Hitchhiker’s guide to Game Distributors

This list is regularly updated.

My post about Manufacturers was very well received and I got a request to do one about distributors. I do get asked from time to time to provide this info anyway, so I might as well make a page about it, right?

There are a couple types of distributors and just a few large ones that dominate the US market. There are also fulfillment/consolidation services that help you get easy access to all these distributors and a warehouse to store your products. So it’s important to note the differences.

At the same time, many of them have alternate forms of doing business with you (a publisher). Some will allow you to do what’s known as “Flooring” – which means they will charge you a fee for space in their warehouse and will buy from you on consignment (thus only paying you if / when your product sells). The advantage of Flooring is that the distributor doesn’t run out of inventory – which is a major problem in this short-order front-line driven marketplace we live in today.

I do not recommend working directly with the distributors unless you’re a larger publisher. If you use a consolidator they will more then pay for their services by getting your game sold more often and to more companies than you could ever do on your own.

Also, see my post on how to get into distribution as a new publisher:
http://www.jamesmathe.com/how-to-get-into-distribution/

Consolidators

COMPANYSERVICESPROSCONS
Impressions
Aldo Ghiozzi
website
Warehousing and direct to distributor sales.Access to most distributors world wide.Storage fees.
Publisher Services, Inc
website
Warehousing and direct to distributor sales.Access to most distributors world wide. Access to Target and Barnes & Noble and other mainstream outlets.Isn't taking on new clients
Indie Press Revolution
website
Retail and wholesale.Indie RPGsNo board games
Game Salute
Dan Yarrington
website
Full service: Kickstarter, Layout, Printing, Warehousing, Convention support.One stop shop.Limited market penatration
Hit Point Sales
website
Warehousing, sales, and wholesale.Gain access to some distribution.Pretty much the same company as Game Salute
Amazon FBA
website
Warehousing and direct salesFast deliveryComplicated and people can mess with your listing.

 distributors

US Distributors

COMPANYSERVICESPROSCONS
ACD Distribution
website
Midwest, East & West coast locations.
Aladdin Distributors
website
Regional
Alliance Game Distribution
website
Flooring. Fulfillment.Midwest, Eastern, Southern, and West coast locations. Plus one in London, ON CANADA
Diamond Comic Distributors
website
Mostly just comics
Flat River Group
website
GTS Distribution
website
9 locations. Heavy on CCG. Light on RPG
Mad Al Distributors
website
Regional
Premier Hobby Distributors
website
Light on RPG
R&M Distributors
website
Southern Hobby
website
Mostly MTG and supplies. Light on RPG
WarPath Games Distribution
website
Heavy on the miniaturesRegional
WorldWise Imports
website

 

Worldwide Distributors

COMPANYREGIONSERVICESPROSCONS
Arcane Tinmenvery small
Arcanus Distribution
website
Mexico
Avalon Trondheimvery small
Bergsala Enigma
website
Denmark
Boardgamecafe
website
Malaysia
Boosterboxvery small
Brain Games SIA
website
Latvia
Brave New World
website
GermanySmall
Coiledspring Games
website
UKTargets younger market
Distrimagenvery small
El Duendevery small
El Viejo Terciovery small
Esdevium Games
website
EuropeLarge
Everest Wholesalevery small
Fantaspielpelitvery small
Freakvery small
Good Games Distribution
website
Australia
GROSNOR Distribution
website
Canada
Grosnor Sports Cardsvery small
Jolly Thinkers Centre
website
China
Kaissavery small
Kangavery small
Lion Rampant
website
CanadaLarge
Millenium
Paradigm Infinitumvery small
Pegasus Spiele
website
Europe & Germany
Pixel Park
website
New Zealand
PixelParkvery small
Raven Distributionvery small
Spiral Galaxy Games
website
UKFulfillment & Distribution
STGS Edwin Gamesvery small
Swan Panasiavery small
Ulisses Spiele
website
Germany
Universal Distribution
website
Canada
Ventura Int'lvery small
Vincitvery small
Wargames Clubvery small

I also found this great list of non-USA distributors and partners on Gigamic’s website:
More Non-USA distributors

 

Fulfillment Centers

These services will help you ship your game around the world to your end customers (like Kickstarter backers). They are good to use to help avoid your customers paying import/VAT taxes on the goods as you can ship within the EU. This is usually called being “EU Friendly”. Also, since shipping out of the USA is so damn expensive, your costs in the end (even though you pay the VAT on the wholesale price of your goods) ends up being less in the end. But it is more work / logistics.  My company, Minion Games, ships to only USA backers and has one of these services send to all the non-USA backers (even Canada).

