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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:54 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
One interesting theme in the D20 products is computer spell checking.  Reliance on find/replace tools or robotic spell checkers can produce some humorous or annoying repeated errors.  Of course, this was much less of a problem in the old days, when a "spell checker" meant "editing your own product" and computers were used for "typing."

Mark


Speaking of spell check, I just got Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, where it apparantly wasn't used.  I just found the word "library" mis-spelled! (among others).

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:41 am 
 

I would hazard a guess that the d20 products that will rise in value in the future will be those that are not released in PDF form. Those are thoe ones to buy.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:56 am 
 

Badmike wrote:where it apparantly wasn't used.

mbassoc2003 wrote:Those are thoe ones to buy.

Are the typos a running joke because Mark started this thread and likes TLG?  Are the typos being done intesionally or are the occidentle?

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:10 am 
 

The Daily Illuminator had a link to Ryan Dancey's predictions for the RPG industry in 2007.  One of his predictions is for a distributor bankruptcy, which would affect impact collectors/resellers of newish material:

One of the top 5 distributors will go bankrupt by the end of 2007.  That failure will have a trickle-down effect, taking a mid-tier publisher or two with it, and seriously damaging several more.  Unlike previous years, the survivors will not attempt to buy it for its mailing list, or its inventory assets.  In the resulting liquidation, a massive wave of recent products will be remaindered via eBay, suppressing used game sales nationally for at least six months afterward.  I predict the collapse will occur between ORIGINS and GenCon.

http://web.mac.com/rsdancey/iWeb/RSDanc ... 0A740.html

  


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:16 am 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:The Daily Illuminator had a link to Ryan Dancey's predictions for the RPG industry in 2007.  One of his predictions is for a distributor bankruptcy, which would affect impact collectors/resellers of newish material:

One of the top 5 distributors will go bankrupt by the end of 2007.  That failure will have a trickle-down effect, taking a mid-tier publisher or two with it, and seriously damaging several more.  Unlike previous years, the survivors will not attempt to buy it for its mailing list, or its inventory assets.  In the resulting liquidation, a massive wave of recent products will be remaindered via eBay, suppressing used game sales nationally for at least six months afterward.  I predict the collapse will occur between ORIGINS and GenCon.

http://web.mac.com/rsdancey/iWeb/RSDanc ... 0A740.html


Well, if it does come true that is going to really suck for stores like Titan Games.  Image


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:17 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:
Well, if it does come true that is going to really suck for stores like Titan Games.  [ Image ]

Well, I was so interested in mr. Dancey's comments and previsions that I added a comment of my own. Most of what he said will affect me marginally because I live in Italy and seeing a large inventory of d20 books in English on EBay is not a menace at all (it could be instead a source of income, buying and selling books at rock bottom prices here   :D ). What I can surely say is the fact that RPGs here, with the (partial) exception of D&D, are in very dire straits, with lower and lower sales. The fact I sell so many RPG books on my eBay store means that finding them is getting more and more difficult because retailers don't trust them as products to be stocked. And I'm not talking about lesser systems - I sold quite a good number of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Player Handbooks on eBay  8O  and I do NOT discount anything unless I have overstocked (for example Conan RPG  :x ). Ditto for boardgames: they have a viable and assertive community, but gamers are not that many and they often buy in Germany for lower prices. After returning from Lucca Games fair, I mercilessy cut my inventory of boardgames via Internet. Then there are out of print games  :wink:  and the main source of cash for the brick and mortar store: CCGs. They, considering accessories and single cards, make more than 50% of my sales  8O  :D  and I lavish efforts on them. I am convinced that hobby stores are here to stay, but they must adjust their business model continually and dump or reduce mercilessly non performing lines. This can do wonders: 2006 was the second worst year in sales volume, but the second best for profitability  :D. Another lesson learned: do not chase volume, chase profits!

