Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pokemon Go Way Down

According to this article, Pokemon Go daily users are down 96% from its peak last August. In order to revive the game, Niantic "plans gameplay tweaks, frequent player rewards, events that make it easier for higher level users to advance, as well as new features such as more creatures, trading, and perhaps, eventually, player vs. player mode. "

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Prisoner's Dilemma

This week's ICV2 column looks at discounting of the recently released Planechase Anthology in terms of the concept of the  Prisoner's Dilemma.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Three Things for which I am Thankful

Since this is the season in which we traditionally give thanks, not that we shouldn’t do it the other 11 months out of the year,  I wanted to note four things (aside from health, friends, chocolate, etc) that make me thankful:
1)       Other Retailers, both local and distant. While ‘tis true that life would certainly have remained simpler not having 3 other game retailers open up within 15 miles of us within the past year, I have found them in the area has made me focus more on our product mix and determine what elements of our marketing strategy to emphasize and what to de-emphasize.  Result, our revenues did take a hit over the past year but have now climbed back to the point that they equal sales prior to the other stores opening in the area.  From retailers more distant, I can usually find at least one idea or product to integrate into the store’s marketing mix every month,  often moreso.  Visiting the websites and physical locations or reading the blog posts or online musings from stores like The Fantasy Shop, Gnome Games or Black Diamond Games, among others, proves a useful 15-30 minutes of every week.
3)      The Bits ‘n Mortar program.  Bits ‘n Mortar doesn’t get nearly enough publicity as it ought but this consortium of small RPG publishers still has their program in place, allowing registered brick and mortar retailers to give a PDF of their products to customers when said customer purchases a hard copy of the RPG.  We have customers who purchase Crucible 7 and Arc Dream RPG products specifically from us on a regular basis specifically because we participate in this program.
4)      Munchkin (and Steve Jackson Games). The base Munchkin game still sells reliably week in and week out over a decade after it first released.  Unlike some other game lines (cough-X-wing Miniatures, DiceMasters-cough), Steve Jackson Games manages to keep the almost the entire line in stock through distribution and, although they have run special sets through Target and Barnes and Noble, I have not seen them participate in any deep discounting or “Buy One, Get One Free” silliness such as appeared on the Target website last week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kaladesh Saturday Showdown Requirements

In case your are interested, here are the requirements for the Kaladesh Standard Showdown tournaments, per WOTC.

They must:
1 Occur on Saturday starting November 26
2. Be Standard Format
3. Run at least 3 rounds with 8 players

There are NO requirements as to how the Standard Showdown boosters are to be distributed, except that stores can give out no more than 10 per tournament. There are no requirements that a winner receive so many boosters or that they be distributed according to some form of "payout" schedule. WOTC suggests several methods by which to distribute them and we will be giving out some following those suggestions i.e. 2 to the overall winner and 1 to players who played in the previous 2 Saturday tournaments we hosted. Note that that is one per person and not one per tournament attended. We will have a list of people who played in the previous Saturday tournaments and will give you one if you play on the 26th.

Anything else you might have heard regarding mandatory awarding of the Standard Showdown packs is not official WOTC procedure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Z-man Games: A Brief History

Z-man Games was launched in the mid 1990s to produce the  Shadowfist trading card game, one of the early TCGs and one that  drew upon themes from Chinese martial arts movies.  Z-man  then released what was for the store the much more successful line of B-Movie card games, starting with Grave Robbers from Outer Space, which parodied the horror films of the 1950s and 1980s and branching out into other genres such as the Western, fantasy,  pirate, blaxspolitation, Asian cinema and Christmas. Though not commonly seen in stores in recent years, a decade or so ago, the B-movie card games were a ubiquitous offering in game stores and I saw many a game of them played at gaming conventions throughout the Midwest.

Z-man Games biggest hits, releasing several years after the B-movie card games peaked, were Agricola and Pandemic, both posting respectably steady sales for several years until the advent of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop web series, which featured Pandemic in one episode, giving it the “Wheaton Bump”, quadrupling, at least for us, sales of the game and allowing Z-man to create a Catanesque line of expansion for Pandemic. The success of other games such as Tragedy Looper and The Walking Dead (based on the comics, not the television series. Cryptozoic has the rights to that and puts out its only line of TV series based games) likely attracted the attention of Quebec based game publisher/distributor Filosofia, which bought Z-man in 2011.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Orangelist

Apparently the latest kerfluffle in the gaming industry is The Orangelist. Near as I can gather, a group of gaming companies published a statement, Gamers for Her,  saying they supported Clinton for president, giving reasons why, and calling for other gamers to vote for her as well.

Now comes the Orangelist, which lists companies and individuals that allegedly voted for Trump and I think calls for a boycott against them. The call to action is pretty poorly written for someone who claims to be a writer. Unfortunately for the creator of the list, several of the companies on it are British and European and some, such as Agents of Gaming and Yaquinto shut their doors over a decade ago. Still other, whom the author claimed to have contacted, deny every receiving a phone call, email or IM from him.

It would appear the author had some spare time on his hands, a list of gaming companies and a desire for attention.

Local Game Store Day?

Would a Local Game Store Day prove feasible? That's the topic of this week's ICV2 column.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wither TableTop

This week's ICV2 column looks at the lack of a TableTop bump in retail stores with the release of the 4th season of the series.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Blood Bowl

Check out the hottest releases from Games Workshop below!
Planetary Onslaught:
112 page Warhammer 40,000 supplement that combines Planetstrike, Stronghold Assault and Cities of Death supplements in on handy book.

Allocated Item
40-07-60 (English)
40-07-01 (French)

US $40/ CAN $50

For sale in your shop on Saturday 11-19-16.
Blood Bowl!

