Friday, September 22, 2017

RPG of the Week

Since we stock a whole lot of role playing games (RPGs) and sell very few of them (we sell 5 times as much D&D 5th edition per month as we do all other RPGs combines) we decided to start talking about one of them once a week in the hope of calling your (yes you) attention to some of the fine ones out there. We will also be doing this with some of the less popular boardgames we stock as well.

This week, we feature Castles & Crusades. This RPG dates back to the 3.0 D&D boom when dozens of companies brought out all sorts of RPG supplements for D&D under the OGL. Castles & Crusades is one of the very few companies (Paizo's Pathfinder RPG is another) to still survive from that era, the tagline being "Third edition rules, 1st edition feel." Troll Lord Games has always focused on recreating the style of adventures from the early days of D&D and AD&D, before there was a heavy emphasis on plot and campaign and adventures stood on their own, rather than linking together.

While characters have skills, character class is a major focus of C&C, much as it was in early AD&D and your character class defines what your character can do. If you like D&D 3.0 (or 3.5) or the play of Pathfinder, but Pathfinder has gotten too complex and materials for D&D 3.0 and 3.5 too hard to find (it is out of print after all), take a look at Castles and Crusades.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Books

In this week's Rolling for Initiative column, if you are interested in opening a game or comic store, or running a store in general, I would recommend reading these three.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Preferred Customer Benefits

Figured it might be helpful to post a list up of the benefits you get here by earning a Preferred Customer Card. Remember, you earn one of these once you turn in 10 filled out Castle Cards. You do not need to turn in the Castle Cards all at once but will received Preferred Customer status once you give us your 10th card. Here are the current benefits:

15% off all purchases, excluding snacks and tournament entry fees
1 extra free item on Free Comic Book Day, Free RPG Day, Batman Day and Halloween Comicfest
1 extra ticket during our Halloween, Christmas and anniversary drawings
1 free game rental per month
Waiver of a deposit on all game rentals. However, you are still responsible for late fees and failure to pay those will result in loss of Preferred Customer status.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Teachers Rent Free

If you are a teacher at any of the local schools, you may rent any of the games in our game library for a week for free and will not need to leave a deposit. This includes games such as Munchkin, Settlers of Catan, Tapple or anything else, with the exception of certain rare games such as Conquest of the Empire. Just show us a faculty ID and we will take care of the rest.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Talisman Returning

Games Workshop has reclaimed the rights to the Talisman board game from Fantasy Flight Games so we can expect to see most of the expansions back in stock by Halloween:

TM-02 Talisman
$59.95 SRP

Talisman the much loved Magical Quest Game first published in 1983 and never out of print since! Talisman takes you on a journey through magical lands, as you endeavor to reclaim the Crown of Command. Each turn will see your hero advancing, battling, gaining knowledge and power necessary to defeat the guardians lurking between the Portal of Power and the Valley of Fire.

2-6 players
1-2+ hour play time


  • 14 Character Sheets 
  • 14 Matching Character Plastic Figures
  • Over 160 cards 
  • 6 x Six Sided Die 
  • Comprehensive Rule Book
  • More than 190 Tokens 
  • 30 x Gold Coins 
TM-03 Talisman: The Reaper
$24.95 SRP

An unearthly chill creeps through the air. The Wizard stops reading his ancient tome and gazes cautiously over his shoulder. The Warrior feels an unfamiliar fear as he draws his mighty sword. 

A shadow has fallen across the countryside. Death himself wanders the land. Can the heroes fulfill their epic quests with the spectre of the Grim Reaper hounding their every move?

The race to the Crown of Command has never been deadlier!


  • 4 new character cards and plastic figures
  • 90 new Adventure Cards
  • 26 new Spell Cards
  • 12 Warlock Quest Cards
  • The Grim Reaper, a dark figure that players manipulate against each other 
TM-08 Talisman: The Dragon
$39.95 SRP

Three new Draconic Lords vie for ruler-ship of the Firelands–Varthrax, Cadorus, and Grilipus. Talisman grows more dangerous as they struggle to claim dominance over their territory and the Crown of Command.

