Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Game Library

Just a reminder that we have a very well stocked game library that you can borrow from to play here or rent to take home and play for a week (except for Cards Against Humanity, that you can only rent for a weekend). We just added copies of the Legend of Zelda Chess set, Fallout Yahtzee and Arkham Horror to the library bringing us to well over 200 titles for you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Influencing People

This week's ICV2 column looks at the 6 principles of persuasion, which we use to influence others. A key factor is social proof, evidence that other people think the same way that we do. This is why when a game or comic gets "hot" everyone wants one (and prices go up).

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Importance of Packaging

I had the opportunity to try a game designer’s newish card games earlier this year The games played smoothly and in general, I liked the card art. However, I opted not to bring them in for one simple reason:  the only packaging was a strip of plastic shrinkwrapped around them holding the cards in place. No box, no clamshell, nothing, so I passed on it.  If you want to sell any product (with the possible exception of live animals), you need packaging.

Packaging serves two basic purposes: functional and promotional.  The functional purposes of packaging are to allow the customer to transport it, protect its contents and give needed information about them.

Consider consumer products. Could you transport liquid laundry detergent or toothpaste home from the store if it did not come in a bottle or tube? This is the first function of the package, to hold the contents together conveniently. While carrying home an RPG like 13th Age or FATE is relatively easy (though try getting one home without that handy binding), imagine taking home a board game like Settlers of Catan or Zombies! without the box. Pieces and cards all over the place!

The second thing the package does is protect the contents. Even something as simple as a deck of Once Upon a Time cards needs a package. If you just put them out on the shelf, they will get dirty, shelfworn, even torn. The box, or clamshell, or case, protects them from normal damage.
The third functional thing the package does is provide information about the contents. In the case of toothpaste, the customer wants to know how many ounces, is this tartar control or whitening formula, does it contain fluoride? Consumer protection laws for consumable items require a list of ingredients as well. You find that information on the package. Though ingredients are not necessary, in the case of a game, the customer wants some basic information: how many people can play, what ages are suitable, how long should a typical game take, what is inside the package?  This last is important because the customer typically cannot open the box to see the contents and stores may not want to open it if they do not have a shrinkwrap machine (If a store does not have a shrinkwrapping machine and the customer decides not to buy, the opened game is now worth less in the eyes of the next customer).

In terms of promotion, packaging can do two main things: make your product stand out on the shelf and sell it to the customer. Steve Jackson Games is a prime example of using packaging to make its products stand out, purely though box size. As I mentioned in previous columns, I used to think SJG was wrong for packaging Munckin in such a large box. Time proved me wrong and over the years, SJG has moved away from the small tuck boxes in which it packaged Chez Geek and Illuminati. Today, those games, and others, come in boxes the size of the Munchkin box, the easier to stand out on the shelf.


The packaging also should sell the product to the consumer. Tell them why they should buy it, why they are going to have fun playing it, how play works. While the FLGS probably has someone who can tell the customer about the product, if a game makes it to the shelf of a Target or B&N, no staffer there will work to sell it.  The poor game package is on its own. Bland doesn’t attract attention, bright and attention getting does.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chemistry Fluxx

Looney Labs released Math Fluxx a couple of weeks ago, now here comes Chemistry Fluxx. Fun and educational at the same time.


Pre-release Playmants


We ordered playmats for the upcoming Magic and Pokemon Pre-releases from Nested Egg Games. They arrived today and we are pretty happy with the results. If you play in all 4 of the Magic pre-releases this weekend, you get the Magic playmat for free. If you prepay for the Pokemon pre-release by April 26, you get the Pokemon playmat for free.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Green Ronin Contest

This week's ICV2 rolling for Initiative column looks at Green Ronin's contest looking for a female writer for their new Lost Citadel RPG

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fireside Games

This week's ICV2 column looks at why a store should stock Fireside Games' product line.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Redesigned Game Areas

Caroline and Brian spent several hours on Thursday re laying out the Munchkin and Twilight Creations sections of the store. Very nice job, don't you think?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Blast from the Past from Goodman Games

