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Stick with 6 player boxes, not 12 for the plastic re-release

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The survey that came out today asked whether people want the season 1&2 guilds re-released in PVC. I answered yes because personally I've decided I'm not interested in buying any more than the three guilds I already own in metal. Part of this is I'm impressed by the value offered by the plastic boxes, and part of this is because I don't like the move away from blisters to 6 player boxes. The bundling doesn't add any value like the PVC boxes do and it makes roster customisation more expensive as you may end up having to buy some models you don't want to get some you do. This is the same for the PVC boxes yes, but it's less egregious because they're significantly cheaper and give you more than just the player models.

What the survey doesn't mention, but that they casually mention in the video is that they don't plan on giving the season 1&2 guilds the same treatment as the Farmers/Blacksmiths. Instead of two 6 player boxes they'd be sold as one 12 player box. Isn't the point of the new £35 boxes that they're a cheaper more accessible route into the game? These aren't just being sold to the existing playerbase. And it's a lot easier to say here this box of farmers gives you a full team you can start playing the game with straight away for £35 than here buy this £70 Fisherman's box. If this 12 man box did come out it would actually make the initial buy in to get a playable fish team more expensive than it is now with the metal models.

I really hope SFG reconsiders on this, if they want the plastic re-releases to sell then they should stick with the strategy they're taking with the new guilds. It's a good one and there's no sense abandoning it now.

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It depends.  Maybe there intention for the initial release is to gauge if veteran players or veteran players who own fish are interested in purchasing them.  In that case the 12 man box is okay.  They may want to see if they can make enough money to re-coup the cost of the models without taking into consideration new players.  I mean they can always change the packaging later.  As a player who owns fish already I would rather buy them all at once.  Just because they are selling them in packs of 12 for the first wave doesn't mean they will package them that way forever.  It's the same price either way. 

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6 Model Boxes keeps the entry level $$$ output at a place that is attractive for newcomers to the game.

I personally think you issue the 6 model boxes, both of them, simultaneously... so that the full set is then available at the same time for anyone who wishes to purchase them all at once.

As a company I would imagine they would want some consistency in their packaging down the road... and these models will always be in demand from future guild ball enthusiasts... especially those who don't want to fiddle around with putting spindly little appendages on things and having their fingers glued together. :P  

I also think that the initial survey is just to gauge an approximate demand for the first run of these models... so they can get more of a feel if it is worth the cost of tooling up in PVC.... at least that's what I think I would be doing.

Edited by Malritch

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Did they actually say that redoing the fish as a 12 player set meant that they would be pulling the current 6 player metal boxes from sale? I may have missed that, but the impression I got was that this is aimed at established players who may well already have fish, hence the need for a survey to see whether people would buy them again in plastic. If that is the case, I don't see why they couldn't continue to sell the current boxes alongside them to make it easier to access for new players.

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4 minutes ago, Wildeybeast said:

Did they actually say that redoing the fish as a 12 player set meant that they would be pulling the current 6 player metal boxes from sale? I may have missed that, but the impression I got was that this is aimed at established players who may well already have fish, hence the need for a survey to see whether people would buy them again in plastic. If that is the case, I don't see why they couldn't continue to sell the current boxes alongside them to make it easier to access for new players.

Good point. I guess it depends on how much stock they have of the 6-player metal boxes.

 

But if they run the 6-p metal boxes in parallel with the 12-p pvc boxes they'll probably have to change the prices a bit. A 6-p box is currently €65, and $100 = €85 (about).  A €20 difference between the 12-p and 6-p boxes seems a little too tight. Unless people are keen on paying premium prices for metal models.

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1 minute ago, DrJekyll said:

Good point. I guess it depends on how much stock they have of the 6-player metal boxes.

 

But if they run the 6-p metal boxes in parallel with the 12-p pvc boxes they'll probably have to change the prices a bit. A 6-p box is currently €65, and $100 = €85 (about).  A €20 difference between the 12-p and 6-p boxes seems a little too tight. Unless people are keen on paying premium prices for metal models.

A fair point. I guess at those prices you'd actually be better off going for the full 12 in plastic.

