Large shipment of board games

We had a very large shipment of board games arrive today with a ton of great new and old games as well as a restock of a lot more games too. We’re also looking forward to some highly anticipated games from Fantasy Flight and ZMan next week.

New Board Games
Antike
Aquarius (’09 Ed)
Aton
Battleground Fantasy Warfare Dwarves of Runegard Starter
Battleground Fantasy Warfare High Elves Reinforcements
Battleground Fantasy Warfare High Elves Starter
Battleground Fantasy Warfare Monsters & Mercenaries Reinforcements
Battleground Fantasy Warfare Umenzi Tribesmen Starter
Battleground Fantasy Warfare Umenzi Tribesmen Reinforcements
Counter Storage Trays
Chainmail
Cluzzle
Conquest of the Fallen Lands
Elusive Victory
Killer Bunnies Jupiter : Laser Red Booster
Marvel Heroes
Order Up
Vikings

Restocked Board Games
1960: Making of a President
Agricola
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror
Barbarossa
Call of Cthulhu LCG Terror of the Tides
Call of Cthulhu LCG Thing from the Shore
Call of Cthulhu LCG Ancient Horror Asylum Pack
Conflict of Heroes Awakening the Bear
Container
Elfenland
Gloom: Unfortunate Expeditions
Halli Galli
Long Shot
Martian Rails
Munchkin Quest Boardgame
Munchkin Quest 2 : Looking for Trouble
Once Upon A time Card Game
Once Upon a Time: Dark Tales
Reiner Knizia’s Ingenious
Sleuth
Talisman Revised 4th Edition
Talisman: The Dungeon Expansion
Talisman: The Reaper Expansion
Ten Days in Africa
Tichu
Ticket to Ride Europe
War of the Ring
Wizards’s Gambit
Zombies!!! 2 (2nd Edition)

Fairy Tale the card game review

Fairy Tale is a small card game released by ZMan games that has players develop their particular cast of characters through a deck building mechanic. While quite low on theme, the actual game play is fast ad furious and makes Fairy Tale a great filler card game.

Appearance: Fairy Tale is well designed and on great card stock, with images drawing from a more ‘anime’ themed background. That type of art appeals to me, though I know others who dislike that form of art, so be warned, it’s rather pervasive. Pretty much everything you need to know is on the cards themselves in well laid-out and distinctive icons, so picking up the game is pretty easy.

Rules / Ease of Learning: The main game mechanic in Fairy Tale is that of card-selection for each round. Players receive 5 cards at the beginning of each round and must choose one, passing the remaining cards to the individual seated next to them (left or right depending on the round). They must then continue choosing a card till all cards are selected. In the second phase of the round, all players play and reveal 1 card that turn, with any special abilities taking place at that time. There are only 3 major in-game abilities – Hunt, Unflip, Flip. Of the three, Hunt affects all cards played that turn while Unflip and Flip play out on all cards currently in-play.

Since only 3 of the 5 chosen cards are played in each round, players must decide how to balance their hands against potential aggressive moves by other players as well as gaining (or removing) the most number of points possible in each round. There are only 4 rounds in a game, with scoring occurring only at the end of the game. Points are scored for ‘active’ (or unclipped) cards that are in-play, with specific cards providing a conditional number of points. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Gameplay: Fairy Tales takes a different tack from other set-collection and card-drafting game, forcing players to work on their strategy one-hand at a time. While this creates a degree of ‘luck’ especially in the beginning hand, there are specific cards and strategies that begin to appear with repeated plays and as the game progresses. Certainly we found that more often than not, the decisions of which card to take were difficult. Each game we played showcased a series of denying actions, specific player targeting and blocking moves which ensured a highly interactive card game. This is an almost ‘opposite’ of Race for the Galaxy or San Juan where players are more focused on their own hands and gameplay area as there is little direct interaction.