Under license/ agreement from/with WOTC, Goodman Games will rerelease a number of classic first edition D&D/AD&D materials, both in the original format and updated for 5th edition play. This comes on the heels of the announced oversized reprint of the first 14 or so issues of the Judges' Guild Journal along with 3 early Judges' Guild adventures:  Tegel Manor, Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor and one other that I do not recall.  Price point on the JGJ reprint is $100. It was supposed to hit shelves later this month but due to some printing problems went back to the printer

Monday, April 3, 2017

Gloomhaven Pricing

This week's ICV2 column looks at the pricing on Gloomhaven.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

This Week from Games Workshop

According to Games Workshop, this is what we can expect this week:

This week we release Shadow War Armageddon, a standalone skirmish game set in the labyrinthine levels of a hive world.  Also this week, worshipers of the Blood God get a whole new Battletome: Blades of Khorne, as well as Warscroll Cards.  Finally Black Library author David Annandale weaves a tale of titanic destruction in Warlord: Fury of the God Machine.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Derived Demand and the Collapse of Hastings

Derived demand is the concept that business make purchases because of demand for a product or service that is caused by another source. In its basic form, stores buy merchandise for resale that they believe their customers want to purchase. This is why one store stocks WarMachine while another carries Flames of War, while one store has a fantastic selection of independent graphic novels, and another has almost none. Stores purchase products based on what their customers tell them they want by what they purchase.

Case in point Cardfight Vanguard. A number of stores in the St. Louis area do well with it. We do not. I think we have sold one pack in the past 2 months. Every once in awhile we get someone who asks for tournaments and we tell them that we will happily host them when sales show there is a demand for them. So far, demand has not justified any more support for the game. We would like to run tournaments for it and Force of Will and DBZ and Arkham Horror and Flames of War etc. but the sales for them just don't justify us putting in the effort. 

Derived demand is one of the problems that led to Hasting'sbankruptcy. As I understand it, headquarters ordered much of the product for the individual stores and did not take into consideration individual demand for pop culture products, especially POP figures and comics, by customers at the stores. Sales of those need very close monitoring else a store can develop a bad case of inventory creep, with product sitting on the shelf instead of turning into cash. A wall of POP figures looks impressive but each one represents money tied up in inventory instead of in the bank account.


Derived demand is also the driving force determining whether a store offers a large number of tables for gaming, with ameninties such as timers, play mats and store provided terrain for miniatures, or just a single table with half a dozen chairs at the back of the store. If customers come in wanting to use playspace, and sales justify making the space available for it, stores will provide the space and upgrade it based on customer demand. Of course, if customers come in and ask for play space but do not purchase the related product to support it, the store will reduce or even do away with tables, opting to use the space to display product and/or services for which there is more demand. It all comes back to the customer.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Power of the Package

I had the opportunity to try a game designer’s newish card games earlier this month. The games played smoothly and in general, I liked the card art. However, I opted not to bring them in for one simple reason:  the only packaging was a strip of plastic shrinkwrapped around them holding the cards in place. No box, no clamshell, nothing, so I passed on it.  If you want to sell any product (with the possible exception of live animals), you need packaging.

Packaging serves two basic purposes: functional and promotional.  The functional purposes of packaging are to allow the customer to transport it, protect its contents and give needed information about them.

Consider consumer products. Could you transport liquid laundry detergent or toothpaste home from the store if it did not come in a bottle or tube? This is the first function of the package, to hold the contents together conveniently. While carrying home an RPG like 13th Age or FATE is relatively easy (though try getting one home without that handy binding), imagine taking home a board game like Settlers of Catan or Zombies! without the box. Pieces and cards all over the place!
The second thing the package does is protect the contents. Even something as simple as a deck of Once Upon a Time cards needs a package. If you just put them out on the shelf, they will get dirty, shelfworn, even torn. The box, or clamshell, or case, protects them from normal damage.
The third functional thing the package does is provide information about the contents. In the case of toothpaste, the customer wants to know how many ounces, is this tartar control or whitening formula, does it contain fluoride? Consumer protection laws for consumable items require a list of ingredients as well. You find that information on the package. Though ingredients are not necessary, in the case of a game, the customer wants some basic information: how many people can play, what ages are suitable, how long should a typical game take, what is inside the package?  This last is important because the customer typically cannot open the box to see the contents and stores may not want to open it if they do not have a shrinkwrap machine (If a store does not have a shrinkwrapping machine and the customer decides not to buy, the opened game is now worth less in the eyes of the next customer).

