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  • Essays
  • Value for Money - Are Board Games Worth It?

Value for Money - Are Board Games Worth It?

O Updated
(Photo by Ramiro Mendes on Unsplash)
There Will Be Games

The cost of tabletop games is a topic that keeps popping up. There is the question of whether games have now become "overproduced", in the sense that the game components have become more expensive, due to an increase in quantity, an increase in quality or both. There is also the question of whether games have always been sold too cheaply, leaving everyone with tiny margins. There are many reasons that decide the cost of games, but I want to look at the other end of the chain. I want to see how consumers decide when a game is good value for money.

Of course, everyone will use different criteria and even when a game is seen as good value, it still doesn't mean it's affordable for everyone. We each have our own budgets to think about, but there are a number of ways people decide how to gauge the value of a game, so they can decide how that compares to the cost of buying it.

I think a lot of people look at games as a form of entertainment and therefore compare their cost with that of a night out with friends, family or a partner for example. The question is how much fun a game provides for how long and for how many people. If a game provides two hours of entertainment for four people, for example, it could be compared to going to the cinema with your friends. So paying £20 for that game is probably cheaper than an evening for four of you in the cinema.

Games also often provide more than just a couple of hours of fun, because you can usually play them multiple times, and there are games that take longer to play all the way through, either because they are heavier games or have some sort of campaign going. So suddenly a game costing £100 will be seen as good value for money when compared with a night at the cinema.

As I said above, just because a game is good value for money doesn't mean everyone is happy to spend £100 on a game. Yet, if you look at in the same way as going to the cinema, then maybe you should also consider splitting the cost with your friends, especially if you have a regular games group who all want to play that game multiple times - or be part of the whole campaign. That way the cost for each person is less and you can all afford to buy the game, especially because you all have already decided that it's good value for money.

Sometimes just doing a simple comparison between games and other forms of entertainment, purely based on the hours of fun they provide, doesn't work. There are occasions when a game provides something that no other form of entertainment can. In fact, I would argue that most games are very different in many ways.

The social interaction is hugely important to me and something I've not found in other forms of entertainment for example. It could also be an element of nostalgia that a game gives you that you cannot recreate in other ways. I have been buying a few games recently that have a German theme, and I'm not even sure if they are games I will enjoy playing, yet the nostalgia element made those games look like good value to me - and you may have different things that make a game special to you.

Whatever that special factor is, it is going to be hard to put a value on it. However, I think, if anything, it will make a game more precious and worth more to you. It will make an otherwise expensive game look a lot more like good value for money and you may even buy it for that special factor alone.

In a similar vein are deluxe editions of games, where the enhanced components or special mini-expansions give you more enjoyment when playing with them, than you would with the base version of the games. Additionally, deluxe editions often keep their monetary value much better, making them better value for money if you intend to sell them later.

I am someone who generally buys deluxe versions of games, if I can afford the extra money. Playing with metal coins gives me a lot more satisfaction than cardboard tokens for example. So it gives me that extra element of fun, but it also means that I will most likely get my money back when it comes to selling - which will happen to many of my games due to the limited amount of space I have.

Rare editions and out-of-print games are in the same category for the same reason of course. They are usually very expensive in real monetary terms, but can be seen as great value for money when you consider that they are hard to get and will probably keep their value really well.

So how do you decide when a game is good value for money? What measures do you use? Do you just go by that measure, or do you always have a hard monetary limit that you will never go above when buying games? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to hear how others decide whether a game is worth their money or not.

There Will Be Games
Oliver Kinne
Oliver Kinne (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Oliver Kinne aims to publish two new articles every week on his blog, Tabletop Games Blog, and also release both in podcast form. He reviews board games and writes about tabletop games related topics.

Oliver is also the co-host of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast, which releases a new episode every three to four weeks and tackles different issues facing board games, the people who play them and maybe their industry.

Articles by Oliver Kinne

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Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #312287 21 Jul 2020 11:20
Depends on the gamer. If you only end up playing a game once with some friends before moving on to the next hotness, you almost certainly didn't get your money's worth.

You can compare board games to other forms of entertainment: take the cost of the board game, divide by likely number of plays, then divide by average number of players, and divide again by hours per play. So let's say you have $100 boardgame that you will likely play 3 times with an average of 4 players, at about 90 minutes per game. 100/3/4/1.5 = $5.55 per player per hour.

