Saturday, July 21, 2018

Jay's Favorite Games: Red Dragon Inn

I like Red Dragon Inn because it's a fun party game about drinking and gambling. It can be played with two or a near infinite amount of people and anywhere in between. It's a great game for people ages 13 and up with very simple or very complex rules. Over all I love it a lot and think you will too.
- Jay

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Star Trek Fluxx

Or is that Fluxxes? Anyhow, Looney Labs has announced they have the licese to produce a series of Star Trek Fluxx games releasing later this year:

We are very excited to announce three new Star Trek Titles from Looney Labs - two standalone card games and an expansion pack that allows you to shuffle both decks together!
 
Star Trek Fluxx: Featuring characters from the Original Series,
including Spock, Uhura, and Scotty!

Star Trek: The Next Generation Fluxx: Featuring TNG characters,
including Troi, Riker, and Worf!

Star Trek Fluxx Bridge Expansion: 12 cards that allow Kirk to meet Picard,
Spock to meet Data, and the Past to meet the Future!
 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Survival Tips for GenCon

GenCon is coming up in less than a month and Blaine Pardoe has put together a list of 35 survival tips for GenCon. To his tips I would add, don't touch the cosplayers. Just as cosplayers should not wear outfits that cause them to bump into other convention attendees, a cosplay outfit is not an invitation to hug or otherwise touch the wearer.

Friday, July 13, 2018

National Ice Cream Day

Just a reminder that National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday and, while we won't have any ice cream here, we will have coupons for a buck off a $5 purchase at Cool Spoons, which does have ice cream

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pre-orders

I have said it before but pre-ordering or asking about a product really helps us to decide if and how much of a game or related product we decide to bring into the store. Unlike mass market stores such as Wal-mart or Target, we have to pay for and keep everything we order, so we tend to err or the conservative side when ordering. If you want us to get something, please let us know by ordering it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why Aryel, Knight of Windgrace Should be in Your Deck

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace is in Dominaria and with the standard rotation coming up, knights are going to be super popular. This Legendary Human Knight costs 4 mana and is a 4/4 with vigilance. It uses black and white mana so any black/white could benefit from it. For less than its mana cost you can create a 2/2 knight token, then tap any number of knights to destroy a target creature of that value or less.
Aryel makes it easy to build a small army quickly. I hope you check out this underrated card and enjoy it!
-Jay

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Comic Back Issue Pricing

Comics account for about 10% of our sales and back issues for a fraction of that, so, if you bring in back issues, we are not going to offer you much for them, even less if they were released in the last 25 years or so. When you hear about back issue comics going for big bucks, it is because they are RARE. That is the whole supply and demand concept kicking in there.

From their inception back in the late 1930s through about the 1970s, comic books were viewed as something kids read. You were a kid once. How did you treat your things? Right, roughly. That is the way we treating comics as well. We folded them up and stuck them in our back pockets or cut out the coupons to send off for sea monkeys or inflatable ghosts. Kids didn't treat them well.

As those kids grew up, they got nostalgic for the comics of their youth and started collecting them.  There weren't that many around anymore though so scarcity drove demand, meaning the prices on the comics those kids read increased in value. However, as adults realized there was money to be made in comics, they started saving current issues , hoping they would drastically increase in value. Some did. Most didn't. So if you come in with a long box full of Wild CATS #1, we will offer you about $5 for the whole thing, as the market is glutted with titles on which people speculated. What are recent books that you ought to keep an eye out for? First issues of long running series like The Walking Dead or Saga or issues in which a popular character debuts, like Marvel's  X-23. Bringing in a collection of Marvel's Darkhawk or DC's Stars and STRIPE, both of which are lower tier characters, will get you a very low offer, since collectors of those books are sparse.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dark Souls Reprint

Just received the following email from Konami

Dear Official Tournament Stores,
 
As many of you have experienced recently there have been overwhelming requests for the recently released Dark Saviors Special booster from retailers and players alike.  Since its release, the ability of our players to obtain the desired cards coupled with the escalating cost to do so, has left them a bit frustrated with the limited available inventory that currently exists.  In an effort to remedy this situation and satisfy the player base we will be releasing an unlimited version of this product in mid-July.  The product will be extremely limited in number.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Importance of Stores and Salespeople

this article asking if the sales person is dying as a job category caught my eye, that and the discussion of the growth of the concept of “retailtainment” as the direction in which retailing will move.
If you have read the linked article, there are a couple of points with which I would take issue:
1)      The author grossly overstates the importance of online retailing to the overall retail sector. Although it has grown rapidly, online retailing still accounts for only about 10% of sales in the entire retail sector.
2)      The retail sector typically ramps up hiring for the holiday season in September through November then lays off a lot of those hires after Christmas, so an 89,000 person decline in retail sales people may not be that out of line for the period October to now.
Retailing remains important though with 1 out of every 10 people in the US employed in retailing and it is still where most people get their first job and learn valuable skills, such as interacting and working with other staff members and the public, time management and personal  responsibility , that will serve them, if learned properly, throughout their life. However, unlike when I first entered retailing in the 1980s, people no longer spend their careers as retail salespeople. Movement by stores towards part time work, lower wages and fewer, if any, benefits (and I am talking things like health insurance and retirement plans, not free snacks and a discount off game purchases), have kept employee turnover high across the industry, approximating  67%, meaning the average retailer has to replace two-thirds of their staff every year. This is why many large chains have moved toward self checkouts with only one staff member monitoring 4-6 check out stations while Amazon tests staff less stores, where the customer selects items off the store shelf, scans the items themselves and the purchase gets billed to their Amazon account. Simple once set up and no human interaction needed. Will this happen quickly? Nah, too much infrastructure needs to get implemented for retailers to adopt the model widely anytime soon, but it is coming.
This is why stores will move toward the “retailtainment” model,  in which customers are entertained while they shop. Customers want an experience to go along with their shopping, which is why they flock to a new restaurant when one opens. Dining there is a new experience, one they cannot get elsewhere. In fact this is why new stores have heavy foot traffic for the first few weeks after opening. Customers looking for a new experience stop by to check it out, but once the new wears out, they head off to the next experience.
So what do game stores have to do? Create experiences. Tournament model stores, those with as many or more tables than retail space, already do this, creating weekly or daily experiences for their customers. The rest of us have to use atmospherics (appealing to the senses) to bring the customer back. Stores and salespeople aren’t passé but we will have to work even harder to remain relevant. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Magic Core 2019 Demo Day

