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 some possible outcomes of the Fantasy Flight – Games Workshop split.

Following the time-honored tradition of releasing big news that will cause lots of questions that none of the parties involved want to answer immediately, Fantasy Flight Games Games announced this past Friday that it and Games Workshop have ended the agreement allowing Fantasy Flight Games to reprint new editions of classic Games Workshop games such as Talisman and Fury of Dracula and to create new games set in the Games Workshop worlds, such as Relic, Forbidden Stars and Chaos in the Old World (see "Fantasy Flight, Games Workshop End Licensing Relationship").  What effect will this have?

1.  Scramble for current stock.  The announcement has already started a run on current stocks of GW-related Fantasy Flight Games product.  I called the Southern Hobby warehouse in St. Louis to check on the availability  of a few of their best-selling titles and learned that a store had called them up earlier up that day and cleared out nearly everything the distributor had in stock.  Given that sort of reaction, I would expect to hear about out-of-stocks on all of Fantasy Flight Games’ top selling GW games within a day or two and most of the less popular games within a week or better.

2.  Price increases.  Expect to see the law of supply and demand kick in as supply of the stock of FFG games gets scarcer.  Especially on popular games such as Talisman and Fury of Dracula, it would not surprise me to see prices increase by 50% within a month or so as supplies get scarce.  After all, when it was not available, prices on Czech Games’ Codenames, regularly a $19.99 game, shot up to $70 and I have seen copies of the basic game of Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot sell for in excess of $125 during the holiday season.  After all, as I have discussed regarding Pokemon card pricing, asking prices reflect what value the seller puts on a product.  All the seller needs is one buyer willing to pay the supply driven price.  Case in point, one eBay seller currently asking $20,000 for a 1st printing "Machamp" Pokemon card, while other stores have them priced at $5 to $6.

3.  Limited if any restocks.  As the agreement between the two companies ends next February, it is likely that we will see few if any restocks of FFG games currently in production.  Although the company has improved its in-stock of products in the last couple of years, almost all of their games and gaming products are produced in China, meaning shipments will take anywhere from 4 weeks to 2 months for delivery under normal conditions.  Given the recently announced bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Company, leaving its 80+ ships at sea with no current way to land and discharge their cargo, we can expect a slowdown of unloading of container ships on the West Coast, possibly leading to a large number of out-of-stocks during the holiday season.

4.  Games Workshop Boardgame Line.  Given the number of miniature themed boardgames that Games Workshop has released this year (Warhammer Quest Silver Tower, Lost Patrol) and the planned re-launch of Blood Bowl, it would not surprise me to see a relaunched GW boardgame division featuring games with miniature figures as pieces, such as Talisman and Relic, offered sometime in 2017.  Doing so, however will take some time, leaving the market Talisman-less for several months.

I hope I am wrong and GW has plans to either ramp up their own production of the games, as rumors of the split have floated around the industry for several months now, or have a licensing agreement in place with another company already and we will see GW boardgames back on the market after only a few months out of stock, but I would not bet upon it.

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