Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TSR Games

ICV2 has some more information on the relaunch of TSR Games.  It appears the company recruited two of Gary Gygax's sons as principals in the company so they could use the Gygax name in conjunction with the relaunch of the company as the name E. Gary Gygax remains the property of the Gygax Estate, under control of his second wife Gail. 

Trademark law only allows you to use a name controlled by someone else as a business trademark if it is your own original name.  Ergo, it would be very difficult to name a restaurant McDonalds and have it hold up in court legally, unless your name was McDonalds to begin with.  You are always allowed you to use your given name as a business name without fear of trade or service mark infringement.  Once you call it something else though, you open yourself to legal repercussions, such as the years of lawsuits between Apple Computer and the Beatles' Apple Studios.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TSR Games Relaunches

Just found out that a new company is launching under the TSR Games imprint. According to this post on EnWorld, the TSR trademark was abandoned about 2003 and purchased last December by a group including old line TSR staffers and members of the Gygax family.  First release is Gygax Magazine, with the first issue targeted for release next month.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kill the Overlord

Of note this week was the release of a Kickstarter funded game (aren’t all of them anymore?) from APE Games titled Kill the Overlord. Suitable for up to 8 players, $19.95 price point and a 30-45 minute playing time caught our attention.  Object is to send all of your opponents to the headsman’s block while keeping your own head, or be the first player to accumulate 30 gold.  Sadly, the fact this is a Kickstarter means that those really interested in it already have it and we will likely see little promotion from APE Games to inform others about it, so if we didn’t have Christmas ahead of us, I’d be much more leery about selling this. As it is, I imagine selling 1-4 copies for Christmas to people looking for games their friends don’t already have and this one looks like a good party game, similar to WOTC’s Great Dalmuti.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Nazi Occult

Not a new Indiana Jones movie, this is the second entry in Osprey's Dark Osprey line.

A follow up to Zombies:  A Hunter’s Guide.  June of 2013 will see the release of The Nazi Occult, written by Kenneth Hite and illustrated by  Darren Tan.    As the Indiana Jones movies indicate, there is a lot of interest out there still in WWII and Hitler’s reputed fascination with the occult (among other stories, Hitler reportedly ordered the water in the canteens of  his most elite troops come from the werewolf haunted Black Forest, in order to increase their savagery, and Himmler’s Ahnenerbe SS spent untold amounts of time and money in search of the Ark, Spear, Holy Grail or what have you).   There is enough weirdness in the records of the Third Reich that a good book could be written about it (and has, though not recently. Check J. H. Brennan’s The Occult Reich, published in 1974).  Hite, not satisfied with that, at least account to the promotional blub, fictionalizes the story, incorporating Nazi pacts with diabolic entities and the deployment of the first flying saucers, known to American pilots during the war as Foo Fighters (and you thought they were just a band).  Though I would have found a historical retelling of the Nazi interest in the occult, I am looking forward to see what Hite incorporates into the story.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Osprey Myths and Legends LIne

Osprey Myths and Legends should really appeal to the fantasy RPG player who looks to add more “historical” material to their game as, from the promo material, it examines well known mythological and legendary concepts and figures with the attention to detail and array of illustrations that readers expect from Osprey.  First up is Jason and the Argonauts, written by Neil Smith with illustrations by Jose Daniel Cabrera Pena, releasing next March.  Unfortunately, Greek myth while extensively taught in high school and colleges, has never occupied a huge swath of the RPG or boardgaming field.  I don’t have much hope for May’s War of Horus and Set either as  interest in Egyptian mythology, much like Greek, has always proven stronger academically than gamingwise.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Games Workshop Invoicing Problems

The change in the invoicing process for Games Workshop has gotten mildly annoying over time.  Last spring, Games Workshop announced a change to its invoicing procedures.  All invoices, henceforth, would go out solely by email, instead of having a paper copy placed with the order.  While this cut down on paperwork at GW’s end, it did not save any paper since we still have to print out a copy to check in merchandise.  It also lengthens the channel of communication since the email goes to the store address which then had to be forwarded to the store manager who does the checking in.  This makes it much easier for an invoice to get skipped, especially with White Dwarf magazine, since White Dwarf ships by itself, so checking it in is not as important as a multi-item order.

Due to the addition of the extra steps, we have missed about six invoices since the new process started, mainly shipments of White Dwarf magazine.  The products came in, Games Workshop just didn’t get paid until much later than they wanted. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why We Passed on Halloween Freighter.

I took a look at the Halloween Freighter set at the Alliance Open House in early September and thought it a cute add-on that we could sell a couple of in the weeks leading up to Halloween.  Notice I said “weeks” there.  This is not the sort of item in which the vast majority of our customers have an interest.  A comparatively small percentage of them like Ticket to Ride and an even smaller percentage of them would purchase a novelty item like this (to give you an idea, we still have most of our original order of the Ticket to Ride Monster Expansion that released over a year ago and we ordered lightly on that).  We expect those customers with an interest in the Ticket to Ride line to come in one to two times a month.  With the odds highly against them coming into the store during the brief period before Halloween, ordering it the week of the 31st just didn’t make sense from a sales point of view.  Perhaps if it had been called a Pumpkin Freighter, we could have sold it as a fall seasonal item, extending the selling season.  As it is, with all the mass merchants around us marking everything tagged Halloween to half price on All Saints Day,  our customers are trained to expect that of all Halloween merchandise and would be loath to pay full price for it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ticket to Ride Halloween Freighter

The Ticket to Ride Halloween Freighter Train and Station Set from Days of Wonder, and to a lesser extent Asmodee Games’ City of Horror, is a perfect example of the importance of paying attention to the seasonal product life cycle (PLC).  According to the Alliance website, the Halloween Freighter set released on October 25th.  My sales representative went over it with us during our weekly sales call on October 30.  We are a two day ship, meaning that, if we had put the order in with him, it would have arrived on November 1, or one day after Halloween, meaning we would miss the entire window of opportunity for selling Halloween themed merchandise  (I guess I could take a charitable look at it and view this  as a 364 day window of opportunity  to promote Halloween merchandise but too many other holidays in the way).