With there only being 4 rounds and minimal issues to resolve when cards are played, the game flows very fast, especially with the right group. While ZMan estimated about 30-60 minutes, I would say that the estimate is on the high side. We found we finished games within 10 – 15 minutes.

Now, for the minor quibbles we had with the game. Initial explanation took longer than I would have liked, for what is really a very simple game. That’s partially because of how much information is attempted to be placed on the card. However, once you learn the symbols and play a round or two, it flows fast.

Secondly, luck is obviously an issue. In our games, we didn’t find it particularly onerous, but it is there. Partially touching on the luck issue, there seems to be a low number of cards(proportionally) that allow you to directly affect another player, which can be frustrating depending on the draw and player positions. It’s certainly not a major issue and could be due to game balance, but it did occur in a few games and few hands where no one was able (or perhaps willing) to affect another player beyond denying specific cards to a player through initial selection.

This might seem in contradiction to our earlier statement of more interaction; but it’s a matter of proportion. Compared to say Red Dragon Inn; another great filler card game, Fairy Tale has more depth but less ’damaging’ cards.

Conclusion: Fairy Tale is a fast playing card game that can be easily taught, highly portable and leaves players wanting more after they are done. While not introducing anything new, it makes for a great filler for your average game group with a good balance of interaction, luck and strategy.

The HST Debate

As some of you might know, the province is looking to (and will unless sufficient public outrage occurs) introduce HST to BC on July 1, 2010. This would make a number of services currently PST exempt chargeable for HST (i.e. adding a 7% tax to this).

Since PST is already charged on board games you buy and ship within BC, the HST change will not effect the price that customers will pay. So nothing really changes there.

On a business basis, it will actually reduce our cost since the 7% that we currently pay for for items like boxes, rent, packing tape, etc. can now be deducted from the HST we will collect.   That’s not necessarily a huge amount saved here – after all, we can only deduct the amount paid, which is not necessarily the same that we collect. Still, it will be a cost savings which will make it easier for us to carry more stock, pay ourselves a wage, maybe even reduce costs. It’ll certainly take a few months to play out before we can tell. So on a business basis, this sounds great.

On a purely personal basis, I know it’s going to affect my book buying habits a bit. Which is rather annoying. So overall, I’m going to sit on the fence and watch.

And more board games restocked

New Board Games

Call of Cthulhu LCG : Path to Y’ha-nthlei
Jet Set
Martian Rails
Premium Euro Card Sleeve (50)

Restocked Board Games
Babel 13: Neuroshima Hex Exp
Barbarossa
Chateau Roquefort
Call of Cthulhu LCG : Horror Beneath the Surface
Cosmic Encounter
Descent Journey in the Dark
Dixit
Euro Card Sleeve (100ct)
Frag Gold Edition
Kingsburg
ord of the Rings : Confrontation Deluxe Ed.
Metropolys
Monty Python Fluxx
Munchkin 5 DeRanged
Munchkin Booty 2 Jump the Shark
Munchkin Impossible
Once Upon A time Card Game
Once Upon a Time: Dark Tales
Power Grid
RB 2E Champions of Kellos Adventure Pack
Runebound 2E Shadow of Margath Adventure Pack
Runebound 2nd Edition
Runebound: Frozen Wastes Expansion
Space Station Assault
Ticket to Ride
TransAmerica with Vexation

Finalists Announced for the 2009 International Gamers Awards

The International Gamers Awards committee has announced its finalists for the 2009 IGA for the multi-player and two-player “General Strategy” category and the Historical Simulations category: Multi-player category

Two-player category

Historical Simulations category

  • Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov – Tony Curtis & Vance von Borries, GMT Games
  • Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Uwe Eickert, Academy Games/ElfinWerks/Phalanx Games
  • España 1936 – Antonio Catalan, Devir/Phalanx Games
  • Fields of Fire – Ben Hull, GMT Games
  • Red Dragon: The Coming War with China – Bruce Costello, Decision Games
  • Spanish Eagles – Brien J. Miller & Stephen C. Jackson, Compass Games
  • Storm over Stalingrad – Tetsuya Nakamura, Multi-Man Publishing
  • The Devil’s Cauldron – Adam Starkweather, Multi-Man Publishing
  • Unhappy King Charles! – Charles Vasey, GMT Games
  • Warriors of God – Adam Starkweather & Makoto Nakajima, Multi-Man Publishing

While the award timeline for “General Strategy” games as considered by the IGA is July 1 to June 30, the Historical Simulations committee judges games released in the previous calendar year, 2008 in this case.  For background on the committee members, as well as the winners and finalists in previous years, visit the IGA website.

