Friday, December 30, 2016

Star Wars Destiny

Just talked with one of our distributors yesterday and was told that they had heard from Fantasy Flight Games that it would be about a month before we see any restocks of Star Wars Destiny. The last time I remember similar demand and shortages of a product was WizKids Dicemasters.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Decisions at the Point of Purchase

In most cases, research shows that customers go to a store (or a website) with only a general idea of what they want to get. "I want to buy a game" or "I want to check out this week's comics" or "I want to look at Magic/Yu Gi Oh/Pokemon cards". 65% of the time, in fact, a customer will go to a store or a website with no more specific an idea of what they want than that. 65% of the time, the customer makes the actual decision once they are in the store,w hcih is why you see all of the cool looking merchandise out on display, in order to temp them into picking up something that fits the vague criteria they had when entering the store.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holiday Hours

Just a reminder that we will remain open until 10:30 tonight (Christmas Eve), then close so Scott can go to Midnight Mass.  We will open Christmas Day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ad then have regular hours the rest of the week. We will close at midnight New Year's Eve and have regular hours New Year's Day.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Three Reasons to Shop Local

This week's ICV2 column looks at three reasons to shop at your local FLGS (or other local stores for that matter).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rogue One Ticket Winner

Congratulations to Seth Thomas, winner of our drawing for 2 tickets for a showing of Star Wars:  Rogue One.  If you would like to be among the first to know about future drawings and events, follow the store on Facebook or sign up for our weekly email newsletter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

GenCon Staying in Indianapolis

Through at least 2021.  There has been some concern by the convention that it is getting too big for the Indianapolis facilities to handle but apparently that concern has been dealt with.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Stocking Stuffer of the Year



Since 2014, the store has selected a Stocking Stuffer of the Year. The games winning this honor have to meet three criteria:

1) cost less than $20
2) easily fit in a stocking
3) Be a lot of fun to play

2014's Stocking Stuffer of the Year was Asmodee's Timeline

And 2015's was AEG's Love Letter

This year we chose Antidote from Bellwether Games because it fits all three criteria. On several occasions, we have played the game at the store and players wanted to start another game as soon as they finished the first one. Add in the fact that the publisher, Bellwether Games, is located here in Carbondale and you can see why Antidote is our choice for Stocking Stuffer of the Year


Store Layout

This week's ICV2 column looks at the importance of store layout on sales. Where things are placed has a subtle but important impact on your purchasing behavior.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New Yu Gi Oh Set

Here is information on the next Yu Gi Oh set, Duelist Saga, releasing on March 30 at Official Tournament Stores, like our's:

Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. is proud to bring you this exciting new product offering, Duelist Saga.  As the Duelists of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V begin their journey across dimensions, step back and look at the entire history of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise with Duelist Saga, a special set featuring new cards from all five incarnations of Yu-Gi-Oh!  The 40 new cards in Duelist Saga are a mix of cards from the manga series, the animated series, and cards inspired by some of the coolest monsters and concepts from each series.  Some of the new things you can look forward to include:

·         New cards used by Mai and Bakura in the original series, including the often-requested Diabound Kernel from Bakura’s Duel against Kaiba.
·         The power to unleash any of the Sacred Beasts from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX in any Deck and draw an extra 2 cards per turn if you do!
·         Yusei’s secret ace Synchro Monster whose existence was revealed in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, but was never called to action in our timeline.
·         The terrifying influence of Don Thousand, the ultimate foe from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL!
·         Perform death-defying Dueling feats and get rewarded with extra draws every time you do with a card that brings the excitement of Yuya’s “Dueltainer” style of Dueling from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
·         Brand new “attack” Spells! Spells like Dark Magic Attack that represent the signature moves of famous monsters have always been a hit with fans, and more are on the way in Duelist Saga covering monsters from every series.