While Quantities last, bring in a friend, show them how to play Magic, they get a free demo deck and promo card, you get a promo card. Don't know anyone who doesn't already play Magic? Bring in your Magic playing friend, play a game of Standard and you both get a promo Card.

Monday, June 18, 2018

New Yu Gi Oh Decks

A three pack of Yu Gi Oh decks releasing in early October

Get ready to dispense some Dueling justice this holiday season when the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME presents Legendary Hero Decks! This box set comes with 3 unique Decks featuring the kind of monsters you’d want on your side if the fate of the world depended on the outcome of a Duel!

Fulfill Your Destiny!
Aster Phoenix’s Destiny HERO Deck excels at driving opponents into a corner with effects that inflict damage or pierce through defending monsters. Like Jaden’s Elemental HERO Deck, the Destiny HERO Deck also Summons powerful monsters through Fusion! This Deck also includes 2 new “HERO” Link Monsters you can use in any HERO Deck: A Link-2 monster that retrieves your Fusion Summoning Spell Cards from the Graveyard and a high-ATK Link-3 monster with Link Arrows that all point towards your field, giving you space to summon 3 Fusion Monsters at once!

Return of the Aesir!
Thor, Loki, and Odin once again descend upon the Dueling world! Boasting some of the highest ATK values among all Synchro Monsters, Team Ragnarok’s ace monsters from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s hold a special place in the hearts of Duelists. Now, a new Link Monster makes it easier to assemble the Synchro Materials needed to Summon an “Aesir” monster, and this Deck’s Extra Deck also comes with more high-powered Level 10 Synchro Monsters, including the legendary Ascension Sky Dragon!

The Phantom Knights Strike Back!
Phantom Knight Decks focus on Xyz Summoning and using Trap Cards to turn the tides of battle. Almost all of their monsters, Spells, and Traps have additional abilities you can use once they’re in the Graveyard, creating opportunities for huge comebacks! This Deck includes a new Trap Card and a brand new “Phantom Knight” Link Monster that Sets Trap Cards directly from your Deck and can destroy any card on the field when a DARK Xyz Monster is Special Summoned to a zone it points to!

Origins Award Winners

Here are the Origins Award winners for the best tabletop games of the year:

Game of the Year
Gloomhaven
Cephalofair Games

Best Board Game of the Year
Gloomhaven
Cephalofair Games

Best Card Game of the Year
Ex Libris
Renegade

Best Family Game of the Year
Azul
Plan B Games

Best Roleplaying Game of the Year
Adventures in Middle Earth
Cubicle 7

Best Roleplaying Supplement of the Year
Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Wizards of the Coast

Best Miniatures of the Year
Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition
Games Workshop

Best Game Accessory of the Year
Terraforming Mars Organizer
Broken Token Gaming

Best Collectible Game
Star Wars Destiny: Awakenings Booster
Fantasy Flight Games

Monday, June 11, 2018

Free RPG Day

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at this Saturday's Free RPG Day and why we like it. We will have pictures up this evening of this year's offerings.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Unrivaled Tournament Collapses

The Unrivaled Boardgame Tabletop Championships, which premiered last year with $4  million spent on launching last year's tournaments and some $100,000 in prizing, cratered dramatically this year, to the point that the company has cancelled this year's tournaments and will refund the money collected from the 200 or so stores that had already signed up to participate:

Unrivaled was simply born from our love of tabletop gaming and the vision of bringing together players and events on a local and national footprint.  We debuted Unrivaled World Tabletop Championships in 2017 and spent over $4 million to launch and run the tournament all the way through the Finale in Las Vegas.  Our plans for 2018 included more games, a larger prize pool and an extensive level of support to bring local retailers and venues into the action.

Recent unexpected changes have occurred with the financial status of our parent company, Oomba, Inc.  Given these changes we are no longer confident that we will be able to fulfill a quality product for this year’s Unrivaled tournament.  We believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we cancel the event this year and do everything in our power to make all partners and participants whole.  This orderly wind-up will be taking place immediately.  It is with our deepest regret to announce this change in plans. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

HeroClix Avengers Infinity Boosters

Just got in a restock of the HeroClix Avengers Infinity boosters. These sold out in one day when we got them originally so stop by soon if you want to pick some up. We will host the postponed release tournament on June 10th at 3 p.m. $20 entry

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Betrayal Vs. Gloomhaven

This week's Rolling for Initiative column compares the premier customizable boardgame, Gloomhaven, to the recently announced Betrayal Legacy and discusses why Goomhaven has remained so popular.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

National French Fry Day

National French Fry Day is coming July 13 and we are deciding how to celebrate. We are thinking having a pile of free french fries in the game room but am open to ideas. How would you like to celebrate National French Fry Day here?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Legacy Betrayal

WOTC has announced a Legacy version of Betrayal at House on the Hill. Interesting idea but the Legacy fad seems to have tapered off. Risk Legacy did really well as the first title in the category and the first "season" of Pandemic did well. Seafall, however, the first Legacy game without a tie-in to another franchise, pretty much crashed and burned. FFG sold it off at a pretty seep discount on the company website last Christmas.

