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fall 2019

Renegade Games

Connects with fans through clever Easter eggs

Cephalofair Games

Reveals big plans for Gloomhaven

My Store is a T.A.R.D.I.S. Explore the various dimensions of Organized Play in your store

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AROUND THE

BOARD OF DIRECTORS & STAFF PRESIDENT Stephan Brissaud IELLO USA VICE-PRESIDENT Anne-Marie De Witt FIRESIDE GAMES TREASURER Marie Poole ROLL WITH ADVANTAGE SECRETARY Jeff Tidball ATLAS GAMES & GAMEPLAYWRIGHT DISTRIBUTOR CHAIR Sito Sanchez PEACHSTATE HOBBY DISTRIBUTION RETAIL CHAIR Dawn Studebaker THE GAME ANNEX DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE Brendan Bell ASMODEE DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE Andrew Chesney CHIP THEORY GAMES DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE Alan Hochman GAMERMATS DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE Nicole Lindroos GREEN RONIN PUBLISHING EMERITUS Will Nibeling

STAFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR John Stacy DEPUTY DIRECTOR Chris Materni

A Publication by the Game Manufacturers Association

CONTRIBUTORS Thank you to the following industry professionals for contributing their time and expertise to Around the Table! Please enjoy their articles throughout this first issue. If you would like to contribute to future issues of Around the Table by suggesting a topic or writing your own article, please email media@gama.org. Brittanie Boe Brittanie “Bebo” Boe is a writer based out of Everett, Washington. She lives with her daughter Hailey, her wife Avalon and their two cats Purrzon Dax and Umaru. She is the author of the Everything Tabletop Games Book available now in Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and anywhere books are sold. When she’s not writing she’s making videos and doing photography for her YouTube Channel, Be Bold Games where she teaches board games in 5 minutes or less. You can find her content on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook under Be Bold Games. Egg Embry Egg Embry is a freelance RPG journalist writing for EN World, Knights of the Dinner Table, RPG News, d20 Radio, the Tessera Guild, the Open Gaming Network, the AetherCon Convention Magazine, GAMA’s Around the Table, and more. His areas of focus are RPG crowdfunding projects and RPG reviews. He also conducts interviews talking to a range of gaming professionals from freelancers to CEOs. Beyond journalism, he dabbles in freelance writing and producing gaming zines for the roleplaying zine-aissance. Reach him at facebook.com/egg.embry.

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Danni Loe EDUCATION MANAGER Melissa Jacobs MEETINGS MANAGER Jim Godin MEMBERSHIP ADMINISTRATOR Jessica Davidson EVENT COORDINATOR Paul McGraw PROJECT COORDINATOR Billie MacFarlane

The Game Manufacturers Association

240 N. Fifth St., Suite 340 Columbus, OH 43215 Phone: 614-255-4500 Fax: 614-255-4499 media@gama.org gama.org

fall 2019

Dave Salisbury Dave Salisbury opened the UK’s first dedicated Organised Play store Fan Boy Three in Manchester 15 years ago. His new Quantum Retailer blog (thequantumretailer.business.blog) is about how everything is connected by unseen forces when you are in business, which is probably why his store is named after an obscure British boy band from the 1980s. Three years ago Fan Boy Three won the Power Retail Award for Outstanding Organised Play and Dave currently sits on the GAMA Retail Division board.

Justin Spicer Justin Spicer is an instructional designer by day and a 15-year veteran of entertainment and hobbybased journalism in his free time. When not pursuing the newest trends in learning or covering the innovative publishers, designers, and musicians, Justin enjoys family activities such as gardening, making music, and visiting museums. Eric Yurko Eric Yurko is the founder of What’s Eric Playing?, a board game review and photography website, and has reviewed almost 500 different games since its inception. He’s a big fan of lighter games, especially dexterity games, but loves most any game with a theme that’s relatively novel (to him, at least). When he’s not playing board games (which is rarely, to be fair), he works as a software engineer in California with a focus on computer science education. To see more from Eric, check out whatsericplaying.com. Daniel Zayas Daniel Zayas is part of the new wave of gamers who entered the hobby directly through crowdfunding. He has written on crowdfunding trends and best practices since 2014 after completing his studies in digital media entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. While in college, Daniel organized what local papers described as the largest weekly game night in the Metro-Phoenix area. He is currently the US Sales Manager for LongPack Games, a broad network of game factories in China. You can reach out to him on Twitter (@ zayasgames) or join the Tabletop Backer Party Facebook Group (facebook.com/groups/ kickstarterboardgames). fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 3

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Jetpack Joyride is a real-time competitive puzzle game adapted from the incredibly popular mobile game of the same name! Players fly their way through a lab using a stolen jetpack.

Paranormal Detectives is a competitive deduction party game where one player takes on the role of the ghost, and all others try to be the first to figure out the story behind the ghost’s demise! For more information, you can contact sales@luckyduckgames.com or visit our website at www.luckyduckgames.com

THE CARD GAME

Mutants is a 2-4 player deck-building game where players mix and match genes to create the ultimate warriors and demonstrate their prowess in gladiatorial combat! 4 AROUND THE table • fall 2019

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is y n rs he e!

AROUND THE

A Publication by the Game Manufacturers Association Features

8 12 20 26 28 44

GAMA Member Feature

Good Times Games and Kights Watch Games

I am a Time Lord. My Store is a T.A.R.D.I.S. Exploring the various dimensions of organized play

Adverstories Tips and tricks to help retail stores sell games, written by the following companies

10

Van Ryder Games

16

KTBG/Burnt Island Games

18 Game Rustlers 22 Elf Creek Games

Game Photography Dos & Don’ts Capturing your products in the best light

24 Indie Boards & Cards 30 Andrews McMeel Universal 32 Modiphius Entertainment

Crowdfuding to Retailers

Lessons learned from a publisher perspective

The Rise of Roll & Writes

There’s more to this genre than Yahtzee

Around the Kids’ Table

Use RPGs to connect to the younger generation of gamers

34 Arcane Wonders 36 D-Verse Publishing

37

Floodgate Games

38

Lucky Duck Games

39

Cephalofair Games

42

Keymaster Games

47

IELLO USA

48

Pegasus Spiele

50-51

Renegade Game Studios

56

Anvil Eight Games

58

Steve Jackson Games

62

Ringtail Café Productions

64

Best Coast Pairings

Departments

66

Green Ronin Publishing

68

SRG Universe

3

GAMA Board and Staff

78

Peachstate Hobby Distrubution

3

Contributors

60

fall 2019

What is Old is New Again

Forgotten board game classics make a stunning return

6 Letter from the Executive Director 7 Letter from the President and Retail Chair 52 New Products 70 GAMA News 74 Index of Advertisers 76 New Members

Around the Table © 2019 The Game Manufacturers Association Published by Fahy-Williams Publishing P.O. Box 1080, 171 Reed St. Geneva, NY 14456 P 800-344-0559 F 315-789-4263 To advertise, contact Ashley Cavanagh at 315-789-0473. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 5

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FROM THE executive director

W

elcome to Around The Table, a new publication serving the hobby gaming industry. This quarterly publication is an initiative of the Game Manufacturers Association to foster and support our industry with a new communication avenue. Each issue will feature articles by thought leaders across the industry sharing their insights and experiences, previews of upcoming games, as well as practical tips and advice on how to create, promote and sell games. In our feature article for this first issue Renegade explores how to connect with fans through Easter Eggs and personalized narratives.

gamers by Egg Embry, a helpful article by Eric Yurko on “How to Photograph Your Products” to maximize their appeal and market value, deep dives into “What’s Old is New Again” by Justin Spicer, and the “Rise of Roll and Writes” by Brittanie Boe. Also in this issue, Daniel Zayas offers the “Do’s and Don’ts of Offering a Retail Tier.” We hope these articles will stimulate both your imagination and a lively exchange of ideas. We look forward to receiving your feedback on this first issue. We also encourage your input on topics to be covered in future issues. If you would like information about submitting content for Around The Table, please send an email to us at media@gama.org. Please enjoy reading the first issue of Around The Table magazine!

We are happy to share a variety of topics including: a thoughtprovoking essay by GAMA Retail Division Board member Dave Salisbury who puts forward “My store is a T.A.R.D.I.S.,” a discussion of using Role-Playing Games to engage young

John Stacy Executive Director Game Manufacturers Association

Come Adventure With Us! Available in Game and Hobby stores Worldwide.

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FROM THE president

Dear GAMA members,

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e are delighted to present you with the first issue of Around The Table. It has been a long-time wish for GAMA to have a publication as another trade association tool. We hope you will find the content of this first issue exciting and engaging; we welcome your suggestions for future topics and articles. Thank you to our sponsors for their advertisements and trust in their return on investment.

Our association is growing in numbers, and our programs and offers are adding up steadily. At the June elections that took place at Origins, the GAMA Board of Directors welcomed two new great additions to its ranks with Nicole Lindroos and Alan Hochman. We wish the best to Brian Dalrymple and Aaron Witten for their long years of dedicated service. Thank you for allowing us to serve and for your renewed trust.

Our continuous efforts regarding the fight against tariffs have provided the industry with a welcome delay until December 2019. This is a small victory, and we will keep up the battle on the Hill alongside our friends at the Toy Association. We will attend Essen SPIEL as visitors this year, make sure to book a meeting with us if you want to catch up.

I am looking forward to crossing paths with you at Essen SPIEL and PAX Unplugged. Feel free to reach out to me at stephan@ gama.org. Be excellent to each other. Stephan Brissaud, GAMA President

FROM THE retail chair

Hello Retailers!

W

elcome to the first ever issue of Around the Table. We hope you find this resource as a benefit to your GAMA membership and something that you are excited to receive. I know the home office team is excited to produce it for you. With that being said, I want you to know what the GAMA Retail Division (GRD) is working on for our membership. Currently we are working out the details for GAMA Trade Show and creating amazing seminars. As always, please feel free to let us know what seminars you are looking forward to or need help with. We want to make sure we design a seminar track that helps every level of retailer. We are also working on a series of buying lists to help your business make selections during busy times of the year. Examples will be the Winter Wishlist, Origins previews, and GenCon releases.

These will be compiled and distributed well in advance of the time you need to order. Another initiative the GRD is supporting will be things that make your life easier as a busy store owner, as well as some philanthropic initiatives. Soon we will announce some initiatives that we hope will build stronger relationships with publishers and distribution. If you have suggestions on things that you want us to look into, please feel free to let us know at gamaretaildivision@gama.org. We love hearing from our members. So here is to wishing you a prosperous 4th Quarter and an easy holiday season! Dawn Studebaker GAMA Retail Chair

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Meet first-time GAMA Trade Show attendees Rob Gruber from Good Times Games in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and Paraic and Brenda Mulgrew, Knight Watch Games

Rob Gruber

Good Times Games Rob, how did you get into the hobby games industry? My community is small, and I have been helping stores that have opened and closed here for a long while. I have always played and organized D&D but it was really when my son and his friends started showing an interest in games that I took it a step further. I started the game club 17 years ago; it eventually grew and became Good Times Games just over 11 years ago. But it really all started 37 years ago when I became a very young Dungeon Master that the dream to be a game store owner was sparked.

With a RPG setup like this, it’s no wonder that Rob won the Outstanding Organized Play award! How do you introduce non-gamers to the hobby? I like to think this is one of my strengths. In a small customer base you can’t just cater to gamers. There aren’t enough of them. My clientele is more normal people than it is gamers; we don’t have the grinders or hardcore gamers that most stores draw in. I spend a lot of time out in the spotlight around my community, never turning down a chance to guest-MC an event, participate in a civic function or charity fundraiser, or even lead a parade. I am a well-known personality in town, trusted by parents and looked up to by kids. It makes doing things in my store popular for a wide variety of demographics. In all honesty, gamers are the smallest group of people spending time in my store. What advice would you give to a store that’s just opening? Focus on your strengths and get support for your weaknesses. Enthusiasm wins the day in so many arenas. Be passionate about the things you like and be honest about the things you don’t; your customers will appreciate that. Value what you offer and don’t be scared to give value to your time and resources.

What is one aspect of your business you’re proud of? The unique entertainment services I provide at Good Times Games. I am seeing more and more how special some of what I provide is. Summer camps, birthday parties, in-house Dungeons & Dragons are all things I am extremely proud of. Winning the Outstanding Organized Play award at GAMA Trade Show this year was definitely something I am extremely proud of. What’s your favorite game to demo to customers? Right now I am loving AEG’s Tiny Towns! But showing off our Swords and Sorcery Live Action component always brings smiles to people’s faces. We have extensive photos of kids and parents having fun – it is always a rewarding thing to talk about with new customers. What’s the story behind your store name? My brother and I have always dreamed of having a game store called “Good Times.” It all started when we were just kids. When the time came to finally realize the dream, I let him know that I wanted to use it and he gave me his blessing. He

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has since moved back to our community and now plays a big role in making Good Times Games the special place that it has become. Many of the kids call him by his longstanding nickname, “El Peecho,” too! How has GAMA helped grow your business? Being a member certainly helps, having access to newsletters and information on the Facebook Page is an asset, but really it was the GAMA Trade Show that provided the biggest benefit to my small store. I am not a businessman, so many of the seminars that offered guidance in the more delicate areas of running the business were valuable to me. 2019 was my first time at the show and I jumped right in by hosting seminars and learning the process. Being at the GAMA Trade Show this year was certainly one of the highlights of my 11 years in business.

Paraic and Brenda Mulgrew

Knight Watch Games

What advice would you give to a store that’s just opening? Go all in. Provide something that cannot be satisfied by Amazon. Build a brand that reflects your values and attracts a community that shares those values. Provide value up front in the form of aesthetics, service, and space. What is one aspect of your business you’re proud of? There is a long list of elements we are proud of, but the largest is the community that has supported us from the beginning. With more than 3,000 active members, Knight Watch Games is the most robust, supportive, and diverse gaming community in San Antonio – and we’re growing daily. What’s your favorite game to demo to customers? We suspect our favorite game to demo will be Dice Throne: Adventures, which has not been released yet, but we’re lucky enough to have an advanced prototype from the creators, Nate Chatellier and Manny Trembley.

Knight Watch Games was the logical next step. We feel the name “Knight Watch” embodies many of the values that we, as the owners, and our community, hold dear: courage, selfless service, honor, integrity, loyalty, duty, and respect. How has GAMA helped grow your business? GAMA has been an inspirational platform that allows new storeowners like ourselves to learn from successful established shops. Furthermore, receiving recognition from the organization that serves as a major voice in the industry has opened excellent networking potentials, industry clout, and validation of our progressive approach to owning a game store. The GAMA Trade Show is also invaluable in providing a venue to network with the industry leaders, meet our peers, and stay motivated in the chaotic realm that is game retail.

What’s the story behind your store name? Knight Watch Games is a direct evolution of our airsoft team name: Team Knight Watch. We also formed a company called Knight Watch Productions. So,

How did you and Brenda get into the hobby games industry, Paraic? After leaving the Army, we liquidated everything we own, took out a business loan, and built Knight Watch Games, a retail and gaming community center in San Antonio, Texas How do you introduce non-gamers to the hobby? Knight Watch Games provides a setting that is immersive with its medieval ambiance, welcoming with its friendly community, and helpful with its expert staff. We make new customers feel welcome in the hobby by getting to know them and catering the conversation to their interests.

Knight Watch Games offers experiences that their community can’t find elsewhere, like game demos! fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 9

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Adventures in Books

A

dventure books have become an iconic part of gaming culture. Most gamers can remember an encounter where they would choose peril they would face, trying to avoid certain doom. The Graphic Novel Adventures from Van Ryder Games follow in that tradition with a modernized twist. The GNAs show that the old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be truer. As the player goes on their adventure, they will see comic panels that have numbers inside them. Those numbers correspond to panels that the player can choose to visit to continue their journey as the hero. By making these choices, and utilizing the mechanics unique to each book, players can have a limitless range of adventures. The GNAs have something for everyone. Whether it’s the role of a wizard’s apprentice dealing with lycanthropy in Loup Garou, a bounty hunter searching for sacred seeds in Tears of a Goddess, or even mystery solving as Sherlock Holmes himself in Sherlock Holmes: Four Investigations, there’s no shortage of possibilities. Season One includes the aforementioned books as well as, Your Town and Captive. Your Town finds players becoming a wild west

mayor, planning out the best frontier town. Captive is a survival horror game where your daughter has been kidnapped by cultists and only you can rescue her from the spooky mansion riddled with danger. Season Two includes Mystery, Pirates: The Great Chase, Pirates: The City of Skulls, Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty and Associates, and Sherlock Holmes: The Challenge of Irene Adler. Mystery allows players to become a superhero, choosing their own powers and ways to overcome their villains. The Pirates series begins in Pirates: The Great Chase, allowing players to step into the role of a pirate as they explore a perilous island looking for a fugitive. The story continues in the second book, Pirates: The City of Skulls.

Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty and Associates picks up shortly after Four Investigations, but players can also play as Moriarty and use darker tactics to press their suspects. Conversely, in Sherlock Holmes: The Challenge of Irene Adler you can play as Irene or Holmes, and players go head to head! Lastly, The Crusoe Crew is also available from the GNA line. This is a fully cooperative game using the same system and allows players to step into one of four roles. Each book represents a unique ability, such as talking to animals or solving riddles. Players will choose the panels together and share their unique perspectives to find the treasures. Pirates, Mystery, Loup Garou, Tears of a Goddess, and Captive all appeal to gamers who are fans of RPGs and classic adventure books. Sherlock Holmes is great for mystery fans or fans of Sherlock, also making a great entry point. Your Town is the most complex, appealing to fans of city building and Euro style gamers. The Crusoe Crew is an incredible family game with puzzles and gameplay challenging enough for adults. This entire line is now available through your favorite distributor.

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W tr o

Wi spe Kin tak inc


Whether on your own or with a team, set off in search of mysterious treasures hidden in the Kuala archipelago! Choose your character, one of the famed explorer Robinson’s Crusoe’s children, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Solve riddles, discover secret passages, and avoid the many traps that are waiting, all using the unique abilities of each of the Crusoe kids!

cRUsOee

crEEW The

1-4 players

45

minutes ages

7+

Will you send out your bees to gather resources for the hive, or will you spend your precious resources to make valuable honey? Bees: The Secret Kingdom is a deceptively simple game with STUNNING artwork that takes only minutes to learn, and with both a family AND advanced mode included, its perfect for gamers of all types and ages!

2-6 players

30

minutes ages

10+

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I am a E

very store exists in six dimensions.

As an Organised Play store – somewhere where people can come and play games – we exist in the dimension of space. We become inhabited, colonised. We have capacity. If two people play a game of Magic they occupy approximately 4 square feet of table space and at least double that in player space. A game of Warhammer is played on a 6- by 4-foot table. That occupies a whopping 24 square feet of game and 8 square feet of player. Purely in terms of table space you can fit 12 Magic games in the space occupied by one Warhammer table. Should a Warhammer table hire cost more than Magic tables because they occupy more space? Now we enter the dimension of money. ROI, our financial return on investment. The smart money has already ripped out those Warhammer tables and put in Magic tables. But here’s the thing. You can play Magic anywhere. Table 27 of one PTQ was a toilet. Table 26 the shop counter. But Warhammer needs a 6- by 4-foot table, and that’s a much scarcer resource. Should a Warhammer table hire cost

more than Magic tables because they are scarcer? Warhammer tables need scenery. They require upkeep. People occupy them for longer. Warhammer players often play with existing armies and thus buy less. Wow, I’m making a great argument here for increasing the cost of Warhammer table hire, aren’t I? But I don’t charge more. In fact, I charge less. There’s another dimension that I have to deal with as a quantum retailer and that’s time. If you have ever worked in a busy restaurant, you will understand the concept of covers and turn rate. A restaurant might have 20 tables – 40 covers – and maximise its income when all those tables are fully occupied with happy smiling diners. And then it turns those covers and replaces all those happy smiling diners with another bunch of happy smiling diners. Let’s say a meal

takes two hours and the restaurant is constantly full in that time. Every diner is instantly replaced. That would be amazing. Those 20 tables have now generated 160 covers. So in an ideal world all our tables would be constantly occupied with instantly refreshing Magic players for maximum income generation. That’s how Dan Tibbles – who pioneered the Organised Play model I adapted – ran. He ran his store in direct opposition to the Wizards owned Game Keeper brand, who simply couldn’t keep up with the volume of players and events that Dan fired out. He instantly became Top of Mind in Seattle, Wizards hometown. And the entire chain of Game Keeper stores had closed around the time Fan Boy Three opened. But there’s literally not enough Magic players in the country to support a store

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My store is my T.A.R.D.I.S. By Dave Salisbury, Owner of Fan Boy Three

running that much Magic. My OP space seats 128 magic players or 96 D&D players or 32 Warhammer players. If I turned Magic players like a restaurant I’d need to have a community large enough to support 3-anda-half thousand play instances a week. Wizards would love that! But it’s not an optimal strategy even if it was achievable. Dan’s store is no longer with us either. At last count, I ran about 40 different game lines in store, split over seven different nights of the week, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes bimonthly or quarterly or even annually. The size of your play community often determines your frequency of events. The size of your play community can be expressed as a function of catchment, which again is about space – your location and the location of people around you. Both the frequency of events and the length of events are a factor of time. The more competitive they are, the longer they are, the more competitive players they attract from further afield, the wider your catchment. The longer people have traveled, the more they have spent, the more they expect to win, the more expensive the events. Space, time and money, inextricably linked.

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Every store is different, and the interplay is different. My portfolio of events has a diversity of game lines, and a diversity of casual versus competitive dynamics. There is a rough price pointing across those bands, so a player knows that if they are attending a £30 event, it’s probably going to be more serious than a £3 event. Because what is optimal for The Fat Duck is not optimal for Pizza Hut. While I have space, the space each individual event takes up is irrelevant. When I don’t, it’s extremely relevant. Like the best restaurants, I have spare tables and spare chairs. There’s always room for one more – until there isn’t. Because nobody wants to be turned away from the top restaurant in town because they turned up without booking six months in advance. It’s a negative experience and we are all about happiness and positivity emotional, not transactional. So let’s go back to the restaurant. I’m popping in for a quick bite by myself.

There is nobody else in the restaurant. By serving me, in a way, the restaurant is potentially costing themselves money. What if a party of 40 turned up in five minutes to maximise their covers? And I was there, sat plum in the middle, eating only a starter and drinking tapwater. However, if they don’t, I am actually adding value. By occupying space that would otherwise be empty, I am acting as a living, breathing, eating endorsement. Nobody wants to set foot in an empty restaurant, let alone eat there. In fact, if you are ever opening a restaurant, it’s a great tactic to recruit family and friends to serve as seat warmers. Bring in your most gregarious friends and anyone walking past will think you are the hottest spot in town. When we first opened, there was Phil, Mandy, myself, and our friend Dave. And we sat in the store every night and played Versus. I thought I had made a terrible mistake. Maybe the world wasn’t ready

for an Organised Play store? Manchester was grim. The Northern Quarter was still a haunted transient shell in the evenings. What had I done? Then Ben and Alex came in. They had just bought Versus too. With six it looked like it wasn’t an accident that folks were still in the building after 6 p.m.

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More people came. More games. If you had a table of D&D with a woman playing, you went in the window. Representation is important, and so is advertising that you believe that. Miniature games fill space like nothing else on earth. They are big. They are bold. They are colourful. And 6- by 4-foot tables are a scarce resource. Nobody wants to eat in an empty restaurant. But a full restaurant remembers the family and friends who got them there. Who filled their tables when they

were nothing but hopes and dreams. Time does not just flow one way. The smaller parcels of time and turn rate and frequency are but stepping stones on the path. The space a table occupies is one part of an equation that takes you from the then to the now and into the future. Over time we engender loyalty, we engender reputation, we engender community. These are all functions of time. Diversity adds value. The more diversity you have in terms of table activity and table size, the less of a monoculture you will appear. The more vibrant you will be. And vibrancy is attractive. It adds value, and value ultimately translates to money, even if you cannot perceive it right now. I don’t charge the Warhammer players more because they add value. Everybody – every activity – in my store adds value. But sometimes that value comes at a cost. I know some stores do not charge for space. Ziferblat the time cafe around the corner from us charges £4 an hour. They are always at capacity. Pizza Hut wants to turn its tables four times a night. The Fat Duck only once. Both are restaurants. Time. Space. Money. All we ever see is one tiny part of the equation. A slice through the space-time-money continuum. Who knows what the future brings. Daleks probably.

The card game that promotes fun, real, face-to-face conversation–anywhere!

“THE ORIGINAL” A “Blocker” can be anybody. A Blocker is trying to connect with people. A “Counter Blocker” is on the receiving end, getting a Block (a rap) laid on them, and responding back. Blocking is going out into the world and trying to strike up a conversation.

plus 6 expansion packs

“GET LOST” “GIMME MO” “HIT THE ROAD JACK” “NOT TONIGHT” “REJECTED” “SHOT DOWN”

blockerboardgames.com fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 15 BLOCKER_WRK.indd 1

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Halloween Fun!

T

he days are starting to get a little cooler, the leaves are changing color, and if you’re a kid, all you can think about is what creepy ghoul you’re going to be for Halloween. It’s an exciting time of year no matter how old you are. We start to hang spooky decorations around the house, stock up on candy and queue up horror movie marathons. It just makes sense, then, that when we sit down to a family game night, we’re going to play something scary. Haunt the House is the perfect Halloween game. A team of adventurous Ghost Hunters have chosen tonight to enter your haunted abode to see what they might find. As the ghostly inhabitants, you must send these intrepid explorers running away in fear. You play the Ghosts of the house; competing to spook the Hunters and gather the gear that they drop. The Hunters each have a different combination of scares that they’re afraid of. It might be a creaking door, an eerie moan, a frosty chill, or the bump of some object hitting the floor. When they experience the right number of those frightful occurrences, they’ll bolt from your house, leaving you free to enjoy the rest of your evening in peace. Haunt the House introduces the concept of bluffing to new gamers. In each round, you can contribute to scaring a Hunter, or secretly bluff what you’ve played,

putting it facedown. You may have helped get them out of the house, or it may be a ruse to distract other players. When playing with younger Ghosts, they very quickly appreciate the ability to be sneaky as a built-in rule in the game. Before you know it, little gamers are thinking several moves ahead of even experienced players and taking advantage of the bluffing mechanic. There is also a push-your-luck element to Haunt the House. If you think there are enough Scares on a Hunter to spook them out of the house, you can shout “Boo!” on your turn instead of playing a Scare card. All of the facedown Scares are revealed and you see if the Hunter is spooked or not. A successful Boo! means each player who contributed scores a point, and the Ghost who called it collects the Hunter themselves, gaining the gear on the card. If the Boo! was unsuccessful, the Hunter stays and all of the bluffing cards are discarded. Choosing when to call a Boo! is one of the most important parts of the game. Once a player has collected four Hunters, the game end is triggered. Each player has a chance to call one more Boo!, then points are totaled. Points are awarded for gear collected, and are added to points awarded for scaring Hunters. The Ghost with the most points is recognized as the scariest spook of the year. For some extra complexity, you can add

in Phantom cards, which you can collect for scaring a Hunter instead of taking a point. Phantoms have different powers that will help during the game, and many are worth end-game points. Being able to add in Phantoms or leave them out gives you the ability to choose the gaming experience you want. Like all KTBG games, the modular ruleset is designed to introduce complexity at the right speed for every gamer in your family. For younger players, Haunt the House introduces concepts like set collection,

push-your-luck, and bluffing. More experienced players will have fun trying to read the other players’ actions and tapping into the special powers of the haunted house. Haunt the House will make your Halloween game nights (or any game night for that matter) an excellent combination of laughs and scares. Try it whether you’re a young player or just young at heart.

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GAME

RUSTLERS G

ame Rustlers started as a way to find players at conventions for Open Table games. Often gamers have gaps in their convention schedule and find themselves wandering the halls, trying to find games to play. Game Rustlers was created to fill those gaps with games. After all, we go to conventions to PLAY, not to walk aimlessly. Over time, we evolved into a store reservations system; filling seats not just with willing gamers, but with potential customers for the game. When someone makes a reservation, they are much more likely to show up, and are genuinely interested in the product. While all stores have regulars, we found that it was usually those that lived close by or had the store on their normal commute. Very rarely do people go out of their way to visit a store. With the functions Game Rustlers offers of adding a friend, text message alerts, and information blasts about events, the community of “regulars” expands. “We can schedule linked events and D&D Adventures, and people are excited to know they have a seat with the same GM for the next 3 weeks.” Game Rustlers doesn’t sell tickets to events. It allows you to connect your players to any ticket-selling system that you use. Your customers make the reservation, and then are directed to

the site where they can purchase tickets seamlessly. “We used it for one table, then two… now we have a bigger store.” Our model is a subscription service that you pay at the rate that works for you, with the ability to cancel any time. There is no limit to the number of events you can link to; they can be scheduled to recur daily, weekly, or monthly. With a paid membership, you’ll be sent our welcome kit. The kit includes signage, table reservations cones, and 500 postcard bag inserts to help educate your customers on the reservation process. With 3 months free, there is no reason not to give Game Rustlers a try.

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A board game reservation service for all your special events, tournaments and weekly game calendars.

We’ll Save A Seat For you #savemeaseat

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GAME

PHOTOGRAPHY by Eric Yurko, Owner of What’s Eric Playing

A

ll right, so, you’re trying to get your game to market or to Kickstarter, and you realize that people are eventually going to want to see what the game looks like. Welcome to the world of product photography! It’s perfectly reasonable to hire people to do this for you – I provide this as a service, and there are plenty of others ranging from Bebo to Kristi Weyland to Ross Connell, depending on the style you’re looking for. That said, it’s a useful and fun skill to develop on your own, so let’s talk a bit more on how to develop that skill in everyone’s favorite content format: the listicle! The first and second rules are the most important.

Dos

& Don’ts

1. Don’t Treat this Article as Gospel It’s a listicle; nothing truly revolutionary has ever been delivered in this format. You can do many awesome things that break some of the “rules” I’m going to outline, which really make them more like guidelines. You’ll see some photos here that I say are “wrong” that you probably like! If you feel that way, explore that style. That’s how you end up making these shots your own.

2. Do Have Fun With It Photography is an art form, and often if you try to force it, it’s not going to come out the way that you’d like. If you’re struggling to get the perfect shot or if you feel like editing is moving pretty slowly, take a break, watch some TV, and refocus yourself. I generally only take photos when I’m in the mood to take photos, and I feel like that’s helped me a lot with the quality.

3. Don’t Ignore How Lighting Affects Your Shot Many lights are either warm (orangeish) or cool (blueish). These lights can affect how colors appear in your photo, and that might not be what you’re looking for. You can buy neutral lights, and your flash tends to be neutral as well, so those might be worth considering. Most photoediting apps (and Instagram!) will also allow you to increase or decrease the warmth of your photo. If you don’t, well, you’ll end up with a photo that looks kind of like this. Your whites are just a bit ... orange.

Another thing that will

occasionally happen is glare; if you catch a bad angle on a box or some pieces, you can get them to reflect light back at the camera. You’ll need to experiment a bit before finding the right balance with that.

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4. Do Use a Background for Your Images Background is a loose term, here. Personally, I really like using solid-color backgrounds for my photography since it looks a bit more like a digital render (and I think it’s a nice contrast). You may like wood, you may enjoy brick or some sort of locale, but please don’t just throw your game somewhere and take a photo of it without putting some care into the background. It looks weird. Did Amazon sell me this game? Is the lint roller important? Nope; just messy.

6. Do Get Creative! Experiment!

5. Don’t Overdo It on the Editing You can really make a photo look good if you know how to do some small edits, especially around levels, shadows, and highlights. You can also aggressively wash out a photo, make it look too dark, or add a bunch of effects that are going to be distracting. Simple spreads of the games that highlight the pieces and the art are great; edits that try to compensate for a mistake in the original shot are okay; an editing job that makes the photo just ... look bad is probably not what you want to go for.

