Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby PracticalM on Thu 02 Jun 2016 20:01

For those that don't see where the inexpensive games have gone, you should check out Print and Play games.

Many designers have released their games as Print and Play as a precursor to a Kickstarter (getting the design right before making the game with the expensive bits).

Cheapass games is still around but it's harder to find their games that required players to buy most of the components separately. They did release their more popular games with more deluxe components.

As for the profit margins on the games, both the designers and the store owners are usually making profit margins in the teens as the components for these expensive games are still pretty expensive. There have been many posts on various forums (Boardgamegeek and Reddit are where I usually see them) detailing how few people are getting rich as a board game designer
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby aramis on Sat 04 Jun 2016 00:42

LordKron wrote:SFB hasn't been a true miniatures game in decades. At best it's been a hybrid (similar to Battletech) where you have miniatures on a conventional hex grid. OTOH, when I started in 1982, there were true miniatures rules including differing turn modes that were usable on a tabletop. With the complexity of SFB currently, a hex based system is mandatory.


The SFB minis rules have been available on the ADB Website for the last 15 years or so. Same ones as were in Commander's SFB Vol 1.
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Cralis on Sat 04 Jun 2016 01:07

PracticalM wrote:For those that don't see where the inexpensive games have gone, you should check out Print and Play games.

Many designers have released their games as Print and Play as a precursor to a Kickstarter (getting the design right before making the game with the expensive bits).


I have seen this. It's like an "early access" version of board gaming. It isn't a half-bad way to get feedback on your design and get a little notice.

Cheapass games is still around but it's harder to find their games that required players to buy most of the components separately. They did release their more popular games with more deluxe components.


They aren't as big as they used to be. I haven't seen their stuff stocked in gaming stores over here for years.

As for the profit margins on the games, both the designers and the store owners are usually making profit margins in the teens as the components for these expensive games are still pretty expensive. There have been many posts on various forums (Boardgamegeek and Reddit are where I usually see them) detailing how few people are getting rich as a board game designer


To keep up with expectations, expensive components are kinda the norm now. Of course, they make beautiful games that I love to play!

I do miss being around people who play complex counter-based games like ASL and Victory Game's "Fleet" series.
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby southwestforests on Sun 05 Jun 2016 22:13

Cralis wrote:I do miss being around people who play complex counter-based games like ASL and Victory Game's "Fleet" series.
One is required to have a certain type of mind and mindset to play those games, and it is not ADD.
Screw the rivets, I build models for atmosphere, not detail
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Goose on Sun 05 Jun 2016 22:58

That's why I drifted into computer games, couldn't find people with that sort of mindset. Of course, I did grow up on the edge of the universe (Tasmania) so gamers of any kind were fairly rare. It wasn't until the early/mid 90's that I got a fairly stable group together for regular games of anything
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby aramis on Mon 06 Jun 2016 12:52

southwestforests wrote:
Cralis wrote:I do miss being around people who play complex counter-based games like ASL and Victory Game's "Fleet" series.
One is required to have a certain type of mind and mindset to play those games, and it is not ADD.

Bull. I've played a lot of hex-n-counter games with a roughly 5 minute attention span. (Yes, I have a diagnosis of ADHD.) I've never found ADD/ADHD to be an issue for playing hex-n-counter wargames - at least not the good ones. It's a bit of an impediment getting through certain companies rules....
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Graywulffe on Fri 10 Jun 2016 16:02

Thank you all for the interesting discussion of board game history. I will probably add a few more thoughts after I digest all the information.

-best,
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Graywulffe on Mon 13 Jun 2016 10:08

southwestforests wrote:Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator web page says that 2016 forty dollars is the equivalent of 1980's thirteen dollars and change.


I suspect that a single broad-brush inflation calculator is not an accurate representation of many long-term cost considerations. This is in part because the price inflation (as opposed to monetary inflation) for different categories of items tends to increase at different rates. For example, the annual prince increase of housing in Vancouver, BC, wins hands-down over the annual price increase for boxed games. The added pressure of housing cost means less money for other things, so that while the devaluation of currency due to monetary inflation may mean that $40 is like $13 from yesteryear, the willingness to pay that $40/$13 has diminished.

I find it interesting that, for me nothing has changed between the 1980s and now in terms of numbers: I have no issue plunking down $10 to $15 for a board/card game that is new to me, but am extremely reluctant to pay $50. For $50, the game has to strongly interest me, whereas for $10-15 I am willing to experiment.

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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Graywulffe on Tue 12 Jul 2016 18:32

I just received two items I bought from Noble Knight Games, and some additional price information that came with these two games finally settles a few questions I had.

The first game, a mint-condition copy of Battlewagon included a one-page catalogue of Task Force games from the time the game was printed. Though I have no way of knowing exactly which year this copy of Battlewagon was printed, it could be no earlier than 1981 as this is the copyright date noted on the inside rear cover. In this catalog, Starfire, Starfire II and Starfire III Empires are all listed for $3.95. Using the BLS CPI inflation calculator (1981 to 2016), this is equivalent to about $10.44 today. The second game I just received, a mint-condition--still in the shrink wrap--copy of Starfire II includes the original store price tag on the wrap: $4.95. And inside is the Spring 1983 catalog--a beautiful piece of history. All of the Starfire games are listed at the $4.95 price. These are inexpensive prices even for 1981 and 1983!

Both of the above Starfire prices fit with my memories of the early 1980s: A great time to try out a wide range of interesting games at low cost. Back in 1981 I could easily blow $20 at the video arcade--the quarters just vanished. For the same amount of money, I could get all of the Starfire games plus one or two more pocket games. This explains why I have three copies of Starfire II: I mainly got the other two to have extra counters, something that I could easily do given that pocket games were not that expensive.

By the way, the most expensive game in the early (~1981) Task Force catalog was Heroes of Olympus, a boxed role-playing game that was brand new at the time of the catalog printing. Cost: $17.95. The boxed version of Star Fleet Battles was $16.95. I note that there were several boxed war-games, including Warsaw Pact, in the price range of $5.95 to $9.95. In 1983, Star Fleet Battles was up to $17.95. The 1983 catalog also lists all the Starline 2200 miniatures for SFB. I recall buying a few of those at that time, including the Lyran heavy cruiser $3.95 and Gorn destroyer $3.95. I guess I was keeping Task Force Games afloat back then!

-best
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Re: Some Thoughts on Starfire and Gaming in the 1980s

Postby Cralis on Wed 13 Jul 2016 09:59

Interesting!

But... does this mean we should raise our legacy prices to $10.44 ?? :lol:
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