In terms of promotion, packaging can do two main things: make your product stand out on the shelf and sell it to the customer. Steve Jackson Games is a prime example of using packaging to make its products stand out, purely though box size. As I mentioned in previous columns, I used to think SJG was wrong for packaging Munckin in such a large box. Time proved me wrong and over the years, SJG has moved away from the small tuck boxes in which it packaged Chez Geek and Illuminati. Today, those games, and others, come in boxes the size of the Munchkin box, the easier to stand out on the shelf.


The packaging also should sell the product to the consumer. Tell them why they should buy it, why they are going to have fun playing it, how play works. While the FLGS probably has someone who can tell the customer about the product, if a game makes it to the shelf of a Target or B&N, no staffer there will work to sell it.  The poor game package is on its own. Bland doesn’t attract attention, bright and attention getting does.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How To Get Your Name Out There

WOTC has been doing a pretty good job of weekly disseminating both basic and novel ideas used by other stores to keep their customers coming back and making customers feel special. However,  even though it is far easier to generate additional sales from existing customers, at some point you need to get your name out in front of new potential customers and get them into the store. Without a flow of new customers, a store will eventually tap out its existing customer base and see flatlined sales. I wanted to suggest three ways to get your name in front of new customers. As a savvy store owner (or publisher) you are likely already but just in case you’re not:

1.       Social Media—the great thing about social media is that it is free, to start. Set up an account on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, maybe even Vine, Snapchap and Instagram.  Unfortunately, due to the ways in which the various social media sources have tweaked their software, you now really do have to spend money in order to get your name and posts out in front of potential customers. The great thing about social media it that you start out for as little as 5 bucks to boost a Facebook post and have a lot more control over who will see it than you would with advertising in traditional formats. Facebook, and other forms of social media, allow you to have friends and friends of friends see your boosted posts or you can keep them from seeing them and spend your money to reach a targeted market that’s not already familiar with your company. I know stores spending 4 figures just on monthly boosting of social media.

2.       Join Civic Organizations—Become a member of organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club or Kiwanis or Jaycees or Main Street. Not only do they work to better the community, and he better your community is doing , the better your business will do, but becoming a member allows you to take advantage of the services the organization offers. For example, as a member of our local Chamber of Commerce, I can send out promotions and notices to all other Chamber members , many of whom would have no idea what the store sells. Also,  if you have some sort of negative event take place, a position as a recognized member of the local community  helps mitigate the effects of bad publicity.


3.       Press Releases—The local media is always looking for local news and your store (or company) is newsworthy, whether you are hosting an event, are hiring new staff or even have a list of the top 5 games in your community for the year. This last one is one we sent out and we got a spot on local TV as well as mentions in two local papers, all for about half an hour’s work and another 5 minutes or so emailing them to the local media. Remember, you may not follow local news much but there are a lot of people that do, people who may not know you exist but have money to spend on what you are selling. Don’t know how to write a press release? Search for “sample press release” on the interwebs or hire a local journalism student to write one for you.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Kickstarter Retail Model

This week's ICV2 column looks at the increasing number of companies including a retaier level in their Kickstarter campaigns.

Monday, March 20, 2017

GAMA Trade Show

This week's ICV2 column looks at some things of note about this year's GAMA Trade Show as well as some marketing thoughts on Route 66.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Selling More Stuff

This week's ICV2 column looks at ways to sell more stuff in stores.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Girl Scout Cookies

The Girl Scouts will be at the store on Saturday selling cookies from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. so stop by and satisfy your thin mint craving. The store will donate 5% of their total sales to the Girl Scouts so if they sell $400 in cookies, we will donate an additional $20 to the group.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Three Seminars I Want to catch at the GAMA Trade Show

This week's ICV2 column looks at next week's GAMA Trade Show

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Yes, Gloomhaven is Worth That Much

In case you missed it, Gloomhaven released in verrrrry limited quantities about two weeks or so. The people who backed it on Kickstarter got their copies and then a fairly limited number of copies of the game made it into distribution with an allocation of less than 10%. Meaning that if you ordered 10 copies, a store could reasonably expect to get one.