You should be trying a bunch of different things. Experiment with layouts, grids, shapes, angles, lights, stacking, balancing, whatever you think does a good job of expressing what your game’s attitude is. Worst case scenario, you set up a shot, take a photo, do some editing, and you don’t like it. Even if that happens, you gained valuable experience that might help you the next time you want to do something similar. It’s all about the process.

One More... 7. Don’t Steal Photos This is occasionally a problem for me and a variety of other people, especially people who post to BoardGameGeek (BGG). If you’re using board game photos, especially for commercial purposes, and you take them from BGG without asking, you’re almost certainly violating BGG’s Terms of Use and the license for those photos. It’s a pretty crappy thing to do. If you’re not sure if you can use it, ask, and if the person asks for compensation, pay the artist. Exposure isn’t compensation. A lot of photographers are happy to negotiate rates, but you have to ask first.

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What if you could

SAVE

ATLANTIS from its FATED

DESTRUCTION?

“But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune… The island of Atlantis… Disappeared in the depths of the sea.” - Plato

T

he Atlanteans have built a glorious civilization, but the ancient gods are determined to destroy them. Only you and your fellow players can save your home. In this challenging cooperative, worker-placement game, you are councilors who must use your followers, special powers, and ancient artifacts to escape Atlantis before it sinks beneath the waves. Work together with your fellow councilors to lead the people of Atlantis to safety. Originally released in 2012 to critical acclaim, the first edition of Atlantis Rising quickly went out of print and became a sought-after collector’s item. Elf Creek Games is proud to present this remastered second edition of Atlantis Rising! This new release comes with higher quality components and updated gameplay to increase replayability, strategic choices, and overall enjoyment. The beautiful original illustrations from renowned artist Vincent Dutrait grace every aspect of Atlantis Rising from the cover to the cards, pulling you into this exciting, thematic struggle for survival. Escaping a doomed civilization does not come without difficulty. Each round you must face misfortunes that affect your decisions. Key pieces of technology may be disabled and your followers may panic from an earthquake or other maladies, abandoning their task before it is completed.

As the game progresses, the waves encroach and remove entire sections of the island board from the game. No matter how well you play, Atlantis is doomed. Lose if the island sinks before you can build the cosmic gate that can transport your people to safety. Each play brings an action-packed, strategically tense game that rides a razor’s edge. Atlantis Rising introduces an innovative method of simultaneous worker placement. Rather than placing workers in turn order, you and your fellow players must plan how to divide your workers among available action locations. Each peninsula on Atlantis is dedicated to a unique purpose. Your workers will gather ore in the mountains or gain you powerful action cards from the library. Deciding how best to use the workers available to you and coordinating these placements with the other players will be the difference between success and failure. “Cooperative, simultaneous worker placement—this is brilliant! It really feels like you’re coordinating a group of workers jostling for the optimal position, and it keeps the game moving at a brisk pace with plenty of collaboration. I really enjoyed my play of Atlantis Rising.” - Jamey Stegmaier Following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018, Atlantis Rising second edition is now available for preorder in retail everywhere! Check with your local distributor for how you can acquire copies. “Atlantis Rising keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Amazing components and art really enhance this fun, cooperative experience!” - Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower. Atlantis needs you. Are you up to the task?

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Save your people from destruction in Atlantis Rising, a cooperative worker placement game featuring incredible artwork from Vincent Dutrait. Pre-Order Your Copy at ElfCreekGames.com. #AtlantisRising BGG ID: 248490

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STOCK UP at IBC

W

ith the holidays right around the corner, it is time to stock up evergreen titles and games that make great stocking stuffers. Indie Boards & Cards has two new games this year that will make the perfect gifts for your family or large game group. Our newest release The Sherlock Files, is a unique take on narrative, cluedriven games using the Q System. In The Sherlock Files, players take on the roles of detectives trying to solve a mystery. The case begins with limited information and a deck of clues that help flesh out the story. These items may include photographs, newspaper clippings, or statements from witnesses or people involved in the case. Players take turns playing cards from their hand if they believe the information presented on the card is relevant to the case, or discard it face down if they think it is irrelevant. Once the team has cycled through each card, the game is scored based on being able to solve the mystery correctly and how many unnecessary cards were played instead of discarded. The game comes with three different scenarios at varying difficulties to test your skills! Finger Guns at High Noon is a fast-paced finger drawing, good time!

Negotiate with other players to persuade which actions they might take, convince them to join you to posse, then count down and grab that sheriff ’s badge! Hand gestures show each action that gets resolved in the order of the player card that indicates your life. Posse up with majority and have players lose life, dynamite your foes to the left and right of you, or lasso an ally that can help you throughout the game. The last player standing is the winner, even if they might be a ghost! Indie Boards & Cards also has a wide range of gift-friendly games such as The Resistance, Avalon, and Coup. All are fun, family friendly games that can be played at large gatherings or family get-togethers. These have been quality, replayable, evergreen titles for years and they do not show any sign of slowing down! The price point makes great gifts for casual and hobby gamers alike. Each of these three titles has massive replayability, which means it is great to bring to the table and find that hidden traitor in your family

while the turkey cooks! In case your cooking goes terribly wrong, you can stock up on copies of Flash Point: Fire Rescue, which is a favorite of cooperative hobby gamers everywhere. If all else fails, Kodama: The Tree Spirits may calm everyone down and encourage them to seek refuge camping so you do not have to deal with those cranky relatives! Finally, if you want to find out more about Indie Boards & Cards upcoming games, announcements, and policies, we have set up a retailer Facebook group that you can join and is available now. Just search for Indie Boards and Cards Retailer Group and you will be welcomed by our favorite retailer liaison, Dawn Studebaker, and several members of the Indie Boards & Cards staff will be there to help as well! Happy holidays from all of us and good luck this season!

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d w o r C G N I ND FU

to Retailers

CMON runs most of their retail pledges separate from the Kickstarter platform, as seen in the Trudvang Legends campaign.

S

o, you’ve decided to crowdfund your game, and you want retailers to support you. I have made my fair share of blunders when dealing with this exact situation (not for lack of trying), but I am also intimately familiar with projects which have achieved this aspect of crowdfunding success. It is my hope that by reading this article that you grow this line of successful, retail-friendly campaigns.

Why Offer A Retail Tier? The benefits of offering a retail pledge level in a crowdfunding campaign are worthwhile for several reasons. The first reason is that you likely won’t have a decent sales channel to sell the remainder of your game stock after the campaign except through convention sales or the occasional online purchase. Distributors are much more interested in buying from a seasoned

publisher who has a line of products which the distributor will be able to regularly stock and sell. New creators don’t fall into this category, unfortunately, so they must reach out to retailers directly to sell their crowdfunding game. Additionally, positioning your product to do well in retail allows you to seamlessly grow into bundled retail offerings as your line of games grows. It is no surprise to me that most short-sighted pledges currently go mostly unpledged. Adding a retail tier to the campaign page is near the end of the sales funnel to secure a purchase, but many creators add these pledge levels as afterthoughts. Retail backers are a valuable, distinct market segment, just like direct consumer backers. They each make purchase decisions they believe match their interests. You can market to retailers early and often if you know what to say and how to say it.

Pricing, Pricing, Pricing Retailers are most concerned with your pricing and in several ways. Principally, they are concerned if you have discounted your product as part of the crowdfunding campaign. Offering discounts to backers on a brand new product speaks volumes to retailers about how well they will be able to sell to their customers at full retail value. You have many options as a creator to avoid discounting the core product. Some include providing a free promo or miniature to backers, a deluxe version in the campaign

by Daniel Zayas, US Sales Manager at LongPack Games

which will be sold later as an add-on pack, or limited add-ons, such as sleeves and playmats. All of these ideas protect the value of the core game you want retailers to believe in and purchase. In a similar vein, creators need to match the percentage margin distributors offer them, which means creators need to price the product higher than they may feel comfortable at first. The industry standard is 50% margin, meaning you sell to them at 50% the price you sell to other customers. You the creator still need to make a profit in this transaction. In some cases, you can provide a lower discount percentage or shipping discount on higher-order quantities to adjust that standard 50%, as long as you have thoroughly discussed this with interested retailers as upsell incentives. Always remember that if a retailer thinks they can make a decent profit on your game, and they enjoy working with you, you’ve already done more for them than a large portion of crowdfunding creators. The last bit of advice on pricing and the one I see done most poorly is the actual pledge tier pricing. Most retailers can either back your campaign for $100 or turn a profit on 10+ sales cycles before they receive fulfillment on your game. Because of that, most high-dollar pledge tiers for retailers are a non-starter. You’ll tie up their valuable capital for 6-12 months or longer, and they may not even be able to sell your games quickly when they arrive. Your best opportunity to make a sale in retail is to lower the pledge level to a more manageable dollar amount and declare in the tier that

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G

you will charge the full amount of their invoice closer to the fulfillment date.

What Have You Done for Me Lately? Backers enjoy the perks of buying early and supporting your campaign, either through exclusive promos or input into the final product. So too do retailers enjoy perks for their buying into your project. These don’t always need to be swag or promos. Some retailers would love to buy a certain case count and have you reward them with a shared pizza party for their store. You can be as creative and as helpful as you want to be for retailers. Making retailers feel special can be as simple as a handwritten note thanking them for their support after the campaign. Another problem retailers run into is product eventually reaching them dead on arrival. After a crowdfunding campaign, many creators pack up and work on the fulfillment of the game, mainly ignoring the marketing footprint they need to maintain for retailers to enjoy a successful street launch of your product. Please work with your retailers to devise in-store advertisements and promotions for when they receive the product, as well as online marketing during the fulfillment process to keep that spark alive.

In-Person Marketing Just as you might go to a consumer convention, such as Origins, a PAX event, or Gen Con, to show off your game, the same opportunities exist where retailers gather. GAMA Trade Show occurs each March and is one of the best places to meet with retailers and show them your game. There, you will be able to solicit feedback, collect information at relevant panels, and otherwise market your game to this demographic at after-hours events. Additionally, most distributors host an open house annually, which are somewhat harder to attend, but still worthwhile to pursue. Connect with your favorite game publisher and ask if they need any help at the next distributor event. Maybe even offer to travel with your friendly local game store representative. During off-hours, play games with retailers and ask them about their crowdfunding habits for their store. Talk to retailers about your game and ask them for advice and tips. Lastly, just go to your local shop and ask them if they would be interested in hosting a demo day for your game or even a playtest session for the community’s designers. Find any creative way to make contact in person because it matters.

Success Begets Success Your product must follow the typical trajectory of a successful crowdfunding campaign, or retailers will be worried that there is no demand for your product. For that reason, I will add a few things I have seen work for all campaigns recently, not just the ones which

offer a retail pledge. Here are a few online marketing tactics I currently employ. Buying into BoardGameGeek ads can feel like a significant investment. I am here to tell you their weekly crowdfunding email is just about the only marketing emails hobbyist backers are still routinely opening. Your money is well spent getting on that email. Additionally, there are many famous gaming personalities online, such as Be Bold Games and Man vs. Meeple, who you should be paying to create valuable content for your project. Lastly, Facebook communities, such as Tabletop Backer Party, Board Game Spotlight, and Board Game Exposure, offer paid promotional packages which are by far the most concentrated number of crowdfunding backers you are likely to encounter. Those groups will be talking about a game on your launch week, so you should work to make sure that game is yours. You will notice that I avoided discussing Facebook advertisements. I honestly think that money is better spent on Facebook Groups right now for new creators. It is too easy to incorrectly target, or incorrectly build creative, and throw away your marketing budget on Facebook ads without experienced help. If you have experienced help, you should combine Facebook ads into the advice above as your budget allows.

In Conclusion Following this article’s advice with tact, patience, and kindness will allow you to create games which appeal to backers and retailers equally. By speaking to retailers, you will gain an appreciation and understanding of what retailers want in a crowdfunding campaign. I hope this article in some small way helps you on that journey to success. We’d love to get retailers’ perspectives on offering retail tiers as well! If you have thoughts and experiences to share that touch on any of the points Daniel raised above, please email media@gama.org. During the campaign for Fireball Island, Restoration Games only charged an initial $20 for a retail pledge. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 27

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The

Rise of

ROLL & WRITES

F

By Brittanie Boe, Founder of Be Bold Games

D

ue to the current mass influx of new games, major trends in tabletop gaming shift from year to year. In 2013, euro games were all the rage, but as the hobby grew, lighter games became more popular with more casual gamers entering the gaming world. One of the recent trends is the rise of the Roll & Write genre. Outside of Yahtzee, the first Roll & Write I ever played was Saint Malo from

for all of these years. I believe that the massive influx of Roll & Writes is in part thanks to Suzanne Sheldon, a core member of the press group The Dice Tower, who ran a Roll & Write contest several years back for Gen Can’t, an online gathering of folks unable to attend Gen Con. Because of that contest, hundreds of people were inspired to create Roll & Writes, and the ones that didn’t win the contest ended up pitching

Ravensburger, which is a magnificent little game originally released in 2012. Players are clever city leaders building up their initially empty cities and attempting to score the most points. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until years after this release that the genre really took off, but it’s been a favorite in my collection

their design to publishers all over the world. All of this started from a simple Twitter contest. As contestants pitched to publishers, Roll & Writes started hitting the market and the genre grew in popularity. Welcome to… made a huge splash in the market with its second Kickstarter

campaign raising more than $220k at a $25 price point. That’s more than 4,600 backers! Recently, we’ve started to see Roll & Writes inspired by other games. Daniel Newman designed Rolled West, a Roll & Write based on the popular euro game Gold West. Portal Games released Imperial Settlers Roll & Write this year, an offshoot of Imperial Settlers, which has been particularly popular among solo gamers. Publishers of all sizes have jumped on the Roll & Write train, but have innovated the Flip & Write, and even Roll & Cut genres. Steve Jackson Games recently released Deadly Doodles, in which players turn over cards and have to draw the revealed pathways onto their dungeon map, carefully trying to gain the right weapons to defeat monsters. Renegade Game Studios has an upcoming game in October called Clip Cut Parks in which players will roll dice and determine how to cut out building pieces. These are just two small examples of how the genre is evolving. As we see more Roll & Write games make their way onto the scene, we’re certain to see more innovation. This is a great genre of games and a perfect opportunity for publishers to innovate, change, and evolve.Not only are they accessible, but because they’re quick to play and have varied player counts, it makes gaming possible for many people struggling to find time to play. I don’t think players will be getting sick of this budding genre any time soon.

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Forbidden secrets & mystery lurk between its pages...

Will you survive this grim & perilous tale of horror?

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ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG copyright © 2019 by Daniel D. Fox. All rights reserved.

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“What does grim & perilous gaming even mean?”

T

his is a question I usually hear as someone lifts up the 4.5-pound ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG tome at my local gaming store, or jumps into a conversation online about dark fantasy games. It is an immediate gut reaction some people get as they look at the cover: that “grim & perilous” implies this game isn’t going to be as pleasant or fun as other tabletop role-playing games. But the words plant a seed into readers’ minds, telling them that this game won’t be like any other they’ve experienced before. In ZWEIHÄNDER, there are real consequences for failing dice rolls, and we often like to joke that “naps don’t heal stab wounds.” The choices you make for your character won’t have the rippling, world-spanning implications found in traditional RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Instead, they will change your character in a way that alters their psyche and values, both narratively and mechanically. ZWEIHÄNDER is a dark fantasy RPG, but not like the ones you’re accustomed to playing. Characters in ZWEIHÄNDER are ordinary people fighting for their

NAPS DON’T HEAL STAB WOUNDS How ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG is Different from D&D

convictions and trying to retain their sense of humanity in the face of impending doom. They are not wide-eyed neophytes destined for greatness or near godlike warriors capable of saving a village from an evil dragon. ZWEIHÄNDER isn’t about characters who change the world. It is instead a story of a world that changes the characters who live in it. Characters exist in a world of the many shades of gray between rare extremes of black and white. Short-term solutions are likely to have more harmful consequences in the long run, but they deal with immediate problems. Characters are presented a world where cynicism and the disintegration of society (chaos) is pitted against idealism and belief in a better tomorrow (order). These two principles often blend together, feeding off one another in an eternal tug of war. Characters gain an axiom against

this mechanic; two distinct yet similar personality traits (such as Heroism and Martyrdom) that reflect their inner ebb and flow between order and chaos. They represent shifts in the character’s psyche and soul that happen as the adventure unfolds. Should they follow the path of order, they gain Fate Points – a “get out of jail free” Monopoly mechanic to escape permanent injury and death. If they lean towards chaos, they develop Disorders: reflections of their darker self mechanically manifesting in the game. Disorders add new mechanical options for the character, reflecting the dynamism of gameplay in ZWEIHÄNDER. In ZWEIHÄNDER, monsters aren’t the most dangerous enemy in a grim & perilous world: people are. Most importantly, all of the violence, tough decision-making, and morally gray choices players make have a long-lasting impact on their character’s development. Given these considerations, it’s easy to believe that a nihilistic principle guides the character journey. However, there is a greater role for the characters to play in the grand scheme of things. If D&D plays like a fantasy adventure film, ZWEIHÄNDER is psychological horror focusing on making players care about their choices and the aftermath of their actions.