Charterstone has done OK, although it did not call itself a Legacy game; nor did Gloomhaven, though Gloomhaven is selling on other points, such as its sheer size and difficulty to get. If Gloomhaven was readily available, I don't think we would see nearly the demand for the game that we currently see.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Marketing Concept

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the marketing concept and how it has broadened over time.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Asmodee for Sale

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at who I think are the most likely purchasers of Asmodee, given that the owners, a private equity form, have announced the are looking at selling the company

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Love Letter Sold

AEG's popular Love Letter card game recently sold to Z-man Games, part of the Asmodee group. Here are some of Scott's thoughts on the matter in this week's Rolling for Initiative column. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Origins Awards Announced

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design announced the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards, honoring the best games and supplements in the game industry:

The purpose of the Origins Awards is to acknowledge excellence in game design. The Origins Awards are the oldest and only peer-based award system for the hobby games market.
The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design presents these awards to companies for outstanding games in the hobby games industry. This year, the Awards have eight categories:

Board Games (12 Nominees)
  • The Captain is Dead by Alderac Entertainment Group (designed by Joe Price and JT Smith)
  • Dice Forge by Asmodee Editions (designed by Régis Bonnessée)
  • Gloomhaven by Cephalofair Games (designed by Isaac Childres)
  • The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire by CMON (designed by Eric Lang)
  • Great Western Trail by Eggertspiele (designed by Alexander Pfister)
  • Lorenzo il Magnifico by CMON (designed by Virginio Gigli, Flaminia Brasini, Simone Luciani)
  • Near and Far by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Pandemic Legacy Season 2 by Z-Man Games (designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau)
  • Raiders of the North Sea by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Shem Phillips)
  • Tak: A Beautiful Game by Cheapass Games (designed by James Ernest and Patrick Rothfuss)
  • Sagrada by Floodgate Games (designed by Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu)
  • Santorini by Spinmaster (designed by Dr. Gordon Hamilton)
Card Games (10 Nominees)
  • 5-Minute Dungeon by Spin Master (designed by Connor Reid)
  • Aeon’s End by Indie Board & Cards (designed by Kevin Riley)
  • Custom Heroes by Alderac Entertainment Group (designed by John D. Clair)
  • Ex Libris by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Adam P. McIver)
  • The Fox in the Forest by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Joshua Buergel)
  • Hero Realms by White Wizards Games (designed by Darwin Kastle)
  • Honshu by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Kalle Malmioja)
  • Jump Drive by Rio Grande Games (designed by Thomas Lehmann)
  • The Lost Expedition by Osprey Publishing (designed by Peer Sylvester)
  • One Deck Dungeon by Asmadi Games (designed by Chris Cieslik)
Collectible Games (10 Nominees)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Demonic Advent Booster by Bushiroad
  • Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Icons of the Realms: Monster Menagerie II by WizKids
  • DC Comics Dice Masters: Batman Foil Packs by WizKids
  • Dragon Ball Super Galactic Battle Booster by Bandai
  • Final Fantasy TCG: Opus I Collection Booster by Square Enix
  • Marvel HeroClix: The Mighty Thor by WizKids
  • MTG Ixalan Booster by Wizards of the Coast (designed by Mark Rosewater and Ken Nagle)
  • Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon Booster by The Pokémon Company International
  • Star Wars Destiny: Awakenings Booster by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 2017 Mega Tin by Konami
Family Games (10 Nominees with Foreman)
  • Azul by Plan B Games (designed by Michael Kiesling)
  • Bunny Kingdom by IELLO (designed by Richard Garfield)
  • Codenames: Disney by USAopoly (designed by Vlaada Chvátil)
  • Codenames: Duet by Czech Games Edition (designed by Vlaada Chvátil and Scott Eaton)
  • Downforce by Restoration Games (designed by Wolfgang Kramer)
  • Dropmix by Hasbro Gaming (designed by Harmonix)
  • Hotshots by Fireside Games (designed by Justin De Witt)
  • Mountains of Madness by IELLO (designed by Rob Daviau)
  • Sagrada by Floodgate Games (designed Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu)
  • Viral by Arcane Wonders (designed by Gil d'Orey and Antonio Sousa Lara)
Miniatures (4 Nominees)
  • Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games (designed by Michael Tuñez)
  • Runewars Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games (designed by Andrew Fischer)
  • The Walking Dead Miniatures Game by Mantic Games (designed by Mark Latham)
  • Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition by Games Workshop
Roleplaying Game (12 Nominees)
  • Adventures in Middle Earth Player’s Handbook by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by James Brown, Paul Alexander Butler, Walt Ciechanowski, Steve Emmott, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Jon Hodgson, Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Dominic McDowall, Francesco Nepitello, James Spahn, and Ken Spencer)
  • Blades in the Dark by Evil Hat Productions (designed by Stras Acimovic, Vandel J. Arden, Duamn Figueroa, Dylan Green, John Harper, Andrew Shields)
