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Dev Diaries VII: How to create a price tag for a board game

Over the past couple of months, we’ve received a few questions about the price of EFS19. For example: how did we arrive at the specific price? And does it cost more because of the quality of the materials used? In this episode of the series, we’ve asked one of the main creators of Escape from Site 19, Kamil, to share his ideas on this issue.

How did you decide upon the price of EFS19?

The price label on the game does not only represent the cost of the product itself. Yes, there are many manufacturing costs when producing a board game, but we also had to consider the long hours, months, and years that went into the creation of the game. This meant covering the development, designing the cards, and the testing (a space for testing, a test supervisor). It meant covering the illustrations process – remember, every illustration on every card was created by our team. Even though this sounds like a lot of fun, there were photographers, models, and makeup artists to pay, as well as locations to hire. Then there is the marketing and promotion (for example maintaining social media and paying for Google ads), the free samples sent to influencers, the warehouse rental, and many other logistical concerns. Significantly, the price also includes rewarding the hard work of the numerous team members that have contributed to the final game. Because it took a whole team of us to transform EFS19 from an idea in someone’s head to a real thing dropped into your mailbox. So in truth, much of EFS19’s development over the last seven years is not even included in the price tag.

The game includes over 400 cards. How long does it take to develop each one?

It’s difficult to calculate the time it takes to create each card. Some cards were made relatively quickly. However, there were other cards that caused major disagreements among team members. Every card goes through several revisions, where we adjust its playability or difficulty, and assess and amend any problematic interactions with other cards. The card also needs to be proofread and aligned to our wording rules. And even then, at the end of this process, the card might throw up some issues during testing. Players are always creating surprising new interactions between cards and with game mechanisms.

Why did you choose high-quality materials knowing they would increase the price of the game?

Of course, we could’ve chosen cheaper materials and reduced the game’s price. We could’ve gone with paper tokens, a basic square box, an easily damageable game board… But we wanted the quality of the components to reflect the uniqueness of the game. We refused to put such effort into developing the game and each of those 400+ cards only to fail in the final execution by compromising on quality. That’s why we decided on durable materials – metal tokens, a fabric game board, and an instantly recognizable iconic box. After all, we’ve been working on EFS19 for seven years, and our goal was to deliver a quality, solid game with its own personality.