According to the ICv2 Guide to Games #56 the general malaise that has afflicted the American economy has had only “limited impact” on the games business even though gas prices and the housing crisis/credit crunch have “been tough on other retail sectors.”  Typical of the responses given by retailers and distributors was that of Barry Calhoun of GTS who said: “Business is strong.  We’re busy every day…We did expect it to slow down, but it hasn’t.


The hobby retail community, which has been thinned and hardened by tough conditions in the game market over the past few years, appears to be strong with those retailers who carry a diverse selection of gaming products across several categories doing the best, while according to one distributor, “CCG-only stores are suffering these days.”


Still CCGs have had a strong spring with widespread sellouts of major releases such as World of Warcraft: Servants of the Betrayer, Yu-Gi-Oh!: Light of Destruction, Chaotic: Zenith of the Hive, Naruto: Battle of Destiny and Bleach: The Bankai Expansion.  What’s behind the sell-outs?  Manufacturers have cut back print runs, but they have also stepped up to back their releases with TV ads, organized play support, as well as online and print advertising. 


The Collectible Miniature Game category performed well in the spring with the DC HeroClix Crisis release from WizKids selling through quickly.  In the Non-Collectible Miniatures Game category Rackham’s AT-43 moved up as supply strains involved in the transition to Fantasy Flight Games as AT-43’s North American distributor appear to be easing.


In spite of what some might think would be a volatile mixture of a poor economy and generally high price points, board games continued to perform well throughout the spring, with Mayfair's re-launched popular Settlers of Catan game leading the way.  Most retailer complaints about board games are the result of a lack of available product as the games sell out at the retail level.


The role-playing category remains moribund, but it is about to spring back to vibrant life when Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is released this summer.


In addition to the ICv2 sales charts tracking sales in the various game categories as well as forecasts for the game market in 2008, this issue of the ICv2 Guide also includes ICv2's best-in-the-business bestseller lists in five game categories over the last three months, as always.  All rankings reported reflect sales in the hobby channel only (although we do have mass and over-all rankings for CCGs in the magazine).  Here are the ICv2 Top Fives (longer lists are available in the magazine):


ICv2 Top 5 Hobby CCGs

1.  Magic the Gathering

2.  World of Warcraft TCG

3.  Yu-Gi-Oh!

4.  Pokemon

5.  Naruto


ICv2 Top 5 CMGs

1.  HeroClix

2.  Dungeons & Dragons

3.  Star Wars

4.  ActionClix

5.  Pirates


ICv2 Top 5 Non-Collectible Miniature Games

1.  Warhammer 40K

2.  WarMachine

3.  Hordes

4.  AT-43

5.  Reaper Dark Heaven


ICv2 Top 5 Board and Family Games

1.  Settlers of Catan

2.  Ticket to Ride

3.  Carcassonne

4.  Descent

5.  Arkham Horror


ICv2 Top 5 Role-Playing Games

1.  Dungeons & Dragons

2.  Exalted

3.  Warhammer 40K: Dark Heresy

4.  World of Darkness

5.  Mutants and Masterminds


For info on how to get your copy of the ICv2 Guide #56--Games, with the full market reports and size estimates, bestseller lists, and reviews, see “ICv2 Releases Guide to Games #56.