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Subject: FFG, Canada and $110 games. Is anyone actually buying these now? rss

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Des Rodman
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I went to one of my FLGSs today to pick up a copy of the Normandy Expansion for TOI, only to find the game which was $49.99 a month ago is now $74.99, Looking around in disapointment the base game of TOI is now $110 (about $125 with tax), I bought it off the same shelf in the same store just over a month ago for $82.99,

So what happened? Well FFGs recent price increase, along with a week Canadian dollar and some apparent increases in shipping (according to the store employee) have driven the cost of all FFG games by 25%. And it's not just that store, I started phoning around and found that another one of my favorite stores only had one copy of Arkham Horrors Dunwich expansion left at $39.99 and they will be restocking them at either $59.99 or like the first store I mentioned the new price of $69.99. The base game which cost me $49.99 in early January is now $79.99

Anyway, needless to say I have now had to come to the hard decision to just stop buying new games from local stores. I simply can't justify $125 for a board game or $80-$90 for an expansion. I don't blame the stores, they are just doing what they have to I guess but it raises the question, how can they survive? I even seen a copy of Pandemic going for $59.99 at another store, a game that seems to sell for about $30 online so it would seem all games are being hit with increases.

I have bought 6 FFG games in the last couple months, pretty much 1 per check, but that is all over now. I will only buy their games from Craiglist or Ebay second hand. It sucks because I like to support the industry and local game stores but a 25% - 35% price increases in the course of a couple months make it a bit ridiculous to even consider at this point. Are their any Canadians out there actually sucking it up and paying these prices now or am I the only one giving up completely on new games from FFG?
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Scott Heenan
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I completely understand your feelings. FFG games were always pricey, but you typically got a great deal of stuff in the box to help justify that cost. And (with the exception of games that just aren't my type of games, e.g. the adventure games) I can't think of a FFG that's not proven to be fun. But you're correct. It's really hard to support your FLGS when the price of a new game has jumped so high.

As bad as I feel about doing it (my FLGS is very good towards myself and my gaming group), I just can't afford to drop that much money on a game. Especially when I can get it online for around 25% cheaper. So, sadly, I've moved to getting higher priced items over the internet, while purchasing lower priced stuff from my FLGS.
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Martin Manning
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I live in Australia, so this doesn't really answer your question, but...

I bought copies of Doom and Battlestar Galactica last week. The FLGS was selling them for AU$120 and AU$100 respectively, so I bought them online for AU$80 and AU$75 instead.

While the FLGS certainly has some extra expenses, I can't justify paying a 33-50% markup just to support the FLGS, especially when they don't support me - my FLGS is really just an LGS - they don't hold game nights, demonstrations, or even have a community bulletin board.
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Sheldon Morris
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FFG isn't the only one increasing thier prices. My local FLGS told me about the price jump in Days of Wonder games; something on the order of $20 regardless of previous price point.
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Tao Wong
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biggreen wrote:
So what happened? Well FFGs recent price increase, along with a week Canadian dollar and some apparent increases in shipping (according to the store employee) have driven the cost of all FFG games by 25%. And it's not just that store, I started phoning around and found that another one of my favorite stores only had one copy of Arkham Horrors Dunwich expansion left at $39.99 and they will be restocking them at either $59.99 or like the first store I mentioned the new price of $69.99. The base game which cost me $49.99 in early January is now $79.99


Most online stores went up faster than local stores I think, mostly because we have smaller inventories. But yes, compared to 6 months ago, the exchange rate has literally gotten 15-20% worst, so that drives cost up. Also, until recently, the distributors had old stock (some still do of certain games) so they hadn't raised their prices much, which is obviously a knock-on effect.

I'm not sure about shipping - haven't seen any increases in shipping ourselves, but that might be store specific.

I'd expect that you'll see at least a 5-10% increase in prices at FLGs on all games soon if not already as mentioned, as distributors and retailers feel the effects of the weaker dollar.
 
