The Wizard's Chest Top Selling Games of 2013 - A look into the mind of the casual gamer from the perspective of a game store
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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The Wizard's Chest is located in Denver, Colorado and has been in business for 32 years. The store is very different from your typical game store and is usually described more as a geek haven than a game store. We carry between 10,000 and 15,000 items (depending on the time of year) of which games make up only about a third of the total. In addition to games of all kinds we also carry toys, stuffed animals, magic tricks, comics, juggling equipment and other skill toys, puzzles and much more in addition to being a full service, year round costume shop. Despite all this we still manage to run your typical game store events like MtG, Pokemon, Heroclix, FFG LCG events, Pathfinder etc. and a few not so typical events like Chess Club and Juggling Club. We have hundreds of suppliers located around the world and we try to fill the store with the most unique and fun items we can get our hands on. We have a large staff of employees including makeup artists, costume specialists, two magicians and a street performer - in addition to people who know games. We are located in the heart of one of the most visited shopping districts in the greater Denver area which gives us a very broad spectrum of customers (including visitors from all over the world) . . . and a very unique view on the world of games.

Here is a picture of our store front:


The inspiration for this Geeklist came from the nice Geeklist recently posted by

James Cowling
Canada
Salmon Arm
BC
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I think I'm in the headspace to convert some of my library into food and gas.
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about his store in western Canada. Check out that list here: The Puzzle Factory -- Best-Sellers of 2013

I thought it was interesting that two very different stores in two completely different areas of North America could have so much in common when comparing their top selling games. I've also been been intrigued for years by the large disconnect between the BGG community and that much larger and often ignored population of gamers - The Casual Gamer.

The first 25 games in this list are our top selling games based on sales figures in order #1 through #25 for our fiscal year to date. There are no fancy metrics, no combined categories, I've just arranged the games by raw sales figures for each game listed. I've excluded lots of items that would normally show up in my sales analysis for games; things like sleeves, dice, CCGs, chess, heroclix, tokens and counters etc. This list would be pretty boring if I'd have left them. The 26th entry is a list of the top 25 games arranged by revenue generated. I did this because it creates a slightly more interesting list of games - at least from the perspective of a BGG user.

Hope you enjoy the GeekList!
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#1

Surprise, surprise. This is our best seller. It has been for a number of years. We sell quite a bit more of this than anything else on the list and that is despite a decrease in our numbers by about 25% this year. I attribute that to the fact that every other store, of any type, in the greater Denver area also carries Settlers. Look for Settlers to show up in gas stations and furniture stores next year!

The 5-6 player expansion usually makes it into the top 10 list as well but I've excluded it from this list. Of all of the expansions we sell for games this one has the best sell-through rate compared to the number of base games sold - about 60%. No doubt because Target doesn't sell expansions.
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2. Board Game: Tenzi [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:15262] [Average Rating:4.80 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
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Aurora
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#2

I'm shamed to have to put this here but yes it is in fact #2 in our store. For those not familiar with this gem here are the basics. You get 10 dice. Roll the dice and pick one number. Set all dice with that number aside. Keep rolling as fast as you can until all 10 of your dice are the same. If you do this faster than anyone else . . . . you win. Gotta be the stupidest excuse for a game in the universe. Everyone on the planet has invented this game at some point in their life but somehow one idiot rich genius gave it a name, packaged it up and sold it! As a consolation it's a great way to build a large Liar's Dice set.
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3. Board Game: Anomia [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1535] [Average Rating:6.64 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#3

Simple, cheap ice breaker style party game. It's just a deck of cards with a word on each card. Each word is a category and you have to name an item in the category. Be the first and you get the card. Most cards after a certain number of hands is the winner. We always teach customers the Wizard's Chest House Rules which streamline the overly long rules a bit.
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4. Board Game: Bananagrams [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1549] [Average Rating:6.34 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#4

Basic word game for those that can't handle the idea of a board in Scrabble. Consistently good seller year after year.
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5. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1710]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#5

Yahtzee for with zombies. Last year this wasn't even in the top 20. Not because it sold better this year but more because I was able to keep it in stock all year. This game usually is unavailable several times a year. I was able to anticipate those times and buy in quantity to get through those periods. This is the number one problem on the business side of the game industry - being able to consistently keep a game you can sell in stock. It applies to publishers, distributors and retailers alike.
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6. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#6

