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 tight allocations for Magic: The Gathering - Universes Beyond: Fallout, and the continued sales of Star Wars Unlimited.

Magic: The Gathering - Universes Beyond: Fallout released this past Wednesday, but the results left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.  Collector boosters for this set were heavily allocated.  According to my distributor, this was the first Magic product in years to see this level of allocation.  We wound up restricting customers to only two Collector Boosters each and still sold out quickly.  Collector Booster boxes are currently selling on the secondary market for close to $400.

Meanwhile, the staff was mildly perturbed to have customers come into the store on Wednesday for our weekly Disney Lorcana league with Fallout Commander decks they had purchased at the local Walmart prior to the prerelease date.  I promptly popped into Walmart Thursday morning, purchased one of the decks remaining on the shelf and sent an incident report, along with a photo of the deck and receipt to Wizards of the Coast.

Stores are always told WotC takes these incidents of street date violation very seriously.  However, stores are also told it is a matter handled internally and the company cannot disclose anything publicly about the incident or WotC’s investigation.  Unfortunately, this policy and the regular violation of street date by mass market stores leaves most hobby game stores feeling as though reporting street date violations is futile.

If WotC wants hobby game retailers to feel it takes street date violations seriously, they should do something that shows it.  If the company can send in Pinkerton agents to retrieve questionably acquired March of the Machines: Aftermath from a YouTube creator’s home, surely it could send agents into Walmart to remove unauthorized product from store shelves (see "Wizards of the Coast’s Not So Great Couple of Weeks")?  That would certainly show the company is serious about enforcing street dates.

As long as I am wishing for things that WotC could do, how about printing decklists somewhere on the Commander deck carton?  Konami does it for Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, The Pokemon Company can do it for Pokemon TCG starter decks.  Even a newcomer like Ravensburger prints a decklist on the side of its Disney Lorcana deck cartons.  Most customers generally do not buy pre-constructed decks intending to play them as is, but rather to get the individual cards; stripping out those cards to incorporate into their play decks.  Nearly every time someone inquires about a deck, they want to know what cards it contains.  Yes, we can look it up, but it seems WotC could make a simple fix by removing some of the flavor text off the box and replacing it with a useful deck list.

Prices for booster boxes of Star Wars Unlimited continue to drop, regularly selling for below $100 and looking to drop below $90 within a week or so.  Sales of the game and accessories through distribution appear brisk though as a quick look at Southern Hobby’s website shows all the Star Wars Unlimited card product and sleeves from Gamegenic sold out.  I still read of a number of stores doing well with the game and even with the continued drop in prices of booster boxes, selling individual booster packs and licensed supplies is the more profitable option.

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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