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Des Rodman
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I find it odd that other forms of entertainment don;t seem to be so fragile with their pricing ie: An average Xbox 360 game still costs $59.99 for the most part.
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Tao Wong
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biggreen wrote:
I find it odd that other forms of entertainment don;t seem to be so fragile with their pricing ie: An average Xbox 360 game still costs $59.99 for the most part.


Not being in that biz, I can't say for certain, but I would guess it's scale and cost. Most of the video / movie entertainment business is dominated by large players like Future Shop and Wal-Mart, etc. who are able to get really good prices (possibly locking in prices for months in CAD?) to do good margins. I know a friend of mine who had a video games store couldn't even get games in at the price that most large stores were selling them at.

Also, the major cost of creating video games is in the development - actual production cost is minimal. So while margins might decrease, they probably have more to lose before they start making losses - and a smaller profit on a sale is still a sale, especially when the recession is going bad. Add the issue of scale above and...

Of course, this is pure speculation. I don't have access to their financial sheets.
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Matt Olson
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It is a sad state of affairs.

I don't go to my FLGS anymore, I could barely justify the prices before, now it is just crazy. It's a good shop and I don't blame them, but as a customer my wallet is doing the talking.

I fear this may end many FLGS.

The crazy thing is that also with the cost of shipping nowadays, the so called 'money pits' of TCGs are actually more appealling to me and more viable - $2 to ship some cards that give me my game fix. The world has turned on its head.

 
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I buy from Warchest and Unhalfbricking usually.
 
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Matthew Goddard
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I find, particularly in Canada, that when I see a game online it is typically cheaper than in the store, however when I factor shipping costs it ends up being about the same. This is what I see in Toronto, not sure about Victoria.

Also, I haven't found the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar has affected much at my FLGS. It has however made a big difference if I wanted to order product online from the States. With the dollar conversion for the product plus shipping, the balance is starting to shift.
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Pete Lane
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biggreen wrote:
I find it odd that other forms of entertainment don;t seem to be so fragile with their pricing ie: An average Xbox 360 game still costs $59.99 for the most part.


But the video game industry has a VERY slight markup. At most, retailers put video game hardware and games on the shelf for only 10% above cost. In fact, it takes a successful Rock Band or Call Of Duty to make up losses for every other single title out there by certain companies. Board games range so dramatically in cost partly because the cost to MSRP ratio is much wider. Most of us can order online anything we want for 40% cheaper than our local shop will sell it for... video games will rarely go on sale outside of first week release specials.

In other words, not a fair comparison.
 
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Dean Glencross
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Where are all of the aussies buying online from?

I've only ordered online twice. First from Amazon (UK I think) and that cost the same as my FLGS would have. However, my FLGS didn't have it in stock and wouldn't have for quite a while.
The second was only recently from Games Paradise. Still waiting for half my order to come in. But the first half got here pretty quick. They do free shipping in Australia for orders over $85, if they are under 5kg. For orders over 5kg you need to order $200. Shipping is $9.50 otherwise I think.

As for prices of games. My FLGS is having trouble getting Days of Wonder games. Their supplier wasn't going to get anymore because of the price increase combined with the cost of shipping. He may have found a new supplier, but that was the situation the last time I talked to him.
 
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T. Nomad
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Not just Canada, not just FFG.

My FLGS informed me recently that when the last Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries was sold at 89.99NZD, the price would disappear with the stock. Recently arrived copies of the same game now sell for 110NZD.
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Scott Heenan
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ludopoly wrote:
I can't justify paying a 33-50% markup just to support the FLGS, especially when they don't support me - my FLGS is really just an LGS - they don't hold game nights, demonstrations, or even have a community bulletin board.


I've got the opposite situation with my FLGS. It lets us game there two nights a week, holds multiple events (albeit for non-board games), holds demos now and then. It's always willing to help us find things we're wanting. Heck, the owner is even willing to help out other local shops just because he wants to support the hobby.

