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 shipping cartons for Disney Lorcana OP materials, and the proliferation of cartons from Penguin Random House and Games Workshop.

Following up on last week’s column on the slowing of sales of Disney Lorcana, some of the promotional items Ravensburger sent stores bemused me (see "New Gig").  The company sent us a very nice pressed metal Disney Lorcana sign.  I'm not sure where we will go with it but it is certainly one of the nicer promotional items we have received in the past few years.

On the other hand, Ravensburger decided to dispense with the purple-logoed shipping carton for the organized play materials for Ursula’s Return.  Into the Inklands came in a purple shipping carton with both the Disney and Lorcana logos on it.  Organized play materials for Ursula’s Return came in a plain brown shipping carton (which I saw someone online asking $1,500 for the week after it arrived.  Down to $900 as of this writing.  Gotta wonder if Ravensburger keeps an eye out for this sort of abuse).

Does the lack of art affect the functionality of the carton or its contents?  Of course not.  However, the really avid Disney collectors among our Lorcana players liked the look of the purple logoed carton and would ask for it when the season was over.  I do not expect any of them to ask for the brown shipping carton with the white packing label reading "DLC OP Kit" affixed to it.

Speaking of shipping cartons, I wonder if there is a sale on them or some of our suppliers have managed to find a really cheap source for them.  Our weekly orders from Penguin Random House typically arrive packed in half a dozen or more cardboard mailers and one cardboard box.  This even happens with shipments of our weekly FOC orders.  We put in one to four orders a week including the FOC order and receive an armload of boxes, sometimes only containing one comic and the packing slips do indicate that these multi-shipment orders do contain our FOC order, split up into several different boxes.

We have not had a similar problem with Games Workshop shipments, but it appears that other stores are.  Not only do shipments take one to three weeks to arrive, but when they do, they arrive in multiple boxes even though they are invoiced on the same order.  One store even reported that its shipment had been broken up into shipments of one item per box, meaning that a 20-item shipment arrived packed in 30 different boxes.

I certainly hope this is just a glitch in the system and is not going to become the norm or that someone at Games Workshop looks at their shipping process and reduces the number of packages per order.  Shipping charges generally accrue per item.  Currently, orders from Games Workshop and Penguin Random House ship free, so I'd hate to see the companies paying extra to ship products to stores in multiple products when it certainly is not necessary.  Companies that charge freight on shipments that fall below a certain amount, such as Alliance, Southern Hobby and Diamond (though I have seen some pretty egregious examples of Diamond overpacking orders of single items) generally pack shipments as efficiently as possible.

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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