Sunday, July 31, 2011

GENCON Trade Day

If you are a gamer, you might have noticed that GENCON is coming up this week. For retailers, besides the biggest game show in the US, it's also the first of three Trade Day events, one day programs designed to offer seminars to retailers on such topics as building gaming communities, using email more effectively and expanding product lines, as well as presentations from assorted manufacturers. GENCON's Trade Day event appears solely sponsored by the convention, while the next two are a conjoined effort between GAMA and Wizard World, offering trade day sessions the day before the start of the Chicago Comic Con a week after GENCON and the Mid-Ohio Comic Con in Columbus Ohio this October.

From the looks of things, the two Wizard World presentations focus on retailer and manufacturer presentations, while the GENCON event adds a track in for educators and librarians as well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Information Shortage on New Products.

Working on putting in an order for new releases from our distributors and find that their catalogs (and websites for that matter) lack some very important information.  I can't truly blame the distributors  because they rely on the manufacturer to provide information information about the games (or other products listed).  However, in looking over one distributor's pre-order catalog, I find a brief blurb describing how cool the game is and, in most but not all cases, a photo. 

However, missing in almost all case is important information that people buying the game would want to know before they purchased it.  How many people can play?  What age groups can play?  How long should a game take to play?  That is important information a customer would want to have before they bought any boardgame off my shelves and I would really like to have the same information before deciding whether it is a good fit for my store or not.

In the case of RPG supplements, especially if it is a new company or one whose product I have not stocked previously, I want to know how many pages.  Color or black and white?  Is it suitable for beginning players or more experienced ones?

In both cases, I can ask my sales representative but it's woefully inefficient to expect them to go over over every items in the monthly pre-order form, especially when the manufacturer/publisher should have included such information.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lair Assault for D&D 4th Edition

WOTC's Lair Assault is designed for more experienced 4th edition D&D players, preferable for a group that has played together a few sessions as the program empathizes both character and group design as well as tactical skills.  Each month offers a very difficult challenge to the play group, with a number of puzzles and the extreme likelihood of defeat of the players, with the opportunity to come back and give the challenge another go later in the month if they fail the first time.  Failure is expected and players are expected to tailor character design to specifically overcome the challenge and plan tactics to bring to the game outside of the session, which should last 2-3 hours, roughly twice as long as a session of D&D Encounters.  WOTC recommends that only the most tactically minded players and GMs play in a Lair Assault Challenge, as less experienced players would quickly be defeated while an inexperienced DM might have problems with the complexity of the adventure.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Have a Dice Day!

Just looking at the number of different lines of dice we stock in the store.  Chessex is the dominant brand and our best selling line, mainly, I think, because of the plastic box packaging and the new color sets that are released several times a year.  Surprisingly, at least here, the more expensive speckled and marbled colors outsell the flat colored opaque ones.  I think our customers like to go through the sets and find one they haven't seen before to add to their collections.  The flat colored opaques are common enough that everyone can find a set if they wish, but a Glow Blue/Yellow, now that's a color you won't easily find in other dice bags around the table.

Koplow is a dice line that has existed much longer than the Chessex line, as Koplow dates back to 1974, while Chessex was founded in 1987. Due to Chessex' much wider availability through distribution in the 1980s and 1990s, more stores adopted the Chessex line over Koplow.  Koplow dice, for our store, have never achieved more than marginal sales with their Train Dice Game the best selling item that we stock from the company.

A second line that does OK for us, not nearly as well as the Chessex colors, is the Valiant Games line.  For years, Valiant allows us to custom design sets for the store and even tag them with the store logo. Their pricing structure allows us to offer a 9 dice bagged set with our logo on the hang tag for the same MSRP as a similar Chessex set.  However, customers still seem to prefer the Chessex line, likely becasue of the familiarity of the packaging and the ever changing selection of colors.

A third line that did much better when it first released was the Crystal Caste.  The company came out with a line of oblong dice that really piqued customer interest.  A bit pricier than the more standard Chessex and Koplow dice, the Chrystal Caste dice sold extremely well when first released, but that fascination waned and over the last few years, thought it still sells the oblong crystal dice, Christal Caste has recast itself, so to speak, as a more mainstream dice company, offering dice styles similar to those from Valiant, Chessex and Koplow, as well as a few innovations, such as the d1000 and semi-precious stone dice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Upcoming Fantasy Flight Games

Coming in August


Gears of War

$69.95 SRP


The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus

$49.99 SRP

Gears of War: The Board Game, designed by Corey Konieczka, is based on the wildly popular third-person shooter by Epic Games.

