Author Topic: Coffee, Cake and the future!  (Read 1207 times)

Offline Decar

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Coffee, Cake and the future!
« on: July 04, 2018, 09:00:04 AM »
We have just completed a 2 hour meeting with Moritz Brunnhofer, where he explained his directional intent for Hans im Glück.

[Kettlefish has lent me her laptop to share this with you as quickly as possible - The german keyboard has a ü key which I am enjoying!  However the spelling is not enabled and the z and y keys are swapped!]

Hans im Glück is in the process of reviewing how their games reach the masses.  As you sawon Monday it was announced the German distributor has changed from Schimidt Spiele to Asmodee as of 2019.

Moritz explained this was by no means an easy decision to make.  It has taken him a very long time to decide.

Moritz understands that games are more than just cardboard - they are about good experiences.  He sees events as a key part Hans im Glück moving foward.  This allows their games to be enjoyable and engaging experiences.  It is important for them to work down the distribution chain to reach FLGS, rather than simply trying to cash in on the E-Commerce culture, which Hans Im Glück consider to be a dangerous spiral of lower and lower prices.

On a related note, yesterday Mortiz explained that he would rather pay more to make sure workers in factories are given reasonable pay for their work.  He considers this his responsibility for the greater good.  The alternative is to use ´slave labour´ from other countries who could produce items which cost a lot less.

But anyway, back on topic.  Moritz was grateful for the work carried out by Carcassonne Central and Carcassonne Forum as a mechanism that has promoted the game for so long.  He will be making sure we will be engaging more closely in the future.  Moritz has asked me to collect your ideas.  What would you like to see?  He understands that events are the key to producing memorial gaming experiences which focus on friends and families engaging with each other. 

He is considering collating a pack that can be shared with local game stores to promote the game.  This could be running small contests, or fun ways to play carcassonne to introduce more players to Hans Im Glück games.

Mentioned during the Meeting:

Using Carcassonne packaging to direct people to a central website eg: CarcassonneEvents.com and from there branch out to othersites, such as our own for more information.  Perhaps a note in the rules, or the box to direct them to our forums.

Can Carcassonne Central Tournaments be a way of accessing the World Tournament.  On this note we must remember that elite Carcassonne is important, but we need to focus on encouraging new players into this wonderful world.


This is a very brief post, but I hope you get the idea.  I for one was very happy to see Hans Im Glück engage with the community.  I felt they have been extremely open about their latest decisions.  I did not obviously take notes during the meeting, so a lot of small things I have not covered, but Hans im Glück understands there is a fundamental need for humans to meet each other, in the pub or the cafe or wherever, and they feel Hans im glück can enhance these human experiences.


So,

If you were hosting an event, what would the event be?  What would you need?

... HAVE TO GO NOW IT´S DINNER TIME!!!

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3995.0

Offline Halfling

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 01:30:05 PM »
As someone with a reasonable collection of Carcassonne tiles I would like more, but any special tiles would likely just end up on ebay. So a discount on the base game to get the new players at their local shop buying. If they buy the base they hopefully buy expansions.

If a 'promo' was produced then I'd like the 73rd tile that allows all the players to have equal tiles in 2 or 4 player games.

Any chance of halflings, German castles and others in new art?...then sold via shops only...not online.
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Offline danisthirty

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 03:14:06 PM »
Wow! Thanks a lot Decar; way to make me feel bad for not being there... :P

This sounds like it was a great meeting that I'm truly sorry to have missed. Something that I've found frustrating over the last 4 years (since I was made an admin here) has been all the missed opportunities for HiG to partner with CarcC or at least to support us in some of our more "evangelistic" endeavours, and other attempts to spread the word and bring new players to the game. This seems like an ideal opportunity to start discussing some of those ideas in more detail, knowing that HiG's ears might be a little more open to some of our suggestions than they once were. So here are the first few things that come to my mind:

