Monday, December 28, 2015

Krosmaster Goes to CoolMiniOrNot

Sitting here after a surprisingly busy Boxing Day, I starting scanning gaming news and just in time for Christmas, Ankama Products, publisher of the Krosmaster Arena line of games, announced that, starting next year, CoolMiniOrNot will take over distribution of the line from its current distributor, Japanime Games.  What does this mean for the industry and consumers? Speaking as someone in the industry but without any additional information, here’s how I see things shaking out:

Japanime Games—Comes out the worst. Based on the number of posts on the company’s Facebook page, the main focus of Japanime Games was the Krosmaster line. Japanime retains the rights to distribute already existing Krosmaster products but any new ones will come from CoolMiniOrNot. The company has three other product lines:  Tanto Cuore, Kanzume Goddess and Player’s Choice card sleeves. Despite having been in production for several years, Tanto Cuore only three sets available, with Oktoberfest scheduled for 2016. Kanzume Goddess, released in 2012 and positioned as a trading card game, has never seen any expansions released, leaving the Player’s Choice line of sleeves as the most active line of the company. According to additional posts on the company’s Facebook page, Japanime will use Kickstarter to fund additional expansions to Tanto Curore as several other games including Heart of Crown and Gods’ Gambit. It looks as if Japanime plans for a pretty active 2016, especially later in the year.

CoolMiniOrNot—Adds Krosmaster Arena to an already strong selection of boardgames with expansion capabilities built in to the system. Already the home of Zombiside, Rivet Wars, and Kaos Ball, among others, the comparatively expensive Krosmaster Arena and its expansion kits will mesh well with CoolMiniOrNots existing lines of premium priced games and expansions. Since CoolMiniOrNot relies heavily on Kickstarter funding to fund the launches of new products and Japanime Games used crowdfunding to fund Krosmaster Arena and the Frigost expansion, as well as the delayed Krosmaster:  Quest game. No indication so far if CoolMiniOrNot will distribute the Krosmaster:  Quest game or not.

Customers—Given CoolMiniOrNot’s propensity to launch a Kickstarter campaign for nearly every product the company releases, expect to see an increased number of campaigns for new Krosmaster products as the agreement between CoolMiniOrNot and Ankama Products moves forward. Customers willing to back the Kickstarted production runs will gain access to a larger number of promotional and limited edition figures as part of the Kickstarter, than were offered with the release of a Krosmaster product under Japanime Games. The tradeoff is that customers will likely find it harder to locate Krosmaster products in their local game stores as the bonuses typically attached by manufacturers to a crowdfunded product push those customers most interested in the product line to back the product in order to get the add-ons and promos, which as CoolMiniOrNot notes on its website are “Not available at retail”.

Stores—Expect them to carry less in the way of Krosmaster products. As noted earlier, Krosmaster is a premium priced product, making it a good fit for CoolMiniOrNot. However, this also means stocking a decent selection of Krosmaster products ties up quite a bit of capital. Given that CoolMiniOrNot’s business model involves driving consumer pre-orders and pre-payment, most sales of new product will go to the company, leaving much less potential profit for the store and likely a focus by the store on a different, more profitable product line.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Hours

Over the next few days, our hours will change somewhat.  December 23 we will have regular hours. December 24 we will open 10 a.m. to 10:30 pm. Christmas Day, we will open at 4 p.m. and remain open until 9 p.m. with Friday Night Magic if at least 8 people show up.  Boxing Day, Saturday Dec. 26 we will return to regular hours.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Changes Coming to Asmodee, Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games

The big news that hit the game industry last week was the announcement by Asmodee that the company will become Asmodee North America and will offer Asmodee, Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games products under the new structure. The reason for the change as given by new CEO Christian Peterson:
“The marketplace has long been distorted by providing one-size-fits-all sales terms to every retail account, regardless of its channel of sale. The growth in demand for games over the last decade, in our view, has been fueled not only by fantastic product, but by the support of specialty retailers who incubate personal connections between players, facilitate tournaments and leagues, provide instant product availability, and increasingly provide a ‘third place’ that is instrumental for so many gamers to enjoy and discover our products. The retailer cost of providing such channel services is significant, and so we’re now making policy changes to ensure that the sales terms provided to those retailers, relative to other channels, are positively reflective of the value they add to our distribution chain.
If everything goes according to Asmodee NA’s expectations , all of the changes planned by the “new” company  should go into effect by April 1st and there are some fairly major ones, most of which will affect the channels of distribution. However, one will have significant impact on the consumer

Changes affecting the channel—The three companies will remain independent in terms of product, however distribution will consolidate, starting January 1st .  This means that Alliance will no longer have exclusive distribution rights to the Days of Wonder line of products, which include Ticket to Ride and Small World. At the same time, Asmodee NA will reduce its distribution partners to 5:  Alliance Distribution, ACD, PHD, GTS and Southern Hobby. This means that distributors such as Aladdin, E-figures and Mad Al’s, among others, will no longer stock the Asmodee NA product lines and retailers wanting to carry them will have to have an account with one of the five authorized distributors.
A second major change affecting the channel is, instead of raising the price on the combined company’s products, discounts on products across the line will drop to 45%, reducing the margin of gross profit anywhere from 3 to 5 %. Much as with WOTC’s reduction in margin earlier this year, this reduction comes straight out of the gross margin of distributors and retailers. It remains to be seen what Asmodee NA does with the extra percentage.

