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 the Star Wars Unlimited prerelease, the number of TCG releases that happened on February 23, 2024, and the return of Magi-Nation Duel.

For some reason, the TCG gods decided to smile upon February 23 and just shower that date with releases.  The big ones were Magic: The Gathering - Murders at Karlov Manor Clue Edition, Disney Lorcana - Chapter 3: Into the Inklands, Pokemon TCG: Paldean Fates tins, Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament, Cardfight Vanguard: Special Series 9, Yu-Gi-Oh TCG:  Battles of Legend Chapter One and probably one or two more releases that I missed.  That's an awful lot of releases to cram onto one day!

I realize each publisher thinks their TCG release is the most important one coming out that day, but retailers only have a limited amount of money to invest in new releases.  Given the elephant, which is Disney Lorcana, that has shoved its head into the trough that previously fed Magic and Pokemon, most retailers will devote the majority of their resources to buying Disney Lorcana, Magic and Pokemon TCG.  There are a lot of games and a limited amount of capital, which means some releases get short stick.

Speaking of TCGs, Star Wars Unlimited prereleases took place this past Saturday (see "Unpacking the ‘Star Wars Unlimited’ Promotional Kit").  From what I've seen posted online, the game plays well and those stores that hosted events did well with them.  However, the tournament software for running events seems buggy as numerous stores reported it crashing and forcing them to use other tournament software like Melee.

There was a serious lack of interest among our store's Star Wars fans and TCG players in this game, including those that played previous versions of the Star Wars Collectible Card Game as well as Star Wars Destiny, Star Wars Miniatures and the Star Wars LCG.  Even players of Star Wars Legion, who are among our biggest Star Wars fans, showed no interest.  We had no walk-in customers nor phone calls asking about the game, and only two emails inquiring if we had any on the day of and after the prerelease.  I'm also not a big fan of properties that deliberately limit the number of distributors from which we can source the product from, and the size of the initial order needed to qualify for a prerelease event was significant.  I think we made the right call in not ordering.

Speaking of refreshing old TCGs, I see a Kickstarter campaign has launched for Magi-Nation Duel.  For those not familiar with Magi-Nation Duel, it was an anime-influenced CCG released during the second wave of card game releases back in 2000.  It lasted about seven years before being discontinued around 2007 (see "A Little Light Reading").  A fan community has kept the game on life support for the past decade and a half.  The Kickstarter campaign funded in less than a day, despite a projected release date of December 2026. Can a campaign to bring back NeoPets be far behind?  How about Guardians or Hyborean Gates?

Comments?  If you hosted one, how did your Star Wars Unlimited pre-release do?  Email

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