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Zweihänder Grim & Perilous RPG ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG is the 2018 Gen Con awardwinning dark fantasy tabletop role-playing game, and has captivated audiences since release. With over 90,000 copies sold worldwide, ZWEIHÄNDER lets players explore mature stories and gritty combat using a familiar d100 percentile dice system. With over 120 unique classes, this all-in-one book includes a character creation guide, game mastery rules, and a bestiary brimming with creatures both fair & foul.

Main Gauche Expand your ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG game into a whole new realm of chaos. This supplement horizontally expands character creation options, and includes NPC and monster creator guidelines for Gamemasters.

Player’s Handbook Abridged from the first ten chapters of ZWEIHÄNDER Revised Core Rulebook, this book contains everything a player needs to create a character. It features all-new Ancestries, updated layout, exclusive artwork, and perforated character sheets.

DISTRIBUTED TO THE TRADE BY SIMON & SCHUSTER, DIAMOND COMICS, STUDIO

2 PUBLISHING, AND IPR

ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG copyright © 2019 by Daniel D. Fox. All rights reserved.

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SOLOING THE

WASTELAND

T

hose of you who work long hours, have families or burn your candles at both ends will know how hard it can be to find quality gaming time with your groups. Having grown up a solo wargamer who had to fight battles using my own imperfect knowledge against myself, I can relate to those of us who yearn for well-designed solo gaming experience. The rise of cooperative board games has been a great boost for gaming groups who love to play together rather than against each other, and it’s helped all those solo gamers get back to the table. Games like Z-Man’s Pandemic, CMon’s Zombicide and Flying Frog’s Shadows of Brimstone have meant we could get that co-op fix of miniature gaming in a tidy board game package. The last few years have seen a lot of talk of solo wargaming that was once the province of complex books full of guidance for the most dedicated wargamers. With new releases like Rangers of Shadowdeep by Joe McCullough and Blackstone Fortress by Games Workshop, solo and co-operative wargaming has been thrust to the front of the battle-hungry lines of miniature gamers around the world. Fallout: Wasteland Warfare has also entered the fray, sporting an innovate AI that allows either solo or cooperative play against any of the other forces in the game. The brainchild of lead designer James Sheahan, the AI mode in Fallout Wasteland

Warfare creates unique behaviours for all the different units in the game and is designed to help create an emergent narrative experience and bring the world of Fallout to life. The AI is designed to make meaningful decisions within the game, for example, it can choose to secure a key in-game objective instead of attacking the opponent. The AI is created to be aware of the player’s actions along with its own situation and will respond intelligently within the situation. The AI also acts in line with its personality as defined by the rich lore of the Fallout universe. For example, a Super Mutant will often opt to charge into close combat disregarding cover if it’s wounded, whilst a Brotherhood of Steel field scribe that sees its friends dwindling is more likely to take cover and pick targets from range. The intelligent AI actions are resolved by comparing a single dice roll to the unit card, allowing play to proceed at a rapid and exhilarating pace. The AI mode allows players to engage in narrative campaigns, either by themselves or with friends, where they play through a series of linked scenarios that can lead to different conclusions based upon in-game choices made. Imagine yourself playing as a group of Survivors in the wastelands. You have established a small settlement but the Water Treatment Plant that supplies your settlement is besieged by Super Mutants controlled by the game’s AI. Victory will mean your territory is secure, but fail in your defence and you will need to journey into the wastes to find a new water chip to replace the one damaged in the siege. The forthcoming Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms miniatures game launching in the new year uses an evolved version of Fallout’s AI system as well as a rich collection of narrative scenarios to ensure we have more reasons to get those minis on the table whether our friends are able to make game night or not!

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How to Demo

Long ago, Easter Island was a vast continent ravaged by constant volcanic activity. The settlers of this land raised Moai – gigantic monolithic statues to appease the gods and mend the wounds of the land. Unfortunately, instead of healing the land, the very act of sealing off craters and geysers caused an even greater disaster to unfold.

V

olcanic Isle features deceptively deep gameplay; this short guide will teach you the basics you need to know to start playing, but mastering the isle is no simple task!

Each player in Volcanic Isle selects a color and takes all the Moai, Villages, Settlers, and the score marker of their color, then begins inhabiting the unstable continent of Mu. On their turn, a player has 4 Action Points (AP) that can be spent to… • Move a Settler (1 AP) • Build a Village (2 AP) • Create a Settler (1 AP) • Sculpt a Moai (1 AP) • Raise a Moai (1 AP) • Obtain a Prayer Token (1+ AP) Game play is simple, but resources on the island are limited! Lava tiles can be used to construct new Villages and sculpt Moai. Players may choose to build and expand their holdings near the Volcanoes (a risky but also rewarding choice) or far from them, hoping to preserve their Villages and their people. The Moai are paramount to your strategy and can influence the other players as well: They are used to obtain Victory Points, but also to trigger and hasten the irreversible process of the continent’s destruction—and thus to reach the game’s conclusion. Whenever a Moai is raised, it is placed

on top of one of the geysers in the same space. However, every time a new Moai is raised, the obstruction of the geyser will increase the pressure beneath the continent, possibly triggering a volcanic eruption! After a Moai is raised: • Place a Fissure tile in front of the Moai, on the border between its Area tile and the adjacent tile • Roll the Volcano die to see if one of the Volcanoes erupts If the volcano die lands on an eruption symbol, the active player draws a random Volcano token to determine which Volcano erupts, then places one Lava tile on each Channel space surrounding the Volcano in every direction. Unraised Moai and Villages occupying the spaces are destroyed! Raising Moai can do much more than cause a mere volcano to erupt, they can cause whole sections of the board to break away and sink into the sea! If any section of the island is completely surrounded by Fissure tiles (placed when you raise Moai), that tile is doomed to sink into the darkness beneath the waves –destroying all Moai (thankfully, most settlers know how to swim and will be saved). The game ends when there are two or fewer Volcanoes left on the board after part of the island sinks, and the player with the most victory points at the end wins!

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Attribute Dice

A

ttribute Dice are an RPG accessory which enhances the gameplay of D&D, Starfinder, Pathfinder, and other popular RPGs by adding narrative cues to ordinary skill checks. Demonstrating the dice to your customers will increase sales and build customer relationships. Demonstrating how Attribute Dice work is fast and easy. You will need a d20 along with one or more Attribute Dice. Start by telling your customer how Attribute Dice add narrative cues to their skill checks and give them an example. Let’s say you need to pick a lock and the difficulty check or target number is 12. This means you have to roll a 12 or higher to pick the lock. Roll the d20 and read the results as succeeding or failing to pick the lock. Let’s say you

failed the skill check in the demonstration. Now, roll two Attribute Dice to give you cues on why you failed picking the lock. Let’s say you get Strength and Charisma on the two Attribute Dice. You can then make up a story as to why you failed to pick the lock using these cues. “I was overconfident when trying to pick the lock. I just KNEW I could do it with no problems and I thought I was going to impress everyone around me. When I started having troubles, I used all my strength trying to force the picks and ended up jamming the lock and looking stupid in front of everyone.” The overconfidence part is derived from the Charisma on the Attribute Die, while forcing the picks is derived from the Strength Attribute Die you rolled. It works the same

whether you succeed or fail the skill check and the customers really enjoy the fact you are making it up right in front of them as they can see how easy it is. It is best to demonstrate twice. During the second time, the customer will normally start to chime in and help with the narrative interpretation of the dice. “Let’s try this again and see what other outcomes we can get.” Roll the d20 again. Let’s say you succeed this skill check. “We succeeded in picking the lock! Now, let’s find out what narrative cues the Attribute Dice can give us.” Roll the two Attribute Dice. Let’s say they come up Dexterity and Wisdom. “Well, the Dexterity part we could say we had very steady hands and could feel the picks working their magic inside the lock. What do you think the Wisdom could mean?” Allow the customer to help come up with how the Wisdom Attribute Dice added to how you succeeded the lock picking. Usually, they will say something like, “Yes, I have probably seen this type of lock many times before and knew based on experience just how to pick the lock.” This will get buy-in from your customer and get you that much closer to making the sale. For more information about Attribute Dice, contact J. Scott Rumptz at jscott@d-verse.com or call (901)338-2186.

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Floodgate advertorial

What’s Coming Up from Floodgate Games

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n the inaugural issue of Around the Table, we want to say a special hello to our retail partners. Lately, we have heard about the need for more wall furnishings featuring great games and we are here to tell you about an opportunity from Floodgate Games. Our award-winning games Sagrada and Bosk, both co-designed by Daryl Andrews have seen significant success. We have expansions for Sagrada lined up to keep the game series healthy for the foreseeable future. We have a retailer newsletter that is available on our website. When you sign up, we have posters featuring Sagrada and Bosk that will make your store walls look like a beautiful cathedral with stained glass windows, or tranquil as the trees in a national park. Sagrada, which debuted in 2017, shows no signs of slowing down and

has already released two major expansions. The first expansion Sagrada: 5 & 6 Player Expansion increases player count to allow up to six players instead of four from the core game. It also introduces a Private Dice Pool board, along with new private objectives, tools, and window pattern cards. This year we released Sagrada: The Great Facades – Passion which adds a number of things to the game like inspiration cards, rare glass dice, cards, and objectives, and new public objectives. This is part of a series of three expansions coming out called The Great Facades; the other two in the series are called Life and Glory and you can expect them in the near future. If you are looking for more Floodgate Games titles to stock up for the holidays, we have two other great releases from this year. 3 Laws of Robotics is a mediumweight bluffing card game designed by

Benjamin Kanelos. 4-8 players take on the roles of robots who must ask one another questions to find out which side they are on – the catch is that there are three laws that dictate what sorts of questions can be asked. In Bad Maps, 3-5 players are looking for treasure, but must beware of traps while giving their minions instructions. Also, look out for the highly rated Legacy: Gears of Time, a strategic card game for 2-4 players by Ben Harkins. Players assign and shift technologies on a shared timeline and place influence cubes on existing technologies. Players may travel back in time to execute a card from their hand that influences and changes existing technologies in a timeline over four rounds. If you are looking to stock up on stocking stuffers, make sure to check out Dome Crushers by Tim and Chris Jesurun – a quick, two-player lightweight dueling card game. Sign up for our retailer newsletter at Floodgate.Games/Retailers and grab your poster for Sagrada or Bosk today! fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 37

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In-Store Demos of

T

he ability to demo games and create a welcoming play environment are two of the things that set brick-and-mortar retailers apart from everyone else. We would like to take a moment to explain how to run a great demo for Paranormal Detectives, the incredibly fun deduction party game coming from Lucky Duck Games in October 2019. Paranormal Detectives is a competitive deduction party game where one player takes on the role of a ghost, and all other players try to be the first to figure out who killed them, in addition to how, where, and why they died. Demoing paranormal detectives is a fun, interactive, and simple experience that is sure to catch the interest of the customers demoing the game, and bystanders as well. Each investigator receives an asymmetrical and pre-constructed set of interaction cards that they can play during their turn while asking the ghost player an open ended question such as, “Can you describe who killed you?” While demoing the game, explain this to the players and give them each a couple of pre-selected interaction cards. Ghost Meter, Hangman’s Knot, Haunted Mirror, and Talking Board are all great cards to show off during a demonstration. Have a pre-selected story set aside for the demo, such as “What a Show!” Explain the type of activity used for each interaction card in the game, while referencing the components present on the board and in the box, ie: the ropes, Talking Board, Ghost Meter, etc… Then dive right into the experience! Place markers where indicated on the ghost’s story, and give the description provided on the card to the players. Give each player the chance to ask a question and play an interaction card of their choice. Find a fun and engaging way to respond to their questions as the ghost. Within minutes, players are sure to be laughing and hooked on the experience. Typically, players are going to find themselves hooked and wanting to drill down further after a question has been asked. During our demo setup, we gave them each a couple of interaction cards, so let them ask more questions and play their remaining card! When that’s done, the players can make a guess at the story surrounding the ghost’s demise, letting the ghost secretly indicate on their player sheet how many things they correctly guessed, but not which ones! All of this should last around 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes for laughs and hijinks. With eye-catching artwork, high player interaction, and straight-to-the-point fun, Paranormal Detectives will be a hit in any store with a little time spent at the demo table. For any assistance in demoing, marketing, or selling Lucky Duck Games titles in your store, please feel free to reach out to me at Anthony@luckyduckgames.com.

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Cephalofair advertorial The Future of

Cephalofair Games & Gloomhaven

by Isaac Childres - President & Owner, Cephalofair Games

E

xciting things are going down at Cephalofair Games, and we want to thank you profusely for helping to make it all happen! Gloomhaven has been a huge seller because you believed in it and put it on your shelves, despite the higher than average size and price tag. We had some rough patches early on with keeping up with demand, but I hope that lately you have been satisfied with our efforts to keep it available and in stock. So what is in the future for Cephalofair Games? Our most exciting piece of news is that we are working on a new standalone version of Gloomhaven that comes in a normal-sized box with a normal-sized price tag. Shocking, I know. We’ve redesigned many aspects of the game in order to make the game easier for casual players to get into. This way, it won’t just be the hardcore fans who walk in your store and buy the game. We’re removing the hurdles of organization and long setup times by cutting back the components and exploring moving to a format where the scenarios are played on the scenario book itself. In addition, we’re leveling out the learning curve with an interactive introduction to the game that will teach the rules slowly. Any normal gamer should be able to pick up the game and play without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. In addition, it will be an entirely new story with new characters and

new monsters, so it will be desirable for players who already own Gloomhaven, as well. We are hoping this product (title pending) will be available in Fall 2020 and that it sounds as exciting to you as it does to us! Of course, rumors of another large Gloomhaven game are true, as well. We are working on a big-box expansion to Gloomhaven that will feature an entirely new campaign with about as much content, if not more, than the original game. Look for more detailed information on this product in the next issue of Around the Table! To support Gloomhaven and all these new releases, Cephalofair Games is also working on getting out to more conventions this year, spreading the word, teaching the community how to play and energizing them to buy it and bring it home. We will have hit 5 big gaming conventions by the end of this year and hope to make it to even more next year, where we will continue to run high-quality Gloomhaven demos for those many, many people who have heard of Gloomhaven, but haven’t gotten the chance yet to experience it. We also look forward to continuing our partnership with you, stocking your stores with great products that will continue to bring countless hours of entertainment to your customers! A new Mercenary appears! The Demolitionist is ready to rumble.

Isaac Childres hard at work creating NEW Gloomhaven content.

Cephalofair Games and our AMAZING demo team. GenCon 2019. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 39

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Epic Strategy Awaits.

Founders of Gloomhaven CPH0301

Forge War CPH0102

Join our newsletter at www.cephalofair.com for the latest on upcoming releases! Contact us at support@cephalofair.com.

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Exciting publisher update and special announcement from designer Isaac Childres on

page 39.

Gloomhaven CPH0201

Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles CPH0211

Š2015-2019 Cephalofair Games. All rights reserved.

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PARKS Sales/Demo Script

W

elcome to PARKS, a game about hiking trails, exploring the wilds, and celebrating nature. Below, you’ll find notes to show off PARKS to all the different folks who may be interested in learning more about it, whether this is their first modern board game, or they are a seasoned enthusiast.