Because these new cards come from every era of Yu-Gi-Oh! they work with other cards from every era of Yu-Gi-Oh! as well.  They also enhance Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Pendulum Summoning strategies, so these cards go great with High-Speed Riders, Wing Raiders, Dragons of Legend -Unleashed-, Destiny Soldiers, and Fusion Enforcers.


Duelist Saga also has 60 more cards that span the entirety of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s history, featuring memorable cards from the various series, the tournament scene from each era of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and sometimes both!  Each Duelist Saga box contains 3 mini-packs with 5 cards each, for a total of 15 cards.  Appearing for the first time in Duelist Saga, all cards in the set use an all-new, all-different Ultra Rare technology, and each mini-pack will contain 3 of the 40 new cards and 2 of the classic cards for a total of 15 cards per box: 9 new, and 6 classic!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

End of Semester

Just a reminder that if you are looking to clear out your closet before leaving town for Christmas break, we do trade for complete boardgames and RPGs. We also pay cash, but much less than we offer in trade.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Supply and Demand

This week's ICV2 column looks at the effects of the laws of supply and demand on sales of items like the recently released Planechase Anthology

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Power of Pre-orders

We have sold through our initial order of Star Wars Destiny of 10 starter decks and 4 displays of boosters but almost only brought in one of each due to the lack of pre-orders or interest in general until just a few days before the release.

Pre-orders and customer queries allow us to judge the depth of interest in an upcoming release and to determine how many to bring in or whether to stock it at all. Each month between 100 to 200 new products release and it is impossible for us to keep up on what people want without feedback. Pre-orders allow us to stock the products that you would like to see in the store and avoid the products no-one has an interest in (like Days of Wonder' Quadropolis).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pokemon Go Way Down

According to this article, Pokemon Go daily users are down 96% from its peak last August. In order to revive the game, Niantic "plans gameplay tweaks, frequent player rewards, events that make it easier for higher level users to advance, as well as new features such as more creatures, trading, and perhaps, eventually, player vs. player mode. "

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Prisoner's Dilemma

This week's ICV2 column looks at discounting of the recently released Planechase Anthology in terms of the concept of the  Prisoner's Dilemma.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Three Things for which I am Thankful




Since this is the season in which we traditionally give thanks, not that we shouldn’t do it the other 11 months out of the year,  I wanted to note four things (aside from health, friends, chocolate, etc) that make me thankful:
1)       Other Retailers, both local and distant. While ‘tis true that life would certainly have remained simpler not having 3 other game retailers open up within 15 miles of us within the past year, I have found them in the area has made me focus more on our product mix and determine what elements of our marketing strategy to emphasize and what to de-emphasize.  Result, our revenues did take a hit over the past year but have now climbed back to the point that they equal sales prior to the other stores opening in the area.  From retailers more distant, I can usually find at least one idea or product to integrate into the store’s marketing mix every month,  often moreso.  Visiting the websites and physical locations or reading the blog posts or online musings from stores like The Fantasy Shop, Gnome Games or Black Diamond Games, among others, proves a useful 15-30 minutes of every week.
2
3)      The Bits ‘n Mortar program.  Bits ‘n Mortar doesn’t get nearly enough publicity as it ought but this consortium of small RPG publishers still has their program in place, allowing registered brick and mortar retailers to give a PDF of their products to customers when said customer purchases a hard copy of the RPG.  We have customers who purchase Crucible 7 and Arc Dream RPG products specifically from us on a regular basis specifically because we participate in this program.
4)      Munchkin (and Steve Jackson Games). The base Munchkin game still sells reliably week in and week out over a decade after it first released.  Unlike some other game lines (cough-X-wing Miniatures, DiceMasters-cough), Steve Jackson Games manages to keep the almost the entire line in stock through distribution and, although they have run special sets through Target and Barnes and Noble, I have not seen them participate in any deep discounting or “Buy One, Get One Free” silliness such as appeared on the Target website last week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kaladesh Saturday Showdown Requirements

In case your are interested, here are the requirements for the Kaladesh Standard Showdown tournaments, per WOTC.

