Great news for all – Ares Games will be bringing Ludus Magnus Studio’s games to worldwide distribution with English language support. This partnership will begin with the retail edition of the huge Kickstarter success, Black Rose Wars. This mage vs mage battle royale for 2 to 4 players, designed by Marco Montanaro, features some of the highest quality miniatures in the market and is just the sort of excellent product to be paired with Ares Games’ outreach. While this new version of Black Rose Wars will be different from the one backers received, mostly to fit a better price point, it’s gameplay will remain intact.
“We love what Ludus Magnus Studio is doing– their games have amazing gameplay value and beautiful components. This young and energetic studio was very successful on Kickstarter, but their creations deserve to reach an even wider audience, and we will work together to make this possible,” said Roberto Di Meglio, Director of R&D of Ares Games.
Ares Games will also be distributing the retail version of Ludus Magnus’ current Kickstarter project, Dungeonology. Designed by Diego Fonseca and Danilo Guidi, this game flips dungeon crawling on it’s head by posing players as scholars who are studying the dungeon and it’s inhabitants rather than ransacking it. As of writing this, it has already been funded six times over proving that it’s novel concept is worth the look. If you’d like to learn more about Ludus Magnus Studio’s games, or more about this partnership, check out bothcompanies websites for all current projects, details, and updates.
Dice Throne is an excellent skirmish dice-chucking game for 2 to 6 players. While it looks very similar to Yahtzee-style monster-mashup King of Tokyo, it has a surprising amount of strategic depth thanks to it’s Magic the Gathering-style phase structure and keywords. It’s a game that I have infamously played 14 times in one week due to how fast, fun, and refreshingly different it is. Now that it’s second season Kickstarter is in production, the first half of the new characters will be hitting retail soon so you and your friends can get in on the fun. According to ACD Distrubution, the first two versus packs, Gunslinger vs Samurai and Tactician vs Huntress, will be dropping this October with the remaining two character packs arriving not long after.
These versus packs are a great and inexpensive way to try the game for the first time, as they are a neatly packed 2-player game on their own. However, if you find yourself a fan of the game or if you already own Season 1, buying all of the packs allows for broader selection and more players as well! Each class plays very differently and presents interesting match-ups against or teamed with others. The game plays well with experienced and new gamers alike, as each character is graded in difficulty and so to are each versus pack, and works just as well head-to-head as it does in teams or free-for-all. If you are interested in learning more about the characters coming to Dice Throne, check out the Season 2 Kickstarter page here for previews and updates, and see your favorite retailer for copies soon.
Spin Master Games has partnered with Wiggles 3D Games to produce and sell the retail version of 5-Minute Dungeon. 5-Minute Dungeon is a co-operative, real-time dungeon crawling card game for 2-5 players that plays in 5 minutes, andwas successfully funded on Kickstarter last year with almost 8,000 backers.
The retail version has an all-new cover in a unique hourglass-shaped box and comes with:
200 player cards (5 decks of 40 cards each)
50 dungeon cards (40 door cards and 10 challenge cards)
5 double sided player mats (10 heroes total)
5 boss mats
As expected, the retail version doesn’t include the extra content added during the campaign (the Kickstarter deck, Baby Barbarian figurine, and 2 Kickstarter boss mats), but still has the same high quality components as the Kickstarter edition.
The game is available for purchase now on Target.com.
Arcane Wonders has announced the release of a new set of promotional items that will be available exclusively to brick and mortar retail stores. A box of 12 unique promotional items along with instructions will be available for use at in-store events.
The promotional kit, which will certainly help convince Sheriffs everywhere that there’s nothing in the bag but chickens, will only be available while supplies last and only is available to brick and mortar stores.
Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games in Concord, CA is convinced that shopping early is the key to success when it comes to buying board games during the holiday season. He makes the case for his strategy, providing a rare glimpse into the retail and distribution side of the gaming industry.
“If you’re a consumer, or a store owner for that matter, you should shop early too, and I’ll tell you why.”
So why the rush? Gary points out a myriad of variables and complications that impacted 2014 season specifically, but are likely to be just as relevant for years to come.
Port Delays – While there’s always variability in the long ship ride from China, delays at West Coast ports had a big impact on product availability.
Poor Forecasting – Figuring out how much a game might sell is a guessing game at all levels of the supply chain, but is particularly difficult for publishers.
“Game publishers have been just, absolutely, terrible this year in forecasting demand. I don’t know what black magic they use for forecasting, but their mojo has eluded them in 2014.”
Increased Demand – The board game hobby is growing, but it may be outpacing the production and delivery infrastructures, making it harder to weather delays and accurately forecast.
Online Won’t Help – Although consumers count on online retailers to have stock when they need it, they’re subject to the same availability issues as traditional retailers.
“Our brick and mortar store has been the ‘last man standing’ on many products this year, according to people who only buy online who don’t mind mentioning we were their last resort.”
Gary suggests being proactive and pre-ordering through your friendly local game store (FLGS) whenever possible. Check out the rest of Gary’s blog post for more information, and make sure to read the comments section for some additional interesting tidbits.
Gary Ray, at Black Diamond Games, writes an excellent article where he discusses the frustrations of product availability taken from a retailer standpoint.
As a consumer, I found it to be an excellent read and it really opened my eyes to the balancing act that store owners have to go through when it comes to supply and demand.
That’s where retailers are right now. No more cookie money. The hottest games of the year are worth nothing to us if we can’t put them on the shelves. We can’t even call them hot, really, because we don’t know the depth of the demand. Being the last man standing when it comes to inventory is great, but it doesn’t build your confidence in a product line. There is a sense of a “ceiling of success” when there’s a supply ceiling that can’t satisfy demand. It’s not greed, but a perceived limit to what’s possible with hard work.
Will the next Dice Masters or X-Wing release be hot? Who knows? Some say Dice Masters is done. Some have massive pre-orders in. Not only do we not know our own depths of demand, but the lack of product overall perverts the local market, driving people to our store to suck up the last dice pack or space ship. When supply is plentiful, those people are not our customers. So without a way to plumb the depths, we’re reluctant to take chances, to dive deep, on the next release, which means pre-orders are low, and the process repeats itself. Madness.