Monday, January 29, 2024

Metazoo shutters

 Maker of the Metazoo TCG has abruptly shut down. The company got a lot of attention during the early years of its 4 years run with 1st edition boxes selling for hundreds of dollars. Last summer they were touting the acquisition of the Hello Kitty license and were offering a premium bundle with a MSRP of $150. Then on Black Friday weekend, the company sold those bundles for $30, really undercutting the distributors that bought into the product

Apparently, it has been at least six months since the company has fulfilled any pre-orders placed through its website. So much for its hopes of becoming the next Pokemon

Sunday, January 28, 2024


 As long as I am reminising, when Magic the Gathering first came out, our sales representative for our supplier could not explain what it was.  "Well, it's this card game and you buy decks and booster packs for it and construct a deck from them."  This was before anyone had any idea about what a booster pack was or what "Construct a deck" meant. As the encouragement of our supplier, we brought in 1 deck of Alpha and 2 booster packs. Not boxes, packs. And they sat there. And we almost forgot about them.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

D&D at WalMart

Dungeons and Dragons may seem mainstream today but it was also suprisingly widely accepted in the early 1980s. When I worked for Wal-Mart in the early 1980s, I had played D&D and AD&D in college but got rid of all my materials when I relocated. That didn't last very long of course and within a year after going to work at Wal-mart, I started playing again. However, was mildly sprised to find Wal-mart stocking the basic D&D boxed sets in the toy department. Never saw any books or modules, likely because the buyers could not figure out what they were but boxed sets were close enough to board games that the buyer could at least approximate them.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Murders at Karlov Manors

 Here is a breakdown of where to find what cards in Murders at Karlov Manor.  Melik, Refoged Researcher; Tomik, Wielder of Law; and Voja, Jaws of the Conclave will only be found in pre-release kits and cannot be used during pre-release events, although they are legal in other tournaments than the pre-release

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Ravnica Remastered

 We and disribution are sold out of Collector boosters for this set. We only have about a dozen Draft booster packs left and are not sure if we will be able to restock when we sell out of them.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Bloom off Lorcana


It looks as if the bloom is off the Disney Lorcana rose. Restocks of Chapter 2 Rise of the Floodborn boosters hit store shelves this week and, based on the price drop for booster boxes online, some people ordered way too many of them. Prices for sealed booster boxes are hovering in the range of $140 to $150 per box with Chapter One booster boxes selling slightly higher at about $160. We will have to see if the trend continues with the Chapter Three Into the Inklands set. From the pricing I am seeing for pre-orders of Into the Inklands, it appears this pricing trend for Disney Lorcana will continue. We are going to see pricing significantly above Ravensburger’s MSRP for the initial release of a set followed by a drop of 40% in prices upon the receipt of a subsequent release of the set. Since we only see Troves and Gift Sets at the initial release, we are still seeing them selling for significantly above MSRP, but not decks and booster boxes.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Pre-order Declines


. I have noticed , and have seen confirming comments from other stores, a noticeable drop-off in preorders of booster boxes, especially draft. Our pre-orders on draft boxes have dropped to nil and our pre-orders on set and collector boosters of new sets of Magic the Gathering have dropped by 80%. I am not sure how much essentially making pre-release weekend into release weekend has to do with this, but it does not appear to have helped. Online sellers cutting the price on booster boxes to $10 to $20 over costs does not help, although, since most online sells appear to adhere to the restriction that they cannot sell until the official release date, that does give brick and mortar stores a bit of a leg up. I am not sure if a week’s delay in receiving product outweighs the extra $40 to $80 the customer pays instore for a booster box. I have read of some stores eschewing the sale of booster boxes altogether, preferring to sell Magic by the pack, which offers a better margin, albeit with a bit more labor and smaller sales. A few stores have even said they opted to drop Magic and other TCGs altogether, preferring to shift their focus to other non-collectible games that generally require much less effort to sell.. if you are going to sell TCGs, and make that your focus, you must invest in a decent singles selection, play space and organized play, all of which cost extra money. Magic has gone through a slump like this before. Of course, there were not so many variations of Magic  for retailers to consider.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Star Wars Pre-release Kit