They must:
1 Occur on Saturday starting November 26
2. Be Standard Format
3. Run at least 3 rounds with 8 players

There are NO requirements as to how the Standard Showdown boosters are to be distributed, except that stores can give out no more than 10 per tournament. There are no requirements that a winner receive so many boosters or that they be distributed according to some form of "payout" schedule. WOTC suggests several methods by which to distribute them and we will be giving out some following those suggestions i.e. 2 to the overall winner and 1 to players who played in the previous 2 Saturday tournaments we hosted. Note that that is one per person and not one per tournament attended. We will have a list of people who played in the previous Saturday tournaments and will give you one if you play on the 26th.

Anything else you might have heard regarding mandatory awarding of the Standard Showdown packs is not official WOTC procedure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Z-man Games: A Brief History

Z-man Games was launched in the mid 1990s to produce the  Shadowfist trading card game, one of the early TCGs and one that  drew upon themes from Chinese martial arts movies.  Z-man  then released what was for the store the much more successful line of B-Movie card games, starting with Grave Robbers from Outer Space, which parodied the horror films of the 1950s and 1980s and branching out into other genres such as the Western, fantasy,  pirate, blaxspolitation, Asian cinema and Christmas. Though not commonly seen in stores in recent years, a decade or so ago, the B-movie card games were a ubiquitous offering in game stores and I saw many a game of them played at gaming conventions throughout the Midwest.


Z-man Games biggest hits, releasing several years after the B-movie card games peaked, were Agricola and Pandemic, both posting respectably steady sales for several years until the advent of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop web series, which featured Pandemic in one episode, giving it the “Wheaton Bump”, quadrupling, at least for us, sales of the game and allowing Z-man to create a Catanesque line of expansion for Pandemic. The success of other games such as Tragedy Looper and The Walking Dead (based on the comics, not the television series. Cryptozoic has the rights to that and puts out its only line of TV series based games) likely attracted the attention of Quebec based game publisher/distributor Filosofia, which bought Z-man in 2011.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Orangelist

Apparently the latest kerfluffle in the gaming industry is The Orangelist. Near as I can gather, a group of gaming companies published a statement, Gamers for Her,  saying they supported Clinton for president, giving reasons why, and calling for other gamers to vote for her as well.

Now comes the Orangelist, which lists companies and individuals that allegedly voted for Trump and I think calls for a boycott against them. The call to action is pretty poorly written for someone who claims to be a writer. Unfortunately for the creator of the list, several of the companies on it are British and European and some, such as Agents of Gaming and Yaquinto shut their doors over a decade ago. Still other, whom the author claimed to have contacted, deny every receiving a phone call, email or IM from him.

It would appear the author had some spare time on his hands, a list of gaming companies and a desire for attention.

Local Game Store Day?

Would a Local Game Store Day prove feasible? That's the topic of this week's ICV2 column.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wither TableTop

This week's ICV2 column looks at the lack of a TableTop bump in retail stores with the release of the 4th season of the series.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Blood Bowl

Check out the hottest releases from Games Workshop below!
Planetary Onslaught:
112 page Warhammer 40,000 supplement that combines Planetstrike, Stronghold Assault and Cities of Death supplements in on handy book.

Allocated Item
40-07-60 (English)
40-07-01 (French)

US $40/ CAN $50

For sale in your shop on Saturday 11-19-16.
Blood Bowl!

The  game of hyper-violent fantasy football!

Includes:
A 12 player Human team (highly detailed push fit models)
A 12 player Orc team  (highly detailed push fit models)
56 page rule book
double-sided fold out playing surface (the pitch) and dugouts
two sets of dice ( including dice for the Human and Orc teams)
templates
card deck for special play cards

and much more!

Check Out www.Bloodbowl.com for more info or call your GW account manager!