That's an okay value compared to seeing a movie in the theater (yeah I know), which had an average price of $9.00 per person. A typical modern movie might run 2 hours, so that's about $4.50 per person per hour. But maybe you will play your boardgame four times, so 100/4/4/1.5 = $4.16.

A really bad entertainment value right now is individual issues of comics, at $4.00 for about 10 minutes of reading time, which is why I no longer buy comics and just check them out from the library. If you re-read the comic a few times over the years, then it comes closer to an equivalent value to our hypothetical board game or movie.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #312292 21 Jul 2020 12:05
This reminds me of when the contractor talks to you about the marble countertops and says, well, you use them everyday for three meals a day and they'll last 20 years so when you look at it that way it's only 2 cents per use, and surely your wife is worth 2 cents, isn't she?

Well yes, but the formica countertops will work every bit as well, what remains is your counter tops looking shinier than your neighbors'. You need to decide if THAT is worth $90 every time you have a party when they're over.

Good value for the money can be split cleanly into two categories in the case of boardgaming. The cost of bringing you the "game" instead of the "component quality" and the additional cost of bringing you the "component quality".

As it stands right now the market is buying the bigger shinier build, because . . . well, I don't why. As best I can tell the same people buying the marble countertops are buying the "component quality". If that's your thing knock yourselves out. I'll buy your copy used with two plays on it (and the cards sleeved for God's sake) for half price a year from now.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #312297 21 Jul 2020 12:40

Sagrilarus wrote: Good value for the money can be split cleanly into two categories in the case of boardgaming. The cost of bringing you the "game" instead of the "component quality" and the additional cost of bringing you the "component quality".

As it stands right now the market is buying the bigger shinier build, because . . . well, I don't why. As best I can tell the same people buying the marble countertops are buying the "component quality". If that's your thing knock yourselves out. I'll buy your copy used with two plays on it (and the cards sleeved for God's sake) for half price a year from now.


This is a great point. It's easy to see why the game makers are taking this approach: creating a quality game is an elusive goal, while including quality components is a relatively straightforward objective that can be covered by adjusting the retail price.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #312307 21 Jul 2020 16:16
Or maybe it's as simple as some people like shiny stuff and some people don't, some people value thing x at $z and some people value x at $z + 10 ... and I'll not wander down the street of people that rate people on what they like or don't, as they have a pretty boring life so that is a boring topic (after all, that is why this site was originally founded).

I like shiny stuff with my games, it improves my entertainment value from the game, but I have a monetary limit to what I will pay to have shiny in the game - and I'm positive my limits are different to many at this site (greater and lesser).

And games before (this current point in time) did have had a lot of content (the MB Gamesmaster series in the 80s) although can't comment on the pricing back then, and we can't forget the GW tabletop products (how can we with all the prophets on the site) that have always gouged demanded bountiful cash from their fanatical buyers. So maybe we don't have anything new in overcharging, maybe we have some business people who identified that there is a worldwide (oh, damn that kickstarter facility matching buyers to sellers) market for boardgames with higher quality shiny stuff.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #312310 21 Jul 2020 16:46

southernman wrote: Or maybe it's as simple as some people like shiny stuff and some people don't, some people value thing x at $z and some people value x at $z + 10 ... and I'll not wander down the street of people that rate people on what they, as they have a pretty boring life so that is a boring topic (after all, that is why this site was originally founded).

I like shiny stuff with my games, it improves my entertainment value from the game, but I have a monetary limit to what I will pay to have shiny in the game - and I'm positive my limits are different to many at this site (greater and lesser).

And games before (this current point in time) did have had a lot of content (the MB Gamesmaster series in the 80s) although can't comment on the pricing back then, and we can't forget the GW tabletop products (how can we with all the prophets on the site) that have always gouged demanded bountiful cash from their fanatical buyers. So maybe we don't have anything new in overcharging, maybe we have some business people who identified that there is a worldwide (oh, damn that kickstarter facility matching buyers to sellers) market for boardgames with higher quality shiny stuff.


We’ve already established I’m the cheapest guy on the planet. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone.
DukeofChutney's Avatar
DukeofChutney replied the topic: #312315 21 Jul 2020 18:47
I was thinking about this when playing Oath yesterday online.