  • Blue Rose (2nd Edition) by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Steve Kenson, Jack Norris, Richard Bellingham, Jeb Boyt, Crystal Frasier, Steven Jones (III), Shoshana Kessock, Anna Kreider, Kira Magrann, Alejandro Melchor, Andrew Peregrine, F. Wesley Schneider, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, John Snead)
  • Cthulhu Confidential by Pelgrane Press (designed by Robin D. Laws, Ruth Tillman, Chris Spivey)
  • The Dark Eye Core Rules by Ulisses Spiel (designed by Ulrich Kiesow)
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (3rd Edition) by Fantasy Flight Games (designed by James Wallis)
  • My Little Pony: Tales of Equestria by River Horse Ltd. (designed by Alessio Cavatore, Jack Caesar, Dylan Owen)
  • Monsterhearts 2 by Buried Without Ceremony (designed by Avery Adler)
  • Puppetland by Arc Dream Publishing (designed by Arnold Cassell, Arinn Dembo, Matt Forbeck, Gareth Hanrahan, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Jason Morningstar, Ross Payton, John Tynes, James Wallis)
  • Starfinder by Paizo (designed by Robert G. McCreary and Owen K.C.)
  • Traveller Starter Set by Mongoose Publishing (designed by Martin Dougherty and Matthew Sprange)
  • Vurt by Ravendesk Games (designed by Alexander Lepera, Lee Pruit, Pete Stauber)
Roleplaying Supplement (13 Nominees)
  • Adventures in Middle Earth – Rhovanian Region Guide by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Francesco Nepitello, Jacob Rodgers)
  • Adventures in Middle Earth – Loremaster’s Guide by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Walt Ciechanowski, Steve Emmott, Gareth Hanrahan, Jon Hodgson, T.S. Luikart, Dominic McDowall, Franceso Nepitello, Ken Spencer)
  •  Blue Rose – Narrator’s Kit by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Josh Gutenberg, Jesse Hibbs, Steve Kenson)
  • Call of Cthulhu: The Grand Grimore of the Cthulhu Mythos by Chaosium (designed by Mike Mason and Matthew Sanderson)
  • Call of Cthulhu: The Two Headed Serpent by Chaosium (designed by Scott Dorward, Paul Fricker, Mike Mason, Matthew Sanderson)
  • Castles and Crusades Codex Germania by Troll Lord Games (designed by Brian Young)
  • Castles and Crusades Codex Slavorum by Troll Lord Games (designed by Brian Young)
  • Cypher System Expanded Worlds by Monte Cook Games (designed by Bruce R. Cordell)
  • Cypher System Predation by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain)
  • Doctor Who RPG: Gamemaster’s Companion by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Morgan Davie, Gareth Hanrahan, Mark Lawford, Andrew Peregrine, Nathaniel Torson)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything by Wizards of the Coast (designed by Jeremy Crawford and Mike Mearls – Lead Designers)
  • Mutants & Masterminds Atlas of Earth-Prime by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Scott Bennie, Jason Brick, Darren Bulmar
  • Shadow of the Demon Lord: Demon Lord’s Companion by Schwalb Entertainment (designed by Robert J. Schwalb)
Game Accessories (7 Nominees)
  • Chaosium Call of Cthulhu Coloring Book by Chaosium
  • Sword & Sorcery Custom Dice Pack by Ares
  • The Broken Token Terraforming Mars Organizer by The Broken Token
  • Sails of Glory Series 4 Ship Packs by Ares Games
  • Smirking Dragon Tablecloths by Smirking Dragon
  • D&D: Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles Pre-Painted Miniatures by WizKids
  • Zia Station Organizer by Meeple Realty
Congratulations to this year’s nominees.
The nominees in each category will be voted on by a jury of professionals from the hobby games industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to play the games that have been nominated and vote on the Fan Favorite for each category at Origins Game Fair. Winners will be announced at the Origins Awards Ceremony on Saturday June 16, 2018, during Origins Game Fair.
Additional information regarding the Origins Awards can be found at www.originsawards.net.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Love Letter Moving

Z Man Games announced it has acquired the rights to the Love Letter line of games, including Love Letter Premium and Lovecraft Letter, from AEG. What does this mean to you? If you are a consumer, not much as Z Man plans no changes to the game. Actually, you may see one problem. Z-man is notorious for lengthy out of stocks of its product (The On The Brink expansion for Pandemic has been out of stock since last summer and we don't expect to see it arrive before June) so I can foresee lengthy out of stocks for the game in the future.

Monday, May 7, 2018

A look At Anchor Points

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the concept of anchor points.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

TableTop day

this week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at last weekend's International TableTop Day

Friday, April 27, 2018

MENSA Mind Games

Every year MENSA selects 5-6 games that it deems worthy of its "Mind Games" designation. Both Magic and Pokemon are on past lists. This year's selections are:

  • Ex Libris (Renegade Game Studio)
  • Photosynthesis (Blue Orange Games)
  • Raiders of the North Sea (Renegade Game Studio)
  • Azul (Plan B Games)
  • Constellations: The Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky (Xtronaut Enterprises  / Hit Point Sales)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Busy Weekend

We will have quite a busy weekend at the store. Friday night starts off the draft weekend for Dominaria at 6 p.m. We will have 2 more drafts on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Prepay for all 3 for $40 or $15 each. We will also host a modern tournament at 6 p.m. Friday night. Pokemon also gets some love with the pre-release for Forbidden Light at 5 p.m. Friday.

