Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 12: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 12 - Lens 109: The Lens of Profit
Profits keep the game industry alive. Ask these questions to help your game become profitable.

Where does the money go in my games business model?
I am pretty sure that I can't make money off of board games. My goal is largely to cover my costs and get my game into the hands of players. That said I expect to generate cashflow through Kickstarter and hopefully through subsequent retail sales. I would look to distribute through local New England gaming stores and possibly through Amazon?

Given that making the game artifact its self very high quality is a priority much on the money will go to that. I have little or no art cost and have done the design myself. I will want to spend some of the money promoting the game and would like there to be some form or organized play... but I just don't know how to go about that.

How much will it cost to produce, market, and distribute, and maintain this game? Why?
That is a very good question, and one I need to answer in concrete terms before the Kickstarter. I know that hand making a copy of the game costs close to $100 plus the labor that I put into it, probably around 20 hours a copy. Largely that is due to the metal materials and hand cutting the hex paths and bases, then hand painting them. The final product will almost certainly need to be made from a lighter cheaper material, unless I could find a manufacturer who could and would create a process just for this game... unlikely.

Distribution on a heavy metal filled metal ammo canister is also a problem...

Also creating and maintaining an organized play community is both complicated and time consuming. It's something I could do myself since I am unlikely to have the money to pay someone. If I got published I would want it to be part of the promotional plan.

How much money will this game make?
For me as profit? Probably none. Figuring out a unit cost and a general production cost and how many copies I would need to sell to make that reasonable is part of setting the kickstarter goal. 'Could' the game get wildly popular and generate a significant profit, sure. That's not part of the business plan.

Why do I think that?
The margin on the best of board games is slim. Designers get 5% from publishers generally. Small kickstarters are lucky to break even. Those are just the facts as I understand them. I will not assume my game will be an exception and as an indie dev with a good day job I can afford not to care.

What are the barriers to entry in the market for this game?
Exposure. That is I think the biggest barrier. I think my game is somewhat niche, but that it could do well if I can get the info out to that niche audience.