Oath, i believe, costs north of 100 wongas and from the KS and it is a card game. The high cost appears to be justified by the neoprene mat and the number of cards. *edit, checked the KS page its 90$ but + uk postage i guess

Im not totally sure how i feel about this. On one hand i do think games are art, and are objects of entertainment or even desire so their creators can put whatever price they want on their creativity. I also would not necessarily say that Oath is not worth that price but it did feel like a bit of a curve ball playing it. It is a decent game, but it is the sort of game that i would normally expect to lay down about 30-50 for.

For me personally i struggle to justify spending a lot on one game. If i wanted to I could, I have a disposable income. Part of it is that games are a gamble. If you and your friends like a game a lot and play it fairly often then even a very expensive game is worth it. If on the other hand it sucks or for whatever reason becomes a shelf toad then you can easily have lost your entire investment for little or no entertainment value. With deluxe versions of existing games that risk is lower. I can buy a deluxe version of twilight struggle or war of the ring and I know what game I am getting, low risk. Perhaps it is a logical out working of the KS, pay long before you play or the game is even designed, philosophy that has lead us to people wanting deluxe components in games that they have no experience with.

I could be wrong but I imagine smaller print run, higher profit per item games are a more attractive option for publishers. If there is a market willing to pay higher dollar it is lower risk when it comes to delivery or ending up with unsold stock.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #312318 22 Jul 2020 04:26

Sagrilarus wrote: As it stands right now the market is buying the bigger shinier build, because . . . well, I don't why. As best I can tell the same people buying the marble countertops are buying the "component quality". If that's your thing knock yourselves out. I'll buy your copy used with two plays on it (and the cards sleeved for God's sake) for half price a year from now.

Because "more stuff" is easier and more immediate to appreciate than strategic depth or an interesting message. After all, you don't even need to play to appreciate a big box full of components. After all you are not even going to get to play it in a year.

I don't say this to wag fingers, I think we all ocasionally fall into the same trap which is to like the idea of a game more than the actual reality of playing it. Because it's hard for me to believe most of us like a game we never actually play and that just gathers dust on our shelves.

In other words, I don't think people really have more fun because a game has deluxe components. They think they will, but they actually don't. By their own values, not mine. It's just plain as day that the idea they had did not come into practice. In fact, I've noticed that people who are playing less often get into more Kickstarters. So something's wrong.

Amen on the buying second-hand part. Cosmic Encounter, Tragedy Looper, March of the Ants, all unpunched and at a 40% discount. Two of them with unopened expansiones to boot.

DukeofChutney wrote: Perhaps it is a logical out working of the KS, pay long before you play or the game is even designed, philosophy that has lead us to people wanting deluxe components in games that they have no experience with.

If you want to play a game, why would you buy one nobody has ever played and that you won't be able to see for at least a year?
oliverkinne's Avatar
oliverkinne replied the topic: #312320 22 Jul 2020 08:51
Thank you to everyone for the comments. There are a lot of great points and it's nice to hear how everyone decides what is good value for a board game. I think the comparison with the marble kitchen worktop is a good one and plays into the threshold we all have of how much is too much, even when the game itself will be played dozens of times and provides dozens of hours of entertainment. Buying the same game second hand can bring that game below the threshold, but you still get the same great game, with the same great component quality, minus a bit of wear and tear.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #312324 22 Jul 2020 09:56

DukeofChutney wrote: I was thinking about this when playing Oath yesterday online.

Oath, i believe, costs north of 100 wongas and from the KS and it is a card game. The high cost appears to be justified by the neoprene mat and the number of cards. *edit, checked the KS page its 90$ but + uk postage i guess.


With Oath, you are paying half for the game and half for the membership dues to stay in the cult.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #312333 22 Jul 2020 14:45

Erik Twice wrote: ...
In other words, I don't think people really have more fun because a game has deluxe components. They think they will, but they actually don't. ?


Wrong. I know I would not enjoy Nemesis just with little square chits representing the Intruders. I have read reviews from people on this site about games with lots of, usually large, miniatures and they are unambiguous that those minis provide a fun element to their enjoyment of the game.
But then not needing bling in a game is pretty normal for a sizeable piece of the gaming population as well.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #312365 22 Jul 2020 22:51
I have marble floors in my bathroom. They make me happy.

I recently backed a Kickstarter game because the playing pieces were a real china tea set.

The Wonder Woman game has really shitty cards. I would have paid more to have them on nicer card stock.

I’ve been kicking myself for nearly a year now for not paying the extra $10 to get the upgraded cattle chips when Kickstarted the Western Legends expansions.