Saturday is International TableTop day and we will host board and card games all day. See the store website calendar or Facebook page for more info. Saturday is also the Sneak Peek for the new Yu Gi Oh set, Flames of Destruction. You can participate in the Sneak Peek starting at 10 a.m. Saturday for $20 or in the tournament at noon.

We will have a game of the Legendary Deck Building game at 4 p.m. Saturday and Munchkin at 7 p.m. In addition, there will be demos of the new Deckbuilding game Dobbers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

See you this weekend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Fireball Island

It seems like every time I hear about games on Kickstarter, another game has broken records for funding levels on the platform. This time, it is Fireball Island, a recreation of the 1980s marble rolling game, which was seeking $250,000 in funding and currently had taken in almost $2 million. Thinking about backing it since the game releases this November. If they make the proposed release date, we would have it on the shelves just in time for Christmas. What do you think? Are you already backing this or would this be more of an item you would want to give (or get) for Christmas?  My concern with the game is, from what I remember about it from the 1980s, it didn't have great replay value, certainly not at the level of a Catan or Ticket to Ride.

Monday, April 23, 2018

4 Notable Things about Pre-release Weekend

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at 4 things Scott noted about this past weekends Dominaria pre-releases. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Why You Should Play role playing Games

this week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at reasons why it is good that people play Dungeons and Dragons or other role playing games. Any game that combines literacy, math, problem solving, socialization and strategic thinking should be encouraged.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dominaria Spoilers

Remember about 20 years ago or so, when WOTC went to great lengths to keep the card lists for new Magic releases secret until the release date. Well, those days are long gone.  Here is the spoiler list from WOTC for many of the new Dominaria cards.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

6 Things You Should Know About Dominaria

WOTC just posted this list of 6 things they think are important about Dominaria. Here's a summary:

1. Two promo cards, one stamped and one foil stamped Legendary card in every pre-release pack.
2. The Historic mechanic which give Arifacts, Legendary and Saga cards additional benefits when played together
3. FNM promos are now playable cards, rather than tokens, with alternate frames rather than alternate art.
4. Every booster pack contains at least one Legendary card.
5. The Buy a Box cards are unique. You will not find them in booster packs
6. Karn, Squee and Teferi all return.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How to Win at Rock Paper Scissors

This article looks at the psychology behind Rock Paper Scissors and presents a couple of strategies for winning. Based on an analysis done by the World Rock Paper Scissors Society (yes, there is such a thing), you will most likely win if you throw paper. Here is the reasoning:

In Society tournaments, players throw scissors 30% of the time (well 29.6%). That means there is a 70% likelihood your opponent will throw rock or paper so if you opt for paper and your opponent chooses rock, you win. Paper covers Rock. If you opt for paper and your opponent also chooses paper, you tie.

The other thing to take into consideration is that players will usually throw the same thing twice in a row, then switch. So if someone chooses Rock twice in a row, your best choice on the third game is scissors as they will most likely change to scissors or paper. If you change to scissors, you will either tie or win.

Glad to help

Monday, April 2, 2018

Kickstarter Pros and Cons

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the pros and cons of a Kickstarter campaign, this time from the publishers perspective, rather than the retailer's.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kickstarter Sales

According to this, gaming sales via Kickstarer are still healthy, up about 37% from 2016. However, we are seeing a few gaming companies pulling back. Stonemaier Games announced last year they were pulling projects off Kickstarter and Ninja Division announced at the GAMA Trade Show that they would not fund large projects through the platform anymore, though they might still use Kickstarter for smaller one.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Early Dominaria Sales

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the change in WOTC policy on early sales of Dominaria booster boxes and the replacement for the From the Vault sets.

Monday, March 19, 2018

GAMA Trade Show

The GAMA Trade Show moved to Reno this year and people are pretty happy with the new location. This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at a couple of hot topics at the show.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Forgebane Releases

For you Warhammer 40K fans, the new Forgebane game releases on March 24. For only $160, you get over $300 worth of Necrons and Adeptus Mechanicus

Warhammer 40,000: Forgebane (FB-xx)
  • Fantastic-value set featuring 2 armies, rules and specific story.
  • Includes brand-new miniatures: Necron Cryptek with Canoptek Cloakand Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive, currently only available in this boxed set.
  • All miniatures (27 in total) are multi-part plastic miniatures.
  • The Forgebane book contains a selection of schemes for Necron Dynasties and Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds.
  • Includes all the rules you need to play with the contents of the set: core
    Warhammer 40,000 rules, datasheets, army abilities, weapons and wargear
    profiles and points.
  • Potential Add On Sales: CitadeI 12mm Dice, Warhammer 40,000 Essentials Set, Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus

(FB-60) ENG
(FB-01) FRE

US $160/ CAN $190

Monday, March 12, 2018

They're Number 3

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the suprising jump of the D&D Player's Handbook to #3 on Amazon's best seller list and revisits MAP

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dominaria Leak

In case you had not heard, some one in China leaked all of the release notes for the new Dominaria set. These were not supposed to get released for at least another month. However, making the best of a bad situation WOTC has posted an overview of what the notes cover as well as a translation of the notes themselves.

Some of the new concepts include Sagas:  "The Dominaria set introduces a new kind of enchantment: Sagas. Each Saga tells the story of a key event from the past as it unfolds during each of your turns."

Legendary creatures will become more common with 1 in each booster pack.

