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Links: SPIEL 2016 Attendance, AEG Channels, & Brick-and-Mortar Pyramids

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
• Time to catch up on industry news both recent and aged, some of which has been sitting in the inbox for months waiting for me to put aside SPIEL-related info — which makes it somewhat ironic that I'll start this post with a SPIEL 2016 recap from convention organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag:

It was by far the largest and most successful SPIEL in the 34-year history of the event. 174,000 games fans and buyers (previous year 162,000) from all over the world came to see 1,021 exhibitor booths (previous year 911) from 50 different countries (previous year 41) and to negotiate license deals, as well as to view more than 1,200 of this year's new releases...

On all four days of the event the doors had to be opened before the actual start time in order to cope with the crowds of visitors. Early every morning there was exuberant expectation at the gates amongst those waiting in queues to discover the treasures inside the exhibition halls.

SPIEL'16 was more international than ever before: More than half of the 1,021 exhibitors this year were from outside Germany (60 percent). Exhibitors from countries such as Colombia, Azerbaijan and Macedonia joined traditionally well-represented nations like the United States, France and Poland.
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Morning crowd outside Hall 3; image provided by Merz Verlag

Board Game Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
• In September 2016, Alderac Entertainment Group published a description of its "channel relationships", from which I've excerpted the following:

Alderac Entertainment Group sells its products through a variety of sales channels. Our primary channel is the 3-tiered distribution system for tabletop hobby game products used in North America and Europe. In this channel, AEG sells to an authorized Distributor, who in turn sells to approved Retailers, who sell to consumers.

AEG reserves the right to determine to whom our approved distributors may sell our products. AEG provides our distribution partners with a House Accounts List and requires that they not do business with House Accounts unless authorized in writing beforehand by AEG.

AEG has set up the following Brand Protection Policy Guidelines so retailers who wish to carry AEG products know the expectations we have of a retailer who is representing our brands when offering to them to end consumers. AEG will make every effort to inform retailers who are not following the guidelines and allow them the opportunity to make changes.

Retailers AEG feels are not adhering to the policies or are somehow representing our brands in a way we do not feel is positive will be placed on our House Accounts List and permission for our authorized distributors to sell to those partners may be limited or revoked until AEG feels the problems have been resolved.

Internet Retail

We know that many brick & mortar stores now offer on-line ordering as a convenience to their customers and AEG supports those efforts.

Retailers that generate a substantial portion of their revenue from on-line sales will automatically be on the House Account list, and individual agreements will be made with authorized distributors to service those accounts.

The determination of how much business comprises a “substantial portion” will be made by AEG on a case by case basis.

Minimum Advertised Price Policies

AEG has established Minimum Advertised Prices for all its games.

The Minimum Advertised Price is the lowest amount a retailer can display to consumers for AEG products while purchasing those products from an authorized distributor. If a retailer consistently displays a price below the Minimum Advertised Price policy, that retailer will become a House Account.

AEG will also make retailers who participate in group ordering programs and similar promotions whereby AEG products are offered to consumers at deep discounts from the Suggested Retail Price House Accounts.

The Minimum Advertised Price policy exists to ensure that AEG can protect the integrity and value of its brands. This policy applies to advertised prices. Retailers can offer any price they wish at the point of sale.
AEG has posted a spreadsheet of available titles here, with the minimum advertised prices being 15% lower than the MSRP of those titles.

Board Game: Pyramid Arcade
Board Game Publisher: Looney Labs
• In August 2016, Looney Labs announced that Pyramid Arcade — the publication of which it funded via Kickstarter in May 2016, with the pledge for the complete game being $77 — would be available for purchase online solely through its own website and Marbles: The Brain Store. Looney Labs explains the decision to do this as follows:

At Looney Labs we create innovative, attractive, and above all, really fun tabletop card games and board games that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. We are a small business, and thus rely on the revenue we earn from sales of our games to enable us develop wonderful new products such as Pyramid Arcade. We are excited to work with our retailers for years to come to promote and sell Pyramid Arcade as an evergreen product in our small line of games.

To protect brand equity and help build consumer demand for Pyramid Arcade, we have unilaterally decided to focus our sales efforts (for this single SKU: LOO-074) through physical retail locations (including conventions), and thus only offer Pyramid Arcade ONLINE through a small set of Chosen Online Retailers.
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