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Subject: About games price rss

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Rafael Duarte
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Many times I find articles here on BGG of users complaining that a certain game is not worth the price since the components are of poor quality and that money should have much better components. There are comments like “The game is very good but with these components is not worth to purchase.”.

We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
We can think about this: When we buy a game we are buying the work of several people with the most obvious being the game designers and artists. Looking only at the components to set a price is a wrong method. There are games which take much more time in development and testing than others and this is a whole work that we have to pay. A designer who has created an innovative, challenging and fun system should not receive the same payment as a designer of a bad game. The problem is that the work of build and refine a game is a hidden work that we don’t think when we are purchasing. Undoubtedly I would rather have a good game with bad components than have a lot of beautiful pieces in a bad game.

It’s odd since we have the rules of almost every game online for free but what we’re really buying in a game box are the rules. Is the idea of the game. What we must require is components which are functional at least. Still I do not want to say that components do not matter. I love games with cool components and they clearly influence me at the time of my purchases.

(This text was originally posted on www.aboutboardgames.wordpress.com)
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Cheapass Games tried the 'we make the rules' model and sold them for a modest price.

Cheapass Games is out of business stopped physical production for a long time and has only recently reappeared.
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Charlie Theel
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This is only partially true and the statements you are addressing are partially true as well.

Reasons why your message is not accurrate:

-As component quality increases, the price increases (and vice versa)
-Larger Print Runs make a game cheaper (this is part of the Kickstarter boom, as stretch rewards can be offered due to lower per unit costs)
-There are many cheap games which are fantastic systems/rules and fly against your logic:

The Resistance
Forbidden Island
Battle for Hill 218
Love Letter
Poker
Bohnanza
Saboteur
etc.

I understand what you're saying, but it's a very grey area. How do you value rules/systems? It's completely subjective. Because of all this grey area and the fact that component quality is concrete, these discussions will live on forever.
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Joe Salamone
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I prefer when a game has high-quality components. However, if the game is good, I don't mind paying a lot of money for it even if the components aren't very good. I also buy a lot of magic tricks and accessories mostly as a hobby (although, I have performed at a few parties, including a couple of Christmas parties at work). With magic, you are often paying for the "secret" as opposed to the physical components. A few specially printed playing-cards and a one-page instruction sheet could cost $20, $50 or even more. That's okay with me as long as the trick is amazing. Same goes for games.
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Scott Hartman
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while this is a nice statement, it ultimately is not correct. The price of a game is most definitely determined by the cost of components. Those costs will vary depending on what the components are made of, the company making them, where that company is located, the quantity being produced, shipping, storage, depending on the game a fair amount goes to pay artists (recoup paying artists usually) and a small portion set to the designer cost.

And frankly, i totally understand people complaining about quality components. For me good or bad components don't necessarily change my view of the game play but I appreciate having quality components and my judgement of value most definitely takes it into consideration.

Also, because 'quality' is entirely subjective, the responses to this post will be.
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Rafael Duarte
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byronczimmer wrote:
Cheapass Games tried the 'we make the rules' model and sold them for a modest price.

Cheapass Games is out of business.

Cheapass had a nice concept it failed maybe cause they've taken the idea very serious. I think components must at least be functional and don't hurt gameplay and with their games few components made a game hard to play and not durable at all.


charlest wrote:

-There are many cheap games which are fantastic systems/rules and fly against your logic:

The Resistance
Forbidden Island
Battle for Hill 218
Love Letter
Poker
Bohnanza
Saboteur
etc.

I understand what you're saying, but it's a very grey area. How do you value rules/systems?

I don't get why these games fly against my logic. Of course small games should be cheaper. They have less components and that's the reason, some of those are not cheap games in absolute numbers beacause they could be selled for (let's say) 5$ if we look just at components and they are selled for higher prices cause you pay for the system too.
Yes, is very hard to evaluate rules/systems and hard to be objective, but sometimes people already played a game enjoyed it and still say - I'm not going to buy this cause of components. (example in this thread)


Thanks for enter in this discussion guys. I know that are lot of other variables on production costs, and is not easy to be objective pricing a game, i just wanted to say that rules are a very important aspect(the main aspect) of a game and people forget it too often.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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This:
rafa_str wrote:
We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
...what we’re really buying in a game box are the rules. Is the idea of the game.
is contradictory with this:
rafa_str wrote:
I love games with cool components and they clearly influence me at the time of my purchases.

