Logistics and inventory

Inventory is fun – after all, spending hours every few weeks counting board games again and again is what we were hoping to do. Hopefully, now that we have a better handle on things, we should be able to keep our inventory counts to once a month (maybe even less!) but it’ll still be a chore.

Inventory

Amusingly enough, it’s not even the counting that makes inventory such an interesting business. When we first launched, we had 270 products (board games and role-playing games). We quickly realized that we were selling our board games much faster than role-playing rulebooks and decided to put our major efforts into expanding our inventory there. These days, we have about 450 board games that we try to keep in stock. That’s a 67% increase in our product line.

And we are nowhere near the product line other stores like Funagain have. At some point, we shall have to have a discussion on the best option for our line of games. While the long-tail (i.e. holding stock for every game possible) is a viable plan, it also requires sufficient capital and traffic to make it viable.

Capital

It is also a substantial chunk of our capital – in fact, that is where nearly all our starting capital is tied-up in. At roughly $20 per game, 450 board games means we keep nearly $9,000 tied-up in inventory at any one-time (if all board games are in-stock and we only keep 1 game in-stock!). Rather obviously, that is not the case – while there are a few games we keep only 1 game in-stock for (normally our first test on those games), we normally keep at least 2 games for others and in some cases up to 20 games.

Stock

That makes figuring out how much stock of each board game a running headache. Settlers of Catan might sell 20 copies this month, but next month might only 8. However, Carcassonne sold 4 and 12 copies. So, do we then keep 20 copies of each and hope for the best or maybe only 12 each or 20 of Settlers and 8 of Carcassonne. And because not everyone buys pre-orders, how many orders did we lose while we were out-of-stock?

Logistics

Compounding the problem is our inventory runs. We only have two distributors, both outside of British Columbia and thus we are, at the moment, pulling only 2 restocks per month (and mostly preferring to keep our major restock when we are in Washington to take advantage of the Loonie). Sadly, access to reliable automotive transportation to do pick-ups in Washington continues to be a problem.

As you can guess, all of this is a new and interesting little experiment for us. Unfortunately, as customers you get to feel the brunt of our learning curve! Hopefully, you have seen a marked improvement since we started, and hope you will stay with us as we continue to improve and expand.

Price changes – up and down

While doing the accounts this Easter weekend, we realised that there’s been quite a few games (mostly from Days of Wonder) have increased in prices from our distributors. After some discussion and review, we realised we had to follow the price increase as in many cases, the price increases literally removed all our profits.

Ticket to Ride being a good case- and a reason why some people we believe bought 3 copies at a time. And while we’ve always strived to keep our prices low, we really would like to get paid sometime this year. Thus the price increases. We are still keeping to our old margins, so we’ve just passed on the price increase directly without adding anything further.

Other popular games that have gone up in prices include Carcassonne and Alhambra. And we’ve been told that there might be even more price increases coming down the road. As always, if you have questions, do feel free to drop us a note.

Storage and games

Found a great article on storage ideas for board games and card games . It’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about, ever since Descent came along and permanently took residence on my dining room table.

Thus far, my efforts at proper storage has been rather lacking, partially because I’ve considered trading on BGG. We shall see where it leads us, but this does provide a great primer.

Site updated and inventory

Hi all,

Wow, after another 3 hours of updating inventory on the computer (and 2 hours counting), we have final inventory numbers again. Some great new games have been added including:

Wizard’s Gambit

Container

Piratissimo

Prophecy

Utopia

Stonehenge : Nocturne Expansion

Tide of Iron : Days of the Fox Expansion

Diplomacy

Key Largo

We also picked up the vast majority of the variants on the crayon-rail games from Empire Builder including Lunar Rails and Australian Rails.

We are now out-of-stock again on Pandemic. That one flew off the shelves. Hopefully, we will have an ETA of when our distributor will have that back in-stock soon.

Incoming stock and orders

Hi all,

Good news and bad news. Good news is that we’ve finally caught up on a lot of orders this Friday and will be sending out even more pre-orders come Thursday/Friday this week.

We are picking up new stock from our US distributor including much awaited for games:

Pandemic

Stonehenge : Nocturne Expansion

Tide of Iron : Days of the Fox Expansion

Diplomacy

Key Largo

We’ve also heard that FFG finally received their Descent : Road to Legend in their warehouses, so expect between 2-3 week delay to reach us (first it reaches our distributors, then from them to us!)

Also, Agricola releases end-April from our distributor so we have a final time on that too!

Bad news – shipping and customer e-mail replies will be a touch slow this week because we will be working on all this.

As always, questions feel free to comment and/or e-mail us.

Gary Gygax, D&D creator has leveled up permanently

I just wanted to pass this information on -<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Gygax”> the creator of probably one of the longest lasting geek movements has passed away.</a>

There are a lot of tributes out there for him, including one that has been ?<a href=”http://www.livejournal.com/users/tyrell/”> collecting a lot of quotes announcing his death </a> and an <a href=”http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0536.html”> Order of the Stick comic </a>.

Our condolences to his family and our thanks to him. Role-playing wouldn’t have been what it is without him.

Life, the universe and everything

This is a more generic, head’s-up post. As some of you might have noticed, we are not updating the site as much and getting in products as fast as we would like. A few great games have been out-of-stock for a while, and much of this is due to personal reasons.

Both Alison and I started new jobs early this year, and both get hit with the flu. Alison had it worst which is always worst ’cause she is the linchpin who actually ships the orders out. I just deal with the website and write posts like these.

Also, Alison has been dealing with a family emergency of her own this year which has taken up a lot of her time and energy. All this means is that orders and restocking have been delayed (well, restocking. We’ve tried to get orders out as fast as always where we can).

Matters are finally settling down for us all, so expect general updates and restocking to get back to normal within the next couple of weeks. We do apologise to everyone about this and with any luck, it should be the last of any hiccups for a while.