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:31 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:Are the typos a running joke because Mark started this thread and likes TLG?  Are the typos being done intesionally or are the occidentle?


I think I mis-spelled "Missspelled" once for a cheap laugh...but all other mis-takes are entirely the result of typing too fast!!!

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:16 pm 
 

Alexander1968 wrote:Well, I was so interested in mr. Dancey's comments and previsions that I added a comment of my own. Most of what he said will affect me marginally because I live in Italy and seeing a large inventory of d20 books in English on EBay is not a menace at all (it could be instead a source of income, buying and selling books at rock bottom prices here   :D ). What I can surely say is the fact that RPGs here, with the (partial) exception of D&D, are in very dire straits, with lower and lower sales. The fact I sell so many RPG books on my eBay store means that finding them is getting more and more difficult because retailers don't trust them as products to be stocked. And I'm not talking about lesser systems - I sold quite a good number of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Player Handbooks on eBay  8O  and I do NOT discount anything unless I have overstocked (for example Conan RPG  :x ). Ditto for boardgames: they have a viable and assertive community, but gamers are not that many and they often buy in Germany for lower prices. After returning from Lucca Games fair, I mercilessy cut my inventory of boardgames via Internet. Then there are out of print games  :wink:  and the main source of cash for the brick and mortar store: CCGs. They, considering accessories and single cards, make more than 50% of my sales  8O  :D  and I lavish efforts on them. I am convinced that hobby stores are here to stay, but they must adjust their business model continually and dump or reduce mercilessly non performing lines. This can do wonders: 2006 was the second worst year in sales volume, but the second best for profitability  :D. Another lesson learned: do not chase volume, chase profits!


An interesting topic.  The failure of a lot of Brick and Mortar stores, I think, is less due to the market itself and due to the absolute lack of knowledge in running a business I've seen in many shop owners.  For a long time, a game shop owner was simply a gamer or guy who collected comics who basically started a store up with his old or extra stock.  There was a lot of a "fly by the seat of the pants" aspect to this, but for quite awhile, some of these type stores could still profit because of lack of competition.  Once the internet came about, and then Ebay, and then the mass marketing of RPGs, the failure of these type of people was certain.  
  I've probably been in hundreds of game shops the last few decades, and for the most part very few were run well or made me think "this is a place I'd like to come back to".  The reason the Comic Book Shop guy on The Simpsons is so funny is that it's an exact portrait of the guy all of us have run into time and time again while hitting local comic and game stores.  Simply put, a lot of game stores were run like a half-assed hobby and not as a buisness, and this led to failure. I've seen business decisions that would absolutely boggle the mind, from carrying only one type of item (only RPGS and not comics, cards or books, for example); to having a much too expensive space for the store; to hiring too many people or no one who knows anything about the product; the list could go on.  I ran into a game shop owner once time, no lie, who was closed on SATURDAYS because he wanted to spend that time with his family (admirable, but still....).  Of course his store failed despite having a prime location right next to a college full of people looking for places to game (but probably puzzled they couldn't find those locations on the weekend...). Another I know of closed because he refused to have any sort of gaming or gaming/card tables in his store...despite ample space....because he "didn't want those kids hanging around my store all day"??? Needless to say, they didn't, and he didn't either for very long...
 The few successful stores I've seen, and that have outlasted their less intelligent brethren and are still open, survive by using very simple business acumen and common sense.  My local game/comic store has an owner with a business degree, and I think he's done a very admirable job the decade plus he's been open.  He's had a few mis-steps, but for the most part has survived and done well despite having as competitors a local chain comic store known for aggressively competing with mom and pops (by basically driving them out of business).
  There have been a lot of boogeymen over the years, but "The Internet" has become the #1 villain to many an independent.  Simply put, you can get almost all new gaming materials at a large discount over the internet.  The job of an independent is to negate that advantage, and make the store they run a place to be.  A lot of successful stores do that by diversifying product, customer serivice, stocking a wide range or product, in store activities, selling OOP items, and more.
   Alexander has hit on a lot of good ideas, and I'm glad they helped his store.  Unfortunately, a lot of well intentioned game shop owners never change or improve a faulty business model and just mutter curses at online sales as they declare bankruptcy.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:23 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Speaking of spell check, I just got Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, where it apparantly wasn't used.  I just found the word "library" mis-spelled! (among others).