I love the artwork!

That’s awesome! We picked this artwork because it fills us with so much joy! Here are some things to talk about when you’re showing off more of that awesome artwork! - This game is made in collaboration with the 59 Parks Print Series - 59 Parks commissions artists to celebrate the national parks, and the sales of the artwork help give back to the parks. Sales of this game help with that, too! - There are over 30 artists’ works represented in the game (We’d recommend taking out the tarot-sized Park Cards and showing them off here.)

There’s a game about hiking?

We love talking about PARKS as if we’re recalling a recent hike we actually just went on. Hikers are traveling on trails, stopping at beautiful sites and collecting memories. Here are some tips for terminology and ways to explain gameplay to folks in a way that keeps the conversation immersive. - Hikers are hiking along a trail, rather than moving along tiles - Each tile is a site hikers visit while they’re exploring - Rounds are seasons, and a full game represents a year (Lay out some trail tiles, so you can show the act of moving hikers to a trail site and collecting resources from the cool Game Trayz!)

Let’s just talk Mechanics.

Some people want to see under the hood. They crave those nitty gritty details. So here’s the skinny on how PARKS functions mechanically: - PARKS is a light to medium, or family weight, game - In PARKS, hikers move via a point to point movement system - Players are working to manage collecting resources (memories) and spending them efficiently to visit (collect) Park Cards

Photos by Cathy Bock.

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Around the

Kids’ By Egg Embry

C

hildren are the future of tabletop gaming. As an industry, how do we realize that vision and teach today’s youth to be tomorrow’s gamers? What are RPG publishers and brick-and-mortar retailers doing to attract young players? In this article, professionals from both channels share their insights into growing the next generation of gamers.

Publishers, what do you see as the value of RPGs to families? BJ Hensley, founder and Head of Imagineering for Playground Adventures: “RPGs are invaluable tools capable of bringing families together and being an interactive classroom for problem-solving, arithmetic, reading, writing, social skills lessons, and more.”

TABLE What makes your all-ages RPG products stand out? Alessio Cavatore, Managing Director and Games Designer for River Horse Games, publisher of Tails of Equestria, the storytelling game based on My Little Pony: “Friendship. It teaches conflict resolution through acts of kindness . . . which I think has a very high educational value!” Martin Lloyd, designer and publisher of the Amazing Tales RPG: “Simplicity. The starting point for a game . . . is your child’s imagination. Amazing Tales is simple enough that a 4-year-old can learn the rules and explain them back to you.”

down to accessibility, which is part presentation and part game design. One of the reasons I think Little Wizards has been successful is that it neither talks down to kids nor does it try to repackage ‘adult’ gaming mechanisms for a younger audience. Many games aimed at children make the mistake of adapting rules and components rather than translating them.” Rachel Ventura, Business Director for Legendary Games and author of Feast of Flavor: “One of the reasons I think Feast of Flavor was nominated [for an ENnie Award] is because it allows the players to do something outside of the box; it wasn’t just a hack-and-slash, it’s a how-do-youtalk to these people.”

Patrick Kapera of Crafty Games, publisher of Little Wizards: “It boils

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E

Publishers and retailers, as an industry, what do you see as the most important initiative we need to take to introduce the next generation to tabletop RPGs? Justin Halliday of Hero Forge Games, publisher of Hero Kids, the ENnie Awardwinning fantasy RPG: “I think that the most important thing that we, as an industry, can do is to produce a range of RPGs for kids. We need traditional games, story games, mermaid games, and pony games. By making the games, and running the games, we’re bringing a whole new generation of gamers into our hobby and setting the roleplaying hobby up for a bright future.” BJH: “It’s crucial that we simply include them, learn what they love and don’t

judge them for it. The best way to interact with the younger generation, is to have an open conversation about how they want to play, what they want to see in their games, and show them love and acceptance at the table. There’s no wrong way to play a game of imagination.”

Anna Warren Cebrian, founder and CEO of Illusive Comics & Games, LLC and Isle of Gamers in Santa Clara, CA: “We need to market directly to schools how fantastic RPGs are for young imaginations, how working in a group promotes teamwork, and that it promotes reading, math, and creativity.”

ML: “I think there’s a tendency to view RPGs for kids as training mechanisms to get kids to the point where they can play a grown-up game. That’s ridiculous. We should write games kids like, so they, and their parents, fall in love with roleplaying as an activity.”

Retailers, what all-ages tabletop RPG programs do you run in your store?

PK: “When a child outgrows your game, and they will, give them a path to everything else the industry has to offer. That’s the key to making something that truly gives back to gaming.”

AWC: “Dungeons & Dragons Summer Camp [consisting of] week-long campaigns [run across] 7 weeks of summer. Seasonal D&D is about 10 weeks during the autumn, winter, and spring. We charge for these programs the same as summer camp and afterschool programs.”

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Laura Schneider, owner of Meeple Games, a brick-and-mortar gaming café in Seattle: “We host several RPG programs for kids ranging in age from 9-18. We run Tween D&D (ages 9-13) twice per week with two groups on Monday and two groups on Wednesday. The DMs are employees and the content is tailored for kids. We also run High School D&D twice per week for kids 13-18. Additionally, we host a Learn to Play D&D once per month and a Learn to Paint Miniatures once per month. Both of those are all ages. In the summer, we run three weeks of D&D Summer Camp for [ages] 10-15 with a full program including world building, character creation, learning to DM, painting miniatures, and lots of D&D play. Each player in a paid D&D event gets a set of dice and a miniature for their character.”

like that the kids have a wholesome activity that encourages teamwork and social skills while the kids have a great time and build strong relationships.”

Beyond the games themselves, what support can all-ages RPG publishers offer to better position your store to grow your youth clientele?

What has been the reaction to your programs?

AWC: “Freebies to give to kids and thank you gifts for our DMs. Marketing co-op funds to use to grow our program to schools.”

LS: “When we started our Tween D&D, we thought that a child would participate in a four-week program and then stop. We’ve had the same kids for long enough that they’ve aged out and we started High School D&D for those kids. The parents

LS: “More RPG stuff geared towards kids and families. Content, content, content. And marketing materials. I would also like to see the game industry do more advertising to consumers to bring more awareness of the genre to the general public.”

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IELLO

GAMES T

he story of the IELLO Retailers Guild is a personal one. About two years ago I became deeply invested in the IELLO brand because I happened to play a couple of IELLO games (Bunny Kingdom, Kanagawa) that I loved. That love continued as I played more and more IELLO games, and those games ended up getting more and more time on our demo tables as we began to better curate the demo experience, and shared our love of IELLO games with our consumers. Sales of IELLO products skyrocketed in my store, rising 400 percent from 2016 to 2017, and then doubling again from 2017 to 2018, and on pace to double again from 2018 to 2019. IELLO was the seventh largest publisher of gaming products in sales for me in 2018, and the second largest board game publisher.

This led me to a question. Can other stores duplicate this success? I believe the IELLO catalog is full of great games that appeal to many different types of gamers, and I believe that the beauty of IELLO boxes and their consistency in branding make IELLO the perfect publisher to display all together in one big section in stores. I also believe that by duplicating the programs run at Total Escape, other retailers can experience the same level of success with IELLO products. Firm in those beliefs, I helped IELLO design the IELLO Retailers Guild, a retailer program designed to align the interests of IELLO with the interests of our stores. Those interests are simple; great products, backed by

great marketing, that sell well. For me, the key to selling those products well was the engagement of consumers with the IELLO brand, and training customers to think TEG when they think IELLO. Working with IELLO, I helped to build the Retailers Guild with one goal, engaging customers with IELLO and your store. After you’ve engaged customers, IELLO needs to make sure customers are finding a curated shopping experience, so the IELLO Retailers Guild doesn’t track your sales, but instead asks you carry a certain width and depth of products, depending on the level you are desirous of obtaining within the guild. Those stores wanting a Platinum Retailer icon in the store locator are asked to carry a wider product selection. We want customers to know you are their source for almost any in-print product. At the Silver level, customers will know you stock the hits; King of Tokyo, Bunny Kingdom, and their ilk. IELLO works to reach the more than 60,000 consumers who follow us on social media, consumers who are engaged and excited about IELLO. The IELLO Retailer Guild seeks to insure that when they carry that excitement into your stores you earn another loyal customer.

Want to join the Retailer Guild? Ask me how! John Stephens is the Retail Liaison for IELLO USA and the General Manager of Total Escape Games. He’s happy to help you sell more IELLO games and can be reached at john@iellogames.com. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 47

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KINGS WANTED! How to create a Euro Game

T

he kingdom of Emara needs help! The old King Theodorius the Wise is searching for a worthy successor. Because his subjects are very dear to his heart, the future king or queen should care for them as well as Theodorius did. During his reign, inconveniences like wars and uprisings became a thing of the past, and he himself never strived for power or riches but for happy citizens. To find a successor who is worthy to wear the Crown of Emara, the king and his counselors issue a challenge: The one who is able to win over most of the immigrating citizens will become the new king. While this sounds straightforward, it requires quite a bit of strategic planning: On the one hand there are Citizen Points players can score for boons to the new citizens, like donating books on the market or handing out free bread. On the other hand there are Building Points players have to acquire by contributing resources and promoting the building activities in town because only the citizens with proper housings are truly satisfied. Balance is key in this exceptional euro game because at the end, players

compare their Citizen and Building Points. Only the lower of the two scores counts for the final scoring. Therefore it is necessary to score on both victory point tracks equally. To do so, every player has two counselors, one on each of the separate game boards, the city and the countryside. In addition, the interwoven combination of card actions and worker movement requires careful planning on each turn. Only the one who is able to optimize every move will gain the Crown of Emara. Crown of Emara is a challenging euro game with several intriguing gameplay elements by German designer Benjamin Schwer. In his designer´s diary he reveals the long way from a first vague idea to a finished game: At first he thought about

designing a game for two players, to be able to have a short game length. But first test rounds showed that Crown of Emara, which was originally to be called Royal Builders, was just as much fun with more players. What remained of this idea in the end was a remarkably short playing time of only about one hour for a fairly complex strategy game. Before being published, Crown of Emara of course had to pass several hurdles. To create a unique mechanism, the limit for victory points has been integrated. At the end of the game, players cannot have more citizens than housings and vice versa. In earlier variants, Benjamin Schwer toyed with other thematic ideas like a particular fluid that had to be stored in a special container to not evaporate, and ships with a limited capacity. But in the end, a solution had to be found that fit the theme better. To create more variety in the game, several elements like the two modular game boards have been implemented. Every game board consists of four variable puzzle pieces which can be arranged differently in every new game. Furthermore, a pool of nine identical action cards for each player provides each player with the same actions, but not at the same time. In order to win, it is necessary to manage the effects on the available action cards best in combination with the movements of one´s counselors on the game boards. Therefore, every game is a new challenge – and that makes Crown of Emara a must for all euro game lovers!

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TM

released by Pegasus Spiele

October 2019

+ 1st wave of expansions

Talisman Adventures RPG Playtest Guide: Print version in stores & PDF at Drive Thru RPG

Contact us to place an order:

sales@pegasus-web.com Talisman © Games Workshop Limited 2019. Talisman, the Talisman logo, GW, Games Workshop, and all associated logos, illustrations, images, locations, weapons and characters are either ® or TM, and/or © Games Workshop Limited.

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Connecting

Fans to

Games

through delightful Easter eggs and personalized narratives – Terror Below and Beyond

O

ne of the greatest values retailers add to our three-tier system is your relationship to your customers. You’ve spent hours learning about their favorite food, what weapon their level 3 paladin wields, and what TV shows they’re currently watching. You use this special knowledge to help them find the perfect game to add to their collection and they love you for it. We know how powerful those connections can be and have worked hard to add delightful hooks and Easter eggs into our games that you can use when playing matchmaker with your customers and the games on your shelf. To help you find those delightful elements in games, we wanted to highlight a few games with these unique hooks that can help sway a gamer into picking up a game that they’ll enjoy. Terror Below, a thematic game, oozed personality with its table presence and offered accessible, yet strategic, gameplay with a solid pick-up-and-deliver design mechanic. The evocative art of a cowboy facing off against a gigantic W.O.R.M. (Weapon Of Remote Massacre) immediately drew people to assume this game was wholly a riff on a Kevon Bacon-led Hollywood franchise, but when you peek inside the box and play the game, there’s so much more than that. Terror Below is more than what it appears to be on the box cover, with homages and references to a number of different pop culture elements. From a distracting Doctor

(probably as attractive as every primetime television doctor), to a yellow shirt-wearing taxi driver named Grady who resembles a girthier Judd Hirsh, to the U.S. Marine Natasha whose backstory may have been adapted for a movie led by Demi Moore, these delightful nods are jumping-off points to hook and connect gamers to the narratives that can exist within games, inviting them to invest and immerse themselves in them. Beyond those nods to pop culture, alternative narratives that connect to gamers can also be applied to Terror Below. With its meeple cars and teams of rag-tag drivers, it could just as easily be pitched to a fast and furiously driving fan of a Vin Diesel-led Hollywood franchise as it could a Kevin Bacon one. A rag tag group of DVD player-thieving misfits who stop international criminals could just as plausibly be deputized by the government to take on bounties and collect eggs from underground monsters and take them down when they have to. For that gamer who may have spray painted their mouths silver and yelled “WITNESS ME!” at the last comic book expo or Halloween event, suggesting Terror Below as the precursor for a dystopian future where fuel and bullets are traded for water may well be the thematic seed that lets them find their own narrative in the game. Giving permission for them to approach a game with a slightly different perspective that fits

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their own interests is a powerful way to not only make the sale, but express to them that you know them, you can cater to their interests, and that they are valued customers because you have something that would appeal to them. Terror Below isn’t the only game that has these hooks that retailers can take advantage of. Another of our summer releases, Bargain Quest, has similar nods to pop culture that can be pitched to the gamer who comes in to pick up their dice to play their favorite fantasy RPG, of course, but within the box there are a number of geeky tropes that are sure to delight. The game features items like a wizard hat that looks like it could sort children as brave, ambitious, clever or friendly, and a magic lamp that may have been discovered by an Arabian street urchin, as well as fantasy adventurer tropes that connect with players as in-jokes. These external references can be a source of head-cannon that immerses players in a world of their own making. When discovered by players or pointed out by knowledgeable store proprietors (not unlike those they play as), these references are a source of delight, and can help convert an interested gamer into one who is excited to play.

Do you have a customer who is always sketching, or admiring the art within games? The parody art of ArtSee may well be what puts them over the edge to pick up the game and admire a flowerchild take on DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and/or a modern envisioning of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (who’s taking a selfie). How about that customer who can’t get enough of a timetravelling, bowtie/trench coat/scarf wearing British hero (or, more recently, heroine)? Time Chase may capture the tricktaking game fans on its mechanical pitch, but thematically, pairing this time-travel game to a fan and letting them form their head-canon as to why they’re trying to correct issues in the timeline offers them a compelling opportunity to write their own story within the game. As a game publisher, we do our very best to create games that will delight your customers, and we rely on your expertise and special relationships with them to connect them to the games we make. It takes a little creativity to find those unique hooks specific to your customers, but hopefully these breadcrumbs help you connect games we make to the fans who’d most appreciate them. Terror Below (RGS0878), Bargain Quest (RGS0855), Time Chase (RGS2024) and ArtSee (RGS2023) are available from your preferred distributor. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 51

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Welcome to grim & perilous gaming! Powered by the Zweihänder RPG d100 system, this fully-featured 669-page Revised Core Rulebook contains everything you need to play and to GM a dark fantasy game: a player’s handbook, complete spellbook, gamemaster’s guide, illustrated monster manual, and a full-length adventure. publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com Holly Stayton, hstayton@ amuniversal.com.

The fate of your grim & perilous tale hangs in the balance! Abridged from Zweihänder RPG: Revised Core Rulebook, this 384 page Player’s Handbook of options is for players only. Create your own vision of a dark fantasy character with 10 ancestries, numerous backgrounds, 115 classes, 160 spells and weapons galore. publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com Holly Stayton, hstayton@amuniversal.com.

Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles from Cephalofair is the first expansion available for the top-rated board game, Gloomhaven. Players are invited to join a new playable class – the Aesther Diviner – as she attempts to prevent an approaching calamity. At the same, new Gloomhaven lore, monsters, bosses, items, events, and more are revealed! SKU: CPH0301 cephalofair.com support@cephalofair.com

Deadly Doodles from Steve Jackson Games is a quick-playing doodle game for 1-4 players who simultaneously draw paths through a dangerous dungeon. Draw cards, draw a path through your dungeon, and rack up points! Collect loot and fight monsters … or run away screaming! Can you defeat the dragon for the big score? deadlydoodles.sjgames.com

In City of the Big Shoulders from Parallel, you and your friends take on the role of entrepreneurs and investors. You will start companies; trade in shares; hire employees, managers, and sales people; equip your factories; produce goods and sell them to be delivered to homes across the Midwest. store.parallelboardgames. com

Van Ryder Games introduces the first cooperative Graphic Novel Adventure game, The Crusoe Crew. Adopting the same system as the GNA line, players get four unique books. Each book represents one character and gives the player a unique power as they search for rubies, pearls, and statues. The game is widely replayable with several different islands to explore from multiple perspectives. For 1-4 players ages 7 and up. vanrydergames.com sales@vanrydergames.com

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Each side of an Attribute Die from D-Verse Publishing features one of the six commonly used character attributes: STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS and CHA. Attribute Dice provide a fun method of creating narrative cues, mini games and random effects in all editions of D&D, Pathfinder and Starfinder (as well as other popular TTRPGs). J. Scott Rumptz 901-338-2186 • jscott@d-verse.com

Hike the outdoors over the course of a year with PARKS from Keymaster Games. Collect memories of your experiences and trade them in for national park cards to celebrate your achievements. Gear up to make each of your treks the most successful it can be, but remember – it’s the journey, not the destination that counts. hello@keymastergames. com/keymastergames.com

Players of Volcanic Isle from Arcane Wonders are tasked with building villages and raising monolithic Moai across an everchanging landscape. However, with each Moai raised, the possibility of a volcanic eruption increases! Eruptions devastate settlements and cause whole sections of the board to sink into the sea. Can you survive the island? sales@arcanewonders.com arcanewonders.com

In UNDO from Pegasus Spiele, a death marks the beginning. However, the game series is not about solving a murder. Instead, players travel into the victim’s past to change events and prevent the death from happening. Will they be able to change fate and save the victim’s life? Pegasus-web.com/Pegasusshop.de Facebook: @pegasusspieleglobal

Threefold is the first original campaign setting for Green Ronin Publishing’s bestselling Modern AGE rules system, built on the Adventure Game Engine, first introduced with Dragon Age. In Threefold players take on the roles of dimension-hopping heroes exploring thousands of worlds! modernagerpg.com fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 53

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Return to your ancestral mountain home and restore it to its former glory. With In the Hall of the Mountain King from Kids Table Board Gaming, you’ll spend actions to hire Trolls and build tunnels into the heart of the peak. The time has come for Troll heroes to rise once more. Are you the one to lead them? kidstablebg.com

Atlantis needs you! You are a councilor of Atlantis in this unique, cooperative, worker placement game from Elf Creek Games. Play solo or with up to seven players and save your people from destruction. Preorder now from Alliance or GTS distribution for the fall release. elfcreekgames.com Players of The Sherlock Files from Indie Boards & Cards decipher clues to determine which are relevant to the case and which are not. Share the clues you deem relevant with your detective partners. Which theories will you chase? How will you fare compared to the world’s greatest detective? Work together to solve each case to find out! indieboardsandcards.com

Call to Adventure: The Name of the Wind from Brotherwise Games takes players to the fantastical world of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. Travel with troupers. Attend the university. Face the Chandrian! It’s all possible with this shuffle-in expansion. brotherwisegames. com/shop/the-nameof-the-wind

From Renegade Game Studios, designers of Raiders of the North Sea and Architects of the West Kingdom comes Paladins of the West Kingdom. Enlist the help of your Paladins to defend your city from increasing threats. Don’t miss out on this hot holiday release! Order from your favorite distributors today. renegadegames.com/retailers

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With Bosk from Floodgate, nurture trees to thrive through the year in a beautiful national park. Carefully grow trees in spring, scoring the trails in summer. In autumn, leaves fall with the wind, guided to cover terrain and others’ leaves. In winter, gain points for the most coverage of each region in the park. floodgategames.com

Players of Little Battle from Iello gather the best crew of Viking animals to win the battles and grab the wealthiest chests! Watch out for the other crews to become the richest captain at the end! A great anticipation game for ages 5 and older, it’s very easy to play. ($11.99 MSRP) info@iellogames.com iellousa.com/collections/loki

The Aetherium RPG from Anvil 8 is an immersive ruleset for a dystopian cyberpunk future that allows characters to bend their reality! Play as an anarchist, agent, hactivist, and more as your mind soars through infinite worlds. You may be trapped in Meatspace, but the Aetherium RPG transports you to a brilliant digital dimension. Brian Niro brian@anvil-eight.com anvil-eight.com

In Swords & Sails from VR-Soft, players control one of seven major factions in a bid to conquer Europe in 1000 AD. Muster armies, assemble fleets, build cities, make alliances, perform espionage, and wage war to conquer all of Europe. This unique game system mixes area control, diplomacy, hidden army and fleet contents, and simultaneous play. sales@vr-soft.com vr-soft.com

Paranormal Detectives from Lucky Duck Games is a competitive deduction party game where one player takes on the role of the ghost and all others try to be the first to figure out the story behind the ghost’s demise! sales@luckyduckgames.com luckyduckgames.com

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nvil 8 Games is very excited to have you join us in the wondrous world of the Aetherium. This article is designed to offer you some pointers on the sales appeal and key elements that demonstrate why Aetherium is right for you, and also help you get new players into the Aetherium universe.

THE WORLD The Aetherium is set in a virtual mindscape where people have downloaded their entire consciousness into a vast digital realm. As such, the world is malleable and fluid. Moreover, your characters will have some extraordinary abilities depending upon their skill at hacking the world. Analogies work great here, especially referencing similar sci-fi games, books, or movies (such as “The Matrix” or “Ready Player One”).

THE GAME Aetherium is a skirmish-level miniatures and boardgame hybrid, containing the best of both genres. There are models for the hobbyist, and games require strategy and finesse to maximize their model’s capabilities. Players will control between eight and 13 models per side and the game plays in an hour. There are several innovative, unique, and compelling dynamics in the game worth mentioning here: • The reality of malleable. The tiles that make up the board move, creating a shifting playspace. Players can spend resources they generate through smart decisions in order to manipulate the configuration of the tiles. This opens a wild new possibility in gameplay, as players must think in a truly unique strategic manner from nearly every other game out there. Because the world constantly shifts and rotates, you can never play the same game twice. • The action never stops. In Aetherium, players organize and commit to the order they want their programs to activate, and then reveal these in an I-go-you-go manner. The alternating activations never stop, even if one player has fewer models left. This is a key “anti-avalanche mechanic” we designed in the game, both to represent the server opening as models are removed, but also to allow both players the best possible game experience – as players are constantly challenged to keep winning or to fight back into the game regardless of how well their luck has broken thus far. • Aetherium is a highly visual game. When attacking, players roll the custom dice and match symbols with their model’s Data card. That’s it. There’s no excess of math or calculation. The more symbols matched the more successful the attack. Players may also unlock special disruptive boosts in their attacks through corresponding symbols.

THE ENCOUNTER The Aetherium universe currently contains six diverse and compelling factions: from a fascist police state, to anarchist rebels, to corporate cyber-ninjas, to pioneer explorers, to monstrous virus programs, to mysterious religious zealots, there is plenty here to appeal to any play style and disposition. With Aetherium, Anvil 8 Games has created a truly original universe and a tremendously innovative game system. Come visit us at anvil-eight.com and have a closer look at the Aetherium miniatures boardgame, the fast-action card game Front Line No Komrades, and the brand new Aetherium roleplaying game! 56 AROUND THE table • fall 2019

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“While We Wait” Games

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e’ve all been there: kept waiting for an appointment, waiting for our food at a restaurant, or just needing something to kill half an hour here or there. Steve Jackson Games is here to fill those holes in your day with fun, fast, light titles that we call our “While We Wait” games.

Deadly Doodles In this “draw ‘n’ draw” game, use the cards drawn each turn to build a route through a dungeon. Collect weapons, kill monsters, set traps, and steal loot – and if you sneak past the dragon, your loot is worth more! Deadly Doodles is for 1 to 4 explorers and plays in about 20 minutes. Follow us on Kickstarter to learn about the upcoming expansion, coming to Kickstarter September 2019! deadlydoodles.sjgames.com

Super Kitty Bug Slap You’re a cat. Your friend is a bug. You want to slap cards to build a caboodle of cats that share your color, shape, or bug friend . . . but there are a lot of cats coming into the neighborhood, so you have to be selective. Slap the wrong cat and you lose points. 3 to 5 slap-happy felines can play and a game takes less than 10 minutes. superkittybugslap.sjgames.com

Simon’s Cat Card Game You’re a cat (again). You’re trying to match the color or suit of the previous card. If you can’t, you’ve made a mess. Make too many messes and Simon blames you for all of them that round . . . and if you get blamed three times, you lose! This is a fun card game for 3 to 6 players, lasting about half an hour. simonscat.sjgames.com

Zombie Dice Eat brains. Don’t get shotgunned. Each turn, take three random dice and roll them. Get shotgunned three times and lose all your brains that turn. Fill your belly with 13 brains (or more) and win! This fast, fun, press-your-luck game has two expansions, Double Feature and School Bus, or pick up the Zombie Dice Horde Edition and get everything in a single package plus a cool dice bag! 2 or more players, roughly 5 minutes per player. (More if you get shotgunned a lot.) zombiedice.sjgames.com

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Cthulhu Dice In the cult of Cthulhu, the most important rule is: don’t lose your marbles. You only have three of them to start, after all. Roll the custom 12-sided die to attack the other players. Once you run out of marbles, you’re mad! Mad, I tell you! – which doesn’t knock you out of the game, because now you’re working for Cthulhu instead . . . and if everyone goes mad, Cthulhu wins! 3 to 6 players, 10 minutes. cthulhudice.sjgames.com

su

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Do you have the fastest paws?

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

superkittybugslap.sjgames.com

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WHAT ISOLD ISNEW AGAIN By Justin Spicer

Forgotten Board Game Classics Make a Stunning Return

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or a generation of gamers, the best of yesteryear has passed them by. In an industry that thrives on the hot new titles to drum up interest and drive sales within an ever-growing community, the great games of yore have become relics. Games long abandoned as board gaming has morphed and grown exponentially in the last 10-15 years may first appear to be rightfully discarded, but pertinent publishers and designers see something worthwhile in unearthing them for new gamers entering the hobby. Publishers are dusting off old chestnuts and giving them new lives, and designers are doing their part to combine today’s innovation with yesterday’s classics. At the head of the pack is Restoration Games. Making their debut in 2017, Restoration Games was founded by Justin Jacobson. He was joined by the Chief Restoration Officer and industry legend Rob Daviau in achieving the publisher’s obvious goals: restoring older games under the belief that “every old game deserves another turn.” The company began with three initial offerings (Stop

Thief!, Indulgence, and Downforce), each reimagining an older game with slight tweaks and updated technology and mechanics to make them palatable for modern gamers. Restoration’s next step in widespread acceptance was to compete with the breadth of board games being released

every year, but Rob Daviau pinpoints why Restoration Games has been successful in bringing back beloved classics, “There’s a lot of old games that people remember fondly. If you redo an old game that people like and remember immediately, you’re ahead of the 3,000 games released each year that people don’t know at all.” What sets Restoration’s model apart is the ability to tap into modern aesthetics and mechanics while still harnessing the joy and excitement from gamers’ youths. Case in point is the new incarnation of Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar. People who see the new game board “imagined this huge game from their childhood” explains Daviau, believing the original version of the game to be much larger than it really was. “We’re dealing with childhood memories and nostalgia, which is tricky, so we have to evoke that in a way where when you’re playing the game, it still feels like that.” Daviau also admits that bringing back past games is important to him, specifically with the upcoming Return to Dark Tower. “Part of this is me rebooting my own childhood memories.” Restoration Games isn’t the only publisher revisiting classics games. Founded in 2014, Parisian publisher Super Meeple has been working to bring classic European titles back to life. Super Meeple released Tikal, the 1999 Spiel des Jahres winner from designers Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Keisling, with updated art and graphics. This year, they did the same with 1997 SdJ winner Mississippi Queen. The publisher also unveiled Cuzco, which is a reworking of the classic 2000 release Java from the Kramer and Keisling duo,

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and U.S. Telegraph, which reimagines Marcel-André Casasola Merkle’s game setting by transplanting it from ancient Greece to 19th century America. A recent partnership with Luma Imports now allows Super Meeple to bring these reworked classics to the North American market much more quickly as well. Rather than be subject to the long cycle of European-based publishers having to wait for North American distribution deals, the latest set of

revamped Euro-style games were readily available at Gen Con. As Colin Young of Luma Imports noted, “We want to get these titles to North American gamers quickly because there are gamers who never experienced the originals.” Of course, with improved graphic art, design, and even new settings, these reworkings of classic Eurogames may bring with them a different set of emotions and excitement for younger board gamers unattached to the themes of their predecessors. Publishers are also turning to crowdfunding to test just how deep nostalgia can run for board game connoisseurs. Die Macher, a game concerning German politics, is often cited as one of the first board games to exhibit the immersive style of heavy gameplay associated with European titles. Originally published in 1986, the game has gone through numerous

iterations and publishers. However, it’s been hard to find in recent years. Indie Board and Cards, in conjunction with Spielworxx, decided to take a gamble in bringing it back with updated rules, art, graphic design and streamlined gameplay. The crowdfunding campaign was successful, and though limited quantities may hit retail by 2021, the heavy Eurogame mechanics behind Die Macher may keep it a niche, but desirable, property during the next few years with enough sustained interest for the latest Euro converts. The biggest benefit to older games being reintroduced is how they can bridge generation gaps. Adults who fondly remember these games from their childhoods are now getting to spend time with their children rediscovering the game. This ignites a passion within families to share their enthusiasm through gaming and embrace games they otherwise would have forgotten. Nothing is more satisfying than returning to a game, rediscovering memories, and being able to share them with friends and family. fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 61

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y a l P o t How

D I T P CRY X E D CO

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ryptid Codex is a quick-paced, easy-to-learn card game for two to six players. Players take the roles of cryptid hunters trying to prove the existence of cryptids. To do so, they’ll have to use the evidence and tools at their disposal to outwit their fellow players and capture monsters. Cryptid Codex is published by Ringtail Cafe Productions.

How To Play Cryptid Codex Gameplay is simple and fairly intuitive. The game comes with two decks: a Monster Deck and a Capture Deck. To start the game, both decks are shuffled and the players are dealt five cards each from the Capture Deck as their starting hand. The two decks are then placed on the table, face down.

Then the top monster from the Monster Deck is drawn and played face-up on the table. Players take turns, drawing a card from the Capture Deck and playing a Capture Card from their hand onto the monster. The monster has a Capture Total on the card and the value of the cards played onto the monster by the players is tallied as they’re played. The total value of the Capture Cards adds up until someone plays a card that meets or exceeds the monster’s Capture Total. That person captures the monster and adds it to their own pile. A new monster is drawn from the Monster Deck and play continues. The mechanic is simple but Capture Cards and Monster Cards have effects on them which lead to more complexity. Monsters may be immune to certain types of cards or have other abilities. Capture Cards let players mess with each

other or strategically add to the point totals. While playing, players may capture well-known cryptids like Bigfoot as well as more obscure creatures. There are also Hoax Monsters in the deck who don’t count toward victory. The game ends when one of the players reaches three captured monsters. Gameplay generally takes between 15 and 30 minutes, the time can be adjusted by changing the number of monsters needed to win.

