Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Modern Masters 2 Packaging

While kudos go out to WOTC for the new recyclable cardboard booster packs, they do present a problem for stores and customers. The flaps on the packs are glued together and, as you can see in videos on the interwebs, a heat gun will loosen the glue so the pack can be opened, cards inside inspected, and resealed without any indication of tampering. After learning this, we gave it a try and found we could open and reseal a pack in a little over a minute. In order to avoid customer accusations of resealing, some stores of which I know are either A) relying on their reputation of always treating customers properly or B) only selling sealed displays and drafting.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Yu Gi Oh Crossed Souls Pricing

Crossed Souls has proven one of the weaker releases for Yu Gi Oh in recent memory. We went pretty lightly on orders and still did not sell one single pack the day it came out. Players have shown little interest in single cards from the  set and we have easily sold more commons from other sets than we have from Crossed Souls. Collectors have not sought the rarer cards from the set, at least not to the point where prices have gone up significantly. In fact, checking a couple of card pricewebsites shows no Crossed Souls cards increasing significantly in value while several, including Clear Wing Syncro Dragon and Order of Zerfa, have dropped over 50% in value just in the past week.

However, the greatest, to my mind, indication of the weakness and lack of interest in Crossed Souls is the price of a booster display on the interwebs, which despite all of the problems associated with them, do a very good job of assessing the market value of a product. A display of Crossed Souls has a retail value of $96 (24 packs at $4 per pack). Usually, one can find booster displays at significant discounts to that as box flippers or stores that overbought seek to unload excess product. However, you don’t usually find full displays selling at a 44% discount to retail value less than a week after release. I easily found a number of sellers offering displays of Crossed Souls at prices ranging from $54 to $58 per display. That’s a huge price cut for less than a week after release.

Friday, May 22, 2015

How To Handle The "I Don't Want To Pass this Card" in Draft Situation

Given the high value of cards in the Modern Masters 2 set, the popularity of drafting the set and the extremely slim possibility of pulling  both a rare and a foil version of that rare from a pack, the question of what to do in that situation has come up.

Say you are playing in a sanctioned MM2 draft. You open a pack and there, staring at you, are a Tarmogoyf AND a foil Tarmogoyf. What do you do?

You have two options: you can continue drafting and hand one to the player next to you or you can drop and leave with the cards. Under WOTC tournament rules, the cards are your cards and there is nothing to stop you from leaving the tournament with them.

I have read some suggestions that say the draft organizer can let you keep the cards and purchase another pack for use in the draft. From what I have read about Magic draft rules, that could be done, but only if the draft is unsanctioned, as that brings additional cards into the draft and is unfair to the other players. For the draft to remain sanctioned, your only options are to pass off one of the cards or drop.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Fluxx

Adventure Time and Batman Fluxx releasing later this summer:

Adventure Time and Batman Fluxx releasing later this summer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gamblin' Goblins Kickstarter

As regular readers of the blog will know, I am not a big fan of Kickstarter campaigns but this one is actually reaching out to retailers so wanted to point it out. If you back it and write "I am a Knight of Castle Perilous Games & Books" in the pledge notes, you will receive extra rewards for doing so.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Getting a Job Here

Fairly often, we get asked if we have any openings are are looking for help. The answer is generally "No, we would have to fire someone." If you do want a job here, we are looking for people with two things:

1) a resume.  Having a resume means you are serious about looking for a job. I don't want someone who has not given any thought ahead of time to positions for which they are looking and haven't taken the time to put themselves down on paper.

2)what do you bring.  This is a capitalist operation. Under communism, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." What we are looking for is someone who brings something with them:  knowledge, attention to detail, new ideas, that will generate more in sales than they cost in wages. Be able to tell me specifically how hiring you will increase store sales. We don't need tohire anyone whose hiring will just maintain sales. I want people who, by bringing them on staff, will increase them.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

July Pathfinder Releases

Coming this July from Paizo for Pathfinder

Pathfinder Player Companion: Occult Adventures
$44.99 SRP

Delve into the occult secrets of psychic magic, mystic rituals, and esoteric sciences with Occult Adventures, the latest hardcover rulebook for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! Six new occult-themed character classes bring the vast treasures of occultism and mysticism to Pathfinder players like never before. Set out on new adventures as a kineticist, medium, mesmerist, psychic, occultist, or spiritualist, or choose from dozens of archetypes for these and most existing Pathfinder RPG classes. Explore forbidden secrets long kept from the world to discover magical forces that unlock vast powers of mind and body. Uncover lost relics and proscribed spells to give your hero new powers in the fight against evil, and pick up new psychic tricks with a library of new feats based on occult traditions.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures includes:

-Six new base classes - the reality-warping kineticist, the spirit-infused medium, the manipulative mesmerist, the relic-wielding occultist, the mind-master psychic, and the phantom-bonded spiritualist.