I'm not sure how much SFG considers price point to be a barrier to entry. If $100 buys you the complete guild and tokens, which is basically all you need to play, that is considerably cheaper than most other miniatures games out there. Matt Hart has also said that he thinks time, rather than cash, is the big issue for most gamers.

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3 minutes ago, Wildeybeast said:

I'm not sure how much SFG considers price point to be a barrier to entry. If $100 buys you the complete guild and tokens, which is basically all you need to play, that is considerably cheaper than most other miniatures games out there. Matt Hart has also said that he thinks time, rather than cash, is the big issue for most gamers.

Another good point. I have absolutely no idea what price elasticity looks like here ... Interesting. It may be that Guild Ball is not an entry level game at all, rather it is bought by us already addicted and under the influence (see what I did there?).  

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8 minutes ago, DrJekyll said:

Another good point. I have absolutely no idea what price elasticity looks like here ... Interesting. It may be that Guild Ball is not an entry level game at all, rather it is bought by us already addicted and under the influence (see what I did there?).  

It would be interesting to know how many people come to GB as their first ever experience with tabletop miniatures. No idea how we'd get that data though. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the UK I would expect most people still come to gaming through GW due to their high street presence, and compared to them, GB is pocket change.

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2 minutes ago, Wildeybeast said:

It would be interesting to know how many people come to GB as their first ever experience with tabletop miniatures. No idea how we'd get that data though. 

Hey you marketing students looking for topics to your thesis, look no further!

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I have the first 6 Fish and was planning to buy the 2nd 6 at some point. The metal box is ~£50. If $100 is about £70 (why only $$$ pricing, Jamie? Thought this was a British company - should be pretty simple for you to give us a £££ price as well), I'd be paying £20 extra for models I already have and tokens I don't need, plus the fact that the plastics have mould lines that are bastard hard to remove..

If they released plastic Fish in 2 6 player boxes, I would definitely be buying the second box. 12 player, I'll save my cash for a Minor Guild (Falconers look pretty awesome).

Interesting Minor Guilds in 6 player boxes are viable, but the Major Guilds that go with them aren't. Imagine I'm a new player - I buy a box of 6 Falconers as they look awesome and are a good price for me to try out a new game (£35). I play with a friend, we enjoy it, we decide we want to go to an event/expand our teams. What other models are available for me to use? 2 players from the Hunters Guild only, it seems. How can I get them? £70 Hunters 12 player team - double the cost of my initial team. No thanks, I'll stick with my 6 player team, feel frustrated in events and maybe even friendlies as I have no flexibility in my list (only 6 models) and drop out. No more sales.

12 players may also be intimidating for new players, as it's a lot of rules to read at once - in a 6 player box you have a ready made team to put straight on the table without having to worry about list building.

TL:DR - There are a lot of reasons why a 12 player box is a bad idea. The only good reason I can think of is it makes it easier for people who are already invested in the game to get resculpts/plastics easier, i.e. SFG aren't bothered about attracting new players, they just want to keep milking the audience they already have.

14 minutes ago, Wildeybeast said:

It would be interesting to know how many people come to GB as their first ever experience with tabletop miniatures. No idea how we'd get that data though. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the UK I would expect most people still come to gaming through GW due to their high street presence, and compared to them, GB is pocket change.

Is it? GW army Start Collecting! box £50, Guild Ball plastic Fish team $100 (maybe £70? Be better, SFG). In terms of buy-in to try a new game, GW is cheaper.

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Pundit input -

Whenever I am talking to someone potentially interested in this game I always point out the low price of entry. In the past I've explained you can fully play the game for a roughly $60-$80 investment.

12 models for $100, while a pretty good deal, crosses a mark. I really think that will turn folks away. For $100 I'd expect a two player experience right out of the box (ala kickoff).

I second keeping the 6 man box alive. It's easier to sell, easier to explain, fits better on the shelf, and most importantly, better for the new player experience. I really don't know what the upside of the larger box is when you could simply buy 2 smaller ones.

