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 talks about game events on holiday weekends and a new Boss Monster kit.

Well, 'tis the night before St. Valentine's Day and not a soul stirring in the gaming area.  Methinks they are all out watching Deadpool since it targets our customer base almost perfectly.  I really expect a down turnout for the second Oath of the Gatewatch Game Day tomorrow due to Significant Others (of both sexes) wanting potential players in a more romantic location than our gaming room.  That being said, we have had several people in today purchasing games as St. Valentine's Day presents, a trend which we have only seen in the past couple of years as our type of games have become more mainstream.  After all, it takes a certain kind of attitude AND relationship to view Gloom and King of Tokyo as appropriate romantic gifts.  I do approve of this trend for three reasons:

  1.  Increased game sales for the store (Well, duh).
  2. Board and card games last much longer than do flowers and chocolates. Not as tasty or nice smelling though.
  3. A swing from the customers of the past who either had no Significant Other  for whom to buy St. Valentine's Day presents, or, if they had a Significant Other , said Significant Other had no interest in games and expected flowers, cards and/or candy. Now, a board or card game is a perfectly acceptable gift between those in a relationship, though it takes a certain sardonic attitude on the part of both parties to view Gloom as an appropriate choice for a St. Valentine's Day present.

Speaking of St. Valentine's Day, and holidays in general, Wizards of the Coast once again shows somewhat of a case of tone deafness in picking dates for its events.  Listen, people at WOTC.  Magic: The Gathering is popular, Magic is very popular, but it is nowise as popular as St. Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day or Halloween or Independence Day or Labor Day, so please, please PLEASE, look at the calendar when scheduling special events like a Game Day or a Pre-Release and do not put them on the same weekend as a holiday.  Although you may have research that shows that holidays have little to no effect on sales, experience here at the store and from talking with other retailers indicates that we see a definite drop in attendance at events when they coincide or conflict with established holidays.  Your event in the store loses out whereas if you scheduled it for a week later or earlier than the holiday, we could properly promote it without fear of losing participants.  I am certain you know when you have your scheduled events planned to take place a year ahead of time or more so please, look at the schedule and avoid placing your scheduled events up against other established holidays.  Konami, Pokemon and anyone else that schedules inflexible OP events, this goes for you too.

I did want to call attention to Brotherwise Games' new Boss Monster game kits.  The kits, which are free for the asking, come with a set of eight playmats, an equal number of promo cards and a Boss Monster crown.  It's a simple kit, which doesn't require a lot of effort on the store's part to utilize.  Kudos to Brotherwise Games.

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