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Subject: Board game cost rss

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Sam Froehlke
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I have a game that I'm working on, but it'll end up being very expensive; over $250. I'm not sure that I can do much of anything about the price, since I obviously can't afford production runs at this point.

The basic gist of the game (*edit* was originally intended to be) giving a lot more detail to Risk, except in a much smaller area(The Caucasus), and with most of the focus being on resource harvesting and infrastructure construction. You would only be able to muster an army by reducing the size of a city, and the armies and cities constantly need to be fed and supplied. The board will be around 45x24"

Just to see if it's worth continuing thinking about marketing it, is there anyone who would even consider paying that much for a game?
 
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Corsaire
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Not based on Risk.
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Sam Froehlke
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Well, in the sense that you move armies around a real world map. My first ideas were very close to Risk, but practicality(The board size was ridiculous) and what would make a more interesting game won out in the end.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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How did you arrive at the figure of $250? Is that the cost to manufacture, or what you think you can sell it for?

Anyone who wants to buy a giant expensive war game will probably not be enticed by comparing it to Risk. If Risk is your idea of "a typical game of armies fighting", then I recommend you find and play some more war games and then reevaluate.
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Sam Froehlke
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The cost of pieces comes to around 220, not including the box or shipping, and there are already no unnecessarily expensive pieces like plastic figures.

I was originally largely motivated to find an application of real world geography, and quickly moved away from the similarities to Risk, but I couldn't think of a better way to put it.
 
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maf man
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Sodaker wrote:
The cost of pieces comes to around 220
how?
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Jeroen van der Valk
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I'm pretty certain you will find an audience, small as it may be, and you would most likely have to use Kickstarter or self-publish in some way. No publisher will touch it though, I can't imagine.

And the game has to be a) really good and b) the components have to match the price, for standing a chance to sell at most a few hunderd copies. Though this is true for most if not all games, as the price goes up, so does the expectation.

Also, I don't know what $220 worth of components looks like when not employing plastics, but I would wager the game is "fiddly", to say the least. I strongly advise considering "Less is more", which tends to hold true in game design for any game.
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Brett Pierotte
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So you're estimating your cost of production (just for the pieces) as $220. How many pieces are their going to be and what materials are you using?

For comparison a representative "monster" wargame like Case Blue from Multi-Man Publishing retails on their site for $225.00. I'm just guessing that to have been profitable, the production cost would have been around 2/3 of that or around $150 per unit. That covers the cost of the box, 10 mapsheets, 13 countersheets, 6 different rulesbooks and scenario books, not to mention charts, tables, and 2 dice. Will your game contain even more than that component-wise? You already mentioned a 45" x 24" game board. While large, I've seen games with boards like that retail for well under $100. Also, you said there were no miniatures, so I'm assuming cardboard components or wooden cubes/meeples.

So, how are you arriving at the $220 per unit production cost? Are you sure you're not overestimating?
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Sodaker wrote:
I have a game that I'm working on, but it'll end up being very expensive; over $250.

I'm not sure that I can do much of anything about the price,

is there anyone who would even consider paying that much for a game?

OK, does it provide $250 worth of value compared to $250 spent on another game?

That's completely untrue. You have chosen to develop and spec an expensive game, rather than something more budget friendly.

I own Kingdom Death : Monster; it has a $400 MSRP for the core game alone, and I have ordered over $500 worth of expansions. I've sunk over $1k into Magic: the Gathering. And I've easily sunk $1k into Warhammer 40,000. It's not a question of price, it's a question of value. If you can clearly justify the value, then the price is fine.
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marc lecours
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A board game usually sells for 2 or 3 times its manufacturing cost when sold in stores. Even on kickstarter there are many costs beyond manufacturing. There is no way that a game that costs 220$ to manufacture should be selling for less than at least 350$ on kickstarter (and possibly more). Otherwise you will lose your shirt. I doubt that any publisher will take on a game that cost that much to make.

