New Board Games: October 24th, 2017

10 Minute Heist: The Wizard’s Tower
13 Days: The Cuban Missle Crisis
Ambyria: Starlight and Vengeance
Axis and Allies: Anniversary Edition
Deadlands Classic 20th Anniversary Edition
Dungeons & Dragons: Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – Wraith and Specter
Dungeons & Dragons: Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – Elf Female Wizard
Dungeons & Dragons: Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – Human Male Paladin
Mad Science Expo
Magic the Gathering: Gift Pack 2017
Oath of the Brotherhood
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Hell’s Vengeance Character Deck 1
Pathfinder: Ultimate Equipment Pocket Edition
Pathfinder: Bestiary 2 Pocket Edition
Pathfinder Companion: Blood of the Coven
Quest for the Antidote
Raiders of the North Sea<br /
Starfinder: Alien Archive
Starfinder: Flip-Mat – Cantina

Discounting, MAPs and distribution

I was recently at a distributor’s event and was chatting with a few retailers as you do. As always, the talk returned to things like MAP, discounting and sales. Not surprisingly, most retailers are against discounting from MAP (whatever that is in Canada) for any reason.  Since we started as an online retailer, we’ve got a bit more of a nuanced view on this.

Let’s be clear here:

  • Many of our customers purchase from us without ever using our available game space and/or game library
  • A small percentage of customers use our game space, but most do so to play RPGs (our smallest ‘main’ category, even including miniatures)
  • In terms of revenue per square foot, board games are horrible.  We make more sales per sq foot in terms of dice or sleeves or (nearly) CCGs.  The only product line we hold that does worst for us is clothing (and we’re slowly getting out of that line).
  • MAP programs are a one-size fits all solution. What is a ‘good’ price for one market might not be great for another (see different costs for different cities).
  • Retail space is expensive. Especially in Vancouver.  A nearby location on Main & 12th on the corner is currently asking for $60 per sq ft per annum.  If we paid that, we’d be looking at over $16,500 per month.  At our current 50% markup, we’d need to make CAD$50,000 a month just to cover rent.  If we did a 25% markup (what the US does for many online stores), we’d need to be doing $66,000 a month to cover rent. If you assume rent is 1/3 of your expenses, you’re looking at needing to do nearly CAD$2 million annually to just breakeven at 25% markup.

These numbers are why most retailers balk at the idea of ‘discounting’ to match US online store pricing. To just make a little bit of money, you’d need to work incredibly hard.  Now I’ll admit, our numbers are high because we’re in Vancouver, but when the generic call is to ‘discount or we won’t buy from you’, you can see why retailers get upset.

It’s also why many retailers switch focus to CCGs. Margins might not be great (at least in terms of booster boxes) but regular sales of booster packs and great margins on singles mean that it’s significantly better for them to concentrate there.  It’s why we’ve focused development of our sales / events to CCGs in-store at this time (it’s easy to grow from $0…).

However, MAPs also create their own problems (outside of their legality in Canada). If we want to sell / discard old stock (like Android Netrunner’s chapter packs that are no longer going to be in rotation), we can’t.  So we’re stuck with dead stock which any good retailer would want to get rid but can’t.  Worse, it hits online & hybrid stores significantly more – after all, if we just kept the sales in-store, it’s not as if most publishers would ever know.

On the other hand, without MAPs, businesses like Amazon who sell the D&D Core Books for cents over our cost can destroy entire product lines.

If we do have to have MAPs (and it seems like the way this is going), it’d be nice to have them on a rotating basis.  Since the entire industry is front-list driven anyway, keep the MAPs up for the first 3 months or so. After that, games should be taken off it.  This breaks up purchasing by customers who want / need it now and allows businesses to dump bad / old stock without issue.


New Board Games: October 6, 2017

Age of Thieves
Alhambra (English version)
Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate
Catan Seafarers Scenario: Legend of the Sea Robbers
Chess Set – Book Style 11″ Oak with Handle
Chess Set – Folding 16″ Walnut with Handle
Dojo Kun
First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet
Jamaica: The Crew Expansion
Legend of the Five Rings LCG – Core Set
Magic Maze
Massive Darkness
Meeple War
Ranglin’ Rabbits
Runewars: The Miniatures Game – Aymhelin Scions Unit Expansion
Runewars: The Miniatures Game – Deepwood Archers Unit Expansion
Runewars: The Miniatures Game – Latari Elves Infantry Command Unit Expansion
Runewars: The Miniatures Game – Leonx Riders Unit Expansion
Runewars: The Miniatures Game – Maegan Cyndewin Hero Expansion
Sheriff of Nottingham: Merry Men
Star Wars Monopoly (4 Ships Edition)
Starfinder: Condition Cards
Steam Park: Play Dirty Expansion
Steam Park: Robots Expansion
The Expanse
This War of Mine