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Subject: Print Run Lengths rss

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Michael Owen
United States
Bellevue
Washington
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Are board games today seeing shorter print runs before they are out of print? This trend seems to be present in the RPG market.
 
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John Di Ponio
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No idea on RPG's ...but from a boardgame standpoint and especially a war game, print runs are mostly small. Having a pre order system for many companies guarantees a sales total on a run. Based on how popular the game gets by plays, subject title, convension demos, word of mouth, a game could be out of print VERY fast. Companies not wanting to stick their neck out and print another large batch will offer a pre-sale on a reprint run which usually ends up being 18 months or so down the road due to other projects in the pipeline. That is to say...the pre- order quantity has to hit the producton minimum again....usually 500 or 750 units.
 
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Seth Owen
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I don't think any print runs as few as 500 copies. A P500 order is the minimum to crank up the production line because the price point is usually set so that selling that many units will break even. The actual production runs seem to be at least 2,000 copies.

Most wargames will be lucky to sell all 2,000 within two years, but a few will be big hits and will exhaust that 2,000 run. Then the company is faced with a decision. Is there some indication that there's enough of an unmet demand to justify a second run or reprint? That decision will be affected by factors such as how fast did the first run sell out.

There have been some recent cases of games that sold out within a few months of release and some companies, such as GMT, have put reprints on their P500 list.
 
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Werner Bär
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Karlsruhe
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A few years ago, a staff member of a big german publisher wrote in the german Spielbox Forum that a typical first print run is 3000 - 10000 units. For a large box game, 25000 copies sold in 5+ years is considered a big success (exception being the Spiel des Jahres).

Smaller publishers might have (much) lower print runs. IIRC Roads & Boats was 100 or 200 copies for the first edition.
 
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Seth Owen
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Werbaer wrote:
A few years ago, a staff member of a big german publisher wrote in the german Spielbox Forum that a typical first print run is 3000 - 10000 units. For a large box game, 25000 copies sold in 5+ years is considered a big success (exception being the Spiel des Jahres).

Smaller publishers might have (much) lower print runs. IIRC Roads & Boats was 100 or 200 copies for the first edition.


Which is a good indication of how much of a niche market these kinds of games are.

So successful wargames sell 2,000 to 5,000 copies.

Successful euro games sell 10,000 to 25,000 copies.

Anyone hazard a guess how many copies of Monopoly or Scrabble sell every year?
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