Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Its official: According to BGG, Euros now suck


This blog’s not so secret origins lay in the fact that my fellow FATies and I got tired of hearing the trumpeting of the BGG ‘masses’ about the Euro revolution, the new enlightenment in gaming spreading like the word of Christ from Germany that was set to change the world of cardboard forever. Plastic trembled in its spurs as African rainforests were felled en masse in order to create the new messiah of gaming – the meeple.

Now according to those same people, Euros are suddenly not worth the money.

Yes, I am of course referring to mayfair’s decision to put a 20% floor price (also known as “price fixing” to intellectual simpletons who don’t know what price fixing actually is) on their games.

Let us take a quick look at the basic three gamer groups and their buying habits:

Ameritrashers probably have the most expensive games of the three; we like lots of stuff, and we don’t mind paying for it. FFG’s epic boxes seem to be big sellers, we are forever forking out into expansions, and our subgroups such as collectable card/miniature games and table top games are known as money pits in the wider gaming world. The out of print market on ebay is very strong, classics like Warhammer Quest, Dune and Magic Realm command a pretty penny, and each year more reprints of such classics as Talisman and Titan are announced to a hungry audience. Ameritrashers love their games and are willing to spend on them.

Wargamers are possibly worse. At least when we ameritrashers pay top dollar for a game we get top shelf stuff. Wargamers pay top dollar for a few paper maps and some thin cardboard chits for some game they will probably have to play online anyway! Not only that but they pay for these games months before they even come out! Certainly they are mad, but no one can deny that there is a deep seeded love there.

Now finally we come to Eurogamers, who will evangelise the hobby ‘till the cows come home, build new rooms to store their exponentially growing collections and try and fit a dozen different games into their schedule every game night. Then they boycott a company because they can’t get 35% off.

What the hell?

So let me get this straight – Settlers of Catan, Pillars of the earth, Modern Art, Tigris And Euphrates, and every other game these geek gold whores have been pimping since the moment I first logged into BGG are suddenly not that great because you have to pay full price. Let me repeat that – you don’t consider these games, which you have wasted reams and reams of bandwidth on, worth their full recommended retail price?

Get the fuck out of here you fickle bastards.

These games are not games are going UP in price (which would piss anyone off,) all that is happening is that these “fans” are now going to be expected to pay the normal price, actually not even that - 20% less than normal price. Yet this move is enough to apparently cause people to jump off the bandwagon. I really have to wonder why there aren’t more gay guys in the Eurogame scene with all of the big tight asses that are there.

Then again maybe if I was buying games with the mentality that a dozen plays is “more than I’ll get out of any game” I’d think RRP was a rip off too. Thankfully AT isn’t that disposable.

The biggest irony of course is that all of the people who are outraged because they have a right to 35% off, and who don't perceive games to be worth their RRP, are demonstrating the exact reason why Mayfair is doing this in the first place.

The net conclusion is simple – if Eurogames are only worth buying if your getting a hefty discount then they can’t be that great to begin with. Ergo AT and Wargames, whose fans happily pay full price for (notice StarCraft is selling out everywhere even though it doesn’t have the normal hefty discount,) are superior. You Euroclowns who were attempting to shove your “not worth RRP” shit down our throat for years can express your apologies bellow, starting with Monkey-Man.

62 comments:

notbillysparkles said...

HERE! FUCKING HERE! this recent "uproar" over at BGG had me pissing my pants then shaking my head. If memory serves my exact reaction was:

HAHA!!
...
Holy shit they're serious...

Good onya Frank for calling it like it is.

Ryan Walberg said...

I had to unsubscribe from those threads after page 20. In one thread there was an argument involving a couch analogy where no one could agree who the couch represented. Seriously.

In the end all I care about is the end price and whether I think it's worth it or not. The actual discount involved doesn't matter to me.

Malloc said...

[Sarcasm]

What the fuck Frank! You mean I have to pay $30 instead of 27.99 for settlers? Fuck this hobby I am going back to video games! I not giving my hard earned American cash to those price fixing communist bastards.

[/Sarcasm]

-M

andy malcolm said...

this should come as no surprise from a bunch of guys willing to sell their hobby down the river by not buying games until they end up in the tanga fire sale for tuppence.

Michael Barnes said...

I saw a post regarding the possibility of Mayfair doing this to get full distribution at Barnes and Noble and someone posted "Good! That means lots of great thrift store finds!"

I can't believe the reaction some people are having about this- it really shows how a bunch of fucking losers with no sense of perspective on how much time/money/concern the hobby should take out of your life have created an impossible situation for the retail field.

Hey, great comments Frank...for more F:AT coverage check out Ubarose's last "Wicked Thoughts" post...we accidentally derailed that thread so there's like 60 posts about this there. And a picture of vampire hooker witches for Avery...

