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, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, offers up thanks to various companies, products, and offers in the games industry.

With Thanksgiving this past weekend, I figure this is as good a time as any to reflect on things for which I am thankful:

Companies that Helped Stores Through the Depths of the Pandemic.  Although it has been almost three years now, I'm still grateful to those companies that shipped limited edition products to stores to aid them in staying open.  Although we complain about them a lot, I still remember the case of Mystery Boosters from Wizards of the Coast, Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Eternity Code booster boxes from Konami, the limited-edition Star Wars figure from Asmodee and the limited-edition Warhammer 40,000 figure from Games Workshop (see "LGS in the Time of Quarantine").  In addition, there were dozens of profit sharing and sales programs offered by publishers that helped stores stay in business during one of the most difficult times the economy has ever faced.  I don't know how many stores might have closed without the aid provided by publishers.  Given how much retailers worry about the next year or even next quarter, it is easy to forget the aid they provided.

Disney Lorcana.  Yeah, I know the shortage of product coupled with high demand make dealing with it problematic.  However, I can't complain about the sheer number of customers Lorcana has brought into the store, many of whom would've never come in otherwise.  We've had customers drive two hours just to buy product from us because they could not find any in their local stores.  Granted, if a store sells as MSRP, the margins on the product line are slim and I would think twice about stocking it in deeply if we did not see the demand that we are seeing.

Case in point, I've yet to put in any preorders for the new Star Wars Customizable Card Game from Asmodee.  Asmodee’s gross margins on its products are slimmer than I like, and I've had zero customer inquiries about the game.  Demand for Lorcana is such that stores can raise retail price significantly above Ravensburger’s MSRP on the game with little to no customer pushback.  Should stores start seeing customer resistance to prices higher than MSRP, I would expect to see retail support drop off dramatically for the game.  For now, I am quite happy with the sales on the product.

Evergreen Products.  Despite their being on the shelf for ten years and more, I still steadily sell copies of Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Catan, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Munchkin, Fluxx, Codenames, Bang, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Pokemon TCG and many others, usually at full margin.  The way I look at it, the U.S. has well over 300 million people, and only a fraction of them have bought the games I carry.  There is still a huge market to which to sell games, if I can just reach them.

Other Retailers.  I get some of my best ideas from other stores.  I never thought we could sell metal dice sets until I heard how well they were selling for other stores.  Another retailer mentioned how well cheap anime stickers sold for them and, you know what, they were right.  I picked up games like Night Cage and boop. after other retailers waxed positively about them and still read retailer comments about other games and products.  Have not stocked in disc golf yet but we are bringing in anime themed candies because of a conversation with another store.  So thank you, other stores, for letting me use your ideas.

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