I was cleaning up my gaming areas at home tonight when I found one of my dice bags lying on the floor. The bag looks like brown animal fur and was custom made by a friend of mine for use with my orc druid character in our Eberron game. So get this: the bag was decomposing on the floor! It was literally stuck to the tile and moths were eating it, like you see in those time lapse nature videos. In another week I could have had some nice peat for whatever I dropped there next. It was definitely a "you've gotta be freakin' kiddin' me" moment.
In The Store
The store is quiet this week, mostly due to few new releases. It's the week of the Gama Trade Show and vendors are generally MIA. Starting next week we'll see a backlog of new releases start to arrive. The show is often representative of what's new in the industry and what we should expect for the rest of the year. Reports I've received back say it's been somber and quiet, with lighter than usual attendance. It's not that there won't be good releases this year, it's just that we've got some 500 pound gorillas that will dominate 2008.
For example, a new Dungeons & Dragons release is the closest a game store gets to actually printing money. Do we need to talk about it or hype it at this late date? Not really, so Wizards of the Coast isn't. The new Warhammer 40K 5th edition is supposed to be out in July, and GW is at the show, yet I haven't heard anything about it. The final 500 pounder is Upper Deck with the World of Warcraft collectible miniature game.
The WoW miniature game is one of those painful releases that you kinda wish would just go away, despite guaranteed sales. The problem is Upper Deck. They will under produce. The demand is unknown. The scale of the miniatures is unique, much like Dreamblade. The game is collectible, much like Dreamblade. This means a couple things: First, it means you can't do anything with WoW miniatures except play WoW or use them for your geekosphere. Second, Upper Deck won't make enough of them, so with the information above, imagine planning to buy, say, a 3-month supply. It could be a case. It could be 10 cases. If it's like the WoW CCG release, no number would be too high. Who really knows? The risk is high and the cash tied up in product will be enormous.
Meanwhile, I know I can get the 4th Edition players handbook whenever I need it. I have this short supply problem with the latest WoW card release too. I've been sitting on enormous quantities knowing that they're under-printed and the demand will pick up later, rather than sooner. I've been correct, but it's a heck of a way to run a business.
Monsterpocalypse, the collectible miniature game from Privateer Press, gets a solid meh from me, and I don't meh lightly. My issue is that CMG's, as they're called, have tanked in our area over the last year and a half. Customers are tired of the collectible model. This one will appeal to a subset of Warmachine players, and you can hold that meh against me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it will get farther than that. Yeah, yeah, giant Godzilla monsters breaking stuff. I don't get it. Also, speaking of Dreamblade once more, the Monsterpocalypse game has $30, 1-player starter sets, an ominous sign. I'm telling you: meh.
Fantasy Flight Games will put out great things, with confusing rules, and no street dates, but that's what they do. Expect great things, but don't expect to know when, or to quite understand how to play them.
Endocrinology and You
The Economist had an interesting article this week about financial traders and their physical reactions to up and down markets. The premise was that their testosterone would increase when they did well and their cortisol levels, produced from stress, would increase when they did poorly. The end result was that yes, testosterone goes up, but with anticipated profit, while cortisol levels went up when risk was involved. Whether you performed poorly or not was not important, it was the perception of how well you were doing that gave you a rise or caused you stress.
This is very much how it feels working sales at the store. A bad sales day is not stressful, it's the stress that comes from not knowing, the hourly drag of a bad sales day that causes stress. Likewise, an end of day report doesn't release hormones into my body, but I certainly get a rush with a big sale, or even better, when I know someone is starting out in their hobby. Last week we had a half dozen kids start playing Warhammer Fantasy. That was a rush bigger than any sale. It's not just the money, it's knowing the joy they'll find in their new hobby. I especially get that warm fuzzy when it's a game I play.
The Final Battle
My final set piece for the end of my D&D campaign is almost complete. It uses Dwarven Forge and spans multiple real levels, with various rooms raised or lowered on the table. I've been working on some of the props for months. If I could only find the camera....