Friday, September 27, 2019


We are seeing more examples of out of stocks of new release games in recent years. Point Salad and Wingspan especially come to mind. Demand for them is so heavy at release that quantities are seriously allocated and then by the time restocks come in, interest has waned and players move onto the next hot thing. Gloomhaven is a perfect example of this. At release, copies were selling for in excess of $200. Now that interest has waned, you can find copies readily on the secondary market for $75 to $100.

The point is, if you want a game that you think is going to be hot, the thing to do is to put a pre-order in with us ahead of time. If we get pre-orders, like with comics, we know to adjust our orders upwards in order to get a sufficient quantity in to handle demand. Otherwise, like with Wingspan, we will be out of stock for months.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Longtime Magic players may remember the Helvault promotion, tied in with the Avacyn Restored pre-release. Stores regegistering to host pre-releases received Helvaults to open during the pre-release as players completed certain activities, such as playing a type of card or winning a match. It was a pretty cool idea as players really wanted to see what was inside. Unfortunately, some retailers decided to show them what was inside early and posted videos to YouTube showing the contents. Ruined the anticipation of the event for everyone else, which is likely one reason Wizards has not run a similar promotion in the years since.

Monday, September 23, 2019

New Demo Games

We just added 4 new games to the demo game library:
Fury of Dracula
Clip Cut Parks
We Need to Talk

We need to talk is a good social party game, while Clip Cut Parks and Blank are both good family games. Fury of Dracula is more intense and requires a longer time commitment,  2-4 hours, than the other two do.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pokemon Hidden FatesElite Trainers

We got in one case of the Hidden Fates Elite Trainer boxes which have proved very hard to find and are selling for $75 to $100 on ebay.  We expect these to sell very quickly at $59.99 when they go on sale on Sept 20th. Coupled with the shortages of the Hidden Fates set are the desirability of some of the cards in the set, with some cards in the set going for well over $400 .

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Trade and Buying Times

If you want to trade in or sell us larger quantities of items i.e. a box of comics or cards or several RPGs or boardgames or miniatures, please  bring them in after 3 p.m. on Tuesday or before 8:30 p.m. the rest of the week (5:30 p.m. on Sunday). On Tuesday, we process the week's comic receiving from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. and after 8:30 (and 5:30) we start procedures for closing for the night, so in both cases we may not give your items the attention they deserve, especially if you have a lot of cards or comics for us to examine. We will gladly make an offer on single items at any time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

GameStop Closures

GameStop announced that its sales are down about 15% for the second quarter of 2019 and the company closed 195 stores in the past year and plans to close another 200-300 in the next year. That is a pretty tiny amount, given that the GameStop chain has around 5800 stores but given the continual decline in sales, the company needs to do something to return to profitability. The only section of the company that has proved profitable is its greater movement into collectibles.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Lots of Games Coming

I did a quick count of the number of games and expansions offered in the newest issues of Game Trade Magazine and Meeple Monthly not counting novels and non-fiction books or miniatures figures, and came out with over 120 different items. Of course, publishers want to produce new products for their customer base and there are some customers, not many, unfortunately, who will buy everything that releases new for a game.  If we count in miniatures and books, we are looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of  over 150 new items each month. That works out to about 1800 to 2000 new gaming products every year. That is a lot of products for the market to absorb. Online stores have infinite shelf and display space to display products but for the brick and mortar store, carrying that many new products on top of perennial selling products like D&D, Catan, Betray at House on the Hill, Fluxx, Dead of Winter, Munchkin, Gloom,  etc. (though some companies are considerately making the FLGS job easier by offering exclusives to chain stores such as Target, Barnes and Noble and Walgreens, meaning we don’t have to worry about stocking them, but that is a subject for another post).

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The $1200 Players Handbook

Every once in awhile (OK, more than once in awhile) I have to look at pricing on Amazon and eBay for various games and wonder “What are they thinking?”  Happened to be poking around on Amazon gauging prices of some out of print books and found a copy of the D&D Player’s Handbook listed for $1,249.50 plus $3.99 shipping. I would happily sell anyone who wants them all they want at that price and will throw in shipping AND insurance AND a set of dice for free.  I can only assume it comes from a seller that does not actually set their prices but has some form of dynamic pricing engaged and something caused a hiccup in it. I noticed something similar with WizKids X-Men  Mutant Revolution boardgame . A collection we received last year had a copy in it and while pricing out the collection, we found someone had it listed on Amazon at over $1000. Needless to say, we priced ours substantially less.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Palace of the Silver Princess

One of the rarest of published D&D items is the first print run of the Palace of the Silver Princess, possibly due to the racy illustrations inside, although others said it was due to  illustrations by artist Erol Ortus that transformed monsters called "ubues" into hermaphrodites with the heads of TSR staff and other illustrations incorporating the like of Gary Gygax.   Be that as it may, Jean Wells, original author of the adventure, says she objected to the illustration but was overruled as management said it was too late to reprint. However, by the time the printed adventure arrived, upper management changed its mind. Some 5000-10000 warehoused copies were dumped in the Lake Geneva landfill and TSR recalled as many shipped copies as possible.

