Sunday, December 31, 2023

Hasbro Layoffs


In case you missed it, Hasbro gave about 1100 of its employees an early Christmas present by announcing their layoff off last Monday.  (See “Hasbro to Lay Off Another 1100 Employees”). From the lists of those laid off I have seen, it looks like a lot of design staff from the Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering development and promotional area, which seems silly to me since those departments are where Hasbro is currently making its profits.  Should you want to read it, here is the email announcing the layoffs from Hasbro CEO Chris Cox (copied from the Wall Street Journal):


A year ago, we laid out our strategy to focus on building fewer, bigger, better brands and began the process of transforming Hasbro. Since then, we’ve had some important wins, like retooling our supply chain, improving our inventory position, lowering costs, and reinvesting over $200M back into the business while growing share across many of our categories. But the market headwinds we anticipated have proven to be stronger and more persistent than planned. While we’re confident in the future of Hasbro, the current environment demands that we do more, even if these choices are some of the hardest we have to make.

Today we’re announcing additional headcount reductions as part of our previously communicated strategic transformation, affecting approximately 1,100 colleagues globally in addition to the roughly 800 reductions already taken.

Our leadership team came to this difficult decision after much deliberation. We recognize this is heavy news that affects the livelihoods of our friends and colleagues. Our focus is communicating with each of you transparently and supporting you through this period of change. I want to start by addressing why we are doing this now, and what’s next.

Why now?

We entered 2023 expecting a year of change including significant updates to our leadership team, structure, and scope of operations. We anticipated the first three quarters to be challenging, particularly in Toys, where the market is coming off historic, pandemic-driven highs. While we have made some important progress across our organization, the headwinds we saw through the first nine months of the year have continued into Holiday and are likely to persist into 2024.

To position Hasbro for growth, we must first make sure our foundation is solid and profitable. To do that, we need to modernize our organization and get even leaner. While we see workforce reductions as a last resort, given the state of our business, it’s a lever we must pull to keep Hasbro healthy.

What happens next?

While we’re making changes across the entire organization, some functional areas will be affected more than others. Many of those whose roles are affected have been or will be informed in the next 24 hours, although the timings will vary by country, in line with local rules and subject to employee consultations where required. This includes team members who have raised their hands to step down from their roles at the end of the year as part of our Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VRP) in the U.S. We’re immensely grateful to these colleagues for their many years of dedication, and we wish them all the best.


The majority of the notifications will happen over the next six months, with the balance occurring over the next year as we tackle the remaining work on our organizational model. This includes standardizing processes within Finance, HR, IT and Consumer Care as part of our Global Business Enablement project, but it also means doing more work across the entire business to minimize management layers and create a nimbler organization.

What else are we doing?

I know this news is especially difficult during the holiday season. We value each of our team members – they aren’t just employees, they’re friends and colleagues. We decided to communicate now so people have time to plan and process the changes. For those employees affected we are offering comprehensive packages including job placement support to assist in their transition.

We’ve also done what we can to minimize the scale of impact, like launching the VRP and exploring options to reduce our global real estate footprint. On that note, our Providence, Rhode Island office is currently not being used to its full capacity and we’ve decided to exit the space at the end of the lease term in January 2025. Over the next year, we’ll welcome teams from our Providence office to our headquarters down the road in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It’s an opportunity to reshape how we work and ensure our workspace is vibrant and productive, while reflecting our more flexible in-person cadence since the pandemic.

Looking ahead

As Gina often says, cost-cutting is not a strategy. We know this, and that’s why we’ll continue to grow and invest in several areas in 2024.

As we uncover more cost savings, we’ll invest in new systems, insights and analytics, product development and digital – all while strengthening our leading franchises and ensuring our brands have the essential marketing they need to thrive well into the future.

We’ll also tap into unlocked potential across our business, like our new supply chain efficiency, our direct-to-consumer capabilities, and key partnerships to maximize licensing opportunities, scale entertainment, and free up our own content dollars to drive new brand development.

