Starlit Citadel Reviews: A Very Special Episode

One of the promises we made our Season 2 fundraiser backers was that we’d produce a special episode that was a little different from our usual fare. Just in time for the holidays, here it is!

Join Kaja, Joanna, and special guests Edwin Perez (Standard Action) and Eric Fell (The Critical Hit Show) for an in-character playthrough of The Red Dragon Inn.

New Releases: December 24th

Baba Yaga
Bang!: 10th Anniversary Edition
BattleLore (Second Edition)
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Connect with Pieces: The Hunger Games Catching Fire
Descent: Second Edition Lieutenant – Valyndra
Descent: Second Edition Lieutenant – Bol’Goreth
Dreadball: Ultimate
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Victors Game
Kolejka
Mount Everest
Nations
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (Reprint)
Suburbia, Inc.
Theseus: The Dark Orbit
Vikings: Warriors of the North
Warmachine: High Command – The Big Guns
Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah Eiryss, Mage Hunter Commander Epic Character Unit Attachment
Wooden Gaming Tokens

New Releases: December 17th, 2013

Android: Netrunner LCG – Mala Tempora
Bruges (Reprint)
Dungeon Petz: Dark Alleys
A Game of Thrones LCG: Forgotten Fellowship
Glass Road
My Little Pony: Collectible Card Game – Booster Pack
My Little Pony: Collectible Card Game – Twilight Sparkle and Applejack Theme Deck
My Little Pony: Collectible Card Game – Rarity and Rainbow Dash Theme Deck
Russian Railroads
Star Wars LCG: Balance of the Force Deluxe Expansion
Star Wars X-Wing: X-Wing (Reprint)
Star Wars X-Wing: TIE Fighter
Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends
Warhammer Invasion LCG: Hidden Kingdoms

Idle Thought – Timelage, sales and kickstarter

Firstly, not a post bashing Kickstarter.  I was just wondering on my way in to work if any publisher had any data about the changes in sales numbers between:

– directly published games

– Kickstarter games

Obviously, their own games so this limits the number of individuals with this information to a very small number.

Within that context and probably separately as well, I’d love to know what the numbers for sales were like between the start of first promotions to final release / wide release.

None of this actually effects me as a retailer of course, I just like data but I wonder if there’s a correlation between when you start your promotion, when you release the game widely and final sales.  That is, is there a sweet spot in promotion that would drum up enough interest to maximise your sales? Or perhaps there are multiple sweet spots – first, a selling cycle in Kickstarter and then again when it releases – but if so, is there a noticeable drop in wide release sales due to Kickstarter and if so, does it correlate to how long it’s been since you started your promotions / Kickstarter?

Obviously, I have no data. I’m just curious.

Allocations, Pre-Orders & Purchasing

One of the most common questions we get currently is ‘Will you have enough copies to ship to everyone’.

That’s an interesting  question because our best answer is usually ‘Probably’.

See, here’s how pre-orders work.  We often get an e-mail from our distributor(s) anywhere from a week to a month before they need to place their pre-order with their publisher.  At that time, we guess at the quantity we need.  Often this is before we have the game on the site.

In the  interim period, if we have time; we get the game up on the site and hopefully receive a few pre-orders.  If we have time, we update the distributor on the new quantity.

The distributor then inform the publisher of the quantity he requires with an added amount for over-stock and last minute orders.

When the publisher finally receives their orders and games, they must then decide how to ship their orders out.  In most cases, they have more than sufficient games on-hand to fulfill all orders.

Allocation

The tricky part is when the total number of orders the publisher receives is greater than their total number of copies printed.  They must then decide how to allocate their orders.  At this point, I’m not going to speculate on how they do so – I’m not a publisher and I’m sure there are as many ‘fair’ methods as there are publishers.

What it does mean is that they ship fewer quantities (e.g. 80 copies instead of a 100) to the distributor.

The distributor, who now has 20 fewer copies than they ordered must decide how to allocate their orders. Again, how allocation happens is a blackbox for the most part.  If they are lucky, they might only have 70 orders from retailers (i.e. the other 30 were meant to be held in their warehouse for over orders).  Often, they 80 – 90 copies ordered.

Pre-Order Rush

In the meantime, our pre-order  numbers start creeping up for the hot game. This might be because buzz has continued to grow.  It often happens when a game has finally been announced to have reached the publisher.  Suddenly, our pre-orders go from 2 copies to 6 copies, at the same time we might get allocated from our order of say 10 copies down.

And that’s where the entire question becomes interesting.  The quantities and likelihood of this happening for us often occurs when the game is truly hot – so our pre-order with our distributor is often double to triple our (at that time) pre-order.  So, we might ask them for 10 copies because we say a total of 5 pre-orders.  Not a bad number, it gives us at least 5 more copies with an expected 2 to 3 more pre-orders at the last minute.  However, if we get allocated; then the last customer might not get it.

This is why we say ‘probably’.  Allocations happen at both the publisher and distributor level and there’s just no way for us to tell how many copies will finally arrive with us for a truly hot game.  More often than not, it’s sufficient but on occasions for a truly hot game – it’s just not.

Moral of the Story

Pre-order early.  I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Remember, we don’t charge pre-orders immediately anyway, and it puts you in-line immediately.  It helps us, it helps the distributor and eventually it helps the publisher.

 

New Releases: December 4th, 2013

Base Raiders
C3K: Creatures Crossover Cyclades/Kemet
Catan: Explorers and Pirates – 5 & 6 Player Expansion
Circus Train (Second Edition)
Colonialism
Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Extreme Danger Expansion
Flash Point Fire Rescue: Veteran and Rescue Dog Accessory Pack
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game 2nd Edition (Reprint)
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (3rd Edition)
Munchkin: Gets Promoted
Munchkin Pathfinder: Gobsmacked!
Pathfinder: Beginner Box (New Edition)
Zombicide: Prison Outbreak
Zombicide Season 2: Toxic City Mall
Zombicide Set #1 – Walk Of The Dead (Reprint)
Zombicide: Box of Zombies Set #2 – Toxic Crowd
Zombicide: Box of Zombies Set #3 – Angry Zombies
Zombicide: Box of Zombies Set #4 – Walk of the Dead 2
Zombicide: Box of Zombies Set #5 – Zombie Dogz
Zombicide: Box of Dogs Set #6 – Dog Companions