Pandemic is always a consistently good seller . . . when it's available. Luckily it's available this year. Last year we ran out at the beginning of November and didn't get any more in until Spring because Z-Man was busy supplying the big box stores and replacing misprinted boards. I was able to weather a few brief shortages during the year with large quantity purchases so I have had it in stock consistently for the last half of this year. Despite it being available at the big box stores we still sell quite a few. In fact I sold 5 copies just yesterday.
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7. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1221]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#7

Always at the top of our sales lists every year but it has slipped a little the last couple years due to the popularity of similar games like Spot it!, IOTA and Swish. For some reason this game is bought almost exclusively for children with the idea that when said children play this game they will become geniuses. The number of times I've heard Set and Educational in the same sentence is absurd. No doubt people have taken way too many of those practice IQ tests where these types of symbols show up on a regular basis. Obviously not all of these game players are becoming geniuses given the popularity of Tenzi, right?
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8. Board Game: Spot it! [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:859]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#8

Quick, fun game you can play with anyone and almost any number of people. Sales dipped a bit this year because so many people already own it.
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9. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#9

Whoaa, now that's a change of pace! What happened here?!?! This certainly deserves an explanation. Here goes. Remember what I said about Zombie Dice above? The part about anticipating shortages and keeping things in stock. Keep that in your head while you consider Settlers for a minute. You know that event card that everyone hates . . . . yeah that one - the monopoly card. I was able to buy up a large number of this expansion from three different suppliers just before this went out of print. I had cases and cases of this game sitting in the warehouse. The store has an Amazon store front where we sell online at MSRP and we ship worldwide. Once the game went OOP and the online discount stores were out we were pretty much the only place that had the game. We sold case after case day after day for about 10 days before running out.

I bring this up not to highlight the extremely opportunistic nature of business but to highlight what I see as one of the major benefits that brick & mortar stores provide to their customers. All these games are available cheaper online. We all know that. But when the online stores are out it's good to have a relationship with your FLGS because the OOP games can still exist in the stores. This is only one example. Other games I had in stock after they were unavailable online were Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, Terra Mystica, Caverna: The Cave Farmers and the list goes on and on. Next time you need to have that hot game and you can't find it online, give your FLGS a call. You might just be surprised at what you find. This also has the added benefit of educating your FLGS owner of what types of games he should be preordering in the future.
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10. Board Game: Sleeping Queens [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1939]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#10

I love this game. I show it to every parent looking for a game for their elementary school aged kid - and we get a lot of those parents in our store. It helps that I have two kids that love to play games with their dad and that this is one of their favorite games.

It also helps that the store has been open long enough that generations of families have grown up with the store. I talk to parents every week who say they remember coming to the store as a kid and now they bring their kids to the store to explore all the fun things we have to offer. It's not surprising that our advertising budget is so low. We make almost no effort to advertise. It doesn't have a measurable impact since many people in the Denver area already know about the store.
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11. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:3351] [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#11 Tie

The BGG crowd loves to hate the Munchkin family of games but for the casual gamer this is apparently a hit. We sell most of the Munchkin line of games and expansions and for the most part they are all good sellers. I do watch this line very carefully though and trim the poor sellers quickly to make room for the next Munchkin release - which happens about every month it seems.

Carcassonne



Consistent top seller year after year and a great family game that I recommend all the time. We carry 6 of the expansions and the big box version and the whole line sells very well.

We carry a large selection of puzzles from 3 or 4 different suppliers. We are well known in the Denver area for our puzzle selection. We are one of the few places apparently that can actually sell the larger puzzles in the Ravensburger line (9000 pc., 18,000 pc.). We even sold a 32,000 piece puzzle this year (and shipped it to Hong Kong!). We had it in the store more as a display than a sellable item. We figured you'd need a space roughly 16 feet by 8 feet to hold the completed puzzle. It was a great conversation piece. Anyway, back to the point . . . I have had success introducing Carcassonne to the puzzle crowd.
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12. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#12

This is a placeholder for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box. We sell a lot of Pathfinder. We're not a huge RPG store but I do try to carry as much of the Pathfinder line as I can. I don't carry D&D and won't until the new set comes out next summer. But because of the family nature of the store I get a lot of parents who come in expressing interest in "Dungeons & Dragons" for their kids. They remember it from their childhood whether they played it or not. I take the time to explain Pathfinder to them and offer advice. I almost always recommend the Beginner Box to them just because it's such a great deal but also because it's hands down the best way to start playing a fantasy RPG.
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13. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:810]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#13

It's a coop. It's a competitive game. It's got a great price point. It's easy to learn. It plays quickly. Good family game. Plays with up to 6 players. This is an easy sell on so many levels and families come back and tell me how much fun they have with it. It's my go-to game with families that have boys in the 8-10 year old range.

