Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Making Games Portable

Rachel and I played Puerto Rico last evening, which I won by a bare 2 points.

In order to bring PR to England, I wanted it to be compact and waterproof. To do this, I took only the necessary pieces for two players and dispensed with the boards. The entire game fits into two thirds of a ziplock sandwich bag. When I lay out the buildings and stuff on the table at the beginning of the game, you can hardly tell that anything is missing.

Of course, a deck of cards is a portable and compact boatload of games. But other Euros could probably survive the same treatment. Which leads me to believe that publishers could make portable versions of these games WITHOUT sacrificing the game play, like they did for games like Blokus and Settlers.

El Grande would fit into a sandwich bag if you could take the provinces as seperate little puzzle pieces. Princes of Florence needs only squares for each player, which could be rolled up plastic sheets.

The compact versions of the games would cost about a fifth of their current cost to produce, would fit in much less space, and be portable.




Fellonmyhead said...

El Grande - what would you do about the castillo? I assume some sort of collapsible box?

This all begs a couple of questions. If the companies can make these games so compact why don't they? Would you buy a second copy if they did?

Anonymous said...

"The compact versions of the games would cost about a fifth of their current cost to produce, would fit in much less space, and be portable."

This strikes me as a rather hyperbolic claim. Any evidence to back this up?

Yehuda said...

El Grande: A bag will do.

I think companies don't make games like this because bigger games with game boxes are what sells on a shelf. Also, the fancy board and pieces. Plus, they get a higher revenue per game.

Anon: No, no specific evidence. But as an exmaple, Puerto Rico retails for $40. If you reduce the game to four cardboard sheets (buildings, coubloons, ships, trading house, and victory points, goods), rules, and a plastic ziplock in which the game comes, I think a large reduction in price is possible without sacrificing too much revenue per item. Not to mention that many more people could afford to but it/add it to an order they're already making.

Would I buy a portable and non-portable version? Yes, if the price were right. Even better, the portable version plus a supplement to turn it into a non-portable version (6 extra boards and a box).