Ken B. said...

I think you guys should move the bulk of that discussion here, as it is very topical to the post, and is a great conversation to boot.

mtlawson said...

Well, considering the Vampire Hooker Witches is sitting at 69 posts, I'd consider that a fitting end point.

Besides, it's not like Frank to avoid stirring the pot, right?

RE: Frank's post, I think that if you're a superconsumer (thanks for the term, Michael), maybe Euros aren't worth the money. I don't think we can say that for others, however.

For me, I tend to research a game for quite a while before I pull the trigger; I expect to get a lot of plays out of a game when I buy it. After all, I pull out my 22 year old copy of Rail Baron at least 2-3 times a year.

The excessive amount of glut in the boardgame industry has been supported by the 35% off crowd, and if that crowd is forced to back off by sheer economics, the resulting shakedown might actually mean more good games, and fewer mediocre-to-terrible ones.

Love them or hate them, game companies like DoW, Mayfair and FFG intend to be around for the long haul. If they try to protect their best source of new purchasers by cutting off the maximum discount, they have made the decision that they don't want their games treated like disposable toys.

--Mike L.

MWChapel said...

Sure you Amertards have it easy. I mean there are only half a dozen interesting AT games you will ever need to own in a lifetime. But there are hundreds of high quality euro's to be bought. Have to fight for that extra $2.39x300 Games = down payment on my new BMW. I mean shit! How am I supposed to keep up my douchebag image without my new BMW??

Michael Barnes said...

Easy Mike- get a PT Cruiser.

Michael Barnes said...

Something I find really hilarious about all this is the folks who are coming out saying that Mayfair's games suddenly aren't worth owning anyway, that somehow their games are below standard in terms of quality and play value. As if BGG user opinion should dictate how much a game should cost...

Part of what's funny is that these invariably some of the people who were shitting their pants over PILLARS OF THE EARTH and LEONARDO DAVINCI, let alone those who fail to remember that Mayfair publishes the single most significant hobby board game likely ever published along with its attendant expansions. And the EMPIRE BUILDER series, most of Klaus Teuber's other games, FAMILY BUSINESS, the BANG series...all stuff that sells well and is for the most part well regarded.

I guess the strategy is to release a game for one dollar. Those people would fucking love it. Someone would post a chart demonstrating the play value ratio to pennies.

Boulder Games would sell it for 65 cents.

Ken B. said...

Well...I will say that FFG and DoW are two companies that I would pay full retail for their games, sheerly based on the quality of production.

Seriously, I paid $42 for War of the Ring, I think? And $35 for Doom? Both of those were online prices and in both cases I remember opening the boxes and thinking what a freakin' embarassment of riches that was.

But then again...I held that opinion (Modern AT Games = better value, higher production values) before Mayfair locked in prices. It is hilarious to see people suddenly saying, "Bah, Mayfair sucks anyway."

I've got Bang!, and Settlers, and Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, and the Settlers Card Game. I think that's it. Settlers is the only one I'd truly miss. Again, though, I felt this way before the announcement.

It's possible the people coming to the forefront to make such comments aren't the same folks who were virtually blowing Mayfair for each exciting new release of "Suck Up to the Man In Charge: The Boardgame."

jon said...

The boycott calls are way over the top, sure. I'll buy fewer games at MSRP (only so many dollars to spend), but...that's probably a good thing, as I take too many stupid flyers on lousy stuff as a "throw in". And I'm not paying shipping! (I live relatively near a deep discounter.)

What has me genuinely concerned is whether some producers will survive the reduction in sales that will accompany this. Will that reduction be 5%, 15%, more? Short term, Mayfair will likely get a friendlier push (and why not?), but if/when FFG, DoW, etc. jump on, they'll be back to competing on the same terms as the others.

I don't think this policy will grow the market, at least not immediately (I mean, it helps retailers, no doubt, but a thousand new stores aren't going to spring up overnight), so for the producers to keep up with current sales, let alone increase them, they'll have to cut into the market share of other producers. I fear for the smaller guys.

NeonPeon said...

I see a new demographic.

Some company out there needs to cater to the cheap Euro gamer.

Cheapass Games could form a sister company that designs Euro style games using shared components. The thrifty gamer purchases a pack of colored cubes, discs, tiles and meeples, and a few scoring tracks of different lengths. Throw in a few maps of countries with connections by city. MSRP is $20, but they could sell the pack on their web site with a 50% discount for the low price of $10. They'll sell like hotcakes, especially with free shipping on orders of $125 or more.

Now, Cheapass needs to hide all references to the name "Cheapass" because that's too trashy. They need a name that suggests the games are designed for the "refined yet thrifty" gamer. Any ideas?

Ken B. said...

