|How much it all cost us
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In Essence: Part 3 of Story of how we got Breaking Away published
All the bits and bobs were now in place - just in time for MidCon, as planned, albeit MidCon 96 and not MidCon 95. Before that however the Small Furry Creatures took about 20 copies over to Essen with them and somewhat to our surprise they sold the lot. Pete Card said if wed provided them with more, theyd have sold more. Mark Wightman, whom I spoke to at FurryCon, said he was on the stand opposite the Small Furries and they had a large pile of Livingstone Games Automania and a much smaller pile of Breaking Away. By the end of the show, the pile of Breaking Away had gone, but the Automania pile was about as big as it had been.
The significance of this is that Ian Livingstone was seriously considering making Breaking Away his follow-up game to Boomtown. In the end I was too busy fathering children and doing the zine to make the changes to the game he wanted and so he went with a game of his own design instead - yes, you guessed it, Automania. Not that I am bitter, or anything.
If sales at Essen were surprisingly good, sales at MidCon were a bit disappointing. It became clear to us that we had pretty much sucked the MidCon market dry with the first edition. Some hardy souls had bought the upgrade kit, or bought a second edition to go with their first edition, but mostly anyone who was ever likely to buy a copy of the game at MidCon had bought one already.
Unless we waited another year for Essen to come round, chances were wed be lumbered with about 70 unsold copies of the game. Luckily for us, feedback from the games Essen appearance was percolating through the hobby and so when I turned up on spec at a few games shops to try and flog them a few copies I was given a sympathetic reception and, more importantly, an order for some copies.
As of May 1997, we have had repeat orders from Just Games, Games Corner, Leisure Games and Small Furry Trading, plus unsolicited orders from a German games shop, Boulder Games in the States and Spirit Games of Burton.
Through the web we have also got the game stocked at the Sports Game Shop in Brentwood and the offer from the Sports Game shop to handle credit card deals for us at cost price.
Fiends and Demon
Talking of the web, we have, of course, our own web site now (http://www.fiendishgames.demon.co.uk), having originally been lodgers on the Kevingston Games site at http://www.kgames.demon.co.uk. Its a rather sad thrill to do a search for Breaking Away on the various Web search engines. Normally one gets back a load of links relating to the Peter Yates film of the same name, or some cycling holiday in Bosnia, but if on Excite you do "Breaking Away" +Fiendish we come out top with a relevance rating of 84% out of 21,580 matches. (Or we did when this article was written which, judging by the out of date web sites and references, was in about 1978.)
Lycos, meanwhile, slots us in at number six on a search for the words Breaking Away. We are just two slots below "Marino four away from breaking Tarkentons record for career completions" - about as close as Ill ever get to the great man. We do, however, come four places above http://anfield.merseyworld.com, which is apparently a site dedicated to football of a different type to the kind Dan Marino plays.
Yes, I know, it is all very sad indeed, but while we are on the subject of the web we are also pleased to have made it on to luding, a very comprehensive gaming database run by your archetypal thorough Teuton type. Except he has got the release date of Breaking Away (version 1) as 1991, which is the year it was copyrighted; as to when it was first published, do you know, I have not the faintest idea - it all seems a long time and a lot of work ago.
I know you are all smart enough to realise that theres no money in this niche board game business but I thought you might be interested to know the costs of most of the components.
£162.39 for 3,600 counters.
Available from Dice and Games Limited, Meekings Road, Chiltern Industrial Estate, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6XD ENGLAND. Tel : +44 (0)1787 373501 Fax : +44 (0)1787 312302
£558.36 for 500.
£171.50 for cutting of master design of cartons.
Available from Bridger Packaging 01462 480100.
£250 for visual design by Bob Ahearne (0171 323 5252)
£320 for printing plates (£80 each for 4 colours)
£160 for printing and laminating of 100 boards
£15 for 100
Labels for the box:
£63 for colour inkjet cartidge
Crackback sticky-back paper
Sticky labels for the cyclists
£10 for 3,600 from Rymans
£15 for 500 gripseal (zip-loc) bags.
From Viking Direct (0800-424444)
Total cost of the above is £1,725 for 100 copies of a game we are selling to customers for £16 each (we sell for less to retailers), so you can see there is not much profit margin. (Note: In 19 years we have just put the price up for the second time; it is now £22, reflecting massive increases in postal charges since the Royal Mail was privatised)..
Canny observers will have noted that the total of £1,725 includes the sum of £558.36 for 500 cartons, but even if we pro-rate this cost down to £146 for 100 cartons, that still gives a unit cost of £13.13 per game. We actually sell for less than that to retailers but it all helps with the cash flow, not to mention publicity.
We have sold out the first print run of version 2 of the game, and the second print run should be a lot cheaper to produce as we will not have to pay second time round for the cutting of the master for the cartons (£171.50), the design of the board (£250), or the printing plates (£160), resulting in a saving of £5.81 per unit. At a production cost of £7.32 per unit we can even sell copies of the game to shops at a profit.
We are pretty appalling at keeping records of sales, but I reckon we have taken around £450 from shops and £900 from Johnny Punter, which leaves us £275 down on the deal at the moment. Having made slightly more than that on the first version Fiendish Board Games is still financially viable and committed to extending the range of games we produce.
Many thanks to all of you who supported us in the past. Now bugger off and buy a copy of Traffic Lights.<---Part 1 of this article
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