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 discusses how sales have been so far during the holiday season, despite Wizards of the Coast not releasing D&D: The Deck of Many Things on time.

The holiday shopping season is upon us.  Our Thanksgiving weekend sales beat last year’s by 25%, helped by strong Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and board game sales as well as this year’s Games Workshop army boxes, which are generally more hit than miss.  Unfortunately, if past trends bear up, we should have a decent first weekend of the month, then a slow first full week of the month, as people do most of their shopping at the big box stores and online.  Online sales broke yet another record this year, with more people shopping on their phones than from the desktops for the first time ever.

As Christmas approaches, we should see renewed foot traffic as customers start worrying about getting presents for others on time and are not wanting to trust USPS, Fed Ex or UPS to get mail ordered purchases to them on time.  I'm expecting sales figures for the Saturday before Christmas to easily beat the Saturday before Christmas in 2022, since Christmas Eve sales trend lighter than usual here.  To mitigate some of these past trends, we've already handed out a bounce-back coupon and hope to see some response next week.

Last month, we received notice from Wizards of the Coast that The Deck of Many Things got pushed back to an unspecified date (see "Boxed Set Pushed Back").  This past week, quietly, WotC announced it will now come out on January 5, 2024.  According to the press release, the original run of product did not meet WotC’s quality standards, hence the pushed-back date.  After years of releasing new product like clockwork on the scheduled date, this makes the second time this year that WotC had to push back a release date for one of its Dungeons & Dragons products.

The release date for Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants got pushed back a few weeks as well for some unspecified reasons.  It certainly would have been nice to have the Deck of Many Things on hand for Christmas sales but there is not much we can do about it.  We are going to offer potential Deck of Many Things buyers, who would like to buy it as a holiday gift, the option of purchasing the book now and receiving a gift receipt and a greeting card with a note that the possessor can bring us the receipt when Deck of Many Things releases and pick up their copy. Not sure how many customers will want to take advantage of this option but it is an option the store will make available.  It is a pity we do not have this available for holiday sales, but it cannot be helped.  Here is to hoping WotC can fix quality control for its D&D line next year.

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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