Lots going on in our hobby. Toys ‘R Us may close their stores this week. Games Workshop seems to have the Midas touch. A new store opened in Grand Haven. All of this and more. I hope you enjoy…
Around the World of Board Gaming March 2018
Toys ‘R Us closure seems imminent
It was back in October 2017 when I first blogged about Toys ‘R Us’s imminent bankruptcy. Even back then, the consequences of this bankruptcy seemed unpredictable. Now the consequences are bit more in focus: Toys ‘R Us is in deep trouble.
The toy megastore could close its doors this week. The way has been paved for the closure of their European stores. And the closure of the North American stores seems hot on their trails.
The closing of Toys ‘R Us will have a huge impact on the toy industry. Toys ‘R Us is the last toy megastore. They account for 10% of Hasbro and Mattel’s sales. Without Toys ‘R Us, Mattel and Hasbro will lose some of their ability to sell off brand toys.
But what concerns us here is: how will this affect our hobby? The answer is: probably not much. The closing will cause ripples for Lego, Hasbro and Mattel. It will stifle these companies short term innovation. But it will have a minimal impact on our hobby. Our hobby wasn’t really predicated on Toys ‘R Us. The occasional Toys ‘R Us exclusive like the Clue Star Wars game will still be developed. But it will probably be a Target exclusive instead.
The restructuring of Toys ‘R Us will have a huge indirect impact on our hobby however. It will slow down the merger between Mattel and Hasbro. Rumors have been swirling that the Hasbro wants to add Mattel to their already huge studio. Such a joint venture would be quite impactful to the tabletop hobby. But this merger is still just a rumor. And the Toys ‘R Us news will only slow down such a merger if it is to happen at all.
When I know more about this, I’ll blog more about it then.
…but Games Workshop is making bank
The news about Toys ‘R Us does not portend ill for the tabletop gaming hobby. Indeed, Games Workshop is doing amazing. The Nottingham, UK based manufacturer boasts a 160% increase in stock value in just 12 months. Their decisions to divorce Fantasy Flight and then marry WizKids has them seeing black.
I’ve blogged about Games Workshop’s divorce and remarriage. At each juncture I’ve tried to cover the subject fairly. It may not be completely apparent from my blogging, but while I’m a huge fan of Games Workshop’s games, I am a huge opponent of their business practices.
While I’m not a fan of their business practices, there is no denying GW is more knowledgeable about how to stay successful in this business than I. They also will still have 460 stores worldwide by the end of 2018–a feat that Toys ‘R Us sadly will not be able to boast. I’ll give them props about staying profitable. Now if we can just get them to rescind their lawyers from attacking every BGG user I’d be tickled pink.
Magnus Carlsen will defend his chess title
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) organizes the Candidate Tournament each March. That tournament, which decides who will be the contender for the world championship, is happening now. The current champion, Magnus Carlsen, will undoubtedly be watching the white knuckled matches to find out who his competition will be.
I’ve blogged about Magnus over a year ago. The Norwegian prodigy is a master at the standard timed game but he is damn near unbeatable in the blitz matches. He will have his work cut out for him this year. The field is very competitive.
The Guardian has reported Levon Aronian is their favorite for this Candidate Tournament. Aronian, an Armenian grand master, defeated Carlsen in 2017 in the Altibox, Norway tournament. While this wasn’t for the World Championship, it does prove Aronian can stand toe-to-toe to Carlsen.
The actual championship matches will be in November. I will keep you informed about it as the time approaches.
Closer to Home
There’s been some developments at the ol’ Gaming Annex. We recently promoted Jonathan to full member. Jonathan has been coming to The Gaming Annex for over a year now. He’s a fixture on Thursday nights. We’ve been proud to add him to our ranks.
Next up is the dictator cycle. On Tuesdays, we take turns picking the games. Each person gets to pick the games on his night, that is, he’s the dictator. This has been a mixed bag. It helps with some of the hemming and hawing about which games to play. But some of the crew are not that proactive in picking games. We will need a new solution.
I’m thinking about adding some dry erase calendars to the walls. Our Tuesday night crew can write down on the boards what games they want to play when they are at the Annex. We discuss these things on Tuesdays. Why not jot them down on a calendar right then and there?
I may also give Dusty admin rights on the meetup group to accompany this new paradigm. The idea is: there will be two meetups on Tuesdays. One will be for table 1 and the other meetup event will be for table 2. When you RSVP, you will be RSVP’ing for a specific game. This will cut down on the hemming and hawing as well.
Our next event with the Griffin’s Rest is set in stone. We will meet there on Thursday, March 22nd. This will be our second joint venture with them. I’m anticipating a stronger turnout this go around. The doors open at 2PM. Our crew will be there around 4 or 5PM. Hope to see you all there.
There’s a new game store in Grand Haven. The Dragon’s Den, located at 1119 Washington Street, has the same location as the Burrow. And their business focus is on the same games: Warhammer, D&D and other miniature wargames. But these are new owners and have not other connection to the Burrow.
The Dragon’s Den had their grand opening on Saturday. I convinced my doting wife to come with me to check it out. Their inventory was light. Lighter than the Griffin’s Rest’s initial inventory. But Aaron, one of our Twilight Imperium regulars, said he’s optimistic. The owners of the Dragon’s Den seem to have more financial backing than the Burrow. And the Dragon’s Den is going to be open 7 days a week–solving some complaints people had about the Burrow which wasn’t opened at convenient times.
I’m hoping the Dragon’s Den has an interest in doing some joint ventures with our group. I’ll have my staff look into it. Check the meet up for more details.
Speaking of our meetup: you can join here. Jonathan did.