Thursday, June 23, 2022

4th Edition was Ahead of its Time

 

At least in one respect. Let me back track a bit. Among other topics, I discussed the various editions of Dungeons and Dragons with a reporter last week and the topic of the generally vilification of 4th edition. I can find people who wax nostalgically over their 1st edition half elf fighters (myself included), who still seek out and want to play in 2nd edition campaigns, who avidly purchase any 3rd and 3.5 handbooks on which they can lay their hands and, of course, 5th edition has sold fantastically since it released last decade. 4th edition, meanwhile, gets very little love as most of our customers refer to it disparagingly as WotC’s attempt to migrate video game concepts into a table top RPG and failing spectacularly.

I never had quite the distain for 4th edition that a lot of my customers did. I found it an interesting attempt to merge boardgame concepts with tabletop RPGS, though running the published modules proved problematical as whomever designed them opted to drop the linear progression of most published modules and instead separate encounters likely to involve combat into their own section of the book, meaning extra flipping back and forth for the DM. Still, I found the published adventures playable.  Creating homebrewed adventures proved more problematical.

However, there is one concept that 4th edition introduced that was far ahead of its time and that was the idea of Dungeons and Dragons as a spectator event. Granted, people had watched other people play D&D in the past for generally not for very long, just until a spot opened up for them. Setting up games for one group of people to play while another watches has come into its own with streaming programs such as Dimension 20, Dungeons and Daddies and, of course, Critical Role.

However, in 2011, D&D 4th edition and the Wizards Play Network introduced the concept of the Lair Assault. The WPN positioned the seven Lair Assault scenarios and extremely challenging adventures designed for 2-4 players to finish in a couple of hours. However, the idea behind Lair Assault was that the scenarios, while short, were designed to be so difficult to complete that those players would have to attempt them multiple times, leaning from each attempt, before completing them. However, it was the concept of encourage non-players to come watch that, locking back, I found unique. The focus on RPG play, to that time, has always been on participation. The  WPN, in its directions for Lair Assault, encouraged stores to recruit their best local players to participate and invite other local players to come watch top-tier players attempt an extremely challenging adventure, in effect having one small group playing through the adventure while another group got the opportunity to watch a master class in RPG play. I am not sure how other stores did with the program. I would assume not well, since it only lasted for two years and we found it quite difficult to recruit the same players to come multiple times to play through and complete the adventure and I only remember one person coming in to watch the game, but still the basic concept, though flawed, was there. It just took the advent of the Web and the development of podcasting techniques which made it relatively easy for anyone who wants to put their own gaming sessions online.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Talk 0f the Town and Free RPG Day

 Scott will be on WDBX tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT to talk about Free RPG Day and the place of Carbondale in the history of Dungeons and Dragons

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Effect of 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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Double Masters 2022 in Baldur's Gate

 According to this article, foil versions of single Double Masters 2022 cards have appeared in Battle for Baldur's Gate Collector Boosters. Reddit users have posted images of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth which they allegedly found in the Collector boosters. WOTC has neither confirmed nor denied the reports but this is not the first time it has happeend. In the past, for example, cards from Zendikar Rising appeared in packs of Double Masters. One of our customers that purchased a pair of Collector Booster boxes did not find anything immediately apparent but did say he noticed a few cards with symbols differing from thos used on the Battle for Baldur's Gate boosters.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Role Playing Game Day

 The city will proclaim June 25 as Role Playing Game Day in Carbondale at this Tuesday's city council meeting

1. Preliminaries to the City Council Meeting

1.1 Roll Call

1.2 Citizens' Comments and Questions

1.3 Council Comments, General Announcements, and Proclamations

1.4 Proclamations for Juneteenth, Feed My Sheep Day, and Role Playing Game Day

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Horus Heresy

 If you want a copy of the new Horus Heresy from Games Workshop, we need to know by 4 p.m. today as that is when we have to submit final numbers. Unless we get a huge order for the games, we will only have a couple of the rulebooks available and none of the minitures as those are tied to our inital order quantities.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Kill Team Moroch

 Kill Team Moroch releases this Saturday. We still have a couple of copies available for pre-order


Kill Team: Moroch (102-06)

• The second Kill Team expansion, packed with terrain, new rules, missions, Spec Ops and miniatures!

• The new Blooded Kill Team includes various operatives with new weapons and rules available for the first time. The Phobos Strike Team Kill Team provides Space Marines with a host of new upgrades and equipment to create a fully armed Kill Team of precise armoured stalkers.

• Approximately 65% additional value

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Mindset

 Let us know if you want to pre-order a copy of #1. If you do not like it, bring it back and exchange it for any other Vault title 


MINDSET is a new sci-fi thriller series about mind control, written by me, with last year's Eisner-winning artist John J. Pearson, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, design by Tim Daniel, set to release June 29th. With variant covers by Department of Truth's Martin Simmonds, Dani, Tom Muller, Chris Shehan, Christian Ward, Jacob Phillips and David Mack.

SYNOPSIS: When an introverted tech geek from Stanford, with dreams of changing the world, accidentally discovers a form of mind control, he and his friends do something unexpected – they put the science into a meditation app to help users break their addiction to other manipulative technologies and platforms. But after their rags-to-riches rise, a wake of murders and a series of mind games, their Mindset app replaces all rival social media and achieves a cult following of a billion users, and they must ask the question – are they helping people or controlling them?"