Also, this rule change will go into effect with the release of the set:  "Previously, you could redirect noncombat damage that a source you control would deal to an opponent, having that source instead deal that damage to one of their planeswalkers. With the release of the Dominaria set, this rule is being removed from the game. "

This should prove interesting when the set releases April 27

Monday, March 5, 2018

GAMA Trade Show

For those planning to attend the GAMA Trade Show, this week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at some things you should plan to do.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Palladium Robotech Kickstarter

Palladium announced February 27 that it would not produce the second wave of Robotech products that it funded through Kickstarter back in 2013. Apparently a big part of the problem was that the funds generated were used to produce extra Wave 1 figures for sale through distribution and distribution bought far fewer of them than Palladium had expected, thus leaving money tied up in excess inventory instead of the expected capital that would have produced Wave 2 of the figures.

In fact, we passed on buying any of the figures for sale in the store because of the success of the Kickstarter. We figures that, given the massive numbers of people who bought into the campaign, anyone who wanted the figures would get them through the Kickstarter. We had no desire to risk our capital stocking a product that Palladium had already sold to its most avid customers.

Below is the email Palladium sent out to those contacting the company about non-fulfillment of the Kickstarter:

We share your frustration and apologize for the unfortunate delay. Palladium Books has been working tirelessly to bring Robotech® fans a superior product. Progress is being made and we are moving toward manufacturing of the First Wave of releases.
Please understand, as a Kickstarter backer, you have not purchased or pre-ordered a product. You have “supported a project” in exchange for a promise of a reward. That reward had an original estimated delivery date which has passed, but that date was always an estimate, not a guaranteed deadline.
By Kickstarter’s terms of service, we are obligated to deliver on the rewards we have promised, and we will do that. We are currently working toward doing just that.
As such, we cannot offer you a refund at this time. If the time should ever come that Palladium Books cannot fulfill the terms of our Kickstarter project, we will of course offer refunds, as we would be required to do by Kickstarter.
In the meantime, please be patient. We appreciate your support of the project, and your pledge will help us to produce a fantastic product that we think everyone will enjoy.
With Appreciation,
The Palladium Books Team"

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sales Taxes

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the effect an upcoming Supreme Court decision could have on whether online retailers can continue to not collect sales taxes from customers and its possible consequences.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Magic: Why Rile Should Be In Your Deck

A one red mana common Sorcery card from Ixalan that reads: "Rile deals 1 damage to target creature you control. That creature gains trample until end of turn. Draw a card." If any of your creatures have enrage as an ability then you need Rile in your deck. It pairs incredibly well with Polyraptor from Rivals of Ixalan. One damage likely won't be enough to hurt your enraged dino, and chances are your opponent doesn't want to trigger the enrage ability. So don't rely on them, when you can easily do it yourself. Besides, dinosaurs are cool.

Happy Magic
-Jay

Monday, February 19, 2018

Barnes & Noble Cuts

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the effect of the recently announced Barnes and Noble staff cuts of some 1600 full time positions.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Counterfeit Codenames

Czech Games Editions is the latest game company to call attention to the number of counterfeit editions of its best selling game Codenames. Ways to tell if you have a counterfeit copy of the game include misspellings on game cards, flimsier card stock and a Chinese point of origin. Since Czeck Games Editions prints Codenames in the Czech Republic, online sellers shipping from China are likely selling counterfeited copies. If you look at this one, which originates in China, you can see from the provided photos that the components differ significantly from those included in a real copy of the game

Why does it matter?  Because the money spent on counterfeits never gets to the publisher of the game and, without the revenues from sales of their game, the publisher is unable to produce more copies of the game, develop new games or pay their bills.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pokemon: Why Pokemon Fan Club Should Be In Your Deck

Pokemon Fan Club is a very useful Supporter card that can help players out in a number of situations. Pokemon Fan Club allows you to search your deck for up to 2 Basic Pokemon from your deck and put them into your hand. Personally, this works great in several situations:

1. If you are at the beginning of the game and do not have that many Basic Pokemon out on the field, this card can be used to find some Basic Pokemon and allow you to fill up your bench with Pokemon.

2. Because this card allows you to search your deck for up to two of ANY Basic Pokemon, this includes all Pokemon cards labeled Basic at the top left of the card, including EX and GX Pokemon.

3. If you draw a Stage 1 Evolution Pokemon and have yet to draw the basic Pokemon that it evolves from, Pokemon Fan Club can allow you to find the card you are looking for so that you can start strengthening your team on the field.

Happy battling fellow trainers,
Mason

So Long Mayfair

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at how the closure of Mayfair Games affects you. Short answer, it probably doesn't 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Magic: Why Blazing Hope Should Be In Your Deck

"Exile target creature with power greater than or equal to your life total." It's an instant spell that costs one white mana to cast. Even indestructible creatures can be exiled! A 12/12 dinosaur can be pretty hard to beat, but it only takes one mana to change the game in your favor. If they are close to losing the game most people just give up, but there really is no reason to do so. Never give up! With Blazing Hope you can turn things around to your favor, and win in an incredibly heroic way.

Happy Magic!
-Jay

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mayfair Games Sells to Asmodee NA

Just got the following press release from Mayfair Games. What does it mean to customers? Nothing really. The games will still be available, just with the Asmodee brand on them. I have expected something like this ever since Catan separated from Mayfair a year or so ago, although from what I understand, Mayfair is still doing well financially:

As of today, the management team at Mayfair Games, Inc. announces we will wind down game publishing. After 36 years, this was not an easy decision or one we took lightly, but it was necessary. Once we had come to this conclusion, we knew we had to find a good home for our games which is when we reached out to Asmodee.