Currently, unopened copies are selling online for anywhere from $250 to $500 for a game with an MSRP of $120. Are people getting ripped off? No, for two reasons:

Reason #1:  Supply and Demand. As noted above, there is a very limited number of copies of the game available for sale and the law of supply tells us that, when there is a restricted supply, the price increases, as long as there is sufficient demand to drive the price up.

Reason #2:  Nobody is making anyone buy Gloomhaven. The people paying the increased price are doing so because they feel owning the game is a better use of their money than doing other things with it. If you don't like the price, you don't have to buy the game.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Kill Off A Perfectly Good Game

Fantasy Flight Games is doing a pretty good job of killing off the Star Wars Destiny Collectable Dice Game with the announced release schedule. Nothing is coming out for the game until the release of the second set in May, following by another printing of the 1st Awakenings set releasing in June, then another set coming out towards Christmas.

Given that there is nothing available for the game now and probably nothing for it until May, most people's interest in the game will die off long before the next set arrives.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Familiarity Heruistic

This week's ICV2 column looks at how familiarity helps us decide.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Your Comics (Probably) Aren't Worth That Much

We get people coming in every week wanting to sell or trade us comics. If you call us, we will try to save you a trip in by asking you a few questions first. Generally, our first question is "What is the cover price printed on the cover?" The price is a key indicator of potential value and unfortunately, the vast majority of comics aren't worth much.

If your comic has a cover price of $1 or more, it probably is not worth very much, certainly not the hundreds of thousands or millions you read about in the news. Why? It was printed during the 80s when the number of comic collectors increased. As the number of collectors increased, the number of collections of books printed during the 80s, 90s and 2000s increased and were polybagged in collections. With so many books around, the law of supply and demand meant that, with a few exceptions, books stayed at cover price or dropped drastically in value.

Your comics have value if they have a cover price of 10 or 12 cents or a quarter if they are Marvel Comics. Comics with those prices were produced long before collectors entered the field and as such, are much scarcer and harder to find in good condition because, well, kids read them and we know how kids, even today, treat things.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gail Simone and Comic Holds

Noted comic writer Gail Simone posted a series of tweets this week pointing out that people who have comic pull and holds at their local shop who don't pick them up can really hurt the shop, even without meaning to do so. Although not a huge part of our business, we do sell enough comics that having someone not pick up their pull and hold will hurt us.

Incidentally, the term "pull and hold" refers to the process of setting up a comic subscription at a store. By setting one up, the store will "pull" off the issues of new comics for you as they come in each week and "hold" them for you until you can pick them up. Hence the term "pull and hold" or just "comic pulls"

Here is what happens when we put in a comic order and generate "pulls":

1. We put in what is called an initial order approximately 2 months ahead of the onsale date of the comics. This order included any subscriptions that we have received from customers as well as comics that past sales or the reading of our customer base lead us to think will sell in addition to the subscriptions. We do not pay for the books at this time and most stores do not require advance payment for subscriptions.

2. Over the next two months, if we get more ordered for a book or think there were be more demand for it than we though, we put in advance reorders, increasing our original order.

3. About 2 weeks before the comics arrive, we order what are called Final Order Cuttoff books. These are comics that have an agreement with the distributor to allow stores to increase or decrease initial orders at this time. Once the FOC goes in, barring a major goof, a store's orders are locked.

4.  Comics arrive. If a store has COD terms, it pays for the books on arrival. If it has extended terms, it can pay 10 to 30 days later. Comics and other items that customers have pre-ordered get pulled out of the order and held for them. The remainder go out for sale.

5. Comics sell. This is the most important period in the selling cycle of a comic books. Since comics are periodicals, a new one will ship about 30 days later. 75% of the sales of a comic take place within 72 hours after it hits the shelf. Any books remaining after about 3 days have only a 25% chance of selling.