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Astral Radiance

 Pokemon Astral Radiance goes on sale tomorrow. We have Elite Trainer Kits, booster boxes and packs and a few Build and Battle kits left.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

GW New Releases

 Releasing from Games Workshop on 5/28  Limited quantities available

Combat Patrol: Adeptus Custodes (01-18)

• A perfect way to start or add to an existing collection at a great value price

• Contains 18x plastic multi-part, multi-option miniatures: 1x Shield-Captain, 1x Vexilius Praetor and 3x Custodian Guard (01-07), 3x Vertus Praetors / Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike (01-12) and 10x Prosecutors / Vigilators / Witchseekers (01-08)

• Approximately 52% added value


US $150/ CAN $180


***You can find these images on our GW Retailers' Site: 

https://trade.games-workshop.com/resources/***

Adeptus Custodes Blade Champion (01-17)

•1x multi-option HQ choice for Adeptus Custodes in games of Warhammer 40,000

• Previously only available in the Shadowthrone Battle Box

• A great purchase alongside Combat Patrol: Adeptus Custodes


US $38/ CAN $48


***You can find these images on our GW Retailers' Site: 

https://trade.games-workshop.com/resources/***

Genestealer Cults Reductus Saboteur (51-68)

• 1x multi-option Elites choice for Genestealer Cults in games of Warhammer 40,000

• Previously only available in the Shadowthrone Battle Box


US $35/ CAN $41.50


***You can find these images on our GW Retailers' Site: 

https://trade.games-workshop.com/resources/***

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Echoes of Doom (80-41)

• A brand new Battle Box for Warhammer Age of Sigmar, containing 42x plastic Citadel Miniatures, 7x of which are brand new, alongside a Campaign Booklet, Core Rules Booklet and a Token Board

• Includes 10x Sylvaneth miniatures and 32x Skaven miniatures at excellent value

• Approximately: 85% Added Value


US $195/ CAN $230


***You can find these images on our GW Retailers' Site: 

https://trade.games-workshop.com/resources/***

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dungeons and Dragons Tarot Deck

 The new D&D Tarot Deck arrived today. Strangely, although it is written by one of WotC's game designers, Adam Lee, the publisher, Clarkson Potter, opted to go with Fred Gissubel for the art. Although Gissubel has done a lot of work in the comic field, it seems rather strange not to go with an artist more associated with Dungeons and Dragons.

It is a standard style Tarot deck and does come with a guidebook for reading tarot, so you do not need extensive familiarity with card reading in order to use it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Metal Dice

 Just a reminder that, if you spend the money buying one of the cool sets of metal dice we have on display (or buy them some place else) a dice tray is probably a good investment. These are metal, after all and rolling the solid ones can certainly damage your tabletop. In addition, especially if you purchased one of the hollow sets, rolling them on something hard could damage the dice. Purchasing a felt line dice tray is a good investment if you want to keep your metal dice in good condition.

Also, because of their heft, metal dice tend to roll further than you may be used to with plactic dice and a dice tray will keep them corralled in front of you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Chaos Knights Army Set

 Here is what you get in the limited edition Chaos Knights Army set. We currently have three available:

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Knights Army Set (43-80)
• A must have purchase for Chaos Knight fans
• Contains 3x new Chaos Knight miniatures as well as 50x Datacards and the first opportunity for customers to get their hands on the new 9th Edition Codex: Chaos Knights, designed with an Army Set exclusive textless cover
• This limited box not only provides hobbyists with the chance to get their hands on brand new Chaos Knights early but is also an excellent value proposition at 30% Added Value

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Monsters Of the Multiverse

 the next monster book for D&D 5th edition arrives on May 17, Monsters of the Multiverse. There is only one cover for the book as WOTC decided to release the alternate cover last January as part of the rules set that included alternative covers of Tasha's Cauldron and Xanathar's Guide to Everything. We still have a couple of copies of the rules gift set so if you want  all of the covers, that is the only way to get the complete set.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Alta Fox

 Venture Capital company named Alta Fox is pushing Hasbro to spin off the WotC Division of the company. Essentially, Alta Fox thinks WOTC is more valuable on its own than as part of Hasbro and that the value of the company will increase if freed from the strictures of Hasbro. Doubtful that will happen in the near future as Alta Fox just started pushing for the spin off a couple of months ago and Hasbro's boards is quite set against it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Magic Pricing

 WotC has announced a price increase in Magic products, starting with the Dominaria set releasing this fall. Ergo, you can expect to see an increase in the prices of Magic products starting with October. the price has held steady for the better part of the past decade so, given recent inflation, a price increase is not out of line. Still I do long for the days of $2.45 packs of Magic back in the 1990s.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Free Comic Book Day

 Join us for Free Comic Book Day. Come in and get 2 free comic books from the tables in the back. Get one more for:

Showing your Preferred Customer Card
Coming in costume
Wearing your Castle Perilous Shirt
Each stamp you earn on a Castle Card
Spending $10 with our Guests: Marz Stardust, Jeremy Graves, Dane Johns, and "Doc" Smith.
Roman Rathert, host of "Uncle Jerk's Comic Shop" on YouTube will be here from 10 to whenever talking comics.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Marvel Fortnite

 For those Fortnite fans out there,  Marvel has a Marvel/Fortnight crossover coming out early this Summer, much like last year's Batman/Fortnite crossover.   Here are a list of the in game items available when you purchase each issue of the comic

  • FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR #1 – New Spider-Man Outfit - Exclusive to comic buyers for a limited time!
  • FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR #2 – New Iron Man Wrap - Exclusive to comic buyers for a limited time!
  • FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR #3 – New Wolverine Pickaxe - Exclusive to comic buyers for a limited time!
  • FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR #4 – New FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR Spray - Exclusive to comic buyers!
  • FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR #5 – New FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR Loading Screen - Exclusive to comic buyers!
  • Plus any fan who redeems all five codes will receive a new bonus FORTNITE X MARVEL: ZERO WAR Outfit!

 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hacky Sacks

 Just got in hacky sacks, a reproduction of the original 1960s Whamm-O versions. We used to see quite a few college students kicking them around on campus but the sight has been much less common in recent years. Hopefully we will see more students kicking one around the North Washington concert venue. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Streets of New Capenna

 The Streets of New Capenna Pre-release takes place this weekend. We will have one pre-release on Friday at 5:30, replacing our regular Friday Night Magic Game, then we will have one pre-release at 1 p.m. on Saturday and a 2-headed Giant Tournament at 12:30 on Sunday. Currently we have spaces in all three open along with a few draft booster and Set booster boxes available.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Eventlink

 

Wizard of the Coast’s Eventlink software locked up again for several stores during Friday Night Magic this past Friday. While the outage was much shorter than during the pre-release for Kamigawa:  Neon Dynasty (See Rolling for Initiative:  “Kamigawa Neon Dynasty” Pre-release and the Perfection Fallacy), it still occurring during a tournament using software that does not have any options for running the event offline and does not allow you to manually enter match results. WOTC fixed the problem after about 10 minutes, which is much better than the 60 minutes during the Kamigawa Neon Dynasty pre-release but when you have players waiting for their next round parings and the TO has to either put everyone into an alternative tournament program or run the event on paper, a 10 minute wait is 10 minutes too long. Wizards of the Coast says they are looking in the problem and will make fixes but an offline option would sure help.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Easter

