Break Even Analysis & Therapy


Deciding on the price for a product is both difficult and highly important, according to that one Marketing class I took for fun in University. Data is king, but it is really tough to get good data. I tried a survey at Survey Monkey, and sent the link to Facebook friends, blog readers, and forum readers at Board Game Geek. The big question was “How much would you be willing to pay for the most beautiful Settlers of Catan board on the planet?”. Above are the tabulated results. As you can see, people are a little more willing to spend the big bucks on gifts for loved ones. So, how does one find the wives and girlfriends of Settlers geeks? Maybe advertise on Knitting blogs? I have no idea, really. [EDIT: You know, that’s pretty sexist. My survey didn’t do any gender segmentation, so I’ve just jumped to a stereotyped little conclusion here. Bad enlightened dude!]

I was a little discouraged overall by the distribution. Most people want to spend less than $100. I can’t cost-effectively produce a finished board for under $100. With Kickstarter, I’ll have other reward levels, and try to produce something, maybe an unfinished set of tiles, for what I really want to get out there and into people’s hands. It would cost over $250, and there was only 1 response out of 80 (so 1.25%) that indicated a willingness to pay that much.

So if 1.25% is the rate I should expect, and I need to sell roughly 40 boards to achieve my Kickstarter funding goal, I’ve got to have the campaign exposed to 3200 Catan fans. I don’t know if there are even that many in the U.S. I have read magazine articles claiming that 15 million copies of Settlers have been sold since 1995. So let’s say about 900,000 copies a year. Let’s say 200,000 come from the U.S. There are lots of expansions for Catan, and multiple sales may have come from multiple households, so let’s say there are 50,000 households in the U.S. that have a copy. How many of those are fans? Maybe 10,000? So I need to get the word out to roughly one third of all the Catan fans in the U.S. Hmm…

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17 Responses to Break Even Analysis & Therapy

  1. ryanahorst says:

    When I took the survey, I assumed you were asking about the actual BOARD, not a completed set (with pips, hexes, ports, and whatnot). My response was based on that assumption.


  2. Josh Benjamin says:

    If it was Board vs Pips/Robber/Hexes/Ports…I’d pay more $$$ for the intricate pieces than the board. The board is more utilitarian, which fetches less than art. If the cost of creating a board is higher than the pieces, then I think things are backwards.


  3. gfb says:

    I also thought this was just the board/tiles. Are you also making pips, etc? I can’t seem to find pics of them 😦

    Whats the cost breakdown? I imagine there are a lot of handy settlers fans that might be interested in just the cut tile set?


  4. Sounds like I should have been more specific with my question. By “board”, I meant frame + hexes + pips.


  5. Cole says:

    Does a complete set include enough hexes for Seafarers and Cities and Knights?


    • No, by “complete set” I mean complete for the standard version of Catan. (Though I think your question only applies to Seafarers, I don’t think there are any extra hexes for Cities and Nights, right?)


  6. > Are you also making pips, etc? I can’t seem to find pics of them 😦
    I hope to have some “showcase” pages with nice photos of all the various elements posted soon.

    >Whats the cost breakdown? I imagine there are a lot of handy settlers fans that
    > might be interested in just the cut tile set?

    The costs keep on changing and I’m actively seeking ways to reduce them, so I can’t really answer that, but yeah, with Kickstarter there are different reward levels, and I think I’ll use one of them for just the cut tile set.


  7. Craig Smuda says:

    Looks classy! Where is the big cost bottleneck? Laser time? Materials? If it’s the latter consider an option made with a cheaper material that lasers well, down to fiberboard or high density plastic if you need to. If it’s the former, you either need a laser of your own, to outsource the laserin’ to the cheapest place available (China?), or to figure out another means of doing your neat design- CNC a mold for dense plastic? That way you only have to pay big money once for your ‘value’ version…


    • Craig Smuda says:

      The other thing that comes to mind is that looking at your tile designs you could likely substantially optimize the art to reduce laser time. It won’t look exactly the same, but I bet you could get it recognizably close to what you have now. Do you need to etch as deep as you do? Do you need large etched out areas? Do motifs need to be repeated as many times as they are? Art-wise can one line do the job of two? Can the art be screened or otherwise printed on?


  8. Scott Prior says:

    I think if you narrow your focus to just the tiles and boards, you would be able to keep your cost down and have a much higher response rate. I would love to replace those warped cardboard pieces!! it drives me nutz the other pieces I can deal with. I would easily pay $50-$59 for that.


  9. Because only guys play settlers and girls knit?


    • Oh shit. Was that terribly sexist? All my female friends that game are also into knitting. They all also have people in their lives that they’d give Catan as a gift to. Am I just digging the hole deeper? I’ll stop.


      • It wasn’t well thought out, no. πŸ˜‰ I do get your point though. My best recommendation to reach the significant others of Catan players though, is get the advertising to the players themselves. Same as for children you advertise toys to kids, not to their parents for best results. So get the Catan players interested, and they’ll link your page in their blogs/facebook/Google+/etc. They are likely followed by their knitting girlfriends, who might buy them the board as a present. Easier to let the players be your advertisement to their better halves. πŸ™‚


      • Josh Benjamin says:

        Whee marketing! I wonder what kind of Facebook ad targeting would be good (other the obvious Interest/Activities contains Settlers, Board Games, etc.)

        There are certainly vectors along employers and professions, geographic. If only Facebook let you target people with an Agnostic or FSM religious view πŸ˜‰


    • I found the link to the kickstarter project, and from there to your blog via: So that’s a few people likely interested.


  10. Whoa! you look at this and then you look at the massive success that your kickstarter project seems to have garnered, it is really unbelievable!


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