Breaking the Ice with Pricetitution
Pricetitution is a rollicking card game that invites players to consider their values, specifically price values. The creator, Dan Killian, invites you to admit that you’re a “pricetitute.” A pricetitute is “a person that talks about doing things for money.” Now, how much would it take for you to do something outrageous? What’s your real price?
My price would depend on the situation, and these situations are thought provoking. The creator has a background in improv comedy, and some prompts beg for a sketch. Mark Cuban pulled the query, “How much to wear a diaper under your clothes tomorrow?” Lori broke into laughter at, “How much to let [Kevin] slowly drool into my mouth?” The game playfully dissolves polished personas. Players chuckle in shock then delve into absurd conversation.
Pricetitution feels like a fusion of Cards Against Humanity and Truth or Dare. The temptation to dare a friend is real, but please do not act out these scenarios at home! Or at least, don’t hold the creator responsible.... Mark Cuban believes the temptation is too much for the general public. He refused to bid on the game for fear of baseless lawsuits and newspaper spin.
How to Win
The card game is simple, and it requires you to understand players’ views on money and their risk-taking behaviors. For each round, one “pricetitute” writes down their lowest possible dollar amount for (hypothetically) performing the task listed on their card. The other players ask questions to understand the pricetitute, then they try to guess the pricetitute’s dollar amount. The player with the closest guess wins the round.
Pricetitution’s outrageous scenarios can break the ice among casual acquaintances or cause a stir among friends. It markets itself as “a way to get to know your friends better.” The game gives a playful glimpse of a friend’s perspective. Its ideal players are social and play casually. This would be an ideal party game for millennials. It would lead to engaging conversation and naturally pair with the trend of board games in cafes and bars. But remember, these are no dares.
Dan Killian launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and raked in $40,000 in two months of sales. How popular are tabletop games? Well, demand is surging according to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s report, “Board Games Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023.” According to study estimates, the global board game market will reach values topping $12 billion by 2023.
People play board and card games at home, in cafes, in bars and online. In fact, 5,000 board game bars and cafes opened in North America in 2016. These cafes feature tabletop games and other activities. A prime example is Fat Cat in New York City. Fat Cat sees itself as a cultural institution showcasing live music and art, alongside ping pong, pool and tabletop games. These cafes are pioneering a new way of socializing and serve as a space for exploring and popularizing new games.
The Sharks forecasted different avenues of development for Pricetitution. Barbara called it “fodder for social media,” and she wanted to steer the card game towards a digital adaptation. She may have been onto something. The card and game sector’s largest players create digital versions of tabletop games. These phone and web applications appeal to solo players who are drawn to the challenge of competing against AI. Yet Barbara’s vision appeared to prize digital applications at the expense of the card game.
Both sectors can prosper simultaneously, according to Haydn Taylor from gamesindustry.biz. She writes that digitization has “spurred growth across both sectors,” because the social interactions from tabletop games are irreplaceable. Playing a board game is a different experience from a digital game, so they are complementary revenue sources.
The other Sharks focused on getting the game into major retail outlets. Kevin offered Dan partnership for $100,000k and a 50% stake. Kevin cited distribution as the major challenge for game creators. Board and card games can be bought online, but brick and mortar retailers drive sales. In fact, they claimed over half of board game sales in 2017. Games are showcased and sold by stores such as Walmart, COSTCO, Sears, Best Buy and Target; game creators struggle to get their attention. A Shark could change that, but retail connections do not come cheap.
The Price of a Deal
The Sharks all required a large stake in Pricetitution to do business. Shark Rohan promised, “I’ll walk you into the biggest retailers within twenty-four hours” and build Pricetitution into a brand. Then he teamed up with Lori to offer $100,000 for 40% of the company. Kevin and Barbara were both offering $100,000 for 50% of the company.
After securing the parental nod of approval, Dan agreed to part with 40% of Pricetitution in exchange for $100,000, retail connections and custom brand building. The card game will expand from online sales to retail with the possibility of future digital applications. I expect hilarity to ensue.