Perhaps you should convince yourself first, then worry about convincing others.
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Alan Pengelly
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shartma wrote:
while this is a nice statement, it ultimately is not correct. The price of a game is most definitely determined by the cost of components. Those costs will vary depending on what the components are made of, the company making them, where that company is located, the quantity being produced, shipping, storage, depending on the game a fair amount goes to pay artists (recoup paying artists usually) and a small portion set to the designer cost.

And frankly, i totally understand people complaining about quality components. For me good or bad components don't necessarily change my view of the game play but I appreciate having quality components and my judgement of value most definitely takes it into consideration.

Also, because 'quality' is entirely subjective, the responses to this post will be.


Agree entirely about the component comment - good or bad quality components don't change how well a game does or doesn't play. But paying money for a game and then getting poor quality components definitely detracts from the perceived value and aesthetics of the game.

Example of this Ora et Labora, this game is from the same designer as Agricola, Le Havre, At the gates of Loyang. These all have good components, and boards made from heavy cardstock etc, which kind of sets a precendent/expectation for the same level of quality for future games from the same designer.
Then along comes O&L, which has boards barely thicker than paper, thin cards and player aids/turn summaries which are paper and very low gsm at that, all of which leaves one with a sense of being let down, and the game failing to meet the expected leaving of quality.

Granted this stems from my expectations and if I had O&L before the other games the poor quality would have been less of an issue without the comparison.
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John Shepherd
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byronczimmer wrote:

Cheapass Games is out of business.


Given that cheapass games successfully raised 48k of funds against a 10k target on kickstarter a few weeks ago, I only wish I was as out-of-business as they are

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/unexploded...

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Rafael Duarte
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curtc wrote:
This:
rafa_str wrote:
We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
...what we’re really buying in a game box are the rules. Is the idea of the game.
is contradictory with this:
rafa_str wrote:
I love games with cool components and they clearly influence me at the time of my purchases.

Perhaps you should convince yourself first, then worry about convincing others.

I don't think it's contraditory. The main aspect for me are the rules, but I'm not against cool components. My statement was against people who don't buy a game just because it has bad components. Obviously for me (and i believe for everybody) is perfect when I get a good rule system AND cool bits for a fair price.
 
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Jacob Nushmut
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It's a question of opportunity cost. There are lots of games out there with good rules that I want to own, and for almost every game there's a whole family of games very similar to it. So when comparing two games that both cost $30, am I going to buy the one with miniatures and wooden pieces, or the one with nothing but cardboard chits and plastic counters? It's a no-brainer. Occasionally a game may be so good or so unique that I just need it regardless, but not often.

Besides, why is the latter game as expensive as the former game? Did the rules really just take that much more time and money to develop? Unlikely, and if so, why'd the designer take so long and spend so much money? Is he not as good a designer as the designer of the other game? No, more likely the game is more expensive just because they wanted to charge more, or they got screwed over by distributors, or something.

In principle I see your point. How much a game costs to design and how much the components cost the manufacturer are not directly relevant. The only questions are, do I value this game at $30, and do I value it more than absolutely everything else I could buy with those $30? If a game has a good enough system that it meets those criteria despite having crappy components, then of course I should buy it, and it would irrational of me to refuse to buy it simply on the principle that "it should have better components at $30."

But what I'm telling you is, that virtually never happens. Almost every time there's another $30 game whose system you like just as much as the one with crappy components. Why wouldn't you buy that one instead? That's what's meant by calling a game overpriced based on its components.

This is why I can't bring myself to buy Game Salute games. I get what they're doing by helping designers avoid all online deep discounting. I get that they want to make sure the designers get a decent return per game and they want to help brick-and-mortar stores. I don't begrudge them any of that; I'm not saying that what they're doing is wrong at all. They're a class act, and they and the designers they represent should distribute their games however they see fit.

