Store owner complains about Kickstarter and Twitter and D&D

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I understand the OP's sentiment, but I don't see it happening. I've never seen a crowdfunded title offered for sale at a brick-and-mortar bookstore or game shop, and I spend a good amount of time shopping around in gaming stores. I don't think the two groups of products are in competition with each other.

Come to think of it, I've never seen more than one or two indie games on the shelf at all, crowdfunded or otherwise. Dungeons & Dragons, obviously. Pathfinder, sure. Call of Cthulhu or Numenera, maybe, if it's a really big store. But Wanderhome? Humblewood? Dread? I've never seen them. The only time I've ever seen an indie RPG of any kind on the shelf of a gaming store was when I found a copy of Mouseguard at Guardian Games, and that was more than a decade ago.
 

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Zaukrie

New Publisher
I understand the OP's sentiment, but I don't see it happening. I've never seen a crowdfunded title offered for sale at a brick-and-mortar bookstore or game shop, and I spend a good amount of time shopping around in gaming stores. I don't think the two groups of products are in competition with each other.

Come to think of it, I've never seen more than one or two indie games on the shelf at all, crowdfunded or otherwise. Dungeons & Dragons, obviously. Pathfinder, sure. Call of Cthulhu or Numenera, maybe, if it's a really big store. But Wanderhome? Humblewood? Dread? I've never seen them. The only time I've ever seen an indie RPG of any kind on the shelf of a gaming store was when I found a copy of Mouseguard at Guardian Games, and that was more than a decade ago.
Your game stores don't carry Kobold Press or Monte Cook games at all? bummer.
Wait, you live in Portland and are saying you've never seen a crowdfunded game (or is that not the Guardian in Portland)? Because I have in Portland for sure.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Come to think of it, I've never seen more than one or two indie games on the shelf at all, crowdfunded or otherwise. Dungeons & Dragons, obviously. Pathfinder, sure. Call of Cthulhu or Numenera, maybe, if it's a really big store. But Wanderhome? Humblewood? Dread? I've never seen them. The only time I've ever seen an indie RPG of any kind on the shelf of a gaming store was when I found a copy of Mouseguard at Guardian Games, and that was more than a decade ago.
To be fair to the OP he's not talking about indie games at all - the companies he name drops specifically are Chaosium, Pinnacle, ArcDream and Modiphius. All of which have had strong kickstarter strategies, all of which are perceived as "big companies" in the RPG business, and all of which are probably operated on much more of a shoestring and move fewer units overall than we might all think they do.
 

There are a number of excellent game stores that have been able to branch out into RPGs, Board Games, snacks & soda, food & beer, comics, gaming space, and collectables. Having the multiple revenue streams I can only guess greatly increases overhead but allows for a more stable, predictable income. Guardian Games in Portland and Mox Cafe in Seattle come to mind as examples. I've seen both have Kickstarted product, although I must admit that I haven't been to either in some time.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
There are a number of excellent game stores that have been able to branch out into RPGs, Board Games, snacks & soda, food & beer, comics, gaming space, and collectables. Having the multiple revenue streams I can only guess greatly increases overhead but allows for a more stable, predictable income. Guardian Games in Portland and Mox Cafe in Seattle come to mind as examples. I've seen both have Kickstarted product, although I must admit that I haven't been to either in some time.
Guardian has plenty of KS games in stock.

Not every city allows stores to sell food or beer, especially beer....
 

payn

Legend
There are a number of excellent game stores that have been able to branch out into RPGs, Board Games, snacks & soda, food & beer, comics, gaming space, and collectables. Having the multiple revenue streams I can only guess greatly increases overhead but allows for a more stable, predictable income. Guardian Games in Portland and Mox Cafe in Seattle come to mind as examples. I've seen both have Kickstarted product, although I must admit that I haven't been to either in some time.
Having as diverse and disparate a product selection as possible seems to be a key to success for stores in my area.
 

