I’ve heard many people comment that they feel board games are expensive. So here I am trying to explain “why are board games so expensive?”.
How can something made out of cardboard or plastic cost that much?
Long answer short, board games are expensive because they cost a lot to design, manufacture, package, ship, and market.
Also, not all board games are expensive. Some of them just appear to be costly.
When you actually break down the cost per component you will understand the pricing. This blog post is an attempt to decipher the true worth of these games.
What Makes Board Games Expensive?
The price of board games vary. Quality games generally cost more.
One primary reason why board games are generally costly is that printing them takes time, effort and money.
There are also a number of other reasons why board games are so expensive.
Short Run Printing
You might have noticed a big price difference between classic board games and modern ones.
Modern board games sometimes cost over $15 (even $300 in some cases). Prices of most classic board games do not go above $15.
The difference between the two is because of the publisher they come from. Larger publishers get discounts when they print a large batch of games.
For large publishers like Mattel or Hasbro, it is not a problem.
When a new smaller brand is trying to launch a new modern board game, it cannot afford to print in large numbers. This is how the basic difference in price creeps in.
A large publisher would probably order 50000 prints for their board game. A small publisher who is unsure needs to test the market.
They can’t have their money tied up in unsold games. They might order only 2000 prints. The larger publisher hence gets bigger discounts.
Cost of Production & Shipping
The next biggest factor that influences the cost of board games is the number of components the board game uses.
Monopoly, for example, has fewer elements and most of them are cheap. The expensive part is the custom made metal player pieces.
Except for that the money, a deck of cards, the board and the box are cheap to procure.
For games like Cloudspire or Gloomhaven on the other hand, the components are endless. Also, the quality of these components is top class.
Some of these board games walk the extra mile to make the experience more enjoyable.
They include parts were boxes or envelopes have to be sealed with stickers et cetera. All these extra little things require more designing, procuring and printing budget.
Additionally, there is a shipping cost to these games. Gloomhaven, for example, weighs 10 kgs.
You can only imagine how expensive it must be to ship it. All these costs dictate how the board game would be priced for the final sale.
Modern BoardGame Hobbyists
If you like to paint, you would probably want a better pair of brushes to scale up your hobby.
Well, modern-day boardgame hobbyists have similar demands. Boardgame hobbyists are asking for better quality and better gaming experience.
They are ready to pay for it. A pro player would love to shuffle a deck of cards that don’t rip off like paper.
I have seen fans of Dungeons and Dragons collect and source quality handmade dice from online stores.
For a board game lover, it is a lifetime asset and hence they appreciate quality things no matter how much it costs at first.
And there are gaming brands who do love to listen to their loyal customers and provide for their needs.
Are Board Games Worth the Money?
The average cost of a board game falls between $25-$50. A decent board game comprises of a fairly nice game board, some miniature components, the player pieces, perhaps a deck of cards and designer money.
How do you know the worth of the board game you are about to buy?
Here are some factors that will help you understand the worth of such board games.
It is common knowledge that board games by nature are meant to be played and replayed.
Sometimes one session may go on for hours. Monopoly even has a record of having been played for 70 days straight.
A good board game is one that you are not bored to play even when it is the 50th time you are playing it.
Also, the game has to be built to last. That defines quality. Player pieces chipping off, cards getting torn off during gameplay doesn’t spell quality.
In simple words, if the game is of high quality, it increases the replayability. This justifies the price point in the long run.
Comparison with Other Activities
If you are a board game hobbyist you would probably agree with me in saying that board games are of good value when comparing to other activities.
If you disagree, read on.
Firstly, when you buy a board game, you get to play it as many times as you want without having to pay again.
When you are bored, you can sell it and recover some of the money you originally invested.
Secondly, let’s compare the value with other activities.
|One Meal For 2||Approx $50|
|Movie Tickets For 2||Approx $30|
|Clank! Base||Approx $45|
The price of this board game is comparable. Also, it is replayable.
Say you play the game 10 times in your lifetime, which brings the price to 4.5 dollar for each time you play.
While in the case of a movie it costs 15 dollar for a person to see a movie one time.
Now, would you agree that board games do provide good value for the investment you make?
Number of Players
Board games generally are prepared for a group of players. This makes it economical furthermore.
A game like Betrayal At The House On The Hill can be played by 3-6 members.
If you have a committed group of players with regular gaming sessions, the cost can be split among the members.
This makes the cost more manageable and worth the price. You can also check our comparison between tabletop game and board game.
Where Board Games Cheaper in the Past?
Some of you might still feel that modern games do have steep pricing as compared to the board games of the good old days.
But let’s clear this myth out. Monopoly was introduced in the year 1935 at a price of 2 dollar.
When you fast forward to this day, add inflation and the price was high which is comparable to the average cost of the modern board games.
The original Monopoly had wooden pieces rather than plastic ones and you can still get the original set at less then twenty dollar.
Moreover, there are several modern games such as Deck Building by Dice Hate Me which costs a few dollar.
Final Words – Why are board games so expensive?
I’ve attempted to justify the worth of these board games. The true takeaway from “Why are board games so expensive?” would be if you really are fond of board games, do not consider them as a one and done deal.
After the designing, production, government taxes, shipping charges most games do offer fair pricing.
If you are new to the world of board games, there are cheaper board games available for you to enjoy with friends.
Learn even more about board games:
- Want to host a board game night? Check our expert tips!
- Drowning in games? Check our creative ideas to store your game collection
- Is there any difference between Dominion and Stewardship?