200-01-60 (English)
200-01-01 (French)

US $99/ CAN $119

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Click on the image above for Drill Cards that you can use to show a new customer how to play Blood Bowl!
Click on the image above for a sign up sheet that can help  your customers pre-order for Blood Bowl from you today!
Death Zone: Season One

Full Rules for Leagues and exhibition games.
Rules for the following teams:
Dwarf, Skaven, Nurgle, High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves...and just regular Elves!
(Preview:  You can check out the table of contents by clicking on the image below)

Allocated Item
200-02-60 (English)
200-02-01 (French)

US $25/CAN $30

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Skavenblight Scramblers

A 12 model highly detailed models
Skaven counters and Skaven Blood Bowl balls
and the 'Out of the box" Team Roster!

Allocated Item
200-11
US $35/CAN $40

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16
Blood Bowl  Skaven Dice

10 green "Warpstone" effect Blood Bowl Dice

Allocated Item
200-12
US $12.50/CAN $14

For sale in your shop on Black Friday 11-25-16

Friday, November 11, 2016

Anchor Points

Happened to catch a story on "anchor points" this morning on NPR and thought I would discuss how game and comic stores utilize such concepts in influencing your behavior.

The concept of the that having a high priced item for sale makes the prices of other items in the same place of business seem lower and more reasonable by comparison. Allow me to explain with a common example in restaurants.

The wine list in a restaurant will often have a list of what the customer might perceive as expensive wines and then one really expensive, say a series of vintages ranging from $20 to $60 per bottle and then one bottle priced at $500. The $500 bottle is an anchor point, making the other bottles appear cheaper by comparison and reducing your resistance to purchasing a more expensive vintage.

Stores especially that deal in single Magic and other TCGs as well as comic shops that deal in rare comics use the concept of the anchor point to reduce resistance to the purchase of a higher priced single card or comic book.

Say you have a Jace, the Mind Scuptor from a FTV:  Twenty set in stock at $70 and a Beta Bayou in stock selling for $1400. The $1400 card becomes the anchor point, setting the upper limit of price on the cards on display at $1400 and making the $70 Jace a bargain by comparison.

Similarly, a $2000 copy of a Superman comic from the 1940s, makes the $300 Spider-man comic from the 1960s seem comparatively reasonably priced.

The store may not plan to even sell the anchor item, though I am certain they would if someone offered the full price. Just having it there increases the likelihood of other items, otherwise perceived as expensive, selling.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NetRunner The Original


Most people are familiar with FFG's Netrunner Living Card Game.  However, over a decade earlier, WOTC released the NetRunner TCG, both the company's second Richard Garfield game and its second trading card game (Magic was first in both categories). In turn, the Netrunner TCG "universe" was based on concepts from R. Talsorian Games Cyberpunk RPG, using the idea of hackers trying to crack corporate dataforts.

Much like the modern version, one player had a corporate deck, while the other player had a runner deck. Unique among TCGs, the cards incorporated in the corp deck differed from those in the runner deck, as each player constructed their playdeck from a different card pool. Both the core game and its expansion Proteus, released in 1996.  A second set, Silent Impact, was developed but never released in that form, though a set of 52 cards from it came to the market as the Classic expansion in 1999.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

AIDA

The AIDA model is a common descriptor for modeling human consumption behavior.  It stands for

Attention--Initially, the consumer is unaware of the product and the manufacturer or seller must take action to bring it to the potential customer's attention. Currently, one of the best ways to bring a product to the customers attention is through Facebook, as, with a relatively small payment, you can place information about your product in front of thousands of people who FB has determined have interest in it.

Interest--The consumer shows interest in the product. If you are at Sam's Club this might entail sampling one of the many food products they offer tastes of around mealtime. In a game store, this might lead to a quick demo session of the product in question.

Desire--The customer shows desire for the product, asking it to be held back for them, putting it on layaway or putting it on an Amazon wish list.