6. Comics are paid for. The store has to pay for the comics. Unlike the mass market, comic shops do not, in most cases, get to strip covers off the books and return them for credit. We own the books that we ordered and if we ordered too many of a book we either move it to back issue bins or mark it down.

Here's where the problem with people not picking up their holds comes in. By customers not picking up holds regularly, stores can accumulate a large number of books that will likely not sell. Assume you have 10 customers that each hold 10 books per month at an average cost of $3 per book, who don't pick up their books. That is $300 at retail the store for which the store is liable and likely won't recoup. Individually, a $3 comic may not seem particularly costly but when you aggregate them, they can cut into a store's profitability pretty quickly eventually helping to put it out of business. So, whereever  you shop, please help your comic shop to stay in business and pick up your holds regularly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Sense of Customer Space

The gamerooms/event space in which we hosted the pre-release events typically do not generate any direct revenue for the store.  We do not put  merchandise in them, save for one in the front clearly visible from the front counter, because of both the easy of shoplifting, even with cameras there, and the likelihood that, with players moving around, merchandise put in the area has a high chance of getting damaged.  That means, unless we have customers playing in them, they are essentially dead space.  It is therefore important that we host as many events, both those that generate direct revenue and those that generate indirect revenue, as possible.

Some events in the gameroom, such as pre-releases and sneak peeks generate direct revenue for the store. The money coming from customers playing in both events was likely money we would not have received had we not hosted the five events.  We host our weekly Warhammer 40,000 and HeroClix events in order to generate indirect revenue, as, by giving those players both a place to play and events in which to play, the 40K players buy more Warhammer 40,000 figures, paint, brushes, while the HeroClix players buy more, well, HeroClix.  Unlike Games Workshop games, there are not a lot of add-ons we can sell HeroClix players, so we rely on the collectable nature of the game and the desire of the players to the new figures to their collections.

Then, we have Nintendo’s Pokemon OP events, specifically designed by the company to make stores rely solely on indirect sales, as company policy does not allow stores to charge admission fees to events such as Pokemon Battle Roads or City Championships.  Nintendo apparently designs the events with the expectation that stores hosting them will generate sales as the players shop the store, either buying cards for their decks prior to the event or making purchases during the event. We have run a few of these and, while other stores may have done well with this model, we have seen no consistent bump in Pokemon sales as a result. We will likely continue them but not bump revenue generating events such as Yu Gi Oh or Pathfinder Society, even for marquee events such as a Battle Roads.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Choice Paradox

This week's ICV2 column looks at the choice paradox. With hundreds of board games, comics and RPGs to choose from, why do consumers keep going back to the sam small select group? A classic example of choice research with jam indicated that people really don't like to  make choices. Sales of jam went up when consumers were offered a smaller selection of jams from which to choose than when they were offered a selection 4 times as large.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Business Cycle Goes Round and Round


A number of stores with which I have talked over the past few months have reported lackluster sales, with at least 40 of them closing up shop since summer. One local store shuttered its doors just recently.  Many of these trading card game focused shops and, with the current softening of the trading card game market (many stores  have noted a downturn in sales in both Magic and Yu Gi Oh, while Pokemon remains fairly steady), they did/do not have a sufficient cash cushion to allow them to wait the cycle out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Is A Reasonable Price?

Just had a customer come into the store and  purchase a couple of books that he said he had seen online and in other stores but that he hadn’t wanted to buy them until he found them at a “reasonable price”. 
  Though of course I didn’t say it out loud, I thought, “Given the scarcity of these things, the price you found online was a reasonable price, just more than you wanted to pay.”

Most stores hear several times a month, if not weekly, “Wow, you have such and such.  I have been looking for this for a long time.”  Looks at the price. “Oh, well I was looking for this for a reasonable price.”