Even the header on each of the pages is misspelled! (Hint: There's only one "Castle Zagyg"!) :lol:



  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:31 pm 
 

Our local hobbyist game store owner once visted the beach, and got interested....in kites.

He spend a couple thousand dollars and 30% of his store space on kites.  I think he might have sold two or three in the time I gamed there.

The future model for a successful game store will have to be a place where "those kids hang out."

The stores I have seen surviving are the ones that cater actively to all levels of gaming, including CCGs and miniatures wargames.

Our local success story store still closes on holidays and does not have really late hours on weekends...a source of puzzlement to me.

No real surprise that a major game company could fold this year.  There are an awful lot of companies fighting over a shrinking market.  Only WOTC could make moves the re-juvenate the market.  Everyone else is riding the wave.

There were always too many D20 distributors.  The OGL spawned a burst of creativity and publishing energy, but not necessarily profits.  I have always assumed that a major product dump would occur at some point.

One previous example to consider would be the way that Judges Guild went under.  Slumping RPG sales meant that game stores could not sell their products.  Consequently, they could not repay the distributors who could not repay Judges Guild.  The stores closed, the distributors closed and Judges Guild closed with a sudden thud...leaving warehouses full of published materials that have slowly surfaced only over the past few years.  That's why there are so many shrinkwrapped Judges Guild commons still on the Ebay market.

Sad to see the industry shrink.  I would say that PDF's are the future, but there is always going to be something cool about actually owning a copy...like a message from the past.

Small scale publishers, like Pied Piper Publishing, might be the ones to survive and stay in print the longest.

The long-term survival of WOTC might be dependent upon Hasbro's ability to link D&D sales to all levels of media marketing...movies, electronic games, etc...  

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying acquiring and reading the many D20 products that emerged (and are still emerging) from the era.  There is much dross, but there are also a whole lot of good ideas and fun reads in the mix.    :D

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:10 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
Speaking of spell check, I just got Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, where it apparantly wasn't used.  I just found the word "library" mis-spelled! (among others).

Mike B.


I think most of the errors I have found in D20 products have happened because of reliance on spell checkers.

I often see repeated phrases in a publication garbled in a way that could only have been done with a spell checker using find/replace...and a small mental error by the last copy editor.

Another reason for errors in game products stems from the arcane nature of the words we use.  Find "sorceress" on your spell checker, for instance.

How about "sorcerous?"  Or, "battleaxe," or "halbred" or, "poleaxe."  Try various permutations of the words elfin, elven, elvish, and elves.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:47 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Another reason for errors in game products stems from the arcane nature of the words we use.  Find "sorceress" on your spell checker, for instance.


That's why you have custom dictionaries for spell-checkers. Of course nothing is full-proof and that's why publishers still need editors. The irony is that Castle Zagyg, unlike some prior TLG products, was professionally edited.



  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:17 am 
 

dcas wrote:Even the header on each of the pages is misspelled! (Hint: There's only one "Castle Zagyg"!) :lol:


Can't believe I missed that one!  What a doozy.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:00 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Our local hobbyist game store owner once visted the beach, and got interested....in kites.

He spend a couple thousand dollars and 30% of his store space on kites.  I think he might have sold two or three in the time I gamed there.



