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 the response to the Pokemon Celebrations release and a Wizards of the Coast change for the next Magic: The Gathering release.

Pokemon Celebrations hit the shelves this past weekend and sales on the set were pretty much bonkers with all of the various kits, tins, sets and collections released (see "’Pokemon Celebrations’ Range").  Most popular were the Elite Trainer Kits, and although I questioned if we had reached peak Pokemon a few weeks ago (see "Rolling for Initiative – Peak ‘Pokemon?’", it looks as if there is still quite a bit of gas in the Pokemon engine.

A number of stores limited quantities to one item per customer, annoying some customers who wanted to purchase multiple sets in order to get as many of the Pokemon Celebration packs as possible.  Customers have been asking for this set for a couple of months now, so I’m not surprised that there is demand similar to that for Shining Fates.

Although most of the sets are selling for $40 to $50, the Elite Trainer Kits are selling for anywhere from $80 to $150 online, and while a few stores report selling them at about keystone markup, most brick and mortar stores are asking the low end of market price or just below and are only seeing slight, if any, pushback on the price from customers.  Most of them are so happy to finally get the set that they do not comment on the pricing and feel it quite fair.  Some stores, primarily the ones limiting quantities, are even seeing lines out the door of customers waiting patiently to get the sets.

Although it does generate quite a bit of revenue for stores, I am not a big fan of this method of distributing the boosters.  Even at regular retail pricing, the cost of the assorted gift sets puts them out of reach of the younger Pokemon player.  Those younger customers who come into our store generally only have enough to pay for one or two booster packs.  Even the mini tins, the cheapest item released in the Celebrations run of products, keystone at around $10 to $12.  While I appreciate all the revenue generated by the Celebrations set, much as I did with the Shining Fates set, I cannot help but wish that the boosters were released as a stand-alone product.  Of course, given the demand for Pokemon product currently, any individual booster packs made available would probably get marked up three to four times over retail but at least stores would have the opportunity to do so.  I guess there is the option of breaking open the assorted gift sets to sell the individual packs but have not heard of any stores doing so yet.

I guess WotC is still having supply chain problems as the company announced, after providing Set Boosters as prize support for the Midnight Hunt pre-release and making booster boxes of Set Boosters available for sale during the pre-release week, the company will shift back to providing draft boosters as prize support and for sale during the week of pre-release (and Collector Boosters as well, if the store is WPN Premium) for Innistrad Crimson Vow.  This means stores will have an additional six boosters to distribute as prize support for in-store or at-home pre-releases.  More packs are good right?

Let me know what you think at

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