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Subject: Am I coming out with too many games? rss

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Zev Shlasinger
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Yes, I am. I have a hard time saying, 'no'. I like many different games and some really excite me and I want to do them right away. My friends joke saying there is a Z-Man special, say 'hello' to me and I'll publish your game!

I try to justify it by saying many are the small card games so it should not be too much of a wallet hit. Also, since the themes of all the games are so different, some will appeal to one group and others to another with some crossover.

But no matter how you slice it there are a lot of games coming out.

I will be pushing some back to 2011. Unfortunately, with Essen around the corner, many of the games are co-productions to be available for that show. So I can't push many back easily.

The newsletter usually has a good indication of what is coming out when and when this new issue hits at end of the month or so, it will have a more updated version with some titles off the 2010 list (which means they will be done in 2011).

As for more promotion - we do send out review copies, attend conventions, have a Z-Force crew that demos in stores, send demo copies to stores for their libraries, have banners here and on my website (sometimes weeks or months in advance). I also post the rules to the games weeks in advance.

I don't have the facilities to do video reviews or things like that. But if anyone else has other promotional ideas, feel free to email me.

Hopefully games won't get lost in the shuffle and that eventually they will be discovered. But I will try real hard to reduce the number of releases for next year.

A little FYI to all out there.

Thanks to everyone for their support.

Zev Shlasinger, President
Z-Man Games, Inc.
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David Jackman
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Hello, Zev.
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Curt Collins
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As I see it, there are two ways to look at this. First, you could be like an early alea. Only release one or two a year, but each game is such a hit that people buy your product blindly without even considering if it's good or not. This works to a point. The problem is that with a couple of duds the name becomes tarnished. People no longer care if they have all of your titles. The other extreme is the rio grande model. Do they come out with duds? Sure, but I find that I buy an awful lot of games from them. Personally, I think publishing more is better business. Even if you only have a few home runs each year, people think of them, and forget the duds. Look at Reiner Knizia. He's designed some awful games, but because I think of the good designs I am always interested when a new one comes out.

I wish only the best for you Zev, good luck with whichever route you decide to go.
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David Hoffman
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I'm sorry, there's such a thing as "too many games"?

Zev, the great thing about your incoming catalog is there seems to be something there for everyone.

There are, I think, three or four that I've either already ordered, or will definitely be ordering, plus one or two I've got my eye on.

For folks I game with, they're tracking different games you've got coming out. These are both card games and larger boxed games.

It's diversification, and it's both a very smart way to do business and a great sign for those of us who are fans of your games and your company that you are here to stay.
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Teemu Salohalme
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Whatever you do, keep on publishing great games as you have been doing with 1960, Neuland, Pandemic, Endeavor, Chinatown, Agricola just to name a few, and I'll be happy. Especially when you're co-publishing Die Händler, one of my most wanted games.

So, very good job so far and thank you!

P.S. Did I mention I have a revolutionary idea for a game...
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Zack Hiwiller
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Only your financial statements can tell you if you are.

As a gamer, I am thrilled you release so much. The alternative is for those titles to not get released at all. If one buyer finds a game that would otherwise be unpublished and really enjoys it, then his life is better for it.

I bought Court of the Medici on a whim and totally dig it, so thanks!
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Michael J
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Zev, your company is top notch. I love everything you guys do. I love the production quality. I love the artwork. I love your rulebooks. If there is any company that is releasing too many games, I'm glad it's yours. Of course, you used the words "too many games", not I.

Additionally, no list of yours can be considered "too many games" until it includes the two following:

Ubongo 3D
Factory Fun

Are those scheduled? I haven't read the news letter, so I am not in the know. I want both so bad!!!!
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DK Kemler
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As long as you don't push back Merchants & Marauders, it's all good!
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Lacombe
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If you're at all concerned with building a brand image of the "kind of games" you publish, then my answer is definitely "yes". I am not going to buy a game just because it has your logo on the box.

I am not a FFG type of person, really, but it's ridiculously clear what kind of games they publish, and they seem to get a lot of sales just because it's the "next big FFG" game. It's clear what you're getting.