Not being able to afford the few games left on my to-buy list due to price hikes sucks. So I do my best to bring in new people who I just don't mention internet stores to devil Gets him a few more sales.
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Joel Roberts
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Same problem in Australia. Bought A Game of Thrones a couple of months ago for $66 AUS now its $99.95 at Games Paradise.
 
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Chris Smith
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Meh the price of boardgames never bothers me. Sure the prices went up, but everything does eventually.

For a good board game that is going to see even a medium amount of play $80-100 is not crazy for the more "component packed" games such as the ones FFG makes.

Boardgames (the good ones) are neither cheap to produce nor made in huge mass-market quantities that can significantly lower the price.

Think about it this way:

I bought Agricola for about $80 CND - played at least a dozen times, maybe more. Average number of players each game was 4. Games lasts a good 2 hours. That's about 80 cents an hour per person (and gets cheaper with each play) - in my book that is practically free in the long run. Almost NO form of entertainment gives you as much bang for your buck as boardgames. A singlenight at the movies for those same 4 people would cost $50 at least - for maybe 2 hours of one time entertainment.

People either need to be more selective of their purchases (ie only get games that they know will get lots of play) OR manage their money better (but that's another topic altogether).
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Ernesto Cabrera
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tommynomad wrote:
Not just Canada, not just FFG.

My FLGS informed me recently that when the last Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries was sold at 89.99NZD, the price would disappear with the stock. Recently arrived copies of the same game now sell for 110NZD.


Not just Canada... not just Australia... Not just FFG

The two stores I go to (and the only ones in Mexico City) are increasing their prices considerably, this is because the mexican peso is extremely weak right now. For example last year you could see a US$40 Blokus, right now they're more like US$55-$60.

Still I prefer to buy that $60 Blokus than spend the money on three $20 DVDs (of movies I already saw and will only see once or twice) or $60-$90 on an Xbox game I will ignore after I play it till the end.

I wish I had those $60 cry...
 
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Des Rodman
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stagger lee wrote:
biggreen wrote:
I find it odd that other forms of entertainment don;t seem to be so fragile with their pricing ie: An average Xbox 360 game still costs $59.99 for the most part.


But the video game industry has a VERY slight markup. At most, retailers put video game hardware and games on the shelf for only 10% above cost. In fact, it takes a successful Rock Band or Call Of Duty to make up losses for every other single title out there by certain companies. Board games range so dramatically in cost partly because the cost to MSRP ratio is much wider. Most of us can order online anything we want for 40% cheaper than our local shop will sell it for... video games will rarely go on sale outside of first week release specials.

In other words, not a fair comparison.


But the slight mark up on video games is the exact reason why they would fluctuate with the dollar more closely as the margins are so close between profit and loss compared to board games where the mark up is extremely loose and all over the map. If Future Shop's canadian dollar buying power has dropped 20% in the last 8 months but they still sell the games for the same price who is eating the losses? It seems in a time when retailers and manufacturers are eating some of the effects of a recession to increase sales and product penetration, the board gaming industry is just closing it's eyes and pushing blidly forward like it is untouchable. It's seems pretty likleyl there will be a fairly large drop in overall sales by the end of the year for these companies and our FLGS as well, akin to Brick and mortar local book stores in the late 90's. Heck, speaking of video games look what is going on in that industry right now with lay offs and cutbacks, and every company is fighting to reduce their costs to the end consumer to fight poor sales.
 
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Des Rodman
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KillMeForPrizes wrote:
Meh the price of boardgames never bothers me. Sure the prices went up, but everything does eventually.

For a good board game that is going to see even a medium amount of play $80-100 is not crazy for the more "component packed" games such as the ones FFG makes.

Boardgames (the good ones) are neither cheap to produce nor made in huge mass-market quantities that can significantly lower the price.