I'm so happy that Dead Panic is finally back in print.
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14. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:584]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#14

Yes, this is just a dumbed down version of Pandemic and yes, Forbidden Desert is probably better. But I still sell a lot of this game. A lot of families come into the store looking for this one but it is my go-to game to introduce non-gamers to when they wander over past the party games into the 'real' game area. I can quickly demo the game to them and it looks intriguing enough and has a low enough price point that it's generally not a hard sell.

I use the term "hard sell" very loosely. I'm not a salesman although I do sell games. I don't push games on people. I ask them what they are looking for and try to find a variety of games that will meet their needs. I explain the games to the customers so they can make an informed choice. It's simple but it works. It's not uncommon on a busy Saturday afternoon to have a line of people waiting to talk to me over in the game section. Many are repeat customers who know me by name.
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15. Board Game: Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1565] [Average Rating:6.34 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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#15

This was a surprise hit this year. I was looking for simple card games to add to the shelves and stumbled across this right before it came out. I managed to get 6 copies. They were gone in a day. I checked my distributors to order more and they were all out too. I put it on my watch list. It came back and I ordered 20 copies on the assumption they would last. They didn't. I tried to order more. Rinse and repeat. You get the idea.

This is a great example of a game that came out of nowhere. I use BGG daily for research. Once I know enough about a game to know I want to carry it in the store I preorder it through my distributor. But occasionally a game will not show up on my radar. I only hear about them through my distributors from their daily and weekly preview emails. This was the case here.

This brings up an interesting topic. BGG users are used to knowing everything about every game. Months in advance we can generally get a good feel for a game based on info on this site. Designers and publishers are constantly pushing their games here trying to get them recognized. Trying to generate the necessary hype. But is BGG ever a bad thing for designers and publishers? I would say the answer is yes. Bad publicity can ruin the best laid marketing plans. In many cases a mediocre review will take the wind out of the sails of a new game. The BGG community consists primarily of people who enjoy moderate to heavy complexity games. There are entire categories of games that are not looked on with the kindest eye here on BGG (kids games, mini games, abstract strategy games, party games and to some extent casual family games). If you are designing a game that fits into a category like these you have to be very careful parading it around on BGG. Keep in mind that BGG users are a small subsection of all the people in the world who would potentially buy a game. That's an awfully large potential market if you have the right game (see the entry for Tenzi above as an example). The other drawback of the site is the tendency for games that have been out for a few months to get forgotten and swept under the rug. The Cult of the New rules in these parts. That attitude can be very harmful to someone with a new game trying to generate any sort of sustained excitement for their game. BGG can be a great place for new designers and publishers. But there is certainly a negative side as well.
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16. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
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#16

What can I say. You'd be shocked if this wasn't on my list , wouldn't you? Part of the big 3, Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. They have always been top sellers and will continue to be top sellers.

What is it with these three games anyway? Are they that good? Are there no better casual family games that have come out in the last 10 years? Not really and yes there have been. It's just that these three have built up such a tide of rating, reviews, comments, conversation etc etc. that it's almost impossible for another game to capture the attention of casual family gamers. Everyone knows someone who has played one of these three games. That level of social awareness is a huge obstacle for more recent games to overcome.

Note to new designers of family causal games. If your game isn't at least as good as each of these big three games then throw in the towel and start over. You will just get no where beyond a first print run without some significant marketing effort. Be prepared to make a better game or promote the hell out of it!

Also, I don't care if your friends think the game is great. I don't care if BGG thinks the game is great. I get unsolicited sales pitches from people trying to sell their game all the time. Here is what I tell them: go to my game shelves and find a space to put your game (there are none). So in order for me to carry your game in my store I have to take another game off the shelf. Which game(s) should I stop selling? How much more of your game will I sell than the game(s) I'm removing? In order for a game to get a foothold in the market you have to get your game into game stores. BGG alone will only get you through a small print run or two. In order to sell your game into the distribution channel and hence into game stores you will have to anticipate the problems I will encounter when selling your game. Is there a nice picture of your game on the back of the box? Are the artwork and name appealing and do they make the game stand out on the shelf? Is the price point appealing? I could go on and on. I recall being at a trade show and telling a publisher that their game wouldn't sell in game stores. They looked at me like I was an alien with 6 eyes. I explained to them that the name of the game was not on any of the sides of the boxes. The box was also an odd shape that would have taken up a lot of room when front faced on a shelf. I explained that the game was too large to front face on a shelf and that if I side faced it there was no name or artwork to allow the customer to recognize the game. Same blank stare. I walked away shaking my head.
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17. Board Game: Quiddler [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2878]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
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#17