We are pleased to announce that we have sold our games to Asmodee North America, who have acquired all the assets of Mayfair Games, Inc. This acquisition includes the product line for both Mayfair Games, Inc and Lookout Games, GmbH.

Moving forward, Mayfair product will continue to be available through previously established distribution channels including Alliance Game Distributors for all sales in the USA to the hobby market and with Esdevium Games now Asmodee UK for the UK market.

RPG of the Week Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

This week, WOTC announced the release of the next book in the D&D cannon, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Like the previous releases in the series, Volo's Book of Monsters and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes will ship with two different covers, the standard cover which you will find at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other fine mass retailers, and the direct cover, only available from WPN approved retailers. Both covers will have a MSRP of $49.99 on release.

The direct cover only gets 1-2 print runs before going out of print. Currently, direct cover versions of Xanathar's Guide to Everything sell for $80 to $100. WPN stores, like us, will have both covers for sale on May 18th and you will likely find both on sale from third parties on Amazon and eBay. The mass version will go on sale widely May 29. We are taking deposits on either or both covers now through early May so let us know if you want a copy.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Boardgame of the Week Grimm Forest


Grimm Forest, from Druid City Games, arrived today. We got a look at it at the GAMA Trade Show last spring and thought enough of the game to back the Kickstarter campaign for it. Game play is pretty cool. It is a resource management and bluffing game. Undead Viking reviews it here

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Channel Restriction Notice

This is interesting.

North Star Games, publisher of Evolution and Wits and Wagers, announced yesterday that the company will restrict selling their games on Amazon to only two resellers. That means that anyone else selling North Star Games on Amazon will have to remove their listings from Amazon after March 9th or lose the privilege of selling North Star Games at all.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Lost Art and Mordenkainen

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at Konami's recent Lost Art Promotion and the recently announced Mordenkainen's Tomb of Foes

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Allure of Ruins

Ever wonder why so many D&D (and other fantasy adventures) are set among ruins? The abandoned tunnels beneath an old castle is such a trope that we refer to it as a "dungeon crawl". If you remember the Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth was festooned with ruins, relics of an earlier, grander, age. In my own campaigns, if I add in a lone statue as a descriptive note or put a ruined house on a ridge overlooking the valley through which the characters travel, I can almost guarantee that one of more of the players will want to go explore it. Why our fascination with ruins? This column from the BBC says ruins and lost civilizations have fascinated humans since at least the 6th Century BCE

Sunday, January 28, 2018

$18,000 D&D Module

The Jade Hare, a D&D module from 1992, sold for over $18,000 on eBay on January 3. Before you go frantically searching through your closets looking for similar items:

1. This was mint in the original shinkwrapping
2. The starting bid was $19.99 so no one expected it to go for that much
3. This was a limited edition promotional module given out with purchases by the TSR Mail Order Hobby Shop.
4. Unlike most other TSR books and modules,  there was only one print run of the original adventure.
5. If you really want a copy, you can pick up one for $1.49 in PDF format.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

RPG of the Week Dream Park

A precursor to modern MMOGs and LARPs, the 1981 novel Dream Park, postulated a world in which GMs were treated like rock stars as they created virtual/real worlds in which, for a price, real people could adventure. Players adopted the persona of their character and the tech postulated in the novel allowed magic and SF concepts to work. In 199, R Talsorian Games licensed the rights to the novel to produce a RPG in which the players played players who were playing characters in the world that the DM, who also existed as a DM in real life as well as in the game, created. Interesting concept and it did well enough for R. Talsorian to produce two adventures.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Game Designer Anonymity

Interesting read from someone who works in the board game industry on consumer purchases of boardgames. Unlike books, where you usually purchase a book based on the author, boardgames (and TCGs and RPGS) are usually purchased based on the brand. Most Magic players have no idea who is the current Magic sets, much as RPG players have no idea who wrote Xanathar's Guide to Everything, despite the book topping the NYT best seller list. In spite of how popular Scythe is, I would doubt that players know who the designer is (Jamey Stagmaier) or even the name of the publisher (Stonemaier Games). 

New Banned Cards

Yesterday, WOTC announced the banning of 1 rare, 2 uncommon and 1 common cards from Standard format tournament play. The rationale for the banning is that the 2 decks running combinations of these 4 cards dominated the Standard environment, getting played in about 40% of games tracked by WOTC at the Pro level of play. Rampaging Ferocidon has already dropped in price from an average of $4 to as low as 75 cents from one online retailer

WOTC gave the following three reasons for the banning:

  1. The length of time for which these decks have been dominant—as long as five months or more depending on how one categorizes different energy variants.
  2. The Standard rotation did not meaningfully weaken these decks or result in new decks that are competitive with them.
  3. Despite the metagame having many months to adapt to these decks, counterplay options have proven insufficient.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Silver Graphic Novel

Below is a press release from Black Planet Publishing touting their new GN series Silver. We will bring in copies of their Free Comic Book Day giveaway to gauge interest but will only stock in if we get an order for it as the track record for independent GNs here is not that great. Let us you if you have an interest in it:

ears ago, Professor Abraham Van Helsing visited Dracula’s castle. Now his descendent, the mysterious vampire hunter Rosalyn Van Helsing, is teaming up with a master thief and his ragtag group of con men for a high stakes heist to rob Europe’s richest vampires. Welcome to the world of Stephan Franck’s SILVER, a globe-trotting graphic novel series that mashes up the world of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula with action, adventure, humor, pulp storytelling and modern sensibilities.

