Daniel Davis
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Something like Agricola, or Descent?

I guess there are tiers to hobby games...

I'm sure Settlers has sold more copies than, say, Ghost Stories, or many other hobby games.

But what is the general number of copies sold for a successful or popular hobby game?

Are we talking in the tens of thousands? More, or less?

Thanks.
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My understanding is that a "typical" hobby game print run is ~5,000. If a game sells 10,000+, it's definitely a smash hit.
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Yes, I think I heard Jay at Rio Grande Games say he usually prints 5000 as a first run. It it sells out he makes more.

Pretty small potatoes compared to a place like Hasbro. I wonder how many they print of a new game?
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AnakinOU wrote:
My understanding is that a "typical" hobby game print run is ~5,000. If a game sells 10,000+, it's definitely a smash hit.


Even 5,000 is pretty successful, not typical, when considering smaller publishers. There is a difference in expectation if it's Kosmos or Warfrog, to take just two examples.
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Wow - that low, eh?

I like the intimate feel of the hobby. When you buy something that only ~5,000 other people are buying, it really makes you feel like you are supporting the industry and the creators.
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So I guess my feelings of "I better buy that if I want it, before it goes OOP" are not entirely unfounded.
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tesuji wrote:
Yes, I think I heard Jay at Rio Grande Games say he usually prints 5000 as a first run. It it sells out he makes more.

Pretty small potatoes compared to a place like Hasbro. I wonder how many they print of a new game?


Based on the book "The Story of Risk and the Missing Link" Monopoly has sold in excess of 200,000,000 copies and Scrabble more than 100,000,000.

Phil Orbanes book on the history of Monopoly acknowledges sales of over 1,000,000 per year but never specifies how many copies.

The old Avalon Hill did well with a few of their games selling more than 100,000 copies.

Based on my experience and what I have read, I suggest that Magic is the biggest selling of the commercial games.
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D_Davis wrote:
So I guess my feelings of "I better buy that if I want it, before it goes OOP" are not entirely unfounded.


Nope. I mean, if what you want is Settlers, you're pretty clear. If what you want is a wargame, buy it now.
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I imagine a game like Settlers will, most likely, always be in print, or at least not too far away from a reprinting.

The newest expansion to Ghost Stories is what got me thinking about this. I just bought the original game, and I felt bad about spending any more money right now on the expansion. But if there are only a couple thousand copies floating around, I should probably snag one before it does go OOP.
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AnakinOU wrote:
My understanding is that a "typical" hobby game print run is ~5,000. If a game sells 10,000+, it's definitely a smash hit.
Wow. Assuming $50 for a game, that's just not a lot of money. Does anybody know what the average (and maybe median) profit is for the big-name publishers?
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tesuji wrote:
Yes, I think I heard Jay at Rio Grande Games say he usually prints 5000 as a first run. It it sells out he makes more.


This podcast has a great interview with Jay Tummelson. I listened to it a few years ago, and if I remember things correctly, most Rio Grande games tend to get 2-3K copies in the US. Major successes are orders of magnitude more successful (if you listen to it, I think he gives numbers for Carcassonne).

And of course, things get smaller than that. Wargame publishers famously have their "P500" programs, and might only print a thousand copies of a game.
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D_Davis wrote:
I imagine a game like Settlers will, most likely, always be in print, or at least not too far away from a reprinting.

The newest expansion to Ghost Stories is what got me thinking about this. I just bought the original game, and I felt bad about spending any more money right now on the expansion. But if there are only a couple thousand copies floating around, I should probably snag one before it does go OOP.


While I understand not wanting to miss out on something you think you'll like, this sort of viewpoint has always confused me a little bit. I mean, how many threads have I seen here on BGG about "unplayed in my collection" or some twist on that, and then people get nervous that something might go out of print and they'll miss being able to buy it.

If you already have trouble playing all the games you own, how could it possibly matter that some given game goes out of print and you miss it? Are there not hundreds of titles published every year? If, in three years, I decide I want some new game to play, I'll look around at what's in print THEN, not spend time wishing I'd bought Game X in 2010 before it went out of print.

It just seems to me that the acquisitive collector's bug is what drives these fears of "missing" games that go out of print. However, I do understand it may be a bit different for an expansion - particularly one to a game you own and play a lot. In that case, if you intend to be playing this game for years to come, and want to get something to give it new life, I can see getting the expansions while they're available. Particularly considering expansions probably have significantly SMALLER print runs than the base games do.
 
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cannoneer wrote:
If you already have trouble playing all the games you own, how could it possibly matter that some given game goes out of print and you miss it? Are there not hundreds of titles published every year? If, in three years, I decide I want some new game to play, I'll look around at what's in print THEN, not spend time wishing I'd bought Game X in 2010 before it went out of print.


Games aren't really interchangeable, though, right? Like, right now, Here I Stand is out of print. If the idea of an epic multiplayer wargame set in the Reformation appeals to you, you're gnashing your teeth at not being able to get that -- and the fact that Dominion is in print doesn't really mean a lot to you.
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This geeklist lists the sales numbers of a large number of games.