Rummy for fans of word games. This was actually a surprise for me. I wasn't aware this game sold this well. Some things do occasionally slip past me. They are usually these small, older games.
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18. Board Game: LCR [Average Rating:3.18 Overall Rank:15342]
 
Alan Kaiser
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#18 Tied

Right up there with Tenzi. To be fair though these types of products aren't games, they are social activities. They are something to do with your hands while you talk and drink with friends. The people that buy these activities love them and I would be hard pressed to sell them anything more complicated than Spot it! on this list. That's fine. It's one reason we carry so much more than just games. We try to carry products that everyone can have fun with and not everyone is a gamer. That's a fact that often gets lost in the fray around BGG.

It's easy to imagine that everyone around you on your commute into work is a gamer. It's fun to imagine a world where everyone plays games. BGG gives us a taste of what that might be like - a place where everyone is a gamer. Are more people playing games nowadays? Sure. Good games are showing up in mass market stores. But the reality is that gamers are still a niche group. Gamers on BGG are even a smaller population still. It's important to keep that in mind.

Ouija Board

No entry for the Ouija Board?? Not surprising I guess. Like LCR it's not really a game but a social activity. It's fitting that these are tied. But then, I already knew that because I used my Ouija Board to see into the future. They really work! They must, otherwise why would so many people buy them.
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19. Board Game: Star Fluxx [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1716]
Alan Kaiser
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#19 Tied

Star Fluxx is in the top 20! OMG, quick tell everyone you know! It's the Wil Wheaton Effect! It's the Wil Wheaton Effect! Tell everyone you know! I love it when people bring this up. Is TableTop a great idea? Absolutely. Has Wil Wheaton done the game community a huge favor with TableTop? Absolutely. Does TableTop drive people to game stores? Hmmm, possibly. Has TableTop drastically altered the sales of popular games? Yes but for the most part, no.

To get to the bottom of this let's start with sales analysis. As manager and game buyer I am responsible for keeping well more than a thousand games in stock week to week, month to month. I need to know what sells, in what quantity for every week of the year . . . and we sell a LOT of games. Flying by the seat of my pants is not an option here. To get around this problem stores use a POS or Point of Sale System. This generates sales data and allows you to break that data down in any way you choose. For many game stores a POS is a luxury. They are very expensive and many small stores can't justify the expense with a low volume of sales. We are not one of those stores. It would be impossible to run The Wizard's Chest without a POS system and the sales data it generates. I mention this to emphasize that if anyone should be pointing at sales data and jumping up and down about the Wil Wheaton Effect it should be me. In fact as I write this my desk is covered with a variety of reports as I put together my December sales report. But the data don't support The Wil Wheaton Effect. The Wil Wheaton Effect is a self-perpetuating anomaly.

To be clear though, there was a Wil Wheaton Effect. Way back at the beginning of the show. It was fairly small and only lasted a couple months. That minor blip was the snow ball rolling down the mountain. But if we back up even further we get to the origin of this issue. Everyone will tell you that games are booming nowadays. For the last several years game stores have been mentioning large sales increases. If you follow the game related news you'll know that MtG has been having 25% to 35% increases in sales year over year for the last 3 years now. Most seasoned game store owners call it a bubble but most inexperienced owners call it cash. New game stores have been opening left and right. And what do all those stores need to open? Product. They call up their distributor of choice and tell them they are opening a game store and need an initial inventory. They don't have sales data to know what sells so the distributor usually offers advice.

Many established game stores also got caught up in this as well. Most game stores are small. They don't have the revenue to carry a full range of games. When the initial sales blips were reported for the first episodes of TableTop distributor sales reps were calling stores and telling them they needed to stock up on these games because they were selling fast. Many stores probably never carried many of these games. They ordered the recommended games not wanting to miss big sales. I still receive announcements in my daily product emails from distributors about each and every TableTop episode reminding me to stock up for an increase in sales. But are customers buying these games any more than they usually would? No. Sure sales are up, but sales are up for EVERYTHING.

