London
Ohio
msg tools
mbmb
I found BGG because I was looking for some boardgames for my wife and I to play together, and possibly for the family when they come over. Naive as I was I thought maybe games published in the 1950 to 1970 range might be good games because people had less to entertain them, so maybe their games were better. I figured I could buy these used games cheap off of e-bay.

Then I found BGG and realized there are tons of games out there just waiting to be had. Many of them published in the last 10 years. So I've ordered 4 games for my wife and I to try out.

OK enough about me.

My question is: Why aren't any of these games sold in stores like Wal-mart, Target ect.... I mean you would think something like Ticket to Ride would be an easy sell. Really, though, when I look at stores I only see 2 kinds of games being sold: 1. The same old games that have been sold since before I could even read (Risk, Candyland, Monopoly, Sorry) or 2. Games with a popular TV, Movie or Actor/actress theme where you are really buying the game for the theme, not the game play.

Why can't great games like Ticket to Ride, Lost Cities, Agricola, Puerto Rico, ect.... ever make it mainstream?


8 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Munsch
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some have managed to make it. Borders has carried Battlestar Galactica and others. Target carries Wits and Wagers, Sorry Sliders, Blokus, and a few other good titles.

And according to Wired, Catan has managed to increase its profile to the point where it has over 600K sold in the US.

But you're right, we're a far cry from a time when you can drop by your local big box and buy more than a few of the top 100 from BGG.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave
United States
Lafayette
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know that there's a handful of non-mainstream games available on wal-mart's website, but I think the shipping takes an extra 7 days or something like that... I'm assuming they need to seek out a third party to fill their order for them, or something like that.

I could be wrong, but if Wal-Mart started carrying Dominion (for example), would Rio Grande Games be able to keep up with the quantities required for every walmart to have it in their store? I think there are more Wal-Marts than there are local game stores, so it could be difficult for publishers (both large and small) to keep up with the constant demand.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Peekaboo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's all about the money. It's a rare board game that sells enough units to make it worth it for Wal-Mart, etc. to bother carrying them.

And do you really want operations like that dictating things like box size, price point, and so forth to the manufacturers?

I don't.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Yes, as John mentioned the major book stores have become reliable places to purchase the most well-known Euro games. I know our Barnes and Noble, for instance, has Settlers and Carcassone. Their selection expands and contracts a bit with the Christmas season.

Additionally, I note that Euros are beginning to pop up again in Toys R Us. Blokus, Qwirkle, Axis and Allies (in its many iterations), and now many of the Ravensburger kids games. Of course, none of this will continue if the games just sit on the shelves. So we need people to actually consume the games at the big box retailers if we ever expect to see a wider selection.

Sadly, since most of the folks reading this are already converts, and already have these games, that's not much help.

Jason
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henry Ho
United States
Frederick
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
- Too expensive
- Foreign publishers
- "Advanced" boardgames (i.e.: non-Monopoly, non-Risk) are still too non-mainstream for regular family boardgamers
- Just simply TOO "foreign"
- Too difficult to learn

For a typical toys/games shopper, games must be affordable (less than $30). Even at that $30 amount, it's still way too high for most people. The next problem is that we Americans are not into "worldly" things. Games like Puerto Rico and Agricola would turn people away instantly just because of the name alone. I can see Ticket To Ride making it in mainstream stores because the name is easy to understand. The next hurdle that TTR has to jump would be to convince people that a railroad game is ok to play and not too difficult to learn. There will have to be some marketing to let people know that it's "safe" and easy to pick up. Publishers of these games probably don't have the extra money to spend on this type of mass marketing.

