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 notes three recent actions by Wiz Kids that he applauds.

WizKids made an announcement a week ago that made me and a lot of other retailers quite happy and it got me to thinking about other things the company does that also make me happy, but three stand out.

For those of you not familiar with them (and most people reading this column are), WizKids is the premier collectable miniatures company.  (Though I could argue not the first as anyone who dealt with Games Workshop during the 1990s could attest, with the company's tendency to include multiple poses of the same figure in a sleeve of them and customers trying to get that one particular figure with a Multi-melta or Assault Cannon for their army.  A figure holding a Bolter just wouldn't work.)  And it's also the premier dice game company,  at one time after the release of Dice Masters producing more dice than any other company in the world.

Anyhow, three things that WizKids does that I really like:

1.  Cheers for the Organized Play website.  WizKids has really ramped up its OP program over the past couple of years and has made massive improvements to the website the company uses to track tournament results.  The company has even embraced the "gamification" trend of the past few years, awarding badges to players and tournament organizers for "unlocking" achievements in OP.  Behavioral research indicates that this actually works in terms of encouraging more people to participate in events in the hope of adding more badges to their collection, much as the Scouts have done for decades.

2.  Cheers for Summer Campaigns.  For the last few years, WizKids has run a massively supported summer Organized Play campaign complete with big cool prizes and limited edition boosters to draw customers into stores. In order to get access to these limited boosters, the customer has to come to the store and play in the event.  A few retailers have violated the spirit and letter of the program and WizKids, from what I understand, has been pretty diligent in tracking the violators down and reprimanding or even sanctioning them from participating in further programs.

3.  Cheers for Release Day Tape.  The announcement of this was the thing that made me happy, which I referenced earlier.  In the near future, boxes of WizKids products will bear the notice on the packing tape indicating this product has a release date and directing recipients to go to the following website:  As I have noted in other columns, violation of street date, especially with high volume collectible items such as HeroClix and Dice Masters, is a bane of the retail end of the industry, especially in the mass market.  The FLGS pays much more attention to release and street dates than does the mass market, especially regarding these products, which account for far more of our sales than do big box stores.  The mass market, unless told specifically otherwise, puts merchandise out on the floor as soon as it comes through the back door.  They cannot sell stuff sitting in the stockroom.  Hopefully, the new label will remind them to check release dates before putting it out.

There are a lot more things to like about WizKids operations, especially over the past few years, but that's another column.

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