But nothing changes the fact that Shadowrift is $45, and I could get Sentinels of the Multiverse, another card-based co-op that I think I'd like just as much and which has somewhat comparable components, for $26. How could I reasonable buy Shadowrift? I couldn't, and insofar as I couldn't, it's overpriced.
 
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Jean Gagnier
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rafa_str wrote:

We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
We can think about this: When we buy a game we are buying the work of several people with the most obvious being the game designers and artists. Looking only at the components to set a price is a wrong method.


See, that's contradictory to me. Design art can contribute to the game experience, most certainly, but it is superfluous - and I say that as a professional graphic designer. You can have playing cards with 12-point Times New Roman text and red and blue hexagons - it might look bad, but the game is still eminently playable. When you purchase a mass-produced board game in a cardboard box with a painting on it, with tokens made of plastic and wood, you're not just buying a game system. If no one cared about color rulebooks and monster figurines, print and play games would be far more affordable, have a lower carbon footprint, and be more available than they currently are. However, that doesn't seem to be the case.

People like having a well-packaged product. Packaging matters. Cover design art matters. Hardcover books sell well despite costing more than softcover. I don't know how many complaints I've heard on BGG about component quality, poor box design art (when really it has absolutely nothing to do with the game), using cubes instead of gaudy plastic pieces.

When people purchase a game at a hobby store, they do not simply buy the game system, they buy a whole package. Development and fine tuning cost money, but so does a plastic monster, and so do playing cards with a linen finish. Looking only at components to determine the cost of a game is certainly wrong, but so would discounting them be. Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight are selling you a product, and I venture to say that office space, wages, marketing expenses and components cost them more than game design. A well-developed game is almost necessary to the success of their operations, but they aren't selling gaming mechanisms, they're selling gaming products.
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Curt Carpenter
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rafa_str wrote:
curtc wrote:
This:
rafa_str wrote:
We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
...what we’re really buying in a game box are the rules. Is the idea of the game.
is contradictory with this:
rafa_str wrote:
I love games with cool components and they clearly influence me at the time of my purchases.

Perhaps you should convince yourself first, then worry about convincing others.

I don't think it's contraditory. The main aspect for me are the rules, but I'm not against cool components. My statement was against people who don't buy a game just because it has bad components. Obviously for me (and i believe for everybody) is perfect when I get a good rule system AND cool bits for a fair price.

If you agree that components have some value, and affect purchase decisions of even yourself, then you're just arguing about what the coefficients for rules vs components in the purchase decision function should be. In a hobby with so much subjectivity, I don't see the point in trying to force your parameters onto others.
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Rafael Duarte
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Tertullian wrote:

Besides, why is the latter game as expensive as the former game? Did the rules really just take that much more time and money to develop? Unlikely, and if so, why'd the designer take so long and spend so much money? Is he not as good a designer as the designer of the other game?

If some game designer comes here to read it I think he'll find your words offensive. eheh.
This is another discussion not for this thread but games are different and have very different development time. Not because a designer is good or bad but cause games are different. For example Yomi and Famiglia. Both are good games but you can imagine that to come out with a system of rules, lot of especial powers, balance all this aspects and test takes MUCH more time than creating Famiglia. And I'm not saying it is an easy and fast job to get an idea for a game like Famiglia.
Or you cam compare it to an architecture job. It takes MUCH more time do develop a project for a skyscraper than 40 square meters house for a single-family reagardless of architect hability they're just different jobs, and it's the same with games.

What refers to price of games I understand your point but don't agree with it. Even similar have very different feelings. But it's ok we must have some criteria to choose wich games to sell and yours is fair one.
 
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David Fair
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byronczimmer wrote:
Cheapass Games tried the 'we make the rules' model and sold them for a modest price.

Cheapass Games is out of business.

I think you are misinformed, sir: http://www.cheapass.com/

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Rafael Duarte
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jgag wrote:
rafa_str wrote:

We’re buying a system and not a bunch of nice bits
We can think about this: When we buy a game we are buying the work of several people with the most obvious being the game designers and artists. Looking only at the components to set a price is a wrong method.


