Monday, March 25, 2013

Games Workshop Terms

Received an email from Games Workshop stating that our stockist agreement superseded the terms and conditions email they sent out last week.  Also that the terms and conditions contract did not stop stores from dealing in used miniatures. 

For those of you who are not retailers, this was important as freight charges are a major concern to game store such as ours.  The new terms and conditions agreement sent out by GW limited stores to only one freight free shipment per week and that had to exceed $400.  This would limit the number of orders the store would put in, as we often do not need to order that much Games Workshop merchandise at a time. We would have likely shipped to putting in an order every other week to meet the new minimums, rather than weekly as we do now, making it take longer for restocks to come in.  The restatement essentially returns everything to where it was before.

Another problem with the new terms and conditions as written was it said stores cannot open packages of GW miniatures and sell them outside of the package.  As written, this appeared to prevent stores from dealing in used miniatures, which by their very nature, are sold out of the package.  As written, the new terms and conditions would have stopped us from buying and selling used GW miniatures, if we wanted to remain in good standing as a GW account.

For stores not selling online, their status with Games Workshop has returned to quo.  For stores selling online, however, the terms and conditions make it almost  impossible to continue doing business.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New For Shadowrun

Several interesting items coming out from Catalyst Game Labs this year or theYear of Shadowrun, as they are calling it. First is the 6th edition rulebook. No indication Chet as to what changes we can expect from 5th edition and the projected price is $15 more than the current edition.

Shadowrun enters the deck building genre with a cooperative DBG titled Shadowrun Crossfires, scheduled to release about the same time as the new edition of the RPG rules. We can also expect the return of the Shadowrun novel, with omnibus collections of a number published durning the '90s as well as new releases.

This fall,there's Sprawl Gangers, a skirmish miniatures combat game, somewhat reminiscent of the old Shadowrun DMZ game. A point based game, the rules allow a player to upgrade a miniature's abilities based on resources gained in previous games.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Coming of Kaijudo

WotC is once again pushing the re-launch of Dual Masters, now called Kaijudo with a pre-release event for the set on March 16.  The game has not gotten much traction here but we will see how giving out free decks and promo cards does to jump start it (again).  WoTC first pushed Dual Masters back around 2000 with a huge promotional event including multiple free booster tournaments but the game quickly disappeared once the freebies did.

Pity, as it is a pretty good game, combining aspects of both Magic and Pokemon (making it one of the top selling games in its home country of Japan).  However, it lacks both the complexity of Magic and the cute factor of Pokemon, which may be why it didn't take off here the first time.  In general, marketing research shows there is only room for two top products in a category.  In the CCG area, those spots, in the specialty game channel, are held by Magic and Yu Gi Oh and in the mass channel, it's Pokemon and Magic.  Kajuido will find either one tough to displace.

Still , we will host the Pre-release event on March 16.  Come in and get a free deck of Kaijudo and a promo card.  Play Kaijudo and fill out your Achievement Card to earn a second promo card.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RIP Phyllis Opolko

If you worked in the gaming or comics industry, you knew Philis Opolko, senior marketing manager at Alliance Distribution.  I had the pleasure of knowing her for several years, mainly in conjunction with the annual Alliance Open House, for which she recruited me to speak several times.  More than anything else, I remember her for the annual charity auction at the Open House.  She always managed to convince companies to donate all sorts of cool items to the auction which raised thousands of dollars for the CBLDF, among other organizations.

Good by Phyllis, you will be missed.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

International TableTop Day

What has become International TableTop Day was first announced by TableTop associate producer Boyan Radakovich at the Alliance Open House last fall during his presentation about the TableTop YouTube channel.  Among other topics, he mentioned plans for a TableTop Day either in November or sometime in 2013.  Well, as you may have noticed November came and went with no TableTop Day, though with a TableTop/Geek & Sundry promotional tie-in with Target.
Then, just last week, shortly after TableTop relaunched after several weeks on hiatus, came the announcement of International TableTop Day. At first it appeared a joint promotion with Alliance Game Distribution since Alliance was the only source for the TableTop Day Retail Launch and Premium Launch Kits and was the first organization in the retail industry to promote the event.
However, in recent days, I have seen promotion of the event  from other distributors and Geek & Sundry has opened up a website allowing anyone-retail stores, game clubs, private groups- to schedule an International TableTop Day event, though without access to the launch kits, unless they have an Alliance account.
I debated signing up for the event because, though I have been a fan of TableTop and what it brings to the industry, the descriptions of the launch kits did not offer much information regarding what the event or what came in the kit.  From the description of the Retail Launch Kit:
Retail Launch Kit will include game giveaways and a marketing kit. Marketing kits include event posters, event window clings, handouts, and shelf talkers.
See, no description of the game giveaways or illustrations of what the promotional material looks like.  Ergo, though I assume the giveaways will tie into games Wil Wheaton has played on TableTop, we have no idea which ones so can’t set up games in-store to take advantage of the giveaways.
The blurb for the Premium launch kit makes it a bit more desirable:
: Premium Launch Kits include the following - Eligible retail stores will upload their information to the Geek & Sundry Store Locator and be listed as an Event Center for TableTop Day; retailers will also receive one backlit Geek & Sundry sign. Retailers will be included in a live-streaming event: a G&S Representative will contact the store during their event (Free air time for the store – huge perk!). The Premium Launch Kit also includes everything in the base Retail Launch Kit. This Kit will include game giveaways and a marketing kit. Marketing Kits include event posters, event window clings, handouts, and shelf talkers.
So for $500 or 10 times as much as the basic Launch kit, the store got everything in the basic Launch kit, plus listing as an Event Center, inclusion in a live streaming event and a Geek & Sundry sign.  This listing originally made skip the entire event as it appeared counterintuitive for only Premium Launch stores to get listed as Event Centers (this apparently changed later on or was always part of the plan and just not included in Alliance’s description), as it only made sense that every store participating should get listed as an event center, if G&S wanted to promote the event as widely as possible.  The streaming is only useful to stores with streaming capabilities and, while the Geek & Sundry sign is cool, $500 seems a bit steep for a sign promoting the entire channel, especially when most of my customers recognize TableTop, not G&S.
Anyhow, International TableTop Day looks like a cool event, (I saw photos of Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton promoting it this weekend at the Emerald City Comic Con, so they will get the word out about it),with or without signs and streaming.  I am hoping we find out soon what items are in Alliance’s kit so we can better tune our events to reflect the materials included and I hope this doesn’t go the way of National Games Week.