Visuals The artwork for Cryptid Codex is bright and colorful, with a playful, comic book inspired look. The card text has a humorous tongue-in-cheek tone. Each card is unique, with no duplicates and there are several recurring characters that imply a bigger universe to the cards. The Monster and Capture Cards have nods to actual cryptozoology as well as referencing portrayals of cryptozoology and the paranormal seen in pop culture. The entire game is a loving parody of the genre. Want to prove the existence of Bigfoot by using a Cheesegrater of Destiny, or go toe to toe with aliens armed only with your massive twitter following? You can! In this game, anything is possible! Cryptid Codex is a quick, casual game. It may not be ideal for someone who prefers longer or more complex fare but is great for family game nights, for gamers who want to play with non-gamer friends, or for fans of the weird world of cryptozoology.

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Best Coast Pairings

Event System B

est Coast Pairings began in 2015 with a single goal: construct an app that makes it easy for anyone to create and run gaming events. Since then, the BCP Event System has grown to include the Best Coast Pairings Tournament Organizer, BCP Player App and Event Suite, making it not only pleasant to run tournaments, but also easier to play in an event, administer a league, run a store, or manage a convention. With support for over 45 game systems, our system makes it simple for even an amaetur Event Organizer to create, promote and run their event like a seasoned pro all from a mobile device.

an auto-generated website that includes specifics of the event, a display in our global event listings, and live updates of pairings and placings once the event begins. If you like, your participants can even register online for events! There is no charge for free ticketing and only a small fee if processed through BCP. Only one system to learn to run a tournament for virtually any game! BCP eliminates the need for match slips, projectors, papers stuck to the wall, clogging up your registers or phones for registration and moves it all onto your mobile device. Welcome more players, drive sales and create more varied events with the BCP TO App.

BCP Tournament Organizer At the core of the Best Coast Pairings Event System is the Tournament Organizer. BCP TO is available on iOS or Android platforms and is always free to download and use. Create your events, promote them, provide online registration, run the event, record scores, and export results for participating leagues or circuits, swaps, drops, and adds, all from your mobile device. An event in the BCP System includes a suite of great benefits:

BCP Player APP The free BCP Player App expands on the TO APP and makes it even easier to run your events. Using the Player App attendees can easily find and register for events around them. Players that have pre registered for an event and are within 1/2-mile of the event location can remotely check with the Player App on the day of your event. No matter how many attendees, they can all check in at once and you can start the event on time! When the event goes live a push notification is sent out and players can view pairings and placings in the player app. Remote scoring lets users record the results of their games at the table with their opponent, eliminating the need for a scorekeeper or match slips! Once registered in the event, a player can submit and view (when appropriate) lists or decks into BCP making it easy for organizer to validate submissions. Join the growing number of tournament and event organizers that turn to the BCP system to make thier events the best! Download the TO APP and the Player App in itunesApp Store or Google Play Store and visit our website at bestcoastpairings.com. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out, we are happy to assist.

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BestCo


Competitive Events, made easier.

The Best Coast Pairings Event System makes it easier than ever to promote, run, and administer your gaming events and tournaments! Support for over 45 game systems and growing.

Best Coast Pairings =www.bestcoastpairings.com Download and use for free on iOS and Android devices

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ABZU’S BOUNTY

he Expanse RPG recently hit the shelves. The game allows you to create characters and tell stories in the science fiction universe created by James S.A. Corey, and even features an original short story by the authors. The Expanse RPG offers so many possibilities for storytelling that it’s sometimes hard to know just where to begin. That’s where Abzu’s Bounty comes in. Abzu’s Bounty is a complete, sixpart campaign that takes place during the timeline of the first Expanse novels (Leviathan’s Wake and Caliban’s War). The introductory adventure in the core rulebook even ties into the main story of Abzu’s Bounty, although it’s not necessary to play that adventure. The campaign opens with the player characters traveling on board the ice hauler Abzu’s Bounty, either as passengers or crew. From there, they become embroiled in a solar system-wide conspiracy. The story parallels that of the crew of the Rocinante as the player characters battle against shadowy forces

from Earth, Mars, and the Belt as they track down a sample of protomolecule. Over the course of the campaign they are aided by a mysterious benefactor and face off against trained assassins as they chase after the protomolecule. In the end, they are forced to make hard decisions in an attempt to save themselves and perhaps even humanity itself. In the opening chapter, they have the opportunity to acquire their own ship. They get to explore many locations throughout the system, from a small mining colony on Prometheus, to the pleasure domes of Titan, and to Mars and Luna. Each location provides additional information about those places that can be used in your own stories. The campaign is designed to be run in full, or a GM can pick and choose which aspects to include in their own campaign. Abzu’s Bounty is developed and partially written by Ian Lemke (developer of Changeling: The Dreaming, and writer for Earth Dawn, Star Trek Adventures, Blue Rose, and The Expanse RPG) as well

as lead designer of The Expanse RPG Steve Kenson (Modern AGE, Mutants & Masterminds, Blue Rose, Shadowrun). It also features adventures written by several talented writers including Kate Baker (writer for many Pathfinder supplements), Crystal Frasier (developer for Mutants & Masterminds and writer on many Pathfinder and Starfinder supplements), Will Sobel (writer Blue Rose and Modern AGE), and Nichole Winchester (writer/designer on The Expanse RPG and 7th Sea).

Abzu’s Bounty Features · Six linked adventures that form a full campaign in The Expanse universe. · Descriptions of numerous exciting locations, including Luna, Mars, Titan, Prometheus, Callisto, and Ceres. · Details on all of the ships and NPCs features in the adventures. · Incredible new artwork in The Expanse setting.

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Adventure Across A Thousand realities The first original setting for the Modern AGE roleplaying game, Threefold presents a vast Metacosm able to support virtually any character concept—even any genre—within it.

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o t t n a W r u o y l l a live

Think you have what it takes to be a part of a spectacle so grand, it can only be called... the Supershow?

T S E D L I W G N I L T S WRE ? S E I S A FANT

With just 1 box set 2 players can choose from 4 of the toughest, most unique competitors the sport has to offer. Roll dice and wrestle with leads, follow ups, and finishes for a chance to roll through the competition!

The Supershow offers much more than just a game. Be a part of the best gaming community in the world, participate in live events and play in the online arena on twitch.TV/SRGUNIVERSE.

Who knows... you could even be the next LFF champion.

Well then sit down at the table, step into the ring, and try and keep your opponent down for the three count in Supershow, The Game. This fast-paced, back-and-forth wrestling dice and card game has the feel and excitement of a live wrestling match. Be warned, what you will experience will feel just like a real wrestling match. Do not slam your opponent through a table or hit them with a chair, it is just a game and a very good one at that. In fact, it has the highest rating of any wrestling game on Board Game Geek. THIS GAME HAS TAKEN ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN, with federations, factions, and competitors from all over the world. These players link up at local stores, online leagues, twitch streams, discord channels, conventions, and even wrestling shows. The best part? The Supershow is affordable and takes only 5 minutes to learn. Check out this video where the SRG Boss gives you a rundown on how to play a singles match of Supershow. After 1 match you will be able to play it forward and teach someone else how to play. VIDEO LINK HERE --------------> SRG universe offers a “New Retailer Package” on RetailSRGUniverse.com which gets you everything you need to start a Supershow Wrestling Promotion in your store. Once you pick this up the SRG Universe team will work with you to get Supershow rolling in your store by sending you event guidelines and draw local players to your store. They might even show up for an event! To them, and me, Supershow is more than a game, it’s a wrestling experience for all involved. The fun and engaging community connects thousands of Supershow players all over the world and encourages consistent fun and competitive play. Plus, on top of that, the community comes off as one big family and is simply awesome to be a part of. Come see for yourself and Join the discussion by liking their Facebook page. --------------------> Welcome to the Legendary Fighting Federation! Home of the Supershow, the Number 1 Wrestling Experience in the World. We have gathered the world’s greatest and kicked the Jabronis to the curb in this exciting back-and-forth dice and card game.

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GAMA

news

In Memoriam GAMA Founder Rick Loomis We are sorry to report that Rick Loomis passed on August 23, 2019. Rick was one of the founding members of GAMA and helped guide this association to the benefit of its members during his repeated time on the Board as President. Even after he stepped down from that role for the last time, he remained a valued Emeritus member, as his pride in the industry and GAMA itself never waned. Without him, it is doubtful if GAMA would even exist. Most gamers recognize Rick as the owner of Flying Buffalo, or recognize his design work in countless games, including the Origins Award winner

Starweb. Here are just a few of the overwhelming comments expressing love and appreciation for the many ways Rick touched the lives of gamers and colleagues everywhere. Because of him we discovered that there was more than Monopoly. He was the reason we Joined GAMA. - Mark Owen, Sundance Cards

Gaming would not be the phenomenon that it is today without the tireless, patient work of Rick Loomis. If you are reading this, you have benefitted from his dedication. - Steve Jackson, Steve Jackson Games His work with GAMA has been a blessing to all those involved with wanting to create their own games, not only now, but when doing so was less than an easy task! - James Eisert, Dungeonrunner

Though his name will be remembered in the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame, we believe his legacy will be honored best by recognizing like-minded and likeactioned individuals and organizations with the Rick Loomis Service Award.

The GAMA Board of Directors will consider nominees for this award and choose recipients on a merit basis. The inaugural recipient(s) will be announced during the Keynote Luncheon on Monday, March 9 at GAMA Trade Show 2020. To nominate a candidate for this award, please complete the submission form here: http://bit.ly/RickLoomis

If you would like to pay your respects, there will be a public memorial service for Rick held on October 19, 2019 at 11am at the United Methodist Church in Scottsdale, AZ. Memorial donations can still be made to benefit Rick’s family at www.gofundme.com/f/help-gaminglegend-rick-loomis

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GAMA

news

Why attend GAMA Trade Show? Board games are all about interacting with other people, so it’s no surprise that game industry professionals find ways to work together at every opportunity. You constantly come across your peers brainstorming ideas on social media or discussing shared concerns at conventions. It happens everywhere and all the time. GAMA offers this collaboration annually at the GAMA Trade Show, which attracts more than 2,000 industry professionals each year. The next GAMA Trade Show will be held March 9-12, 2020 in Reno, NV. Building Your Business Through Collaboration GAMA’s goal is to offer numerous opportunities to grow and improve your business. You will take away a notebook bursting at the seams with new ideas. We make this happen in three different ways:

education, networking, and hands-on experience. In 2019, we held more than 200 hours of seminars and presentations focusing on retailer-, publisher-, designer-, and industry-focused topics. This is an invaluable way to discuss important aspects of the industry and share experiences with your peers. All members are encouraged to participate and can submit seminar topics for consideration online through November 29, 2019. The Exhibit Hall is always bustling with activity with nearly 200 booths to visit over the course of the conference. This is an excellent opportunity for both retailers and publishers to discuss how their products are performing on shelves, how new programs are being rolled out, and how to continue supporting each other in the future.

In the evenings, event rooms will still be full as demo nights are held until the late hours. Demo new products before you order, get tips on how to demo, and discover hidden treasures. A different selection of publishers and categories, ranging from board games to miniatures games to role-playing games, will be participating. Make sure to attend the Origins Awards Showcase on Thursday night, where the nominees for 2020 will be announced and available to play! Registration Opens This Fall In 2019, we sold out of retailer badges, so make sure you don’t miss out this year by visiting www. gamatradeshow.com. Registration is expected to open in November.

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GAMA

news

GAMA Retail Member Benefits Retailers are a core aspect of the game industry and the largest portion of our membership base. Without them, publishers would have difficulty bringing their games to non-local players and distributors wouldn’t exist. GAMA is proud to offer an evergrowing selection of benefits to support the industry tier that supports us all!

@teamcovenant

Networking In this day and age, it is increasingly easier to connect with other like-minded professionals. However, GAMA facilitates that even more by providing members with multiple in-person and online networking opportunities. As soon as you join, you have direct access to the membership directory, which lists the contact information for other members that may become great partners to your business. You are also encouraged to join the official Facebook Group (facebook.com/groups/mygama) to collaborate with other members in a faster and more casual manner. Most beneficial, however, is the opportunity to meet with your peers in-person at the GAMA Trade Show (GTS) in March. More than 2,000 representatives from member companies congregate to exchange ideas, lessons, and advice during this week-long event. Each member receives two free tickets to this event, bringing you one step closer to success.

@alderac

Education In addition to networking, GAMA Trade Show also boasts more than 200 hours of scheduled seminars led by experts at every

level of the industry. Discover what new programs publishers are offering, learn from the experience of your retail peers, or even host your own seminar (submissions are open through November 29 at gamatradeshow.com)! This type of growth is also offered at Trade Day during Origins Game Fair in June. GAMA provides two free tickets to this show as well, encouraging you to take advantage of the retailer-only programming. The learning doesn’t stop there! GAMA also hosts a variety of webinars online for you to enjoy at your leisure. These webinars cover topics such as marketing tips, tax code deepdives, and code of conducts. Select seminars given at GTS will also be shared online shortly after the 2020 show. Around the Table, the complimentary quarterly publication you’re currently reading, is another opportunity to grow your business without all the travel! We’re giving a voice to all GAMA members and industry experts who have insights and information to share. If you have a topic you’d like to cover through a webinar or article, please email media@gama.org!

Programs GAMA also offers a wide selection of professional programs to support your business, including credit card processing, retirement plans, and more. Arguably the most exciting program is the highly-requested industry-wide health insurance program, on schedule to have enrollment open in by the end of the year, with benefits available in Q1 2020. There are also smaller programs announced frequently, like the Winter Wishlist (see more on the following page) and other seasonal ordering guides. Above all, we are dedicated to continuing to grow the list of member benefits. The GAMA Retail Division (GRD) is available to help facilitate this and to project retailers’ voices within the association. If there are aspects of your business needing support, contact media@gama.org to request official GAMA involvement. Elections are approaching in March; think about the change you’d like to see and consider running for a position within the GRD!

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GAMA

news

Winter Wishlist The most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year for retailers is approaching and the GAMA Retail Division would love to lend a helping hand to your winter holiday ordering efforts! We have asked GAMA Publisher Members to participate in the 2019 Winter Wishlist and recommend their top three products in the categories listed below to assist you in parsing through the countless games currently available. Hot Through the Holiday - These titles are recent releases that are expected to have solid sell-through during and past the holiday sales season. They will be in-stock by November 1, 2019. Evergreen Titles - These titles may have released months or years ago, but are proven sellers in the publisher’s catalog. They will be in-stock by September 15, 2019.

Holiday or Winter Themed - These titles have a holiday and/or winter theme that would make a great addition to your themed displays. They will be in-stock by September 15, 2019. Helpful information, such as the publisher’s website, sales contact, and best method of ordering product will be listed for each participating publisher. The full list of GAMA Distributor members is also included at the end of the document. For any publishers that list “Distro” as their preferred method of sales, consider inquiring about stock with any of the companies listed. While this Wishlist was originally shared in early September, we would be more than happy to share the pdf with you again. Simply visit www.bit.ly/GAMA19WW to view and download the Winter Wishlist. We hope this becomes a valuable resource for you and provides new professional connections for your business!

You used to be a spy, backed up by the full strength of the shadow state. Then you asked the wrong questions, and found out the truth. You found vampires – and got burned. Now, you’re all alone against them.

One player. One Gamemaster. Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops brings the GUMSHOE One-2-One game engine, designed for the gripping intensity of head-to-head play, to the spy thriller genre, combining the propulsive paranoia of movies like Ronin and The Bourne Identity with supernatural horror straight out of Bram Stoker. Create your own Agent, or take on the role of Leyla Khan – an ex-MI6 officer who must confront her own half-remembered past as the vampires’ thrall. We’ll give you the tools you need to battle the undead, alone. But will it be enough?