We boardgame geeks will just have to convert one person at a time...no matter how slow and long it will take.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Abraham Drucker
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
MOAR GAMES
badge
Damn Dirty Ape I Love You
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
IIRC a couple of years ago Target briefly piloted carrying Settlers in its stores, but I guess it didn't move enough copies to get picked up. A game has to sell a LOT of copies before a box retailer will pick it up. As much as we love these games, they just haven't quite gotten to the level of popularity necessary to get picked up.

edit:
The second issue is price point. On the whole, there is a $30 or so limit for games in these types of stores. There are some exceptions, but not until Cranium came around and busted through the conventional wisdom did the majors even think about higher price points. With Agricola having an MSRP of $70, I don't think any of these places would even touch it. Also, Settlers has the issue of mayfaire fixing prices. target and walmart would want discounts that would alienate the rest of mayfair's distribution channel and would hurt the rest of their business (although it might be worth it for them to sell substantially more copies of the game).
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MisterG wrote:
It's all about the money. It's a rare board game that sells prints enough units to make it worth it for Wal-Mart, etc. to bother carrying them.


Fixed.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JasonMatthews wrote:
...So we need people to actually consume the games at the big box retailers if we ever expect to see a wider selection.

Sadly, since most of the folks reading this are already converts, and already have these games, that's not much help.


Not only that. But most of the people reading this can't bear to imagine purchasing any game at full retail cost. So, each and every one of those games have to either be sold to casual- or non-gamers, or get vacuumed up by gamers once they're marked down for clearance because they didn't sell when they needed to be sold.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clement Tey
Singapore
Singapore
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
J.L.Robert wrote:
(Or) get vacuumed up by gamers once they're marked down for clearance because they didn't sell when they needed to be sold.

Wouldn't happen if they had Glory to Rome. Full retail's not a problem for that game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rolinder Heigh
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I for one think that mainstream stores and mainstream consumers would be disasterous for the industry. Quality could only suffer if it had to pander to the tastes of the mainstream. In the US anyway, perhaps not elsewhere where thinking is held in high regard and actually seen as a worthwhile pursuit.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David C
United States
Aurora
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
zelock wrote:
I found BGG because I was looking for some boardgames for my wife and I to play together, and possibly for the family when they come over. Naive as I was I thought maybe games published in the 1950 to 1970 range might be good games because people had less to entertain them, so maybe their games were better. I figured I could buy these used games cheap off of e-bay.

Then I found BGG and realized there are tons of games out there just waiting to be had. Many of them published in the last 10 years. So I've ordered 4 games for my wife and I to try out.

OK enough about me.

My question is: Why aren't any of these games sold in stores like Wal-mart, Target ect.... I mean you would think something like Ticket to Ride would be an easy sell. Really, though, when I look at stores I only see 2 kinds of games being sold: 1. The same old games that have been sold since before I could even read (Risk, Candyland, Monopoly, Sorry) or 2. Games with a popular TV, Movie or Actor/actress theme where you are really buying the game for the theme, not the game play.

Why can't great games like Ticket to Ride, Lost Cities, Agricola, Puerto Rico, ect.... ever make it mainstream?




Basically when you're at that level, you risk cannibalizing your sales on yourself. The classic case is the vlassic pickle jar at walmart.

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html

Everyone started buying those, but didn't buy any other vlassic product.

Case-in-point, right now I have to go to a hobby store to buy settlers of catan. What else is at this hobby store? A BUNCH of games that would never, ever, ever, ever make it on the shelf at walmart....also made by mayfair.

I had the same question you did, but when it was explained to me like this, it made complete sense.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M H
Germany
Göttingen
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Why are there speciality stores anyway? Think about it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
The more people playing "our" games, the stronger the industry will be. More accessible games like TTR, Dominion, etc will sell more copies and their prices will go down, a boon to the rest of us.

More publishers and designers will enter the market, the pie will get larger, resulting in more games (and some of those will be great games that would not have otherwise been created). More great OOP games will get reprinted. More used copies of games will appear on ebay, etc. It will be easier to find people to play with. People will watch less TV (wait, how did that point get in here? ;-)

I'm sure Rio Grande or FFG would love to accommodate Wal-Mart and print 50,000 copies instead of 5000. There is nothing preventing them from doing that, with a little planning.