Something like "ThriftGluteus Gaming Endeavours" might do the trick.

Juniper said...

I read on the internet that Mayfair games aren't really premium games anyway.

Hey, does anyone have paste-ups for the "colonist" cards in ARBEIT MACHT FREI?

Michael Barnes said...

Neonpeon, that's a great idea. I mean, how many times do you need to buy the same wooden cubes over and over again? Talk about getting ripped off...and how many times do you need to buy PUERTO RICO under different names?

I remember when I got SAN MARCO (look, it was a different time, OK?)...I pulled out the pieces and thought "Hmm...it's those hat guys from PRINCES OF FLORENCE. And then they turned up in a couple of other games. Sure, DESCENT has some of the figures from RUNEBOUND (since they're the same characters) but you'll never see them use the same chit twice and an Ultralisk isn't going to stand in for a Panzer IV.

goldenboat said...

Gamers are both gluttonous and cheap, which is a wicked combination.

Juniper said...

On the topic of bits:

I wish FFG would publish a city-building game with zillions of cool plastic buildings and rules that actually simulate something (unlike the Big City rules). It should come in the TI3 coffin-style box. It should have many expansions. I want to cover my dining room table with a shiny plastic cityscape. I would pay lots of money for that.

Thank you for listening.

Michael Barnes said...

Somebody get Christian on the line...that's actually a really cool idea. So long as they come up with an expansion that adds disasters...

Gamers are both gluttonous and cheap, which is a wicked combination.

Out of nowhere, Goldenboat exposes the core truth of this entire discussion. It works on so many levels.

Shellhead said...

These cheap EuroGamers can squirm and complain all they want, but at the end of the day, most of their games lack replay value. They will pay whatever prices they are forced to pay to get their Euro-fix.

Mr Zir said...

Gamers are both gluttonous and cheap, which is a wicked combination.

They will pay whatever prices they are forced to pay to get their Euro-fix.

I think both of these statements are very accurate. Is it just me or does it seem that Eurogames are like a CCG, just on a different scale?

Reiner Knizier said...

Ya, you has to collect zem all, bitches!

Michael Barnes said...

But Dr. Knizia, you only score if you collect the most of two different types of games, and if you collect a set of games from a designer then you get a +3 VP bonus, but if you have more than 10 games from one publisher then you lose 3 VP, and the winner is the person who has the least most of the most least varieties but at least 500 different games, of which only 300 can have come from a thrift store or Tanga.

So...why don't you just roll a die and whoever gets the highest number wins?

Reiner Knizier said...

Ach lieben! I cannot stomach such randomness! Nein! No dice!

Instead, pull from der tile bag to determine your fate.

Jackwraith said...

On that discussion under Ubarose's post: Mike, GW is no longer so tyrannical about discounting. In fact, their policy on it is now basically 'hands off'. I know the regional manager in our section of the US and I'm very good friends with the owners of the biggest seller of GW in our city. The manager told me that GW was changing its policy toward independents that cause so many of them to fold in the early 00s. They were hyper-aggressive at that time and burned a lot of bridges with both FLGSs and online places (like the Warzone.) But the combination of continually rising prices, overextension on their retail outlets, and attempting to sustain the LotR license past its long-predicted implosion with the cessation of the films have all contributed to those losses you cited.

Consequently, they're now trying to play ball a bit more. There's a GW retail outlet less than 10 miles from here that charges full price for everything. But the local store I mentioned above will sell you anything off the shelf at 20% off and anything ordered at 25-30% off, pending product line. GW knows about this. At this point, I think their grand strategy is simply to continue expanding the customer base which contracted significantly with the emergence of competitors like Privateer Press and non-mini companies like FFG and Mayfair, combined with GW's, um, difficult prices. Once they get back to sustainability, they may change their tune, but I doubt it.

I suggested to said manager that GW do 'sales' like a typical retailer and he said they didn't want to undercut the FLGSs. I told him that it would be relatively simple to send out a sales plan of 3-6 months telling retailers not to put X item or line on sale for this period of time because GW was doing it through their outlets. He said they didn't even want to step on toes that mildly. So, there it is.

Back on topic, I have no opinion on the Mayfair thing, specifically, because I don't own any Mayfair games. I played Settlers once. It was OK. I played Bang! once. It was OK. I have no burning desire to purchase either. And if Mayfair is doing this to keep their business afloat, more power to them. We'll see if it works.

Mr Skeletor said...

Good try Chapel with you "we have hundreds of quality games to buy", except you were one of the people claiming Mayfair have nothing good out. Can't keep it out that way.

MB: Yeah I saw that thread, but between GotW and finishing my old job I had no time to get involved. Plus I thought it deserved an article.

