Board gaming 2021: minis are back, baby!

thinking about it, who has a special fire insurance for board games? I bet they burn like hell…

You can cover them in your home insurance. Most home insurances will cover enough of the content of the home as to cover this kind of expensive stuff. They normally have clauses to not include jewelry, but I haven’t seen one that excludes board games.

(We just bought a home and when looking at insurance clauses I actually thought about this :) )

That is a good point. I normally think about photos, big electronics, or such when thinking about disaster. However, the amount of costly and near irreplaceable board game content sitting around me in this very room is staggering to think about should a fire or something happen.

I am guessing the average underwriter would think I am planning to commit fraud if I were to sit down and go over the value of my board game collection.

I’m not going to argue overall game prices haven’t trended up - they have, because of production costs going up, general inflation, people getting accustomed to higher standards/pricetags, etc. But we’re talking prices in the $100ish range being common, and not infrequently that’s KS versions with fancier components than baseline. I think $300+ all-in stuff is still pretty rare, there’s just more of it because there are a lot more KS projects overall and the expensive, mini-intensive, bloated projects are what get the most oxygen in discussion and get the loudest, most enthusiastic voices hyped.

And I say that as someone who has reluctantly backed a lot of those big expensive ones because the gameplay attracts me and I gotta take the piles of plastic along with it. I’ve still backed plenty more stuff under $150 (and that’s usually with expansion content), many of the ones I’ve paid $200+ for are reprints or expansion KSes where I pledged all in for older content as well, and, while I don’t tend to hit up the really cheap ($50 or less) stuff often because games with that sort of pricetag are typically lighter than I like, they’re in there too and I see them probably at least as often as the really spendy ones.

Right now in addition to Sentinels Definitive, you’ve got things like Canvas, the base box of Domains of Mirza Noctis is $64, something called Hidden Leaders is already about 7x funded and $25, Sefirot has funded for over 400k and is $40ish, the Wondermark guy is funding a party game called TBH for $35, Cellulose, an educational strategy game is over 165k and costs $40 for the retail version, Connecting Flights is like 5x funded and is $50…

That’s just from skimming the stuff KS is highlighting at the top level of the Games category (except Domains, which is on Gamefound and I mention because I love Hexplore It). Meanwhile in that same listing there’s just two $200+ minifests, Marvel United and Monster Hunter: World. And Marvel United is only at that kind of money because they did an entire addon-filled previous KS you can add on to this one.

Before I started dabbling in the Arkham LCG waters I did some quick back 'o the napkin math and I think to get all of it was 900+. That’s using averages that are cheaper than MSRP and not taking into account the gouging on the hard to find stuff. I had to really fight the FOMO on that. I’m glad I did because I’ve barely played what I got. Then I think about getting everything possible for Apocrypha when they did their Covid sale and I think I was just under $100 or all the Dungeon Degenerates stuff on black Friday for around $150. I still had to work hard to convince myself. I’m just a tightwad I guess.

I’m also getting tired of the $300+ prestige FOMO Kickstarters for board games. I hope that is a bubble that pops fairly soon. Though there really shouldn’t be much of a FOMO since tons of these monster games never hit buyer’s tables then flood the secondary market “still in shrink, never played :-)”. I chuckled a bit when I saw there were 100+ listings on BGG for Tainted Grail fairly soon after backers started receiving their copies.

I do have a recent story of my own idiocy tangential to this.

I had some interest leading up to the Games Workshop release of of Warhammer Quest Cursed City. I am not a mini guy, but I do occasionally enjoy a GW boxed game that is a complete experience especially if it is a dungeon crawl or holds the reverent title of Warhammer Quest. I became dismayed when I learned the price would be $200 and further annoyed when the game released online and sold out in under 10 minutes. Seems like a mix of garbage Games Workshop artificial scarcity practices, production/supply issues due to COVID, and the usual cadre of scalpers targeting a limited run of mini sprues.

I sort of assumed I should just let this go since I already felt $200 was pretty steep so the Ebay listings starting at $300+ were a complete non-starter. Then I discovered that there is a cottage scalping industry centered around just the plastic minis. Dudes were buying up the boxed games just to crack the shrink and list the minis for steep prices separately. So it seems like tons of market conditions/pressures circling around Cursed City are fixated around the couple bucks of cheap plastic sprues.

