Glue-Up/Lamination vs Veneer/Substrate

I am researching this topic for a buddy's company. They are doing a limited manufacturing run of specialized boards for the game of Go. The game boards are about 21 inches square and range from 1/2 to 6 inches thick, depending on available stocks and the mood of the craftsman. Stocks include various maples, butternut, oak, and purpleheart. We are trying to justify to their potential customers the benefits -- and additional costs -- of gluing up several sticks to create the sometimes massive blanks as opposed to applying a beautiful veneer to a precision-made substrate, which this company also produces. You can see my purpleheart Go board:
Their customers are a fussy lot; they demand high quality but refuse to consider paying for it. Imagine that. Extremely cheap veneered MDF boards flood the market from offshore and these appear to be the price point. Yet, if Go players are in the upper tier market, they will buy traditional Go boards from Japan that command $10,000 to $100,000 without a second thought to rationalizing the price. You can see some of these remarkable boards: (Huge floor-style boards) (Japanese language) (Thinner, table-style boards) (Japanese language)
See some of the better imported boards and less-expensive alterantives: 62814_23390
As a former woodworker, I am familiar with most of the technical differences between these techniques and I have access to several friends' extensive libraries of woodworking books for additional research to back up my prejudice for laminations. But I'm particularly interested in a woodworker's perspective on the topic and your opinions on the perceived value of glued-up blocks.
david boise ID
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