Threatened livelihoods, business and company closings, strategic realignments: the pandemic situation has consequences for many industries. Because that is the case, board games could also become significantly more expensive. The first signs are already there.

According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, inflation is weakening slightly. While the rate of inflation was 2,5 percent in May, it fell to 2,3 in June. This positive development can be seen in the entire eurozone, but not in all countries. Elsewhere, new highs in inflation are reported. It is unclear whether the weakening is a trend reversal or whether the price increases are simply taking a break.

Logistics: prices are skyrocketing

In particular, rising prices in some branches of industry could now lead to a noticeable price increase for parlor games. Production processes and logistics are closely linked to the board game trade, and the price of the latter in particular depends on the fuel travel. And they are increasing.

The scarcity of resources also contributes to the price development. The first publishers, such as Blacklist Games, have already reported delays in the delivery of board games. The publisher announced delays for the titles Street Masters, Contra and Buddy Cop. There are several reasons: delays in the production facilities, delays and overloads in ship logistics - and ultimately also dramatic price increases in the region of several hundred percent.

If the production of board games in China was previously seen as a kind of guarantee for comparatively low prices, this could now be reversed. If the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on production and shipping of goods persist, the prices for board games could rise in the medium term because publishers have to pass on or pass on the costs to customers.

Similar effects had already been indicated in Kickstarter projects. In the case of crowdfunding that had already been financed, publishers repeatedly pointed out that shipping prices had risen significantly and that a solution had to be found for the situation. Due to the tax change, board games from overseas financed by the swarm are no longer particularly attractively priced - especially players who previously struggled with the support of game ideas on Kickstarter now find the price increases a reasonable reason to decide against a "pledge" . In the long term, the framework conditions could have a far more dramatic effect - if players act much more selectively than before.

Without tax surcharges and horror shipping prices, the motto for crowdfunding was often: I just support it - and have the option of selling the game. Because the share of fees has risen dramatically, resellers now also have to set their board games higher in price. The chance of finding a buyer is reduced - especially with board games that cannot rely on a hype in advance as a sales argument. In the meantime, fully equipped Kickstarter often cost many hundreds of euros. Publishers are calling for prices that average board players hardly want to pay and die-hard fans less often.

The price of a board game is not just a sober number. Rather, the structure is increasingly based on the motto “Pay what it's worth to you”. How extensive is the play equipment? How many players can participate? Is there a solo mode? What is the replay value? How long is the playing time of a game? How complex is the gameplay? Many factors that determine the success or failure of a board game become noticeably more important against the background of a price discussion. It's now about the value of a game, not just about price. Many gamers have already recognized this before, now the weighing up is forced upon you.

2020: a good bad year

The corona pandemic was a double-edged sword for publishers: On the one hand, the virus situation drove players to the tables at home, and publishers reported how to do this Cosmos, Ravensburger or Asmodee Record numbers. Board games, card games and puzzles were very popular. On the other hand, publishers were battered by poor production conditions and delivery problems. The current year 2021 could have been economically more relaxed with an improvement in the pandemic situation - would have. Now there is a real price explosion in the movement of goods.

Jamey Stegmaier has already explained the current situation in detail in a blog post: According to this, the prices are 300 to 400 percent higher than before the pandemic. As an example, he gives a price for a container: previously the cost was around 5.000 US dollars, now it is 15.000. Broken down to a single game, the shipping costs are three US dollars, with Stegmaier referring to the flapping of the wings. Another example calculation reveals that the profit on a copy of the board game has decreased by two US dollars. Stonemaier Games can compensate for this with the high circulation of the successful title; according to Stegmaier, they do not want to adjust the prices. It should look different for smaller publishers.

Heidelbär Games is one of the few German publishers to publicly comment on price increases. The corona pandemic has "consequences for game publishers that are not necessarily visible to everyone," said publisher Heiko Eller-Biltz. At the beginning of the month in July, the publisher had to raise prices. Manufacturing games requires certain resources and materials and the final production is done by specialized manufacturers, according to the CEO of Heidelbär Games. “And due to the pandemic, the increased raw material prices and transport costs, as well as the more complex personnel costs, these manufacturers have been forced to raise their prices significantly. That is only understandable. Performance and material cost money and we expect our manufacturers to deliver quality and guarantee fair working conditions. And that has its price. "

This is also accompanied by shifts. Unannounced publications planned for this year have been postponed to 2022. At Heidelbär Games, the focus is shifting more clearly to intra-European production. The increased transport prices reinforce this wish: “Why should you produce something in Asia that you can also produce here, just to save a few cents that you currently spend on more expensive transport and thus only put another container on the oceans ? ”Asks the Heidelbär boss. This only makes sense if there is no other way. Due to the overloading of production facilities in Europe, publishers are likely to increasingly switch to Asia in the medium term, but that could change in the long term. Then maybe with shorter transport routes, but more environmentally and climate-friendly - possibly a little more expensive after normalization of the shipping situation.

Overall, the shipping times have increased significantly: delays of up to six weeks are not uncommon. This could have a negative impact on sales of the copies, for example because players don't want to wait so long for a title - in the worst case, there are cancellations. Publishers are being forced to raise the prices of board games, especially with lower print runs. Another option would be cost savings, for example with regard to a planned localization. It will be postponed or will not come at all in the end. Too expensive.

The price increases for board games are currently primarily due to increased logistics costs; there is hope that the market will normalize and the pandemic situation will ease further. Will the publishers then also reduce the adjusted prices again? It will not be possible to predict with certainty. Some could take advantage of the larger profit margin, provided that the titles did not sell worse than before the corona situation, while others could make a reduction, but still keep the price level higher. There may also be publishers who pass price reductions on to players. If the situation returns to a pre-Corona level, the market is in demand - it always takes care of it. Somehow.


Last updated on 4.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API