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 Asmodee’s new Minimum Advertised Price policy, and the departure of the Wizards of the Coast president.

The store received the following notice about the change in Asmodee’s Minimum Advertised Price policy this week: "The published Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) on products releasing after June 1st, 2024, will be increasing from 80% of MSRP to 100% of MSRP.  MAP pricing will be in effect for these products for at least 90-days after release date.  Asmodee USA will communicate any changes after that period via the Newsletter."

Sounds good so far.  MAP pricing of 100% percent of MSRP means no discounting on new Asmodee products so stores relying on deep discounts will have to find another way to sell Asmodee products.  MAP is legal, as long as it is applied to all channels the company sells through, so this sounds pretty good.

Ah, but then in the next paragraph comes this: "Please be aware that Asmodee USA unilaterally and independently sets its Minimum Advertised Price and reserves the right to adjust or make exceptions as needed."

So Amazon wants to put on products on sale for Prime Day?  Go for it.  Target wants to use them as part of a Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion?  We can work with that.  Based on the company’s track record, the industry can expect to see MAP holidays declared whenever a mass market chain or Amazon wants one.  In short, while it is a nice gesture, I do not see increasing Asmodee MAP to MSRP as creating any major changes in channel behavior.  Brick and mortar stores are, in general, the most expensive places to buy products already, but they/we make up for it with curated product selection, knowledgeable staff, face-to-face places to play, and the ability of customers to walk out with the product immediately.

I see Wizards of the Coast president Cynthia Williams tendered her resignation last week, effective April 26 (see "Wizards of the Coast President Resigns").  Her two years in the position have been… interesting, to put it mildly.  Although it was likely in development before she stepped into the position, March of the Machines Aftermath is the most poorly received and worst selling Magic: The Gathering set in years (see "Wizards of the Coast’s Not So Great Couple of Weeks").  The set performed poorly enough that the Breaking News set planned for Outlaws of Thunder Junction got scrapped and the cards incorporated into the core Outlaws of Thunder Junction set.  Also unforgettable were the plans to revise WotC’s OGL for Dungeons & Dragons and the howls of protest that accompanied it (see "Well That Was Quick and 4 Picks for RPG Week"), forcing the company to scrap the changes and revert to the original OGL.

It appears to me (and I speak with zero inside knowledge, though I do own stock in Hasbro), that she was brought into the position due to her expertise with Microsoft’s digital gaming division, which Hasbro sees as the future for Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.  She talked of increasing monetization of Magic and D&D as well as implementing microtransactions but most of the revenue still comes from sales of print versions of the products, an area in which she had little to no experience.  Given that D&D and Magic account for most of Hasbro’s sales, here’s hoping the next hire has more experience selling physical specialty products.

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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