 We will be open regular hours on Easter Sunday with Magic Commander casual play at 3 p.m. and an Easter Egg Hunt starting at noon. We will have Easter candy hidden around the store and 33 Easter eggs. You may get as much Easter candy as you can find but only one Easter egg and you must bring the Easter egg to the counter to have it opened. Opening it before you bring it to the counter means the prize ticket inside is void.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A Little Knowledge (about Comics) is a Dangerous Thing

 

One time, we had a customer bring in some comic books for us to look over. He was curious as to how much they were worth. Among the books was a copy of Infinity Gauntlet #1, signed by George Perez, with a certificate of authentication. After a few minutes of research among various comic prices sites, eBay and Amazon, we told him it was the most valuable book in the lot, but that the price was all over the place, with sellers pricing it anywhere from $25 to $160. His response “Oh, that’s  all?” The customer figured that 1) all of the interest in Avengers:  Infinity War would have driven up the price of the book and 2) he had heard such high prices paid for first issues of books that he had set an anchor point for the value of his book at a much higher point than the price people were currently willing to pay for it. In this case, a little knowledge was indeed a dangerous, or at least disappointing, thing.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Anchor Points

 

Although we focus on boardgames, cardgames, TCG and miniatures, we do carry comics as a sideline and participate in the annual Free Comic Book Day. I will leave it to other stores that focus more heavily on comics to discuss the ins, outs and successes of the event. However, an incident took place that got me thinking about behavioral economics and one of my favorite concepts therein, the anchor point.

I have mentioned the concept of the anchor point in past columns. Anchor points come into play when a business sets a price on a product in a category either higher or lower than normal which then causes consumers to re-evaluate their perceptions of the price on other items in the category based on the high or low priced item.

For example, Wal-mart often uses the anchor point to create a perception of low prices on everything within a category by reducing the price abnormally low on just one item. By reducing the price on, say, a TV to $149.99, the company sets a low anchor point for the other TVs it sells. The anchor point Wal-mart sets on that particular TV is lower than the price a customer would find on that particular television wherever they shopped. Wal-mart then prices its other televisions similarly to what other retailers sell price them but, because of the low anchor point, the other televisions are also seen as lower prices.

Anchor points are often used with high priced products, making them seem cheaper. A few years ago, during the GAMA Trade Show, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a couple of other store owners at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak. Now, when I typically go out to eat, I will spend $10 to $20 on a meal. However, at Steak, the average entre runs about $100. When a Porterhouse steak sells for $117, it makes the roasted chicken breast at $36 seem like a steal. Very few people order the Porterhouse steak. It is there to make other items on the menu look much more reasonably priced and lower customer resistance to purchasing them.

This is why I like to have expensive Magic cards on display at the store. We very seldom sell them but having a card in the case selling for four figures makes that $25 Mox Amber look much more reasonably price.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Maus

 Not game related but as we do sell comics and graphic novels, the recent uptick in interest in the Maus graphic novel bemused me.  https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50294/tennessee-school-board-pulls-maus-from-8th-grade-history-classes  For those who missed the story, a Tennessee school board voted unanimously to pull the book from its library shelves, over the protests of teachers who used the book in their discussion of WW2 and Holocaust, due to obscene language and a tiny picture of the author’s mother, who committed suicide in a bathtub. This news shot Maus back to the top of Amazon’s best seller list and, from what we have seen in the store have heard from other stores, more customers have asked about and bought the book in the past week than have in years. Wil Wheaton is asking his social media followers to buy a copy and ask the shop to lend or give it away to some who asks. Stores nationally have reported more sales in the past week than in the past couple of years.  Nothing sells like controversy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Double Feature Release

 

Innistrad:  Double Feature and Commander Collection Black both released to an overwhelming “Eh” here at the store. https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49777/wizards-coasts-releases-more-info-magic-the-gathering-innistrad-double-feature From what I have read online, most store have had similar results, posting they have only sold a handful of packs or less. However, a couple did reports great sales, primarily to casual players. As of this writing, we have sold more packs of Commander Collection Black than we have of Innistrad: Double Feature, which is saying something given the price discrepancy. I have also heard of some problems with pack configuration, a few stores reporting packs of all commons or commons and uncommons. Not enough to make it a widespread problem but still more reports than I have heard in the past. As all of the cards, save some lands, appeared in both Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow and both of those sets are still widely and more cheaply available, WOTC has targeted the collector more than the player with this set. They may sell but it may take awhile and store will need patience. Long time store owners and players will remember the catastrophe of Fallen Empires, back when stores order in huge quantities expecting to get allocated down to more reasonable numbers. WOTC told stores that, on this set, finally, they would get what they had ordered. Of course, WOTC had told stores the same thing for the previous few sets but this time they produced enough and stores got swamped in a sea of. Today, for those still have packs, a Fallen Empires booster sells for $25 and a booster box for around $700. Champions of Kamigawa booster boxes, which also sold extremely slowly at the store and which WOTC gave away with orders for a while, now list for $1400 sealed.

The thing with Double Feature is that it will not get reprinted. It is a one and done set printed in limited quantities, though we may see some of the cards make “The List” eventually. This means that in 1-5 years, maybe even later this year if some of the online Magic experts get excited about the set, stores will see a demand for the cards. Several places have said they will buy any unwanted boxes of Double Feature so store feeling they bought too many do have an outlet.

Monday, April 4, 2022

How to Make a Profit Running a Game (or any other type of) Store

 “Buy Low, Sell High.”

There you go, that, in the proverbial nutshell, is how you make a profit in the game business, actually in any business.  Or, paraphrasing something a friend of mine, Marcus King (late of Titan Games and Entertainment, more recently with Troll and Toad) repeats from a mentor of his years ago: “You make your profit when you buy and your cash when you sell.”  The lower for which you can produce or buy a product, the more money you make when you eventually sell it.  Simple, right?

Not completely.  The above is indeed the basic of pricing but there are a number of different strategies and tactics a  business can take with its pricing, depending on what sort of image it wishes to project.

