and 'made anywhere else', I would always pick the 'anywhere else'.

Sadly, I don't tend to get that option.

Also, given the costs of printing, I urge to go with only one or the other -- making multiple versions of the same thing when it's not proven it will sell leads to warehousing costs.
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Eddy Richards
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If you could make it fair trade as well as environmentally I will guarantee to buy it sight unseen! There's no reason for boardgames to shy away from practical issues like these. I'll bet there are already eco-friendly solutions to printing glossy cards which can withstand wear and tear.

Go for it!
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Mircea Pauca
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Encourage mutual gaming libraries among larger groups, so that each given piece of dead tree waits unused as little as possible ;-)

Now, this may conflict with the desire to sell many units...
 
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James Hutchings
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No doubt you've thought of this already, but if the game is pretty easy and the *theme* is also green/fair trade, you might have a new market. You might even be able to get sponsorship.
 
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James Hutchings
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I'm likely to be putting out a role-playing game product next year, and I've been looking at environmentally-friendly printing.

I've decided to try and go with an 'unbleached rough brown' kind of look, because the setting is fantasy and that's what most people's idea of parchment is anyway (D&D 3rd edition actually has pages which are glossy white paper...printed with brown ink shake ).

So maybe that's a way of turning a potential problem into an advantage: it's not a bad imitation of a glossy game, it's a game with a uniquely realistic fantasy look...
 
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James Hutchings
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Maybe cards are going to be your biggest problem...could a random table substitute?
 
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Simon Harris
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I appreciate the OP is coming from a designer's perpsective but taking the wider view, surely we players have the biggest carbon footprint within this hobby. By that I mean; how many 'player miles' of gas-guzzling transport did your last games session consume?

Perhaps we ought to think of a suitable metric to define the eco-friendliness of our sessions? Things to include; total miles travelled to venue, # players, # games played etc. Carbon offsetting, anyone? Any suggestions?

Simon
 
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Hiding Tiger
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tommynomad wrote:
My favourite supermarkets are the ones which list how far a product has travelled to go to the shelf.
I love that idea. I wish our supermarkets would start that - but I think it's highly unlikely.
 
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The earth has spent it's life recycling itself. Some of the products it creates and we create (though we are still a product of the materials found here on Earth) take longer than other products.

With that said, given the choice between two identical games produced in completely different manners i'll continue to buy the game that provides the best value for my dollar.

As far as a statement made about 'healthy' food, here is my response.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn9oiiGzAG8

And I think the book 'Undercover Economist' has something to say about 'fair' trade.
 
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Pete C
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How many board games end up in the land fill?

Not many, huh.

Making a board game ECO friendly won't make a bit of difference. It's going to get lost in the noise compared to the big offenders.

Once the human race is extinct the planet will turn any human made thing back into dust, given enough time. Yes, even nuclear waste.

The whole ECO friendly thing is mostly a feel good, I'm holier than tho movement anyway. This planet, all on it's own, has generated wayyyyyyy more toxic environments than anything us puny humans could even dream of.

So... I would focus on making a good game and not worry about it's ECO friendly status. Because a good game is less likely to end up in a land fill in the first place. People will just Ebay it for the next 1000 years
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Tony Chen
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I'd definitely buy eco editions if they are done well. A good artistic touch can make shitty components look nice.
 
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Sara
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Great idea! If I'm interested in the game concept I would certainly buy an eco-friendly game.

Go for it!
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very nice idea!

I did not read all the posts in the thread, so I apologize if this has been mentioned, but is it also possible to make boxes fit the size of the contents without too much waste of empty space. I have a couple of wargames that are ~40% empty space!!! Perhaps size does matter, so these folks use similar box sizes regardless of the amount of contents going into the boxes?
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James Hutchings
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Cringing Dragon wrote:
tommynomad wrote:
My favourite supermarkets are the ones which list how far a product has travelled to go to the shelf.
I love that idea. I wish our supermarkets would start that - but I think it's highly unlikely.


Coincidentally, Friends of the Earth Australia is in the process of starting a pseudo-supermarket which will do just that. Unfortunately this is in Victoria.
 
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James Hutchings
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counterrefinisher wrote:
And I think the book 'Undercover Economist' has something to say about 'fair' trade.


Two economists are walking down the road, and they see a dog turd on the ground.

"I'll give you $20,000 to eat that" one says.

The other winces, but eventually gives in. He eats the dog turd, takes his $20,000, and they walk on.

Then they come to another dog turd.

"You know what", says the second economist.
"I'll give you $20,000 if you eat that."

The first economist thinks for a bit, but eventually eats the dog turd and collects his $20,000, and they walk on.

"Hm..." the first economist says.
"Neither of us has any more money than we had before, and we've both eaten a dog turd. I'm not sure we're better off."

"Of course we're better off" the second economist replies.
"We've been involved in $40,000 worth of trade."
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Benny Sperling
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Thanks for the response everyone!! I don't know about making a game about being eco-friendly, but we are seriously looking at ways to print and package that do not cause trees to be cut down and oil to be turned into ink. I will certainly keep everyone posted about what we plan to do.

At this point, we are striving for the highest possible quality to match what the other game companies produce, because I wouldn't buy a game that looked crappy either. But I think it is worth the effort in the long run. If more game companies made the change to printing through "green" printers and stopped shipping their ideas to China to be printed we would still get quality in our gaming.

But here's the bottom line, I feel no obligation to spout nonsense to you guys and I feel that you should know the truth about gaming. Games cost money to produce, you have to pay the printer for paper, ink, and coating, you have to pay the distributors to put the games in stores, and you have to pay the designers/artists for working on the project. While this doesn't leave much leftover, it gets smaller when you look at being "green." Soy ink costs more than regular ink, because it isn't used as readily. Recycled paper costs more than regular paper, because it is is more expensive to produce. "Green" printers charge more money to produce games than Chinese printers. So as a game company, which would you prefer? Most game companies are trying to make money and I can respect that, but I believe there should be something more than making money in a company. I believe you should pursue and stand up for your ideals and try to make the world a better place. Will I still believe this in a year or so when I have made very little from my games? Absolutely, because I have a regular job, I just want to spread a little happiness around and try to make the world a little better for the children and their children.
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