Would you pay to play?

Oryan77

Adventurer
You originally said you wanted to support this store somehow. What about paying the $5 per person yourself (you cover the cost of each player), then require that each player provides a snack for the group. So one guy brings some drinks, one guy brings some chips, another guy brings some cookies, and the 4th guy brings some plates & napkins.

That way, you can think of your cost as going towards getting some snacks and the players don't have to think of it as paying a fee to play (even though the snacks are the fee).

I assume the store won't require you to pay if nobody shows up right?
 

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Crazy Jerome

First Post
In the right circumstances, I think I'd pay as much as $5.00 an hour for great gaming, and chip in snacks on top of that. But I have a hard time envisioning the circumstances being that right ... :p

I did pay about $30.00 a few times to go to a local con, and I probably got about $5.00 and hour of decent gaming for that money.

OTOH, my wife and I also added a rather large room to our house that we recently built. It wasn't built only for gaming, of course, but that was one of several substantial reasons that we included it. Prorate it however you like, and it will still be a long time before I get enough gaming in to get down to that $5.00 an hour benchmark. Of course, if a gaming establishment had private, sizable rooms, with comfortable chairs, a counter, sink, and refrigerator, lots of light, and I could use it whenever I wanted, I might pay more for that. :cool:
 

IronWolf

blank
Because stores X, Y, and Z are trying to make a slim margin by effectively giving things away, it doesn't follow that those stores will remain in business. Shopping at Whalemart might seem cheaper in the short term, but the longterm cost might actually be far greater than the "savings" you are making now.

Deciding to go for free can backfire, too......when "free" goes out of business, and your choices mean that "pay" is gone, too.

Oh I agree, these are all business decisions. For all we know the people doing it for free are doing excellent business and they feel the increased regular traffic to their store is resulting in increased sales that make up for free gaming tables. Or maybe not. We don't know though.


Raven Crowking said:
There's no such thing as a free lunch. When someone is offering you one, you might want to consider what you'll end up paying. If you want something, but are unwilling to support it, I have no sympathy for you when it's gone.

I agree with this as well. I don't think a lot of customers think about these kinds of things when they choose who to patronize though. Should they? Yes. Do they?

I think it is shortsighted of a business owner to think the majority of their customers are thinking about the business plan of the store. While a store might need to charge to play - they need to do something to give themselves a leg up on the competition to make people want to pay that fee. Relying on the customer so simply realize the business methods behind it isn't likely to be successful.

Really - the way Kzach described the store they very well may have done this. Sounds like a Mom and Pop store, which to some would be enough to warrant paying to play in that type of atmosphere.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
The thing I don't understand is why they are charging the DM. Wouldn't it make more sense to not charge the DM, since that's the person bringing others to the tables, thus giving them profits. In fact, giving the DMs a small cut of the profits would not only encourage more games to be run (and thus more players to pay up) but would get more people into their store to buy things.

But, as for paying myself, it totally depends on the place. I've seen really nice places I'd pay to sit in and play and pretty run down places that I wouldn't want to play in if you let me. But, you seem to like the atmosphere, and you wanted to game there already, so its probably more akin to the former.

As an addendum, I've never payed to play D&D, but I have payed to participate in Magic tournaments and the like. There are winnings in Magic tournaments so you might see it as an "investment" but I never really won, so it was totally a payment. :)
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Why not?

Say a bunch of you go out to the movies. Depending on your location, you're probably paying something like $8 each for 90 minutes or 2 hours of entertainment. Let us be gracious, and say it is $4 each per hour.

$5 each for even an entire slot (which is probably at least three hours, if not the entire evening) doesn't compare favorably with that?

Not really. If I go to a movie, they've done all the work for me. I can sit back, relax, and enjoy. I can even choose to go to the older-run movies at the cheap theater for $3 or check out first run movies on Sunday morning for $5 or even the double-feature at the drive-in - a 2-for-1 deal - to save money. But for an RPG, I'm one of the people making the fun, hauling my stuff, etc. Plus there are plenty of places available to me for free (including the gaming groups at the student union - for which I got a lifetime membership when I graduated). The game store has to compete with that to get me to play there. So while I don't object to there being a fee, I will be picky about how much that fee is.
 

Elephant

First Post
Why not?

Say a bunch of you go out to the movies. Depending on your location, you're probably paying something like $8 each for 90 minutes or 2 hours of entertainment. Let us be gracious, and say it is $4 each per hour.

$5 each for even an entire slot (which is probably at least three hours, if not the entire evening) doesn't compare favorably with that?

A common comparison, but not an appropriate one, I think. Who goes to movies once a week? Who can AFFORD to go to the movies once a week? Certainly not me -- things like mortgage, food, and gas come in at higher priorities.

One of the nice things about tabletop RPGs is that they're supposed to be a cheap hobby. Get together with some friends, a set of dice, and a PHB, and you can have an evening's worth of entertainment for a year. Cost: Maybe $50, split between the players (if you all share the book and the dice).

Okay, maybe such penny-pinching is unrealistic. Let's say everyone gets their own $100 set of books, plus a set of dice. That still works out to $2/day for a year's worth of weekly gaming sessions. Maybe $0.50/hour.

