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 relates some responses he received to his column on setting up with different companies for Organized Play, and reviews new books on the history of RPGs.

After last week's column on my experiences with setting up Organized Play, I received emails from Ian Richards at Peachstate Hobby Distribution and Dan Brandt at The Pokemon Company International, offering help with my difficulties registering for OP.

Dan let me know that my original application had been rejected but for some reason, I never received an email notifying me of this and, also for some reason, the company continued to process the background check, making me think the application was still in process.  Once we got this cleared up, my Pokemon Tournament Organizer application was processed in a couple of days.

The email from Ian, while too late to help me out, might prove useful to others having problems setting up Organized Play programs, which have become increasingly important to the gaming industry (I recently saw Organized Play programs promoted for Star Realms and Machi Koro).  I found his offer especially generous since I don't have a Peachstate account and his offer extends to any store, whether a PHD account or not:

PHD (Peachstate Hobby Distribution) can always help with all Organized Play questions, initiative development and creative solutions on how to develop OP within your store.  I would be most happy to assist and with the Pokémon issue as well, I can guarantee to get this finalized for you very fast.

I can help you any and all OP contacts and provide creative ideas on all aspects of OP, as that's what I did for Wizards of the Coast, globally, for over 12 years and now do the same for PHD and Coqui Hobby throughout North and Latin America.  We understand and embrace that this is the market edge of our channel over mass market and we go to all lengths to assist stores with sell through via Organized Play.  PHD is not focused on sell in.  We're fully focused on sell through.  We want you to move be as successful as you can and we’ll do everything we can to assist with that.

Do you have to be a PHD account?  No, I'll help no matter what your current account position.  I can guarantee that our Account Managers would have been able to give you that answer for both Panini and Bushiroad.

We also received a pretty interesting book series this week--Designers and Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry, written by Shannon Appelcline and published by Evil Hat Games.  A four volume set, it covers the role playing industry from 1970 to 2009.  Each volume runs about 450 pages and covers one decade, with Applelcline discussing the history of the industry through looking at the RPG companies that got their start during that decade.  For example, both major companies, such as Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf, and smaller companies, such as Grey Ghost Press and Hogshead Publishing, get covered in the volume looking at the industry in the 1990s.  The series is very well written, surprisingly comprehensive and one I look forward to reading.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of