January 31st, 2013
One of the common suggestions I come across is for a retailer to expand either Online or into B&M if they are online only. It’s an interesting idea and has some merit in that you expand your sources of income by expanding your services and reach. However, there are some issues that most individuals who make the suggestions have not considered:
When you launch both an online store and a brick and mortar section, you actually double your workload. Sure, certain things are shared (purchasing, accounting – maybe); but many of the tasks are very different. With running any single side a full-time job (and more), you end up having to take shortcuts with either side leading to a lack of focus and efficiency. It often is much more lucrative to focus on what you do best already rather than doubling your workload for marginal gain.
There are additional cost to launching either side. As an online store going to bricks & mortar, you have additional space requirements for the B&M location, you can’t space your shelves as tightly or pack your games as firmly, you pay more per sq ft generally and of course, you have to pay for additional staff. As a B&M store going online, you now have hosting costs for the website, additional box & packing material for shipping, additional time cost for shipping and box pick-up and an increase in customer service e-mails. All of these add on to your work load, and often with minimal increase in revenue immediately.
One of my constant nightmares is inventory management when you are effectively running 2 stores. The question then becomes whether you seperate the B&M and online inventory (thus never allowing over-ordering) or you host a single inventory. Now, hosting a single inventory sounds great – till you realise that it’s possible for a customer to walk up to your counter holding a game that was just sold online. Now what? In either case, you are annoying someone.
Launching a website or a B&M store might garner you some additional sales from existing customers, but mostly you’ll just shift around how they order. That might be fine for convenience sake on the customer’s part; but that obviously doesn’t provide you with new revenue. As such, you end up starting over again having to build up new customers, new sales. Sure, you might have some of the same infrastructure already but you’ve just added a bunch of cost without the revenue stream.
Competition is strange. Sure, as an online store we compete indirectly with every B&M store in the world. However, the customers who buy from us are often not the customers of a B&M store -they have different needs, different desires and vice versa. Now, adding a new channel puts you in direct competition and you might find that you just aren’t up to it. A B&M store might not be able to price well enough, ship fast enough to meet the desires of an online market. An online store might not be able to provide sufficient events and game space for walk-in clients. Having to compete on the same playing field generally means adding additional cost & procedures. And if you refuse to play that game, you might not be successful at all – which then leads to the question of why bother?
Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small is the two person stand-alone board game version of the award winning Agricola. Surprisingly, the game manages to keep both the theme and essence of Agricola while shortening the game length and number of players. Overall, I’m a fan and have added it to my (limited) number of 2-player games.
Appearance: Those familiar with the Agricola artwork will find no surprises here. Keeping to the same artist, Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small has a clean, clear design that is easy to follow. In addition, the main board and tiles are of a good card stock, though the player boards are rather thin. The design is clear and simple to understand, with players able to grasp the main mechanics using just the symbols on the board. In addition, animal meeples are provided in the game which make differentiating between each animal type and the resources quite simple, speeding up gameplay and adding a touch of cute.
Rules / Ease of Learning: In All Creatures Big & Small, players start with 8 fences, a farm board and 3 family members that they will place on the main game board each turn. As a worker placement game, players place the family members on the main game board to take the allocated resources or actions immediately. Actions that are available include:
Players can only keep animals if the animals are either kept in a building or in a fenced off location (exception, 1 animal can be kept next to a free-standing feeding trough). In addition, animals may not be mixed together and are limited by the building / space on how many animals that can be kept at the location. However, feeding troughs do double this number and one feeding trough can be placed per spot on the farm land map. In addition, at the end of each round any animal type that a player has a pair or more of will breed a single additional animal that must be properly housed.
The player with the highest victory points at the end of the game wins, with scoring based on the number of animals a player has as well as building victory points and the amount of additional land completely used by a player. Each of the animal types begin scoring points after a certain number, with all animals costing 3 victory points if players do not have a minimum of 4 of those animals.
Gameplay: Dry rules aside, how does the game play? Pretty well. It’s a fast two player game that runs between 30 to 45 minutes each game. It carries much of the same flavor / feel of the original Agricola so players familiar with that game will find picking up All Creatures Big & Small much easier. Action choices in All Creatures though do not feel as ‘tight’ and the lack of a feeding phase for your workers reduces the tension in the overall game compared to Agricola.
For all that, All Creatures Big & Small is quite fun. It’s a compact 2 player worker placement game that plays fast so it can be brought to most locations including cafes and can still provide a lot of enjoyment. The choices can still be quite tough and after a dozen play I’m still looking at different strategies for winning as I adapt to my opponents moves. With so few spaces, some level of ‘blocking’ can certainly be added to the game, though in the games we’ve played so far it’s not as prevalent. I certainly can see some instances (and have had some occur) where blocking tactics have been brought to play but they often seem to be incidental to your own strategic needs. Admittedly, it could just be the way we have played the games.
The only real concern is that the game could get stale after more plays. With so few actions and special buildings, there are only a finite number of strategies available. Sooner or later, especially with more experienced players, all the options would have been ‘played’. Certainly, the expansion (More Buildings Big & Small) seems to be something you’ll want to add soon enough to keep variety in the gameplay.
Conclusion: Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small is a fun two player game that plays fast and is compact enough to carry around. It’s fun; but there are concerns of how much replay value there might be in this game. On the other hand, it’s also a great introduction game to worker placement.
This is where you will find the latest updates on all of our new Used Game arrivals. Be sure to subscribe to the Used Games Category RSS feed to the right of this page.
