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 more about the Pokemon buying frenzy, and discusses another reason why Hasbro won't sell Dungeons & Dragons.

After  thinking about it more, I have come to the conclusion that Hasbro won’t sell the Dungeons and Dragons brand, but first Pokemon TCG.

The last time I remember this much excitement over a trading card game was the 90s and the first go-round of Pokemon.  Of course the technology was a lot more primative then, and Pokemon TCG hunters did not have access to modern tracking devices with which to stalk their prey.  They had to find booster packs the old fashioned way, driving from store to store, hoping to find the elusive Pokemon in its native habitat, sitting on a store shelf.  Now, it appears, the intrepid hunter can just stick a tracking device on a delivery vehicle, follow it from store to store and descend on the shelves to strip them bare moments after the stockjobber delivers there (see "Chain Store Pickers Used Tracking Tile on Merchandiser's Vehicle").  Ash Ketchum would look on in awe at the ease with which these modern day Pokemon hunters track down their prey.

Meanwhile the new set, Shining Fates, hit the shelves last week with a number of retailers reporting block-long lines of customers waiting to get their hands on some of the set, and Elite Trainer Kits selling for two to four times MSRP.  Many stores, including us, reported running out the first day, while others, due to the lousy weather, say their initial shipments will not arrive until next week, which does mean they will have Shining Fates available when the stores that got the product this week have run out (see "Rolling for Initiative -- Problems with 'Pokemon' Preorders and Three Ways Publishers Can Improve Box Design").

It reminds me of the 90s when kids, and their parents, would line up outside the door waiting on a new Pokemon TCG release.  When Wizards of the Coast, which had the Pokemon license at the time, released the free Mew promo card, it brought the longest line of kids and parents in the store’s history; they got the card and then ran over to the nearest Toys R’ Us, which was also giving away the card. 

The lines of people waiting for Shining Fates remind me of those days.  Expect that almost all of the people in line are adults; either wanting one for the nostalgia kid or, more likely, hoping to flip them online while the frenzy lasts.  Do it fast.  As I told parents back in the 90s, “Don’t buy these cards expecting to put your kid through college with them,” although with the asking prices on sealed 90s Pokemon TCG booster boxes, I might have been wrong.

Following up on last week’s column, I received an email giving further reasons why Hasbro might now be less inclined to sell the D&D brand (see "Rolling for Initiative -- Love, (Event)Links, and Lawsuits "). Given that the long gestating D&D movie now has a director, Chris Pine in the cast, and even has a May 22 release date, Hasbro is likely much more inclined to hang onto the Dungeons & Dragons property (see "R.I.P. 'Star Wars' Actor Jeremy Bulloch, Pine Cast For 'D&D' Movie").  After all, while Hasbro is not a publishing powerhouse, the company does know its toys.  A Memorial Day release date certainly indicates that Paramount and eOne think this version has the makings of a hit, and that means toys galore for Hasbro for the summer of 2022.  Given the comparative immediacy of the release, I do not see any way that Hasbro would sell off the line now.

What do you think regarding Shining Fates or D&D?  Email with your thoughts.

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