Board game price increases are no longer just rumors, but facts. Some publishers have communicated their price adjustments openly, others are silent and still others are still undecided. In any case, the corona pandemic could cost players additional money in the medium term. After all: Quite a few players dig deeper into their pockets anyway when it comes to their hobby.

One or the other reader should have already noticed the new surveys - they run for four weeks and then revolve around a topic that we want to work on editorially. The following applies: It is expressly not a question of representative surveys. At the same time, however, the following also applies: the more readers vote, the clearer the picture is drawn. In October there will be price increases for board games.

Effects of the corona pandemic

The Corona pandemic undoubtedly had a noticeable impact on the games industry - on several levels. Projects had to be postponed because the development processes suddenly stopped due to contact restrictions. Necessary test matches were not possible enough, if they were at all. Logistics and production faced problems and still do. The personnel capacities in the production countries were insufficient, and containers cannot be unloaded in the ports because there is a lack of “manpower”. Asmodee recently pointed out the tense situation at the freight transshipment points at the press event. However, the port operators are slowly catching up: with additional staff and 24-hour shifts, container after container is being processed in order to cope with the situation. Nevertheless: The publishers continue to expect restrictions and delivery bottlenecks, at least until the end of the year.

Delays aren't the only problem. The costs also increase. The prices for container multiples have multiplied, production costs have also risen, and resources have also become more expensive - not least paper. China plays a role in particular when it comes to large print runs and plastic components. To be able to free oneself from the clutches of the market leader in this segment in the medium term seems impossible. Chinese companies have too much lead in this area. Simply implement the production on site? Some small publishers are trying their hand at it and producing sustainably, especially for the popular trend games there is currently no solution.

Because the publishers' costs are increasing, the consideration of adjustments to board game prices continues. After all: the industry is healthy. Corona had a positive impact in this regard. We were able to tap into adults in particular as a booming target group. For two years in a row, the toy industry grew in the double-digit percentage range - despite or perhaps because of the pandemic. Combining board and card games enabled community in times of legally prescribed loneliness. Publishing houses got through the crisis well. Nevertheless, they are hit hard by the explosion in costs. So what to do What commercial companies do in these situations: Pass on the increased costs to the customers.

Some publishers, such as Pegasus Spiele, have communicated their price adjustments openly: “The global economy is currently facing a huge resource problem, which is also noticeable in the games industry. Materials such as wood, paper, cardboard - all common components of games - are scarce, while demand is constantly increasing. The result: rising prices. ”In late summer, the publisher also provided information about logistics problems and interrupted supply chains. The price increases should come into effect on November 15th - for the entire portfolio of the publisher.

The Schwerkraft Verlag had already announced in the summer that readjustments had to be made. Therefore, “it can be assumed that the sales prices of many of our games will increase in the next few months. In particular, of course, the titles, which we regularly reprint. ”The price for Terraforming Mars was even adjusted directly. Schwerkraft-Verlag assumed that the trend would not be reversed. One should be right.
Other publishers are rethinking their pricing, not all of them have already implemented price increases. The end of the year will probably play a role because the corona situation is expected to ease in the next year. If things go well, the old prices could stay - if the crisis continues or even comes to a head, publishers can no longer avoid making adjustments.

After several discussions with publishers' representatives at the last SPIEL'21 in Essen, it is clear that the subject is a sensitive one. You don't want to scare away your customers, so you're very careful with price increases, you could say "thrifty". But they cannot be avoided from an economic point of view either.

Board game packs do not necessarily have to be large. Photo: Volkmann

Board game packs do not necessarily have to be large. Photo: Volkmann

And what about the players themselves? They seem to mind the price increases less than they thought. Price increases hurt the wallet, but apparently do not suppress the urge to buy titles that have been approved. The previous SPIEL'21 can serve as an example: Apparently the publishers were satisfied with their sales - despite only 50 percent of the usual visitor load. The money sits easily after months of waiver.

But how much are players actually willing to put on the table for a single title. This is where the monthly survey comes in: What is the maximum amount of money you spend on a board game?

Of the around 100 responses, a fifth actually fell into the highest possible category “over 100 euros”.
Most of the responses were in the range “between 50 and 100 euros”. Not surprisingly, because board games are now quickly exceeding the price range between 50 and 70 euros.

After all, almost a quarter of the respondents would still spend less than 50 euros per board game. At least 30 respondents want to pay a maximum of less than 9 euros.

One possible reason for the donation: connoisseur and expert games have long been understood as a luxury hobby. You won't find junk and cheap goods in this special segment. The average heavy gamer is generous when it comes to having to pay for a long-awaited title. The idea of ​​quality also seems to be pronounced among board game enthusiasts. If something is good, you pay a fair price for it.

Conversely, one rule of thumb no longer applies: the price does not necessarily have to be reflected in the size of the box. With all the joy of plastic miniatures and heaps of paper - what is obsolete in a board game can be reduced to the minimum. Publishers are joining in, such as Kosmos. A sustainability offensive was started there a long time ago and pack sizes are being scrutinized in order to counteract the waste of material. It will be exciting to see which path publishers will take with “throwaway games” in the future: they are only partially compatible with sustainability and price increases.

The next monthly survey is already running

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