To Deluxe Or Not To Deluxe, Is That A Question?

Honey Buzz Box Art
Honey Buzz
Honey Buzz is another game that caught my attention recently. It, too, was a Kickstarter game, and it, too, offered different pledge levels. There was a $39 standard pledge level, a $59 deluxe level, and a $20 add-on for wooden coins. Let’s do the math:

$132,019 / 2,666 = $49.52

Obviously I don’t have access to the pledge financial report. 🙂 Since the calculated average of $49 is smack dab in the middle of $39 and $59 I am going to assume that an even distribution between the two pledge levels. Half of the customers pledged for the standard, and half pledged for the deluxe.

This is another Kickstarter that I found out about after the game was already released. There are websites that will pre-order Kickstarter packages and resell them to folks such as myself who missed out though, and I found one where I could buy the entire Deluxe package with the wooden coin upgrade for roughly $100. That wasn’t a big markup over the Kickstarter cost. I typically like the deluxe versions of things, so it would seem to be a no-brainer for me to jump at the opportunity, right?

I didn’t. 🙂

To understand why, let’s review the different components available. In the base game you get cardboard tiles to build your hive. You get cardboard tiles for nectar for your bees to collect. There are squishy plastic honey tokens and plastic pollen tokens. The various additional game tokens (first player, coins) are cardboard, and the worker bees (Beeples!) are made of wood. It’s a good quality game, and well worth the $39 price point.

What are the upgrades? You get a different box cover, acrylic nectar tiles (an upgrade from cardboard), a wooden first player marker (upgrade from cardboard), wooden fan tokens (upgrade from cardboard) and custom resin pollen tokens. There is also a custom plastic tray insert.

For $100 I could get the deluxe version of the game, a mini expansion and the wooden coins. Or for $35 (discounted at an online game store) I could buy the standard game.

I bought the $35 version. It wasn’t about the money; I could afford the more expensive version. It was that unlike Dwellings of Eldervale I didn’t see the value. I could not put my finger on it initially, but after watching a few videos to learn how to play the game I figured it out. The mash-up of cardboard hive tokens and acrylic nectar tokens bothered me. It should have been either all cardboard (which is what’s in the base game) or all acrylic. I didn’t like the mix. And while wooden coins fit the theme (woodland creatures are not likely to be working metal) I decided that I didn’t need to spend the extra as it didn’t change the game experience.

I like to use my Sharpie pens to color the edges of my tokens. I like to make my own foam-core inserts. I am buying the lower cost version of this game and going to give it the Sharpie Treatment and I think my game is going to look great, but more important for me in this case, it’s going to have a consistent feel.

What about you? Do you automatically assume more expensive means better? How do you go about picking a pledge level and balance the “Fear of Missing Out” with the hit to your bank account?

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