The Dragon expansion offers players even more choices and strategic challenges, including a new, dual-sided Inner Region for their heroes to conquer. The alternate sides allow you to face familiar terrain along a path that requires all new tactics, or to venture into the Dragon Tower, where a hero's every step meets opposition by the Dragon King's minions and leads him ever closer to an ultimate confrontation with the Dragon King, himself.

Talisman: The Dragon brings the Draconic Lords and their legions of dragons to life. Any hero who dares confront the Dragon King must be prepared for an epic battle!


  • 300 new cards and tokens
  • 6 new characters are introduced with dynamic miniatures 
TM-09 Talisman: The Blood Moon
$24.95 SRP

Once in a generation, the Blood Moon begins its fell cycle, bathing the realm in a pallid light. Compelled by its sinister presence, the restless dead rise from their graves, vampires hunt for unwary prey, and witches engage in nocturnal rituals. Worse yet, the horrifying Werewolf prowls the night, seeking heroes with whom to share his curse.

The Blood Moon is an exciting expansion for the classic board game Talisman! With over 100 Adventure Cards, plus new spells, characters, and alternative endings, The Blood Moon adds a gripping layer of gothic horror to your quest for the Crown of Command. In addition to a host of new challenges, The Blood Moon introduces two engaging mechanics: time alternates between "Day" and "Night," and a bloodthirsty Werewolf prowls the land. The new Time Card flips between its Day and Night sides to indicate the inexorable passage of time, introducing a range of engaging new game effects depending on its status. Meanwhile, a horrifying Werewolf preys on Adventurers who wander into his hunting grounds.


  • 111 Adventure Cards
  • 10 Spell Cards
  • Time Card
  • 6 Lycanthrope Cards
  • 3 new Alternative Ending cards
  • 3 new character cards and plastic figures
  • Werewolf card and plastic figure
TM-10 Talisman: The City
$39.95 SRP

The City provides those who live within it a chance to pursue their lives with a modicum of safety and comfort. However, though the outside world is kept outside, any alert adventurer strolling through the City Gate will feel the tension humming in the air.

The City, a Region expansion board for Talisman, provides players with three alternative endings, its own deck, a host of shops for all your questing needs, and six new characters. Collect bounties listed on the Wanted Posters at the City Gate and fill your pockets with gold before doing some serious spending. Secure a steed from the Stables, pick up Pets or Potions, or head to the Armoury and the Magic Emporium. Visit The City in Talisman as you compete for the Crown of Command!


  • Rulebook
  • 1 City Board
  • 82 City Cards and 89 Other Cards
  • 6 Character Cards and Plastic Figures
TM-12 Talisman: The Woodland
$39.95 SRP

Journey to the realm of the fae in The Woodland, an expansion for Talisman Revised 4th Edition! In this expansion, you can walk your own path through the Woodland corner board, encountering strange new creatures, events, and dangers. At the end of your path, a meeting with destiny awaits, transforming your character's future and developing your story further.

Even more waits beneath the boughs of the Woodland, however. Redesigned rules for fate tokens allow you to either help yourself or interfere with others, and your fate will shape many of your interactions within the groves and glades of the Woodland. Prepare yourself for a world different than anything yet seen in Talisman, and enter the Woodland!


  • A new corner board, depicting the wilds of the Woodland
  • 5 new characters to join your adventures
  • 3 new alternative endings
  • Over twenty brand new tokens
  • Nearly 150 new cards to bring the Woodland alive
TM-15 Talisman: The Harbringer
$24.95 SRP

The end of the world is nigh in Talisman: The Harbinger. This expansion introduces the Harbinger, a mysterious figure of prophecy and doom who wanders the realm, with destruction following everywhere he walks. As the demons and plagues of the new Harbinger deck wreak havoc throughout Talisman, three new powerful characters seek the Crown of Command. That quest becomes more dangerous than ever before: cursed followers lie in wait for fresh prey, flames descend from the darkened skies, and the dead crawl from their tombs. 

Four new Omen decks reveal the changing and dire effects of impending doom, counting down to its arrival. Terrain cards abruptly transform the ground beneath characters' feet, changing deserts into bogs, or farmland into ruins. You'll have to navigate these obstacles and numerous others if you want to seize victory before time runs out for the entire realm – and the true apocalypse begins.