If I were an FFG type of gamer, I'd definitely buy "the next big FFG" game just because it had their logo on it. They've even gone so far as to brand within that brand [the runewars / descent / runebound world].

With the way you've released / published games in so many varying genres / themes / formats / styles / prices / etc, there's literally no telling what you're going to get when you buy a Z-Man game, for good or bad.

I thinkout Lookout Games is a recent[?] success story in good Eurogame branding, and hopefully they keep moving in that direction. End Of The Triumvarate, Agricola, Le Havre, Loyang, Merkator, 1853, [upcoming] 1830, Poseidon, the Zavandor games, Automobile, etc. It's kind of clear what you're getting: A medium-heavy to heavy weight game with strong underlying economic elements. Bingo. I've put Merkator, 1853, and Poseidon on my wish-list just because they're in this line.

But, you seem to be taking more of a Rio Grande approach to things... while they tend to get the Kosmos, Alea, and/or Hans im Gluck games published over here in English, regardless of what kind of game it is, you seem to be targeting the lesser known European publishers [Lookout, Czech Games, etc] for much the same reason: Just to get a good English version to capitalize on demand. This is certainly one strategy for publishing, and if it's your goal, you're accomplishing it well. It all depends, in other words.
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David Gomez
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degamer wrote:
As long as you don't push back Merchants & Marauders, it's all good!


x2

I love many of your games and understand the points you made, but if you push back Merchants & Marauders, be prepared to have an angry mob of pirate dressed geeks rape and pillage your place of business. We know where to find you! arrrh
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Lance
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As I have thoroughly enjoyed your games, I can only say keep them coming as long as the quality does not decrease.

Keep up the great work!

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Tim Earl
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After opening Founding Fathers and seeing the quality of the components, I'd say you published one too few games this year. arrrh (Seriously, I wish you had picked that one up).

I like your broad range of titles. Not every one of them is going to be a universal hit, but the mechanics are usually sound and we know the production value will be top notch.

I placed an order for 4 games last week, and 3 of them were Z-man titles.
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Emivaldo Sousa
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I've bought a bunch of great games from you guys - so do whatever it takes to keep things fun and profitable, so we can have more fun in the future!

Best!
 
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degamer wrote:
As long as you don't push back Merchants & Marauders, it's all good!
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Marshall Miller
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Keep up the good work!
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Mark Kalina
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I typically pickup one or two Z- Man games a year.

Personally I think, in general, there are to many games chasing to few dollars at present. If folks are not in a print or perish mode, I think printing fewer games is advisable in this economy.

At the WBC I spoke to one of the guys manning your booth. I expressed interest in the Agricola Expansion, Neorshima Hex and its expansion. He did a nice job of explaining the benefits of each game. But even at a discounted price, sadly, I went to the next booth. It came down to me having fewer dollars to spend than the games I was/am interested in. Also my time is limited as well- another factor in the equation to be sure.

I want to assure you there is nothing wrong with your products.

Good Gaming!

Mark
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Derry Salewski
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TheGreatGomi wrote:
degamer wrote:
As long as you don't push back Merchants & Marauders, it's all good!


x2

I love many of your games and understand the points you made, but if you push back Merchants & Marauders, be prepared to have an angry mob of pirate dressed geeks rape and pillage your place of business. We know where to find you! arrrh


arrrharrrharrrharrrharrrh
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UA Darth
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I do research before buying and there are quite a few of yours in the pipeline that I will buy. Just waiting for them to come out.
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Christian Marcussen
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scifiantihero wrote:
TheGreatGomi wrote:
degamer wrote:
As long as you don't push back Merchants & Marauders, it's all good!


x2

I love many of your games and understand the points you made, but if you push back Merchants & Marauders, be prepared to have an angry mob of pirate dressed geeks rape and pillage your place of business. We know where to find you! arrrh


arrrharrrharrrharrrharrrh



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Shanya Almafeta
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If you're talking about the shinies ... then no, there are never too many Z-Man games. =)

It can't be that terrible to make lots of light games. Even if some projects just barely break even or even are a slight net loss, you're still in the swing of actively making new products. This not only advertises for you and makes you look good in front of the distributors and the store owners (who survive on the cult of the new), but there's a certain logic to printing many varied products. If even one in twenty is an Agricola or a 1960: The Making of the President or such, it'll more than make up for a dozen extra-nichy games like Dungeon Jacuzzis Of The Gods. If spamming products until one sticks works for Microsoft and Google...