There will always be gamer's games published that may not appeal to "the masses" - if these are being published now, nothing will stop them from being published if board games get more popular.

I think our games are not more popular mainly because people don't know about them, not because they are dumb. True, many people will choose to spend their time doing other things than staring at wooden cubes and a sheet of cardboard for a couple hours. But there are many people who would play our games if they were properly introduced to them.

My sense is that "our" games continue to get more popular. They are starting to appear in chain stores more, as people have said (I've seen TTR in Toys R Us). People are hearing about them more. Newspapers are publishing articles about them.

Silicon Valley CEOs are playing Settlers. Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal, of all places: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126092289275692825.html
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Honestly, it's like this with many different genres of hobbies... the music industry is a great example. Target and Wal Mart sell a very small selection of titles because people who shop there are looking for a one-stop, not a "browse the bins for an hour." It will be the hottest new releases promised to sell within a small window, and what they don't sell gets shipped back to the labels. They'll often sell the limited stock for just above cost and make up the loss on selling things like pop or electronics (cost is 8-12 dollars usually). This is another reason why you're not going to find the entire catalog of an obscure classic rock back there. It likely won't sell and it's a money cost sucker. Price > Selection.

The specialty music shops WILL carry it, because they are actually selling the cd for what it's "supposed" to cost at $15-20. They won't have the sales that Target will on new releases, but the people shopping there are doing so because they are looking for something they can't find elsewhere, and will actually make money on the person buying the 2-3 copies of an obscure title they won't find at WalMart. Selection > Price...

Same with Scrapbooking, model trains, video games, etc... all hobbies that people need to go to specialty shops to get a selection and find obscure titles. Sure it'll cost more, but it's worth it for the thrill of the hunt, knowledgeable staff, and accessibility for most.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
brett wagner
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
I was at B&N the other day and picked up a copy of Carcassonne for my sister and her husband. On the small shelf they had allocated for games I also saw Catan and a few other 'non-mainstream' titles mixed in with other more standard american faire.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Malvitz
United States
Westland
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
The problem with the ‘price point is too high’ argument is that if a game were to go mainstream and print enough copies to fill the WalMart/Target supply chains, the price would easily go from $30 to $15-20. Even for those companies that fix the prices of the games they publish they would be hard pressed to find a reason not to lower their prices to sell to the big boys. Catan could realistically go from selling 600K copies over 10 years to selling that many every 1-2 years (and then maybe Catan could make its way into Word spellcheck ).

Case in point: I got a copy of the Killer Bunnies Remix box from Target this Christmas, price ~$20. If I were to buy the base game and the expansions that are included in this box from an online retailer the price would easily be $75.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Peekaboo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
malvitz wrote:
The problem with the ‘price point is too high’ argument is that if a game were to go mainstream and print enough copies to fill the WalMart/Target supply chains, the price would easily go from $30 to $15-20. Even for those companies that fix the prices of the games they publish they would be hard pressed to find a reason not to lower their prices to sell to the big boys....


I can see it now: Wal-Mart decides to carry (for example) Agricola. However, the price is too high; Wal-Mart's buyer tells ZMan, or Lookout, or Uwe or whoever that things need to be repackaged, costs need to be cut. The boards get downsized, the bits have to be made out of plastic, the cards out of cheaper stock. The artwork has to be redone to appeal to video-oriented ADHD gamer types; in fact, Wal-Mart decides that the entire game has to be re-themed and re-titled to appeal to a modern, high-tech sensibility.

Next thing you know, we have "Coca Cola: The 21st Century--not an easy period for a capitalist corporation."

No thanks.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Howard Wagner
United States
Odenton
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rolinder wrote:
I for one think that mainstream stores and mainstream consumers would be disasterous for the industry. Quality could only suffer if it had to pander to the tastes of the mainstream. In the US anyway, perhaps not elsewhere where thinking is held in high regard and actually seen as a worthwhile pursuit.