More stories from the pages of Badmike's Failed Game/Comic Store files:

During the comic boom of the early 90's, comic book stores popped up like flies on a fresh corpse.  Nearly everyone that already sold baseball cards also started selling comics, and dozens of mom and pops sprung up.  I live in a suburban area between Dallas and Fort Worth; no less than TEN shops took up business in this small area that can barely support one or two.  To add to the misery of all these stores dividing up sales, several of them not only just carried comics, they only carried certain publishers of comics: Namely, Marvel, DC and Valiant (which was the hottest thing going for awhile).  No games, no magic cards, no books, no minis, nothing, just comics from the big three of publishers.  One local store even helpfully had 30% discounts on new comics if you were on a pull list. Thirty freaking percent.  I honestly don't know how he was making any money; I think his strategy was to put the other stores out of business and rule the world.  The other stores had to match his discounts or at least come close to even compete; for awhile, it was impossible to buy a comic in the Mid cities without getting some kind of discount.
   When the comic market crashed, he was left with cases of totally unsellable Valiant comics that he had overordered.  A friend of mine worked for him and told me to come over one day; he was selling at a huge discount because he lost his lease.  I go over and his back room is stacked to the ceiling with boxes of multiple copies of various Valiant comics....that had never been offered for sale to the public (which actually might have saved his failing business if they had been sold during the boom); no, these were his "investment" comics horde that was now worth approximately squat and double squat.  He offered me as many cases as I wanted (forget how many to a case) for 10 cents each per comic inside; I countered with 5 cents (I honestly wasn't that interested unless he just practically gave them to me).  He hemmed and hawed and eventually turned me down.  Later, I found out that he was evicted and had to leave behind ALL the boxes of comics when he was locked out ....most ended up in the dumpster behind the building when the new landlord cleaned the place out.  If I had known I would have driven by and loaded up the car, but then again 10 years later they are still not worth much and I would have had to store them all those years....

The game store I mentioned that was closed on Saturday was an absolute hoot.  He may have been the worst game store owner I have ever encountered in my life. First of all, he had run a game store years earlier, but it had failed.  So he put all his stock in storage for two years, then decided to open another store.  He got a prime spot right next to a local college, and the building was old so the rent was affordable.  Now, this is a guy who will tell you how smart he is ALL THE TIME...I mean, he dropped out of college because they couldnt' teach him anything, he started his own business because he knows everything about how to run a game store, etc etc. So he's going to take the game store world by storm (actually he has no competition in this college town so it's going to be hard for him to fail......)
    So he sends out a mailing to all his old customers that he is reopening...but forgot to include his hours.  Silly me, I show up on a Saturday, and he's closed.  When I eventually show up on a weekday, he tells me Saturday is "for the family"  and instead he's open all weekdays (for that huge gaming crowd that love to show up 9 am on a Monday, of course).   When he is open, he is inevitably behind the counter on the internet looking at porn or playing online computer games. He is very overweight and never, ever wears shoes in the store (yech).  
   His store has a large area in front, but he has no gaming tables except for two tiny card tables (eventually after several months he gets large tables to game on, the type that any office supply store has and that he could have purchased any day).  He sets out all his stock that has been in storage over two years...among the stock are stacks and stacks of MERP 2nd edition items.  But wait, MERP is out of print, so the items are worthless, right?  He prices all his MERP at half price (still shrinked)....all the while, he's online all day on ebay trying to sell his old collection of baseball cards...but doesn't bother to even check a MERP price on ebay, even though the stuff is in front of him all day long.  I bought his entire stock of MERP for about $500.  Ditto with his Call of Cthulhu (no one plays that anymore, right?), Runequest and Traveller....all half price because they are old unplayable games. He does keep all the AD&D full price of course, with the arrival of 3rd edition any day now no one wants to buy 2nd ed so it just sits there at full price...
   I come in one day and suddenly the entire store is stocked with dozens of board games...the expensive Axis & Allies spinoffs, stuff like that.  Despite the fact I've never seen anyone in this store play anything but RPGs or card games.  The entire stock sits unsold for the rest of the time he's open.  
    3rd Edition is released, and he decides to hold RPGA tournaments at his store.  Unfortunately, he never actually advertises the fact there is a tournament, so no one shows up that day (a weekday)....NO ONE.  He eventually just gives me all the tournament goodies he was supposed to give away as prizes, including a bunch of Green Regent cards.  
  Obviously, over the course of time he's just going deeper and deeper into debt. Despite many helpful suggestions on my part (I eventually got him to open up for WEEKENDS, god almighty) he is crashing. I introduce him to a friend that runs a game store for the purpose of buying out his entire stock, including fixtures.  They haggle over the price, and the guy is very insistent on getting at least a certain amount for his stock.  It's a really odd number, something like exactly $3198 dollars.  So my friend thinks what the hell, and agrees to that.  To which the owner punches some buttons in his computer, and a huge grin breaks out on his face. "Finally!!!  NOW NO ONE CAN SAY IM A FAILURE!!! AFTER I PAY OFF ALL MY BILLS, MY BUSINESS MADE A PROFIT OF EXACTLY FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FROM THE FIRST DAY I WAS OPENED!"  He ranted on and on about how "they" all said he couldn't run a business and told him he was a failure, and now he would show them (specifically, his wife) by tossing down the check in front of her that evening when he got home!  My friend and I just looked at each other, embarassed, then loaded up his truck as quick as hell and got out of there never to return.  

