James King
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My curiosity was recently both piqued and peaked by Thought Hammer's current ad banner running on Board Game Geek advertising itself thusly as: "Thought Hammer: 21st Century Games, 19th Century Prices."

Having myself once owned a copy of the republished 1899 Sears & Roebuck Catalogy, I was absolutely dumbfounded by the claim of Thought Hammer's ad since it didn't fully clarify whether Thought Hammer was actually claiming that its regular prices were as literally or comparatively low as 19th-century prices for like/similar products OR whether they might be having a 19th-century-prices theme sale. After reviewing their website's content, I decided it had to be the former than the latter.

Fortunately, however, I discovered another webpage created by a gamer, Stephen B. Mann, who'd collated a list of 19th-century items and their respective 19th-century prices from a reproduction of the 1897 Sears & Roebuck Catalog which, he said, could be of great use to any Game Master setting an RPG game in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, such as for the "Space 1889" and "Castle Falkenstein" RPG games. His "19th Century Prices" webpage may be viewed at: http://www.softwave.info/incanus/sears.html

Now, although the 1897 Sears & Roebuck Catalog evidently didn't list any board games, it did list 19th-century regular playing-card decks ranging in quality and price from 8 cents to 30 cents per package.

I note, however, that on Thought Hammer's website, it listed 21st-century card decks representing special/upscale regular playing cards used in standard card games ranging in price from $4.00 to $7.23 as seen at: http://www.thoughthammer.com/advanced_search_result.php?inc_...

In my opinion, the prices that Thought Hammer has set for upscale/special regular-playing-card decks don't strike me as being credibly comparable to 19th-century prices for the same/similar product.

Therefore, given the prices cited in the sampling of other items below from that same 1897 Sears & Roebuck Catalogue, in your opinion, what 19th-century-level prices should Thought Hammer be setting for today's 21st-century modern strategy board, card & tile games in order for them to be able to realistically claim that their overall pricing for 21st-century games is genuinely evocative of and credibly comparable to "19th Century Prices"?

ACTUAL 19th CENTURY PRICES FROM THE 1897 SEARS & ROEBUCK CATALOGUE

ITEM / PRICE RANGE / PER
Coffee $00.15 - $00.35 pound
Meat $00.06 - $00.15 pound
Fish $00.05 pound
Canned Fish $00.04 - $00.45 can
Soup $00.25 - $00.80 can
Flour (various types) $00.02 - $00.05 pound
Rice $00.03 - $00.06 pound
Pasta $00.08 - $00.13 pound
Cheese $00.11 - $00.85 pound
Candy $00.07 - $00.20 pound
Soap $00.03 - $00.06 bar/cake
Perfume $00.35 - $00.48 2 oz. bottle
Matches $00.01 - $00.03 hundred
Broom $00.08 - $00.50 each
Ice Skates $00.25 - $03.65 pair
Table Cutlery $00.40 - $02.65 set
Gas Stoves/Ovens $01.40 - $19.50 each
Men's Suits $02.98 - $22.00 each
Men's Coats $01.50 - $04.50 each
Men's Pants $00.75 - $05.00 each
Men's Overcoats $06.95 - $12.75 each
Men's Vests $00.65 - $04.00 each
Men's Summer Coats $00.35 - $07.50 each
Men's Smoking Jackets $03.25 - $09.50 each
Men's Overalls $00.35 - $02.38 each
Boy's Long Pants Suits $02.35 - $08.00 suit
Boy's Long Pants $00.75 - $02.95 each
Boy's Two/Four Piece Suits $00.75 - $04.35 suit
Boy's Knee Pants $00.15 - $01.25 each
Men's Mackintoshes $02.95 - $08.40 each
Boy's Mackintosh Coats $02.75 - $04.95 each
Ladies Mackintoshes $02.95 - $09.40 each
Children's/Ladies Shoes $00.60 - $03.50 pair
Men's Shoes $01.25 - $03.75 pair
Men's Boots $00.85 - $05.50 pair
Men's Shirts $00.37 - $01.45 each
Men's Sweaters $00.25 - $03.25 each
Men's Hose $00.25 - $01.10 pair
Suspenders $00.18 - $02.96 each
Neckties $00.18 - $00.58 each
Bow Ties $00.06 - $00.38 each
Men's Handkerchiefs $00.35 - $04.35 dozen
Ladies Handkerchiefs $00.50 - $03.75 dozen
Men's Gloves/Mittens $00.08 - $01.45 pair
Ladies Gloves/Mittens $00.09 - $01.75 pair
Men's Hats/Caps $00.21 - $05.25 each
Men's Long Sleeve Undershirt $00.25 - $01.37 each
Men's Undershirt/Long Pants $00.50 - $01.16 set
Ladies Union Suit $00.43 - $01.25 each
Ladies Undershirts $00.06 - $00.87 each
Men's Socks $00.08 - $00.48 pair
Ladies Hose $00.05 - $02.47 pair
Trunks $00.48 - $08.00 each
Suitcases $00.35 - $05.25 each
Ladies Shirts $00.25 - $03.98 each
Ladies Skirts $01.19 - $09.25 each
Ladies Wraps $00.69 - $14.75 each
Ladies Suits $03.15 - $18.00 set
Ladies Night Gowns $00.39 - $01.60 each
Sewing/Crochet Needles $00.04 paper
Ladies Wallets $00.05 - $00.92 each
Comb $00.05 - $00.32 each
Hair Brush $00.15 - $00.90 each
Toothbrush $00.03 - $00.28 each
Ladies Belts $00.10 - $00.60 each
Yarn $00.55 - $01.30 pound
Books $00.12 - $04.25 each
Playing Cards $00.08 - $00.30 package
Violins $02.00 - $46.95 each
Guitars $03.95 - $00.00 each
Banjos $02.10 - $21.00 each
Harps $03.00 - $29.30 each
Autoharps $02.75 - $18.50 each
Zithers $03.70 - $11.90 each
Regina (record player) $08.70 - $78.95 each
Flutes $01.60 - $15.10 each
Clarinets $04.35 - $14.85 each
Drums $04.60 - $17.15 each
Cymbals $01.85 - $10.20 each
Cornet $04.95 - $13.45 each
Trombone $06.95 - $14.45 each
Croquet Sets $00.65 - $03.40 each
Rugby Foot Balls $00.35 - $02.20 each
Baseballs $00.03 - $01.25 each
Baseball Bats $00.20 - $00.75 each
Baseball Gloves $00.20 - $07.50 each

