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 talks about ex-Wizards of the Coast CEO Cynthia Williams' new gig at Funko and softening sales of Pokemon TCG and Disney Lorcana.

Wizards of the Coast CEO Cynthia Williams resigned from WotC in late April (see "More MAP and Cynthia Williams Resigns").  Then early May, we learned that she had agreed to take the vacant CEO position at Funko (see "WOTC Prez to Funko").  She is a good choice for Funko as she now has plenty of experience working at the top executive level thanks to her time at Microsoft and WotC.  Her time at WotC has given her more exposure to pop culture product lines which will be useful in her new position.

I have heard a number of store owners say over the years, "Give me somebody who can sell.  I can teach people about my product lines.  Teaching them to sell my products is far harder."  At the university at which I teach, my department needs to hire a new chairperson and similarly, several instructors have commented, "We do not need someone who can teach or publish articles, we need a good administrator."  Similarly, if Williams has learned the ins and outs of administration, and if she keeps a staff that knows Funko POP! figures, she should do fine.  Going in and immediately cleaning house and firing staff is probably not a good idea.  She should learn the organization first before making any major changes.

While sales are still good on both lines, Disney Lorcana sales have continued to decline from the frenzied demand surrounding the early sets (see "Disney Lorcana is No Pokemon").  Prices on the Troves and Illumineer’s Quests for Ursula’s Return have both dropped from over $100 at release; Troves are at $60 to $70, and $80 to $100 for the Quest sets, which is still significantly higher than MSRP but quite a bit lower than last week.  Booster boxes of earlier sets, which sold for keystone or better, are now selling at margins of up to 35%.

Even Pokemon is no Pokemon anymore.  Twilight Masquerade arrived with little fanfare and not a lot of interest from our customers.  We had one customer comment (paraphrasing), "I remember coming in here a couple of years ago and considering myself lucky to find five packs of Pokemon in stock.  Now you have shelves of it."  This makes me think GameStop is getting into the card buying business too late, which is not unusual for chain stores, as they tend to follow rather than set trends (see "GameStop Begins Buying").  There are still cards selling for hundreds of dollars, but one card in Twilight Masquerade is currently selling for over $100 and most graded cards are selling for $20 to $40.

Even the speculators, from what I have heard, are no longer putting tracking devices on delivery trucks to make sure they get to Walmart and other big box stores so they can clear the shelves of the new delivery of Pokemon product.  People are still buying Pokemon, Disney Lorcana, etc. and the speculators are still around but at least in our store, we see a lot more kids coming in and purchasing two or three packs at a time, rather than adults rushing in to buy a booster box or two of the new set.  The tickets are not as large, but there are more of them and the people who get the cards enjoy them more.

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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