Since this is the time of year to look back and to make lists, I came up with my 5 top events in the gaming industry for 2014. Here are three of them. I will post the final 2 on Wednesday:
Rise of the Munchkin License—Games licensing properties from other areas of pop culture is nothing new. Avalon Hill did it with Starship Troopers back in 1976 and TSR produced the Marvel Super Heroes RPG in 1984. Various companies have produced other licensed products with varying degrees of success over the decades (WEG’s Necroscope comes to mind as on the lower end of success, the Buffy RPG from Eden Studios on the higher), but those licenses have all come from outside the gaming industry. This year, we saw Steve Jackson Games Munchkin licensed for not one but two different games and a comic coming out in 2015.
Shortages of Hot Products—As mentioned in earlier posts, hot products such as DiceMasters and the Adventure Time Card Game proved incredibly hard to restock quickly after their initial release. It took months for Alliance (the only source for either to the hobby game industry) to get them back in stock. I have no idea how much we lost in sales or potential players as a result of the ongoing shortage. At least both products did get back into distribution prior to the holiday selling season. A full quarter has passed since we received a restock of the base ships for FFG’s X-Wing Miniatures game with none of the most popular ships (Millennium Falcon, anyone?) available.
Start of TableTop Season 3—Though most stores are not seeing the “Wheaton Effect” as strongly as they did during Season 1 of TableTop, there is no denying the ongoing popularity of the series, given that Wheaton & Co. successfully raised over $1.4 million from fans wanting to see a third season of the webseries. It appears that the new season of TableTop still helps drive sales as Tokaido, the first game played, has proven almost impossible to find in distribution since the show aired.