Tag Archives: Luna

Boardgames in the News: TMG on the Brink

One of the leading designer games companies, Tasty Minstrel Games (aka TMG) is reportedly on the brink of demise. Working closely with the Reiner Stockhausen’s dlp Games, they have been responsible for the US editions of Orléans, Yokohama, Citrus and Bohemian Villages.  Well known for their “Deluxified” editions of games, they’ve also collaborated extensively with many other European companies leading to US editions of Village, Belfort , Gùgōng, Gentes, Guilds of London, Eminent Domain and The Oracle of Delphi, and re-releases of popular games like Luna, Colosseum and At the Gates of Loyang. They have not been simply “partners” reproducing other games, developing Scoville, Captains of Industry, and Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done.

Orléans
– Image by boardGOATS

A few years ago, TMG controversially raised over $150,000 selling shares online, but it seems these funds have now run out.  According to an email sent out by TMG to stock holders discussed on a recent Dice Tower News, their “book value is in the negative” which they describe as “virtual bankruptcy”.  As a result, in an attempt to save the company they are laying off staff and have called a halt to game development for the next “two to three years”.  The most recent KickStarter campaign is also being abandoned with backers receiving a refunds.  In the immediate future, the company will be focusing on selling its existing stock hoping that they will “eventually being able to start up again”.

-Video by the Dice Tower

Indications that TMG have been struggling have been there for a while, with allegations they delayed payment to some of their designers and most recently when they failed to renew the publishing rights to their highest rated game, Orléans.  The question is, why has this happened?  Of course, the global pandemic will have played its part, as will the recent sudden increase in shipping costs.  However, these are probably only another nail in the coffin.  The underlying cause is almost certainly the increased pressure caused by a market saturated with high quality games and a lot of noise generated by a conveyor-belt of crowd-funded products.  Sadly, it looks like TMG simply ran out of road, and money.

– Image from playtmg.com

Boardgames in the News: The Peril of Box Inflation

The increase in the number of games available has increased the pressure on the market considerably in the last couple of years, and as a result, buyers are getting more canny.  Backers are more discriminating on KickStarter, and it is becoming harder to get market penetration with an original product.  As a result, in the last year, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of reprints, deluxe editions and revisions of popular games.

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
– Image by boardGOATS

The explanation for this is relatively simple.  When a game becomes scarce, the price rises.  This creates its own frenzy of people calling for a reprint.  In turn, this raises the profile of this now unavailable game, fanning the flames of desire in those that can’t get it, and increasing the price still further.  This creates huge demand, and when the game is eventually made available, a lot of people perceive this as their only chance to obtain it.  The combination of this Fear Of Missing Out (aka “FOMO“), and the fact that people have a better idea of what they are getting, means the product is more likely to be successful than something relying solely on “the cult of the new”, reducing the risk for all parties encouraging more cautious people to take the plunge.

Yokohama
– Image by boardGOATS

The downside is that some people will already have a copy, so the problem is how to encourage them to get involved too.  One way is to provide a special edition, often including new material, or deluxe, better and, perhaps, larger components.  These often also provide a better margin for the producers, making it a win for them, in all directions.  The downside is that the box size has to be increased, partly to hold all the additional/larger content, but also to signal to everyone that the new edition is better than its predecessor.

Snowdonia
– Image by boardGOATS

Games to get a deluxe reprint in the last year include, Luna, Snowdonia, Glen More, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and Age of Steam, with Rococo, Lords of Vegas, K2, and CliniϽ coming in the next twelve months or so.  These editions are truly beautiful and delightful to play with, but some of the boxes are enormous, especially when compared with their original editions.  This makes them a problem to store, but more importantly, they are much less transportable and therefore less likely to be taken to games nights.

Glen More
– Image by boardGOATS

If the likelihood of games being played is dependent on them travelling, “box inflation” reduces the chance of them being played.  This is a great shame, because these deluxe editions are really lovely to play and have had a lot of time and money invested in them.

Luna
– Image by boardGOATS