First, and most basic, is cost pricing.  You take the cost of the product you purchase or make (hopefully low, see above), increase it by an amount sufficient to generate enough money to cover the business overhead and provide a profit that you consider sufficient and sell it for that price.  Fairly straightforward, though not necessary simple, as this method does require you to know your overhead costs and how to break them down in order to assign them to items for sale.  This also highlights a recurring problem game stores have with a price for their products set by the manufacturer (manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP).  Since customers are notoriously reluctant (with good reason) to pay more than the marked MSRP for items, having a price pre-set by the manufacturer constrains the amount of gross profit the store can earn from the item,  ergo the only way for a retailer to increase profits is to cut costs.  This is why game stores really dislike short discounted items from manufacturers, as a shorter discount on a product that much less money available to cover the costs associated with running the store.

Demand based pricing and competitive pricing are the two other major strategies a game store can choose to adopt when setting prices.  Demand based pricing derives from economic laws of supply and demand:  As supply decreases, price increases.  As demand increases, price increases.  A perfect example of this is collectable card games such as Magic and Yu Gi Oh.  Within any new release of either, there are always 1 or 2 cards highly desired by players.  The price for these cards quickly rises, due to demand, with the prices for the foil versions of the same cards priced even higher, this however, due to scarcity/lack of supply.  If players find these cards not as playable as hoped for or they cycle out of the preferred tournament environment, supply remains the same but demand drops, causing a reduction in the price a retailer will find customers willing to pay for cards, Magic’s Jace the Mind Sculptor card a perfect example.

When a store opts for competitive pricing, it is a good thing from the consumer’s point of view, not so much from the retailer’s as this means you reduce price in order to either grow market share or meet prices offered by competition on the same products.  Typically a retailer will cut prices in order to attract customers drawn to a lower price.  Magic packs are a classic example in game stores.  Hoping to attract more customers, mainly the price conscious kinds, a retailer cuts the price on Magic boosters to $3.50, 12.5%.  Other stores in the area have three choices:  ignore the price cut and either sacrifice those price conscious customers or determine some other way to retain them, meet the price cut and sacrifice some profits to keep customers, or exceed the price cut to keep those customers and attempt to draw in price conscious customers from the competing store.  If you choose option three, expect the other store(s) to cut their prices to meet or beat yours and, next thing you know, you have a full-fledged price war on your hands.  Great for the consumer, really bad for the store as that money you are giving up from profits is money that would otherwise go into running your store.  Price wars are usually won by the store with the deepest pockets as lesser capitalized give up, though really, no store ever wins a price war (though it is rather good for manufacturers as long as it lasts and as long as no store goes out of business).

So, returning back to the beginning, stores make profits by buying a product as cheaply as possible, selling it for what the market will bear and competing as much as possible on things other than price.  Do that and you have a really good chance of staying in business

Monday, March 28, 2022

How To Get Rich In the Game Industry

 SO you want to open a game store? Much like real estate, the joke goes that the easiest way to make a million in the game industry is to start with $2 million. Very few people get rich in the game industry. The only ones of which I know for sure are Richard Garfield and Peter Adkinson. One of them created Magic: The Gathering and the other one published the same game. Catching lightning like that has happened ones in about 30 years. A goodly number of people in the industry do well enough to have a solidly middle class lifestyle and even more do it because they love it, working very long hours for a lower middle class/upper lower class income. If you want to get into the industry, make sure you have enough capital on hand to cover ALL of your expenses for the first 6 months and do not expect to draw an income from the store for at least 3 years.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Trade Ins

 When you bring stuff into a store for trade or sale, it is generally a good idea to check ahead of time regarding the items they are looking for, so that you do not waste your time or theirs. Case in point, we had a guy bring in a camera to sell to us today. Not something we would deal in at all and we told him that. Calling or contacting the store otherwise ahead of time will save you quite a bit of time.  


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Older Comics and Games

 Why are older comics and games getting so much more valuable? Because they were read and played, often by kids. And Kids are notorious for not taking care of their stuff. Remember how you had to be told by your parents to pick up after yourself when you were young? Nearly everyone who played with a game or read a comic during that time did the same. That meant a lot of games with worn or lost pieces and comics with bent spines and torn pages.

Now, those same kits are 30 years older and looking to revisit their pasts through the games and comics they remember from that time. Unfortunately, those games and comics are seldom in good condition. Ergo the scarcity of games and comics in good condition drives the price up.

We just got in a stack of comics from the 1980s, some of which would be worth $50 or more if in good condition. Unfortunately, it looks as if a bored kid with time on their hands got ahold of them and there are pen marks all over them, making a $50 book worth about $5 or less.  

Comics were designed as disposable literature and much of it was. That is why there are comparatively few of them around.

Monday, March 21, 2022

How People Will Spend Their Dollars

 

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. What do you think? Post in the comments or email castleperilousgames@gmail.com

Friday, March 18, 2022

Emphasizing the "Collectible" in TCG

 

I fear that WOTC/Hasbro has glommed onto the “ collectible” aspect of the collectable card game aspect while downplaying the “game” aspect of it. The introduction of Set Boosters and Collector Boosters do little to enhance gameplay, but instead target the collector market and, while collecting has always been part and parcel of the Magic universe, it was subsidiary to gameplay:  “How will this card improve my deck?” While early sets of Magic did, on occasion, include multiple tyles of the same card, the various season illustrations on Urza’s Tower for example, they were few and far between, with most players happy to have 4 to put into their deck, without worrying about getting all the variants. From what I can tell, WOTC’s current marketing plan, with the introduction of Alchemy  focuses on moving actual play online, as I have had a number of customers comment, while promoting the collectible aspect of the game with a number of variants of each card available with each release. Set boosters and Collector boosters are specifically designed for this market, which, according to WOTC is large enough to drive demand for the two additional varieties of card sets within the past two years to what is essentially a segment of the Magic target market. Add in, by my count, 45 Secret Lair releases in the past year and the Magic market has seen a lot of product flooding into the market within a short period of time.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Grading Comics and Cards

 The average price of a collectible comic book has more than doubled since this time in 2020.  If you want a comic book graded and slabbed, expect to wait 5-6 months to get it back. Cards are even worse. Because of the boom in Pokemon collectability, over the past couple of years, the card grading companies are scrambling to find more staff. Most have doubled their staffs and it still takes about 12 months to get a card graded. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Effects of Inflation on the Industry