Most customers don’t realize that stores do set items at a reasonable price (after all, we are in business to sell stuff) but that price has to take into consideration both scarcity and demand.  There is a reason why the Dark Tower boardgame sells for $400 on Amazon and Advanced HeroQuest lists for around $200, while a Theros Thassa’s Bounty sells for a dime or less.  Dark Tower is scarce, Thassa’s Bounty much less so.  There are millions of Thassa’s Bounty cards in print, while no one is making any more Dark Tower or Advanced HeroQuest games (unless Games Workshop or whomever holds the copyright to Advanced HeroQuest decides to do another print run).  People who own copies of either AHQ or Dark Tower generally have a pretty good idea of the value of the game and won’t turn loose of it unless 1) they get what they consider a reasonable price for the game, 2) really need the money or 3) find something they want more. Generally stores get in these games under conditions 2 or 3, as purchasing a product #1 doesn’t leave much profit for the store.

The other major factor coming into play here is demand. There is demand out there for Thassa’s Bounty cards, plenty of demand, but nowise enough to absorb all of the cards that WOTC has put into print.  Conversely, there is demand out there for Advanced HeroQuest and Dark Tower, much more demand than the few copies available can satisfy, driving  the price of those few available copies way up beyond what most people consider “reasonable”.  

However, if you really want a copy of the game, either because it will fill out an empty spot in your collection or you have fond memories of it from your youth (which is what drove sales of the reprints of 1st and 2nd edition AD&D books WOTC release over the past year), $400 is a “reasonable price” to pay for Dark Tower, especially a working copy of the game (our last copy only worked sporadically and sold for $250).


If you remember your Econ 101, what we have here are perfect illustrations of the supply curve and the demand curve. The supply curve says that, as supply increases, price decreases, while the demand curve illustrates that, as demand increases, price increases and where the two intersect is your “reasonable” price”.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Robotech Tactics Kickstarter

While I remember playing the Robotech RPG back in the 1980s when Palladium Games first released it, I have not followed more recent iterations of the game, but, back in 2013, Palladium launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a miniatures combat game based on the series. Here in February 2017, those who funded the campaign, to the tune of around $1.4 million, still have not received the miniatures promised. This forum posting summarizes the events of the campaign as well as a lengthy response from Palladium head Kevin Siembieda.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Border Adjustment Tax

This week's ICV2 column is on the border adjustment tax, proposed by the Trump administration as one form of tax reform. This would arguably solve both the problems of high levels of imports into the US and companies parking their money overseas rather than repatriating overseas profits to the US.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Return of Nationals and the End of GPTs

WOTC announced today that it will bring back the Nationals,which the company ended about 5 years ago in favor of the World Magic Cup. Along with this, the company also announced the end of the store-level Grand Prix Trials. By playing in a GPT, the winner earned a first round bye at the associated Grand Prix tournament.

The stated reason for ending the GPTs was mixed success and limited turnout. I would have to agree with that as we never saw much interest from players in us hosting GPTs here. The two times we hosted one saw more players from outside the region come to play than did local players. IIRC, out of the region players outnumbered local players by 4 to 1 and we still barely had enough players to sanction the tournament. With the limited turnout, and judge requirements, we never saw much impetus to push a stronger GPT schedule.

Gloomhaven

The most highly anticipated game of 2017 (so far) ships to distributors on the 21 for a likely release in early March. Be warned that, due to the price, size and weight of the game, the publisher will not accept damage claims so purchase at your own risk:

CPH0201           Gloomhaven (Boxed Board Game)  $120.00             019962194719                                 NEW - JUST ARRIVED
PLEASE NOTE:  If ordered, please understand that no damage claim will be accepted for Gloomhaven due to the weight, price and size of this game.  Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for travelling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.  This is a legacy game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions. After a scenario, players will make decisions on what to do, which will determine how the story continues, kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Playing through a scenario is a cooperative affair where players will fight against automated monsters using an innovative card system to determine the order of play and what a player does on their turn.  Made in China.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WOTC Sales

Hasbro posted significantly higher sales than expected for both the 4th quarter of 2016 and the entire year. Some 80% of WOTC sales were through hobby game stores such as ours and similar outlets, which I would take to mean comic shops and hobby stores, not the mass market such as Walmart and Target.

