The pricing is my decision, so I can give a few more details beyond what Stu can provide. I'm not upset by the question or some of the speculations posted by others, so don't read into my post as being defensive. I won't be doing these kind of public justifications probably ever again, but at least this one time I can respond as kind of a time capsule or testament that can be linked-to later (by Stu or others) to direct any price questioning to this post.
First off, I want to make clear that the Request (formerly "Preorder") page/lists at our site are name collector inboxes. We take no deposits, and simply count heads and create mailing lists for the first grabs of who gets the playfields upon release. You're basically raising your hand for first dibs, in a queue, instead of us just releasing them public. We think it's more orderly than just making playfields go "open season" at release. While we prefer that people hold to their slot(s) and buy at release time, truly there is no enforcable obligation to follow through. Many don't, on every run. People back out all the time. In fact, on the most recent FIRE run, a staggering 40% were no-shows, and we're left holding the bag on a near-half unsold portion of the run. In turn, it's a two-way street, and just like there is no obligation to buy, we don't have an obligation to sell/price the playfields in any fixated way. We're not even obligated to run them. This two-way freedom has it's pros and cons. Pros that we have the freedom to make what we want, and when we want - in no particular order or on any timelines. Nobody is breathing down our neck, with $50 or $100 deposits being held, and demanding updates and/or deadlines. Con (for us) is the customer doesn't even have to follow through on the playfield purchase. Thus we made one available for them, but nada. Pro for them, because they aren't stuck buying a playfield at release when a) they may have sold the game b) they may have bought something else with their hobby bankroll, or c) they simply don't have the money and/or are in a bad spot.
This leads to the pricing estimates part. We try our best to hold true to the posted estimate (and they were always listed as "Estimated Price") but there too, we aren't stuck. When reality creeps up and hard production reaches true tallies on the BOM, sometimes things can change a little bit. This was the case with TOTAN.
The estimated price was previously $799. Just so everybody knows, it was a $100 increase, not $200. 12.5% Anybody can check back in the Wayback Machine site to see this if they need to. (archive.org)
So here are the one-time reasons for this small price shift. For any future links to this post, any or all these kinds of reasons may/could pertain to future price shifts that folks may wonder about:
- TOTAN is a beast. Period. Full Stop. Waaaay more complex than we ever anticipated. Could possibly be the most complex repro playfield ever attempted by any maker, at any time in the history of the hobby. Medieval Madness my ass. This thing is wooden swiss cheese, it's got so many cuts (see below). It is easily +100% more overall work per playfield, as opposed to our more "normal" releases.
- Cut time is over double a "normal" playfield. Yes, we could cut two "normal" playfields in the time it takes to yield one TOTAN blank. I won't get into timing, but we officially yield half as many TOTANs per day, as opposed to other playfields. Our pile is growing significantly slower, and the clock is ticking. We could be making twice as many of any other release during this same time.
- Double to triple the inserts of a "normal" playfield. Plus we won't even get into the insert oddities/dramas/expenses that some of these inserts took to get found/molded - and some are one-of-a-kind, never used on another playfield. Some of the inserts (like lightning bolts and hotdogs) are a bitch to inlay, and take 5-6 times the time to seat properly and glue effectively, as opposed to regular rounds and arrows. Thus, with its 70+ assorted inserts, gluing a TOTAN is like gluing 100-125 regular "round" inserts.
- The TOTAN art package is a 14-color beast as well. Again, double the color shifts at print time. Most playfields have a pallate of 7-9 spot colors and they are done.
- The wood for this run was a custom 46" (not 42" standard length) gameboard run at the mill. We also sprung for extra-special stock, made with REALLY hearty face layers (beyond the meaty faces we normally get now) and we're back to solid ash (yes, ash) cores. There is no choice for TOTAN, as half the wood is routed away - structural intregrity in the remaining board is extremely important.
- Put bluntly, to make one TOTAN, we *could* have made *two* "regular" $699 playfields. That's $899 vs. $1398 in revenue for the same CPR production period spent.
- Our $599-$699 playfields go into $500-$1500 games. TOTAN is a $899 playfield into a $4000+ game. Plus AAA-machine DMD repro playfields from other makers have sold for $800-$900 at release, all day long. Plus, none of them were TOTAN. Ol' Totey trumps them all, IMO.
Anyway guys, this run was a long time coming. It's CPR's first "DMD" playfield for an AAA game. We want it to be done right, and we have to recover our back end on this one when it comes release time. The quid we've floated into this one is the most we've ever committed on a playfield, in our entire history back to 2005. We're still going to be months before the first wave of these come out. The run is also big enough (according to those raised hands) that it's going to take two or more runs to complete enough to serve all.
Here's photos of a $699 playfield (upcoming EK, third-party licensed BTW) compared to $899 TOTAN, plus some closeups of the TOTAN official cut. Note: these are MDF pilot cuts, where everything is verified before the machine is ever thrown over to real gameboard wood.
Classic Playfield Reproductions