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sealed with a kiss

experimenting with running a play-by-mail game · By droqen

the cost of physical mail

A topic by droqen created Mar 23, 2016 Views: 401 Replies: 9
Viewing posts 1 to 5
Developer (1 edit)

I'm valuing my time at $5/hr, as a limiting factor! (So I don't end up taking on an unrealistic amount of work if a bunch of people are super into this...)

Every letter I send costs $1 CAD -- more, if the letter is too thick, but I don't know how much more.

A package will probably cost more like $8-$10, at least within North America.

Materials: ???

If I spend 10 minutes per letter (okay let's call it 12 minutes), each letter costs $2. At two letters/month (1/month seems too infrequent), that's $4/month or $48/year, a bit more than my twitter estimate. Also you'd have to pay for all your outbound postage! And this is without materials! I have access to Shelley (@UhWhatsHisFace on twitter) who's really into the idea of making cool stuff for this. Luckily she's great at making things out of nothing but paper, so maybe add $.50 per letter?

My final Bare Minimum Estimate cost to me: $5/month, $60/year. (per player)

This is probably around how much I'd charge to play the game. Too much?

letters sent via canada post cost a little under $1 CAD.

how much do letters cost to send out of where you live?

i would like to send frequent letters, but that will get expensive. if the game is multiplayer and runs on phases, sending out letters at fastest once a week and at slowest once a month sounds practical. if it is single-player, it does not really matter.

i would *love* to send small packages and game-relevant oddities, but they will be even more expensive.

i am considering offering a few price tiers: cheaper for those happy to receive basic letters, more expensive for those interested in receiving more interesting things in the mail...

i am (very cautiously) considering doing some parts of this online and saving the physical letters for a specific part of the game, but i think this is a bad idea.

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Sweden here! ~$0.85 for a 50g letter within the country, ~$1.7 for the same overseas. Price grows with weight, of course.

Doing parts of the actual gameplay, and not just meta-info (if even that) online sounds like a "bad idea", I think. Less unique, less fun, less impactful.

Regarding the different price tiers... If the game is planned out in some manner, perhaps an estimated cost of potential packages could be decided and stuck to, and then included in the initial cost? That way, everyone's equal, albeit with a bit more work and planning on your side.

I've been thinking that I should do as much via mail as possible. I have considered going so far as to refuse to talk about the game with anyone over the internet! which means: no online payment, no online support.

Don't know if I should go that far, but it would be fun.

I *do* think that if someone signs up to play, I will send the rules by mail (rather than just putting them online).

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Sounds mostly lovely, the only thing I'm a bit :/ over is the "no online payments" part. Not even because it's hard for the players - just fun and different, mostly - but because it'll be difficult for you to handle. Imagine getting letters with bills in 47 different currencies...

EDIT: This is a bit weird, how this post is presented through the forums - as an indented reply of some sort... This'll take a bit getting used to!


haha! well there's that, and then there's also the whole "don't send cash in the mail" thing. cheques are a lot safer, but not everyone has those...

i'd be happy to deal with getting bills in other currencies. sounds like a blast, tbh

Doesn't it cost money to exchange currency?


oh no these boxes are becoming tiny.

yeah, probably >_> i wonder if i get a bulk discount for exchanging several types of currency at once

i'd be extremely tempted to keep bills as souvenirs, haha

International Standard from the UK takes 5-7 working days. price varies based on size, weight and destination. useful table here

you can send a small letter/postcard to anywhere for £1

Developer (1 edit)

See first post for details, but I calculated a Bare Minimum Estimate cost to me: $5/month, $60/year. (per player)

Or looking at it a different way: $2.50/letter, twice a month.

Would you pay that much to try a play-by-mail game? ;p

(... also I basically have not been thinking about $ stuff until now, but all the design stuff is kinda ephemeral and I don't know really how to put it all down!)

I'd probably be okay with paying that price if the game was fun and/or interesting. Bit on the low end even, actually.