January 28th, 2013
Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean – Used (Damage Grade A)
King Arthur – Used (Damage Grade A)
Labyrinth Card Game – Used (Damage Grade A)
Pocket Battles Celts vs Romans – Used (Opened)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Used (Opened)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Used (In Shrink)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – Used (In Shrink)
Okko: Era of the Asagiri + Era of the Karasu – Used (Damage Grade A)
Marvel Heroes – Used (Damage Grade B)
Keythedral – Used (Damage Grade A)
Monastery – Used (Opened)
Ostia – Used (Opened)
Civilization (Gibsons Games Edition) – Used (Damage Grade B)
Axis and Allies – Milton Bradley Origina Edition – Used (Damage Grade B)
The Republic of Rome – Avalon Hill Edition – Used (Opened)
Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesia (Avalon Hill) – Used (Damage Grade B)
Arkham Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow – Used (Damage Grade A)
Here’s our newest video review, for Reiner Knizia’s classic 2-player game, Battle Line. It’s a great choice for couple’s looking to add some more direct competition and strategy into their standard game repertoire, and for nights when you don’t have much time, or your gaming group ends up being smaller than anticipated.
Just a quick reminder of our new promotion for all games featured in Season 2: if you order a copy of Battle Line within a week of its video release (before February 4th), you’ll get 10% off.
Just looked over the list of our items sold in 2012 and I thought this might be of vague interest. We sold a total 2984 unique SKUs on the site last year, with these being our Top 100.
|1||Euro Card Game Sleeves|
|2||Ultra-Snug "Almost a Penny" Card Sleeves|
|3||The Lord Of The Rings Heroclix Booster|
|5||Standard American Board Game Sleeves|
|6||Standard Card Game Sleeves|
|8||A Game of Thrones Board Game – 2nd Edition|
|9||Standard Card Game Sleeves (63.5 MM X 88 MM)|
|10||Settlers of Catan 4th Edition|
|14||Descent : Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition|
|15||Android Netrunner LCG Core Set|
|16||Mage Knight Board Game|
|17||Ticket to Ride|
|19||Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game|
|20||Star Wars X-Wing : Y-Wing Expansion|
|22||Ticket to Ride Europe|
|23||Citadels Card Game|
|24||King of Tokyo|
|28||Mini American Board Game Sleeves|
|29||Dominion : Intrigue|
|30||USA Chimera Game Sleeves 57.5 X 89 MM (100 pack)|
|32||Star Wars X-Wing : TIE Advanced Expansion|
|33||Premium Standard Card Game Sleeves|
|34||Mini USA Card Game Sleeves|
|35||Risk : Legacy|
|36||Standard European Board Game Sleeves|
|37||Standard USA Game Size Sleeves|
|38||Premium USA Game Size Sleeves|
|39||7 Wonders – Cities Expansion|
|41||Magnum Large Card Sleeves #1 – 65 MM X 100 MM (Premium)|
|42||Card Protectors – Clear|
|43||Twilight Struggle Deluxe Edition|
|44||Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game|
|45||Settlers of Catan 5+6 Player Expansion 4th Edition|
|46||Electronic Gift Cards|
|48||Star Wars X-Wing : X-Wing Expansion|
|49||Summoner Wars: Master Set|
|51||Star Trek HeroClix Tactics Booster|
|52||Dominion : Dark Ages|
|54||Eclipse : Rise of the Ancients|
|55||Pandemic : On the Brink|
|56||Munchkin : Deluxe Edition|
|57||Carcassonne Big Box 3|
|59||Euro Card Sleeve – Black Backed|
|61||This is a BGG Secret Santa Gift|
|65||Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland|
|66||Quarriors : Quarmageddon Expansion|
|67||7 Wonders – Leaders Expansion|
|68||Premium USA Chimera Game Sleeves 57.5 X 89 MM (50 pack)|
|69||Mini Chimera Game Sleeves 43 X 65 MM (100 Pack)|
|72||Flash Point : Fire Rescue|
|73||Star Wars X-Wing : TIE Fighter Expansion|
|74||Merchant of Venus|
|75||Dominion : Big Box Edition|
|77||Munchkin 2 Unnatural Axe|
|78||Dominion : Seaside|
|80||A Game of Thrones LCG Core Set|
|82||Ora & Labora|
|83||Pathfinder Heroes & Monsters Miniatures – Standard Booster|
|84||Seasons the board game|
|86||Dominion : Hinterland|
|87||Munchkin 3 Clerical Errors|
|88||Castles of Burgundy|
|90||Descent : Journeys in the Dark Conversion Kit|
|92||Thunderstone : Towers of Ruin|
|94||Bang! : the Bullet!|
|95||Race for the Galaxy|
|97||Dominion : Prosperity|
|98||Super Dungeon Explore|
January 22nd, 2013
Dreadball: Lucky Logan
Dreadball: Slippery Joe
Dreadball: Reek Rolat
Dreadball: Counter Set
Space Empires: Close Encounters
The Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design
Warpaints: Mega Hobby Set
Shadowrun: Dirty Tricks
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Purge: Sins of Science
No Quarter Presents: Iron Kingdoms Urban Adventure
A Song of Ice and Fire: Night’s Watch
Star Wars Sleeves : Leia
Our first review of Season 2 is here! We’re previewing Asmodee’s River Dragons, a beautiful re-release of 2000’s “Dragon Delta”. It’s a fast, accessible family game that offers a surprising amount of strategy for more seasoned gamers.
Starting with this episode, all games featured in our reviews will be marked down 10% from our list price for the week following their video’s release. So if you’re looking to knock a bit off the price of your River Dragons preorder (it’s due out in February), you have until January 28th to order and take advantage of this offer.
We’re also continuing to work on making our videos more polished and professional in the new season, which includes some hair and makeup help from local makeup artist Ashley Young, who has done great work on Joanna’s main series, Standard Action.