Monday, August 8, 2022

Horus Heresy

 Here are the figures for the new Horus Heresy Set . We put in orders this week for release on  August 20th so if you want any, let us know by Thursday afternoon.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Beadle and Grimm Dice

 Mildly bemusing that the Beadle and Grimm dice sets spend a lot of valuable package space describing the character class for each dice instead of actually showing the dice. The number one question we have with these dice is: "Uh, what do they look like?" We finally printed out a picture of one of the sets and posted it behind the dice, jsut to give people some idea as to what they are getting. If you are selling a product and its image is very important, be sure to put a picture of it on the package.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Used Boardgames

We are holding off on buying or giving store credit for used boardgames for the next 2-3 weeks. We have too many in stock currently and need to sell down some in order to make space to take in more.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Dominaria United

 Here is Wizards' first look at Dominaria United. It appears that Jumpstart boosters will replace theme boosters. As with regular Jumpstart boosters, players can take two boosters and shuffle them together to make a playable starter deck. Great as a n introduction for beginners but, as with theme boosters, I do not think there will be much interest in them among more advanced players.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Power of the Elements

 Power of the Elements Premier Event for Yu Gi Oh takes place this weekend. While quantities last, $20 gets you 5 booster packs, field center card and entry into the drawing for the playmats.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Causes of the Current Inflation

 Prices were going to start falling as the money from last year’s stimulus checks worked its way through the economy but with the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russian exports, expect to see them moving up again. Sanctions against Russian mean there are sanctions in place on their international trade against three of the major oil producers in the world:  Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.  The world’s economy has been doing OK with the sanctions against Iran and Venezuela but Europe, last time I checked, gets about 40% of its oil from Russia. The US, currently the number one oil producing nation in the world, has promised to ramp up oil production to help fill the gap left by the expected loss in Russian oil production, although the sanctions may provide exceptions for energy, which makes them much less effective. According to S& P Global Platts, about 75% of the world’s sunflower oil comes from Russia and Ukraine and  just under 25% of its wheat supply comes from the two countries, so disruptions in the supply from both of them will mean further, and longer term, price increases in the food supply. Food is a necessity, games and comics, luxury items. When it comes to how to allocate dollars as prices rise, food will (usually) take priority over entertainment. Although it is doubtful we will see the double digit inflation rates of the late 1970s, the current 7% rate still triples the numbers we have seen over the last 20 odd years and will likely continue for most, if not all of this year.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Brief History of Kickstarter

 

Kickstarter launched in 2009 out of frustration co-founder Perry Chen faced when he ran into difficulties promoting a concert and turned to the Internet for funding.  Finding lots of interest among internet users wanting to support creative types, Kickstarter started as a way for those interested in art and music to provide support to the artists creating it.  Kickstarter supports the company by taking 5% of the proceeds of projects that successfully fund.  For those of you that don’t like Amazon, grit your teeth when you fund a Kickstarter project as Kickstarter uses Amazon to process pledge payments, with Amazon taking another 3 to 5% of the contributions for the handling.  Since launching, Kickstarter has had about 61,000 projects posted to the site and processed over 215 million dollars in pledges   but didn’t hit its first million dollar funding until this past February, when a proposed solid aluminum iPod dock , originally looking for $75,000, raised $1.4 million.  The most successful Kickstarter campaign so far has been for  the Pebble, a watch with programmable faces.   Pebble Technologies originally sought $100,000 to produce 1,000 of the watches and would up collected about $10.3 million, selling about 85,000 watches, enabling the company to add 6 people to its staff within two weeks, tripling the company’s size.

The attention garnered by successful Kickstarter projects such as these, and the Reaper and Giant In the Playground projects, obscures  the fact that posting a project to Kickstarter is nowise a guarantee of success.  In fact, according to Kickstarter, roughly 9% of all projects posted to the site receive zero pledges.  Less than 35% of game projects and 32% of publishing projects successfully fund (the most successful category:  theater.  Over 60% of theater projects launched on the site have successfully hit their funding levels).  Very few Kickstarter projects reach levels that attract the attention of the media, with only seven so far breaking the $1 million mark, as far as I can find.  The most successful Kickstarter projects fall into two categories, 1) they come from companies that already have a base of support for the project and are able to drive support for the project by pushing it relentlessly to that fan base or 2) technology blogs or other media sources find about the project, view it as novel or innovative, and start talking about it, creating awareness of it among potential funders.

There is also the problem of, what happens if a project funds but never gets produced.  In the early days of Kickstarter,  projects were typically musicians seeking funding from fans so they could produce another album.  Today,  aKickstarter project is much more likely a developer  seeking funding by preselling a product before producing it.   According to the terms of service on Kickstarter, if this happens , the creator is supposed to refund all money fund to the backers but the company provides no method for doing so on the website.  Since  Kickstarter never has the funds for a project, operating solely as a facilitator between creator and funder,  the company’s position is that it does not  give refunds and all negotiations must take place between creator and backer. 

According to a recent story on NPR (http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/09/03/160505449/when-a-kickstarter-campaign-fails-does-anyone-get-their-money-back), the designer of PopSockets, an iPod case and cord designed not to tangle while dancing, raised about $18,600 from 520 backers, last February.  Now, the money is gone, spent on legal and manufacturing fees, with no PopSockets to show for it, none likely to appear, and a host of unhappy backers.    Creator David Barnett eventually refunded about $1300 to 40 of them, which only made the 480 unpaid backers even unhappier.

The problem, really, is that Kickstarter is not set up to police itself, similar to eBay in its early days.  The side only does cursory investigation of projects before allowing them to post and, while the terms of use do constitute a legal requirement for the creator to produce or refund, there is no mechanism on the site for enforcement.  All legal disputes are between creator and backer and, given the size of many pledges, backers likely don’t feel it worthwhile to involve the law.

For the moment, Kickstarter is the premier source for crowdfunded projects.  However, unless the company develops better mechanisms for policing itself, it likely will lose that position to a similar website that provides stronger protections for funders.