 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

Friday, March 11, 2022

New Capenna Date Change

 

Wizards of the Coast has announced it will release the physical version of Magic the Gathering-Streets of New Capenna on April 22 rather than the previously announced date of April 29, leaving the digital release date on April 28 (See Wizards of the Coast Prioritizes FLGS ‘Magic:  The Gathering Prereleases Over Digital Release) Instead of a day after the digital release, stores will get the set almost a week ahead of time. Since spread of information about the physical product is generally slower than information transmitted through the digital realm, meaning we will not see play results moving through the Magic world nearly a quickly as they would if the cards released online first. Online players can build and play decks more quickly and spread information about them much more quickly than physical players can. By delaying digital release, we will likely see even a greater delay in single card prices settling than we do now. As it is, we wait about two weeks before trading for cards from a new set in order to give prices time to settle down. Quite often, especially with Yu Gi Oh!, a hot card spikes high on initial release and then drops in value very soon after. We have graded for brand new cards in the first week a few times in the past and seen the value drop precipitously soon afterward.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Change is Coming

 

Consider this:  in the past it took decades if not centuries for humans to widely adopt technological change. The printing press, telegraph, automobile. Today, however that change can spread in a few decades or less.  The  smartphone is less than two decades old and, according to BankMyCell already over 80% of the population has one. Similarly, according to DataReportal, social media, also less than 2 decades old, is now utilized by over 57% of the world’s population. Countries and private organizations are installing renewable energy sources at a blistering rate. Polio vaccine took two decades to develop, we managed to create one for COVID-19 in under less than a year.

What’s the point? Change is coming at us faster and faster. What took decades can now be done in a year or two. In the game industry, we have seen a massive ramp up in online board and RPG play, watching other people playing RPGs, card and boardgames have become viable means of entertainment and those selfsame people appearing on the streaming platforms you want cane move sales with just a mention of the game. Witness the effect the games sales of just a mention of the Skull card game on TikTok. https://icv2.com/articles/columns/view/50051/rolling-initiative-three-trends-will-likely-continue Only a couple of years ago, only a few games even considered buying and using metal dice in a game, now our store sells 2 to 3 sets a week at a price I would never have thought anyone would pay for a set of dice. Our store has at least 3 Chinese manufacturers contacting us directly want us to place orders for metal dice with them.  10 years ago, there was no way I could feasibly justify purchasing metal dice in quantities to make the buy profitable. Today it is quite feasible.

Similarly with dice towers and dice trays. Both have been available for years but only in the last few years, as a greater number of people sale them in use on various RPG play streaming shows that demand for them increased to the level that made stoking a good selection of them with a dozen or more manufacturers offering both in assorted designs.

So what changes can we expect to see over the next few years? Here are couple of things I think will come about

Reshoring to Mexico—Although not feasible in the immediate future, i.e. next year, I expect to see some boardgame production companies open up factories in Mexico over the next five years and, under the USMCA, companies will see significant tax and cost advantages compared to importing from China. In addition, a much shorter supply chain will shorten the turnaround time. The quicker the US market can get a product, the quicker it can sell, and the quicker channels will need to restock. A shorter supply chain speeds the turnaround process dramatically.

More Kickstarted TCGs-  The success of Flesh and Blood and Metazoo have put dollar signs in the eyes of other creators. https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49780/witness-greatest-show-rathe-next-flesh-blood-set WE have gotten several solicitations from several companies launching their own TCG with funding secured through Kickstarter and I expect to see a glut of these hitting the market over the next few years. Unfortunately for most of them, the “Ladders in the Mind” concept says that most markets have room for a Number 1 and a Number 2 with all other competitors battling it out for third place. Currently we have three battling it out:  Pokemon, Magic and Yu Gi Oh with no indication of any of the three fading away to give space to an upstart. I expect some to gain attention for several months or a year or two and then fade away, much like the The Crow TCG (You did know there was a Crow TCG, right/)

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Used Boardgames

 Just picked up a large collection of used boardgames. Working on processing them now and should have them out on the shelf by Saturday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Masks

 In accordance with the latest recommendations from the CDC, we recommend wearing masks and will provide them on request but no longer require them to shop in the store. We, of course, can change this policy if we see surges in infections and deaths from COVID-19

Monday, February 28, 2022

Cursed City

Games Workshop is going back to print on the Cursed City set. Through March 20 we can take orders for the Cursed City reprint. After March 20, our ordered get locked and we can expect our shipment to arrive about 6 months later, so sometime in early Fall. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

32nd Anniversary Drawing

 We had our 32nd anniversary drawing this afternoon at 4:30 and everyone who could be called has been called. There are three items: Yu Gi Oh Maximum Gold, Nightfall and Marvel Zombies collection, that had phone numbers that we either could not read or did not work. If you put a ticket on one of these items, please check with us to see if you won. For everyone else, we ask that you pickup your items by noon This Thursday

Friday, February 25, 2022

32nd anniversary

 Come in this weekend and get a free Pokemon Button and a free copy of the DCC ?Quick Start Rules. Get  a Free Sirius dice with every 3 stamps earned on your Castle Card. Get a ticket for the Sunday drawing for coming in, wearing a Castle Perilous Shirt, tagging us on social media and for each stamp you earn on your Castle Card. Drawing will take place around 4:30 on Facebook on Sunday

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Aeldari

 If you are wanting any of the new Aeldari (renamed Eldar) on release, leat us know by Thursday as that is the cutoff date for us to get an order in.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Double Feature

 

Innistrad:  Double Feature and Commander Collection Black both released  to an overwhelming “Eh” here at the store. https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49777/wizards-coasts-releases-more-info-magic-the-gathering-innistrad-double-feature From what I have read online, most store have had similar results, posting they have only sold a handful of packs or less. However, a couple did reports great sales, primarily to casual players. As of this writing, we have sold more packs of Commander Collection Black than we have of Innistrad: Double Feature, which is saying something given the price discrepancy. I have also heard of some problems with pack configuration, a few stores reporting packs of all commons or commons and uncommons. Not enough to make it a widespread problem but still more reports than I have heard in the past. As all of the cards, save some lands, appeared in both Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow and both of those sets are still widely and more cheaply available, WOTC has targeted the collector more than the player with this set. They may sell but it may take awhile and store will need patience. Long time store owners and players will remember the catastrophe of Fallen Empires, back when stores order in huge quantities expecting to get allocated down to more reasonable numbers. WOTC told stores that, on this set, finally, they would get what they had ordered. Of course, WOTC had told stores the same thing for the previous few sets but this time they produced enough and stores got swamped in a sea of. Today, for those still have packs, a Fallen Empires booster sells for $25 and a booster box for around $700. Champions of Kamigawa booster boxes, which also sold extremely slowly at the store and which WOTC gave away with orders for a while, now list for $1400 sealed.

