So in 2012 hobby game stores saw a lot of growth in the board game realm. MTG is also up. We saw a new show hosted by Wil Wheaton bring some people into our hobby world. Things should be going well, right? Not so much.
2012 saw Target and Toys R Us enter our turf to join the likes of Barnes and Noble and others already encroaching on our domain. The worst part is that Target and others are getting some EXCLUSIVE deals from publishers. Star Trek Catan and the $9.95 Fluxx at Target for example. Target now sells Ticket to Ride, Catan, Pandemic, and more bread-and-butter games from our industry. Add to that their Christmas sales that broke minimum price deals that we as a game store would be cut off for doing ($29.99 Catan) and their having stock when we couldn’t even get the games!
Which brings me to the Distributor Exclusive deals that happened this year with Z-Man, Mayfair, Days of Wonder, Wizkids, and others. They told us this would be good for the industry, they told us this would help them keep product in the warehouse (and thus on our shelves), they told us …
What happened? We couldn’t restock games for most of the 4th quarter. Games like Ticket To Ride (Days of Wonder), Pandemic (Z-Man), Catan (Mayfair) even ran out. To add insult to injury, the cost to stock these games slid higher.
So if all the exclusive companies are now costing us more, hard to stock in our store, are being sold in big box stores, how again is this good for our hobby industry? Target has just announced it plans to match Amazon pricing – so I guess I’ll start restocking from them instead of our distributor?
This industry’s distribution system is seeming more and more broken every year. And now we have to deal with Kickstarter selling direct to all our customers (How many people who bought 250 miniatures direct from Reaper do you expect in your stores this year?)
So knock off the lies folks. We know you’re doing these exclusives to help your company so stop telling us something different.