Yes, you know us Americans, we don't like to think very much and we certainly don't like other people who think a lot. Huh? Wait a minute, we've led the world in just about everything for how long now? There must be some importance placed on thinking in this country. That was an unfair statement, Dan. You can't expect everyone to find it fun to rack his brain for two hours with a complex boardgame. Those of us who do are an odd bunch - me included. Most people in America work hard during the week and do their heavy thinking at work or during other pursuits. When they play a board game, they want something light and simple, not something that is complicated and reminds them of work. They want to relax and escape from that world. And in this country of Monopoly and the like, that's what they've been taught boardgames are all about, from an early age. It's really that simple.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Konrad Budziszewski
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmb
howaa wrote:
Most people in America work hard during the week and do their heavy thinking at work or during other pursuits. When they play a board game, they want something light and simple, not something that is complicated and reminds them of work. They want to relax and escape from that world.


I object to the presumption that in order to "relax" you have to shift your brain to neutral. The same logic has been continuously used to explain and justify dumb movies, dumb video games... Now board games, too? Are people really that averse to thinking?

This is why we can't have nice things...

(...unless we seek out a specialized retailer and pay full MSRP, at least.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy M
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Because the BGG over values these games. Most people don't want to play the kind of stuff that is popular here, and who can blame them?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls

London
Ohio
msg tools
mbmb
tesuji wrote:

Silicon Valley CEOs are playing Settlers. Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal, of all places: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126092289275692825.html


That was a cool article. It is sad, though, that the CEOs of today don't even have enough time to play a round of golf (as stated in the article). It is interesting that they do like to play board games as a way of bonding and breaking the ice.

Also didn't know this thread would get this much play. I've learned a little bit here.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Howard Wagner
United States
Odenton
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
malwin wrote:
howaa wrote:
Most people in America work hard during the week and do their heavy thinking at work or during other pursuits. When they play a board game, they want something light and simple, not something that is complicated and reminds them of work. They want to relax and escape from that world.


I object to the presumption that in order to "relax" you have to shift your brain to neutral. The same logic has been continuously used to explain and justify dumb movies, dumb video games... Now board games, too? Are people really that averse to thinking?

This is why we can't have nice things...

(...unless we seek out a specialized retailer and pay full MSRP, at least.)


I've been trying to get my Mom and sister to play the more complex strategy games with me with little success. They are both math teachers. They are tired after teaching all day/week and tell me that they just don't find pleasure in playing complicated games that require great amounts of thinking. I understand where they are coming from, even though I gain much pleasure from playing complex games even after the hardest day of work. People are different and have different ways of relaxing. I don't think it is that difficult to understand..
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Allen
United States
Grand Prairie
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Why don't these great games we see listed at Geek ever make their way into mainstream stores?

Here's why: So why did they publish this?, More reviews by the Star-Telegram.

Edit: Apparently the Star-Telegram yanked the article, but here's a cached link to part of it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Konrad Budziszewski
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmb
howaa wrote:
People are different and have different ways of relaxing. I don't think it is that difficult to understand.


It's not. My mother, who, as it happens, is also a math teacher, solves math problems for fun in her free time. So there. The question is not whether or not every one of us is a unique, individual snowflake. It's the availability of options that's at stake here. The "diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks" philosophy would be all fine if you could just as easily purchase a "light and easy" game and a complex and challenging one. I get that sometimes brainless entertainment is just what the doctor ordered. I really do. But when I walk into the local Barnes and Noble (in a college town, no less) and see 11 different versions of Monopoly (true story), but not even Carcassonne in sight... something's seriously wrong.

Besides, your post states that "most people in America" don't want to do any "heavy thinking" outside of the workplace. Assuming this is actually true, maybe we should ask: why not? I think that what we're dealing with here is a deeply rooted--and deeply flawed--cultural definition of what "games" are and what kind of engagement they require (and, in a broader context, what counts as "leisure"). Thinking can be fun--but you have to be willing to accept this idea first.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.