The thing with Double Feature is that it will not get reprinted. It is a one and done set printed in limited quantities, though we may see some of the cards make “The List” eventually. This means that in 1-5 years, maybe even later this year if some of the online Magic experts get excited about the set, stores will see a demand for the cards. Several places have said they will buy any unwanted boxes of Double Feature so store feeling they bought too many do have an outlet.

Not game related but as we do sell comics and graphic novels, the recent uptick in interest in the Maus graphic novel bemused me.  https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50294/tennessee-school-board-pulls-maus-from-8th-grade-history-classes  For those who missed the story, a Tennessee school board voted unanimously to pull the book from its library shelves, over the protests of teachers who used the book in their discussion of WW2 and Holocaust, due to obscene language and a tiny picture of the author’s mother, who committed suicide in a bathtub. This news shot Maus back to the top of Amazon’s best seller list and, from what we have seen in the store have heard from other stores, more customers have asked about and bought the book in the past week than have in years. Wil Wheaton is asking his social media followers to buy a copy and ask the shop to lend or give it away to some who asks. Stores nationally have reported more sales in the past week than in the past couple of years.  Nothing sells like controversy. Your thoughts? Post them in the comments or email castleperilousgames@gmail.com

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Deckbuilding Games and the PLC

 

An overheard comment about the introduction of yet another deck building game to the market set me to thinking about the number of deckbuilding games, the product life cycle and what the PLC means for this particular segment of the market.

The product life cycle consists of four stages:  introduction, growth, maturity and decline.  All products go through all four of these stages, some at a faster rate than others (roughly 50,000 new products come onto the market every year, only about 10% of them stay in production for more than five years).

The introductory stage of the PLC is always the most exciting part of a product’s life.  The manufacturer has this cool new idea for a great new product(Dominion) or an interesting take on an already existing one (Ascension).  The manufacturer has (hopefully) playtested it extensively, made mockups or prototypes, lined up a production option, either in-house or outsourced and lined up financing, again either through theirself or, quite commonly today, through an exterior source such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The manufacturer is also all over Twitter, Facebook, TheyTube and any other media source  to which they can get access, talking about this cool new product and trying to get others to do the same.   During this stage, while their sales increases hit double or triple percentages, their expenses far exceed their revenues.  In short, they are losing money on the product until they hit the breakeven point, at which their revenues cover their expenses. 

Now, they move into the growth stage of the product life cycle.  During this stage their promotional efforts slack off as others have, hopefully, picked up on the buzz their original efforts generated for their products.  This means less expenditure on promotion, allowing they to divert more of the gross profits to cover fixed costs.  If they allocated revenues well, they start making a net profit during this stage.  As their product gets wider notice in the market though, sales start to slacken from the triple or high double digit growth they posted after the launch.  They should still see growth in the low double digits though.

The characteristic of the growth stage that makes me think the deckbuilding category is exiting the growth stage and entering the maturity stage of the PLC is that, towards the end of the growth stage, competition products start to enter the market.  Competitors see how well this product has done satisfying consumers and want a piece of the action, so they enter the market with similar products, planning to capture a share.  Currently, I count a minimum of ten deckbuilding games on the market, with more on the way.  Nothing says more clearly that the market for deckbuilding games has matured than the number of companies announcing their entry into the market.

What happens during this stage?  Profits for early entrants into the market continue to increase as their expenses likewise continue to drop.  However, sales increases drop to single digits and start to decline towards the end of the cycle, as the product moves from maturity to decline.  One sure sign that the market has moved from maturity to the decline stage of the PLC is competitors pulling the plug on their products and announced product launches never making it to market. 

During the decline stage, sales drop, either slightly or precipitously and they must decide whether the continued sales justify allocating resources to keep the product available or to harvest the product, cease production and direct those resources to another area.  Deckbuilding games are still far from this stage but it will come, likely sooner than expected.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Change is Coming

 

Consider this:  in the past it took decades if not centuries for humans to widely adopt technological change. The printing press, telegraph, automobile. Today, however that change can spread in a few decades or less.  The  smartphone is less than two decades old and, according to BankMyCell already over 80% of the population has one. Similarly, according to DataReportal, social media, also less than 2 decades old, is now utilized by over 57% of the world’s population. Countries and private organizations are installing renewable energy sources at a blistering rate. Polio vaccine took two decades to develop, we managed to create one for COVID-19 in under less than a year.

What’s the point? Change is coming at us faster and faster. What took decades can now be done in a year or two. In the game industry, we have seen a massive ramp up in online board and RPG play, watching other people playing RPGs, card and boardgames have become viable means of entertainment and those selfsame people appearing on the streaming platforms you want cane move sales with just a mention of the game. Witness the effect the games sales of just a mention of the Skull card game on TikTok. https://icv2.com/articles/columns/view/50051/rolling-initiative-three-trends-will-likely-continue Only a couple of years ago, only a few games even considered buying and using metal dice in a game, now our store sells 2 to 3 sets a week at a price I would never have thought anyone would pay for a set of dice. Our store has at least 3 Chinese manufacturers contacting us directly want us to place orders for metal dice with them.  10 years ago, there was no way I could feasibly justify purchasing metal dice in quantities to make the buy profitable. Today it is quite feasible.

Similarly with dice towers and dice trays. Both have been available for years but only in the last few years, as a greater number of people sale them in use on various RPG play streaming shows that demand for them increased to the level that made stoking a good selection of them with a dozen or more manufacturers offering both in assorted designs.