Bourbon tastes better when drunk from a the good crystal.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #312370 23 Jul 2020 08:07

southernman wrote:

Erik Twice wrote: ...
In other words, I don't think people really have more fun because a game has deluxe components. They think they will, but they actually don't. ?


Wrong. I know I would not enjoy Nemesis just with little square chits representing the Intruders. I have read reviews from people on this site about games with lots of, usually large, miniatures and they are unambiguous that those minis provide a fun element to their enjoyment of the game.
But then not needing bling in a game is pretty normal for a sizeable piece of the gaming population as well.

Sorry, I was speaking in general. I do think there are some who like you do enjoy deluxe components. And they should go and find them if it makes them happy. But I just don't think the average Kickstaerter backer actually enjoys the deluxe components he pays for, if simply because they don't seem to actually play those games. And I play with those people, and I don't see them really enjoying the megacomponents so much.

We often like the idea of playing more than the actual play. And I see something similar with components.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #312382 23 Jul 2020 11:55

Erik Twice wrote:

southernman wrote:

Erik Twice wrote: ...
In other words, I don't think people really have more fun because a game has deluxe components. They think they will, but they actually don't. ?


Wrong. I know I would not enjoy Nemesis just with little square chits representing the Intruders. I have read reviews from people on this site about games with lots of, usually large, miniatures and they are unambiguous that those minis provide a fun element to their enjoyment of the game.
But then not needing bling in a game is pretty normal for a sizeable piece of the gaming population as well.

Sorry, I was speaking in general. I do think there are some who like you do enjoy deluxe components. And they should go and find them if it makes them happy. But I just don't think the average Kickstaerter backer actually enjoys the deluxe components he pays for, if simply because they don't seem to actually play those games. And I play with those people, and I don't see them really enjoying the megacomponents so much.

We often like the idea of playing more than the actual play. And I see something similar with components.


I really don't know how you can make that kind of sweeping generalization from such a small (tiny) and niche (your gaming group who, from your gaming reports, seem to like strong strategy and thinking games) :huh: - that would be like me saying that I think the average kickstarter backer will buy anything that has at least 30 detailed and large miniatures because my group loves them.

The simple fact that these games are selling year after year, in increasing numbers (please check the numbers pledging towards games from Awaken Realms in the last couple of years, they ain't dropping), makes your observation a guess rather than a researched observation.

And, again, I totally recognise there will be a massive segment of the gaming population who will not care about blinged-up games but saying that those who do don't actually enjoy them is a massive reach ... and miss. What it probably says is that people in your gaming group were tempted by them when it wasn't actually the factor in a game that they appreciated the most, or even at all.
fightcitymayor's Avatar
fightcitymayor replied the topic: #312389 23 Jul 2020 13:46

Erik Twice wrote: But I just don't think the average Kickstaerter backer actually enjoys the deluxe components he pays for, if simply because they don't seem to actually play those games. And I play with those people, and I don't see them really enjoying the megacomponents so much.
We often like the idea of playing more than the actual play. And I see something similar with components.

southernman wrote: The simple fact that these games are selling year after year, in increasing numbers (please check the numbers pledging towards games from Awaken Realms in the last couple of years, they ain't dropping), makes your observation a guess rather than a researched observation.

Both could be true facts.
KS buyers keep buying because they are indeed entranced by the plastic toys.
And
KS buyers who buy said toys either buy them specifically for re-sale, or as collectors, or to avoid FOMO, or because they fall in love with the idea of playing the game although they never actually get around to playing the game, or some other reason that results in the plastic toys not being integral to the gaming experience.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #312391 23 Jul 2020 14:36
A couple of the last KS games I backed, the plastic was indeed the draw.

Marvel United from CMON because I do like those funky little chibis.

Tanares Adventures got me due to some good praise the game had here, but also all that glorious plastic.

I'm a sucker for it and I love it.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #312394 23 Jul 2020 15:18

fightcitymayor wrote:

Erik Twice wrote: But I just don't think the average Kickstaerter backer actually enjoys the deluxe components he pays for, if simply because they don't seem to actually play those games. And I play with those people, and I don't see them really enjoying the megacomponents so much.
We often like the idea of playing more than the actual play. And I see something similar with components.

southernman wrote: The simple fact that these games are selling year after year, in increasing numbers (please check the numbers pledging towards games from Awaken Realms in the last couple of years, they ain't dropping), makes your observation a guess rather than a researched observation.