  • Harbinger figure, sheet, and accompanying Harbinger deck
  • 3 more characters seek the Crown of Command
  • 4 Omen decks each unleash a unique scenario of doom
  • Terrain cards transform the landscape of the realm
  • 2 apocalypse-themed alternate endings

Monday, September 11, 2017

Alliance Open House

The major gaming distributors hold "open houses" each year for their retailer customers. I went to the Alliance one this past weekend and this week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at four things I took away from it.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Preferred Customer Benefit Addition

We have added a couple of new benefits to the Preferred Customer Card.

1) You receive 1 FREE rental per month of any rentable game in the game library.

2) Although you still have to pay the rental fee, we will not ask for a cash or credit card deposit when you rent a game. Just show us your Preferred Customer card and we will note that on the sheet. You will still be charged late fees for bringing the game back late and refusing to pay those will cause you to lose Preferred Customer status.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Force Friday Followup

For those interested in the business side of the gaming industry, this week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at some suggestions for improving the retail side of Force Friday

Monday, September 4, 2017

FireSide Games Tour

In case you would like to play games with the designers of Castle Panic and Here Kitty Kitty, FireSide Games will stop by on their Smash and Burn Tour on October 7th from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (or later depending on interest. Come play Kaiju Crush and Hotshots and bring your favorite Fireside Games (or buy a couple) and have them signed.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Seven Things You Might Have Missed In the General's Handbook

Games Workshop wants to point out 7 things you might have missed in the 2017 edition of the Age Of Sigmar's Generals Handbook

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

GW Schedule

For you Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar players, a tentative release schedule through the end of the year:

Codex Tyrandis
Codes Astra Militarium
Codex Craftworlds
All arriving before November
AoS Firestorm Season of War
4 player campaign box
Reusable stickers with map - looks great!
AoS Malign Portents
With new Herald of Nagash mini
Narrative and march play - launching with organized play - Oct/Nov
Shadespire launches October
Arena combat - deck building game
Citadel Paint app- free!
Replicate color from a mini photo or any photo - this is an awesome app!
Necromunda - end November with immediate expansion release

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Yu Gi OH

Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. is proud to bring you the newest product offering, Circuit Break Special Edition which is jam-packed with value!  Not only does it include 3 booster packs of Circuit Break, each box is guaranteed 1 of 2 Super Rare variant cards, as well as 1 of 2 Super Rare preview cards of non-foil cards from the upcoming Spring 2018 booster set!

Marionettes that move on their own, a mad scientist, and vengeful spirits returning to walk the earth are just the beginning of what you’ll find in Circuit Break!  This booster is also home to more Link Monsters, including Borreload Dragon, a terrifying new 3000 ATK monster that can brainwash monsters it attacks, giving you control over them until their minds burn out.  Famous monsters from history like Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys and Levia-Dragon - Daedalus return in powerful and unpredictable phantasmal forms as the new Metaphys Nephthys and Metaphys Daedalus. Enforce order on their chaos and you’ll unlock a cycle of creation and destruction that will only stop with your opponent’s defeat!

They went into hiding after Maximum Crisis, but now SPYRAL and the Subterrors have returned with Link Monsters to update their strategies for a new era of Dueling!  Summon Subterror Behemoth Fiendess, a “Subterror” Link Monster that can hit the field with up to 4400 ATK, gets your best Flip monsters out of your Deck, and then Summons them! Guess what kind of card is on top of your opponent’s Deck (make sure to peek first with SPYRAL GEAR – Drone) and the new “SPYRAL” Link Monster SPYRAL Double Helix can Summon any “SPYRAL” monster from your Deck.  Of course, it also counts as SPYRAL Super Agent on the field and in the Graveyard, so you can use all your “SPYRAL GEAR” cards with it!

Powerful cards that can go in any Deck! Circuit Break has a wide variety of cards that let you do some incredible things no matter what kind of strategy you want to employ.  There are also new cards and Deck themes from Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS!  You can watch each episode of the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! series soon after it finishes airing in Japan on and then pick up great cards from the new series in Circuit Break! (Simulcast currently available every Wednesday in the US and Latin America).

Each Circuit Break Special Edition contains: 3 Circuit Break booster packs, 1 of 2 Super Rare variant cards, either The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode or Stardust Chronicle Spark Dragon, and 1 of 2 Super Rare preview cards from the Spring 2018 booster set.