The adventure was rewritten by Tom Moldvay, using standard D&D monsters, instead of the new ones Wells had created, and reissued the book with new art and a green cover, instead of the previous orange cover. However, save for the setting, little remained of Wells' original work and the original content is viewed as mild by today's standards. The Moldvay and Wells' version is comparatively common, selling for $15 to $30. However,  roughly 100 copies of the "orange cover" exist and have sold for over $3000 at auction.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Deities and Demigods No Thank You Cthulhu

For D&D aficionados, the holy grail of 1st edition books at one time was the Deities and Demigods book which  included the statistics for the Cthulhu and Elric mythos. There are three different versions of this book, known as the "No Thank You Cthulhu", "Thank You Cthulhu" and "No Thank You, No Cthulhu" editions.

The "No Thank You" version came first and contains the write ups detailing the 2 mythos.  The "Thank You Cthulhu" edition was second and contained the two mythos and a note acknowledging that Chaosium had the rights to use characters and concepts from Lovecraft and Michael Morecock's work and thanking Chaosium for allowing TSR to use them. The "No Thank You" edition removed both the write ups of the mythos and the acknowledgement of Chaosium's rights and is the most commonly found.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Why We Check ID When Buying Items

The store policy is to check ID on purchases or trades of more than $10, simply due to the fact that there is theft of gaming products. Just this week, the manager at Centralia's Game Emporium has two backpacks with about 10 D&D 5e books in them stolen. The thief can either 1) use the books themselves 2) sell them on eBay or another website or 3) sell or trade them to a store. By collecting buyer information, we winnow out thieves, since people who have stolen the items they want to sell are generally leary about giving out contact information and showing a photo ID and, if we do happen to take in stolen merchandise, it makes it much easier to get it back to the owner and turn the thief over for prosecution.

It doesn't happen often, but using this process has allowed us to get stolen merchandise back to the owners a few times in the past 5 years and to turn the thief over to the authorities.

In order to avoid showing favoritism, we have a policy of requiring ID from everyone, even people who have shopped here for years if the amount totals $10 or more.

Monday, September 2, 2019

How to Handle Publisher Out of Stocks

However, before I get into that, I want to call your attention to an interesting column I ran across demonstrating the importance of names to a successful product, in this case Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Introduced in 1934 the soup, then called Noodle with Chicken Soup,  sold comparatively poorly. However, in 1938, Campbell’s started sponsoring the Amos and Andy Show. During that era, and well up until the 1960s, actors in a show would often speak in character extolling the sponsor’s products (Check out this Winston cigarette commercial featuring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble shilling for the cigarette, which sponsored the show during its first season.) During a show in 1938, actor Freeman Gosden’s script called for him to speak highly of Campbell’s Noodle with Chicken soup. However, he flubbed the line, calling it “Chicken Noodle Soup”. In the middle of the Great Depression, millions of customers thought the idea of a can of Chicken Noodle Soup sounded pretty good and started besieging grocers looking for the product. For a few weeks, Campbell’s tried explaining that the soup did not exist but eventually gave in to demand, printed new labels and renamed the product which sold like wildfire and still does today. Chicken Noodle remains Campbell’s best selling soup, with over a half million cans sold per day last month.

Anyhow, back to reshoring and flooring. Reshoring is simply the concept of moving production that a company offshored due to cheaper production costs, back home. The trade off between offshoring and producing products overseas and in the publisher’s home country is that of lower production costs versus the loss of sales due to the extended supply chain. Overseas production runs save costs in terms of lower materials costs, lower labor costs and greater flexibility but add costs in terms of additional shipping costs, wait time and managerial and oversight costs. A survey of manufacturers in 2015 found that 17% had already reshored production to the US while another 37% had plans in the works to do so. A number of US game publishers, including Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Looney Labs and Catan Studios, have never off shored production, finding that the speed with which they can print and restock product outweighs the cost savings of offshoring.

Flooring is the concept of a publisher or manufacturer which uses a distributor storing additional product on site at the distributor but retaining ownership of the product. When the distributor gets low on product, it simply moves product from the publisher’s stock to the distributor’s , taking ownership and paying the publisher. This allows the publisher to make more product than it could easily warehouse and drastically reduces out of stocks. Steve Jackson Games had a successful flooring arrangement with Alliance for several years and, when Chessex Manufacturing was located in the same building with Alliance Fort Wayne, a out of stock on dice could be rectified with a walk next door.

Adopting either of these practices, or some others, would certainly help in reducing out of stocks, especially during the crucial 4th quarter.