The Spiel (Essen) 2015 Pre-Order List

We are taking expressions of interest / pre-orders for the the Spiel (Essen) show on Oct 1 – 8, 2015.

This year, with a better understanding of the costs involved; we’ll actually be putting up games for pre-order when a customer expresses interest. All pre-orders for Essen games will be charged immediately so that we can secure the funds for the event ahead of time. For an idea of the games available, these are the games that are showing in Essen this year –

Let us know ASAP what games you’d like either by commenting below or sending us an e-mail.

Game Salute Now Available

We just concluded an agreement with Game Salute, so we will now be able to bring in and ship their products in Canada.  Due to their tighter margins and minimum pricing policy, the products will be basically sold at Canadian MSRP.  We should receive our first shipment from them in a few weeks, in the  meantime, if you see anything that you’d like us to bring in, let us know and we’ll add it to our site so that you can pre-order the products.

We are somewhat excited to bring in some of their exclusives though including Alien Frontiers and Cthulhu Wars.

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.


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.


Limited-Edition Gaming Art Posters

We’ve recently been given the opportunity to bring in a number of limited edition gaming art posters by a new Canadian company, Geek Prints. Their current line includes 5 images by 3 local artists, each of which comes as a high-quality 18″ x 24″ (46cm x 62cm) print. Our initial order would be for a limited run of 10 prints (2 of each design), all numbered and signed by the artist. The cost per print would be $35.

The current line consists of:

"Big Box Ports", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H
"Big Box Ports", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H
"Cities In Colour", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H.
"Cities In Colour", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H.
"Nights That Made History", Pastels, Pencil-Crayon, Gauche by Steven B.
"Nights That Made History", Pastels, Pencil-Crayon, Gauche by Steven B.
"My Kingdom For A Tile", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H.
"My Kingdom For A Tile", Digital Watercolour by Tun M. H
"Rolling Into Action", Digital Illustration by Aaron L.
"Rolling Into Action", Digital Illustration by Aaron L.

Instead of running these as a regular preorder, we’d like to gauge interest in this product first, to make sure that we can get enough orders to bring in the first batch. If you’re interested in picking up one of these unique items, please contact us with the title of the image you’d like.

Bestsellers & Hottest Pre-Orders : November

The latest pre-orders and bestsellers for the month of October is now up on the site. Here’s September’s numbers as a comparison:


Elder Sign

1. Elder Sign

2. Dixit Odyssey

3. Lord of the Rings LCG : A Journey to Rhosgobel Adventure Pack

4. Settlers of Catan 4th Edition

5. Quarriors

6. A Few Acres of Snow

7. Forbidden Island

8. King of Tokyo

9. Lord of the Rings : Conflict at Carrock Adventure Pack

10. Star Trek : Fleet Captains

Hottest Pre-Orders

Risk : Metal Gear Solid Collector's Edition

1. Risk : Metal Gear Solid Collector’s Edition

2. Blood Bowl : Team Manager

3. Twilight Struggle : Deluxe Edition

4. A Game of Thrones : Board Game 2nd Edition

5. A Few Acres of Snow

6. Summoner Wars : Master Set

7. War of the Rings Second Edition

8. Dungeon Run

9. Confusion : Espionage & Deception in the Cold War

10. Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland 

Pre-Orders & Capital

Our Pre-Order Shelf
Our Pre-Order Shelf at os October 16, 2011. No laughing at the sloppy build job.

That’s our current pre-order shelf as of Tuesday, October 16, 2011. All the pre-orders that we have that had games on the order outside of the pre-order itself. That’s obviously doesn’t include single game pre-orders.

As you can guess, that’s a lot of product and a good 70% of those haven’t been charged. We generally don’t charge products unless a customer uses PayPal, at which point we don’t have a choice.

It’s an interesting phenomenon created by our Free Shipping offer – customers buy in bulk so they don’t have to pay shipping.  They don’t have to ‘pay’ to reserve the games, so it creates a good incentive for them.

Figure there’s about 30 orders, 3 products an order, a cost of $20 per product – that’s $1,800 in capital or $1260 not charged approximately. That’s nearly 3% of our inventory capital that’s not being used. We can’t turn it over and worst, all those products have to be ‘bought’ again so that other customers have to purchase it. That means, we’re looking at doubling the capital investment.

However, it becomes a major problem only when a game gets delayed numerous times (e.g. Catacombs and Twilight Struggle this year); leaving us with a slew of games sitting our shelves.  Then we end up with:

  • Insufficient space – notice the additional white shelves we had to create to hold our pre-orders
  • Need for more capital (remember, we have to continually purchase these pre-ordered games) over and above any budgeted amount
  • Customers cancelling orders, leaving us with ‘extra’ stock.  Especially bad when it’s a slow-selling game.

In fact, pre-orders like this end up being a dual-subsidy – for customers and publishers who ‘pre-sell’ these games. The fact that some of the major US online game stores don’t have such a lenient games policy says a lot about whether customers ‘care’ whether they get charged immediately or not.  On the other hand, charging customers immediately leads to its own problems(the customer service hours dealing with the few unhappy customers can add fast; not to mention the potential repercussions on our reputation).

When looking at our policies, it all comes down to capital really.  Would that $2,500 or so be better spent somewhere else? Would charging the customers immediately allow us to improve the site, generating even more revenue?  We could buy more new, hot games or pay for  more upgrades to the site? Perhaps we could do more advertising or sponsorship to get new customers?

When running a business, these type of questions always crop-up.  There aren’t any ‘right’ answers – just a lot of guess-work.   The best you can hope for is watch what other peoples do and

Bestsellers & Hottest Games

The new bestsellers list and hottest games list for July 2011 are up. As always, for records and as a comparison, here’s June’s.

Following are Starlit Citadel’s bestsellers from the month of June 2011.

Dominion : Cornucopia

1. Dominion : Cornucopia

2. 7 Wonders

3. Arkham Horror

4. Lord of the Rings LCG Core Set

5. Carcassonne : Phantom Expansion

6. Dominion

7. Dominion : Intrigue

8. Small World

9. Carcassonne Big Box 3

10. Dixit