Asmodee Acquires Catan rights from Mayfair

Well, Asmodee now has the English language rights for Catan.  What that means is that they now own / have acquired the vast majority of the long-lasting brands in the board gaming space.  While there are some other hot hits that aren’t part of their portfolio (yet) like Sushi Go, King of Tokyo, Coup and One Night: Ultimate Werewolf as well as the entire Z-Man Games line, most of those haven’t been around long enough to showcase if they have the staying power or not to become a long-term brand.

I’ve seen some graphs showcasing sales by publisher showing that even for non-board game specific companies, Asmodee North America has about 20 – 30% of the market space before this acquisition. Add this and they are easily in the 25-35% range.  For us since we mostly sell board games on SC, that number is likely in the 50%+ range now at a guess.

This is a major, major play and all these acquisitions put us in an interesting position.  We’re now ever more reliant on the good graces of a single company and any major changes they make is going to affect us significantly. Realistically, the only good news in this is that for the most part, FFG / Asmodee North America is an actually well run company which seems to be constantly attempting to improve.  If you don’t think that’s true, consider the fact that we actually have stock for most X-Wing craft unlike even a year ago.  While I might disagree with their policies and viewpoints, I also think that they are well run enough that they won’t cut out online retail completely. Whether that includes us (and how all this affects Canada) still remains to be seen though.

Organized Play at Starlit Citadel

With the success of our Open Houses and our ongoing Android: Netrunner gaming night, we’ve decided to further expand our on-site events to include Organized Play. Our first such event will be an Android: Netrunner Draft Tournament on July 26th, and we’re planning to hold events for more games in the future.

What is Organized Play?

Organized play events are opportunities for players who own a particular game to compete against one another in a structured, friendly environment. While exact competition format will vary from event to event, the basic structure is the same: players pay a small sign-up fee (usually around $5, if no special materials are required for the event), and bring their own game set. They play a series of games against other players in a tournament that lasts an evening or an afternoon, and generally does not involve player elimination. The goal is to give everyone a chance to play against a broad range of opponents. At the end of the event, all participants receive a limited-edition card or other game expansion, and the top 2 or 3 finishers are awarded larger prizes.

What games will you be offering?

At the moment, we have access to organized play materials for the following games:

  • Android: Netrunner
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
  • Star Realms
  • Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs X-Men

We’ll be running events at each of our upcoming Open Houses, and may also run regular evening events for games with a lot of interested players. Please comment below to let us know what events you’d be most interested in attending (you can choose more than one), and we’ll start planning new events for the most popular choices.

The Game Wizard

We’ve been working hard on this behind the scenes and it’s now ready to release.  Our Game Wizard is an interactive version of our infographic.  We’ll be updating with more questions and games, but since it’s taken so long to get done, we wanted to share it right away.

Check it out, let us know what you think and if you have branches and games to recommend; we’d love to hear from you!

New Event: Netrunner Wednesdays

Note – Netrunner Nights have been moved to Tuesdays at the same time

Netrunner gaming night, every Wednesday from 6:30pm.

With the success of our monthly Open House, we’ve decided to keep expanding the opportunities for customers to come and game in our space. Starting this coming Wednesday, May 15th, we will be hosting a regular Android: Netrunner gaming night every Wednesday at 6:30pm. If you’re an experienced player, this is your chance to bring your decks and pit them against a range of new opponents. If you’re new to the game, our staff will have a number of pre-built teaching decks on hand, and will be happy to walk you through the rules of the game and get you started on your first Run.

Gaming nights will be held in our main office at 61 W 7th Ave. We have 1 designated parking space at the rear of the building (directly to the right of loading bay #61), and there is ample street parking on 7th Avenue and Manitoba Street. If you’re traveling by transit, we’re a 10-15 minute walk from the Skytrain stations at Broadway-City Hall (Canada Line) and Main St-Science World (Expo Line), and a 5-10 minute walk from the #8, #9, #20, and #99 bus stops at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway.

We’re really looking forward to getting some games going next week, and will hopefully be expanding to more events in the future if this gaming night becomes a success. Come out and play!

Store Hours – Opening on a Weekend

We’ve decided to run a pilot program of opening once a month on the last Saturday of each month for a few hours.  If we have enough interest, we’ll definitely be extending the hours; but we’re going to run a limited test for now.

The Details:

When: February 22, 2014 and every last Saturday of the month
Where: The Warehouse at 61 West 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC
When: 1 – 5pm
Description: Local pickups, open gaming and shelf browsing!

The Explanation

Starting February 22, 2014 and for every last Saturday of the month after that, we will be open from 1 – 5pm for both Local Pickups and browsing & purchasing.  We will not be charging a local pickup surcharge during this period, so you can just browse games, talk to us and even try out some of our games from the game library.

This is a pilot program to see if there’s interest in us hosting this event.  If there is, we might even expand the program further. Do spread the word, we’d love to see you all out.

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.

Video Reviews: Our Top 10 Games of 2013

It’s time once again for our year-end-ish special episode, where we present Kaja and Joanna’s favorite games from the last year of reviews. All of the items we list were either new releases in 2013, or were new to us:

Joanna’s Picks:

Kaja’s Picks:

“New” Used Games: November 13th, 2013

Agricola with Gamer’s Deck expansion – Used (Grade A)
Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game – Used (Grade B)
Battles of Westeros – Used (Grade B)
BattleStations 1.1 – Used (Grade A)
Blokus – Used (Grade A)
Camelot Legends – Used (Grade A)
City Of Remnants – Used (Grade A)
Dixit 2 – Used (Grade A)
Dixit: Journey – Used (Grade A)
Eminent Domain – Used (Grade A)
Forbidden Island – Used (Grade A)
Glory to Rome Black Box Edition – Used (In Shrink)
Morels – Used (Grade A)
Mystery of the Abbey – Used (Grade B)
Rory’s Story Cubes – Used (Opened)
Rush n’ Crush – Used (Grade A)
Sentinels of the Multiverse: First Edition – Used (Grade A, Missing box)
Shogun – Used (Grade A)
Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane – Used (Grade B)
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin – Used (Grade B)
Zooloretto: the Boss – Used (Opened)