Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Wherefore 3HOUSE?

  • FromDavid Artman <david.artman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateWed, 5 May 2010 10:31:14 -0400
On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 7:01 PM, Nick Lamicela <nupanick@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Just so we're clear on this, most games can be played with six staches: five
> transparent and one opaque. So why not have the current 3House plan and then
> an "expansion" that contains two more treehouse of the same color, plus an
> extra transparent set, like pink?

Not a bad idea, actually. I think the "expansion" idea is a good way
to market in these modern days of Euro (and Ameri) games rolling out
$20 - $50 expansions on a regular basis. The market is used to it, and
so it's not as much of a sticker shock to have (say) a $30 expansion
for a (say) $40 "base game." Plus, a small rules booklet in the
expansion could have anywhere from a handful to dozens of new games
that become possible with a 6-stash + 1 opaque collection. So 3HOUSE
offers a book of (say) two dozen great games, and the expansion offers
another dozen or more--what other "game systems" can offer a couple of
scores of unique playing experiences for $60ish?

Packaging costs make me feel, however, that 5HOUSE should be the next
"boxed set," even if that set gets branded with a game (e.g. Volcano).
It's a tough call, I guess--worthy of Real Market Research: Would a
consumer be more likely to dip their toes in a $40 box and then buy
into the expansion for $30 more? Or would they be more likely to step
up to a full $60, saving themselves the cost of a-whole-nother box
printing and gluing (a box they will likely toss, once they integrate
3HOUSE and the Expansion for transport/storage), and thereby also not
need to buy more to play the vast majority of games on the wiki? As a
follow-up: What sort of stocking levels are needed and what overstock
risks are likely with the Expansion route, because not every 3HOUSE
buyer will eventually get the Expansion?

Pondering all those questions really makes me believe that the better
route is a full five stash + pink set (e.g. 6HOUSE) and a book of two
dozen games (and links to many more!). Try to get it right at $60-$65
price point, which makes it comfortably less expensive than most Big
Board games (viz Fantasy Flight); and then really tout the versatility
of the system on the box back, on posters, and in other marketing
collateral rather than try to sell it as a "single game but, hey, you
can also play these" (viz Zendo boxed set; Volcano set; Martian Chess
box). I maintain that selling the sets as Treehouse is a barrier to
selling more than one set--whenever I demo, I have to take pains to
explain that, yes, there's a reason to buy more than one Treehouse set
and, no, there's not a very good reason to buy a different spectrum
set until you've gotten at least five of one spectrum (the entries for
the IGDC which required only one of both Rainbow and Xeno
notwithstanding). I wonder how many retailers can put in that kind of
explaining time (and how many shop browsers will stand still to hear
it all)?

Just my 2¢--worth nearly 1.8¢ on today's market!