A Musing on Board Game Cafes in Asia

Since I’m about to head off to Asia, my mind started wandering about businesses and I seriously started thinking about the Board Games Cafe in Asia.  I’m probably slow, but I just realised why the format is so popular in Asia and potentially not as successful in North America / Europe.

It’s a matter of capital cost and the Foreign Exchange Rates.  With a game such as Settlers of Catan easily costing the equivalent of $160 – 180 in local dollars, it’s hard to justify more than one or two game purchases.  Evan ‘cheap’ board games like Citadels are between $100 – 110. Enter the Cafes where players can pay to play at a fraction the cost of the game.  No more risky purchases, and suddenly board gaming becomes affordable for a much larger target audience.  I’d bet the vast majority of their profit comes not from the game rental but from food & drink purchases too.  The game rental really is to defray capital expenses of the new game. In fact, if I were running such a cafe, I’d probably charge higher for newer games and a much lower price for older, more used (i.e. paid for) board games.

I don’t necessarily see board games going this route in North America – not heavily anyway, and not unless prices keep creeping up.  In many ways, local game stores are stepping in to the same void as Game Cafes – offering play space either free or for a minimal charge.   For now, game stores are able to survive mostly selling games – they don’t have to diversify even further to increase their margins.

New & Restocked Board Games : June 10, 2010

New Board Games
A Game of Thrones : Lords of Winter Expansion
Birds on a Wire
Call of Cthulhu LCG Whispers in the Dark
Chaos Isle: Zombi Deck
Chaos Isle: Fresh Meat (Expansion 1)
Chaos Isle: Reinforcements (Expansion 2)
Chaos Isle: The Lunatics (Expansion 3)
Frontline D-Day
High Society
Looting London
Masters Gallery
Nefertiti Expansion
Okko Expansion 2 “Era of Karasu”
Okko Expansion 3
Reiner Knizia’s Money

Restocked Board Games
Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
Arkham Horror: Curse of the Dark Pharoah
Battlefields of Olympus
BattleLore For Troll and Country Expansion
BattleLore! Dragons Expansion
Battlestations Revised
Call of Cthulhu LCG Sleep of the Dead Asylum Pack
Call of Cthulhu LCG Journey to the Unknown Kadath
Carcassonne Big Box 2
Command & Colors Ancients (3rd Printing_
Dice Tower, Stone Finish
El Presidente – Cuba Expansion
En Garde
Heroscape Dungeons & Dragons : Forgotten Realms Warriors of the Ghostlight Fen
Heroscape Dungeons & Dragons : Forgotten Realms Fury of the Primordials
Heroscape Dungeons & Dragons : Forgotten Realms Glaun Bog Raiders
Heroscape Dungeons & Dragons : Forgotten Realms Heroes of Faerûn
Neuroshima Hex
Scotland Yard
Shadow Hunters
Talisman: The Reaper Expansion
Tannhauser Boardgame
Tannhauser Expansion : Sergio Ramirez

Passion driven business

I was watching So You Think You Can Dance recently and it sparked off a series of thoughts.  In the Auditions, you see so many people go in and dance, and often you can spot those who have it; and those that don’t.  Yet, they all try out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, any one of those dancers could out-dance me any day of the century.  Yet, I couldn’t help wondering why they did it – when you just don’t have that spark, that flare, why go through with it?  There’s almost no logical reason for doing this – yet people do.  It’s a passion driven business, one filled with self-delusion and luck.  Very,very few will ever make it big, even fewer will make any (serious) money at it.

And that’s gaming. It’s a passion driven business.  Few designers will ever make any money off their designs – certainly not to the level of time they’ve committed.  Yet hundred of designs keep cropping up.

In fact, the only people who make money in dance are the producers and theater owners, and even then from my understanding, not much.  So if you’re looking at making money in gaming, you’d be a publishers or store owner.

Following that line of thinking, I should be looking at the successful theater owners out there for examples of how to do it right.

New & Restocked Board Games : June 3, 2010

New Board Games
Formula De Dice Blister
Magic Labyrinth

Restocked Board Games
10 Days in Europe
All Things Zombie
Bang! 4th Edition
Bang! The Bullet
Blue Moon Buka Invasion Expansion Pack
Blue Moon: The Flit Expansion Pack
Blue Moon: The Khind Expansion Pack
Blue Moon: The Terrah Expansion Pack
Cash ‘n Guns
Command & Colors Ancients (3rd Printing_
Empire Builder (New Edition)
EuroRails 4th Edition
Ghost Stories
Kids of Carcassonne
Neuroshima Hex
Phantom Leader
Runebound 2nd Edition Cult of the Rune Adventure Pack
Runebound 2nd Edition Walkers of the Wild Adventure Pack
San Juan
Shadows over Camelot: Merlins Company
Talisman: The Highland Expansion
Tannhauser Revised Rulebook
Thurn & Taxis
Thurn & Taxis Power & Glory
Thurn & Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome
Vegas Showdown
Wealth of Nations

New & Restocked Accessories
10″ Octagon Wood Dice Tray
Card Protectors – Black
Card Protectors – Red
Card Protectors – Blue
Non-Glare Deck Protectors Black
Non-Glare Deck Protectors Clear
Mini USA Card Game Sleeves

June 2010 Newsletter : Holidays & Imports

Contest Winner Announcement

This month’s winner is Brian with his review of the Killer Bunnies Steel Booster . An expansion on one of our most popular card games, the “Super bunnies are a welcome addition, though they are highly powered”.

Ongoing Contests

The monthly review contest is continuing this month and the winner of each monthly review contest will receive a $20 gift certificate. In addition, we are now awarding 50 Citadel Points to each approved review. Lastly, the winner is enterred into the end of the year draw for the Grand Prize of $250 of board games!

Site Updates

We’ve added a series of new categories to the site including pages for the A Game of Thrones Limited Card Game, Call of Cthulhu Limited Card Game and the Warhammer : Invasion Limited Card Game. Also, we’ve added various new categories in the Classic and Children’s game sections.

We’ve also managed to bring in a ton of Imported Board Games at a good price due to the exchange rate. Some great Splotter games are in the batch and of course Hansa Teutonica .

Lastly, I am taking a holiday between June 14 to July 5, 2010. This should not affect the business at all as I have hired someone to manage customer service and shipping; though replies might be a tad slower. Please bear with Simon as he’ll still be learning the job, and on occasssion, might just need to contact me for answers.

Upcoming Games

Tons of great games have arrived, so only a few new games expected within the next few months including the Killer Bunnies Ultimate Odyssey Combo Packs, Pressure Matrix,the Battles of Westeros and the Thunderstone : Wrath of the Elements Expansion.