However, I learned that opened an opportunity for someone like myself that is indifferent to minis. I saw a listing for Cursed City on Ebay with “No mini figures, just the game, rulebooks, and tiles” for under $60 with free shipping. So I grabbed that and just received the box. All the cards, cardboard, rulebooks, etc. are still in their respective shrink and intact; just the plastic sprues removed. So the mini fetish that others have created a nice opportunity to get a game I wanted for a tiny fraction of the list price. This might end up being a dumb move, but I think I will make this work just fine. I can get some cardboard tokens or pull minis out of another game to use as stand ins. With Cursed City I don’t have to worry about mini assembly, storage, or breaking all the tiny intricate little weak points and I get the part of the game that I care about.

Yes, with KDM, for example, I think you should be able to buy the game and eBay the sprites by themselves and come out even, or even on top, but with all the game still in your possession.

I’m definitely in the market for mini-less versions of these crazy games.

Heh, that’s exactly what I ended up doing with my OG Kickstarter ‘everything’ copy of KD:M. I realized I didn’t need all the armor sprues, or monsters, etc. after a few games. Someone paid me like $600? $700? I can’t remember- it was a long time ago, before the second KD:M KS, anyway. At this point I’ve got all the content for the 1st KS, and have basically been paid over $200 to have it. Good deal. And to speak to the earlier discussion, no, it isn’t worth anywhere near what they’re asking. I’ve always said it’s a cool experience, but a rubbish game.

The Warhammer Quest games specifically, the minis are usable separately in core Warhammer stuff. Which I’m sure means there’s loads of people who love Warhammer proper but don’t care about the Warhammer Quest game and would just like the minis. Not that there’s not any of that around other minis games (and indeed I think it strongly feeds the overpriced minifest trend - all the people saying "I’m buying into this for the minis and maybe I’ll get a game too, an attitude I find highly frustrating as someone who’s buying for games and would rather not have the minis), but I think it’s not quite as built in.

Common enough in many GW games. If you play Blood Bowl and want a competitive league team of Orcs say, then just the figures out of the box won’t cut it, so other people buy the starter box and split the figures up to sell separately knowing there is a market out there for a specific sub-set of figures.

TBF, Blood bowl is actually one of the best GW games lately (initial boxes were bad as you say, though). Many teams now are complete with a single box, lacking only the optional big guy.

You got a complete team in the box even on the early ones of the latest re-run. What you didn’t get (at least for the Orcs or Humans) was a combination of figures that would allow you to be competitive in a league environment with player development. This drove single figure prices up for specific figures leading to people buying the boxes and selling the figures off separately.

At the point when those boxes came out there were no spare figures available anywhere for sale by GW either. The only way to build a team that was going to develop well was to either buy two boxes or get scabbed on the secondary market.

A bit like trying to get melta guns for 40k Space Marines in 5th edition. The prices for single ones of those were crazy…

Been a little slow for new games:


Exactly, but all the new boxes give you a full competitive team.

Although for orcs and skaven they did sell booster boxes so you didn’t need to buy two full boxes. In general they’ve been very good iñwith Blood Bowl.

Kids had a blast playing this yesterday - pretty sure it didn’t cost me more than about $30 way back when, even including the D&D minis I had lying around to pimp it out!

Holy Shit. Mystic Wood? I haven’t played that it 20+ years. Crazy.

Edit: I wondered what happened to my copy. I thought maybe I got rid of it on BGG, and went and checked, not in my buy/sell history. Then checked my Gmail. Found an email from someone in Seattle asking to buy my copy, and I responded that I’d already traded it for a copy of Hero Quest. Huh. So that’s that.

Yep, it’s still great fun. Really good, simple to play story generator for the kids.

I can attest to that. I think the first time I played it I was 9 or 10, a friend’s older brother had a copy. That would have been in '84 or so. I loved it. Got me into D&D, heh. Gateway drug.

Gonna tell young gamers that this is Magic Realm.