We caught up with Days of Wonder Vice-President Mark Kaufman to talk about the varying impact that TableTop had on the two Days of Wonder games featured on the show.
Tell us about having Small World featured on TableTop.
They had talked to us a couple months in advance and said "Wil loves Small World; we’re going to do this in our debut episode." They went through the production and what it was going to be. Obviously we knew Wil Wheaton has a fan base of people who would be interested in watching this. And the people who were putting it together--it wasn’t just "I’m doing this in my back yard or my kitchen," these are people who make television for a living, they know what they’re doing. So we knew the production quality would be quite high.
We basically made the bet. We thought this was going to be something--we don’t know what, but we think people will watch it. So we made sure that on the distribution side that we had enough product available and Alliance sent out notices to the stores that said, "This is going happen, this is when it’s going to run, and you should be prepared for people coming in." We didn’t know if it was going to be five extra people coming in or hundreds of extra people coming in. The nice thing is that once the episode was up and running we actually did a promotion to our user base because we had been registering people for our games for 10 years. We had a lot of people in our database and said, "This is a show; you should watch it; talk to your friends about it." And it exploded. People really watched it. I think it’s had over 700,000 views, which is more than a lot of TV shows.
The feedback from the retailers was "I had six people walk into my store today. I had increased my quantities, but only by three" so they had to get more product in, and sell it through. We were surprised at the response rate. We had close to five times the sales that month that we would have had normally and the next month it continued to be extremely high as well. So that was the first part of May when that first ran and now that we’re several months past that, we have reached a run rate that is much higher than it was previously with the Small World game.
What kind of percentage higher?
It’s almost 100% higher than what was. It reinvigorated not only new people but it also got the core people going, "That was really cool. Small World, I like playing it." And that’s what brings new people into the hobby. It’s not just, "Oh, I saw the episode." It’s "Oh, that was really fun. I forgot how fun Small World was, I’m going play it and bring new people into it." Or people who saw it, said "Oh, I saw this thing. I have that game, let’s play it."
Is this the core game? You have expansions too, right?
Right. The expansions have also all picked up. Not quite to the level of the core game because that’s what they were playing on the show, but anytime the core game goes up we also see the expansions go up as well. So that’s been really helpful and really fun. We just came out with Small World: Runts last month and that’s gone out the door really nicely and people are excited about it and playing it. It’s been really good for developing the Small World brand.
What happened when TableTop showed Ticket to Ride?
Six or seven weeks later, Ticket to Ride was also on Tabletop. I think it was the fourth or fifth episode. Ticket to Ride is more well-established. It’s available in Target; it’s a broader audience; it’s been around longer than Small World so more people are playing it. But we still saw a significant jump, not the five times jump that we saw with Small World, but a nice big boost in Ticket to Ride sales and that has also continued since they’ve run that.
Yes, expansions, too.