It seems to me like the ultimate goal would be to take something like Carcassonne on Tour and share it with a much wider audience. How would we do that? I don't know. But there are always opportunities to take, and those opportunities are all the more realistic knowing that we have HiG behind us. One example might be the UK Games Expo (and other similar expos/ cons around the world, but I've never really been to any of those). I'm sure we wouldn't have to look too hard to find a handful of volunteers to host a dedicated Carcassonne stall for a weekend. The purpose could be to help people discover Carcassonne, learn how to play with certain expansions or spin-offs, do a bit of meeple stacking or meeple art and perhaps get a small promo or other token of appreciation to take home with them. It wouldn't be competitive, the emphasis would just be on getting people together and having fun. If HiG would organise (and pay for) the stall and make sure we had sufficient games to demo and prizes to give away, the rest we could take care of ourselves. And if successful it wouldn't have to stop at that either! The UK Games Expo only happens once a year, but if we could hire out FLGSs (like we sort of did in Rugby a few years ago) with HiGs blessing and backing, I'm sure we could run some very successful events on their behalf.

The idea of being able to send our World Cup of Carcassonne Central winner to the world championships was discussed a few years ago but it never came to anything. I blame jungleboy for this, as it was his idea originally (as far as I can remember) but he trusted me to take it forward and I probably got distracted by a squirrel or a bottle of Pepsi Max or something. It would be an incredible prize though, and would probably require us to lay down some firmer ground rules regarding how our online tournaments are to be conducted. But this has been coming for some time, and is very much required anyway in my opinion. Obviously it wouldn't have to be our World Cup either as this tests knowledge of expansions which aren't included at the actual world championships. We could give the ticket away as the winning prize for something like last years league (or similar) though.

Let's remember that online competition isn't exclusive to CarcC either. There are lots of ways to play now including the iOS and Android apps as well as on sites like boardgamearena.com where they have regular contests and tournaments. It always surprises me whenever I encounter people through these means that they can be so good at the game but they're not really interested in or perhaps even aware of the communities of fans behind it and everything we're doing to share news and initiatives relating to our favourite game. I don't know the answer to this, but I would think that there must be a way of reaching out to these people and trying to get them more involved in the behind the scenes stuff that many of us here for example are more familiar with (if indeed they want to be, but at least making them aware of stuff that's going on and giving them the chance to do so).

Also, keeping us in the loop regarding upcoming announcements and releases would be helpful as we could actually help them to break the news of whatever is just about to happen through the channels of communication that are available to us (CarcC forums/ Facebook/ Twitter etc) where we probably have hundreds or even thousands of members/ followers/ whatevererers who aren't otherwise being reached through HiGs normal marketing channels. I posted about the new €650 edition of Carcassonne on Facebook and it generated a lot of interest among people who clearly weren't aware of it. I'm not suggesting any of them went on to buy it, but by partnering with HiG in a way that allows for easier access of information and "news" from them to us could be of huge benefit, rather than waiting for someone here to spot something on BGG, or CarcF or some obscure shopping website based out of Hong Kong and reporting it back to the rest of us here.

Similarly (and I don't wish to sound greedy or grabby or needful here), but if HiG were happy to provide us with stuff to give away as prizes or incentives to newcomers then I'm sure some good would come of it. They certainly have done this in the past with various promos, and the positive difference this has made has been huge. It hasn't happened for a while though, despite some signed tile giveaways, and is somewhat overdue in my opinion. For the sake of argument though, imagine if "Dan's Spare Bits Giveaway" was actually "HiG's Spare Bits Giveaway". How amazing could that be?! Yes, they don't make a lot of money from it, but it generates good publicity, and good publicity can spread like wildfire, especially when it's being fanned by people like us!

I think I've waffled on for quite long enough now and probably should have been in bed hours ago. But to summarise, my key points would be that HiG's wildest dreams can be achieved by partnering with communities like ours through the running of events (or at least helping to support those of us who are willing to run events on their behalf), by the open sharing of releases, news and a limited number of promos/ prizes/ incentives to be shared with fans, and by recognition and putting their formal seal of approval on online competitions such as the ones we run. I'm sure there are plenty of other things too, but this was all my tired brain could come up with for now.

Thanks again for taking the time to share with us Decar! This could be the dawning of a whole new chapter that I'm very excited to (hopefully) be a part of!
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Offline wolnic

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 03:45:40 PM »

One example might be the UK Games Expo (and other similar expos/ cons around the world, but I've never really been to any of those).