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A six player box makes me more likely to consider dabbling in another guild than a twelve player box. So the six player boxes make sense for veteran players and new players

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27 minutes ago, S_A_T_S said:

Is it? GW army Start Collecting! box £50, Guild Ball plastic Fish team $100 (maybe £70? Be better, SFG). In terms of buy-in to try a new game, GW is cheaper.

To try the game out in a very basic form, sure. But not to actually play it properly :D

I’m sure SFG have reasons for looking at a single large box. They may not be ones I know, but they’re not going to spend that massive quantity of money on a whim. They want to stay in business after all!

That said, I have my own concerns about a 12 model box. In a way, it actually feels kind of weird to potentially have a single purchase and be done. Plus the six model sets are good for impulse buys. 

I don’t think we know enough yet to worry too much, but it’s good to see people debating the options and SFG will be able to get a feel for how things could play out.

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35 minutes ago, Wildeybeast said:

It would be interesting to know how many people come to GB as their first ever experience with tabletop miniatures. No idea how we'd get that data though. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the UK I would expect most people still come to gaming through GW due to their high street presence, and compared to them, GB is pocket change.

Me for one... had not even considered miniature gaming really...came more from a board game background... but was totally lured into the game with the Kick Off box. It was economical, 2 player, everything you really needed to play over the kitchen table... it drew me in and I was hooked... a week later I bought a full set of Hunters (My wife wanted to paint...and there was a Bear :P ) ... and then my obsession was in full swing... that was just a few months ago. 

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Another vote for 6 man boxes.

Now as a veteran GB player, I'd actually prefer the buy all in 12 man option, but I strongly believe that 6 man boxes would be better for growing the community/player base.

Plus as someone else mentioned, impulse buys is a thing ;)

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1 hour ago, Wildeybeast said:

It would be interesting to know how many people come to GB as their first ever experience with tabletop miniatures. 

I am. Well I did start with Mage Knight (original) and Heroscape, but they weren't as complex. I've never touched GW as I was put off by the  price. I was hesitant to try out Guild Ball, but when I noticed you could get the game for free, it made it really easy. Now I want the cool looking models, but don't have tons of money to spend. 

40 minutes ago, Malritch said:

... but was totally lured into the game with the Kick Off box. It was economical, 2 player, everything you really needed to play over the kitchen table... it drew me in and I was hooked

Which brings up another good point. Guy picks up Kick Off. For $75 he gets 12 models, a ball, a board, tokens, measuring tools, dice, etc, etc.... Wants to expand teh game. $100 gets him 12 models, a goal post and terrain...The "expansions" arenn't looking as such a bargain that Kick Off was. (And how would you get teh rest of Brewers/Masons?)

1 hour ago, S_A_T_S said:

 (why only $$$ pricing, Jamie? Thought this was a British company - should be pretty simple for you to give us a £££ price as well),

I'm guessing the unknown caused by Brexit is the reason why.

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I imagine SKUs are playing a role in this 12 man box idea. Cutting the number of SKUS in half to keep a full line seems pretty LGS friendly. One would also assume that SF is planning to sell fewer of these rereleases (not because they want to but because of demand.). Perhaps cutting down on the packaging, shipping, design time for the extra ball/goal/terrain, and the making of a mold for a 2nd ball/goal/terrain piece helps them stay profitable on something that people want but don't want as much as something they don't already own.

To be clear that is just how I rationalize the idea of a 12man box. I would prefer two 6 man boxes.

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2 hours ago, Mako said:

To try the game out in a very basic form, sure. But not to actually play it properly :D

But that's the point - until you've tried the game out, you don't know if you want to play it properly. If someone walked into a shop interested in trying a miniatures game and is confronted with those two boxes, the GW one has more models, variety and lower price point. There is also something to be said for anticipation and collecting - one and done does not inspire excitment. Planning your next purchase gets you interested, excited, engaged. There is also the element of buying 2 £35 boxes so you can play with a friend/sibling/partner.

