Eric Etkin
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I'm considering some "value add" options for the second TactDecks printing... One of the things I prefer in a game is strong theme, especially in sci-fi or fantasy games. TactDecks already has some lighter thematic fluff built into the included character cards, but the majority of additional fluff materials that showcase the world are on our website.

Since the second printing may repackage the booster expansions and hopefully set a more stable thematic platform for future expansions, one of the things I'm considering doing is adding a world map and some additional fluff materials in the expansion and deluxe set boxes.

That said (and hopefully I'm making sense), is adding this map and/or addtional flavor materials money well spent? As a player, I like any sort of inclusions that help me understand the world the game takes place in, but am I in a minority here? Is this the kind fo thing that simply adds to my COGs that most players won't read?
 
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Jeffrey L.
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I like fluff! Componnents,bits, fancy rules, player aids, maps, back stories, play mats, little accessories, etc.
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Eric Etkin
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Crap... maybe I should have made this a poll.....
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Lizbeth
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great, but if it's costing more than a few pounds more (possibly less, depends, from what I gather Tact decks is already towrads the cheaper ends of the market, so less) and it's not to be expected (like we do with games like say... warhammer) it's not really welcome to me as a newcomer.
 
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Eric Etkin
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Elizabeth Robson wrote:
great, but if it's costing more than a few pounds more (possibly less, depends, from what I gather Tact decks is already towrads the cheaper ends of the market, so less) and it's not to be expected (like we do with games like say... warhammer) it's not really welcome to me as a newcomer.



It wouldn't be adding to the consumer cost at all. I'm basically taking a slight margin advantage I'm getting my eliminating multiple SKUs and reinvesting part of the money into the product presentation.
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B C Z
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There are times when theme / fluff cement a mechanic in someone's head, which makes teaching the game much easier or more tactile or more fun.

Lets take a quick tour of some fluff that certainly cost money to produce and discuss if it adds value, then you can hopefully apply the examples to your own situation.

Start here: A la carte
My wife just picked this up because she loved the little stoves and pans, which are entirely unnecessary and yet totally make the game:

Would we have gotten a game that boils down to 'roll a die or turn small containers of acryllic upside down' otherwise? Highly doubtful.



Next stop: Starfarers of Catan
Where you have these huge, easily broken, plastic space ship thingies that could be better represented through some amount of cardboard. Some people love 'em, some people hate 'em. We don't own the game because we felt the themey part was too much.




An example of unnecessary fluff is Z-man's Ideology: The War of Ideas
The 1st edition included a paper map that showed geographic borders between countries - a fact that could have much more easily been condensed onto the cards representing the countries available for takeover (and was in 2nd edition). In the end the map was unnecessary, and I personally would have preferred that the money go into cornering the cards instead, which had a habit of poking you at inopportune times.




And how can we forget Tribune: Primus Inter Pares's chariot?
This multi-part decoration serves one purpose, to mark the faction that cannot be taken over the following around. A large square token would have easily sufficed, but instead we get a small model that adds nothing to the game and is the only 3-D element except for the wooden tokens that represent the player.



Sometimes themey add ons are nice, but they need to serve an actual purpose. Including a thing just to include it? Doesn't makes sense to me.
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Matt Pierce
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I personally like fluff, but only when it doesn't get in the way of the actual game. Wading through eight pages of setting justification before I can get to the meaty section in a rulebook drives me nuts, especially if I'm just trying to find out if I want to play the game or not. That said, I love flavor text at the bottoms of trading cards (like magic the gathering, etc. because it's at the bottom where I can read it if I feel like it. I always feel a little disappointed if cards don't have some kind of flavor text.

As long as it adds to the game and is reasonably off to the side, I say go for it.
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Eric Etkin
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Well in this case, I'd say it straddles the line between necessary and unnecessary - could you play the game without it? Sure. But does it make the game more interesting to actually know where the battles are taking place and the geography and sociology the combatants hail from? Yeah, I think it does. Plus, it'll help draw together the future expansions, since some of them will be based in different locales or with different factions.

So... hard for me to say. I don't think including a couple additional pieces of cardboard with some classy maps or written fluff would make most players think "this is totally unneeded and jacked up the price of my game..." at the most, I'm just concerned they'd ignore or toss it, and I just spent money for nothing. That's what I'm trying to get a feel for here.
 
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Eric Etkin
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sakket wrote:
I personally like fluff, but only when it doesn't get in the way of the actual game. Wading through eight pages of setting justification before I can get to the meaty section in a rulebook drives me nuts, especially if I'm just trying to find out if I want to play the game or not. That said, I love flavor text at the bottoms of trading cards (like magic the gathering, etc. because it's at the bottom where I can read it if I feel like it. I always feel a little disappointed if cards don't have some kind of flavor text.

As long as it adds to the game and is reasonably off to the side, I say go for it.


Right... that's totally what I'm looking to do. The fluff in no way obstructs playing the game, and it's isolated from the rules itself. Right now I jsut have flavor text on a few cards, and IMO, it isn't enough.
 
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Eric Jome
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I love a great bit of background for a game. A real setting and story. That's very cool. Fill a page or two of the rulebook with that stuff. Even better than static stuff like that is a game that inspires me to make little jokes and tell little stories in the playing. If I had a nickel for every great Star Wars reference we've wrung out of Race For The Galaxy, I could double my collection.

Bits are nice, but I am reluctant to pay anything extra for nice bits. I'd be just as happy with a pretty picture on a token as I am with a miniature... probably happier, actually. Production costs must remain modest - I'm in no mood to pay for big plastic inserts and super thick tiles and plastic figures.

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It's nice to have a bit of fluff included with a game, but I think if you're creating an additional product it should contribute something, like a new related game, or supplemental game elements. You're selling to gamers, so it's fairly safe to say they want more games. A book (like the WH40K, starcraft, or halo novels) might sell, but for a smaller franchise you want to create products that will draw players in, or introduce a new section of the market to your product, for example by allowing players who prefer card-based games and those who prefer board-based games to come together. I for one would be unlikely to buy a map that doesn't add something like a geo-political element or some kind of alternate scoring method to the existing gameplay.

For a personal favourite example, the aether captains series does this well, using different styles of games to include different elements of the world as part of the gameplay. They already appeal to players who enjoyed the first game, but offer new gameplay options along with insights into the world, and "sale value" is increased for the series because there's a set to collect.
 
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Eric Etkin
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deepTwo wrote:
I for one would be unlikely to buy a map that doesn't add something like a geo-political element or some kind of alternate scoring method to the existing gameplay.



Thank you... I'm starting to think based on some of the responses that I wasn't being clear enough. I wasn't trying to create an additonal product, I was merely trying to figure out if people would like to see this sort of "added fluff" put into the box.

No extra charge or things to buy for the players, just an additional piece to give players a better background of the world the game takes place in.
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