To be fair to the OP he's not talking about indie games at all - the companies he name drops specifically are Chaosium, Pinnacle, ArcDream and Modiphius. All of which have had strong kickstarter strategies, all of which are perceived as "big companies" in the RPG business, and all of which are probably operated on much more of a shoestring and move fewer units overall than we might all think they do.

My perception is that in the RPG market; D&D is Coke and Pepsi, Pathfinder is RC, and the rest of the publishers are any other type of cola.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
So if I finish a product, can I bring it to all the game stores and they will pop it on their shelves?

Or do I need to sell 100,000 copies first ?
 

So if I finish a product, can I bring it to all the game stores and they will pop it on their shelves?

Or do I need to sell 100,000 copies first ?
If you have 100 copies of professional looking product, I think you have a decent chance of driving around to 20 stores and getting 5 copies on their shelves, each. It will take a little wheeling and dealing, negotiating on what the retailer's cut is, and when you will come back to collect unsold copies. It would behoove you to be well dressed and groomed, smiling, with a gracious presentation. Doing a little research with some retailers ahead of time to give you reasonable expectations would be helpful as well.

There are a lot of boxes to check in the previous paragraph, which is strangely difficult for many people to perform.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
If you have 100 copies of professional looking product, I think you have a decent chance of driving around to 20 stores and getting 5 copies on their shelves, each. It will take a little wheeling and dealing, negotiating on what the retailer's cut is, and when you will come back to collect unsold copies. It would behoove you to be well dressed and groomed, smiling, with a gracious presentation. Doing a little research with some retailers ahead of time to give you reasonable expectations would be helpful as well.

There are a lot of boxes to check in the previous paragraph, which is strangely difficult for many people to perform.
Really, I had no idea it worked that way, for some reason I assumed most stores only work with specific (big) publishers.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Really, I had no idea it worked that way, for some reason I assumed most stores only work with specific (big) publishers.
Big chain stores, yes. But most gaming stores are small businesses where you can often find the owner working behind the counter. If they like your product they might make space for it on the shelf right then and there.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
My perception is that in the RPG market; D&D is Coke and Pepsi, Pathfinder is RC, and the rest of the publishers are any other type of cola.
I think it's close to that. D&D is Coke and Pepsi. Pathfinder is RC. Other RPG companies are the regional soft drinks that you've only heard of if you happen to live in an area where it's a thing, but if you're a fan you're hardcore about it (feel free to argue which companies are the "Moxie" or the "Sundrop" or the "Cheerwine" of RPG producers).
 

MGibster

Legend
I think it's close to that. D&D is Coke and Pepsi. Pathfinder is RC. Other RPG companies are the regional soft drinks that you've only heard of if you happen to live in an area where it's a thing, but if you're a fan you're hardcore about it (feel free to argue which companies are the "Moxie" or the "Sundrop" or the "Cheerwine" of RPG producers).
Tunnels and Trolls is Moxie. Like Moxie, we recognize the importance of T&T to RPG history, but we sure as hell don't want to drink it.
 



aramis erak

Legend
Sorry, it is hard to feel sorry for my local gaming store when I asked them to order some Call of Cthulhu books for me and they refused. I had even offered to prepay. Only interested in D&D and Pathfinder, plus those books had to be from major publishers. I understanding not wanting to get stuck with inventory that you cannot sell, I was offering cash in advance for produce.
It's quite possible that it's a matter of not wanting to open an account with yet another distributor. While the US largely is Wizards, Asmodee, Alliance, and Diamond, there are some secondary distributors.

Note that Wizards discourages secondary distribution. From what I can gather, so do Paizo and Asmodee. For many smaller stores, direct from wizards is both a much better margin, and most likely to sell... a double whammy... Likewise, Paizo does carry some other people's things, but again, Paizo as distributor is pretty narrow. But they'll cut a nice discount on their CCG/CSG, their boardgames, and their RPGs by ordering direct, and those products are second most likely to sell.
Adding a new distributor isn't free - it's several hours to set up, minimum, and learning the distributor's interface, and establishing the needed payment routes.

At the end of the day, if the shop doesn't expect to be selling multiple things over the next year from that distributor, it's not worth the staff time for a single special order.

