Terra Prime On Tanga – Why and Are You Nuts?

by Michael on July 6, 2010

@toddlang on Twitter recently asked me… 

“@MichaelMindes Interested in your thoughts on putting Terra Prime on tanga. Blog post?”

So, blog post it is.  I know it has been awhile since my last blog post, and in the near future I will reveal why.  And when I do post about that it will be important to me for you to share it with your friends, because my sanity may depend on it.  That statement is an exercise in hyperbole which I am prone to at times.  Without further non-sensical jibber-jabber…

The inconsistentcy on blogging (if it continues) is another good reason to start using Google Reader and get these blog posts sent directly to you via RSS.  That way you won’t miss anything, and do not need to come directly here.  Also let your friends know about this, because when I do post it is about interesting stuff.


The simple answer is that sales were incredibly stagnant.  Sure, the game was only released into general distribution in January of 2010.  Let me show you some of the sales numbers:

  • January – 444 Sales through standard distribution
  • Feburary – 30 Sales through distribution
  • March – 12 Sales through distribution
  • April – 10 Sales through distribution
  • May -  8 Sales through distribution

Now when I have 800-1,000 in stock, the current sales levels are certainly insufficient.  Sure there are a number of different ways to boost sales, HOWEVER, Tanga is a method that fulfills all of the following:

  • Brings in immediate sales
  • Reminds people about the game
  • Creates new interest in the game
  • Brings the game back up high in the “hotness” on BoardGameGeek
  • Does not allienate retail stores or distributors – “A side note here, the added exposure boosts their sales indirectly.  Even if they happen to refuse to acknowledge it”
  • Requires little work in general and NO WORK FOR ME
  • Does not destroy the overall value of the Intellectual Property

Things That I Did Not Expect

I did not expect that the sale on Tanga would bring forth such immediate squawking about the fact that myself as the publisher and Seth as the designer rated the game as a “10″ on BGG.  While I did expect issues to come up about the production quality of the game, I did not necessarily expect to see people that bought the game and got replacements to defend Tasty Minstrel Games so fiercely.

It is nice to see that we are obviously doing something right.

Fail Fast And Move On

I also happen to believe in a lottery type of mentality when it comes to publishing board games.  We happen to live in a world that has sales dominated by hits (even with the expansion of the long tail).  If something is not moving enough right now, then it is not a hit.  It could possibly grow into a cult sensation like the Princess Bride did.  However, that cult sensation nature will not some forth without the game getting into more hands.

Additionally, without bringing on money from the sales of games, then it is harder to publish more games and get more lottery tickets in the chance of generating a hit game.  I do not consider Terra Prime a failure.  I certainly have learned something from the process and it remains one of my favorite games, so I will certainly still continue to rate it a “10″.  I learned:

  • When trying to get a game to be a hit, the first play experience is CRITICAL.  A game will not become a hit without people chomping at the bit to play it again.
  • When trying to get a good intial experience, it is bad if people feel like they got completely destroyed.  This happens to a lot of people that play Terra Prime and go into the dangerous areas of space without being properly prepared.
  • The people playing the game are CRITICAL to the game’s success.  Without player to teach the game to new people and introduce the game to new potential buyers, then sales will eventually drop to a trickle.  Therefore it is ESSENTIAL to do everything within your power to get the players invested in your success.  Apparently there is a likeability to myself, Seth Jaffee, and Tasty Minstrel Games.  That likeability has led to more additional sales that I have previously imagined.
  • For any business to be consistent, you need a way to consistently be able to reach your target market.  Tanga has a group of people which are consistently looking for the new deals, therefore they make money.  In the same efforts, Tasty Minstrel gives away free board games every week in an effort to build a community of people that we can contact when we release new games.

Which leads me into my next topic…

Free Game Friday Event

I am still working out the details, but I will be emptying out a large portion of my game closet of the games that I do not actively play.  I am working out details on how to give them away, but I will likely be having an event to give them away.  So make sure you sign up so you do not miss the details when they come forth.  Also, please let me know if there is anything you would like to see in particular.

Related posts:

  1. Reader Questions: Why $39.95 for Homesteaders and Terra Prime?
  2. Fact or Fiction… Publishing Board Games Is Good Finance?
  3. Co-Op Publishing – Thinking Out Loud – Please Comment!
  4. Attracting and Developing an Audience
  5. Getting Into Distribution As A New Publisher

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