Action--The consumer finally pulls the trigger so to speak and buys the product.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Volo's guide to discounting

This week's ICV2 column looks at the online discounting of the new Volo's Guide to Monsters

Thursday, November 3, 2016

History of the Store

The city of Carbondale is producing a series of short videos about local businesses. I think we are the first one the city has produced and uploaded. Amy Fox, Carbondale's new Public Relations Officer shot about 30 minutes worth of video to produce the minute and a half that wound up comprising the spot.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Magic Commander 2016

Here are the decklists for the new Magic Commander 2016 sets. 5 decks, total retail about $170. If you prepay for a cast by November 9th, you can get a case of all 5 decks for $150. After that, they go back up to regular retail when they release on November 11.  We are not preselling any single decks, only by the case.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Too Much Nostalgia

There is such a thing, I think, as too much nostalgia. Did anyone really demand the return of Rom, Micornauts or the ThunderCats as comic book or The Crow boardgame? At least those are characters from the relatively recent past and properties that today's adults would remember from their youth.

Has there been some demand I have missed for the return of Captain Action though? The character premiered 50 years ago, meaning that the kids who played with the figure then are in their late 50s and early 60s now.  I remember the first go round of Captain Action, whose main selling point was that you could dress him up as Superman, Batman, Captain America and other super heroes of the day. Now, he has reincarnated in today's comic book as an action adventure spy, without the changeability that made him unique. Is that enough to create demand for the comic, let alone a new card game?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Figures

This week's ICV2 column looks at Halloween retailing figures and the growing importance of the Halloween season on retail sales.

If you wore a costume tonight or this weekend, odds are it was a witch, Harley Quinn or Batman as those are the most popular costumes for adults. Pre-teens most likely dressed as Batman, Wonder Woman or Supergirl as superheroes dethroned princesses as the most popular costume for girls this year. Batman has been the most popular one for boys for several years.

You most likely give out Reece's PBC, Kit Kat or Butterfinger bars as those are the three  candies among the top five in every state. Candy corn, surprisingly, is the most popular in Texas, Oregon, Wyoming, Tennessee and South Carolina.

You probably spent $25 on candy, $32 on your costume and about $30 on miscellaneous decorations, and, if you have a pet, 15% of us dress them up:


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Commodification

A commodity is a product that is only differentiated from similar products by its price. Case in point, the Cavendish banana (yes, those yellow bananas you find at the supermarket do have a name). Since one looks like another, you cannot tell if they ones you have sitting on your counter at home were bought at Aldi's, Wal-mart, Schucks or Kroger. The only difference between them is the price you paid for them.

Decades ago, companies did differentiate their bananas. Chiquita put a little blue label on them and could charge a premium price of a quarter or more per pound because they were "Chiquita bananas". Over the years though, that blue sticker lost its value as Chiquita stopped doing anything to protect its brand and Chiquita bananas became no more premium than any other banana.

Something similar is happening in the gaming industry. Games that customers used to have to go to a specialty store to get, such as Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, etc, are showing up in stores such as Target, Barnes & Noble, even Wal-mart, making it much easier for the customer to find them. The trade off is that the games are becoming commodities, the only difference between one copy and another is the price.

Iello has inoculated itself against the commodification somewhat by producing two different versions of King of Tokyo. The FLGS version comes with Gigasaur while the Target version comes with Baby Gigasaur, meaning that the same version of the game is not available everywhere.  Similarly, as I noted in an earlier post, WOTC is releasing Volo's Guide to Monsters with two different covers, one for the game store and one for the mass market. This may be early steps  brands are taking to protect their value from commodification.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Only Variant Cover In The Gaming Industry (of which I know)

Channel specific and variant covers are fairly common in the comic industry but extremely rare in the game industry. The only previous example that comes to mind immediately (and please email if you can think of other instances) occurred back in 2007 when Avalanche Press released its Rome at War III:  Queen of the Celts boardgame, focusing on the Roman invasion of Britain. Avalanche Press released a tame cover featuring a sword and shield and a more risquĂ© cover, with a bare breasted Queen Boudicca, with strategically placed hair, riding a chariot into battle. Avalanche Press had released a number of sourcebooks and adventures with similar pinup style cover art under the OGL earlier in the decade, which, after the first couple, had not sold very well. Hence, upon deciding the company wanted to use the same artist for Queen of the Celts, but realizing a number of retailers might object to what it called the “pinup” cover, it released a tamer cover as well.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Volo's Guide to Monsters

