Sunday, January 27, 2013

GateCrash Pre-releae Wrap Up

Well, we made good use of our customer space this weekend with the Magic the Gathering GateCrash Pre-release running both Saturday and Sunday.  It was our best attended pre-release ever, though not our best sales weekend ever.  We received 150 Guildpacks from WOTC and could probably have used a dozen more to take care of latecomers that we had to turn away.  This is the first time I can recall we have gone through all of the packs provided for pre-release tournament players in the years since we started running them.  Overall, we, and more importantly the players, were very happy with this set.   Suprisingly, we had the highest number of tournament drops of any pre-release that I can recall.  A number of players registered, then either left or played first round and dropped, usually without telling anyone,  Ergo we wouldn’t find out until partially through or at the end of the round, when their opponent would come tell us that no-one had showed.  I don’t recall this proving such a serious problem in prior pre-releases.  All in all, a very entertaining and profitable, made more so by the flexibility WOTC allows us in running the event, made slightly less so by the salad dressing I spilt on my pants halfway through the final tournament.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

GateCrash Pre-release

So far the Gatecrash midnight pre-release has run pretty smoothly.  I wanted to only run four slots but players requested that we go 5 in oder to determine more clear winners, so we did.  Boros proved the most popular guild this session and Simic the least popular with twice as many Simic guildpacks remaining after everyone was seated as any other guild.

Instead of matching player against player, we assigned them to numbered tables to see if this would be easier then having them try to track down their opponent by name.  After some problems finding the tables during the first round, things ran well, with the major problem players that decided to drop out of the tournament without checking out at registration.  During round 4, we were actually waiting on a match to finish that both players had bailed on without notifying anyone.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Dual Deck Coming

March 15th Street Date!

MtG: Duel Deck: Sorin vs. Tibalt
$ 19.99 SRP

Features two alternate art, premium foil, Mythic rare Planeswalker cards. Contents include a total of 12 rare cards. Six cards feature alternate art not available anywhere else. Contains two 60-card decks ready to play right out of the box. Designed for engaging head-to-head duels between experienced players. Contains: 2 60-card decks 2 deck boxes 1 strategy insert 1 learn-to-play insert

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Event Space

One of the things we have to consider in terms of gaming space is how much revenue, direct and indirect, does it generate for the store?  We can easily figure out how much retail selling space, where we display products, generates by looking at the product on display and determine how many times it sells over the course of the year.  Magic takes up a very small space but sells at an extremely high rate.  it easily generates enough revenue to keep a space on our shelf.  Something like The Morrow Project RPG, however, that barely turns once a year, has a hard time justifying any new releases getting space on the shelf.

Gaming space, however, is harder to quantify, since it doesn't have products directly assigned to it.  Ergo, we look at the revenue generated by first, tournaments, and second, events closely related to products.

For example, a Magic tournament will take precedence over almost anything else.  Not only does Magic sell a lot in the store, but we charge people to play in most tournaments, so the space generates revenue directly.

We have to figure something like Warhammer 40,000 or D&D Encounters differently. We don't generally charge directly for people to play in them so we have to calculate the value assigned to their space in terms of sales of the product.  Warhammer 40,000 accounts for a significant amount of store sales so we are quite willing to support it by allowing players to use most of the back gaming space twice a week with no charge, figuring that will encourage more sales of the product.  Sales of D&D 4th Edition are a fraction of 40K sales so we are not willing to give the event nearly as much space. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Periodical vs. Evergreen

I had a discussion with two employees of the store today on periodicals versus evergreen or catalog titles and the relative importance of each.  The store relies on catalog titles.  Catalog titles are products such as Warhammer 40,000, Pathfinder RPG and Settlers of Catan (At one time, D&D would have replaced Pathfinder on that list but it sells nowise as well as it did 4-5 years ago).  Catan came out in 1995 and is still our best selling boardgame, with several dozen copies sold last year.  Pathfinder came out in 2009 and we still sell an average of one copy a week of the core rulebook.  The first edition of Warhammer 40,000 released in 1987, 6th edition released this year and still sells.  We restock all evergreen titles on a regular basis.

Periodicals, however, have a shorter shelf life.  White Dwarf, Games Workshop's magazine for its Warhammer games comes out every month.  We pull off a copy for the one customer that gets it regularly, the rest go out on the shelf.  Once they sell out, that is it. We do not restock them, except for special issues or a special order for a customer.  Comic books are treated this way as well.  The general rule of thumb for the comic industry is that if comics do not sell within 3 days after arrival, there is only a 25% chance they will.  Comics have a very short shelf life.

RPG modules have, unfortunately, moved into the periodical area as well.  In the 80s and 90s, we would restock modules regularly as they sold out.  Now, however, module production has increased so much and sales have dropped a commensurate amount that it is rarely worthwhile to re-order a module once it sells, unless for a special order.  Instead, we look for what is new next month and make our orders from that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Store Spaces

A post by Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games on the relative importance of events to a store got me thinking about the different types of store spaces.  Generally, a retail store has five spaces:

selling space-- this is the space used to display merchandise. In most cases, without it, the store might as well close its doors and go out of business because without merchandise, the store has no reason to exist.

employee space-- this is space reserved for use by the employees (duh).  While customers have complete access to the selling space, they cannot enter employee space.  Employee space includes such areas as a lounge or a back office.  Typically, stores reduce employee space as much as possible, in order to maximize selling and customer space.

customer space--space used by customers that does not house or present merchandise available for sale.  In a game store, selling space includes restrooms, gaming space and any place for customers to sit.

storage space--space where overstock merchandise gets stored.  Since it cannot sell while in storage, most stores minimize storage space for products as much as possible, trying to get it out on the floor if possible.

dead space--space that cannot be used for anything else.  In most stores, this stays fairly small.  The classic example of dead space is the area in front of a fire exit.  Fire laws mandate the door stay unlocked and the area in front of it clear and uncluttered, which means the store cannot put anything there, no tables, no products, no chairs.