Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Runewars

Did I really beat Ben in posting this here? Well, I have to say that FFG's marketing skills have improved significantly in the past couple of years.... I'm impressed (both with the quality of the video....and yes, the game).

13 Comments:

At 7:24 PM, January 06, 2010, Blogger Carlos said...

This really looks like a fine game. When I watched the video with my son we both thought it looked a bit like "Age of Conan" on steroids.

Although I really like this genera, I am afraid that it will be a very large game that takes much time and table space. Such games don't get played as much as I would like at my house. The price tag is also a bit hefty...but I am considering anyway...

 
At 7:31 PM, January 06, 2010, Blogger Rob said...

Yeah, I don't know... it might end up like WoW or Starcraft, gathering dust on my shelf

 
At 8:29 PM, January 06, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

Oh... boy.... Now I must have it. Argh... I need to create more shelf space for this monster.

WoW is gathering dust? Such a shame! We should play some time.

Starcraft.... I'm looking for a motivated opponent.

 
At 10:16 PM, January 06, 2010, Blogger Rob said...

SC, I have the expansion...untouched.

 
At 12:12 AM, January 07, 2010, Blogger Chris said...

I think I'm going to have to pass on this. I'll continue the theme--the big box games just don't get played anymore. Who wants to spend this kind of money for a game you can't get to the table, at least not nearly enough to justify the price?

Seriously, if you get this to the table five times, you're paying $20 per play. If someone else owned it and said, "Come over and play it," would you play it? I sure would. But if someone else owned it and said, "I'll let you play this game with me...for 20 bucks," would you pay that to play it? Even once? I don't think so.

It's admittedly a horribly pessimistic way to look at it, but there it is. Unless a game comes along that's simply amazing, I'm feeling (at least at the moment) that I'd rather play the games I've already got.

So how many potential purchases of this game did I just kill? :-)

 
At 5:44 AM, January 07, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

Security! Security! Get this patient out of here and back to the restraining room before he upsets the others!

I suppose if I really thought about this hobby in terms of cost/playtime I would completely abandon it in favor of videogaming, reading, sports, etc. Come to think of it, I pretty much have... I just keep collecting games. For me I do derive a lot of gratification from studying the historical detail presented in wargames. I also get a charge out of playing huge, colorful games I wish I could have had when I was younger with more free time.

Wow.... What a buzz kill!

 
At 5:53 AM, January 07, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

I label this moment of clarity in board gaming "The Simon Moment." Remember Simon? One day he had probably as many board games as any almost anyone in the group and was present at almost every gaming session. The next day, boom! Nothing. Last BGG log in was probably 2007. Now his X-Box gamer score is over 40,000...

 
At 4:25 PM, January 07, 2010, Blogger Anne said...

Chris,

Have we ever charged anyone to play boardgames with us? I mean, would you even play with someone who said, "I'll let you play this game...for a nickel." I might decline on principal since board gaming has always been a sharing experience.

That's not to say your sentiments aren't valid. We now know that Runewars doesn't give you enough utility to justify making the purchase. Which is quite fair. And I wouldn't say that's a pessimistic viewpoint, but a pragmatic one.

So, I'm curious, what's your desired per play cost for games you would purchase? Would it be $1 per play? A quarter per play?

 
At 6:46 PM, January 07, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

He's bluffing... I know he wants to play, but he knows I'll buy it if he doesn't. :)

 
At 8:09 PM, January 08, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

Runewars rules are now up.

 
At 9:06 PM, January 08, 2010, Blogger Chris said...

He's bluffing... I know he wants to play, but he knows I'll buy it if he doesn't. :)

Bingo.

Anne, I think you misunderstand my point. Of course I'd never charge anyone to play games. That wasn't my point. My point is that I'm starting to look at games less as sheer enjoyment and more as money spent per play, and how better to get others to look at games for a moment in the same way than to spell it out in a very literal "pay per play" example?

Some people, like Ben (and myself to some extent), get a lot of enjoyment from having the games, and looking at them and pushing around the pieces and reading the rules and looking at how the different elements of gameplay work. And I can definitely appreciate that. I'm like that sometimes. But I've been thinking more about the games I recently bought, the games I want to sell, the money in vs. money out, and the overall return on investment of this hobby. Clearly, there's no monetary return. With rare exceptions (AA:50 for example), you'll never sell a game for more than you paid for it. So the return on investment has to be the enjoyment you get out of either owning it or playing it. And for me, a game that costs $100 that ultimately strikes me as unremarkable (like Runewars or Horus Heresy) and that I do not expect to play more than once is a negative return. If I'm shelling out $100, I deserve and expect to get some serious enjoyment out of the game in return. If I honestly don't expect to play it, then I'm not going to get that enjoyment.

I'm also fairly irritated at the recent increase in cost of new games. Leaving out the $400 War of the Ring Collectors Edition as a special exception, let's look at some recent games and their MSRPs:

Hellenes: $70
Gates of Loyang: $75
Runewars: $100
Horus Heresy: $100
Space Hulk: $100
Richard III: $60
Peloponnes: $85
C&C Napoleonics: $70

When we're getting consistently above $50 a game (for games that I like, at least) and several hitting the triple digits mark, I have to start seriously questioning what I'm spending my money on. When I spend this amount of money, I at least want to play these games more than once. And if I expect to play a $100 game once or twice, well, I can't help but look at it as $100 per play.

My point was that most of us wouldn't be particularly happy with a game that was even as much as $20 per play. The notion about asking people to pay was not at all meant to imply that I would do that, but rather meant to really get people to think about how much money is spent per actual number of times a game is played. With the number of games I've purchased, I'm starting to think that way more and more.

Bottom line: I feel a need to put an end to new purchases (I'm probably committed to getting expansions of games I've already invested in, though). I've already invested enough in a full closet of games. I don't need any more. It's actually a fairly recent realization on my part, but Runewars crystallizes my feelings on the matter.

/rant

 
At 10:45 PM, January 08, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

Wow, I wonder which recent purchase disappointed you so much....

A couple thoughts to consider:

1. No one pays full retail for the games, so the prices you posted are a bit high. Runewars is available on pre-order for around $65 vs. $100 retail. Considering everything component-wise that will come in the box, I think this is still decent value, provided the game is good. I haven't read the rules yet, but I have been quite underwhelmed by FFG's recent dreck. So... although very curious, I'm still on the fence.

2. Early adopters in any hobby get screwed. You pay the most and take the most risk for the chance at getting to be the first kid on your block to play the next hot thing. With video games at least you can play the demo. With board games, if you're lucky you can read the rules. Waiting 6-12 months after any major release is probably wise to allow time for the hype to die down and the real reviews to mature. Taking a break for a bit is sensible, though then there is always the temptation to get expansions for games already on your shelf.

3. Board gaming as a hobby is still relatively cheap when compared to the bucks my hunting, fishing, and golf friends shell out on a regular basis. Even with video gaming, I could have bought a monster pile of board games for the cost of my new PC, which will surely depreciate 100% in less than five years.

4. For me the biggest pain with board gaming is the physical footprint the collection demands in terms of closet space. I know someday when they cart me off to a nursing home, I'll probably have WotR: Collectors Edition clutched in my pasty, gnarled meathooks, but the rest will end up being destroyed by grandchildren.

5. If you pull a complete Simon and totally give up board gaming, I want your Ambush expansions!

 
At 9:08 PM, January 09, 2010, Blogger scott said...

I am happy to do whatever I can to play such games to help get the number of plays numbers up.

 

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