One to four players take on the roles of COG soldiers cooperating to destroy the Locust horde, and must work together to complete missions against an ingeniously challenging and varied game system. In Gears of War: The Board Game, you’ll relive classic moments from Gears of War and Gears of War 2 – Roadie Run into cover, spray your enemy with blind fire, or rip him in half with your Lancer’s chainsaw! In Gears of War: The Board Game you must fulfill one of seven randomly constructed missions, and support your fellow COGs as your team engages an unflinching enemy in furious, white-knuckle firefights!

Only through teamwork and communication will you gain a tactical advantage, completing your mission and striking a blow for humanity. You’ll need every soldier you can get if you hope to send the Locust horde back to their holes. Leave no man behind!

Hidden for centuries below the shifting Egyptian sands, the Pyramid of Horus sat undisturbed until a research expedition uncovered it. Filled with treasures, the pyramid is now a beacon summoning a group of exceptional Adventurers eager to put their hands on the priceless archaeological relics contained within.

Descend into an ancient Egyptian pyramid with The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus, a standalone board game of danger and exploration for 2-6 players. In this fast-paced and tense experience, whichever player escapes from the pyramid alive and with the highest Treasure value wins the game. Will you emerge bearing priceless archeological treasures or will you succumb to the mortal dangers waiting inside?

As an Adventurer you can explore the pyramid, searching for archaeological relics hidden or buried in four chambers or corridors. But perils haunt your pursuit of treasure, and falling stones threaten to trap you inside forever if they obstruct the only way out. Adventurers must also be wary of hidden threats that can wound them and living mummies who roam the corridors!

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Arcana Revised Edition

$34.95 SRP


Hey, Thats My Fish!

$11.95 SRP

Are you ambitious and cunning enough to rule the city of Cadwallon?

In the revised edition of Arcana 2-4 guild leaders send their loyal Agents into the districts of Cadwallon to entice, bribe, or win over powerful citizens, buy precious treasures, and utilize locations. Whichever player earns the most victory points wins!

This vibrant game creates a fantastical atmosphere for players to enjoy while they attempt to best their opponents through strategic card play. Make your guild the most influential by winning Stake cards and strengthening your deck with impressive Personalities, advantageous Locations, or tempting Relics to use in bribery.

The revised edition of Arcana introduces two new guilds, and six new rule options for players to choose from, or play with them all for a more challenging experience. Players can customize their guild, fulfill objectives, recruit Militia, invoke the ability of their Guild Masters, affect game play through random events, or optimize tactical strategy through card discards. Which variant will you use in your game?

Hey, That’s My Fish! is an engaging, award-winning board game of strategic fish hunting, in which 2-4 players control determined penguins hungry for their next meal on a bustling Antarctic ice floe.

Since Hey, That’s My Fish! was originally published in 2003, it has become widely popular as an engrossing and strategic board game for casual family and tactical play. This definitive edition of the game includes 60 hexagons to create your ice floe with new artwork renditions of fish, 1 rules sheet, and 16 newly sculpted, colorful and animated penguin miniatures.

Hey, That’s My Fish! is frenzied fun for any setting, from a light and family-friendly experience to a tense and strategically satisfying face-off. Easy to learn, this exciting board game is accessible for players of any experience level, from casual to competitive gamer. Hey, That’s My Fish! is also infinitely replayable; its randomly constructed board of 60 hexagonal tiles will have you honing your strategy with every new map.

Can you waddle your way to dinner? Secure the best fishing ground with Hey, That’s My Fish!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

August Munchkin

Expected in August


Munchkin Conan the Barbarian Booster

$5.95 SRP


Munchkin Zombies 2 - Armed and Dangerous

$19.95 SRP

At last . . . the Munchkin meets the mightiest barbarian of all! In collaboration with Paradox Entertainment, producers of the new Conan the Barbarian movie, Steve Jackson Games brings Conan into the world of Munchkin!

Wear the Mask of Acheron or the Barbarian Booties! Wield the Sword of Corin or the Stygian Talons! Defeat the Sand Warriors, the hideous Dweller . . . or Khalar Zym himself! The backs of these cards match the original fantasy-based Munchkin set, but of course Conan can kick monster butt in any Munchkin game!

Return of the (un)Living Munchkins! Munchkin Zombies 2 – Armed and Dangerous includes 112 new cards for Munchkin Zombies.

Players can wield their Trained Attack Flies and Prehensile Tongue against the Zombie Gamer, or be the Rankest of the Rank and use the Power of SCIENCE against the dread Survivalist. Includes a new Power, “Hungry,” and a new Mojo . . . the Patchwork Zombie! This is an expansion for Munchkin Zombies.

It is not a stand-alone game.

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+6 Bag O Munchkin Level Counters

$9.99 SRP

The newest “+6 Bag” Munchkin game accessory is here!

The +6 Bag o’ Munchkin Level Counters gives players attractive, easy-to-read level counter dials themed to match six of the most popular Munchkin core sets.