Now one service a couple cmic stores and game stores have done in the past is a "receiving service" - the store lets you order product to be delivered to them, prepaid by you, and they receive and hold it for a nominal fee. The guys I knew making use of this were an underwater welding inspector (deployed for up to 3 weeks at a shot - saturation dives in the Bering), some infantrymen (172 Inf and 501 Inf) because of frequent TDYs for training, and a bunch of commercial fishermen and factory vessel workers.
Your game stores don't carry Kobold Press or Monte Cook games at all? bummer.
Wait, you live in Portland and are saying you've never seen a crowdfunded game (or is that not the Guardian in Portland)? Because I have in Portland for sure.
Guardian Games is in Portland Oregon. And I've seen several KS items on their shelves from the KS puchase, and restocks as well. I live about 2 hours drive away, and have only sporadically hit GG... It is important to realize, tho', that there are over a dozen other game stores in Portland, plus Powell's Books & Barnes and Noble, in the greater Portland area which all carry games. One can be excused for not realizing one of the 5 largest game stores in the country is across town. I know about it because of a buddy in Portland who happens to spend more than he likes there... :) Also, Guardian remained open during the lockdown...

B&N carries Wizards', Paizo's, and Asmodee's RPGs, and boardgames from those three.

Now, I will say this: WalMart's been stepping up the gamers' games in the brick side... Albany OR Walmart (Goldfish Farm Road) has TTR, Catan, and more. Target has a deal with SJG. (My nearest target is in Albany, my nearest super-walmart is in Albany, my nearest B&N is in Albany, my nearest game store is decidedly unfriendly, and the second nearest is my FLGS... at over 20 miles.

And all of them, including Wal*Mart, and Target, except maybe B&N and Powells, carry CCGs.

So if I finish a product, can I bring it to all the game stores and they will pop it on their shelves?

Or do I need to sell 100,000 copies first ?
Every games store I've talked to about it will do a consignment with a "returned postage if not sold" agreement. That's only like 5. Across 3 states. (3 in Anchorage AK, 1 in Corvallis OR, 1 in New Port Richey FL.)
What they won't do is keep them in stock across the inventory tax window, nor pay up front. This has lead to several interesting oddball small press games seeing the shelves...
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
It's quite possible that it's a matter of not wanting to open an account with yet another distributor. While the US largely is Wizards, Asmodee, Alliance, and Diamond, there are some secondary distributors.
Aren't Alliance and Diamond the same company? Or did Diamond spin Alliance back off and I missed it? (Diamond has been going through some issues over the past few years, so I will admit I might have missed it).
 

SAVeira

Explorer
It's quite possible that it's a matter of not wanting to open an account with yet another distributor. While the US largely is Wizards, Asmodee, Alliance, and Diamond, there are some secondary distributors.
Not in my case. They already had an account with a distributor that carried what I wanted. I ended up just purchasing directly from Chaosium. Figure that they have lost at least over a $1000 in sales in the last 5 years due that from me alone for CoC stuff. However, given that they are moving again for the fourth time, second time in years, I am think they are not great business people.
 

TwiceBorn2

Adventurer
To be fair to the OP he's not talking about indie games at all - the companies he name drops specifically are Chaosium, Pinnacle, ArcDream and Modiphius. All of which have had strong kickstarter strategies, all of which are perceived as "big companies" in the RPG business, and all of which are probably operated on much more of a shoestring and move fewer units overall than we might all think they do.
Strange that Chaosium was named. As far as I can tell, they only use Kickstarter for more niche or collector-oriented products, like their recent anniversary box set with cleaned-up reprints of earlier edition modules. The vast majority of their RPG products are not Kickstarted, and go directly into retail distribution.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Aren't Alliance and Diamond the same company? Or did Diamond spin Alliance back off and I missed it? (Diamond has been going through some issues over the past few years, so I will admit I might have missed it).
Yes, they have the same ownership, but no, technically, they're independent operational companies. With different retailer portals and content.
 

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