Since this thread appeared on the RPG side as well... are you publishing any more RPGs anytime soon? I've only got four of your games...

(Also, since I could never resist a straight line...)

Zman wrote:
My friends joke saying there is a Z-Man special, say 'hello' to me and I'll publish your game!


Hello, Zev.
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Mike Forrey
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NateStraight wrote:
If you're at all concerned with building a brand image of the "kind of games" you publish, then my answer is definitely "yes". I am not going to buy a game just because it has your logo on the box.

I am not a FFG type of person, really, but it's ridiculously clear what kind of games they publish, and they seem to get a lot of sales just because it's the "next big FFG" game. It's clear what you're getting.

If I were an FFG type of gamer, I'd definitely buy "the next big FFG" game just because it had their logo on it. They've even gone so far as to brand within that brand [the runewars / descent / runebound world].

With the way you've released / published games in so many varying genres / themes / formats / styles / prices / etc, there's literally no telling what you're going to get when you buy a Z-Man game, for good or bad.

I thinkout Lookout Games is a recent[?] success story in good Eurogame branding, and hopefully they keep moving in that direction. End Of The Triumvarate, Agricola, Le Havre, Loyang, Merkator, 1853, [upcoming] 1830, Poseidon, the Zavandor games, Automobile, etc. It's kind of clear what you're getting: A medium-heavy to heavy weight game with strong underlying economic elements. Bingo. I've put Merkator, 1853, and Poseidon on my wish-list just because they're in this line.

But, you seem to be taking more of a Rio Grande approach to things... while they tend to get the Kosmos, Alea, and/or Hans im Gluck games published over here in English, regardless of what kind of game it is, you seem to be targeting the lesser known European publishers [Lookout, Czech Games, etc] for much the same reason: Just to get a good English version to capitalize on demand. This is certainly one strategy for publishing, and if it's your goal, you're accomplishing it well. It all depends, in other words.


That's not really true though. I myself like FFG products and i own many of their games. However i do not buy everything they put out and in fact i have only bought two things from them this year. My other purchases are from at least a half dozen other publishers who all make wonderful games. FFG might be a major brand but they don't put out all the best games released.

Keep putting out what YOU feel comfortable with Zev and know that many gamers out there will buy your products. BG's are still the most affordable family entertainment IMO.
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Rik Van Horn
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Boardgaming has become less and less of a niche hobby over the last 5 years.

Having been running a boardgame night for a local retailer for almost 4 years now, I can state that the number of people interested and showing up to play board games has grown considerably. As interest and consumers increase, so does selection.

The only answer to your question is what percentage of games you release bring in a profit. If that's above 60%, I'd say don't stop. Not every game will make money, but if you're batting .600, I'd think you're doing well.

In the long run, I think, the better the selection available to consumers, the more consumers will be attracted to the hobby.
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jonathan schleyer
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Zev,

It's nice that you are reaching out to us.

I like your games. I especially like the range of small to heavy games. So I'd say keep publishing. However, as one respondent mentioned, as long as you are in a good financial situation, you should be ok.

Provence
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UA Darth
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The general quality of upcoming zman games is high... Hansa and Power Struggle are highly rated games awaiting official US releases.
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Peter
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I think your team is doing an awesome job Zev. I admire what you are doing.

As a consumer, I love having choice, but I only have a few dollars to spend. As a designer, I like knowing there is a better than marginal chance my idea could get published. As a salesman, are you canabalizing your own market share by publishing so many games? As a businessman, are you putting out the best quality you can every time? As an accountant, are you making sufficient return on your investment in a decent amount of time?

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