So what do we have? Sales for all games are up. More game stores are opening and more established game stores are carrying a greater variety of games. Both of these are driven by recommendations from distributors. Let's not forget that big box retailers have started carrying many of the games carried on TableTop. Distributors not surprisingly sell more games. They order more games from publishers. Publishers see more sales. The sales seem to correspond with TableTop episodes. Publishers (with knowing grins) put out announcements that TableTop is driving large increases in sales (I've seen some ridiculously large sales numbers reported). Retailers take notice and order more games. Retailers are flush with specific games and do what they do best and push these same games. They tell customers "look, Wil Wheaton likes this game, it's good, buy it." Their sales go up. Did TableTop increase the sales of these games? Not directly. TableTop has unwittingly (or not!) become a sales tool at the distributor and publisher level in the games industry.

I have for the most part completely ignored the TableTop sales push. My sales rep long ago stopped mentioning each new episode to me. I rely on my sales data and trust what it tells me. I only increase an order if I think that sales at the distributor level will make the game unavailable for me to order in the coming weeks. In essence I'm reacting to everyone else reacting to TableTop to ensure I have the games my customers want. It's a delicate dance. We have carried just about every single game featured on TableTop for many years. I have sales data that goes back long before TableTop was a twinkle in Wil Wheaton's eye. If there was a sales increase related to individual TableTop episodes I would have seen it.

As an aside, I use TableTop as a tool in the store. I have a handout sheet that explains TableTop, lists the games highlighted on the show and the URL to get to the videos. I hand it out to people who seem to be having a hard time understanding one of the TableTop games when I'm explaining them. I give them the sheet and explain that it is a good resource to learn the rules and is run by Wil Wheaton. The majority of the time (I'd estimate a good 60% of the time or more) I get a blank stare. They've never even heard of Wil Wheaton! How's that for a Wil Wheaton Effect.

Wits & Wagers



Pretty good party game that has been a good seller the last two years. Funny thing about party games though is that you really need to keep up with the new ones. Party games, by definition, get played in large groups. That means large groups of people get exposed to them. But because most of them don't lend themselves to heavy repeated play, people that enjoy party games are always looking for the latest and greatest. So every year I have to weed out the slow sellers, even the moderate sellers and look for something new. Lucky for me this one has stood the test of time. It's usually an easy sell.
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20. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
Alan Kaiser
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#20

We do pretty well with Netrunner as well as some of the other FFG LCGs (Star Wars, GoT and LotR). I keep all of the available expansion packs in stock except Got. For that one I try to keep the last year and a half worth of expansions in stock. If you don't do this you find it gets harder to get new people interested in the game while keeping the established players coming back. This creates another problem for retailers though. Where the hell do you put all of these expansion packs!

I just realized today that I'll be having a similar problem with Star Trek: Attack Wing. There are currently 16 expansion ships available for this game. But another 20 ships have been announced and are available for preorder. That's a LOT of space that I do not have in an already overcrowded store.
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21. Board Game: Smart Ass [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:14946]
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#21 Tied

This is a basic trivia party game. We sell a lot of this each Christmas. Unlike other party games, people almost never even look at the back of the box and don't ask me for an explanation. Between the title and the subtitle "Even if you're a dumb ass you can win" the game sells itself, sadly. There's probably a pretty big marketing case study here if you are interested. It certainly doesn't say a lot about the people that buy the game though.

Note that this is one of those weird examples of a game that sells itself. I never recommend this game to people. I'll explain it to people only if asked. I prefer to spend my time highlighting other games that often get glossed over or games that I know are very popular (Dixit or Wits & Wagers for example) so that the customer will have a good experience playing the game I recommended. I don't need to waste my time selling games that sell themselves that aren't that good.

King of Tokyo



Nice light shoot 'em up game. I like to recommend this game to families with boys age 8 and up but also to anyone looking for a good beer 'n pretzels game. It plays quickly which is generally exactly what each of those demographic groups is looking for in a game.

Note to publishers - If you are going to release an expansion tied to a holiday, it's likely best if you get the expansion out before the holiday. Last year Days of Wonder had their pumpkin train pieces hit the shelves AFTER Halloween. Thanks. They apparently told Iello how well that went over and Iello repeated that dumb move this Halloween with the Halloween expansion to King of Tokyo.
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22. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1444] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
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#22 Tied

Quick, light Take That card game with the gimmicky see through cards. The morbid nature of the game is the draw and it is an almost automatic sell when I recognize that the customer is looking for this type of game. Luckily it is fairly easy to spot this type of customer.