Magic Buyouts

A detailed look at reserve list Magic buyouts and their effect on prices. What is a buyout? It occurs when some decides to buy up all of particular Magic card currently available on sites like TCG Player, eBay and Star City Games. Usually, the target is an early card on WOTC's reserve list. The reserve list is a list of cards WOTC has indicated will never be reprinted, while early sets had surprisingly few copies of rares printed. Legends, for example, only had 19,500 copies of each rare printed and a lot of those have been lost over the years.

The author wrote the column because of the increase in buyouts over the past year and to caution players about buying into the "pump and dump" and getting a card when its price artificially peaks. Since a lot of sites use TCG Player as their pricing engine, listing a card on the site at an artificially high price forces the price high on those sites that use the site for pricing. Interesting look at Magic economics, but it can really only impact Legacy players or investors as the cards targeted are not legal for Standard or Modern play.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Force Friday

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at this year's Force Friday and Fantasy Flight Games participation in it. Nope, I cannot tell you what the secret item is as I still have no idea. We find out Thursday.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vampire Playtest

The pre-Alpha playtest for the 5th edition of Vampire the Masquerade closed earlier in August. Will keep an eye out and post if they open it up again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Vampire 5th Edition Playtest Kit

Although talk about it has floated around for a few months, White Wolf made a big announcement about the release of Vampire The Masquerade 5th edition in 2018. They are looking for playtesters for the system though. If you are interested, you can download the pre-alpha playtest kit here and, after trying out the system. you can fill out a survey giving your feedback

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Twilight Imperium New Edition

Fantasy Flight Games has announced the new edition of Twilight Imperium at $149.99. There is a hardback copy of the rulebook that is not included with the game but if you pre-order (and pre-pay) for a copy, you will get a copy of the hardback rulebook for free. Note that there is a softcover copy of the rules included with the game, but if you want the hardback copy, this special is the only way to get one (at least until people start selling them on eBay and Amazon. The game is scheuled to release in November and we will take layaway payments on it.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why DIstributors Matter

This weeks' Rolling for Initiative column follows up on last week's column on exclusives and looks at why distributors in general matter to the gaming industry.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Why Exclusives?

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the reasons for game exclusives and who benefits and who doesn't

Monday, August 7, 2017

Target Exclusives and Arcane Tinmen Stays Non-exclusive

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the implications of the announced exclusive games at Target as well as the announced non-exclusivity of Arcane Tinmen products.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dragonshields Stay Widely Available

While not mattering much to the individual consumer, exclusivity is a concern for stores since it limits places from which we can order product. For example, one reason it is hard to find the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game is that only one distributor in the US has the right to carry it, so if a store, any store wants to stock it in, the store has to open an account with that distributor. While good for the distributor since it brings more stores in as customers, it is not so good for the store since stores have to split up their available dollars among yet one more source of supply.

There are 5 major gaming distributors in the US and another half dozen or so smaller ones and all of them have some benefit, whether is is an exclusive, or quick delivery or better instock, that causes stores to order from them. The more product lines available from a distributor, the easier it is for a store to put in an order. That's why the email from Arcane Tinman, the producer of the popular Dragonshields card sleeves, is good news. The company was going exclusive with Alliance Distribution, meaning stores would have to have an account with them to get the sleeves. Now, distributors that currently carry them will be able to continue to do so, without opening another account:

Arcane Tinmen has decided to discontinue their business cooperation with Asmodée North America (ANA) in order to maintain a broader distribution network of their products in the United States market. The change will go into effect on August 1st 2017.

Arcane Tinmen will continue to have its products distributed through many main distributors in the US, including Southern Hobby, ACD, GTS and PHD. Arcane Tinmen is thankful for many years of fruitful and prosperous relations with Asmodée NA, and Fantasy Flight Games before that.

Asmodée NA recently announced that they would be going from five distributors to an exclusive partnership with Alliance Game Distributors.

Michael Stehr Lilhav, CEO of Arcane Tinmen, states;
"I recognize that this is a solid move for Asmodée and their business, but the future for Dragon Shield and other Arcane Tinmen accessories lies within the wider distribution network."
Michael Stehr Lilhav adds that Arcane Tinmen is thankful for the many years of partnership the company has had with Asmodée, and that he wishes both companies plenty of good fortune on each of their separate future paths.