So what changes can we expect to see over the next few years? Here are couple of things I think will come about

Reshoring to Mexico—Although not feasible in the immediate future, i.e. next year, I expect to see some boardgame production companies open up factories in Mexico over the next five years and, under the USMCA, companies will see significant tax and cost advantages compared to importing from China. In addition, a much shorter supply chain will shorten the turnaround time. The quicker the US market can get a product, the quicker it can sell, and the quicker channels will need to restock. A shorter supply chain speeds the turnaround process dramatically.

More Kickstarted TCGs-  The success of Flesh and Blood and Metazoo have put dollar signs in the eyes of other creators. https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49780/witness-greatest-show-rathe-next-flesh-blood-set WE have gotten several solicitations from several companies launching their own TCG with funding secured through Kickstarter and I expect to see a glut of these hitting the market over the next few years. Unfortunately for most of them, the “Ladders in the Mind” concept says that most markets have room for a Number 1 and a Number 2 with all other competitors battling it out for third place. Currently we have three battling it out:  Pokemon, Magic and Yu Gi Oh with no indication of any of the three fading away to give space to an upstart. I expect some to gain attention for several months or a year or two and then fade away, much like the The Crow TCG (You did know there was a Crow TCG, right/)

Friday, February 11, 2022

Banned Graphic Novels

 In case you are looking for other banned graphic novels to read after Maus, here are several

Bone

The Killing Joke

Y:  The last Man

Sandman:  Preludes and Nocturnes

Watchman

Fun Home

Three Great Things about WizKids

 

For those of you not familiar with them, and most people reading this column are, WizKids is the premier collectable miniatures and dice game company (though I could argue not the first as anyone who dealt with Games Workshop during the 1990s could attest, with the company’s tendency to include multiple poses of the same figure in a sleeve of them and customers trying to get that one particular figure with a Multi-melta or Assault Cannon for their army. A figure holding a Bolter just wouldn’t work.), at one time after the release of DiceMasters producing more dice than any other company in the world.

Anyhow, three things that WizKids does that I really like:

1.        Organized Play website—WizKids has really ramped up their OP program over the past couple of years and has made massive improvements to the website the company uses to track tournament results. The company has even embraced the “gamification” trend of the past few years, awarding badges to players and tournament organizers for “unlocking” achievements in OP. Behavioral research indicates that this actually works in terms of encouraging more people to participate in events in the hope of adding more badges to their collection, much as the Scouts have done for decades.

2.       Summer Campaigns—For the last few years, WizKids has run a massively supported summer Organized Play campaign complete with big cool prizes and limited edition boosters to draw customers into stores. In order to get access to these limited boosters, the customer has to come to the store and play in the event. A few retailers have violated the spirit and letter of the program and WizKids, from what I understand, has been pretty diligent in tracking the violators down and reprimanding or even sanctioning them from participating in further programs.

3.       Release Day Tape—The announcement of this was the thing I referenced earlier that made me happy. As I have noted in other columns, violation of street date, especially with high volume collectible items, is a bane of the retail end of the industry. Putting a notice on the packing tape of each box that the item has a release date and to go to the WizKids website to check it before putting the product inside out for sale will certainly help by giving people one less reason to claim they were unaware of the release date.

Monday, February 7, 2022

3 things for Which I am thankful

 

Since this is the Chinese New Year and I fell like giving thatnks , not that we shouldn’t do it the other 11 months out of the year,  here are 3 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.

2)    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.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Safety Warning

  Saw a couple of men blocking traffic near the intersection late this afternoon. Not sure if they are still in the area but if you are driving through, be warned. One was walking west in the south side lane of West Main with his back to traffic and cars were swerving around him. 

The other was on a bicycle near the intersection of Main and Illinois and decided to lay his bicycle and himself down in the street in front of oncoming traffic. I managed to convince him to get out of the road before he or anyone got hurt, The last I saw he was bicycling against traffic south on Illinois. Still probably a good idea to keep an eye out for either when you are driving through the area.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Space for Gaming

 

One common recommendation proposed by online purchasers to alleviate the travails of the brick and mortar store is to give customers the deep discounts they want while moving to more of an event center or club model, wherein the store provides table space and terrain and other accoutrements and in return the players pay a fee for use of the space. I noticed one poster who said he (or she) would “be happy to give the store a buck or two” as a thank you for using the space. Stores relying on this model in the US have had a notoriously short lifespan and, while some posters indicated this method was wildly successful throughout Europe and they may be  correct. However, when I visited France a few years ago, courtesy of WOTC, and got the opportunity to look at several game stores, I noticed they used the same antiquated model that prevails here in the States, offering both merchandise and event space. In fact, with even higher per square foot rents than found in the US, the more desirable front of the store was given over to merchandise space while event tables got shunted to the rear of the building or even an upstairs location.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Horror Survey

 A past customer is looking for help in finishing her degree at NYU. If you are a horror fan, please fill out the survey at this link .


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Mosnters of the Multiverse

 WOTC managed to take a great idea like Monsters of the Multiverse and distribute it in a horrible fashion. The alternative cover will ONLY be available in the Rule Extension Gift Sets with matching covers for Tasha's Cauldron and Xanathar's Guide. There will not be an separate alternative cover, unless WOTC changes its mind releasing in May when the book releases by itself. This means that people who collect the alternative covers are out of luck. We would normally order about 30 of the alternate art cover to make sure that everyone who wanted one would get it. There is no way we have the capital to order 30 of the $169 gift sets and I doubt that we would have sold enough of the gift sets to justify the order.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Saga Comic Series

     Saga is a wonderful intersection between a great creative team and a publisher willing to take risks.  We follow Alana and Marko, a pair of literal star-crossed lovers, each from opposing sides of a brutal war as they celebrate the birth of what is believed to be an impossible child. Hazel's birth is seen as an affront to the leaders of both sides and they are forced to flee for their lives from forces intent on maintaining the ongoing conflict. This is space opera at the finest with some of the best world building and character work in modern comics. Brian K Vaughn crafts interesting believable and often flawed characters, and Fiona Staples' art gives some of the most creative science-fantasy visuals I have seen in recent years and some of the most memorable creatures in modern sci-fi. One word of warning, this series in strictly intended for mature readers for multiple reasons; good, bad, horny, gross, and weird (often at the same time). Read it for the joy that is Lying Cat if for no other reason!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

eBay store

 In case you want to see the out of print wargames we are listing on Ebay, here is the link to the ebay store. You can also access the store through the link on the CP website.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Used Wargames