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:46 am 
 

I'm red-faced just reading the above post.   :oops:


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:51 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
More stories from the pages of Badmike's Failed Game/Comic Store files:
(...)
Mike B.

I'm speechless  8O  8O  8O  No shoes? What the hell?  8O  8O  8O  Just in the case somebody thought I'm boasting about my business acumen, I hasten to add that I made mistakes in all these years (I opended the store in 1997) and some of them were quite painful. But I must add that I learned from my mistakes and survived - no mean thing here  :D  :wink:

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:22 am 
 

Alexander1968 wrote:I'm speechless  8O  8O  8O  No shoes? What the hell?  8O  8O  8O  Just in the case somebody thought I'm boasting about my business acumen, I hasten to add that I made mistakes in all these years (I opended the store in 1997) and some of them were quite painful. But I must add that I learned from my mistakes and survived - no mean thing here  :D  :wink:


I think all of us have made various mistakes....but hopefully walking around our retail establishment with bare fat feet wasn't one of them....!

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:10 pm 
 

Anyone who is interested in collecting Troll Lord Games' line of D20 modules should go to their website at www.trolllord.com.

They have a special running on their D20 items...particularly those designated as the World of Erde modules...which they are converting over to the Castles and Crusades format.

I got a nice shipment from Stephen Chenault, with modules priced as low as $1...including Rob Kuntz's module, Dark Druids.

The shipping is dirt cheap as well.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:32 pm 
 

The game store I mentioned that was closed on Saturday was an absolute hoot.  He may have been the worst game store owner I have ever encountered in my life.


That was a pretty funny story.. but cut the guy some slack.. after all he made you a lot wealthier from the sounds of it.

This story sort of reminds me of that movie.. You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie makes out the new big book store as the bad guy on the block, beating up on mom and pop stores. But if you actually think about it.. look at how Ryan ran her store. She deserved to go out of business. She had like 5 employees on the clock all the time! 5 employees to sell maybe 5 or 10 books a day? That could only make sense in Hollywood.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:38 pm 
 

During the comic boom of the early 90's, comic book stores popped up like flies on a fresh corpse.  Nearly everyone that already sold baseball cards also started selling comics, and dozens of mom and pops sprung up.  I live in a suburban area between Dallas and Fort Worth; no less than TEN shops took up business in this small area that can barely support one or two.


I was never into comics.. but this seems strange. Do you know what was driving the interest in comics.. do you know why the bubble burst? Was it just competition from the net like with sports cards? Seems like an interesting dissertation topic :)

  
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