If you want to be published, get the manufacturing cost to 25$ or less. Cut the number of components. Think in terms of expansions. If people love your game they will pay for the expansion game that has more of the content. So split off some of the components and add them in an expansion.

If you go the kickstarter route, then I would still try to cut costs and get manufacturing costs to 80$ or less. Then you can offer extra content as stretch goals. That way as your sales go up, you get manufacturing discounts that can go towards more components.

220$ manufacturing cost is huge in this business. Is this the cost of production in China? Or in USA? or in Europe? or in the Caucasus?

You say there are no plastic pieces. Then your manufacturing costs are way too much. My bet is that you are trying to manufacture the game locally (wherever you are). Or you are looking at the cost of producing only 100 copies (prices drop considerably as volume increases).

GrauGeist mentioned having spent more on "Magic the gathering". But no one ever spent anywhere near 200$ for their initial set of cards when "Magic the Gathering" first came out. Only once the game had a proven track record did people start spending lots on it. They made their sales on expansions.

My advice is to start by making a great game with less components (aim for a manufacturing cost of 20$ or less). If it is a hit, then people will look at your more expensive game, and you will have a chance to sell it.

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Jeremy Lennert
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To sell in stores, the typical multipler for MSRP is in the ballpark of five times the manufacturing cost, because a distributor will only pay you roughly 40% of MSRP.

If you don't care about stores and only want to sell direct, then you can have a smaller markup. But above the material cost, don't forget shipping, warehousing, customer service. And if you're getting the pieces from multiple locations, you probably need to pay someone to pack it all together, too.

"The cost of the pieces" is super vague on how you worked this out, though. Did you ask a manufacturer for a quote, or are you looking up consumer prices of toys that look similar to what you want, or what? $220 is a crazy expensive manufacturing cost.
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rubberchicken wrote:
GrauGeist mentioned having spent more on "Magic the gathering". But no one ever spent anywhere near 200$ for their initial set of cards when "Magic the Gathering" first came out.

That's not necessarily true. If you've been playing with your friend's decks and gotten sucked in that way, one could very easily start by buying a complete playset via a few boxes of cards.

$200 is far less than what you'd spend on a game console, for example, but people do that all the time.

There are people who jump into Kingdom Death : Monster, and drop $400 just like that.
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Nick Case
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Antistone wrote:
To sell in stores, the typical multipler for MSRP is in the ballpark of five times the manufacturing cost, because a distributor will only pay you roughly 40% of MSRP.

QFT although a distributor will only pay you 35% of production cost and please note the difference between production cost and manufacturing cost..

Sorry to burst your bubble but with the $$ quoted this will never fly. A manufacture will only consider a minimum print run of 500 so unless you have $110,000 down the back of the sofa forget it.

No one is going to pay $1000 for your game. However I can’t believe the pieces would cost $200 to produce, that is a bath tube full of bits if produced in China.
 
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marc lecours
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GrauGeist wrote:
rubberchicken wrote:
GrauGeist mentioned having spent more on "Magic the gathering". But no one ever spent anywhere near 200$ for their initial set of cards when "Magic the Gathering" first came out.

That's not necessarily true. If you've been playing with your friend's decks and gotten sucked in that way, one could very easily start by buying a complete playset via a few boxes of cards.

$200 is far less than what you'd spend on a game console, for example, but people do that all the time.

There are people who jump into Kingdom Death : Monster, and drop $400 just like that.

No single set of "magic the gathering" sold for more than 100$ when it first came out. You are talking about once the reputation of "magic" was made and they sold complete sets to people trying to catch up. But the initial "magic" card sets were not sold for hundreds of dollars. Their whole sales model was to sell a starter kit then sell more cards a few at a time. Once the game took off, then sale of complete sets became viable. If the first starter set of "Magic" had sold for 200$ they would have sold close to zero games.

Even with "Case Blue" mentioned above, the designers already had a reputation. Plus the amount of components in the box is crazy high.

