WizKids EVP Martin Stever told us today that orders on Mage Knight Dungeons (see 'Mage Knight Dungeons') have come in about 75% higher than expected and that initial orders will have to be allocated. The first wave of the game will reach retailers on January 2-3; the street date is January 4. A second wave will reach retailers the following week. The overall allocation for hobby distributors will be around one half of orders for the first week and one eighth of orders for the second week. Then WizKids will be sold out for 4-6 weeks. That time represents the gap between when the company placed its first production order and when it found out that demand was coming in heavy. Stever said that the company allocates to distributors based on past order volume. That means that different distributors will probably using different percentages for their allocations to retailers.
Asked to what he attributed the strong orders, Stever said the word of mouth on Internet discussion boards had been very good, beginning with the demos of the game at GenCon (see 'GenCon Jumps'), where would-be players had waited up to 2-1/2 hours to play for one hour. As to why the word of mouth had been good, he said the board-like playing surface (instead of a green mat), and the fact that the game had elements of board and roleplaying games were getting strong response.
With an aftermarket that's already robust (there are over 1500 Mage Knight auctions on E-bay today) this shortage has the potential to stimulate a high level of activity on Dungeons, especially until the additional shipments arrive. Between the excitement generated by the play of the new game, and some sizzle as player/collectors seek rare Dungeons figures, this could be a great release for a traditionally slower time of the year.