Unfortunately, much of WOTC's focus for the future is towards the digital version of the game, as mentioned in missives from the company CEO. Much discussion about the online version of Magic, no mention of the physical game.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Kickstarter as Distributor

Scott's column on ICV2 this week looks at the future of distribution in the game industry and sees Kickstarter playing a major role.

Friday, February 3, 2017

D&D Diesel

In case you missed the movie The Last Witch Hunter in 2015, as many people did, one of the things Vin Diesel did to promote it was to play in a game of D&D with Geek & Sundry's Critical Role cast. You can watch the extended video of the game session here.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good Promotion

If you are a game company looking to develop promotional material to help stores sell your product, you could do far worse than this poster provided by Brotherwise Games to promote Boss Monster. The poster clearly shows what the game is about, some art and gives a quick overview of how to play, along with a shot of the box cover.  Nicely done.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wizard DM


Your D&D Game is always better when you have a wizard running it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PETA vs. the Space Marines

In case you missed this, PETA has contacted Games Workshop asking them to no longer dress their plastic figures in plastic fur and plastic leather. As a hobby, we think this is silly but what it does accomplish is classic public relations, getting people to talk about you. As the saying goes "Any publicity is good publicity".

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Look at the Numbers

This week's ICV2 column looks at some of the numbers from the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yu Gi Oh Maximum Crisis

Maximum Crisis booster set for Yu Gi Oh arriving May 5th:

Konami Digital Entertainment Inc., is proud to bring you the next core booster release Maximum Crisis.  The walls between dimensions are collapsing and the supreme king of destruction will rise in Maximum Crisis, May’s all-new 100-card 1st Edition booster set!  Maximum Crisis is the climax of the 2016-2017 Dueling season, introducing three new themes as well as bold new cards for a wide variety of popular Decks.

Pendulum Summoning will undergo its final evolution in Maximum Crisis with a pair of Pendulum Monsters with Scales of 0 and 13, opening up the ability to Pendulum Summon monsters of any Level in any Deck!  But that’s not the only type of Summoning that’s evolving.  Following up on February’s Fusion Enforcers set, Maximum Crisis introduces a new Fusion Summoning Spell Card that lets you keep your Fusion Monster while giving back the monsters you just fused together!

Here’s a brief overview of what else you can expect in Maximum Crisis:
·         The dawn of the “True Draco” monsters! These monsters can be Tribute Summoned using Continuous Spell/Trap Cards instead of monsters, and their Continuous Spell/Trap Cards have multiple effects depending on whether you just activate them or Tribute them.
·         A brand new way to win a Duel! Even if you can’t damage your opponent with this new theme’s ace monster, if you can power it up enough, destroying 3 of your opponent’s monsters with it will automatically end the Duel!
·         New Winged Beasts that fly over enemy monsters for fast direct attacks and effects that inflict damage.
·         Individually powerful cards to cover a variety of common situations in everyday Dueling.
·         The mastermind behind the global plot has been revealed, and SPYRAL embarks on its final mission to take him down!
·         All is not yet lost! The final battle against the Subterror Behemoths begins… and the Subterror Nemeses receive help from an unlikely source!
·         Cards that boost Decks and themes from Fusion EnforcersRaging Tempest, the Pendulum Domination Structure DeckInvasion: VengeanceThe Dark IllusionShining VictoriesWing Raiders, the Master of Pendulum Structure DeckHigh-Speed Riders, and more!

The Maximum Crisis booster set contains 100 cards: 48 Commons, 20 Rares, 14 Super Rares, 10 Ultra Rares, 8 Secret Rares.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Look at the Proposed Future of WOTC

This week's ICV2 column looks at a recent letter from WOTC President Chris Cocks on the direction he sees the company going.

Friday, January 20, 2017

If You Have Damaged Magic Cards

If you open a pack of Magic and it contains missing or damaged cards, Wizards will replace them, if you follow the procedures, except for a Masterpiece Scalding Tarn. Those are all gone.

The most important thing you need to do immediately is to take a picture of the pack and the cards immediately after you open them and Wizards would like photos of both.

