Asmodee North America, which handles North American business operations for Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, Asmodee, Z-Man Games, Plaid Hat Games, and Catan Studio, has signed an exclusive multi-year hobby channel distribution agreement with Alliance Game Distributors, effective August 1, 2017. As a result of the change, ANA will no longer sell its lines (except for Catan, which was already exclusive with Alliance) to the rest of its hobby distribution roster, ACD Distribution, GTS Distribution, PHD Distribution, and Southern Hobby Supply, after that date.
Asmodee cited a “significant investment” by Alliance to communicate, support, and allocate ANA products, which it said will “provide hobby games retailers with the support and inventory they need to successfully grow their business selling Asmodee’s games” as the reason for the change. That support will include a dedicated team of Asmodee sales specialists at Alliance.
ANA lines will continue to be available to the full distributor roster until the effective date of August 1.
ANA CEO Christian Petersen provided this statement. “We at Asmodee have long enjoyed a terrific and productive relationship with the great people at Alliance,” he said. “This deal joins the combined experience of both organizations to craft a communications and distribution infrastructure that we believe will positively affect both retailers and consumers in the hobby games market.”
Alliance Game Distributors president Daniel Hirsch also provided a statement. “We are truly honored to be part of this historic agreement,” he said. "Alliance has enjoyed a very close relationship with the companies that make up Asmodee North America for over 20 years. We are both proud and grateful that Asmodee has placed its trust in us for the stewardship of its brands."
Some of Asmodee’s lines had been exclusive with Alliance in the past. Catan has been continuously available only through Alliance since 2012 (see “Mayfair Games Goes Exclusive with Alliance”). Z-Man Games was exclusively distributed by Alliance for some time; that exclusivity ended in March 2016 (this was prior to Asmodee’s acquisition of Z-Man Parent F2Z, see “Z-Man Parent F2Z Opens U.S. Distribution, Ending Exclusive”). Days of Wonder was also exclusively distributed by Alliance for years; that exclusivity ended January 1, 2016 (see “Asmodee, Fantasy Flight, Days of Wonder Consolidate”).
The biggest long-term changes are to distribution for Asmodee (studio) and Fantasy Flight Games lines, which had been distributed through a wide roster of companies throughout their history. Distribution and business operations for all the lines were consolidated in early 2016, when the distribution roster was reduced to five companies (see “Asmodee, Fantasy Flight, Days of Wonder Consolidate”).
The change will be a blow to the four distributors that will no longer distribute ANA products, especially in the board game category, where ANA products accounted for six of the top ten games during the Fall 2016/Holiday season (see “Top 10 Hobby Channel Board Games – Fall 2016”). ANA also has Top Five products in the Collectible Games (see “Top Collectible Games – Fall 2016”), Miniatures Games (see “Top Miniatures Games – Fall 2016”), RPGs (see “Top RPGs – Fall 2016”), and Card Games categories (see “Top Card Games – Fall 2016”).
ANA is also planning changes to its sales policies and retailer initiatives, which will be announced around the end of June.