Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fantasy Flight Games Experiments with Print on Demand Support for Death Angel

Since I purchased Death Angel at last year's GenCon the game has received a decent amount of play time from my gaming group and between regular gaming sessions. The game is well balanced, fun, and plays quickly. This allows it to fill time gaps that come up when waiting for players who are running late, or on an evening when you have a half-an-hour gap between the shows you like to watch. Eric Lang's Corey Konieczka's design on the game is very good, but even good design must abide by product life cycle trends. If a game doesn't have support materials, it tends to fade away as gamers consider it to be a "dead" game. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but even Monopoly gets official new versions every now and again.

In order to provide support for Death Angel, Fantasy Flight is moving to a print on demand model that provides expansions for the game at a reasonable price. Typically, when I see the words "Print on Demand" I know that the products will be a little more expensive than I would normally expect. Print on Demand, by its very nature, means smaller print runs and smaller print runs mean higher production costs. For this reason, I was surprised when I saw that the two Death Angel expansion packs were coming in at $4.95 each -- exactly what I would have expected with a full print run.

These decks, in particular the Space Marine deck, should have some interesting affects on play and I just ordered my copies. We'll see how the PoD model works for FFG. If all goes well, we might see support for some of their older games using the same model.


Eric Lytle said...

Sign me up!
I love this game. I have the main cards sleeved so it still fits in the box with the insert, and it is a closer for boardgame nights almost every week. I'm a big fan of all of the cooperative games. This ranks up there in the top 5 co-op games of the last year for me.

I wish we didn't just play this game as a filler in our gaming group.

Jeff Tidball said...

I have a wild theory: I'm guessing that these are traditionally printed, but they want to sell them at a cost too low to make profit through traditional distribution, so they're selling them direct (primarily) as a way to make them profitable, and invoking the codeword print-on-demand to allay the rage that might otherwise fly up out of the channel.

To be clear, I have no evidence that this is true—it's pure conjecture—and no inside information.

Jeff Tidball said...

Oh, also, Eric Lang isn't the designer on this one.

Christian Lindke said...

Corrected. That's what I get for writing one piece of news while reading the rules for Warhammer: Invasion. Thanks for pointing out the error.