To sell a game at 200$ or more you need either stunning components (like a beautiful chess set or really cool plastic figurines or some electronic interface) or you need a great game that needs lots and lots of components (Case Blue or a full set of 7th continent) or you need to make a collector's edition of a game with a reputation (collector's edition of War of the ring, World in flames, magic the gathering)
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Carel Teijgeler
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When in Berlin I saw a war game on Singapore in a huge box priced at €350.

To cut cost
- drop your obsession to add plastic miniatures.
- smaller board

You kan always KS and see what imbeciles wants to prepay your not yet published idea, because plastic miniatures are an instabuy gor them..
 
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marc lecours
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anijunk wrote:


To cut cost
- drop your obsession to add plastic miniatures.

I thought he said that there were no plastic figures and only a single board.

I suspect that his price is high because he researched how much it would cost to produce locally, wherever he is.
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James Campbell
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Sodaker wrote:
The cost of pieces comes to around 220, not including the box or shipping, and there are already no unnecessarily expensive pieces like plastic figures.

And this cost estimate is coming from what source?

Based on the (extremely) minimal information provided I am going to guess it's eiter a Print on Demand service like The Game Crafter OR sourcing parts locally and inefficiently.
 
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Sam Froehlke
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I got the cost from boardgamesmaker.com (China), at qty. of 1.

Unfortunately, I don't have much capital to finance runs, so I have to use Print-on-Demand, which I know is a lot higher.

The price mainly comes from the wooden blocks for use as resources, since that's most of the focus of the game, mining and farming resources and moving them to the needed areas.

Board - $68.14
Rulebook - $6.00
Cards - $10.00
Army Pawns - $16.80
Cardboard Tiles - $12.00

Wooden Blocks:
Roads - $10.80
Railroads - $4.50
Cities - $18.90
Grain - $19.50
Lumber $10.50
Finished Goods - $6.70
Coal - $10.40
Iron - $10.40

Comes to ~$208
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rubberchicken wrote:
GrauGeist wrote:
rubberchicken wrote:
GrauGeist mentioned having spent more on "Magic the gathering". But no one ever spent anywhere near 200$ for their initial set of cards when "Magic the Gathering" first came out.

That's not necessarily true. If you've been playing with your friend's decks and gotten sucked in that way, one could very easily start by buying a complete playset via a few boxes of cards.

$200 is far less than what you'd spend on a game console, for example, but people do that all the time.

There are people who jump into Kingdom Death : Monster, and drop $400 just like that.

No single set of "magic the gathering" sold for more than 100$ when it first came out. You are talking about once the reputation of "magic" was made and they sold complete sets to people trying to catch up. But the initial "magic" card sets were not sold for hundreds of dollars. Their whole sales model was to sell a starter kit then sell more cards a few at a time. Once the game took off, then sale of complete sets became viable. If the first starter set of "Magic" had sold for 200$ they would have sold close to zero games.

Even with "Case Blue" mentioned above, the designers already had a reputation. Plus the amount of components in the box is crazy high.

To sell a game at 200$ or more you need either stunning components (like a beautiful chess set or really cool plastic figurines or some electronic interface) or you need a great game that needs lots and lots of components (Case Blue or a full set of 7th continent) or you need to make a collector's edition of a game with a reputation (collector's edition of War of the ring, World in flames, magic the gathering)

I'm simply noting that people have spent well in excess of $200 getting into particular games, and that is a provable fact. I wasn't aware that you were going to focus on the "when it first came out" part.

If you are indeed focusing on the "when (Magic) first came out", I believe you need to prove your assertion by looking at initial purchases of EVERY SINGLE MAGIC PLAYER during the Alpha / Beta / Unlimited / Revised era. If you can clearly demonstrate that not a single player in the entire world spent more than $200 for their initial buy, I'll gladly concede the point.

Otherwise, I'm going to assame that at least one person (early 20s professional) in the world went out and just bought a few boxes, possibly a case. This is not unreasonable considering it was marketed as collectible like baseball cards, and people buy piles of baseball cards hoping to get what ends up being the next rookie Honus Wagner.
 