I was going to write more, about the lower risk and ability to move on, but then I thought SFG surely must have thought about this stuff. They must have some proper marketing discussions and advice. What worries me is that if they did, and are still saying 12 player or nothing, then who is their target audience? Are they now only targeting 'vets'? What does that say for the future of Guild Ball? Is this a closed loop now, no new blood? Combined with other things, it does make me feel GB is closer to its expiry date than we thought.

14 minutes ago, Pending Forum Suspension said:

I imagine SKUs are playing a role in this 12 man box idea. Cutting the number of SKUS in half to keep a full line seems pretty LGS friendly. One would also assume that SF is planning to sell fewer of these rereleases (not because they want to but because of demand.). Perhaps cutting down on the packaging, shipping, design time for the extra ball/goal/terrain, and the making of a mould for a 2nd ball/goal/terrain piece helps them stay profitable on something that people want but don't want as much as something they don't already own.

I think you're right, those will be major reasons, but from talking to LGS staff, since the move to plastic/removal of singles their sales on Guild Ball have nosedived. They have considered dropping the game altogether. Doubling the cost and size of the boxes doesn't sound that helpful.

The bit highlighted in red relates to what I said above - who is the target audience? Doesn't look like they're interested in new players.

EDIT: This does sound a bit like 'sky falling' thinking, but it isn't intended to be - people will keep playing and people will buy the 12 player boxes. I won't, and some people will be put off from playing by the pricier boxes and reduced choice, which is a shame. I'd love to see Guild Ball continue to expand, as it's a great game, but it needs new players, not just more models, and I think SFG might be missing out if they stick with the 12 player box.

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If you imagined a twelve man box being twice the size of the existing six man plastic boxes (blacksmiths and farmers) it would be a huge box to put on a shelf at a gaming store or put in your shopping bag ... although maybe they're just thinking of selling 12 together initially (maybe direct and not in a box?) then splitting the team for retail later.

...........................................................

I'm not sure whether I'd buy them, so haven't filled in the survey. Theoretically I like some of the new sculpts and might enjoy painting the fishermen again. But in practical terms I already own fish and have a few unpainted guilds in my cupboard already ... I don't have time to paint them again at the moment, even if I decided to buy them again. If it's a choice between painting ratcatchers/falconers or repeating the fish, I should paint the new ones.

It would obviously be nice for new players though to be able to pick up the plastics. And I admit I rebought the Kick Off masons in plastic to get the figures in a larger scale (as well as the other bits and pieces in the box).

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@S_A_T_S yeah, the points you make are entirely valid and logical. I just couldn’t resist a casual laugh at GW’s regularly inflating game sizes :D

You’re right though, SFG will have thought about it  and have reasons for their choices - I don’t think they would plan to shut new players out, but I can’t say I know why they’d go to 12 man on the fish - though with minor guilds coming out, a lot of their production and new product resources will already be spoken for. Maybe this is the only way it can happen while there’s still new stuff coming out, as they can’t take resources and schedule slots from the new releases to take a punt on a resculpt?

Of course, regardless of the reasons, it’s important to me that people can voice their concerns on here, so while I always advocate caution when there’s not much info to go on (I don’t like climbing off the fence until I can see what I’m stepping in!), discussing it is a good thing - more info for SFG to make decisions with :) 

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6 hours ago, Mako said:

@S_A_T_S yeah, the points you make are entirely valid and logical. I just couldn’t resist a casual laugh at GW’s regularly inflating game sizes :D

You’re right though, SFG will have thought about it  and have reasons for their choices - I don’t think they would plan to shut new players out, but I can’t say I know why they’d go to 12 man on the fish - though with minor guilds coming out, a lot of their production and new product resources will already be spoken for. Maybe this is the only way it can happen while there’s still new stuff coming out, as they can’t take resources and schedule slots from the new releases to take a punt on a resculpt?

Of course, regardless of the reasons, it’s important to me that people can voice their concerns on here, so while I always advocate caution when there’s not much info to go on (I don’t like climbing off the fence until I can see what I’m stepping in!), discussing it is a good thing - more info for SFG to make decisions with :) 

Yeah, discussing it is important, but a little more thought into the questions asked would yield some much better data. There's a few of us that have posted that clicked the 'yes' button only to find there weren't any more options.

 

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