Changes affecting the consumer—One major change in Asmodee NA’s operations that will directly affect the consumer is a new requirement that any retailer wanting to sell Asmodee NA’s products must sign an independent retailer agreement before the retailer can purchase any Asmodee NA products. There are several items in this agreement but the main one that appears to affect consumers is that retailers, unless they have a separate agreement with Asmodee NA, can no longer sell any Asmodee NA products online. Only retailers that have an agreement with Asmodee NA to sell online will be able to do so and I would imagine this agreement will have some restrictions on MAP (minimum advertised pricing). This means, for example, a lot fewer online sources selling FFG’s Star Wars Imperial Assault for $65, 35% off the MSRP.

These are the major changes planned by Asmodee NA. What actually happens we will know after April 1st

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Party Dec. 20th

Hope you can make it to our annual Christmas Party on December 20th:

Southern Illinois SteamPunk Society on site

Christmas Raffle Drawing @ 5:00 p.m. Get a ticket for the drawing for coming in, one if you are a Preferred Customer, 1 for each 10 cans of food, one for each stamp you get on your Castle Card, 1 for each action figure you purchase.

Matt Miller from Capybara Ink in the store!, 2 to 6 p.m.

Hot Cider and Cookies throughout the day!
In-Store Specials…
12:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m.

Monday, December 14, 2015

March Fantasy Flight Games Releases

Here's what to expect from FFG next March:

March 2016 Releases:

ADN35Android Netrunner LCG: Fear the Masses$14.95
GT08A Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition: Wolves of the North$29.95
HBO10HBO Game of Thrones: The Trivia Game$39.95
MEC49Lord of the Rings LCG: The Thing in the Depths$14.95
NAD07Android: Monster Slayer Novella$14.95
NAD08Android: Monitor Novella$14.95
SL17Elder Sign: Omens of Ice$24.95
SWE14Star Wars: Edge of the Empire: Special Modifications: A Soucebook for Technicians$29.95
SWX52Star Wars: X-Wing: Imperial Veterans$29.95
TM16Talisman: The Cataclysm$49.95
WHK15Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG: Legions of Death$29.95
WHK14Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG: The Final Gambit$14.95

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Castle Perilous Games & Books Stocking Stuffer of the Season

This year's Stocking Stuffer of the Season is AEG's Love Letter. There are several reasons for its selection this year:

1. Size:   Love Letter comes in either clamshell packaging or a small box, either of which wrap up nicely to fit in a stocking.

2. Price:  At $9.99 for most versions, Love Letter meets the $10 price point that many people look for in a stocking stuffer

3.  Playability:  Love Letter, in all its variants, is one of our best selling games and an award winner to boot. The reason for that is how quickly the game plays and how much fun it is.

For these reasons, Castle Perilous Games and Books happily selects Love Letter as our Stocking Stuffer of the Season.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Ticket to Ride United Kingdom

It would have been nice to have this out, oh say a month ago, so that we could have had it on the shelves in plenty of time for Christmas

Monday, December 7, 2015

Top 5 Games for Christmas

Based on our sales for 2015, these are 5 most popular games, in terms of numbers sold, for 2015. The list includes both board and card game, but no collectible ones:

1.  Cards Against Humanity--Cards Against Humanity LLC  "A Party Game for Horrible People"
2. Catan (and expansions)--Mayfair Games  The game of exploring and developing the land of Catan.
3.  Munchkin (and expansions)--Steve Jackson Games  "Kick down the door, kill the monster, steal its treasure."
4..Ticket to Ride--Days of Wonder  Collect the cards to build the tracks you need to win.
5.  The Resistance--Indie Boards and Cards  Uncover the spies among you before they sabotage your mission.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Best Social Media Platform

Facebook has proven the most useful social media platform in terms of growing our business, simply because of its ubiquity.We have found that all of our customers have Facebook accounts and check them regularly, unlike other media such as Twitter or Vine. Additionally, Facebook make it extremely easy for us to send out a quick promotion to our customers: create the promotion, post it and hit the "Boost Post" button and within a few minutes, we see engagement.