July Bestsellers Updated

The Current Bestsellers list has been updated and as a comparison, here’s the best selling games in July.

1. Settlers of Catan

2. Small World

3. Race for the Galaxy

4. Pandemic

5. Bohnanza

6. Chinatown

7. Arkham Horror : Innsmouth Horror

8. Power Grid

9. Steam : Rail to Riches

10. Arctic Scavengers

In addition, here are the bestselling board games that were released in 2009 for the month of June.

Small World

1. Small World

2. Arkham Horror : Innsmouth Horror

3. Steam : Rail to Riches

4. Arctic Scavengers

5. Bang 4th Edition

6. Le Havre

7. Memoir ’44 : Tigers in the Snow

8. Red November

9. Space Alert

10. Carcassonne Big Box 2

Debt is good

One of the strangest thing that I’ve learnt as a small business owner of a board game store is that debt – owing people money – is good.  This is particularly interesting for me since I hate debt in my personal life, but for a corporation, perversely it can be very good.

There is two types of debt available for the most part, and how they can be good for a business is what I’m going to discuss.

Short term debt

Most commonly, short term debt comes from terms provided by your suppliers.  This could be anything from advertising agencies or websites to distributors.  The longer your terms, the better as you are able to (hopefully) recoup the expense via revenue generated before you have to pay out.

So if you consider it in terms of game distributors, a 30 day term gives you 30 days to sell all those games you purchased and then pay back your distributor.  Simplified greatly, if you receive a 100% margin on your board games, you only need to sell half of your order in 30 days to actually have the revenue to pay your distributor.

Oh, another form of short term debt is the Line of Credit or overdraft facility; a very useful feature to help deal with short-term cash flow issues.  If you recall my discussion about cashflow earlier, you can see how having a line of credit to deal with bumpy patches will come in very handy.

Long term debt

Long term debt generally comes in two forms for small business owners – shareholder loans (i.e. your personal loan to the company) and bank loans.  Now, your shareholder loan is rather obvious but something worth noting is that in the event of a bankruptcy, you are more likely to receive a portion of the assets remaining as payment for your loan first.  If you have shares, the remaining cash is paid out to shareholders (if any).  So it’s better to have a shareholder loan rather than actual shares of the same amount for this reason.  There are also good tax considerations that I’ll allow those with the expertise to mention.

Instead, I’ll focus on bank loans.  If you are a limited liability corporation, unless you guarantee the loan yourself, if you do default, the bank can only go after the assets of the company.  That provides you with a degree of personal safety when launching the corporation.

Also, loans can be used to do a number of things including consolidating short-term debt (e.g. if you are running balances on your credit cards) to decrease your overall debt servicing costs.

Lastly, loans can you give the capital to grow much faster than you would be able to by organic methods.  As an example, if you could use that money when you first launched to do an effective advertising blitz, you might be able to generate revenue faster.  Or you could use the loans to stock even more product, decreasing the number of ‘re-order points’ you have and providing even more choice for customers – ensuring you have something for everyone who comes in.

The Perversity of Business

Now here’s the really funny part of business. The time when you most need debt is during periods of change for the company (i.e. at launch or when you are growing to the next stage of your business).  However, these are the times when you are least likely to get loans. Generally, the more change there is, the more risk, thus the lower chance of being approved.

It’s kind of amusing really, but that’s life for you. Or business at least.