 We puchased a large collection of  boardgames and wargames this weekend. Unpunched ones are going in our eBay Store, although you may purchase them in store as well. PUnched and played games are getting listed on the store website and going back in the used game section.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Comic Bundles

 In an effort to clear out some room in the back issue bins, we have made up several boxes of single issue comics. yes, you can buy 10+ pounds of comics, roughtly 4.5 kilos. There are no duplicates in a box, although multiple lboxes are likely  to have duplicates. These are all indpendent and small press books, no Marvel or DC but books like Boom, IDW, Dark Horse, Archie, Eclipse and other publishers.  $49.99 per box

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Unfinity Delayed

 WOTC announced it will not make its projected release date of April 1 2021 with its new Unfinity set.  Given that the company has not had any problems making release date with any other products during the epidemic, except for the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set, this is rather surprising. Maybe orders came in a lot softer than they expected and the company wants to spend a few months pushing for higher orders. Set is now releasing in the second half of 2022

Monday, January 17, 2022

Warhammer 40K League

 If there is enough interest, we will start up a Feb Warhammer 40,000 league with play on Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. No charge and no set point value. Players decide the potin value when they schedule a game. you receive 1 point for playing and 1 point if you win. Winner will see their name go up on the Hall of Heroes Plaque.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Used Boardgames

 We are overstocked on used boardgames at the moment so will hold off on buying large stacks of them for the next couple of weeks, uncil our quantities get to a slightly lower level. We will still be glad to purchase 1 or 2 at a time but not 10. Thanks.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

D&D Price

 Considering changing the charge for playing in one of the store D&D games from the purchase of a $5 Iron rations card to showing the DM a receipt for a $5 purchase that day for a seat at the table. Will run it by our DMs and see what they think.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Bits n' Mortar

 

1)      .  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.If you Purchase a small press RPG from us, ask if it falls under the Bits n' Martar program as you could get a free PDF of the book if it does.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Hobby Games

 

I am still not thrilled with using the term “hobby game” as a descriptor for the type of games most boardgame stores stock but it seems the best one we currently have. About twenty years ago, the accepted term was Eurogame or Euro-style game, but as more American publishing houses released games more reliant on strategy than the luck of a dice roll, that term fell out of favor (We did have a customer last year trading in some boardgames who did refer to his collection of “Eurostyle” and “Ameritrash” games). ICV2 defines “hobby games” as those games produced for the “gamer” market and primarily, although not solely, sold through tabletop game stores.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A Brief History of Kickstarter

 Since it looks as if our back copies or Return to Dark Tower are shipping, I thought a look at the history of Kickstarter was in order:

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.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Are the 1990s Back

 

With the announcement of the introduction of card parallels in Magic sets, I do wonder if anyone overseeing the Magic line at Hasbro/ WOTC remembers the 1990s? https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49954/wotc-adds-card-parallels-magic-the-gathering During that decade, multiple covers, plastic crystals and lenticular covers paved the way for the comic crash of the late 1990s as The Hollywood Reporter points out Happily those days have not returned, though both Dynamite and Valiant are making valiant efforts to bring them back. Similarly as Slate points out, during the same period, sports cards evolved from a humble hobby pursued primarily by boys to something touted by no less than the Wall Street Journal as an “inflation hedge”. Companies such as Upper Deck and DonRuss introduced autograph cards, swatch cards and other chase cards further driving speculation boom, leading to the eventual collapse of the market and cards that sold for hundreds of dollars now worth a fraction of that.

Similarly, I fear that WOTC/Hasbro has glommed onto the “ collectible” aspect of the collectable card game aspect while downplaying the “game” aspect of it. The introduction of Set Boosters and Collector Boosters do little to enhance gameplay, but instead target the collector market and, while collecting has always been part and parcel of the Magic universe, it was subsidiary to gameplay:  “How will this card improve my deck?” While early sets of Magic did, on occasion, include multiple tyles of the same card, the various season illustrations on Urza’s Tower for example, they were few and far between, with most players happy to have 4 to put into their deck, without worrying about getting all the variants. From what I can tell, WOTC’s current marketing plan, with the introduction of Alchemy  focuses on moving actual play online, as I have had a number of customers comment, while promoting the collectible aspect of the game with a number of variants of each card available with each release. Set boosters and Collector boosters are specifically designed for this market, which, according to WOTC is large enough to drive demand for the two additional varieties of card sets within the past two years to what is essentially a segment of the Magic target market. Add in, by my count, 45 Secret Lair releases in the past year and the Magic market has seen a lot of product flooding into the market within a short period of time.

Unlike the sports cards and comic book boom and bust of the 1990s, most of the revenues from the Magic boom funnel into one company so flooding the market with Magic product primarily  benefits WOTC/Hasbro. Given Hasbro’s current market capitalization of $13.6 billion, according to CNN Business, any implosion of the  Magic market would have serious repercussions to the company, especially since much of its current growth has come from the Wizards division, but would not drive the company into bankruptcy, as were a number of 1990’s era sports card and comic publishers after the implosion of their respective markets. Maybe WOTC has done the analysis as to how much Magic product the market can absorb and has determined the company can safely ramp up its number of releases without oversaturating the market. I hope so.

 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Collections

 Remember, we do not look at collections after 8 pm Monday through Saturday or after 5 p.m. on Sunday. We are getting ready to start closing procedures then and looking at cards or games delays the process if you wuold like us to look over a quantity of books or cards, please call and arrange for a time for us to look them over.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Food Expiration Dates

 Interesting bit of information "best by" dates on food have no consistance and not even the same menaing from state to state. the only product with standarized expiration dates are infant formula. The best by dates were not even originally offered as consumer infromation. They were included on food products in a code that grocers could read to allow them to rotate products so as to move the older packages of food to the front of the shelf and sell them. Consumers leaned about the codes and started inquiring as to how to read them so over time, producers started putting the dates on the package in plain language to use as a marketing tool so that consumers would buy the newer proudcts thinking they were fresher. In actually, this is just a case of marketing affecting consumer behavior, negatively, as now we throw away food that has passed its "best by" date, in in all likelihood the food is still good.