I know there is no sugar-coating how hard this is, particularly for the employees directly affected. We’re grateful to them for their contributions, and we wish them all the best. In the coming weeks, let’s support each other, and lean in to drive through these necessary changes, so we can return our business to growth and carry out Hasbro’s mission.




A couple of thoughts:

1.       While Cox does mention increased supply chain efficiencies (which I bet still rely heavily upon southeast Asia) and increased direct to consumer capabilities (i.e. promotion and sales) there is no mention of any increase in focus on the retail part of the channel. We have already see increase focus on B2C, with an increase in monthly Secret Lair releases and Hasbro Pulse, so it will be interesting to see what else Hasbro moves into the direct channel

2.       No use of the term firing anywhere in the letter, just reductions and transitions.

3.       If a business needs to cut costs, letting staff go is almost always the first option as payroll is always “low hanging fruit” in an organization. The supply chain modifications mentioned by Cox usually take years to make, hence why we saw no rapid shifts in distribution during epidemic (“See JIT, ROE and the Pretty Overblown Trucker Shortage”)

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Star Wars Unlimited

 Fantasy Flight Games is certainly pushing their Star Wars Unlimited card game. We are going to go light on it since we have had zero interest in the game so far. They are one of the few companies to send out promotional cutomer oriented material for it in advance of the game though. Will be interesting to see how the game does

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Christmas Eve

 We are open regular hours Christmas Eve, noon to 6 p.m. with D&D at 12:30 and Magic Commander at 3 p.m. On sale are Magic Pre-release Kits and LOTR Scene boxes, both at 50% off.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Dice Calendars

 Before they go into storage until next year, you can pick up dice calendars and Pokemon calendars for half off Dec. 23. 

Also if you come in and play Pokemon between 11 and 1, we will give you a free Pokemon Prize pack. You can also get one by spending $100 on Pokemon in one purchase.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Elite Trainer Kits

 today only  Pokemon Elite Trainer Kits are 50% off

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

D20 Day

 Celebrate D20 day with our d20 sale. Buy a red canvas bag for $10, fill it to the brim, roll a d20 and take that percentage off  the contents of the bag. Castle Cards and Prefered Customer discounts apply.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Yu Gi Oh Sale

 Tomorrow, December 19th. Take 25% off the Yu Gi Oh Legendary Collection and Legendary Duelist Boxes. In stock quantities only.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Amy Dallen

 sorry to see Amy Dallen was fired from WOTC. She was a producer and host on D&D Beyond, which likely mean they are 1 cutting back on the platform or 2. shopping around for less expensive talent.

Friday, December 15, 2023

WotC Layoffs

 Here is a list of a very few of the 1200 layoffs at Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast this week. According to what I can see from the list, a lot of people in their art department got axed. It also looks as if most of the tose cut came from the Dungeons and Dragons side of the company.  I hope this does not mean we will see a lot of AI gnerated art in future D&D releases.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

D20 Day

 On December 20th, (d20, get it?), buy one of our canvas shopping bags for $10 (proceeds go to Good Samaritan House), fill it with whatever you wish from the store, as long as your purchases are not falling out of the bag, then roll a twenty sided die and take that percentage off everything in the bag. People with a Preferred Customer card get a +5 and advantage on their roll.

Yu Gi Oh

 To celebrate Christmas, tomorrow, December 15, all in stock Yu gi Oh sealed booster boxes are 25% off. Quantities are limited.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Magic Scene Boxes

 Looking for a gift for the Magic player that they haven't already puchased for themselves. Pick up a Lord of the Rings Magic Scene Box for them. It is a cool item but not one a Magic player would generally purchase. 25% off only on December 14.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Advent Dice Sets

 On Dec. 13 both of our Advent dice calendars will be on sale for 25% off. Castle cards do apply.

Oddly, we could not keep these in stock last year but have moved much more slowly for 2023.