See, that's contradictory to me. Design art can contribute to the game experience, most certainly, but it is superfluous - and I say that as a professional graphic designer. You can have playing cards with 12-point Times New Roman text and red and blue hexagons - it might look bad, but the game is still eminently playable. When you purchase a mass-produced board game in a cardboard box with a painting on it, with tokens made of plastic and wood, you're not just buying a game system. If no one cared about color rulebooks and monster figurines, print and play games would be far more affordable, have a lower carbon footprint, and be more available than they currently are. However, that doesn't seem to be the case.

People like having a well-packaged product. Packaging matters. Cover design art matters. Hardcover books sell well despite costing more than softcover. I don't know how many complaints I've heard on BGG about component quality, poor box design art (when really it has absolutely nothing to do with the game), using cubes instead of gaudy plastic pieces.

When people purchase a game at a hobby store, they do not simply buy the game system, they buy a whole package. Development and fine tuning cost money, but so does a plastic monster, and so do playing cards with a linen finish. Looking only at components to determine the cost of a game is certainly wrong, but so would discounting them be. Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight are selling you a product, and I venture to say that office space, wages, marketing expenses and components cost them more than game design. A well-developed game is almost necessary to the success of their operations, but they aren't selling gaming mechanisms, they're selling gaming products.


I totally agree with you that all artwork and quality components is essencial for game success and I value it. I've studied also graphic design and I'm aware of the importance of all that. But that's already kind of common sense. My point was to say that rules are the most important aspect of a game and people tend to forget it and think that systems are created in seconds and don't deserve any credit for me to pay it. I was not defending that games should be ugly or unattractive. My point was that people should also think about this hidden work wich is to develop a game system instead of looking JUST at components.
 
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Jacob Nushmut
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Rafael,

I don't know a whole lot about Yomi or Famiglia. I see your point, but I don't think it substantially affects mine.

So as to avoid using real games, say there are two games, both $30: Worker Placement Extravaganza and Worker Placement Fiesta. They are, in most people's minds, equally good, but Extravaganza had a mechanic that, just because of its nature, took lots of money and hundreds of hours to balance. As a result, Extravaganza's designer spent most of his money on design, and his game (at $30) has much crappier components than Fiesta has.

But the game systems are equally good, in most gamers' judgment. And one has better components. Why would I ever buy Extravaganza over Fiesta? I wouldn't, and it doesn't matter one lick to me as the end-user how many hours Extravaganza took to develop. It is not my fault its designer chose a mechanic the development of which cost a lot of money.

You say that even similar game systems are often different enough from one another that it's worth buying one at the same price as the other even if it has crappier components. That is undoubtedly true for some gamers some of the time, but I doubt it is true for most gamers most of the time, because the game with the crappy components isn't just competing with other similar games: it is competing with every other game money can buy; indeed, it is competing with literally everything $30 can buy.

That $30 can be put toward any game you want. Do you really value the $30 game with the crappy components over every other $30 game with good components? Is its system really that much better (for your preferences) than literally everything else out there? as I said before, that is unquestionably the case for some gamers from time to time, but I think it is decidedly a rare thing. The fact that, for most gamers, the game will not be worth more than every game with better components on the strength of its system alone: that fact alone makes the game overpriced for its components. At least, that is all I mean when I say a game is overpriced for its components.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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rafa_str wrote:
My point was that people should also think about this hidden work wich is to develop a game system instead of looking JUST at components.

Would it be reasonable to you to not buy a game JUST because the design was bad, without considering the components? If yes, then you're doing the same thing in reverse, when you've already established that both design and components have weight on purchase decision. You appear to just be arguing that everyone should weight them exactly as you do. And I can't figure out why.
 
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BeyondMonopoly wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Cheapass Games tried the 'we make the rules' model and sold them for a modest price.

Cheapass Games is out of business.

I think you are misinformed, sir: http://www.cheapass.com/



So I've been corrected twice on this.

Cheapass games DID cease production of new physical material for a long time, and has only recently resurged.

They've never disappeared, but their model of 'you supply the bits' never really caught on, even if I have almost all of their printed games.
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Rafael Duarte
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curtc wrote:
rafa_str wrote:
My point was that people should also think about this hidden work wich is to develop a game system instead of looking JUST at components.