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Nick Case
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It was for projects like this that Kickstarter was created. It is not a workable model for you to commission one game at a time for the price quoted. However did you get a quote for 500 copies? If so wrap this figure in with all of your other costs inc artwork and design costs, KS and Paypal fees, shipping, fulfilment & tax etc and come up with a total production cost. This is your break even. Use Kickstarter to test the market but make sure you playtest the life out of the game first but not just with friends and family. In fact if possible avoid all testing with your family. They will tell you it is the best game ever whether they believe that or not.
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Ken Bush
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Sodaker wrote:
I got the cost from boardgamesmaker.com (China), at qty. of 1.

Unfortunately, I don't have much capital to finance runs, so I have to use Print-on-Demand, which I know is a lot higher.

The price mainly comes from the wooden blocks for use as resources, since that's most of the focus of the game, mining and farming resources and moving them to the needed areas.

Board - $68.14
Rulebook - $6.00
Cards - $10.00
Army Pawns - $16.80
Cardboard Tiles - $12.00

Wooden Blocks:
Roads - $10.80
Railroads - $4.50
Cities - $18.90
Grain - $19.50
Lumber $10.50
Finished Goods - $6.70
Coal - $10.40
Iron - $10.40

Comes to ~$208
Use small cardboard chits like war games use for resources in your first few games. You can get 150 chits or more in a single sheet.
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maf man
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Sodaker wrote:
I got the cost from boardgamesmaker.com (China), at qty. of 1.
yup thats your problem. if your making one copy for yourself now you may want to try getting parts from multiple sources, just whoever is cheapest.

I looked at board prices and just by ordering two the cost per board is cut by about 25%. at 2000 for quantity your price is just 10% of what it is with one.

+1 to the chits idea, even if you use it for just some of the wooden peices it would help. Also it might help having types orgonized by what they are such as grain lumber coal and iron on chits and the rest wooden.
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John "Omega" Williams
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korangar wrote:
I'm just guessing that to have been profitable, the production cost would have been around 2/3 of that or around $150 per unit.

Actually the production cost would be 1/3rd retail if the publisher planned to make any sort of profit or even just break even.

Why?

Retailer cut. You sell the game for upwards of about 1/2 your retail price to retailers/distributors. Who then sell it and make back about 1/2 their investment. And the publisher makes back probably about 1/2 as well. If even that after costs.

So you want your retail price to be about 3x your production cost. That way you hopefully make enough profit to produce another game.

So if the game costs 200$ to make, which is absurdly high, then you's want retail cost to be at least 400$ or optimally 600$.

The only way to bring that down would be to sell direct. But then you have a whole different set of problems and costs to deal with.

addendum: and catching up with the thread. Yes. Quantity changes the print cost usually. A single print can be VERY costly. Larger orders tend to cut the cost. Sometimes significantly.

Still that reads way too costly to produce.
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John "Omega" Williams
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To the OP.

Did you compare prices with those from TheGameCrafter?

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/
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Ryan Keane
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mafman6 wrote:
Sodaker wrote:
I got the cost from boardgamesmaker.com (China), at qty. of 1.
yup thats your problem. if your making one copy for yourself now you may want to try getting parts from multiple sources, just whoever is cheapest.

I looked at board prices and just by ordering two the cost per board is cut by about 25%. at 2000 for quantity your price is just 10% of what it is with one.

+1 to the chits idea, even if you use it for just some of the wooden peices it would help. Also it might help having types orgonized by what they are such as grain lumber coal and iron on chits and the rest wooden.

So the “over $250” sale price estimate is pretty meaningless. With some tweaking of the components and let’s say a print run of 1000, you still might get manufacturing cost under $20. You still have pre-production costs like art, running a KS campaign if you’re going to self-publish (print on demand is a whole other thing, and I wouldn’t think you’d want to use a big Chinese manufacturer for that), shipping palettes from China, etc etc.

Is this that game with the map of the Caucasus we were discussing how to get your board smaller?
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