Note that if you buy single cards on the aftermarket and get one that is damaged, you are out of luck. You would need to contact the seller of the cards to deal with replacements.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Store Video

In case you missed it when it was posted a couple of  months ago, as part of their Carbondale Spotlight series, the City of Carbondale, produced a short video about the store and its history. While you are there, take a look at the videos on Hair Brains, Fat Pattles, Thai Taste and Mary Lou's

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adventurer's League and the Herald's Guild

This week's ICV2 column looks at WOTC's co-ordinator program, the Adventurer's League and the Herald's Guild

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Adventurer's League and the Regional Co-ordinator

According to Foulis, WOTC started recruiting Regional Co-ordinators for the Adventurer’s League program during the Summer of 2014. The Regional co-ordinators were tasked by WOTC with helping “DM’s, players, and store/convention organizers participate in the D&D Adventures League on a local level. RCs help promote D&D Adventurers League play by facilitating the organization of public events and by representing the D&D Adventurers league with an enthusiastic, positive presence in a respectful and approachable manner. These individuals will help out the community manager by maintaining event groups on Facebook and Google+ that participants can interact with for information and discussion on events within certain defined regions.” The Regional Co-ordinators were expected to spend at least 2 (later increased to 10) hours a week promoting Adventurer’s League play and events through social media (primarily Facebook and Google+), help stores and convention organizers obtain and sanction Adventurer’s League events, provide a point of contact for and feedback to Adventurer’s League Administrators (who were employees of WOTC), and assist in organizing playtest groups for Adventurer’s League content. The Adventurer’s League program was designed, in general, to promote the D&D Encounters program in stores and convention D&D play.

The Co-ordinators, both Regional and Local, were all volunteers. In return for their service, the Regional Co-ordiantors would receive the opportunity to help determine the future of the Adventurer’s League, (possibly) receive D&D product when attending a convention with a Wizards’ presence and receive Adventurer’s League “swag”

In the Fall of 2015, after the release of Out of the Abyss and Season 3 of the D&D Encounters program, WOTC  “pulled the plug” so to speak, on the Encounters’ program, pulling the name from the DCI Reporter and opening Adventurer’s League play to in-home as well as convention and store play. WOTC notified the co-ordiantors that it would take their duties in-house, assigning them to customer service reps and WPN staff.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Convention Map

Casual Game Revolution magazine has put together this handy map showing game conventions, of which they know, throughout the world. See if one is located near you.  St.Louis has at least 4 in the area.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Banned List

WOTC dropped the the new banned list yesterday. It goes into effect on January 20th for physical cards. So far Gitaxian Probe has dropped from about $6 per card to $2 and the value of Golgari Grave-Troll has dropped by $5.  Remember, these are all still usable in casual play, just not in sanctioned tournaments. Here is the list of cards:

Standard

Smuggler's Copter is banned.
Reflector Mage is banned.
Modern:
Gitaxian Probe is banned.
Golgari Grave-Troll is banned.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Three Predictions for 2017

This week's ICV2 Column looks at three predictions for 2017. Remember they are predictions, not facts.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Liz Danforth

If you don't know who Liz Danforth is, take a look here. She  worked as an artist in the gaming industry steadily from the 1970s through the 1990s, primarily for Flying Buffalo, ICE and early Magic, ( There are a few of her original works hanging on the store walls) when life interfered. In the past few years, she has re-entered the industry, doing much of the art for the relauch of the Tunnels and Trolls RPG.

You can find more details here but for the first time in many years Liz decided to submit work to the GenCon art show. Briefly, the jury for the art show turned down her submissions, which triggered an avalanche of support for her and encouraged her to decide to more actively "art". She has launched a Patreon page here so if you would like to support one of the artists from the early days of the industry, who is getting her second wind, here's your chance.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Star Wars Destiny Update

For you Star Wars Destiny players, we just received an update on the next shipment. We expect to see more SW Destiny arrive around January 19th. No idea if this includes starters and boosters, just starters or just boosters. Also I imagine that it the date that the restock should arrive at distribution, meaning we will have it a few days after that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

3 Thoughts on 2016

This week's ICV2 column has wishes for a Happy New Year and a few more thoughts on the past year.