-Thematic archetypes for appropriate Pathfinder RPG base classes, such as the haunted totem barbarian, the phrenologist bard, the ghost rider cavalier, the psychic detective inquisitor, and more!

-Tons of new spells and magic items, including lots of options for existing classes as well as the perfect gear for the new classes and archetypes introduced in this book.

-In-depth overviews of key occult topics such as auras, ki, chakras, psychic combat, possession, occult rituals, and the esoteric planes.

272 pages, Hardcover, Full color

Pathfinder Module: Feast of Dust
$24.99 SRP

A deadly new curse known as the Carrion Call spreads rapidly through the Meraz Desert, driving its victims mad with hunger and a burning desire to flee into the sands. To find the source of this affliction, the heroes must challenge gnoll tribes, fiends, and the walking dead to discover the secret of a long-forgotten evil - the daemon lord known as The Vulture King. Once worshiped as a god, this vile creature threatens to spread his feast of dust to new lands unless someone can find the keys to stopping his unholy resurrection.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Deck 3: Demon’s Heresy
$19.99 SRP

The Wrath of the Righteous campaign continues with the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Demon’s Heresy Adventure Deck. With the demon armies still concentrating their attacks to the south, the heroes must venture into the heart of the Worldwound to seek out powerful new allies and strike a mortal blow against the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth - but in doing so, they discover a disturbing truth about the crystalline source of mythic power the demons have been using against the crusaders.

This 110-card expansion adds new locations, monsters, villains, and more to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game; it also includes rare loot cards and 5 new scenarios that make up the complete “Demon’s Heresy” adventure.

Pathfinder Adventure Path:Shadow of the Storm Tyrant (Giantslayer 6 of 6)
$22.99 SRP

The thrilling conclusion of the Giantslayer Adventure Path! The heroes emerge from a fire giant dungeon into a volcano’s caldera, where the Storm Tyrant’s stolen cloud castle floats high above. As the castle takes off into the sky, the heroes must storm the castle and defeat the Storm Tyrant’s guardians and elite giant allies. Finally, they must face the Storm Tyrant himself and his dominated red dragon to put an end to his megalomaniacal push for power. Will the heroes defeat Volstus the Storm Tyrant, or will all of Avistan bend its knee to the mighty warlord and his giant armies?

“Shadow of the Storm Tyrant” is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 15th-level characters. The adventure continues the Giantslayer Adventure Path, a classic sword & sorcery campaign that pits the players against hordes of evil giants. Several new monsters, an article on the ecology of the planar giants called gigases, ideas for further adventures beyond the bounds of the Giantslayer campaign, and the final installment of the Pathfinder’s Journal, written by Patrick Renie, round out this volume of the Pathfinder Adventure Path!

Pathfinder Player Companion: Dirty Tactics Toolbox
$12.99 SRP

Make sure you never get stuck in a fair fight again with Pathfinder Player Companion: Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Learn how to use poisons, dirty trick maneuvers, sneak attacks, ambushes, and hidden equipment to more than even the odds in any encounter. This player-focused volume contains dozens of new feats, magic items, spells, and other character options to let you have a nasty trick or two up your sleeve, or become the unquestioned master of fighting dirty.

32 pages, Softcover, Full color
Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Museum
$14.99 SRP

Whether sarcophagi have been smashed, relics robbed, or skylights shattered, mysteries abound at the museum. This portable, affordable map measures 24” x 30” unfolded, and 8” x 10” folded. Its coated surface can handle any dry erase, wet erase, or even permanent marker. Usable by experienced GMs and novices alike, Pathfinder Flip-Mats fit perfectly into any Game Master’s arsenal!

On tabletops across the world, the Flip-Mat Revolution is changing the way players run their fantasy roleplaying games! Why take the time to sketch out ugly scenery on a smudgy plastic mat when dynamic encounters and easy clean-up are just a Flip away?
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Giantslayer Poster Map Folio
$19.99 SRP

Evil giants plague the treacherous Mindspin Mountains, and only your player characters stand into the way of their conquest! Three massive, lavishly illustrated poster maps set the scene for the popular Giantslayer Adventure Path, creating a must-have collection for that or any mountainous campaign.

Maps include the frontier town of Trunau, a vast overview of the Mindspin Mountain region, and a giant player-oriented map of a frost giant village, presented as an isometric drawing of the settlement’s defenses and layout. Whether you’re looking for a small, fortified town or a mysterious regional map to inspire adventure, these beautiful maps are the perfect resource to bring gigantic inspiration to your campaign.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Store Philosphy and Product Mix

Every store is different. No store has the same product mix, target market or philosophy of business so what works in one store will not work in another.

