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 checks in on Loot and previews ACD Games Day.

Well, looking at the first week's worth of offerings from the Loot website (see "Rolling for Initiative--Show Me the Loot!") indicates that manufacturers are not, at least at this time, using it as a spot to dump overstock products or discontinued items.  At least four items have gone up on the site, one of them an evergreen one and the other three new releases or product that, as far as I am aware, have not hit the channel of distribution yet.  I really don't understand this as a business model as these companies are pursuing it.  There are similar type websites in the fashion world, such as Ru La La, Gilt Group, Netaporter and Mrporter, that offer deep discounts on high fashion merchandise but there are two major differences.  First, the products offered on the fashion sites have already moved through the channel and are usually stock overruns, end of season items or excess products the manufacturer wish to liquidate.  Second, the fashion sites require registration.  Wanting to protect the value of their brands, the manufacturers does not want everyone on the internet knowing they are allowing sites to offer deep discounts on their products, so requiring registration to the deep discount sites helps to limit the casual shopper's awareness of the brands discounted

On to another topic.  The ACD Games Day takes place next week (see "ACD Announces Games Day").  Technically, it should get renamed the ACD Games Triday or the ACD Three Day Game Day since it runs September 14 through 16 but Games Day does sound better (maybe Games Days?  Have to run that by them.)  Registration to get the cool gift box filled with over $1000 worth of stuff (I assume that's $1000 at retail) ended August 26 but attendees can still show up, just without the box.  The event kicks off Wednesday evening with a reception courtesy of Steve Jackson Games and Calliope Games (who produce, among other games, Got 'em and (now) Tsuro) and an (unspecified) Magic: The Gathering Event.

Thursday is when the greatest number of events take place with breakfast, lunch and dinner sponsored by Sandstorm Productions, Wizards of the Coast and Spin Master, respectively.  Oh, and cocktails in the evening as well.  There are seminar presentations by a slew of game companies in the morning, including a full slate of WotC presentations (that’s four hours worth!) as well as hour long ones from Bandai, Calliope, Spin Master, Steve Jackson Games, Sandstorm, Cryptozoic and a Mayfair Demo to Demo program.  GAMA has a seminar and ACD has its own panel discussion (well, it is their event).  Finally, there is one presentation on hiring the right people for the right job by Gordon Lugauer of the Board Game Barrister.  The afternoon is filled with the exhibit hall, with about 30 exhibitors, at least according to my count from the ACD website, then an evening of gaming after dinner, along with cocktails.

Friday is more seminars after breakfast compliments of Asmodee.  There's another Mayfair Demo to Demo session as well as four demo sessions from WotC and seminars from Cryptozoic, Fantasy Flight Games, Games Workshop (that one is rather surprising), Paizo Publishing, Alderac, Calliope, Spin Master, GameScience and Osprey, followed by a cookout courtesy of Mayfair and shopping at the ACD Warehouse.

Apparently ACD took notice of the positive response GAMA had from the manufacturer presentations at the GAMA Trade Show, as past ACD Games Days have featured a several more presentations targeted at the business operations of the store, whereas this time, the focus has shifted to the manufacturer and a better understanding of their product lines.  It is a change in focus for the show and the response should be interesting to see.

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