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Jeff
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This is the most insane post I have ever read.

I mean that in the good way.
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Have you considered the relative value of money in the same time period? Cost of living? Average wages and the such...you might find that the low, low prices listed for the 19th century translate into much higher prices in the 21st century. A penny in the 19th century could actually buy you something whereas a penny today has very little spending power. Just a thought for comparative analysis.

A very commendable effort in your post! I don't see opium or heroin listed as these were fairly common medicinal items in those times, but not illegal so the prices would vary from then and now. laugh
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Bill Bennett
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Using the calculations from the website Measuring Worth, based on the Consumer Price Index (which seems appropriate for evaluating consumer goods), the price range of $0.08 - $0.30 in 1897 correlates to $2.14 - $8.03 in 2008 dollars. It seems Thought Hammer's prices fall right in that range, so not literally, but comparatively the same. For general reference, the website claims that $1 in 1897 is equivalent to $26.78 in 2008. That would make a $50 board game about $1.87 in 1897 currency.
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Vincent Coppola
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You people simply have too much time on your hands.
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Rik Van Horn
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Oy vey.
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Judythecat wrote:
You people simply have too much time on your hands.


Hazzah!
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BGG: the place where someone always has a lot more free time than you do.
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Robert Stetler
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Nice post.

But you're definitely correct - Thoughthammer isn't offering 19th century prices. In the 19th century, prices were too often set by guilds or regional monopolies. And different customers got different prices depending on the season, the seller's mood, or their connection to the customer. Things are far too competitive now for any of that.

So Thoughthammer needs to grind all competition into the dust, and then cruelly dominate their now captive customers with unreliable service and iron fist pricing. Only *then* can they be worthy of claiming 19th century prices!
 
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Wrayman wrote:
Judythecat wrote:
You people simply have too much time on your hands.


Hazzah!


Huzzah!

Fixed that for you. Only took 30 seconds.
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KGBRadioMoskow wrote:
Nice post.

But you're definitely correct - Thoughthammer isn't offering 19th century prices. In the 19th century, prices were too often set by guilds or regional monopolies. And different customers got different prices depending on the season, the seller's mood, or their connection to the customer. Things are far too competitive now for any of that.


Hmm, actually they sell FRED and Mayfair games which ARE set by regional monopolies. The DO have price fixing. Isn't life grand.
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Wray Cason
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kdean1 wrote:
Wrayman wrote:
Judythecat wrote:
You people simply have too much time on your hands.


Hazzah!


Huzzah!

Fixed that for you. Only took 30 seconds.


You are right.

I am too

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hazzah
 
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Rokkr wrote:
Oy vey.


Nice facepalm Rik. But a double facepalm would be here more appropriate.

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That is not Depeche but rather
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kochamkinie wrote:
Rokkr wrote:
Oy vey.


Nice facepalm Rik. But a double facepalm would be here more appropriate.


As amused as I am by the topic, I'm equally amused by Facepalm images:
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Bilben04 wrote:
Using the calculations from the website Measuring Worth, based on the Consumer Price Index (which seems appropriate for evaluating consumer goods), the price range of $0.08 - $0.30 in 1897 correlates to $2.14 - $8.03 in 2008 dollars. It seems Thought Hammer's prices fall right in that range, so not literally, but comparatively the same. For general reference, the website claims that $1 in 1897 is equivalent to $26.78 in 2008. That would make a $50 board game about $1.87 in 1897 currency.


I actually use this all the time when buying old games or Lego sets. Makes me feel better when I spend my money.
 
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hibikir wrote:
BGG: the place where someone always has a lot more free time than you do.


That was damn funny. It needs a microbadge yesterday.
 