Both could be true facts.
KS buyers keep buying because they are indeed entranced by the plastic toys.
And
KS buyers who buy said toys either buy them specifically for re-sale, or as collectors, or to avoid FOMO, or because they fall in love with the idea of playing the game although they never actually get around to playing the game, or some other reason that results in the plastic toys not being integral to the gaming experience.


Never said it may not be true, said it was a big bloody guess.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #312396 23 Jul 2020 16:30
I think people don't play their deluxe KS's because they get enticed by the marketing, and the games just turn out to be crummy. Deluxe components won't make a crummy game good. They won't make you like a game you simply don't enjoy. Heck, there are so many gorgeous chess sets out there, but I don't like chess so having a beautiful set isn't suddenly going to make me start playing chess.

However, if a game is good, and you do love it and play it a lot, then having deluxe components makes an enjoyable experience even more enjoyable. Bonus if the components are more durable or more functional, like bigger cards that are easier to read, chunkier bits that are easier to manipulate.

It's like, I don't like to cook. My kitchen is over 25 years old. The cabinets are worn, the counter's are cracked, my pans are dented and missing lids. Marble countertops, new cabinets and high end cook ware aren't going to make me like cooking. But for my friends who do like to cook and who spend a lot of time in their kitchen, those things are important to them, and make their hobby even more enjoyable.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312398 23 Jul 2020 17:41
I was pointing out to someone the other day that components can contribute quite a bit to a game, both for players and for observers. For example, I know that having the fortifications for Rising Sun as plastic models rather than cardboard tokens makes zero difference in actual gameplay, but it makes a ton of difference in visual appeal. I've had people walking through a game store stop at the tables and squeal: "Turtles!" when seeing someone put another Turtle Clan fort down. For a game often derided based on the opinion that the elaborate figures "don't do that much" (woefully incorrect, BTW), the plastic makes a difference when considering the overall experience.

It makes a difference between games, too. Battlelore, 2nd Ed. is a two-player wargame, just like any of several hundred hex-and-counter games out there. But when you switch from one to the other, it makes a difference. It's just a lot cooler to move Flesh Rippers and Wraiths around on the board than it is a couple pieces of cardboard with numbers on them.

OTOH, one of the best games ever printed is made up of cardboard hexagons, so one can definitely argue that components are not the be-all and end-all. But no one here was arguing that. They're just saying that they enhance the experience of many games.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #312413 24 Jul 2020 00:04
I buy games so rarely these days that I really don't have much valuable to add to this conversation, but I do think that at this point in my life I am more interested in games with well-made cardboard and paper components, rather than games with sumptuous minis. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it's the difference between say, Duel of Ages II and Twilight Imperium. Not that one is better, but I am kind of over sculpted plastic.

(Obviously that's not meant as a generalization of what other people want from Kickstarters. I find it laughable that anyone would try to make such sweeping generalizations, frankly.)

Part of this also has to do with my own reality though, which is that I have moved a lot recently and don't have a ton of space for really big games, and sculpted plastic makes for VERY big games. Shipping big productions is also really a hassle. I have no idea what I'll do when we inevitably move away from the Philippines.

But yeah, I basically just buy D&D books now, so I have no room to talk.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #312416 24 Jul 2020 00:47
I've finally got to play a lot of the shelf toads which I am famous for since the covid break:

Food Chain Magnate
John Company
Imperial Struggle
Pax Pamir 2nd
Root

...and they've been fucking real bangers and didn't disappoint at all. So, I mean, something like Food Chain Magnate is a great example. Expensive as a KS but without great components. The definition of a "value for money" problem. But it is great and I'm glad I spent the 100 dollars!

I'm in a weird place because I feel like this site (not really this thread, more a general statement) is sort of sinking into a defensive crouch of "gaming is being ground down by expensive consumerism and needs to shift toward simpler accessible games" yet I'm feeling like the last 5 years of super niche hobby gaming have produced some of the best games in my collection and I love where we're at---and the shit that I have really thought was grim boring shit was this accesible family game shit like Wingspan. I don't resent my super simple cheap and cheerful TWBG brethren but boy do I not live in that world.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312418 24 Jul 2020 01:05
No, I'm right there with you. I thought Wingspan was pretty mundane. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the simplicity of something like Pax Pamir. It's just blocks, cards, and a cloth "board" but the depth of it is amazing. I totally see the attraction of that because I'm attracted by it. It's like Theseus. You're just moving wooden disks around some cardboard sheets and playing cards. But it's a brilliant game.

