Thursday, 25 July 2013

Who plays Tabletop Games? Part 1

Who plays Tabletop Games?  Everyone.

Ok so maybe not everyone but the demographic for tabletop games is essentially everyone.

Breaking it down a little.
If you enjoy sci-fi, fantasy or any other fiction based entertainment (including TV) then there's likely a tabletop game for you.  Towards the end of the 1st Chapter part of my job was to help identify what games would appeal to what people as after all I was trying to sell them.

Do they not cost lots of money though? Well that depends on what you want to play and how you measure value for money.

If you're only going to play a game, any game of any format including video games, just once then yes it's probably not value for money.
Part of the barrier of entry with tabletop games is knowing that you'll play the games more than once.  By getting the right advice from people who know what they are talking about (and in the main I mean people who own shops dedicated to these products) you'll find a game that suits you.

Let me pick on a couple of examples.
Sentinels Of The Multiverse.  UK RRP £29.99 for the Enhanced Edition.
Co-Operative Superhero Card Game.  The game has expansions but is a complete game out of the box with no need to buy any expansions ever.
I've played this about 10 times.  So let's say that's been £3 per play.
It's also a game for 2-5 players so let's just say for ease that I've had an average of 3 players per game.  So that's £1 per player per play of the game.  Not bad for a game that I've played 10 times and I'm not a regular player of board games, once a month at most.  Sentinels has the added benefit of really only taking 60-90 minutes to play so the game can be played multiple times in 1 night.

There are games that cost lots of money from a certain point of view.
Magic The Gathering is one of the main targets for this statement and the same goes for most games of a Collectible nature especially when there's a strong competitive element.
Plus, if you want to play this game competitively then yes it isn't going to be cheap but then again if you want to do anything competitively that same statement likely applies.
If you want to play it semi-regularly and more than just casually then the annual cost will look something like this.
Magic releases 4 sets per year.  3 story block sets and 1 core set.  Let's assume you play in all the official local level events for these once per release.
Pre-Release ~ £25 * 4 = £100 | Release ~ £10 * 4 = £40 | Game Day ~ £10 * 4 = £40 comes to £180
Plus you'll buy some cards to play with casually and to build some decks for variety.
So let's say you buy everything at RRP and for arithmetic ease I'll make that £3.50 per booster, £12 per intro, £34 per fat pack and £18 for Deck Builders Toolkit.
So you buy 1 DBT a year (as it's a once a year release), 4 fat packs per year (one per release), 12 intro packs per year (3 per release) and 160 boosters per year (40 per release).  What does that come to? £858.
Add in the £180 for events and it comes to £1,038.
Now that's not a small amount of money but let's do the same calculation as I did before for Sentinels.
You're going to play every week and for ease let's just say that averages at twice per week - 104 sessions.  < £10 / Session
Per session you're going to play on average 4 games so that's 416 games per year.  < £2.50 / game.
So does Magic still sound like it will cost lots of money?

Lastly I'm going to pick a game that I don't actually own but has had a lot of "mass media" attention.
Pandemic.  RRP £29.99 for 2-4 players.
Co-Operative Board Game about an outbreak of some kind.  Again this game has expansions but is a complete game out of the box with no need to buy any expansions ever.
Let's take a worst case scenario.  You play Pandemic once with 4 people and never ever play it again. What does that cost you?  £29.99.  So that's £7.50 per person to play it that once.
Of course you could add the expansion into the mix - On The Brink has a RRP of £27.99 and enables the game to support up to 5 players.  So even if you bought both at the same time £57.98 with 5 players that's £11.59 cost per player to play it once.  Which is about the same as going to see a movie or a whole host of other types of entertainment.
Trust me when I say you will play Pandemic more than once and for each successive play that cost per play will diminish and your perceived value for money will increase.

Does it still look like Tabletop Games cost lots of money?  Ultimately it comes down to your point of view and obviously whether you will actually play them!