Pathfinder is the new Dungeons & Dragons, as D&D 4th Edition slips into its twilight time, while the world play tests D&D 5th Edition (I hate calling it "Next"). Again, Pathfinder does exceptionally well thanks to our Pathfinder Society coordinator, who coordinates the entire Bay Area, as well as our store. I'm including Pathfinder minis in their numbers, by the way, a category that would be its own top ten entry.
Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Fantasy have slipped for us, but with news of a new 6th edition of 40K likely for this year, this is only temporary. As has been correctly stated by many fans, GW is a cyclical thing and the sky is not falling, although I do plan to flog it until morale improves.
Malifaux has slipped off the list, as we've seen most of the energy for that game move to Warmachine. No regular in-store play killed that game, something we were experienced enough to recognize from day one but powerless to do much to prevent. Warmachine, which didn't make the list, is on fire in 2012, thanks again to great coordinators and enthusiastic staff, and I expect that to continue for the rest of the year. I also think there's room for another small miniature game right now.
Board games are in the doldrums, but it's not their time yet. Most important releases happen in the second half of the year. The Spiel des Jahres is expected to honor Hawaii and Kingdom Builder, but that doesn't do us much good right now.
The big board game news is how Geek & Sundry's Tabletop program has driven customers to the store, some of whom appear to be new. I'll note that Tabletop only drives customers to the store for games that can't be found at the big box stores. If Target or Wal-Mart carry a game, it has no noticeable effect. I guess being the store of last resort is better than not being the store at all. Tabletop has had a similar effect to how our sales were boosted by the Fantasy Flight Games media center. Of all the games, board games seem to need that interactive touch, as it's very difficult for sales people to describe the board game experience.
Our sales for 2012 are up around 20% from 2011, which were up about 15% this time last year from 2010. It's all about cards. It's wonderful. It won't last. That's alright. Also, it's not just us, it's a lot of game stores. It's great for stores as they expand, pay down debt, and position themselves for the future.
|Dungeons & Dragons