Would it be reasonable to you to not buy a game JUST because the design was bad, without considering the components? If yes, then you're doing the same thing in reverse, when you've already established that both design and components have weight on purchase decision. You appear to just be arguing that everyone should weight them exactly as you do. And I can't figure out why.

Of course it would be reasonable and obvious. I'm into this hobby cause I'm interesting in games and I imagine that other people who are into this hobby is also intersting in games, right? So we don't want to support bad designs. Why should we support bad designs? I don't get the point here.
I'm just arguing that some people tend to forget about all the work involved to come out with a rule system and should understand that when we buy a game we're also paying for this job.
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byronczimmer wrote:
BeyondMonopoly wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Cheapass Games tried the 'we make the rules' model and sold them for a modest price.

Cheapass Games is out of business.

I think you are misinformed, sir: http://www.cheapass.com/



So I've been corrected twice on this.

Cheapass games DID cease production of new physical material for a long time, and has only recently resurged.

They've never disappeared, but their model of 'you supply the bits' never really caught on, even if I have almost all of their printed games.


No doubt at all about that, I only knew they hadn't gone OOB because i wen to their website recently when trying to determine something about one of their games.

I wasn't sure if they had taken a "break" or what, but there is a big gap in published game dates for their games (none in 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010, and only 2 in 2006)

And sorry to pile on, I missed the earlier correction.
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I had a subscription to Cheapass, and it was an interesting model. Every month or so they'd send me another game. Things about Choclotiers and Devil Bunnys... It was a strange ride.

But the price points were just unsustainable and the physical production collapsed. They maintained web presence and had a number of print and play type things (which are by definition 'provide your own bits'). I'm glad to hear they're back in the saddle.

In order to support the Cheapass games I owned, I have a Rubbermaid toolbox with detachable containers in the lid. Meant for screws and such, one of them was colored stones and various pawns (train, joystick, meeple, etc) across 6-8 colors. The other was dice. Inside was the games, printed money, poker chips and a few other items required by the games, like the specialized dinosaurs we got for Bitin' off Headz.

It was a nice system and emulated by a few other 'game in a paper envelope' groups but the rate of the games coming out (about monthly) made it not work.

But... most people value bits and production values more than the time to design the game, and are willing to pay for them. The art of the industry is wrapping the creation time into the production values.

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rafa_str wrote:
Why should we support bad designs? I don't get the point here.

Why should we support bad components? Both are important, as you've said.

rafa_str wrote:
I'm just arguing that some people tend to forget about all the work involved to come out with a rule system and should understand that when we buy a game we're also paying for this job.

I don't see any evidence that anyone is forgetting or failing to understand that. Flip it: if you say you would not buy a game JUST because the design is bad, are you "forgetting about all the work involved to come out with a rule system the components and should understand that when we buy a game we're also paying for this job"?
 
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Rafael Duarte
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curtc wrote:
rafa_str wrote:
Why should we support bad designs? I don't get the point here.

Why should we support bad components? Both are important, as you've said.


Would you prefer to buy a car that doesn't move but is still very cool, or an ugly car wich at least can work?
A game purpose and for that purpose good rules are essential. (nice components is a nice bonus.) A game is purpose is NOT to have good components with good rules as nice bonus. If you give more value to aspects than a game system I don't think you are interesting in games. And if we think like this Boardgames tend to fall in the same doom as videogames are.
Where almost every single game is boring because the focus was given just to aesthetics. and lot of them are not even games, are just some interactive system.
 
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rafa_str wrote:
curtc wrote:
rafa_str wrote:
Why should we support bad designs? I don't get the point here.

Why should we support bad components? Both are important, as you've said.


Would you prefer to buy a car that doesn't move but is still very cool, or an ugly car wich at least can work?


The point is that most people would like the best of both - a very cool car that moves!

This is why Cheapass Games ceased physical production - because most people want to buy fun little games with great components - not fun little games with cheapass or non-existent components.

And it's why games like Zombicide do so well on Kickstarter - because they're great games with great components.
 
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