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 DCC Day 2021, and about an NPR story that featured Atlas Games' John Nephew talking about supply chain problems.

DCC (Dungeon Crawl Classics) Day took place this past Saturday with about 70 stores in the U.S. (ours was one of them) and another 20 in Canada participating.  Goodman Games took a different track with getting the event into stores this year.  Stores could order a kit for $25, and get 10 copies of the 2021 Adventure Pack and 10 copies of the 2021 DCC Day Adventure, Beneath the Well of Brass, as well as a few copies of the DCC Quick Start Rules and some additional promos the company tossed in.  However, for each $100 a store spent in Goodman Games wholesale portal, it received one DCC Day kit for free.  Since DCC sells so slowly in our store, we used the opportunity to stock up on Goodman Games Original Adventures Remastered and Fifth Edition Fantasy modules instead.

Despite promoting the event, we only had a few people show up for the event, although one DCC Fan drove a couple of hours to get here and was waiting at the store for us when we opened.  A few other people came in and took the freebies but seemed singularly uninterested in the limited edition module.  As with a lot of events focused on one specific game, the fans of that game are very enthused about it and willing to make an extra effort to get there for the event.  However, at least in our region, there is not enough of a fan base for DCC products to make spending a lot of time and effort on the event worthwhile.

Events like Free Comic Book Day and Free RPG Day, which appeal to a broader audience, tend to do far better in our relatively small market.  Given the low cost of the event, we will continue to participate.  I wonder how tying an online series like Critical Role or one of the lesser known streaming RPG games would help with increasing attention.  Given the number of product tie-ins we have seen coming from Critical Role, seeking an endorsement from them would be a logical option for an RPG company.

I caught this story on NPR last week which included an interview (abbreviated greatly from the original one I assume) with Atlas Games’ John Nephew about the hob COVID-19 and cock-ups in the supply chain are playing with his company.  As with most other board game publishers, Atlas Games uses Chinese manufacturers to produce its games due to cost savings.  But due to extensive slowing in the Chinese supply chain, an expected six-week shipping time for the company’s new Dice Miner game took six months and the projected $6000 freight charges ballooned to some $12,000!

This is quite an amount for any company to absorb, but it's an especially hard hit for a small publisher that tracks every expense down to the proverbial penny.  At least he wasn't hit as badly as the other company mentioned in the story, Ambriola, which imports cheese from Italy to the U.S.  It usually plans on two containers per week arriving, but in one instance, it had 8 containers, and their associated shipping charges, arriving all at once.  According to what I have read, most experts in supply chain distribution, barring other problems, expect the supply chain to get back to relative normal in 2022, which means retailers should probably start stocking for Christmas now.

What do you think?  Will things get back to normal this year or next?  Email with your comments.

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