The store received a pre-release kit from Fantasy Flight Games for the company’s upcoming release of its Star Wars Unlimited Collectable Card Game. The kit comes with a poster, a window cling and a couple of sign up sheets for those interested in the game to leave their contact information. Foregoing my doubts regarding the viability of the game, there are a few problems with the materials I would like to point out. Before diving into those though, I do want to mention that I wish other companies would provide materials to stores sufficiently far in advance that we can use them to promote the game. That being said:

1.       Window Cling—the provided window cling is about 18’ by 12” which is a bit big to affix to any in-store glass surfaces. It is designed so that the back of the cling, rather than the front, adheres to the window. The only glass found in most stores are the front windows, maybe the door and display cases inside the premises. No store is going to want to put the cling on the front of a display case, as that obscures the view of the items inside, rather defeating the purpose of a display case. A front window or door would be a perfect place to display the cling, save for the fact that the back side is the side designed to adhere to the glass, meaning it would have to go on the outside of the door or window, where the weather will likely pull it off in a few hours, leaving it lying on the sidewalk or street. Designing it so that the front of the image clings to the window means stores can place it on the inside of the glass, keeping it on display longer.

2.       Promotional Poster—While I am a big fan of promotional posters, I am an even bigger fan of well designed promotional posters (See “A Tale of Two Posters”) which the one for Star Wars Unlimited is not. First, the poster gives the viewer no indication as to what it is promoting. It features artwork, not photos mind you but artwork of the three iconic Star Wars heroes:  Luke, Leia and Han. So far, so good. Anyone who has paid attention to pop culture over the past 50 years should recognize them, although it seems to me a photo of them would be even more recognizable. Maybe the actors or studio would not include actual character photos with the license (This happened at least once before. When Thunder Mountain Games released the Highlander Trading Card Game lo these many years ago, they could not get the rights from Sean Connor to put a photo of his character, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, on a card, so Thunder Mountain Games just used a black silhouette instead of a photo, along with the name and card effects). That is a minor caveat though. My major problem with the poster is that it tells me nothing about the product. A customer glancing at it has no idea what Star Wars Unlimited is. No mention of a collectible card game, no pictures of cards, not even a QR code an interested customer could use to find out more. Is Star Wars Unlimited a boardgame, video game, RPG, comic, graphic novel, Funko POP line? A poster is a great opportunity to sell your product or at least generate interest in it, but it has to give the customer some indication as to why they should be interested.

Maybe we will get a second promotional kit with some materials further helping to develop interest in the product prior to the release. I hope so as I would like to see the game do well.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Open Today

We are open today and will make the back room available should you need a warm place to sit or a place to recharge your phone.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Carbondale Eclipse Card

 In case you want to get an early start on your upcoming Eclipse festivities, we have a free "Carbondale Eclipse" Cards Against Humanity card. Just stop in and ask for one.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Ravnica Remastered

 We have had a few people call inquiring about pre-release events for Ravnica Remastered. There was no official pre-release for the set, as it is not a set in STandard roatation. What happened was that Wizards Premiums stores, as one of the benefits of that status, got their boxes in a week before the general release and were able to sell and run events the weekend of Jan 5th. 

We will have our draft and collector boosters in this Friday and will run a draft on Saturday the 13th at 1 p.m.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Player Materials

 I really hope WotC decides to publish more player focused materials for D&D this year. Of the four releases in 2023, only Glory of the Giants and Planescape had any player character materials. Players still bought the books but it seems a shame to shell out the $60 for a book with only a fraction of the book aimed at players, which make up the far larger segment of the market

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Deck of Many Things

 We will recieve the alterative cover of the Deck of Many Things this Friday and should have them available for purchase at 10 a.m. The regular cover, for whatever reason, has been delayed.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Internet Sales Growth Continues


1.       When I questioned my marketing students this past semester as to what percentage of retail sales currently occurred online, their guesses ranged from 25% to 70%. The actual figure, as of 2022, was 14% but it ticked up sharply this year, reaching 14%, with online holiday sales seeing an increase of some 58% on the Saturday before Christmas over the same day 2022. Concurrent with, or in response to, this I expect to see even more stores moving to the retailtainment model, not only selling games but offering more events beyond the card tournaments that are a fixture now. More stores will incorporate parties and food service into their model, even offering alcohol sales and consumption when local laws allow.