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 looks at support programs for game stores by publishers.

I had not checked on the various programs offered by publishers through the GAMA Retail Support listing for a few weeks.  The list has expanded by quite a few names since the last time I checked and here is a copy designed to for stores to post on websites and social media accounts that does not have all of the release delays, drop shipping programs and retailer specials offered by publishers to stores.

Games Workshop’s offer of a certain number of free limited edition Catachan Colonel figures to their independent retailers proved a very helpful gesture early on during the shutdown as Warhammer 40,000 players really like some of these limited edition figures.  We had several players inquire about them before they released, and the figure commanded quite a high price immediately after its release with at least one selling for $500.  However, as more of them reached stores, the law of supply took over and the price dropped significantly with the figure now selling for an average of $125 and asking prices of $99.

However, an unintended consequence of Games Workshop shutting down operations for over a month was a spike in demand for the company’s Corax White and Chaos Black spray primer.  Apparently, GW hobbyists and players did lots of painting during the shutdown and needed brand specific primer as the two colors, normally priced at around $17 a can, sold for upwards of $45 a can for about three weeks until Games Workshop opened operations again and put its primer back into the pipeline.  If you have any of the out-of-production spray colors, like Incubi Darkness and Rhinox Hide, they are still selling for $40 a can.  Incidentally, Games Workshop dropped the announcement about the new edition of Warhammer 40K the Saturday before Memorial Day (see "Games Workshop Announces 40K 9E").  Not sure if they figure everyone would be glued to their computer because of quarantine or they wanted to minimize outcries and figured everyone would be paying attention to other things until Tuesday.  Sigh.  At least, according to initial posts, all current codexes will remain usable.

Meanwhile, in terms of direct support and incentives offered to help stores, Konami announced in late April that when the new Eternity Code set releases, OTS stores will receive a number, determined by the company, of additional free displays of the set.

Meanwhile, since hosting a pre-release was out of the question given the current situation (The Pokemon Company, Konami and WOTC all canceled official Organized Play events until at least June 1), The Pokemon Company allowed stores to sell the pre-release kits upon receipt, instead of holding a tournament and selling the remaining units on the designated release date.

However, I do not think any company in the gaming industry has done as much to help the LGS as has Wizards of the Coast.  Not only did the company promote the FNM event on Arena and provide digital card backs to give to participants, but also a code for a set of digital Arena add-ons to provide to purchasers of Ikoria booster boxes.  The company also allowed stores to offer pre-release kits for sale for Pre-release at Home events, to use BIBTB promos as an incentive to sell additional pre-release kits and provided codes allowing purchasers of the next D&D book, Mythic Odysseys of Theros to get the PDF for half price.  Couple that with the free boxes of Mystery Boosters stores will receive in June AND the recently announced Love Your Local Game Store promotion (see "WotC Provides Special Cards for Game Store Customers") and WOTC has done quite a bit to help game stores regain their footing.  Your comments on what companies in the game industry are doing?  Send them to I would love to read them and, if it is OK with you, use them in a future column.

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