Kent Bunn asks:
When you see trends happen, like Dominion creating an entire market segment, do you just groan, and think of all the stuff you'll eventually be having to clearance out when it doesn't sell?
A game like Dominion led to the deck-building segment, but it did it slowly over time and without a big impact. It's easier to handle popular board games, as the investment is small compared to say, a new miniature game, where I must spend a couple thousand dollars just to get a small selection. There are probably 20 boxes you could call deck building games in our store at $25 a box my cost, so that's a fairly small investment of around $500.
Dominion is also interesting to me because before Dominion, nobody really sleeved cards for board and card games. Now we sell enormous quantities of sleeves in that area. I think it's a little ridiculous myself.
When I see a new segment emerge, I don't think of the eventual clearance of that game, but I do think of what I need to get rid of now to make my inventory budget balance, assuming I didn't have a surplus. I assume what I just brought in will sell, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. A good example of this recently was when we brought in Dropzone Commander. I didn't have a surplus because of the enormous CCG orders I've had to bring in, so it was time to clearance the game it was replacing, Malifaux. So it was "hooray! New game!" And "Hooray! Old game on sale!"
What new game models have genuinely excited you (if any) in the last few years?
There hasn't been much new and exciting in the last few years, really. Deck building was the last big trend, but that was what, 2009? There are smaller developments I find interesting, like the super high quality resin used in Dropzone Commander. Redakai was exciting because of the multi-cell animation on the cards and the tie in with toys, but the game tanked.
Books by Frog God Games have surprised me for Pathfinder and Sword & Sorcery with their creative use of brain storming tools like Tome of Adventure Design and their enormous monster tome that I didn't think would be nearly as useful as it first appeared. Those things excite me but they're hardly commercial blockbusters. Paizo continues to innovate, surprising me with what appeared to be a pretty sedate segment. Everything they do is thought out just a little bit better than what has come before.