The  game of hyper-violent fantasy football!

A 12 player Human team (highly detailed push fit models)
A 12 player Orc team  (highly detailed push fit models)
56 page rule book
double-sided fold out playing surface (the pitch) and dugouts
two sets of dice ( including dice for the Human and Orc teams)
card deck for special play cards

and much more!

Check Out for more info or call your GW account manager!

200-01-60 (English)
200-01-01 (French)

US $99/ CAN $119

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Click on the image above for Drill Cards that you can use to show a new customer how to play Blood Bowl!
Click on the image above for a sign up sheet that can help  your customers pre-order for Blood Bowl from you today!
Death Zone: Season One

Full Rules for Leagues and exhibition games.
Rules for the following teams:
Dwarf, Skaven, Nurgle, High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves...and just regular Elves!
(Preview:  You can check out the table of contents by clicking on the image below)

Allocated Item
200-02-60 (English)
200-02-01 (French)

US $25/CAN $30

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Skavenblight Scramblers

A 12 model highly detailed models
Skaven counters and Skaven Blood Bowl balls
and the 'Out of the box" Team Roster!

Allocated Item
US $35/CAN $40

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Blood Bowl  Skaven Dice

10 green "Warpstone" effect Blood Bowl Dice

Allocated Item
US $12.50/CAN $14

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16

Friday, November 11, 2016

Anchor Points

Happened to catch a story on "anchor points" this morning on NPR and thought I would discuss how game and comic stores utilize such concepts in influencing your behavior.

The concept of the that having a high priced item for sale makes the prices of other items in the same place of business seem lower and more reasonable by comparison. Allow me to explain with a common example in restaurants.

The wine list in a restaurant will often have a list of what the customer might perceive as expensive wines and then one really expensive, say a series of vintages ranging from $20 to $60 per bottle and then one bottle priced at $500. The $500 bottle is an anchor point, making the other bottles appear cheaper by comparison and reducing your resistance to purchasing a more expensive vintage.

Stores especially that deal in single Magic and other TCGs as well as comic shops that deal in rare comics use the concept of the anchor point to reduce resistance to the purchase of a higher priced single card or comic book.

Say you have a Jace, the Mind Scuptor from a FTV:  Twenty set in stock at $70 and a Beta Bayou in stock selling for $1400. The $1400 card becomes the anchor point, setting the upper limit of price on the cards on display at $1400 and making the $70 Jace a bargain by comparison.

Similarly, a $2000 copy of a Superman comic from the 1940s, makes the $300 Spider-man comic from the 1960s seem comparatively reasonably priced.

The store may not plan to even sell the anchor item, though I am certain they would if someone offered the full price. Just having it there increases the likelihood of other items, otherwise perceived as expensive, selling.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NetRunner The Original

Most people are familiar with FFG's Netrunner Living Card Game.  However, over a decade earlier, WOTC released the NetRunner TCG, both the company's second Richard Garfield game and its second trading card game (Magic was first in both categories). In turn, the Netrunner TCG "universe" was based on concepts from R. Talsorian Games Cyberpunk RPG, using the idea of hackers trying to crack corporate dataforts.

Much like the modern version, one player had a corporate deck, while the other player had a runner deck. Unique among TCGs, the cards incorporated in the corp deck differed from those in the runner deck, as each player constructed their playdeck from a different card pool. Both the core game and its expansion Proteus, released in 1996.  A second set, Silent Impact, was developed but never released in that form, though a set of 52 cards from it came to the market as the Classic expansion in 1999.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


The AIDA model is a common descriptor for modeling human consumption behavior.  It stands for

Attention--Initially, the consumer is unaware of the product and the manufacturer or seller must take action to bring it to the potential customer's attention. Currently, one of the best ways to bring a product to the customers attention is through Facebook, as, with a relatively small payment, you can place information about your product in front of thousands of people who FB has determined have interest in it.

Interest--The consumer shows interest in the product. If you are at Sam's Club this might entail sampling one of the many food products they offer tastes of around mealtime. In a game store, this might lead to a quick demo session of the product in question.

Desire--The customer shows desire for the product, asking it to be held back for them, putting it on layaway or putting it on an Amazon wish list.

Action--The consumer finally pulls the trigger so to speak and buys the product.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Volo's guide to discounting

This week's ICV2 column looks at the online discounting of the new Volo's Guide to Monsters

Thursday, November 3, 2016

History of the Store

The city of Carbondale is producing a series of short videos about local businesses. I think we are the first one the city has produced and uploaded. Amy Fox, Carbondale's new Public Relations Officer shot about 30 minutes worth of video to produce the minute and a half that wound up comprising the spot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Magic Commander 2016

Here are the decklists for the new Magic Commander 2016 sets. 5 decks, total retail about $170. If you prepay for a cast by November 9th, you can get a case of all 5 decks for $150. After that, they go back up to regular retail when they release on November 11.  We are not preselling any single decks, only by the case.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Too Much Nostalgia

There is such a thing, I think, as too much nostalgia. Did anyone really demand the return of Rom, Micornauts or the ThunderCats as comic book or The Crow boardgame? At least those are characters from the relatively recent past and properties that today's adults would remember from their youth.

Has there been some demand I have missed for the return of Captain Action though? The character premiered 50 years ago, meaning that the kids who played with the figure then are in their late 50s and early 60s now.  I remember the first go round of Captain Action, whose main selling point was that you could dress him up as Superman, Batman, Captain America and other super heroes of the day. Now, he has reincarnated in today's comic book as an action adventure spy, without the changeability that made him unique. Is that enough to create demand for the comic, let alone a new card game?