As I may have mentioned to some of you I've been involved with Play-By-Mail (PBM) and Play-By-EMail (PBEM) since the late 70s and there are, in the UK, a number of annual games weekends held throughout the year and across the country. These are typically arranged by games players for games players and, I suspect, are mostly non (or minimal) profit making. Some of these began for national face-to-face Diplomacy championships, but there are always a wide range of other games played. I could easily put together a list of the ones I am aware of.
Completed Expansions: The Coast (CI/II), Fluvium (CII), Wells (CII)
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Offline whaleyland

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 06:13:20 PM »
I'm assuming feedback left in this thread will make its way back to Hans im Glück. Regarding tournaments, I live in New Zealand (and in Christchurch specifically) so I see very little potential for local tournaments and I don't have enough money to travel to Auckland or Australia to compete. That being said, I would totally compete in a local tournament were one held (and we did have an unofficial one here years ago). I would prefer non-game components to be the prizes, though. Instead it should either be something signed by Klaus Jürgen-Wrede or some Carcassonne-themed product. I've finally met a few other fairly hard-core Carcassonne players who also own most of the expansions, and I don't think any of us would be especially excited about an opportunity to win a promo expansion we already have (and I definitely am not in favour of über-exclusive promo expansions only available to tournament players or, worse, winners).

I do like the idea of being able to do online officially-sanctioned tournaments or even play-by-[e]mail games, but the latter really requires space in a spare room to leave a game when it isn't being played, and I don't really have any place like that available to me currently. Still, if online play were allowed, I could get on board with that. My major problem is that I am not really a competitive player, so the odds of me winning any such tournament are not high. I prefer meet-and-greet events with the game designers or company officials – meeting Mortiz's daughter and playing a game with her and her partner a few years back was quite fun. So I'd say priority #1 should be visibility, with the tournaments as a secondary thing (and the two can certainly go together). But I definitely think that taking something like Carcassonne-on-Tour outside of Europe would be great.

Lastly, just because I feel it is important to re-state, there are a lot of expansions that have come out over the past decades that still are not available to the mass market and I think that oversight can be easily corrected with the release of formal expansion boxes that include many of them in the new art. They would not be exhaustive, but I think they would go a long way to bringing these myriad promos and hard-to-find items into the public eye. Below are my recommendations:

  • Wheel of Fortune (Repackaged as "Expansion 7" with only the expansion tiles, since it seems clear that The Catapult will not be re-released in the new art) (19 tiles + wheel and pig)
  • Minis Collection #1 = Mini Expansions 1-3 + Besiegers (30 tiles)
  • Minis Collection #2 = Mini Expansions 4-6 + Corn Circles II (30 tiles)
  • Minis Collection #3 = Corn Circles I, Halflings II, The Watchtowers, and The Phantom (24 tiles + 6 Phantoms)
  • Carcassonne-on-Tour Collection #1 = The Windroses, German Monasteries, German Castles, German Cathedrals (30 tiles)

That's my pile of cents. Please forward it on to the appropriate authorities. :-D

Offline wolnic

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 01:30:51 AM »

I do like the idea of being able to do online officially-sanctioned tournaments or even play-by-[e]mail games, but the latter really requires space in a spare room to leave a game when it isn't being played, and I don't really have any place like that available to me currently.

The games weekends I mentioned are all face-to-face gaming, with anything from 30 players up to several hundreds. PBM or PBEM wouldn't be involved, although that's how I hear about them. I do realise they're not going to be very convenient for you but there may be similar happening in NZ in other areas of the games hobby. I'm not sure of the publicity mechanisms for these conventions, although the main ones I know of in the UK have been running for decades and are based in a University Hall of Residence over the summer, or hotel (out of season, or city centre at weekend when business folks aren't around) to try to keep the costs down. There are also minimal convention fees. For example on 20-23rd July this year, Manorcon XXXV is being held at Leicester University (www.manorcon.org.uk).