This year, SILVER, is coming to a comic shop near you as a 4-volume set of trade-paperback graphic novels. SILVER writer and artist Stephan Franck tells us more:

SILVER begins 40 years after the events of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We are in 1930’s New York city, where we meet a new character: conman and master-thief JAMES FINNIGAN. Finn kicks off the story by robbing a children’s charity auction, so clearly, karma-wise, he has some room to grow. The items up for auction are from the Harker family, a surname Dracula fans will immediately recognize. Then, thanks to a strange discovery at the end of Chapter One, a door will open on a new mysterious world of mortal undead danger and fortune untold. That’s too much for a thief like Finnigan to resist.

The adventure that follows is epic and super fun in the great Pulp tradition, but also an awesome opportunity to explore character. To me, con men and vampires are mirror images of one another. They live predatory, solitary lives on the outskirts of things and  don’t engage emotionally like other people do. The mash-up raises interesting questions, like “what does it really mean to feel alive?” Is it just about cheating death for a thousand years, becoming rich beyond your wildest dreams, or is there something more?

Finnegan immediately understands that, to take on the vampires, he will need a specialist. Thanks to Harker’s ledger, he locates a mysterious young woman known as “SLEDGE”, AKA ROSALYND VAN HELSING—the famed professor’s grand-daughter, and last of the Van Helsings.

Sledge carries on the family tradition of ridding the world of the vampire scourge, but it appears that she may have spent a little too much time lurking in cemeteries making sure the dead stay dead, and she’s pretty close to a complete spiritual burnout. She’s not someone easy to access, but eventually warms up to Finn’s scheme. Sparks fly as soon as they meet!

While we uncover a secret world of vampires, and while we have tons of fun with a super gothic/romantic take on DRACULA himself, SILVER is first and foremost a relentless Pulp adventure. The epic set pieces build one after the other, and the cons keep on coming.  

My hope is that some will make you laugh, some will break your heart, some will have you on the edge of your seat, and that all of it will keep you guessing until the very end!

Increased Counterfeiting

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the growth of counterfeiting in the gaming industry.This had been a problem with TCGs ever since the 1990s, with RPGs since the advent of the PDF and now with boardgames, due to the ease of accessing cheap overseas manufacturing.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Terrifics and Dark Nights Rising: The Wild Hunt

For you comic fans, we received the following press releases from DC:

THE TERRIFICS #1 features art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado with a story by Jeff Lemire and a cover by Reis!
 
Bound together by fate, united by the spirit of exploration and hope for tomorrow, the Terrifics bound from the Dark Multiverse of METAL! When Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Phantom Girl find themselves literally bound together by a tragic accident, our team of unlikely allies must rely on one another to make their way back home. But a startling revelation on their return trip brings them face to face with a new mystery: where in the universe is Tom Strong? 
 
Like all debut issues in the New Age of DC Heroes line, THE TERRIFICS #1 features an unprecedented vertical foldout cover. Plus, the back of the foldout cover features a sliver of an illustration of all the new heroes who are joining the DC Universe. Customers who purchase all the #1 issues will be able to assemble the full-size artwork from the foldouts. On sale February 28.

Dark Nights Rising:  The Wild Hunt
The special issue that continues from the pages of the bestselling DARK NIGHTS: METAL has added Grant Morrison to its creative team!

This issue is now written by Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, with art by Howard Porter, Doug Mahnke and Jorge Jimenez and a foil-stamped cover by Mahnke. 

The Dark Knights ride through the farthest reaches of the Multiverse to track down the unlikeliest of teams: The Flash, Cyborg, Raven and Detective Chimp. The mission: keep these heroes from completing their desperate quest to save all of existence! Plus, Challengers' Mountain crackles with dark energy that will release an army of the world's worst nightmares into the streets of Gotham City! 

This one-shot also answers the question: Where are the Metal Men? And who is the latest addition to the team? On Sale Feb. 14.

Card Game of the Week: Protested Game

When people think of game protests, the first game that comes to mind is generally Dungeons and Dragons, which had quite a track record of people protesting it during the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, people have protested the racism in Cards Against Humanity. We had a few people protest D&D back in the 1990s but the only other game I ever recall having protested is the one above:  Atlas Games Lunch Money.

Lunch Money is a game of school yard combat. Each player has 15 points and a handful of "Hit"  cards, such as Kick and Punch, to do damage to your opponents. The image on the card is that of a pre-teen girl generally staring angrily at you.

Some years ago, while set up at a convention, I sold a copy of the game to a pair of teenage boys, since the theme of this game typically appeals to teenagers. They took it off and about an hour later, I had an angry mother dragging a con staff member up to the table, wanting to know  if I knew the contents of the game I was selling and why I was selling something that her 5 year old daughter was watching people play. The staff member and  I finally managed to point out to her that:  1. It was a card game and 2. we had no control over what her daughter did. Somewhat mollified, she finally left with the staff member and I heard no more about it. Still, that and D&D are the only two instances of protested games we have had. So, if you want the opportunity to own a protested game and don't want to go the Cards Against Humanity route, I recommend Lunch Money.

Monday, January 8, 2018

GAMA

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at some of the activities the Game Manufacturer's Association performs 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What A Long Strange Fantasy Trip It's Been

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the return of Metagaming's The Fantasy Trip, probably later this year