Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Too Little, Too Late?

Paizo announced this week, to their venture captains first and then through a press release (it appears emailing retailers was an afterthought as we still have not received anything official from them, although some other stores have), that players in PFS games at stores would receive an in-game benefit for the table for making purchases at the store on the date of the game.

Paizo first discussed this last spring with some retailers but apparently it took half a year to implement and may be too late as many stores have reported clearancing out their Pathfinder stock. I know we don't bring in anything new except for hardback books as Paizo's 20% subscription offer has proved too enticing to most local players. Either that or no local players have any interest in Pathfinder print materials as we have sold less than 100 Pathfinder items since the beginning of the year, with the top 3 items the Bigger Flipmat, the GM Screen and the Player Folio. Everything else is 1's and 2's with almost all of the modules only selling 1, not making them worth restocking as they don't sell if we do.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Cheers for WizKids

This week's ICV2 column looks at three things I really like about WizKids', the company that makes HeroClix and DiceMasters, operations.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kaladesh Inventions

According to this, there will be 30 Kaladesh Invention cards, which will now be generally referred to as Masterpiece cards, inserted at a ratio of one card per 144 packs, which works out to 1 card per 4 booster displays. Ergo, if you open 2 cases of boosters, you could reasonably expect to pull three Inventions cards. The Aether Revolt set will contain the remaining 24 cards in the set. WOTC expects to include around 50 Masterpiece cards in each upcoming block

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Release Date Tape

WizKids announced something new:  the company will start putting Release Date notices on their products that ship before release dates, warning them that there is a release date for the product. This still won't stop everyone from breaking street date but getting information to people is certainly a step forward.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Buy/Don't Buy Dice

Found these in a drawer in the office. The Buy/Don't Buy dice were a gift from Flying Buffalo and only 10 sets exist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No FFG/GW Reprints Scheduled

Fantasy Flight Games just sent out a list of scheduled reprints coming out in October, reproduced below. None of the GW licenses are on the list. That does not mean we won't see anything in November or December, but, as the license ends in February, it is doubtful the company will schedule anything too close to the cuttoff date for reprinting:

Android: Mainframe
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror
7 Wonders: Wonder Pack
Mysterium: Hidden Signs

Monday, September 19, 2016

Spider Man Clone Conspiracy

If you are a Spider Man fan, read this:

I've only sent a message like this to you twice, with the first one being when I told you ASM #698 would kick off something BIG (remember the death of Peter Parker and the launch of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN?). So I think my track record with you on this is pretty good, right?
You haven't ordered enough CLONE CONSPIRACY #1.
And that's OUR fault.
In every interview and promotion for this book we've said it WILL be the core Spider-Man title while it's coming out. But since that hasn't really stuck, it means WE weren't hitting that information hard enough.
So I'm throwing this out there one last time:
CLONE CONSPIRACY is the CORE Spider-Man title.
It's not a mini-series. It IS the SPIDER-MAN EVENT this year.
When you think Clone Conspiracy think SPIDER-ISLAND, ENDS OF THE EARTH, and SPIDER-VERSE. It's THAT big. It will have ramifications that will affect a number of titles: mainly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, PROWLER, and SILK (which all tie into Clone Conspiracy.)
Your regular Spider-Man readers will want to pick this up BECAUSE it's the core title.
When lapsed Spider-Man readers hear what's going on in via word of mouth and social media, THEY will want to pick this up... for *reasons*.
And, with Jim Cheung's pencils, John Dell's inks, and Justin Ponsor's coloring on this, it will be one of the best damn looking books on the rack-- and NEW readers will pick it up. And then get panels of it tattooed onto their bodies.
At its current numbers, I feel very confident that CLONE CONSPIRACY will sell out and go to additional printings. But that'd mean readers would be getting everything out of sequence-- and you know THEY don't want that, YOU don't want that, and I don't want that. So help a guy out, okay? ;-)
FINAL ORDER CUT OFF for CLONE CONSPIRACY #1 is THIS Monday, September 19th.
(If you're a reader and you're seeing this, please be sure to CALL your local comic shop today, Sunday the 18th, or tomorrow, Monday the 19th, and ask them to hold Clone Conspiracy #1 for you. If you want to get a copy when it comes out, calling them this Tuesday might be too late.)

Games Workshop Boardgames

Fortress has an interesting look at the history of Games Workshop boardgames, especially given the current ending of the FFG license. I found especially interesting the fact that the boardgames that GW produced during the peak of their production during the late 1980s were never as profitable as the Warhammer and Warhammer lines of miniatures and miniatures rules, causing the company to shutter their production.

Also interesting was the two views of HeroQuest within the company, with one faction viewing it as a product that took time and attention away from GW's own product lines while the other viewed the game and its promotion by Milton Bradley as valuable in recruiting new customers into the shop. For those interested in Games Workshop, the column is definitely worth the read.