A better comparison would be the state parks in Minnesota: You can buy a $5 one-day permit, or you can buy a $25 sticker that's good for a year.

--------------------

More focused on the OP: I won't pay the monthly fee for WoW, much less renting a table for gaming. I just don't have that much entertainment money burning a hole in my pocket.

Membership fees for RPG space just seems like "You need to pay a fee to hang out with friends", and that sets off alarms in my head. At those rates, it would be too expensive to have friends!
 

Mallus

Legend
But for an RPG, I'm one of the people making the fun, hauling my stuff, etc.
This is an... odd argument. By this reasoning, all pools should be free, because the swimmers are doing all the actual work.

Who can AFFORD to go to the movies once a week?
I can. As can everyone I know, and none of us are rich. Some of us may lack the time to see a movie every week, though. Can you really not afford 5 bucks for several hours of entertainment once or twice a month, or are you perhaps exaggerating a wee bit?

One of the nice things about tabletop RPGs is that they're supposed to be a cheap hobby.
They still are. Can you name some that are cheaper, once you factor in all the hidden/less immediately obvious costs?

Membership fees for RPG space just seems like "You need to pay a fee to hang out with friends", and that sets off alarms in my head.
You're paying a fee to hang out in someone else's business. Conceived of like that, it's entirely reasonable. I mean, look at how much people charge you just to sleep in a bed (when it's located in a hotel).
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Not really. If I go to a movie, they've done all the work for me. I can sit back, relax, and enjoy. I can even choose to go to the older-run movies at the cheap theater for $3 or check out first run movies on Sunday morning for $5 or even the double-feature at the drive-in - a 2-for-1 deal - to save money. But for an RPG, I'm one of the people making the fun, hauling my stuff, etc. Plus there are plenty of places available to me for free (including the gaming groups at the student union - for which I got a lifetime membership when I graduated). The game store has to compete with that to get me to play there. So while I don't object to there being a fee, I will be picky about how much that fee is.

Its a rental on a space.

You rent a hall for a wedding reception, you still have to pay to have the cake, the band, the booze, etc.,- many don't provide much more than the space in which you put all that stuff, plus possibly some tables & chairs.

You rent a hall for giving a talk, they provide some tables & chairs, a PA, and possibly some food service- but that's an extra.

You play a stadium, they get a cut of the ticket sales.

How much the store should charge for space at a game table- assuming a smart owner- would be calculated by figuring out his base costs of rent, common area maintenance (if any), climate control, utilities and wages, etc. to be paid monthly per square foot. That number tells him the absolute minimum he needs to make in his overall space on average to cover his expenses. If he then decides to devote 100 square feet to gaming space, he'll know how much money that space needs to generate monthly to at least break even.

If it doesn't break even, then he either needs to charge more for the space, replace the gaming space with more productive services or merchandise, or raise prices elsewhere in the store to subsidize the space. (Again, all assuming he can't write it off as a cost under advertising/promotions.)

Or they may have to move their store to cheaper space. There used to be a Luby's near where I live that targeted a higher-end clientele than most of the rest of the chain. While most of what they served was the same as their other locales, they had set aside a certain part to serve prime rib roast, lobsters, and other more expensive fare. That location had higher monthly revenues than any other Luby's in the chain. They also had the highest rent and other expenses. Their monthly profit was $2000/month- that's $66.67/day- easily the lowest in the entire chain. That location closed after about 18 months.

As for the movies...

Well, if all you and your buddies ever buy at the theater is a ticket- as in, you don't buy any concessions- that theater will fold. That's because the studios take home between 85-95% of the ticket profits for the first month of a run, with declining percentages over time.* A long run means the theater will start taking home a bit more, but concessions are where the house makes money or breaks down.

The dollar flicks and other discount theaters do better, but even then, the bulk of their profit is from concessions.



* This is also why you've seen some movies get more than one theatrical release- each release gets the same treatment. So the studios release a film and it does well for a month and a half, then they take it off the market. Then they re-release it and it does well for another month. In both of those runs, the theater only takes home a piddling amount of ticket sales profits.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
A common comparison, but not an appropriate one, I think. Who goes to movies once a week?

Some folks I know do. I don't. But then again, I don't play RPGs every week either.

I'm comparing flat time being entertained - hour for hour. I don't see what other comparison would be equitable. How frequently you can then afford to undertake the entertainment is a separate issue.
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
This is an... odd argument. By this reasoning, all pools should be free, because the swimmers are doing all the actual work.

Not really, nor are the costs of gaming space really all that comparable to a swimming pool. That said, I could go to a private pool facility or the municipal pool, school pool... or even beach. I have various competing options and can pick the one that best fits the monetary value I will attach to swimming laps or splashing around.

Game stores have to balance how much they want to recoup on giving up retail space that may or may not generate additional sales against the many free options that gamers often have. Too expensive and, after I buy my game supplies, I'll be heading home for a quieter game environment where I have all my ample resources quick at hand and can drink beer while I play (often not an option playing game stores).
 

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