I thought about this last night and I saw the truth of thast matter - Euroheads are cheap screws because the games they play encourage that. Its like us, we play violent games which in turn makes us into violent macho men. Euronerds play 'optimisation' games which makes them want to optimise everything in life, turning them into tightasses like Chapel.

dbuel said...

Excellent post!

Mike said...

Even though I like quite a few Euros I completely agree with your sentiment here Frank.

I got sick of reading the BS over there as well. Not to mention that everyone is ganging up on poor DW and he doesn't deserve it, well.. maybe he does but not for calling BGG'ers cheap, whiny bastards.

Anyway, even if you bought five Mayfair games per year(which is alot because Mayfair -at best- puts out two good new games a year) at an average MSRP of $45 the difference between having a 20% discount and a 35% discount on those five games is $33.75. So basically your money only gets you five games instead of six... boo-fucking-hoo. If those five games were any good you wouldn't actually need #6 because you'd be enjoying the other five too much to care.

Orthodork said...

Does this sudden price increase (snicker) mean that the gaming group I go to will actually play something more than once? I'm fucking sick of having to learn a new game every time I go because someone's got the flavor of the week:

"Hey, I just got 'Cubeathon!' It's NEW!"
"But what about the game we played last week, don't you want another..."
"New you say! I'm In!!!!"

And so I never learn the alleged 'deep strategies' behind something like Caylus, because by the time I get around to playing it, everyone's "moved on". It's horribly annoying. Maybe if the games cost $100 a throw, people would actually play them more than twice, and I could actually 'get into' something.

J de said...

Bah! Starting this new tread is just a cheap ploy to shift the discussion away from having to confront my infallible logic...

Mr Skeletor said...

Bah! Starting this new tread is just a cheap ploy to shift the discussion away from having to confront my infallible logic...

Shit he is onto us. Quick start a new thread!

I guess the end result is this - If I don't think a game is worth it unless its 35% off then I probably shouldn't buy it anyway. Now sure I have brought things just because they are on discount (Age of Mythology comes to mind) and I'm glad I did, but in the end if it didn't go on sale and I didn't pick it up would my collection be poorer for it? Not really.

If 35% is making that much of a difference then you really need to question if the stuff you are playing is really that good. Plus how many of us really need to buy more games? As Ortho points out there isn't enough time to play the shit we have now! Now sure I'll keep buying games cause I love them, but if something happened and I could never buy another game again I wouldn't exactly be living a life of boardgame famine, and I think 90% of regular geekers are in the exact same boat.

Juniper said...

Just wait until the folks on BGG realize that Retail Price Maintenance is still illegal in Canada, and that retailers that are supplied by Canadian distributors will be free to offer discounts greater than 20%.

ozjesting said...

I was in Bali years ago and shall never forget the sight of one tourist engaged in a lengthy bargain discussion with a soda vendor. The "asking price" was 3,000 rupee...which at the time of the visit was around 2 bucks AU. This is what that soda would have cost IN Australia and to me I always worked from that perspective. But as is the way in Bali you NEVER pay the asking price...so the kid was haggling for dear life. As I continued to drift about in the pool I was more and more amazed to see that this was still taking place. You could have had a case of coke by now ;) 30 minutes later a deal is struck...and our "victor" hands over 2,500 rupee! "You see," he gloats to his mates, "I just saved 500 rupee!" Or about 30 cents. 30 minutes to save 30 cents.

This seems to be what is happening here.

Juniper said...

if something happened and I could never buy another game again I wouldn't exactly be living a life of boardgame famine, and I think 90% of regular geekers are in the exact same boat.

How do people keep buying games forever, anyway? Money is not the only scarce commodity that boardgames consume.

The storage space that I've set aside for my games is now full. When I want to get something new, I have to ditch something old.

And at what point do you have to say "I'm just not going to live long enough to play all these games?" If you're a stereotypically obese gamer, it's an especially pertinent question.

Games cost money, storage space, and time. Of the three, money gets a disproportionately large share of our attention.

mtlawson said...

Juniper, that'd be easy. Just pick up an old copy of Advanced Third Reich; a single play of that game will last you until you pass away.

Storage problem solved.

--Mike L.

Mr Skeletor said...

Note to self: reread article for butchered sentences and incorrect grammer BEFORE hitting submit.

Anonymous said...

"Note to self: reread article for butchered sentences and incorrect grammer BEFORE hitting submit."

Heh... Not only "grammer," but you might also want to watch phonetic adaptations like deep-seated to "deep seeded."

Ham N' Swiss said...

Does this sudden price increase (snicker) mean that the gaming group I go to will actually play something more than once? I'm fucking sick of having to learn a new game every time I go because someone's got the flavor of the week:


you too? I've finally had enough and stopped going. And the only fucking game they will play more than once - Puerto Rico! I need a new group..

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