D_Davis wrote:
Something like Agricola, or Descent?

The first printrun of Agricola (Fall 2007, only in German) was 5,000, according to Uwe Rosenberg on Cliquenabend.de. At the end of 2008, it had sold 50,000 or 60,000 copies in 8 languages.

Quote:
I'm sure Settlers has sold more copies than, say, Ghost Stories, or many other hobby games.

Settlers: over 15 million items worldwide, including expansions (see the geeklist). But this is exceptional.

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That's the thing - I'm definitely not a big collector of things, at least not any more. Sold my comic books decades ago, got rid of all of my CDs about 5 years ago, and I am now in the process of getting rid of all of my DVDs (about 1,000). The only things I really keep now are books, and I guess board games. Although it's not to collect them, it's to play them. I don't sleeve cards and all that, and I only have, relatively speaking, a few (~20).

With a game I really like - like Ghost Stories - I'd be really bummed out to not have the expansion, and knowing that the print run is, probably, so low, it makes me more apt to get it sooner rather than later.
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celiborn wrote:
AnakinOU wrote:
My understanding is that a "typical" hobby game print run is ~5,000. If a game sells 10,000+, it's definitely a smash hit.
Wow. Assuming $50 for a game, that's just not a lot of money. Does anybody know what the average (and maybe median) profit is for the big-name publishers?

Did you say profit? [insert emoticon for hysterical uncontrollable laughter]

;-)
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mkozlows wrote:
cannoneer wrote:
If you already have trouble playing all the games you own, how could it possibly matter that some given game goes out of print and you miss it? Are there not hundreds of titles published every year? If, in three years, I decide I want some new game to play, I'll look around at what's in print THEN, not spend time wishing I'd bought Game X in 2010 before it went out of print.


Games aren't really interchangeable, though, right? Like, right now, Here I Stand is out of print. If the idea of an epic multiplayer wargame set in the Reformation appeals to you, you're gnashing your teeth at not being able to get that -- and the fact that Dominion is in print doesn't really mean a lot to you.



Well, I guess that's my point. For me, they (more or less) are. I mean, an epic multiplayer game set in the Reformation may appeal to me, but if it's not available, surely there's some other epic multiplayer game that would appeal just as much! I do sort of view my games as interchangeable. I don't really own any game that I would bankrupt myself to replace if I lost it. My favorite games are Ra, Amazons (which I only play online), Elfenland, and a few others. If they all magically disappeared tomorrow, I'd feel a little sad, and then play something else
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D_Davis wrote:
With a game I really like - like Ghost Stories - I'd be really bummed out to not have the expansion, and knowing that the print run is, probably, so low, it makes me more apt to get it sooner rather than later.



Yeah, I see that. But you already know you really like Ghost Stories, because you own it and play it a lot. So an expansion comes out, and you probably want to jump on it because who knows how long it'll be available.

HOWEVER, for some random game that's the Flavor of the Month here on BGG, does it really matter if you miss it?
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cannoneer wrote:

HOWEVER, for some random game that's the Flavor of the Month here on BGG, does it really matter if you miss it?


Nope!


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cannoneer wrote:
Well, I guess that's my point. For me, they (more or less) are.


Then I would not advise you to rush out and buy games just because you're afraid you might not get them later. Also, it must be easy picking a movie to watch...
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On the other hand, certain highly desirable games can be hard and/or expensive to get if circumstances result in limited print runs or prevent reprints. This can even affect games with fairly large print runs.

Some wargame hobby games that I believe many people regret not getting when they had the chance include Up Front, Dune, Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition, Bonaparte at Marengo, Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit and some early ASL modules.

It's hard to predict which games will fall into these sorts of categories but sometimes the author has announced that a run will be a limited edition that will not be reprinted, such as Napoleon's Triumph or Waterloo. In other cases there's a license involved and those sorts of agreements usually have a limited life and any games based on them could easily go out of print, never to reappear. The various War of the Ring (First Edition) games, including War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age and especially War of the Ring Collector's Edition fall into that category.
 
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I think I recall reading that both printings of Agricola were 15,000. Maybe just the second?

I think Settlers is well over the 2 million mark. Carc and TtR are both over 100,000, but I have no idea by how much.

I wish these figures were more readily available. I'd love to know how much Dominion sold in its first 12 months. 20K? 30K?
 
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AnakinOU wrote:
My understanding is that a "typical" hobby game print run is ~5,000. If a game sells 10,000+, it's definitely a smash hit.


after reading your post I was curious as to how many games of Monopoly have been sold.
According to hasbro...
* Over 200,000,000 MONOPOLY games have been sold worldwide.

surprise


According to a post above Settlers has sold 15,000,000 copies worldwide! not too bad! much higher than I suspected!
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JohnRayJr wrote:
I think Settlers is well over the 2 million mark..


Would you believe 15 million? This was a question I had asked a while ago myself and was surprised to find this answer.

http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/magazine/17-04/mf_...
 
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