Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne looks at the upcoming conflict of event dates and the new Games Workshop paint rack.

For those of you who just might have missed it, Konami has announced the Sneak Peek for the next Yu-Gi-Oh! set, Galactic Overlord, takes place the weekend of April 28th.  In case you really missed the news, something else pre-releases that same weekend, namely Wizards of the Coast's latest Magic expansion Avacyn Restored, the third set in the Innistrad block.  WotC really pushed interest in this release with their announcement of the Helvault promotion, which sparked a round of guesses on Twitter as to what's #IntheHelvault.  Based on customer interest so far, I expect this to be our best attended pre-release in some time, which begs the question, why put the Galactic Overlord Sneak Peek up against it, making life more difficult for the retailer?

I put this question to Konami and was told that the Sneak Peak always falls about this time (I remember writing about the same topic last year) and that Konami had a choice of putting their Sneak Peek on the weekend of Avacyn Restored or the following weekend, during Free Comic Book Day (a week earlier, during the weekend of April 21-22, apparently wasn't a possibility).  From my understanding, Konami felt they could either run the Sneak Peek on FCBD, when comic shops were shorthanded or during the Magic Pre-release, when game shops are short handed.  Too bad Konami couldn't figure out a way to move the date to April 21-22 as that would have given stores two great weekends (three if you participate in Free Comic Book Day) in a row instead of one day in which we will be short handed, crowded, not able to give both events the attention we could if they were on separate days and probably leaving money on the table.  I know we will move our Sneak Peek from its accustomed start time of 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday and accommodate the players as best we can, but we could have had so much better a month if the competing companies would look at each other's schedules and make adjustments so that everybody makes more money.

As long as I am a commenting on poor planning, we received the new Games Workshop paint rack this week.  It would really have helped us out in terms of budgeting if GW had given us more information about this more than two weeks in advance.  This whole not giving out release information until just before the month of the release is slightly, no make that majorly, ridiculous.  If companies like WotC, Paizo, Mayfair, Nintendo etc. can get their release schedule out months in advance, surely the largest company in the miniatures industry can do so as well.

Coming out with the new rack, costing almost $2000 at cost, the same week as the release of all the new Empire rules and miniatures didn't impact us much financially, since we don't do much with their Warhammer Fantasy Battle line, but a store that does do a significant amount of business in WFB looked at a couple of pretty big invoices this week.  Considering that GW can't get the information about release out until a week or so before the month they come out, seems it would have made sense to delay the shipping of the paint rack until a week when  there weren't about twenty new figures and an Army book hitting the shelves.

Unfortunately, the new rack suffers from a design flaw, at least from the retailer point of view.  Unlike GW's last two paint racks, I guess in order to fit the wider range of paints into it, the paint slots fit at a much steeper angle, only holding six paints, unlike the older ones, which held 12.  Since GW ships paints in quantities of six, the store either has to maintain extras in backstock somewhere away from the rack or wait until paint runs out before putting in a reorder.  The paint slots only take up about half the rack, the back half is empty space.  If the designer had angled the paints a little less steeply and extended the slots further back, they could easily have held another 4 to 6 paints, alleviating the problem.  Oh, well, maybe with the next rack.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of