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I think Thoughthammer has it right. Think about it. Every game that they have on their site didn't even exist in the 19th century.

So if you wanted to actually be able to buy them during that era, you'd have to cover the additional expenses of having them shipped to you from the future. Time-machine usage is not cheap.

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James King
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Bilben04 wrote:
Using the calculations from the website Measuring Worth, based on the Consumer Price Index (which seems appropriate for evaluating consumer goods), the price range of $0.08 - $0.30 in 1897 correlates to $2.14 - $8.03 in 2008 dollars. It seems Thought Hammer's prices fall right in that range, so not literally, but comparatively the same. For general reference, the website claims that $1 in 1897 is equivalent to $26.78 in 2008. That would make a $50 board game about $1.87 in 1897 currency.

Thank you for that enlightening response. I say that because if Thought Hammer is indeed offering 21st-century games at 19th-century prices, then by comparison, quite a number of its competitors, including BoulderGames.com, Superherogameland.com, CoolStuffInc.com, and FairPlayGames.com among others, are offering even more competitive 19th-century prices for their 21st-century games. Indeed, one might even might go so far as to say that that aforementioned quartet of online game stores offer even lower 18th-, 17- and 16th-century prices for their 21st-century games.

After all, the real price comparison that tells the story is simply by using the 21st-century game-price-comparison search engine www.boardgameprices.com from which Thought Hammer withdrew its participation apparently because it readily shows all too clearly that Thought Hammer's prices weren't and still aren't as competitive as a number of its competitors.

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ze_stom wrote:
KGBRadioMoskow wrote:
Nice post.

But you're definitely correct - Thoughthammer isn't offering 19th century prices. In the 19th century, prices were too often set by guilds or regional monopolies. And different customers got different prices depending on the season, the seller's mood, or their connection to the customer. Things are far too competitive now for any of that.

Hmm, actually they sell FRED and Mayfair games which ARE set by regional monopolies. The DO have price fixing. Isn't life grand.

More importantly, to the best of my recollection, after BoardsandBits.com, Thought Hammer was the second online game store to support Mayfair Games' price-fixing policy.

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James King
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Judythecat wrote:
You people simply have too much time on your hands.

Ah, but there's the rub: While we 21st-century gamers may have too much time on our hands, alas, we still don't have enough money in our pockets to afford as many of the 21st-century games at even the most competitive 19th-century prices as we'd like to get!
 
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Bill Bennett
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Thank you for that enlightening response. I say that because if Thought Hammer is indeed offering 21st-century games at 19th-century prices...blah, blah, blah [editorial summation: Thought Hammer sucks!]


Looks like I inadvertently pushed your hot button. shake

Is it just me or did that sound dirty?
 
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James King
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Bilben04 wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Bilben04 wrote:
Using the calculations from the website Measuring Worth, based on the Consumer Price Index (which seems appropriate for evaluating consumer goods), the price range of $0.08 - $0.30 in 1897 correlates to $2.14 - $8.03 in 2008 dollars. It seems Thought Hammer's prices fall right in that range, so not literally, but comparatively the same. For general reference, the website claims that $1 in 1897 is equivalent to $26.78 in 2008. That would make a $50 board game about $1.87 in 1897 currency.

Thank you for that enlightening response. I say that because if Thought Hammer is indeed offering 21st-century games at 19th-century prices, then by comparison, quite a number of its competitors, including BoulderGames.com, Superherogameland.com, CoolStuffInc.com, and FairPlayGames.com among others, are offering even more competitive 19th-century prices for their 21st-century games. Indeed, one might even might go so far as to say that that aforementioned quartet of online game stores offer even lower 18th-, 17- and 16th-century prices for their 21st-century games.

After all, the real price comparison that tells the story is simply by using the 21st-century game-price-comparison search engine www.boardgameprices.com from which Thought Hammer withdrew its participation apparently because it readily shows all too clearly that Thought Hammer's prices weren't and still aren't as competitive as a number of its competitors.

Looks like I inadvertently pushed your hot button. shake

Is it just me or did that sound dirty?

In response to your tiny-print afterword response ("Is it just me or did that sound dirty?"), I would say yes, it does, but only jokingly so in the popular-vernacular sense of "filthy lucre" (i.e. a jocular slang term for money) in the best "Caveat Emport" (May the Buyer beware) sense of the term.

However, I take exception to your assumption that you supposedly "pushed [my] hot button." After all, in response to your own post, I'd presented cold hard facts about how gamers could objectively and dispassionately compare game prices using www.boardgameprices.com and make informed choices about which online game store(s) might best suit them pricewise to order their 21st-century games from. At the same time, I also advocate that before ordering, gaming consumers compare prospective merchants' shipping incentives & costs and records of customer service as well.

 
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Progmode wrote:
As amused as I am by the topic, I'm equally amused by Facepalm images:


Bonus points in my book for the image from (I believe) "Potemayo".
 
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UndeadViking wrote:
hibikir wrote:
BGG: the place where someone always has a lot more free time than you do.


That was damn funny. It needs a microbadge yesterday.

yeah, but who has time to make one?
 
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