Arcane Tinmen is known for their wide range of gaming accessories and high quality trading card game protection products. With the world renowned quality-brand Dragon Shield, Arcane Tinmen has been an important player in the gaming industry for decades.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gencon Close to Selling Out

According to the below email from GenCon, the convention will have no onsite sales of badges and is close to selling out for the time in its history:

Thursday badges have now sold out and only a limited amount of Friday badges remain for Gen Con 50. This is your last chance to get into the historic show! Gen Con is approaching its first full-sell out, and interested attendees will not want to wait to secure their Friday badge. There will be no onsite sales of badges, so don't delay; order your badge at

Monday, July 31, 2017

Media Surprised by Boardgames

Every so often I see a news story about the resurgence of boardgames, as if they had gone away somewhere. This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at reasons why people are still surprised boardgames get played.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tomb of Annihilation Miniatures

the D&D Miniatures Tomb of Annihilation set arrived yesterday and we have plenty of boxes and single figures.

Bring the heroes, villains, and monsters from the jungle of Chult, as well as the Tomb of the Nine Gods to life in this latest series of fantasy miniatures!
Collect all 44 figures from Tomb of Annihilation, the newest set of randomly sorted monsters and heroes in our exciting line of D&D miniatures, Icons of the Realms.
Adventurers have been sent to the jungle peninsula of Chult, where they must face all manner of dangers in order to find the lost city. Adventurers will need all the help they can get to get through the Tomb and the Dungeon’s evil architect – The Lich Acererak.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

WOTC Promo Change

WOTC just made a major change to their promotional program, rather the way in which we handle promotional items. Prior to this, certain promotional items such as the Buy a Box Card and Game Day playmats, had to be destroyed after a certain amount of time if they were not used for the promotion for which they were designed. Now, after the promotional period has ended, stores can use them to enhance play in whatever manner deemed suitable. Stores, of course, still cannot sell promo items, they must be given to players.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stranger Things The RPG

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at a couple of RPGs that appear influenced by Netflix' Stranger Things.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How To Improve Friday Night Magic

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the one way WOTC could improve pre-releases and Friday night magic and no, it is not giving away more free stuff.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Of Comics and Collections

As you may or may not know, we sell comics as well as games and every so often, someone comes in, expresses an interest in a comic but then says "Well, I'll just wait for the graphic novel" which is the common term for a collection of issues of a mini series or a arc, typically six issues, of an ongoing series.

Prime examples of this are the ongoing books The Walking Dead  and Saga, both of which are extremely good and long running series. We used to sell 10-20 copies of each issue but now the numbers have dropped to 3 to 6. The reason is the regular collection of the story arcs, which have trained readers to wait for the trade collection, rather than picking up individual issues.

This is fine for strong series such as Walking Dead and Saga, which have a loyal fan base, but much harder for just starting series such as Curse Words and Hillbilly, which are extremely well written but may have a hard time attracting attention and generating those single issue sales needed to justify a collection.

With us, if we don't see issues of a series selling, it is hard to justify purchasing the trade collection as a lack of sales indicates not much interest in the book and, unlike mass merchants such as Wal-mart and B&N, once we buy a book, we cannot return it for credit. It stays on the shelves, just like our games, until it sells or we clearance it out. Needless to say, we work to minimize buying books that won't sell quickly.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Pair of Promotions

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at a couple of promotions from Steve Jackson Games and IELLO Game. The store will have the Go Up A Level card to give out at the next Munchkin day and will participate in the IELLO Games promotion for Mountains of Madness

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Halloween Comicfest

Although it is several months away, the comics have been announced for Halloween Comicfest, the Saturday before Halloween. We will have many of these available for you to get in late October.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Model Retailer Shuttering

Most customers will never have heard of Model Retailer magazine but it was a mainstay of the retail gaming industry for over 40 years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


We work pretty diligently to keep our bathrooms looking nice and well stocked. Why? Anyone in business will tell you that a businesses' bathrooms is key to the operation. If  a business had dirty bathrooms, it is a good bet that other parts of the operation are not run well either. Good bathrooms, good operation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Geek Chic

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the history of gaming furniture maker Geek Chic and possible reasons behind its recent closure.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Improving Free RPG Day

