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



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


 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


 Not game related but as we do sell comics and graphic novels, the recent uptick in interest in the Maus graphic novel bemused me.  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. 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