Monday, December 11, 2023


 We have been waiting on Frosthaven, the sequel to Gloomhaven, for almost a year and our allocated copies arrived today. We also got two sets of removable stickers, allowing for replay of the game. Even at $249.99, we expect these to sell out soon as we have had customers waiting on the game for almost a year

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Magic Promo

 Through Christmas, for each $50 you spend on Magic, you will receive 1 older Magic promo card. Spend $100 get 2 cards and so forth. Quantities are limited though.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Cruella DeVille

 A letter from the writer of the new Cruella DeVille comic. We are taking pre-orders for it:

You might know me as a comic artist on titles like Marvel Action: Captain Marvel and most recently the ongoing Harley Quinn with the incredible Tini Howard. But because I love working (a bit too much) and love to tell stories, I dip my toes in the writing pool from time to time too. I also have a deep love for complicated characters, the ones that have multiple layers, the ones that switch from being good to being bad, because I want to understand the why of it all.

When I received an email from Dynamite with the opportunity to write Cruella De Vil, “YES!” was the obvious answer. First of all, getting an offer to write her felt like an incredible new challenge, and I love a challenge. But mostly, I’m deeply attached to the original 101 Dalmatians movie, and Cruella is a staple of the Disney Villains. She embodies the word FASHION, which is one of my passions. There was truly no way for me to say no.

But… What could I really write about a would-be puppy kidnapper?

Well… not to play De Vil’s advocate (see what I did there?) Cruella technically never hurt the Dalmatians. Even though she steals the show, the dogs are the main attraction and I wanted to keep this sort of canine connection with her. She has a maniacal personality and short temper which makes for really great comedy. In my head there was no way that the dogs of London would let her get away with kidnapping a litter of puppies, so of course they would try to ruin her life at any given occasion.

This is pretty much what we are focusing on in this story, it’s an arc about a desire for redemption, in a true Cruella way. Which means it’s showy, grandiose…but ultimately fabricated. Anything to better project her perfect public image, and it will fail… every time. It’s a nostalgic adventure for the people who grew up with the movie as many familiar faces will appear, but also an opportunity to extend Cruella’s story with many newcomers both human and four legged.

And the art... my gosh the ART. Miriana Puglia is truly incredible at storytelling, and body language. Every character is so dynamic and alive, they practically pop out of the page. Each dog emanates so much personality, and Cruella’s mannerism and lunacy shine in every panel.

Amusing, charming and a good amount of crazy are the three words I would use to describe this story. Each member of the team that made this book surely had to have had fun working on it, and I think readers will enjoy it too!

Sweeney Boo

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Commander Decks Restock

 Rather suprised to get in an unexpected restock of some out of print Universes Beyond Commander Decks. We got in a few displays of the Doctor Who, LOTR and Warhammer 40,000 sets Looks like 2 displays of each so get them before they are gone.

Monday, December 4, 2023

D&D Stamps

 If you have been playing D&D for a long time, you remember when players were considered the "weird ones" in the community. Now, the game has gone so mainstream that the USPS is releasing a series of stamps honoring the 50th anniversary of its release.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Lights Fantastic

  Parade got over suprizingly quickly this year and crowds did not appear as heavy as in past years. Everything was cleared out by a bit after 8 p.m. I did hear preliminary attendance figures were 20,000 attendees, making it the largest crowd in years.

We normally make the store bathrooms available to parade atendees and usually have a dozen or so people take advantage of the offer. This year only 2-3 did. People did get an early start on the Cookie Walk as we had people stopping by storly after three. We did have plenty of cookies and cider left over as I heard a couple of other locations did as well.

Saturday, December 2, 2023


 We have some $5 off coupons left so stop in on Dec. 3rd, make at least a $10 purchase and we will give you a coupon good for $5 off a $25 purchase made between Dec. 4th and December 8.

Friday, December 1, 2023

DecK of Many Things

 Accordign to this notice from WotC, the Deck of ManyThings is now scheduled to release on January 5. Appears there were problems with the quality of the first production run. If you would like to purchase one of these as a Christmas present, you may pay for it at the store and we will give you a card and gift receipt with a note giving the bearer the right to pick up a copy of the set upon release.