Think about it this way:

I bought Agricola for about $80 CND - played at least a dozen times, maybe more. Average number of players each game was 4. Games lasts a good 2 hours. That's about 80 cents an hour per person (and gets cheaper with each play) - in my book that is practically free in the long run. Almost NO form of entertainment gives you as much bang for your buck as boardgames. A singlenight at the movies for those same 4 people would cost $50 at least - for maybe 2 hours of one time entertainment.

People either need to be more selective of their purchases (ie only get games that they know will get lots of play) OR manage their money better (but that's another topic altogether).


Actually there is a 3rd option that I have chose.

C. Buy only used games.


Done, I do care about the price of games and to be perfectly honest, If I had gotten into the hobby right now, where the first game I bought is now listed at $90.00 I likely wouldn't have even started. instead it cost me $70 and I justified that as being the same costs as a video game. To say that Board games are a better value sounds pretty silly to me, a guy that has sunk sometimes 100 hours into a $60 title and then had no problem reselling it for $40 2 months later, whereas I recently bought Wow:TBG off of a guy from Craiglsit where he had it listed for a month and a half for $40 with no one even intrested which is a $110 game, this is why I refuse to pay $110 for a game, not because I am too spendy or unfussy but because I hate feeling like I'm being taken.

You say the cost doesn;t bother, but obviously there is a breaking point, I mean you wouldn't pay say $200 for a new FFG game would you? $110, a $1100, it doesn't really make a difference, I'm not buying. I wonder how many other potential new comers to the game world will be turned off by this pricing and never take that first plunge. I don;t see it as a question of if, but how many really.
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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My FLGS now has two prices on each game they sell, one if paying in CDN$ and one in US$. The old stock still has the old price stickers. I gather the point is to demonstrate to customers the massive increase in price of new stock due to the exchange rate (and not blame the store). Actually the rate is back to the norm before 2007 (ie. 0.8 CDN to 1.0 US). The shock is the exchange rate switched from about 1:1 to 4:5 in one month (Oct).

While the actual game price 'appears' to be cheaper on a lot of online retailers, I find when the shipping is factored in the price is about the same as in my local FLGS. Thus I still shop at my FLGS.

That's not to say I haven't had sticker shock when thinking about buying some Fantasy Flight games or Z-Man games. Particularly when buying expansions. The new Game of Thrones LCG core game cost me over $50 and the Black Goat of the Woods Arkham Horror expansion seems to be going for $38 or more (for just a small box expansion!?).

What makes it annoying is the uncertaintity of future exchange rates, ie. should I hold off game purchasing until it might get better.
 
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Des Rodman
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flapjackmachine wrote:
My FLGS now has two prices on each game they sell, one if paying in CDN$ and one in US$. The old stock still has the old price stickers.


At least they are honoring the old stock prices. The FLGS I spoke of where I went today to buy the Normandy Expansion had obviously just put a new price sticker over top of the old one. When I asked him if he would honor the old price he said it was all new stock, even though you could plainly see the second price sticker overlapping the old one.
 
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Patrick McInally
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biggreen wrote:
So what happened? Well FFGs recent price increase, along with a week Canadian dollar and some apparent increases in shipping (according to the store employee) have driven the cost of all FFG games by 25%. And it's not just that store, I started phoning around and found that another one of my favorite stores only had one copy of Arkham Horrors Dunwich expansion left at $39.99 and they will be restocking them at either $59.99 or like the first store I mentioned the new price of $69.99. The base game which cost me $49.99 in early January is now $79.99

Anyway, needless to say I have now had to come to the hard decision to just stop buying new games from local stores. I simply can't justify $125 for a board game or $80-$90 for an expansion. I don't blame the stores, they are just doing what they have to I guess but it raises the question, how can they survive? I even seen a copy of Pandemic going for $59.99 at another store, a game that seems to sell for about $30 online so it would seem all games are being hit with increases.