Ticket to Ride Europe



Not much else to say that I haven't already said about the US version. It's odd that I usually recommend this version over the US version but sales of the US version are quite a bit higher. Who says Americans aren't patriotic to a fault!
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23. Board Game: Pass the Pigs [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:15211]
Alan Kaiser
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#23

Good pig rolling family fun. I wonder if this is where people got the idea for cow tipping?
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24. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:211]
Alan Kaiser
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#24 Tied

It's pretty easy for me to recommend games to people who come to the store and are new to gaming. There are a number of excellent games for many different numbers of players and playing styles. Many of those games I have already mentioned. It's also fairly easy to recommend games to people who have played the basics and are looking for something new and challenging. However, people who have played Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and/or Settlers and want something 'just like those but different' (I hear those exact words from many people) are a bit more challenging. At least until Takenoko came along. This is my go-to game for that type of customer. It also helps that it has a cute panda on the cover. Besides those relatively new to gaming I also recommend this to families with girls in the 8 to 12 age range quite a bit also. It's no coincidence that my girls really like this game and they are in that age range.

The Resistance



The new party game for the geek crowd. This gets batted around here on BGG as one of the best party games out now. And I agree it is, to an extent. For the average non-gamer looking for a "party" game, this is NOT the game. I've tried. Their eyes glaze over and they usually say something like 'what about something a little more fun!' But for the young, college educated tech types this is the perfect game. I recommend this one a lot and a large number of people come into the store asking for this one by name.

That last point is an interesting one and leads to another type of game sales data that I have to pay attention to: anticipating future sales based on current sales trends. Games are inherently social, you play them with other people. The more people required to play a game, the more people in that group will subsequently go out and purchase the same game provided I've done my job and matched the game to the players correctly. Then in the coming weeks I should see an increase in sales of that same game. The Resistance is the perfect example of this and is the game that resulted in me coming up with this idea and employing it in my ordering. Other games where I have definitely seen this are Hive and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Hive is only 2 players but a couple sales of this often result in a chain reaction of sales over a month or more. Pathfinder is another example. If I sell a lot of the pathfinder RPG Beginner Box then in about a month I can expect to see an increase in the sales of the Core Rulebook as well as Adventure Path books and modules for 1st level characters. It's one more thing I have to worry about but also very important in a high volume store. You always want to have whatever product a customer is looking for on the shelves when they want it. It's obviously not always possible but anything I can do to improve my odds is a good thing.

This raises another interesting point. I don't consider myself a salesman. Games are very personal. Specific games work with specific groups of people. My job is to find out what type of game the person or group is looking for and offer them options that meet their needs. This creates a relationship that you don't find in other sales environments. It is the relationship that is important not the sale (I always tell the staff to never lie if they don't know the specifics of a game). If I've done my homework (thanks to BGG and other resources) and listened carefully then the game that the customers chooses will be a good fit. They will enjoy their experience with the game. When they are ready for a new game they will come back and ask me for another recommendation.

Another thing to note about the customer experience is I never answer the question that I always hear, "what is your favorite game." What I like is not important. I also never 'choose' a game for a customer except in unusual cases. I present options to the customer that fit their needs but I emphasize that they have to make the choice. This removes me from the picture if they end up not liking the game.
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25. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
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#25 Tied

Consistent good seller year after year. At this point the bottom has pretty much fallen out of the deck building type game style but Dominion keeps selling. Sales of some of the expansions are beginning to falter though. I will have to keep a close eye on this line this year. One issue with this entire line is that it takes up a huge amount of shelf space. This is a big issue for me.

Rory's Story Cubes



Great game/activity for young kids. Just roll the dice and make a story out of what you see. Parents buy this all the time. I also recommend this frequently as a homework aid for elementary school age kids. My kids would always take FOREVER choosing characters, settings, themes etc for their homework stories. This solves that issue. Roll the dice and you're done - get writing!

Timeline: Diversity



Great pseudo-trivia game that works well with many groups. I sell lots of this whole line to teachers, people who like party games, parents with kids middle school age and up and many others. Strong seller for the entire last year and I'm happy to see that they are not finished with this line of games. I'm also happy to see that Asmodee is expanding this idea with the Cardline line of games.

Tsuro



This game has been out for about 10 years and it has always been a great seller for us. It works with so many different groups of people. It's easy enough to explain that the party game crowd buys it. It works with the chess and Go player types. It handles a large group of people but also works with as few as 2 and doesn't take a long time to play.
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