Scott's ICV2 column for this week looks at how to improve the annual giveaways for Free FPG Day

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ustable Magic

Those of you who have played Magic for years will remember the Unglued and Unhinged sets of humorous cards, that released in the early years of the game. The closest thing we have seen to those we have seen in recent years have been the annual Christmas promo cards sent out to stores that participate in Wizards's programs. Well, now Wizards has announced the drought of humorous sets has ended with the release of Unstable this December. No specific details have released regarding the set's cards have been released, except that they are silver bordered and will total about 216 cards.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aettherworks Marvel Banned

WOTC announced today that Aetherworks Marvel is banned in Standard play. You can read the full column here but the gist is that, while the card is not fundamentally broken, and the prime deck running it, Temur Aetherworks, is not dominant in terms of wins, but in tournament play, 10% of the time its user has a Turn 4 win. Since the deck also factors into a large number of unbeatable draws, WOTC decided it needed to go.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Star Trek RPG

Modiphus has announced yet another Star Trek RPG, coming out later this summer:

Today announced the launch of our pre-order for Star Trek Adventures
We're currently sharing solicitations with your usual distributors for the range of Star Trek products, expected to hit retail early September. The Borg Cube is expected to ship later in September, due to production pipelines. 

Demand for these is expected to exceptionally high, so please confirm orders as soon as possible (your distributor will advise dates). 

Heading the list is the Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook a full colour hardback allowing you to create your own Star Trek stories of discovery and adventure on the final frontier. Featuring a complete 2d20 game system from Modiphius Entertainment, with an extensive exploration of the United Federation of Planets and its galactic neighbours in the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants.  Guidelines for Gamemasters old and new, on how to run an adventure and a full catalogue of aliens and antagonists including Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, the Borg and the Dominion.

The Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook Collector's Edition, has all the features of the basic rulebook, but comes with an impressive special edition cover featuring the hull of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701-D rendered by The Light Works, who provided the 3D model for the Star Trek: The Next Generation Remastered series, making it the most accurate model of the Enterprise D available. 

The Star Trek Adventures RPG Limited Edition Borg Cube has been called the "coolest box in the history of gaming" by Geek and Sundry and has everything you need to play Star Trek Adventures and then some. It contains a "1701-D" Collectible Edition Core Rulebook, with four sets of miniatures including the crew of the Original The Next Generation Crew, Klingon and the Romulan crews, a padded tray for all four sets of miniatures by KRMulticase, three dice sets by Q-Workshop, Heat & Momentum Tokens, a PDF Collection (also available to retail customers) and an exclusive miniature of Lore (with more to be added as distribution and direct orders grow), all collected in an ultra cool Borg Cube box marked with a uniquely numbered official Star Trek Adventures hologram. One side of cube pulls out to use as an exclusive oversize Borg Gamesmaster Screen. Consider yourself assimilated! 

SRP £395 / $495 (actual value of £530 / $680) NOTE This is a very short discount product due to high costs, please check with your distributor for pricing. PDF's will be distributed directly to customers - more info will be shared later as we are exploring the best route for this. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Asmodee and Alliance

This week's ICV2 column looks at possible effects of the recently announced deal between Asmodee NA and Alliance. For the consumer, it shouldn't have any effect. For other members of the channel, the effects could be more pronounced.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MAPP Part 2

This week's ICV2 column looks at the difficulty of enforcing a MAPP (Minimum Advertised Pricing Policy).

Why Shop Local?

Just how does shopping at your Friendly Local Games Store (or any other local retailer) help your local community? Three reasons ( I can think of more but these are the three that come to mind immediately):

1.        Jobs.  Roughly 15 million people, or about 5% of the entire US population works in some aspect of retailing. Granted, it is not a glamorous job or an especially well paid job, though the average retail worker makes just over $18 an hour, according to statistics from the federal government, works just over 30 hours a week and earns about $2160 per month, before taxes, or about $26000 per year.  Certainly not great and that level of pay is a major factor in the high employee turnover rate in retail as last time I checked it hit right at about 300%, meaning the average retailer has to fill a position 3 times a year. Still, retail does provide jobs in the community, jobs that go away if people opt to shop elsewhere. After all, most people first employment is in some form of retailing.