Volo's Guide to Monsters, which arrives next month, will take a direction similar to what Shadowrun has done for a number of years, interspersing commentary on the entries from both Volothamp Geddarm and Elminister. You Shadowrun fans will remember that many of their guidebooks to the world come annotated with comments from "runners" in the world, as if the books existed in digital form and they were able to comment upon it. Such comments could clarify points, obscure them or even offer adventure hooks. Hopefully, the comments added to the Volo's Guide will prove similar.

Volo's Guide to Monsters will ship with two covers, a "mass market" version and a "game store" version. We currently only have the game store version ordered so if you want a copy of the mass market cover, let us know.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Derived Demand and the Collapse of Hastings

This week's ICV2 column looks at the concept of "derived demand", which I addressed some last week and how it contributed to the collapse of Hastings.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

How to Get Hired (or Avoid Getting Hired)

Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, has a pretty good post on, especially if you are a student, how to best position yourself to encourage a potential employer to hire you. A couple of things I will comment on:

1.  If you want a job at a place, show you are interested and planned ahead by bringing a resume with you. Coming in without one and asking if we are hiring indicates that stopping was more of a spur of the moment impulse.

2. Dress appropriately. If you are applying for a job here and are male, suit and tie are not necessary, nor are a skirt or dress if you are a female. Staff doesn't wear them here so you don't need to when applying. On the other hand, staff here doesn't wear pajama bottoms or t-shirts with obscene sayings on them, so applying wearing those is not a good idea.

3.  Much as I tell my students at SEMO, unfortunately, potential employers are not interested in what your job goals are or in which fields you would like to work. Employers want to hire you to fill a specific need they have in the organization. If I need someone to work odd hours on the store schedule, you are more likely to get hired if you indicate you can work during those times than saying you need every night off.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Derived Demand

Stores almost never buy games because the owner wants them (except in those cases where the store owner opens the store because of their love of the game as is the case with a lot of card shops). Store stock games because of  "derived demand".

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's bankruptcy. 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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stealth Products

Stealth products always bemuse me. By stealth products, I mean products that show up with little advance motive or promotion that my customers would have quite a bit of interest in if I could let them know about it. Cases in point the new Legendary Deadpool expansion and the Dominion upgrade set that came out a couple of weeks ago.

Contrast the (lack of)promotion surrounding them with the amount of promotion WOTC put out for the new Widow's Walk expansion for Betrayal At House on the Hill.  Stores knew about this expansion months ago and could put in pre-orders for it 8 weeks ago. We were able to talk it up with customers and even tell them the exact date we expected to have it in store. Both Deadpool and the Expansion Set arrived with almost no advance notice. We found out about Deadpool this week and the Dominion Expansion Set the week before it arrived. Hardly enough time to generate any interest or let customers know about the product.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

TableTop

Interesting decision by the TableTop web series this year. The plan is to release season 4 behind a paywall for the original run of the season later this year then open them to the general viewing public in 2017. The price to access the episodes isn't too bad, only $4.99 per month, and you do get access to the rest of Legendary Entertainment, and by default Geek & Sundry's, premium content.

Problem is, how many people feel the additional material produced by Legendary is worth the $4.99 per month to get it early. The only thing I ever watch on the G&S website is TableTop. I used to watch Talking Comics Weekly but that got discontinued a year or so ago. The rest of the material on the site just doesn't interest me, though it certainly may interest others.

