Money, Money, Money

I’ve got a trapped nerve in one shoulder, and tennis elbow in the other arm, so it’s painful to type lots. But, rather than leave you waiting, I’ll pose a short question for you to ponder.

$100 games. These used to be the rarest of rare, but now we see them quite often on Kickstarter, and increasingly bleeding into retail. In fact, for the larger games, $100 is now looking like not enough. The costs of materials keep going up, and 2020 did a real number on shipping costs. Margins are tighter than ever, and so prices must rise, or the contents must shrink. So, which is it?

Do prices just keep going up till we’re looking at $150 or $200 core games, with extras on top? Or is the $100 price point so important that the contents shrink to fit under that for all but the biggest companies?

What do you think? Do you have an upper limit on spend per game

There’s always a handful for whom cost is no object, but production minima need a thousand or more to keep the costs sane. So, where is the upper limit for the mass market?


If you’d like a second weekly dose of all the game-related wisdom you didn’t ask for, this time focussing on the designs I’m working on myself, then you can find it over on my Patreon. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here next Tuesday for another exciting episode…

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11 Responses to Money, Money, Money

  1. Alan says:

    A $100 game should still be “BIG”, but as you say, even the “medium” sized games are starting to cost $100+. I am even seeing small games (a deck of cards) being priced at $25. Hard-core gamers will pay what they need to, in order to get the game they want. But new/casual gamers are going to stay FAR away from games that eat into a major chunk of that month’s rent. Game prices need to be acceptable for the contents, and accessible to people.

    Too be honest, I sometimes wait until sale days to get games I want. And even then, 25% off isn’t always enough of a price drop to make me spend that kind of money. Unless I already KNOW it’s a quality game that I’m going to get a lot of plays out of.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      And that’s the other half of the discussion: how many plays, or how do you measure value. Maybe for another article (although I think I’ve written on that before).

  2. Money Vs. Value is the balance for me. It isn’t necessarily how much is in the box, but how much I can use it. Now, I doubt I’ll ever pay $100 for a base card game, I know for a fact I have spent over that on expansions for a really good card game (Killer Bunnies).

    That Value can be miniatures I can use for other games, a game that I play A LOT, a game I can play with more people (Hard to get people interested in Call of Cthulhu), etc. So that “value” isn’t one specific thing, just as it wouldn’t be the same thing for everyone.

    All I know is that for $100 it had better be a dang good game, or gold plated. 😉

  3. If I think I’ll really, really enjoy a board game, I’ll pay £100, but for that price I’d be expecting at least two expansions alongside the base game, and ideally those two expansions would be the only expansions made for the game (I’m not a fan of endless releases). If a game is going to cost me more than £100 for ALL the content made for it, and if new content is going to be continually produced on a regular basis (then made obsolete by a dreaded “second edition”), I’ll probably write it off as too expensive to get into. I’d say £60 is my comfortable upper limit for a single game with no expansions, though I generally am more attracted (and more likely to buy) games retailing for the £30-40 mark.

  4. gavroche says:

    I mostly play dungeon crawlers and don’t have an upper limit, but I have gone off big kickstarters with lots of stuff & extra expansions. Often the games themselves are not that great, and by now I already have a sizeable miniatures collection. TBH, I’d be more interested in buying print & play stuff, just the game rules really,

    • gavroche says:

      If you’re asking about $100 specifically, I’d say it’s not very likely I’d buy it at all, as the budget would’ve been mostly spent on material components I’m not particularly interested in. If it was both an exceptionally good looking *AND* truly great game, maybe. If it was trash but had very very nice miniatures, perhaps. But if it’s nothing special, or even if the rules are nice but the packaging & ballast don’t justify the price tag, I’ll pass.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        As you say, the higher the price tag the more elements have to be just right to justify the cost. And the harder it is to do that. *All* the ducks have to be in a row.

        Yes, even that one.

  5. I’d potentially go over the £100 mark for a game workshop game where the figures had utility outside of the game itself in 40k or AoS. Other than that £50 is near enough my upper limit. Outside of global pandemics though most of my gaming solo, and to that end I tend to make up my own games and write my own rules, it’s probably my favourite aspect of the hobby, so that probably factors more into my upper limit than the amount and quality of components etc.

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