2.       Sales Taxes—States and cities  with a sales tax rely heavily rely on them to fund services for the residents of that city and state. Most online retailers still do not collect sales tax (technically the consumer is supposed to remit sales tax to the state and city, your annual tax forms usually have a place for you to pay the state any sales tax not collected by a retailer. Needless to say, most people do not fill in that blank. The State of Illinois made a concentrated effort to collect unpaid sales taxes through the income tax form several years back and barely recouped enough to cover the expense of collecting it). Sales (and property) taxes help fund the services your city and state governments provide such as police, fire, street and sewers, services for the poor and homeless, etc. Fewer taxes mean fewer services provided.

3.       Your Money Stays Local—Shopping at a locally owned store means the money stays in the community, helping to generate those jobs I mentioned above and allowing other businesses to use those dollars to expand and enhance their offerings.  Making a purchase at a locally owned store puts approximately 70% of that money back into the community. Even making a purchase at a chain store puts about 45% of your expenditure back into your city. Buying online puts nothing back into your city.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Minimum Advertised Pricing

When you get a group of game retailers together, sooner or later the topic of MAP (minimum advertised pricing) and its enforcement, or lack thereof, will come up. For those not familiar with the term, Minimum Advertised Pricing is the term for a policy put in place by many, but not all, manufacturers stating that, in exchange for the manufacturer allowing the retailer to be an official reseller of the product, with any benefits and access to product that may entail, the retailer agrees to not advertise a discount of more than a certain amount on those products specified by the manufacturer. For example, both Mayfair Games and Games Workshop have MAP policies in place. If a store wants to have access to their products, either directly from the company or through approved distributors, the store must agree to become an authorized reseller and abide by company policies, one of which is a MAP of 20% for both companies. What this means, and it is much more important online than at a brick and mortar store since online retailers compete much more heavily on price, is that an authorized reseller of Mayfair Games or Games Workshop products cannot advertise their products for more than a 20% discount, i.e. an approved store selling Games Workshop products could not advertise a $50 boxed set for less than $40 or risk losing the ability to order products directly from Games Workshop at a larger discount than they get if buying GW product from other sources.

This is why MAP is often a sore point with many retailers since they see online retailers, especially, selling ostensibly MAP protected products at a greater discount than the MAP allows, apparently with no repercussions.  Someone will spot an online retailer selling a  MAP protected boardgame for less than the MAP, violating the policy, report it to the manufacturer and, as far as they can tell, see nothing happen. That is why this article in the May issue of Internet Retailer caught my eye ( I read Internet Retailer regularly, you can too and it is free at
Why do manufacturers even care about for how much stores sell their products? Price is part of the brand image.  Consider Nike. Nike routinely launches new shoes a prices between $100 to $200. If you have stores regularly selling a $100 shoe for $50, it becomes hard to convince consumers the shoe is worth over $100. Similarly, if a publisher prices a boardgame at $80 but has online stores selling it for $60, the customer starts seeing it as worth only $60, a 25% discount off the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) and will expect similar releases priced at 25% off. Manufacturers need to make a profit too and aggressive discounting drives down the perceived value of their products.

An MAP can be tricky for a manufacturer to establish as If not written properly, it could be construed as restraint of trade and vertical price fixing, both of which are illegal in the US. If you get time, read over the Internet Retailer article I linked above and, in the future,I will discuss why MAP can be so hard to enforce.

Monday, May 22, 2017


This week's ICV2 column looks at the concept of Minimum Advertised Pricing

Friday, May 19, 2017

First Mover Advantage

Generally the first product to enter a market does better than competing products entering the market, even if the subsequent products are superior to the original one. This is what is called "first mover advantage" and can be seen in dominance of Dungeons and Dragons in the RPG field, despite far superior systems that have come out since the game's original release.

However, first mover advantage is not enough, as the story of Hydrox shows. A bad name will harm product image and allow followers into the market to displace the original product. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Making Memories

Good column by Ken Blanchard on making memories in a store. We were very pleased (and a bit overwhelmed) by the number of people who stopped into the store this past weekend during SIUC's graduation and talked about their times here at the store, even remembering the time when we were, for so many years, on the second floor of the Island. Thank you for coming in and reminding us why we do this.