Grail Games Grows Up!

@raged_norm gave me the bad news. I’m sad. But at least I have most of the Knizia’s from their catalogue.

As usual, if this is the zeitgeist, then fine. None of my business if people prefer, say, Lacerda over Knizia. In a way, it’s nice that I have fewer reasons to look at the upcoming games. If one looks at my watchlist geeklist, it has two pages and a lot of them are freaking train games.

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Aye, the only one I’m wanting to get is Stephenson’s Rocket as it’s gotten ‘mixed’ reviews. That said it’s Knizia and Trains. The former is for me, that latter for my group.

Most of my trepidation comes from the veto mechanic.

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What this, combined with the Plaid Hat thing, says to me is “the market is no longer able to sustain big expensive reprints of older games”.

In book publishing that’s when you think about making smaller cheaper reprints rather than blaming the reviewers or immediately letting something go out of print. (Similarly when people are selling illicit copies of your books into markets where very few people will pay full price anyway, you don’t whine about piracy (much), you out-compete them.) In the recent push to make games bigger and Kickstarterier and more “business”-like, I think this end of things has been somewhat neglected.

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Baaah! Ive seen what they’ve been doing with other reprints. Age of Steam got Ian O’Toole’s usual UX-friendly art and its price and its size are both waaay too big compare to my old Age of Steam copy. And I have nice plastic choo choo trains from the old one. But with the deluxe version, you have to buy the add-on if you want your fancy train bits. It’s such a joke!

I got Glen More from Maths Trade recently. The size of San Juan or other medium ALEA boxes. And the Glen More II box size is infuriating, even if you consider the added space for its expansions.

But I think Im getting off topic here.

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The best trains are cubes. I would have paid extra for cubes if AoS Deluxe came with the train meeples by default and had an add-on for cubes.

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I panic bought Yellow & Yangtze this morning. This is too bad.

I liked what Grail Games was doing but always felt it was overpriced and maybe overproduced. From the business end, this is what you get from going halfway in. In the blog he admitted to doing small print runs and running no marketing. That will drive up prices, drop circulation, and creates a reinforcing loop that you can’t escape.

You need some real capital, print at efficient volumes (or kickstart for the capital), and to set some aside for the marketing. Such wonderful games here - a few of the earlier ones got some good treatment (Ra, Samurai) but later on I just didn’t hear any buzz.

The other problem with these classic games is that games aren’t consumable. So many of us already have them, if you just keep printing you’ll be selling to a smaller and smaller market. You almost need to wait 20 years (like Dune) until the market turns over.

But the core problem is I always felt like these particular games were overpriced. It’s like Silver from Bezier. I love the game, but it’s essentially a deck of cards for $25. I just can’t get into that.

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