Offline Decar

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2018, 04:10:55 AM »
Hi guys, thanks for the input - some great ideas thus far.

Mortiz is focused on events and specifically what concepts people would like to see.

For example, an event is held. Why would this event be different from any other game?  How can they engage with their customers and how can HiGs partners engage with their distribution partners to make it happen.

For example what would you like to see in an event pack?

Offline aenima

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 12:03:12 AM »
Well... Usually en event pack contains promos... Some apecial tiles (like the essen one) or a special meeple, totally new or a same one but in dfferent colour.
I give some concrete examples that I know:

Arkham Nights event ... 3 nights where you only play lovecraftian games of ffg. You sign up and receive the admission ticket and several promotional gadgets (a bag to fish things, redesigned game boards elements and more).

the Arkham horror LCG Invocation Night: you register for the event to play a new scenario and you receive the scenario in question with a playmat and the alternative version of a character card.

I know about an event kit for Clank! which consists of the same card to give to all participants as a gift and a meeple golden dragon to be given to the winner of a tournament that takes place during the event ...

For example what would you like to see in an event pack?

so, the event could consist in an afternoon spent in a shop or playroom where a new expansion is presented. You pay to participate and receive a copy of the expansion plus, a promo element linked to that expression (with possibly an additional exclusive rule for that promo) and maybe a further prize if a tournament is also included.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 06:40:30 AM by MrNumbers, Reason: Merged 2 posts »

Offline DaFees

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2018, 06:57:39 PM »
US player here. I've walked into Barnes & Noble, Target, and the former Toys'R'Us and here is something I've noticed. They all carried the base game (in the new art, obviously) but none of them carried ANY of the expansions. I know this point brings about a double-edged sword. The people buying Carcassonne at one of these major stores won't likely know about the expansions nor of any events happening around them. At the same time those likely to know about any would be events are likely to be those who know about the expansions. With that in mind though here are some of my recommendations:

Maybe try working with major retailers to try to get them to carry some of the popular expansions.
Work with FLGSs to have learn/play events where a chosen (either by FLGS or the publisher) expansion that customers can learn to play and even purchase.
Work with FLGSs to have organized play events (think local tournaments), something Asmodee is known for. During these events offer a mini-expansion or similar as a prize to the winner(s).
Cundco currently does offer a lot of mini-expansions not available anywhere else for purchase. Not a lot of people outside of this forum know about Cundco. Even those that do know about it though may at times find it cost prohibitive especially when the shipping can add up. So I might suggest (at least in the states anyway) working with a local publisher (like Asmodee / Z-Man Games) to offer more of these mini-expansions and other bits locally. Also having a website that is by default in the customers native language (in the case of the US, this would be English). Yes Cundco does have an English language option but it's not 100%. Sure the parts that matter are in English but still it'd be preferred to have everything in English.
I know that HiG has a big presence at Spiel every year and for the last few years they offered a convention exclusive promo tile. Perhaps they'd consider working with Asmodee in America to do similar things here, either at Gen Con or similar.

That's all that I can think of for now. If I had to narrow that list down to one thing (especially something relevant to the original topic) I'd say that I'd love to see events offer something I can't get anywhere at the same time.

Offline Maj. Frost

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 01:34:20 PM »
I can only speak for the polish market, which is quite different than German, as I noticed after discussions with Moritz. Most gaming runs around board game clubs, bars, cafes. Those are more than happy to organize any event, just need help with some tips how to create something appealing for the customers. More than simple tournament, something fun.

What aenima said is exactly what I have in mind. Following FFG approach with simple event packs. New every six months would appeal to the gamers. Just simple pack with some promos (even single tiles) for every participant and few sheets of manual, how to run different kinds of events (not marketing, just rules etc.). I would make them unique as FFG does, but not irreplaceable.

What I mean is not a completely new mini expansion, but rather something what FFG puts
- exclusive set of meeples,
- alternative version of starting tile (with the same setup but some cooler graphics), maybe even 3d?
- alternative version of river tiles (as above)
- some nice embossed scoring track, (maybe bigger  100 version)
- acrylic or 3d versions of tokens for traders and builders, sheeps, etc.
- acrylic 50/100 tokens
- cool dragon and princess miniature
- alternative game boxes. Something out of carton, that one can put together and carry the game inside it. With cool graphics, without any marketing/legal stuff, barcodes,  and everything that need to be on standard game box. FFG has included something like that to carry game cards in one of the events for diskwars.