I applaud G&S for working to keep TableTop on the air as, while the "TableTop bump" has certainly diminished from years 1 & 2, it is still the best venue the industry has for attracting notice to the games that we specialize in, the ones you won't find in the game aisle at Wal-mart (though you might at Target now). The same model was adopted by Sesame Street last year, producing new material for 1st run on HBO then releasing it for free on PBS later. Childrens Television Workshop says the organization has lost money for the past several years as licensing and product sales have slowly dried up, and this plan has brought in enough money for CTW to put it back in the black. I hope the model works for TableTop as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Widow's Walk

For a game that has been out for well over a decade and in an industry that had become dependent on expansions and upgrades to games, Betrayal at House on the Hill has done surprisingly well for itself. Well, that streak will end this Friday with the release of the very first expansion for Betrayal, Widow's Walk. At only $25, we expect to see quite a few of these sell and have already 2 copies on pre-order so we will see you this weekend on the Widow's Walk

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shelf Space

Turnover is a major factor in determining if a game or graphic novel gets restocked or not.

Turnover refers to the number of times I sell a product during a given period, either per week, per month or per year. A game or graphic novel needs to sell a certain number of times in order to justify us restocking it. If a game only sells one copy a year, it is better for us, from a business standpoint, to not restock it and put those funds we would spend on it to stock in a different product. Case in point, a number of Pathfinder paperbound books. We looked at the sales records on them and found that a good half of the ones on the shelf have not sold a single copy since the first of the year, so we marked them down and put them back in the used section with no plans to restock new copies.

The Genestealer Cults figures from Games Workshop are a good example of a product with high current turnover. We have sold several copies of the Genestealer Cults book and associated figures and have restocked it weekly since release. We will do so until sale drop off but, since the army has proven a key one for Warhammer 40,000, we will keep the line in stock. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

How To Decide

Scott's column this week on ICV2 looks at the decision making process and how we decide to do things.

Friday, October 7, 2016

More Magic

Based on a suggestion from WOTC we will start running FNM twice on Friday, once at 2 p.m. and again at 6:30.  The afternoon game is either free or $5 and does require 5 people before we will run it. and will be standard format.  The evening game will still start at 6:30 and will be either Draft on the first Friday or Modern the rest of the month.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Suprise, Suprise, Dominion 2nd Edition

Did you know Dominion 2nd edition came out this week? Don't feel left out if you were surprised, almost all retailers were as well. We learned about it about a week ago, after many stores had stocked up on the 1st edition rules set for the Christmas season. Customers coming in purchasing them for Christmas gifts will want the new edition, not the previous one. The only saving grace of this is that Rio Grande came out with an upgrade kit, allowing those with the 1st edition set to play with the new 2nd edition rules.

Compare this with FFG and Games Workshop, who gave customers and stores a good 6 months notice regarding the ending of the license. This gives stores enough time to decide what they want to do with the FFG games and customers plenty of time to decide whether to pick up the 1st edition or wait for the 2nd.

If you have a copy of the 1st edition rules, we do have several sets of the upgrade kit, which RGG did make available, for only $15.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pathfinder Program

This week's ICV2 column expands on last week's blog post about the new Pathfinder Society retail initiative and why it might not turn around PF sales decline.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Too Little, Too Late?

Paizo announced this week, to their venture captains first and then through a press release (it appears emailing retailers was an afterthought as we still have not received anything official from them, although some other stores have), that players in PFS games at stores would receive an in-game benefit for the table for making purchases at the store on the date of the game.

Paizo first discussed this last spring with some retailers but apparently it took half a year to implement and may be too late as many stores have reported clearancing out their Pathfinder stock. I know we don't bring in anything new except for hardback books as Paizo's 20% subscription offer has proved too enticing to most local players. Either that or no local players have any interest in Pathfinder print materials as we have sold less than 100 Pathfinder items since the beginning of the year, with the top 3 items the Bigger Flipmat, the GM Screen and the Player Folio. Everything else is 1's and 2's with almost all of the modules only selling 1, not making them worth restocking as they don't sell if we do.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Cheers for WizKids

This week's ICV2 column looks at three things I really like about WizKids', the company that makes HeroClix and DiceMasters, operations.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kaladesh Inventions

