Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Power of Pre-orders

We have sold through our initial order of Star Wars Destiny of 10 starter decks and 4 displays of boosters but almost only brought in one of each due to the lack of pre-orders or interest in general until just a few days before the release.

Pre-orders and customer queries allow us to judge the depth of interest in an upcoming release and to determine how many to bring in or whether to stock it at all. Each month between 100 to 200 new products release and it is impossible for us to keep up on what people want without feedback. Pre-orders allow us to stock the products that you would like to see in the store and avoid the products no-one has an interest in (like Days of Wonder' Quadropolis).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pokemon Go Way Down

According to this article, Pokemon Go daily users are down 96% from its peak last August. In order to revive the game, Niantic "plans gameplay tweaks, frequent player rewards, events that make it easier for higher level users to advance, as well as new features such as more creatures, trading, and perhaps, eventually, player vs. player mode. "

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Prisoner's Dilemma

This week's ICV2 column looks at discounting of the recently released Planechase Anthology in terms of the concept of the  Prisoner's Dilemma.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Three Things for which I am Thankful

Since this is the season in which we traditionally give thanks, not that we shouldn’t do it the other 11 months out of the year,  I wanted to note four things (aside from health, friends, chocolate, etc) that make me thankful:
1)       Other Retailers, both local and distant. While ‘tis true that life would certainly have remained simpler not having 3 other game retailers open up within 15 miles of us within the past year, I have found them in the area has made me focus more on our product mix and determine what elements of our marketing strategy to emphasize and what to de-emphasize.  Result, our revenues did take a hit over the past year but have now climbed back to the point that they equal sales prior to the other stores opening in the area.  From retailers more distant, I can usually find at least one idea or product to integrate into the store’s marketing mix every month,  often moreso.  Visiting the websites and physical locations or reading the blog posts or online musings from stores like The Fantasy Shop, Gnome Games or Black Diamond Games, among others, proves a useful 15-30 minutes of every week.
3)      The Bits ‘n Mortar program.  Bits ‘n Mortar doesn’t get nearly enough publicity as it ought but this consortium of small RPG publishers still has their program in place, allowing registered brick and mortar retailers to give a PDF of their products to customers when said customer purchases a hard copy of the RPG.  We have customers who purchase Crucible 7 and Arc Dream RPG products specifically from us on a regular basis specifically because we participate in this program.
4)      Munchkin (and Steve Jackson Games). The base Munchkin game still sells reliably week in and week out over a decade after it first released.  Unlike some other game lines (cough-X-wing Miniatures, DiceMasters-cough), Steve Jackson Games manages to keep the almost the entire line in stock through distribution and, although they have run special sets through Target and Barnes and Noble, I have not seen them participate in any deep discounting or “Buy One, Get One Free” silliness such as appeared on the Target website last week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kaladesh Saturday Showdown Requirements

In case your are interested, here are the requirements for the Kaladesh Standard Showdown tournaments, per WOTC.

They must:
1 Occur on Saturday starting November 26
2. Be Standard Format
3. Run at least 3 rounds with 8 players

There are NO requirements as to how the Standard Showdown boosters are to be distributed, except that stores can give out no more than 10 per tournament. There are no requirements that a winner receive so many boosters or that they be distributed according to some form of "payout" schedule. WOTC suggests several methods by which to distribute them and we will be giving out some following those suggestions i.e. 2 to the overall winner and 1 to players who played in the previous 2 Saturday tournaments we hosted. Note that that is one per person and not one per tournament attended. We will have a list of people who played in the previous Saturday tournaments and will give you one if you play on the 26th.

Anything else you might have heard regarding mandatory awarding of the Standard Showdown packs is not official WOTC procedure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Z-man Games: A Brief History

Z-man Games was launched in the mid 1990s to produce the  Shadowfist trading card game, one of the early TCGs and one that  drew upon themes from Chinese martial arts movies.  Z-man  then released what was for the store the much more successful line of B-Movie card games, starting with Grave Robbers from Outer Space, which parodied the horror films of the 1950s and 1980s and branching out into other genres such as the Western, fantasy,  pirate, blaxspolitation, Asian cinema and Christmas. Though not commonly seen in stores in recent years, a decade or so ago, the B-movie card games were a ubiquitous offering in game stores and I saw many a game of them played at gaming conventions throughout the Midwest.

Z-man Games biggest hits, releasing several years after the B-movie card games peaked, were Agricola and Pandemic, both posting respectably steady sales for several years until the advent of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop web series, which featured Pandemic in one episode, giving it the “Wheaton Bump”, quadrupling, at least for us, sales of the game and allowing Z-man to create a Catanesque line of expansion for Pandemic. The success of other games such as Tragedy Looper and The Walking Dead (based on the comics, not the television series. Cryptozoic has the rights to that and puts out its only line of TV series based games) likely attracted the attention of Quebec based game publisher/distributor Filosofia, which bought Z-man in 2011.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Orangelist

Apparently the latest kerfluffle in the gaming industry is The Orangelist. Near as I can gather, a group of gaming companies published a statement, Gamers for Her,  saying they supported Clinton for president, giving reasons why, and calling for other gamers to vote for her as well.

Now comes the Orangelist, which lists companies and individuals that allegedly voted for Trump and I think calls for a boycott against them. The call to action is pretty poorly written for someone who claims to be a writer. Unfortunately for the creator of the list, several of the companies on it are British and European and some, such as Agents of Gaming and Yaquinto shut their doors over a decade ago. Still other, whom the author claimed to have contacted, deny every receiving a phone call, email or IM from him.

It would appear the author had some spare time on his hands, a list of gaming companies and a desire for attention.