Buy it now through your distributor, or get more details at www.pelgranepress.com fall 2019 • AROUND THE table 73 PelgranePressAdWRK.indd 1

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INDEX OF advertisers Company............................................................................................... website

adverstory page......... ad page

Andrews McMeel Universal.................publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com....................................... 30..................29, 31 Anvil Eight Games................................................................. anvil-eight.com....................................... 56........................57 Arcane Wonders............................................................ arcanewonders.com....................................... 34........................35 Best Coast Pairings...................................................bestcoastpairings.com....................................... 64........................65 Big Kid Games..............................................................playbigkidgames.com...................................................................46 Blocker Board Games.......................................... blockerboardgames.com...................................................................15 Brotherwise Games................................................brotherwisegames.com..................................................................... 6 Cephalofair Games............................................................... cephalofair.com....................................... 39.................. 40-41 D-Verse Publishing...................................................................... d-verse.com....................................... 36....................... C2 Elf Creek Games.............................................................. elfcreekgames.com....................................... 22........................23 Floodgate Games......................................................... floodgategames.com....................................... 37..................14, 77 Game Rustlers.................................................................... gamerustlers.com....................................... 18........................19 Green Ronin Publishing......................................................greenronin.com....................................... 66........................67 IELLO USA.......................................................................................iellousa.com....................................... 47....................... C4 Indie Boards & Cards.........................................indieboardsandcards.com....................................... 24........................25 Keymaster Games......................................................keymastergames.com....................................... 42........................43 KTBG/Burnt Island Games.................................................kidstablebg.com....................................... 16........................17 Lucky Duck Games..................................................... luckyduckgames.com....................................... 38.......................... 4 Modiphius Entertainment........................................www.modiphius.com....................................... 32........................33 Parallel Games Inc................................................ parallelboardgames.com...................................................................45 Peachstate Hobby Distribution........................................ phdgames.com....................................... 78....................... C3 Pegasus Spiele....................................................................Pegasus-web.com....................................... 48........................49 Pelgrane Press..................................................................pelgranepress.com...................................................................73 Renegade Game Studios............................................renegadegames.com................................. 50-51....................... C1 Ringtail CafĂŠ Productions..................................................ringtailcafe.com....................................... 62........................63 SRG Universe..........................................................................srguniverse.com....................................... 68........................69 Steve Jackson Games...............................................................sjgames.com....................................... 58........................59 Van Ryder Games...........................................................vanrydergames.com....................................... 10........................11 VRGames / VR-Soft.com............................................................... vr-soft.com...................................................................75

To advertise, contact Ashley Cavanagh at 315-789-0473

Issue 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter

Deadline December 20, 2019 March 27 June 26 September 25

Mailing Date February 7, 2020 May 8 August 7 November 6

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GAMA

news

2019 ESSENtial Retailer Summit Returns to SPIEL The ESSENtial Retailer Summit is returning to the Internationale Spietale in Essen, Germany for its third annual event. Hosted by GAMA, major publishers and retailers will have the opportunity to grow their businesses by forming new relationships across the globe. Publishers will be showing off new releases, sharing sneak peeks of future titles, and offering information on retailer-specific programs and news. Participating retailers are encouraged to open a dialogue with publishers and form lasting professional connections. The 2019 ESSENtial Retailer Summit will be held on Friday, October 25th from 4pm to 7pm (GMT+2) in Room M of the Congress Center South. Retailers are encouraged to RSVP to the event via this link as there is limited space available: www.surveymonkey.com/r/ Q8NXR5T. If you are unable to attend in person, you can instead post your burning questions in the Facebook event linked on the

GAMA Facebook page. Answers will be shared by GAMA and participating publishers after the close of SPIEL.

2019 ESSENtial Retailer Summit schedule: 16:00 - 16:15 16:20 - 16:40 16:45 - 17:05 17:10 - 17:30 17:35 - 17:55 18:00 - 18:20 18:25 - 18:45

Intro by GAMA CMON Renegade Game Studios WizKids IELLO Steve Jackson Games Alderac Entertainment Group

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NEW

members

Publisher/Manufacturer Black Oak Workshop PO Box 508 Talking Rock, GA 30175 (706) 299-0205 craig@blackoakworkshop.com www.blackoakworkshop.com BoardGameTables.com 15621 W. 87th St. Pkwy #133 Lenexa, KS 66219 (618) 623-8464 help@boardgametables.com www.boardgametables.com Elderwood Academy 6087 Jackson Rd, STE 200 Ann Arbor, MI 48103 (734) 657-1665 info@elderwoodacademy.com www.elderwoodacademy.com Exocrate Games 2981 Sandpiper Pl Clearwater, FL 33762 (530) 209-0234 exocrategames@gmail.com www.exocrategames.com Gameplaywright 1160 County Road C2 W. Roseville, MN 55113 (323) 253-6258 jeff@gameplaywright.net www.gameplaywright.net Hrothgar’s Hoard 10795 Dowler Ridge Rd New Marshfield, OH 45766 (740) 590-7757 hrothgarshoard@gmail.com www.facebook.com/hrothgarshoard Inside Up Games PO Box 26033, RPO Memorial Thunder Bay, ON P7B 0B2 (807) 708-5443 info@insideupgames.com www.insideupgames.com Kids Table Board Gaming 169 Maplewood Ave Toronto ON M6C 1J8 (416) 629-5650 kidstablebg@gmail.com www.kidstablebg.com Ringtail Café Productions 9633 Fallsridge Ct Cincinnati, OH 45231 (859) 992-3554 group@ringtailcafe.com www.ringtailcafe.com

TeeTurtle 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd STE PH-2B Saint Louis, MO 63117 (314) 449-9669 wholesale@teeturtle.com www.teeturtle.com Thing 12 Games PO Box 1225 Monroe, WA 98272 (650) 580-6301 thing12.games@gmail.com www.facebook.com/thing12games TNT Laser Works 22 ½ Pershing Ave NW Leesburg, VA 20176 (571) 214-7517 contact@tntlaserworks.com www.tntlaserworks.com TTCombat 350 Elm St Chelsea, MI 48118 (313) 920-2944 info@ttcombat.com www.ttcombat.com Twin City Games 320 N. Broad St. Windston-Salem, NC 27101 (301) 514-1617 cody@twincitygames.com www.twincitygames.com The WitchBorn Corporation 821 Abbey Drive Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 (630) 605-1813 cory@witchborn.com www.witchborn.com

Retailer 3 Gear Studios 8600 Foundry St STE 60334/35/36, Box 2062 Savage, MD 20763 (443) 604-3578 3geargames@gmail.com www.3geargames.com B Side Games 2525 E. 29th St STE 9 Spokane, WA 99223 (509) 559-5105 thepyman1@yahoo.com www.bsidegamesandpuzzles.com Blue Bridge Games 954 Fulton St. E. Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 427-3585 info@bluebridgegames.com www.bluebridgegames.com

FireBunny Games 115 Amber Blvd Auburndale, FL 33823 (863) 662-1124 firebunnycrafts@hotmail.com www.firebunnygames.com

Ravenous Wolf 40 Lake Bellevue Dr #100 Bellevue, WA 98005 (425) 256-3080 doug.ferguson@ravenouswolf.games www.ravenouswolf.games

Odyssey Games 524 Frederick St N. Lancaster, OH 43130 (216) 633-9096 dfriess@odysseygamesltd.com www.odysseygamesltd.com

Roll With Advantage 9726 28th Ave SW Seattle, WA 98126 (206) 409-6699 marie@rollwithadvantage.com www.remotecontrollers.net

Pandemonium 6033 Middlebelt Rd Garden City, MI 48135 (734) 427-2451 managers@pandemonium-online.com www.pandogames.com

Shanghai Hopes Game lily.white@hopes.intl.com

Pegasus Publishing 494 County Rd 4534 Whitewright, TX 75491 (903) 989-5351 pegpub@gmail.com www.pegasuspublishing.com Pens & More 48 Elks Rd Richmond, IN 47374 (765) 939-6019 pensandmore@msn.com Industry Service Provider CardCastle Level 5, 1 Moore St Canberra, ACT 2601 AU contact@cardcastle.co www.cardcastle.co D6 Publisher Resources 15 Coach Liteway North York, ON M2R 3J8 (647) 234-3823 tyler@d6dist.com www.d6publisherresources.com Indie Game Developer Network 4283 W. 92nd Pl Merrilville, IN 46410 (219) 384-8046 conventions@igdnonline.com www.igdnonline.com Legacy of Play 4219 Alice St Bellingham, WA 98226 (508) 654-8479 hello@legacyofplay.com www.legacyofplay.com One for All Events 427 N. Bentz St Frederick, MD 21701 (240) 455-5667 hi@oneforall.events www.oneforall.events

York-Jersey Underwriters 185 Newman Springs Rd Tinton Falls, NJ 07724 (732) 842-2012 bobwitkin@york-jersey.com www.toy-insurance.com

Media/Event Organization Pacificon Game Expo 3564 Preble Ave Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 218-9590 gabriel@pacificongameexpo.com www.pacifongameexpo.com Spikey Bits PO Box 2225 Southern Pine, NC 28387 (757) 528-2487 support@spikeybits.com www.spikeybits.com

Independent Designer, Artist, or Author Forest Rose Productions PO Box 1948 17265 Colonial Park Dr Monument, CO 80132 (719) 487-0435 jcjjones@a-strange-journey.com www.forest-rose-productions.com Richard Ing 830 Old Lancaster Rd STE 306 Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 ricking@me.com Youngdale Productions 3251 W. Coretz St. Phoenix, AZ 85029 (480) 748-8311 clashofsteel@yahoo.com www.clashofsteel.us

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GAMA

news

GAMA Committees As the list of GAMA benefits and programs expands, we are highlighting opportunities for members to get involved and share their voice, the most recognizable being the various committees that help guide the association.

Marketing Expansion Committee This newly-established committee, chaired by board member Alan Hochman of GamerMats, is organized to: 1. Research the most effective and efficient marketing and outreach methods to (A) promote the play of tabletop games and (B) increase the number of people who regularly play games, and 2. Make concrete recommendations by April 30, 2020 to the Board for the deployment of Association resources to implement these methods at scale over a two-year implementation period.

Education Advisory Committee The first official meeting was held on September 18th. Daniel Zayas of LongPack Games has been named chair of the Education Advisory Committee. He will be working closely with Melissa Jacobs, GAMA Education Manager, and the rest of the committee to create content that educates, informs, and inspires the entire membership. GAMA would like to add two additional publishers to the roster to help better serve all segments of the industry. Please send an email to melissa@gama.org if you are interested.

Site Selection Committee During Trade Show this year, we announced the formation of a Site Selection Committee to explore options for future locations of the show once

our current contract with the Peppermill expires in 2021. Since then, the committee has met regularly and is moving full steam ahead with its deliberations. The committee has created a request for proposal (RFP) document outlining our requirements including an international airport, exhibit hall size, meeting space rooms, hotel block with preferred nightly rates, and food and beverage options. The RFP has been sent to the Visitor and Convention Bureaus of select cities which will have the opportunity to provide information on available properties and amenities to help us narrow our search. To get involved in future committees or other opportunities, please contact Executive Director John Stacy at john.stacy@gama.org.

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How

Organized Play Can Save Your Store

by Roderick Edwards – Director of Organized Play for Peachstate Hobby Distribution (PHD)

B

ack in the day, the local hobby store was a bastion of the obscure. Chit-based strategy games and role-playing games filled the shelves alongside model trains and radio-controlled cars. Enthusiasts from miles around felt like they had found their sanctuary. Well, long gone are the days of opening a local hobby store, stocking the shelves with cool nerd gear and waiting for the community to discover you. Today, nearly every item that you stock can be found cheaper online, and your potential customer doesn’t even have to leave their home to get it. As PHD’s Director of Organized Play, I have been asked by many retailers, “How can I compete with that?” The short answer is, “You can’t.” You can’t afford to sell everything in your store at 20- to 50-percent off and still keep the lights on. To entice customers to visit (and return) to your establishment, you need to build your store’s value in the local gaming community. “How do I do that?” you may ask. The answer is organized play.

What Is Organized Play? Psychology Dictionary defines organized play (or O.P.), as “play which is ordered, overseen by rules, and managed or directed by another person, like an educator, group leader, or therapy professional.” While this clinical definition is pretty dry, I am citing it to help you understand what it means. Because of the way it has been used in the past, most hobby retailers associate that phrase with competitive tournament play, probably centered around a trading card game. In truth, any gaming event that is scheduled and provides some sort of structure and guidance for the participants should be considered organized play. Why is this definition important? Mainly because it helps if everyone is using the same vernacular. I have found that this is often a common initial barrier to discussing how to improve a retailer’s organized-play program.

How Can O.P. Help Me? Earlier this year, PHD hosted our Speed Gaming Expo and Open House in Central Florida. During the Speed Gaming portion of the event, retailers got to participate in a demo with a game company’s representative for just 20 minutes before jumping to the next table and experienced another game. The excitement is palpable and, more importantly, memorable. Ultimately, that is the key to a successful organized play event. Today’s gamer is looking for an enjoyable social experience. They want to meet like-minded people and share their activities and memories with friends, both in person and on social media. By cultivating your store to become a destination location in your community, you are providing them with that place; a place that is welcoming and allows them to be themselves. This concept is also known as “third place theory.” In his book The Great Good Place,

author Ray Oldenburg argues that in a community, everyone has a first place, usually their home, a second place, usually work or school, and a third place – an “anchor,” or a home away from home where people can play and relax in an environment that is free of judgement. Your store needs to be that “third place.” By successfully achieving this goal, you will significantly increase sales.

Five Steps to Kicking off the Awesome

“Okay. How do I begin making my store the destination location in my community?” you may ask. By creating fun, interactive, social events in your store. Here is the down-and-dirty version to get you started. 1. Make Space for Your Players – If you have the square footage, set aside some space in a highly-visible location and fill it with sturdy tables and chairs. Even if your space is limited, you owe it to your business to create a comfortable communal play space. If necessary, consider keeping your space flexible by adding wheels to free-standing floor racks. 2. Start with What’s Working – If your Friday night TCG event is firing for you, or your board game demo events on Sunday nights are rocking, work around these initially. In fact, be sure to mention other events during successful turnouts. These folks are already fans of what you are doing. 3. Know Your Community – If a competitor is hosting a particular TCG event on Wednesdays and that is something you want to do, find another night. Passionate fans will play a game more than once a week. Also, be aware of community events and their timing. That way, you can avoid them or capitalize on them. 4. Promote, Promote, Promote – Use your store’s website, social media accounts, email contact list, and in-store bulletin board to maximize your exposure. Don’t forget to give folks a chance to plan ahead. Two weeks to a month advanced notice is usually best. Also, make sure that you and your staff discuss in-store events with customers related to their purchases. Finally, scheduling ahead of time allows you to check your stock levels on whatever you’re running. So, customers can grab the product when the impulse hits them. 5. Be a Champion for the Cause – When you roll out a new schedule of events, not every one of them is going to take off on the first day. Despite all of your efforts, it may take time for customers to respond. Give them time to discover your event and make space in their schedule. A month should suffice. After that, try a different night or a different event.

Tying It All Together By supporting a healthy organized-play program in your store, you will drive traffic and sales to your door. Organized play participants are involved. They’re playing. They’re socializing. They’re learning. They’re teaching. With that level of investment, they are happier to support your establishment because you have allowed them to be part of a larger community that you have cultivated for them. The old adage, “The bestselling game is the one you’re playing in your store right now,” was never truer. In-store play provides a kind of tactile, personal interaction that breaks down barriers in ways that an online purchase never could.

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T


PHDGAMES.COM

PHD Celebrates 15 Years Now with over 15 years of experience, PHD has become a leader in U.S. game and hobby distribution and we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the stores that made it possible. PHD will continue to provide a full line of TCGs, Miniatures, Board Games, Card Games, Sports Cards, and RPGs, as well as Comic, Gaming, and Hobby Supplies. With experienced staff and personalized organized-play support, we willl do what it takes to help you grow your business.

THE PULSE OF THE GAME INDUSTRY FOR 15 YEARS

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UNEARTH

#1 BGG GeekBuzz Gen Con Leader Board

Pre-Order Now iellousa.com Don't forget to claim your FREE Locally listing to be featured on the store locator on our website.

©802019 IELLO USA, LLC and• Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon and their logos are trademarks of IELLO. All rights reserved. AROUND THE table fall 2019

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Profile for Fahy-Williams Publishing

Around the Table Fall 2019  

Around the Table Fall 2019