Sunday, September 30, 2007

AT-43 and FFG

We saw the result of the Rackham deal last week. They're now using Fantasy Flight Games to distribute their product in the US (having burned all other bridges). This has resulted in FFG taking a cut, of course. It's worked out differently for different distributors.

ACD, my primary distributor, reduced their discount to an abysmal 38%. Alliance, the biggest distro has made all AT-43 products "net priced" items. This is how Rackham stuff used to be. Net price means you buy an item for say $20 wholesale and you're then free to price it how you want, preferably sell it for $40+. Game store people get flustered about net price items, it's like they need people to tell them how to do their job. Toy people are used to it - just about everything is net priced in the world of toys.

The only problem with net pricing on Rackham stuff is that some of it, such as books, have prices printed on them. It's hard to justify selling a $12 book for $13 when it clearly says $12 on the back cover. Even if you put your sticker over the price, customers get annoyed when they get home and peel it off. They think you're gouging them.

So you might think all this bankruptcy talk is slowing them down? No way. Tabletop Gaming News got info from Rackham of future releases. They're doing at least a dozen new releases each month through January, including the Confrontation rules in November, at the same time as the starter set (see, they can learn!).

For our store, AT-43 sells 4-5 of every new release. That's pretty good. Our problem is that we haven't sold a starter set in months and we're ambivalent about holding AT-43 events. You've got a company in bankruptcy, with a product priced inappropriately, in a sea of other games with more players and a better margin. Why would any store want to give AT-43 table time unless customers clamored for it?

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