According to this, there will be 30 Kaladesh Invention cards, which will now be generally referred to as Masterpiece cards, inserted at a ratio of one card per 144 packs, which works out to 1 card per 4 booster displays. Ergo, if you open 2 cases of boosters, you could reasonably expect to pull three Inventions cards. The Aether Revolt set will contain the remaining 24 cards in the set. WOTC expects to include around 50 Masterpiece cards in each upcoming block

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Release Date Tape

WizKids announced something new:  the company will start putting Release Date notices on their products that ship before release dates, warning them that there is a release date for the product. This still won't stop everyone from breaking street date but getting information to people is certainly a step forward.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Buy/Don't Buy Dice


Found these in a drawer in the office. The Buy/Don't Buy dice were a gift from Flying Buffalo and only 10 sets exist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No FFG/GW Reprints Scheduled

Fantasy Flight Games just sent out a list of scheduled reprints coming out in October, reproduced below. None of the GW licenses are on the list. That does not mean we won't see anything in November or December, but, as the license ends in February, it is doubtful the company will schedule anything too close to the cuttoff date for reprinting:

AD02
Android: Mainframe
VA32
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror
SEV04
7 Wonders: Wonder Pack
MYST02
Mysterium: Hidden Signs

Monday, September 19, 2016

Spider Man Clone Conspiracy

If you are a Spider Man fan, read this:

I've only sent a message like this to you twice, with the first one being when I told you ASM #698 would kick off something BIG (remember the death of Peter Parker and the launch of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN?). So I think my track record with you on this is pretty good, right?
You haven't ordered enough CLONE CONSPIRACY #1.
And that's OUR fault.
In every interview and promotion for this book we've said it WILL be the core Spider-Man title while it's coming out. But since that hasn't really stuck, it means WE weren't hitting that information hard enough.
So I'm throwing this out there one last time:
CLONE CONSPIRACY is the CORE Spider-Man title.
It's not a mini-series. It IS the SPIDER-MAN EVENT this year.
When you think Clone Conspiracy think SPIDER-ISLAND, ENDS OF THE EARTH, and SPIDER-VERSE. It's THAT big. It will have ramifications that will affect a number of titles: mainly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, PROWLER, and SILK (which all tie into Clone Conspiracy.)
Your regular Spider-Man readers will want to pick this up BECAUSE it's the core title.
When lapsed Spider-Man readers hear what's going on in via word of mouth and social media, THEY will want to pick this up... for *reasons*.
And, with Jim Cheung's pencils, John Dell's inks, and Justin Ponsor's coloring on this, it will be one of the best damn looking books on the rack-- and NEW readers will pick it up. And then get panels of it tattooed onto their bodies.
At its current numbers, I feel very confident that CLONE CONSPIRACY will sell out and go to additional printings. But that'd mean readers would be getting everything out of sequence-- and you know THEY don't want that, YOU don't want that, and I don't want that. So help a guy out, okay? ;-)
FINAL ORDER CUT OFF for CLONE CONSPIRACY #1 is THIS Monday, September 19th.
(If you're a reader and you're seeing this, please be sure to CALL your local comic shop today, Sunday the 18th, or tomorrow, Monday the 19th, and ask them to hold Clone Conspiracy #1 for you. If you want to get a copy when it comes out, calling them this Tuesday might be too late.)

Games Workshop Boardgames

Fortress has an interesting look at the history of Games Workshop boardgames, especially given the current ending of the FFG license. I found especially interesting the fact that the boardgames that GW produced during the peak of their production during the late 1980s were never as profitable as the Warhammer and Warhammer lines of miniatures and miniatures rules, causing the company to shutter their production.

Also interesting was the two views of HeroQuest within the company, with one faction viewing it as a product that took time and attention away from GW's own product lines while the other viewed the game and its promotion by Milton Bradley as valuable in recruiting new customers into the shop. For those interested in Games Workshop, the column is definitely worth the read.

Historic Miniatures Follow-Up

This week's ICV2 column follows up and expands on last week's post on historic miniatures sales.