At the same time, I will never regret owning piles o'plastic games like Rising Sun and Cry Havoc and Cthulhu Wars (It has to be said that Petersen probably went a little OTT with some of that stuff, but it still looks brilliant.) Hell, the Funkoverse game is kind of that because you're always going to have 6 big head, Funko Pop figures running around the board with little plastic weapons in every game. Do we NEED that for a relatively simple game? No. But that's part of what makes it fun.

This all goes back to what many people at GW used to insist was the essence of their business. They said: "We're a modeling company that has some wargame rules." I think that was their version of whistling past the graveyard when their games had obvious flaws that needed adjustment, but the fact is that a lot of people play 40K, et al because that stuff looks really cool on the table. Their long history of producing increasingly expensive models for their games and still staying in business makes it really hard to argue that people don't want that stuff in the games that they're shelling out hundreds, if not thousands, for.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #312424 24 Jul 2020 09:16

Gary Sax wrote: I'm in a weird place because I feel like this site (not really this thread, more a general statement) is sort of sinking into a defensive crouch of "gaming is being ground down by expensive consumerism and needs to shift toward simpler accessible games" yet I'm feeling like the last 5 years of super niche hobby gaming have produced some of the best games in my collection and I love where we're at---and the shit that I have really thought was grim boring shit was this accesible family game shit like Wingspan. I don't resent my super simple cheap and cheerful TWBG brethren but boy do I not live in that world.


You know, it occurred to me reading this thread that while I'm thoroughly burnt out on minis, I do still get tingles from overwrought productions on anything besides that. I mentioned Duel of Ages II, and it's rich for me to use that game as any sort of metric for what games SHOULD be like because I got it as a review copy, and full retail it's well over $200. (Back in the days when you could find the whole game for retail, that is.) There is something fundamentally appealing to a lot of us about really giant games, whether it's lots of minis, copious table space, or lots of cards and tokens all over the place.

I'm not really in a place to comment on this because my experience over the last few years has been far from exhaustive. But it feels like the giant production is increasingly going into games that ten years ago would have been something that cost like $40. I think of something like Scythe, which looked really nice, but probably didn't really need to cost $80 and had this ludicrous production. I know that the production is part of the point, but I have always felt a little like it's selling a bill of goods that it won't fulfill. Am I really mistaken in that? Are simpler games getting more and more ornate physically?
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #312426 24 Jul 2020 09:50

san il defanso wrote: I think of something like Scythe, which looked really nice, but probably didn't really need to cost $80 and had this ludicrous production. I know that the production is part of the point, but I have always felt a little like it's selling a bill of goods that it won't fulfill. Am I really mistaken in that? Are simpler games getting more and more ornate physically?


Scythe totally needed to look nice and cost $80, because it is a Veblen good. The actual game is average quality, but the art took it up and over the top, and the elevated price paid for the pretty and duped buyers into thinking that they were buying a great game.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #312429 24 Jul 2020 11:38
When I think "simpler game" of what I've been into the past few years, Kingdomino jumps right out, and it only cost $15. The tiles are pretty chunky though; I'm kinda surprised it managed a price point as low as it did.
RobertB's Avatar
RobertB replied the topic: #312434 24 Jul 2020 12:43

Shellhead wrote:

san il defanso wrote: I think of something like Scythe, which looked really nice, but probably didn't really need to cost $80 and had this ludicrous production. I know that the production is part of the point, but I have always felt a little like it's selling a bill of goods that it won't fulfill. Am I really mistaken in that? Are simpler games getting more and more ornate physically?


Scythe totally needed to look nice and cost $80, because it is a Veblen good. The actual game is average quality, but the art took it up and over the top, and the elevated price paid for the pretty and duped buyers into thinking that they were buying a great game.


Speaking as a duped buyer, it looked like an interesting game with great bits, if you sprung for them. Since cardboard chits, bog-standard game art, and wooden meeples usually cost you $50, bumping production values up a notch or two was obviously going to cost more. As for gameplay, I like Scythe okay. Wouldn't turn it down, haven't dragged it out in a while. When it came out it was a bit misrepresented as a 4X conflict game, and some people were less than pleased; I myself was disappointed.

As for games as conspicuous consumption, that would imply showing off a game to impress someone, as opposed to bringing it out because it might be fun. It could happen, sure, but I don't recall ever seeing it.