Take Cards Against Humanity. It is probably the most in-demand game in our industry over the past 3 years. Some stores with which I am familiar view the game as vile and refuse to carry it, saying that to do so would go against their moral beliefs and counter the store’s positioning as “family friendly”.  Other stores say it is the most requested game in their store and that new customers, including families, come into the store daily looking for Cards Against Humanity and only for Cards Against Humanity. These stores have decided satisfying customer demand takes precedence. Each one believes they are right.

Take Yu Gi Oh! Several stores with which I have spoken dropped in store play for Yu Gi Oh due to problems with theft amongst players as well as well as cleaning up after them.  Sales of Yu Gi Oh there weren’t worth the hassle of dealing with in-store play. On the other hand, other stores either are willing to put up with the difficulty of dealing with in-store play or have lowered the “ban-hammer” on players to get them to straighten up (Of course, there are many stores that have no problems with Yu Gi Oh players at all, but as a group, they are the ones stores consistently report having difficulty with).
Take Role Playing Games. Save for the big two, Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, RPGs sell very slowly at most stores. The ones that do well with them put quite a bit of work into the category, making sure the staff is familiar with them, stocking a wide selection, running regular demoes and encouraging in store play. It pays off for them. Other stores, however, look at the amount of work it takes to generate strong sales in the line and prefer to focus their efforts on only product categories. Once again, philosophy of the store influencing product mix and, through that, the target market.

In a mass market or chain store there is one overriding store philosophy directing  the decision(s) to add an item or items to the product mix. If you go into an Fatburger or Barnes & Noble, you will find the same offerings, no matter what store. Due to the diffusion of the retail side of the game industry, not so here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

TableTop Day vs. FCBD vs. FRPGD

Had a reader ask,after reading my post about FCBD and FRPGD, about the differences between those two and TableTop Day from a retailer's viewpoint so, here are five major differences between the three:

1.  Promos/giveaways. All three days feature event specific giveaways for customers. In the case of Free RPG Day and Free Comic Book Day, the event focuses on the giveaways. In order to participate, retailers must buy the promo items. There is no such requirement for TableTop Day, which focuses more on playing games, with the promotional items as an afterthought.  As one of the requirements for participating, retailers agree to give away at least one free item per customer, while quantities last, to anyone who asks. Retailers may limit the number given or attach requirements to receiving additional books but must agree to give out at least one.

2.  Registration.  Stores may register as an official TableTop Day venue free of charge. There is no fee to appear on the website. In order to appear as an official FCBD or FRPGD venue, stores must both register and purchase a specific quantity of promos.

3. Events. Most stores run events tied into FCBD or FRPGD but the main draw is the free items, with the events creating more excitement about the day. With TableTop Day, the events stores run are the focus and a number of stores this year opted to run events as a sanctioned venue without any of the official promos, which is perfectly fine.

4. Costs. Retailers receive none of the official promotional items for free. For TableTop Day and FRPGD, stores may buy kits containing a given number of promotional items. They may purchase multiple kits but get the same items in each kit. For FCBD, retailers much purchase a specific number of books from the Gold Sponsors, typically 25 of each. After meeting that minimum, stores may increase their purchase of Gold Sponsor books and purchase as many or as few books from the other sponsors as they choose. A minimal purchase for any of the three Days runs between $50 and $100 but stores can spend hundreds or even $1000s.

5. Quantities. As indicated in #4, stores can, after meeting the minimum, purchase any amount of  FCBD books. For TableTop Day and FRPGD, stores can only purchase kits, each containing a specific number of promotional items. The only way to increase the number of promotional items to give away is to purchase multiple kits, resulting in the store receiving. promotional items for products it does not carry

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Free Comic Book Day and Free RPG Day. Both are among our best sales days of the year but each targets a different class of customers.  Free Comic Book Day always benefits from the release of a new comic themed movie at this time of year, typically from Marvel, which drives comics into top of mind awareness for most of the nation. They are not thinking about the comic books though, the movie captures their attention. Comics are just an afterthought. 

However, due to tapping into the zeitgeist at the right moment, the American public is primed to think about comics and the national media is primed to find things to talk about that relate to them and one of those things getting national attention is Free Comic Book Day. Hence, lots of people coming in who don’t think about comics much of the rest of the year. If we are lucky 20% (likely less) will pick up the comics habit.

Compare this to Free RPG Day, which doesn’t have a nationally released movie driving attention to it (No, the two D&D movies don’t count. Have you actually seen them?). Instead, Free RPG Day targets our existing RPG customers, the D&D, Pathfinder and, if a store has developed it, the smaller lines. Free RPG Day really targets those people. Am I going to get new customers because Paizo has released another We Be Goblins module? Nope, because 98% of the public has no idea what Pathfinder is. Free RPG Day is rather an annual gift from stores to our RPG customers with the hope that they will opt to pick up one of the other offerings along with their favorite, and give it a try. Not a bad marketing strategy but diametrically opposite of FCBD. Now, if we start seeing RPG based movies, then we can talk different strategies.