I have bought 6 FFG games in the last couple months, pretty much 1 per check, but that is all over now. I will only buy their games from Craiglist or Ebay second hand. It sucks because I like to support the industry and local game stores but a 25% - 35% price increases in the course of a couple months make it a bit ridiculous to even consider at this point. Are their any Canadians out there actually sucking it up and paying these prices now or am I the only one giving up completely on new games from FFG?


As the games buyer at our store, I see a lot more than most people do visa vis pricing (and price increases). We try to be very transparent with our customers as to why our prices have gone up.

You're right that the crap exchange, coupled with FFG's own price increases and bumps in importing costs have seen the prices go up. There is one more issue you're likely not familiar with, however, and that is the factor of Canadian distribution.

Neither Days of Wonder nor Fantasy Flight games has a direct Canadian distributor right now -- as I've understood it, all our distributors must buy from an American distributor (Alliance being the most typical), making them sub-distributors and adding an additional price hike in the chain of sales.

[Edit: Apparently FFG does have a Canadian distributor, and we buy from them all the time. Their prices are just crazy high at the moment and they have crap stock -- probably largely due to the high prices. I assumed they weren't buying direct anymore because of their prices and lack of stock, but I was wrong -- sorry about that.)

Some companies allow us to buy direct (GMT being a great example), where others don't (we no longer stock DoW games except on special order as a consequence).

Z-Man is a tough case too. I love Zev, he's a great guy, but printing American MSRPs on the box kills his non-American retailers -- it makes us look like morons to the general public who don't know, and don't care, about what goes on in the retail chain. When he prints, say, $32.99 on a box, and in Canada the wholesale price is $25, it's not hard to see why we have to charge more. We could buy direct from Zev and drop our costs ever so slightly, but with the poor dollar right now and the shipping increases, it isn't worth it. As we get closer to the busier season, we'll be revisiting the option as Agricola, Pandemic, and Wasabi are all excellent sellers and worth bringing in large enough quantities to justify the shipping.

Anyway, online stores always sold for less, will continue to sell for less, and yes, with the big box games that run $100+, you'll save increasingly larger amounts of money by buying online. We can't compete with that, never could, so we do all sorts of other things that some people just don't care about. And that's their prerogative, but our business model assumes many people do care. So far we've been right, but times like these certainly do test the theory that price isn't ALWAYS the bottom line, at least not for everyone.
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Robert Choi
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I thought it was odd that the prices for games jumped at a time when every other industry is offering "recession" discounts.

But that's the nature of this hobby.

In the end, I think that people will focus on getting the best value for their dollar and that means purchasing games that are good quality, get played often and are super fun. You really can't go wrong spending on those types of games.

The days of throwing down a little money on an impulse-purchase game may be slowly ending.


Then again, you could always just spend your $110 on a round of golf.
 
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biggreen wrote:
The FLGS I spoke of where I went today to buy the Normandy Expansion had obviously just put a new price sticker over top of the old one. When I asked him if he would honor the old price he said it was all new stock, even though you could plainly see the second price sticker overlapping the old one.




We don't really have a FLGS as such and haven't in a long time. We do have a Hobby Town, who did exactly what was described above.

They had a ton of Ticket to Rides of different flavors for months; the day the price increases from DoW were announced, they went through and jacked the price up to the new pricepoint on each and every copy they had.

No, this was not "new" stock and it was stupid because they hadn't been able to sell them all at the OLD price point.

*sigh*


When people talk about the "dilemma" of supporting local game stores, at least I don't even have the dilemma to worry about.

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Mark McEvoy
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biggreen wrote:
I find it odd that other forms of entertainment don;t seem to be so fragile with their pricing ie: An average Xbox 360 game still costs $59.99 for the most part.


Funny, I just posted in a thread this morning on IGN, with Canadians complaining about new release games (like Street Fighter 4) now being $69.9x .

Odd that videogame hardware hasn't seen this effect. The 80GB PS3 is $399US in the US, and $399CDN in Canada. Even though $399US now represents $502CDN and change.
 
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