COMPANYCONTACTSHIPS FROMNOTES
Aether Tower Inc.aether.tower@gmail.comMexicoMail to Texas
Aetherworks
website
kickstarter@aetherworks.com.auAustralia
Agility
website
CAChen@agility.comChina
Amazon FBA
website
Multiple CountriesIssues with product listings changing. Requires barcode on everything.
Attacke
website
andreas.miksch@attacke-agentur.deGermanyReliable but expensive
China Division
website
michael@chinadivision.comChina
Collext
website
hello@collext.comUK
Flat River Group
website
kkrieger@flatrivergroup.comUSA$2/shipment Fedex
Floship
website
steve.suh@floship.comChina
Fulfillrite
website
info@fulfillrite.comUSA
Funagain Games
website
fulfillment@funagain.comUSA
Game Surplus
website
games@gamesurplus.comUSA
Games Quest
website
fulfilment@gamesquest.co.ukUKCheap service. Slow to process. Tracking only in UK
Happyshops
website
projekt@happyshops.comGermany
IdeasPatcher / Nift
website
vcullot@morningplayers.comFranceSeveral bad reports
Lets Play Games
website
nick@letsplaygames.com.auAustralia
Logistico
website
rz@logistico.deGermanyEU 2.50/shipment DHL
Quartermaster Logistics
info@qmlogistics.com
USAGreat feedback
Send From China
website
fulfillment_sales@sfcservice.comChinaOnly good for small packages. Damage on larger packages.
Sendwich Logistics
website
maxi.ebert@sendwich-logistics.comGermany
Ship Naked
website
USASometimes poor communication and delays
Shiphopper
website
info@shiphopper.comEurope
Simple Global
website
sales@simpleglobal.comSouth Korea
Snakes & Lattes
website
games@snakesandlattes.comCanada
SpainBox
website
manuel@spainbox.comSpain
Spiral Galaxy Games
website
sales@spiralgalaxygames.co.ukUKGreat Feedback
Starlit Citadel
website
trwong@starlitcitadel.comCanada / USA
Unicorn Games
website
info@unicorngames.com.auAustralia
VFI
website
coyotegames@live.comChina
Wayland
website
chris@minervagames.co.ukUK
YesFulfillment
website
hello@yesfulfilment.comUK
ZhenHub
website
vincent@zhenhub.comUSA

Also, see Jamey Stegmaier’s detailed blogs about fulfillment and his experiences:
https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/lessons/shipping-and-fulfillment/
https://stonemaiergames.com/fulfilling-your-dreams-via-a-fulfillment-service/

Check out this very detailed Google worksheet that has a bunch of shippers listed on it (not it has several tabs at the bottom):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bx2h-oZ-ZcNdKw-yyAUfl-BbWOjmqP6tYu9jTKPxfnI/edit#gid=1844848505

  1. UK also has ourselves and we do distribution and fulfilment, we’re working on a tie up with Game Salute and have been their UK Distributor for a while.

    Coiled Spring are ideal if your game is targeted at the younger market.

  2. Louis Angelli on

    Really rookie questions here from someone just trying to figure out this industry.

    If I was to work with a Consolidator and Manufacturer. Do Consolidators handle initial order fulfillment if we did a Kickstarter?

    What about future order fulfillment if we set up a website for online order? Do Consolidators handle those or do they just handle working with distributors to get games into stores?

    Thank you so much for all this great information!!!

    • Some consolidators do, most don’t. Online orders are on you, not your consolidator. They really only help you get into distribution. There are fulfilment companies like Games Quest that can help you ship Kickstarter.

      • Louis Angelli on

        Thank you, I can’t tell you how useful I have found your site to be so far. Thank you for the time, experience and wisdom!

  3. Vic Briseno on

    James , your blog is awesome and is a big help. I owned a game store a while back (sold it when I moved closed to family) and am planning to open a new store. One thing I was wondering as far as distributors go, Alliance and GTS and such have hobby games and ccgs. Where do you find generic stuff like Parcheesi, Dominoes, chess sets, checkers sets, etc. Thanks for the help!

    • Most of the time you don’t want to deal in them unless they are premium wood versions as anyone who’s price sensitive will just go to Walmart, Target, or Toys R’ Us. So there are a couple places that do nice wood stuff like Wood Expressions. You’ll have to order direct most likely.

  4. Hi James, We have a new game we have currently stocked in our own storage but I’m having trouble trying to figure out how to get a consolidator. Where might I contact one for Seattle WA? We are looking for a way to get our game noticed. Any advice on how to do that? People like the game but nobody knows it exists. We have a website and facebook and two stores holding it but by ourselves it’s very slow going. Is a consolidator what we are looking for?
    Thanks!

    • You really should have been in talks before you printed the game. It’s extremely hard to get into distribution these days unless your game is already a known quantity – face it 2000 other people are in your shoes. Stores are getting too much product already. Your really on your own with going to conventions and promoting the game yourself these days. I have other blogs mentioning how to promote yourself.

  5. Ryan Notch on

    I’m a bit confused on the basic functions of the links in the chain. Assuming a designer creates the game at the beginning, and a retailer sells the game at the end, would you mind talking a bit about the difference between a distributer, a consolidator, a fulfillment center, and a publisher?

    Thanks!

    • Sure, the quick answer is:

      Game Designer – they person with the game idea who made a working prototype that is fun to play. They usually pitch this to a Publisher to make it into a complete product to sell to retailers.

      Publisher – the person who thought up and planned and executed (like a movie producer) a game idea. Most of the time they are just outsourcing to contractors like artists, game designers, etc. They are also the ones that put up the money and take the risk on the production of that game.

      Fulfillment Center – This is a company that helps you direct ship to end customers as a publisher. Usually used to fill the Kickstarter to backers. They really are only there to help you sort/pack/ship and are not taking any orders from anyone but the publisher.

      Consolidator – these days there are so many small companies, another middleman steps in to help out. Since it’s hard to get into distribution (as a publisher) these days, if you can get into a consolidator they will then sell to the distributor. Thus your products will get restocked at the distributor more often.

      Distributor – a company the retailers order from that has many items from many publishers in stock. This saves them time and shipping.

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