Back Scratching

Spring is definitely starting to win the battle against winter, so get ready for more yard work at home, spring corn snow on the mountain, and the new board game release drought period. Now I am not a big fan of yard work, but the northwest spring corn is fantastic, and the lack of new releases is much needed.

From a retailer perspective, no new releases can be rough. As many more experienced store owners than myself will tell you, the tabletop game business is primarily front-end driven, so no new releases means very lean sales. This is why the collectible card games and miniature games usually form the foundation of a game store’s business model, fans of these games line up every few months for regular dispensation of new products in their chosen lines. Since we don’t rely too heavily on the collectibles, our slow new release months are buffered by non-hardcore products, like puzzles, kids and family games, and a back catalog of strategy games that for all intents and purposes are new to many of our customers.

So do we really need any new games? As a retailer I am supposed to answer with a resounding yes, as a gamer I can answer with a firm no. Take a good look at our game shelves and yours and I’ll bet you can find multiple titles that you’d like to play but haven’t ever played or haven’t played in some time.

Great titles like Mage Knight, CO2, Last Will, Lords of Waterdeep, Snowdonia, Blood Bowl Team Manager, Village, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and so many more have not hit my table in months. And these are just from the past few years. Go back even further back in time and the list just gets wonderfully overwhelming: El Grande, Fresco, Colosseum, Dominion, Le Havre, At the Gates of Loyang, Galaxy Trucker, Belfort, Merchants & Marauders, and on and on and gloriously on. Oh, and this doesn’t even include the heavier games. As some of our game night regulars will relentlessly remind you, there is a whole world of weighty games in the back catalog to explore.

When I get together with my game group, we use a style of run-off voting to determine what we’ll be playing. Each gathering, one person makes a list of games, one game or set of games per player. Each other player vetoes one game or game set on the list, and the survivors then hit the table. Well, with an immense back catalog of personal favorites to choose from, the process of constructing a list of only 3 or 4 games can induce analysis paralysis. The veto process is no better since we want to play every game on every list.

The new games will come soon enough, and of course we’ll always have Kickstarter titles flash-flooding the market (seriously folks, stop clicking!). Right now it is time to just enjoy the bounty we have, sort of a harvest festival in Spring. The shelves are full and glorious stuff right now, get all zen, be in the moment, play the now, then get all reflective and play the past.

To encourage some exploration of the now and then, we’re going to be hosting two events at the turn of the quarter. First we’ll be celebrating a great modern classic, 7 Wonders. Join us on March 29th at 6:30pm for a friendly and competitive tournament and some 7 layer dip. See here for more details and to reserve a seat. The following Saturday, April 5, we’ll host a whole day of gaming and feasting for an International Tabletop Day celebration, gaming from the back catalog from Noon-Midnight! The details of Tabletop Day are still developing, and we are very interested in any help running game sessions, so be in touch!

Alright, signing off. Happy transition into Spring everyone. Grab blindly from your shelf or ours, then go forth and game!

Posted: March 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm
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