Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois reports on events at Origins Trade Day.

As I mentioned in last week's column,  a couple of the store's staff members went to Origins last week for the Trade Day and convention proper, whilst I stayed home and oversaw another successful Free RPG Day (If you want to read about that first, I'll wait, see "Rolling for Initiative--Four Takeaways from Free RPG Day").

Gary and Brian hit five seminars during Origins Trade Day, two retailer-focused and three publisher presentations:

Product Diversity
It's a good idea to request a list of the top selling games/products from each distributor a store deals with.  Distributors should gladly give you that information as it helps you sell more of their stock.  Having these lists may give a store a heads up on a good selling item that may have slipped past their radar.  If the same products appear on all the lists acquired and your store doesn't stock it, you probably ought to take a look at it.  Consider a defining product line:  Are you a card store, board game store, Top 100 items store, full line store, family-friendly store, etc.?  Can you describe your store’s focus in one sentence?

Hosting Dynamic Events
When creating an event, answer the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.  Those questions are the base of any successful event.  Then set your schedule up for weekly, monthly, yearly (Free Comic Book Day, Small Business Saturday, Free RPG Day) as well as pre-releases.  Publishers are wanting to make new releases and Organized Play a more integral part of their marketing so ask them what event kits, demo copies and promotional items they have available.

Games Workshop
They have a Facebook page for North American retailers.  You should join it.  They also have one of the best racking systems in the industry for their product lines and stores can get it for free, though I hope the next time they redo their paint rack, they set the slots to hold extra paints.  GW also has logoed bags available to stores, as well as a Paint 'n Take kit with 150 Space Marine figures for use in painting demos and workshops and a trophy kit as well. They also mentioned a credit of up to $30 for event marketing, but they didn't have much more information on that.

Paizo Publishing
Talked about upcoming releases for the most part, including more materials for the Occult line, the new Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path and the new Starfinder RPG coming summer of 2017.  Still planning on releasing PDFs of all of their books, with no way to tie those into retail sales and still no incentives to encourage stores to run Pathfinder Society events in store.

Renegade Game Studios
Gary and Brian were both pretty impressed with the line of games from this company and think we should stock more of their family and party games (we already stock a number of them).  Stores can contact Renegade about finding a Renegade Demo person in the area or seeing about getting an in-house one, something that other companies don’t allow, since they want their demo people not tied to one store.  Gary especially liked their Fuse and Kitty Paw games and wants to demo both here.

All in all, money well spent by the store.  The staff got some good business insights and the opportunity to learn about new and existing products from the people best qualified to talk about them, the publishers.  Thanks to GAMA and the GAMA Retail Division for hosting the event.

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