Historic Miniatures Follow-Up

This week's ICV2 column follows up and expands on last week's post on historic miniatures sales.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Shipping Company Bankruptcy Affects HeroClix

For those of you wondering how the supply chain works and how it affects you, here is a perfect example. WizKids makes HeroClix in China and ships the completed product to the US. Assuming everything works properly, said shipping takes from 2 to 6 weeks. The Hanjin bankruptcy has kept things from currently working properly, meaning that part of the shipment of the second Teenage Mutant Turtles Heros In a Half Shell set from completely arriving on time. WizKids has enough product on hand to fulfill pre-orders but any reorders will get delayed indefinitely, as in, until the bankruptcy works itself through the system.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

FFG Games Prices

Got curious to see how the announced end of the licensing arrangement between FFG and Games Workshop affecting pricing of the affected games. So far, not much. Copies of Talisman, Warhammer Quest and Warhammer Conquest are still readily available and the price has stayed pretty stable at around list price or a bit below on those as are prices on the Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy role playing games, though a couple of out of print supplements for Talisman and the Warhammer RPG have tripled in price.

The games in the line that have seen significant price increases are Chaos in the Old World and Fury of Dracula. Chaos in the Old World has sold for around double its list price of $59.99 for a shinkwrapped copy while some online shops list  Fury of Dracula for anywhere from double to 5 times its current MSRP. While snagging a copy of Chaos at that price might be worth it if you really want it, since I doubt FFG will reprint it before the license expires, if you want a copy of Fury of Dracula, you should probably put in a pre-order at your FLGS as FFG has indicated at least one more printing will arrive prior to the reversion of the license to GW.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why We No Longer Carry Historical Miniatures

Every once in awhile I hear from someone that the brick and mortar store is dead or that stores need to evolve into new models. I have to smile every time I hear that as the game store has evolved and will continue to do so.

For example, back in the 1990s, we used to stock a full 8-12 feet of historical miniatures:  Napoleonics, ACW (American Civil War for those who don't speak acronym fluently), Civil War Ironclads, etc. However, over the years we saw a shifting in demand. Customers wanted specifically posed figures for specific units for specific eras of specific wars. To satisfy the demand would have required us to drastically expand the amount of space devoted to historics without a significant increase in sales. We are talking several thousand dollars invested  for a few hundred dollars increase in figures sales as most people only wanted 1-2 figures at a time. Unfortunately, we had to put in orders of $400 to $500 at a time in order to satisfy those 1-2 figure purchases, leading to extensive inventory creep.

Slowly, in order to get exactly what they wanted, customers turned to mail order purchases, first from catalogs in the early 1990s, then as the Internet became more familiar, to online purchases. The store, we slowly cleared out the remaining historics and replaced them with the bludgeoning Games Workshop, Ral-Partha and Reaper lines.

The downside of this to historic miniatures is that, as stores like ours moved away from historics, so did public play space devoted to them. Most historic miniatures games are played either in homes or at conventions such as Little Wars and Historicon, where you play with people already familiar with your preferred genre of history but have little chance to introduce outsiders to the game, one of the benefits of playing in public. In the 1970s, miniatures wargaming WAS historics, now they are a fraction of the industry.

Monday, September 12, 2016

More on FFG GW Split

Scott's column this week on ICV2 looks at Friday's announce end of the 8 year old GW FFG partnership

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games End Licensing

Following the time-honored tradition of releasing big news that will cause lots of questions that none of the parties involved want to answer immediately, Fantasy Flight Games posted an announcement this past Friday that it and Games Workshop have ended the agreement allowing Fantasy Flight Games to reprint new editions of classic Games Workshop games such as Talisman and Fury of Dracula and to create new games set in the Games Workshop worlds, such as Relic, Forbidden Stars and Chaos in the Old World. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Who Prints Cards Against Humanity (and Other Games)

For those of you interested in the business side of the industry, the current issue of Business Week has an article on Art Magic, the company that co-ordinates the printing for games like Cards Against Humanity, Poop:  The Game and Exploding Kittens. I find it interesting that games is the number 3 category funded on Kickstarter, only exceeded by films and music. Of course, the games category on Kickstarter includes both tabletop and video games, skewing the numbers in terms of the games that people reading this are primary interested in.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Your Pokemon Cards Are STILL Not Worth That Much

Here is a 1st edition Machanp card from the year that Pokemon released in 1999. Someone is asking $20,000 for it. If you remember  my post of a couple of weeks ago, this is the asking price. Anyone can take a product and put whatever asking price they want on it. The price need not reflect reality or value of the product at all.  In the case of this Machamp, the card was a staple of almost every pre-constructed Pokemon deck released by Wizards of the Coast during the first year and was so common that for a number of years. we refused to trade for them.

Today we sell them for $5 to $6 as they are comparatively old, but not particularly powerful. However, if someone wants to give us $20,000 for one, I will certainly be happy to take it.

Incidentally, if you look at the post, you will see a number of watchers on the card. Those people are not interested in purchasing it, they just want to see if someone else does so they can list their own Machamps.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

More on A Glut of Games

This week's ICV2 column follows up on last week's post about the number of games hitting the market

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Glut of Games

By my estimate, there are some 70-100 new board and card and miniature and role-playing games released every month, meaning some 900 to 1200 new games to compete with the 1000s already on the market. How does a retailer, unless they have unlimited shelf space like Amazon, stock all of them and how does a manufacturer with a new game break through the clutter?  Given that, based on past performance, less than 100 of those games will still be around 5 years from now. it is unlikely that many will. The ones that do will do so by getting people to talk about them, either through secondary brand association through play or creation by a "celebrity"--Exploding Kittens and any of the games featured on Wil Wheaton's TableTop series come to mind- or bypublic awareness through both the  mass media and individual communications. Cards Against Humanity and Catan come to mind as examples of the latter.