Those are all the things that do not change the game itself. No one looses the game experience when considering the rules if not having them, those are simply "awesome". On the other hand those things are directly connected to the game (usable in the game), not like Carcassonne keychain or mug.

Those are also cool for the gamers (like those tokens or minatures), that already have some expansion , while igniting the purchase for those that do not have it already.

That said, I would like to address other issue. Connection with social media society. "Watch it played" channel exists for seven years now and only five months ago they have put Carcassonne tutorial.

Of course there are other youtubers. You are probably familiar with the tutorial of "the rules girl".



She explains the game in just 3 minutes, without any manual. Portal came up with this great idea of putting the logo of the "Watch it played"  and information like "No need to read the manual, just watch this" on every box.

Let's put things straight, people (especially young ones) are lazy this days, and such information would be appealing. Much more than putting the link to carcassonne central. I know that you all are fantastic people, very open to newcomers and more than ready to answer even the most "stupid" question. But for the beginner/casual/family player this forum may be confusing. One can find here information about events around the world, difficult rules discussions, fan made or hard to get expansions, 100 pages long threads. For me it is great, but I can easily understand that new player may find it confusing or even off-putting. 

I hope you understand me correctly. If I have never seen a board game more than monopoly in my life and was going to ask myself a question "What is Carcassonne and if I want to play it" I would not like to find myself on CC, so at least do not put it on the box that one can find shrink wrapped on the shelf of Target or other huge shop. End of the manual would be much better place.

I guess that's all for now from my side, If I recall something else I will for sure let you know. After meeting Moritz I am sure that he wants all the best for whole boardgaming comunity and market (carcassonne or not) but I cannot shake the felling that HiG got little behind with current technologies and boardgaming trends. After playing Safari or some prototype expansions at 1stICM I feel that this is just more of the same. It is fun for me, the one with the crosses really made me play differently, but this just not something to attract new players.

Once againg, this is just my opinion considering the polish market.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 01:56:30 PM by Maj. Frost »

Offline Decar

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 05:43:34 AM »
Some interesting replies - I'll attempt to collate them into the original post.

One thing I'd like to see is a mechanism for registering a club.  I'd really like to run a tournament or a fun-day at a local venue, but I'd need to buy 5-10 copies of the base-game + other bits.

I'm happy to purchases these things and I don't expect HiG to fork out for every club, but I wonder if I could access them at a discounted cost from Cundco.  There needs to be some way of validating the purchases, to stop anyone flogging the games on Ebay for example.  But I'd be happy to pay for some promos and basegames to encourage play.

Offline Willem

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 09:51:05 AM »
If there are local tournaments like that organised from a forum member, the availability of the games could be arranged ;)
I'd assume HiG would prefer these games to be played in the new artwork only, but i'd happily provide 2 base games, rivers and some expansions if needed :)
For the old artwork it would be even easier, as i think most of us have enough to provide a decent tournament with games
I would have 14 old art base games and loads of expansions (at least 6-7 times I&C and T&B for instance) and 2 new art base games with less double expansions available.

But it would also make sense for HiG to support tournament like these by supplying the games (that can be re-used in other tournaments maybe?) or provide a discounted price for the tournament to buy and hand out to winners etc

Offline Decar

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2018, 02:17:28 AM »
Something we could do now:

Create a post for members to register their local game groups where Carcassonne is played regularly - that way I can find somewhere to play if I am new to the hobby or travelling elsewhere in the world!

Offline Decar

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2018, 03:46:26 AM »
Another question from you all:

In general terms what do you expect from your FLGS when it comes to your connection with gaming?

Offline aenima

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Re: Coffee, Cake and the future!
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2018, 03:59:40 AM »
Another question from you all:

In general terms what do you expect from your FLGS when it comes to your connection with gaming?

eh?  ??? I don't understand the question


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