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WotC closing all retail stores.

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Yekrats
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Joined: 08/11/2008

You guys have probably already seen the news, but in case you hadn't:

http://www.tribnet.com/entertainment/story/4565058p-4537928c.html
http://www.komotv.com/stories/29009.htm

I don't have any WotC stores around where I live. However, I was wanting to contact them about buying some product from me. I guess now would not be a good time. 8O They seemed like a vital company up until recently; a couple of months ago they bought quite a bit of product from my good pals at Blood & Cardstock.

These closings will leave a big hole for the "games we play." I hope they are backfilled with new gaming stores filling the void.

Not being near a Wizard's store, I don't know much more than what I can gather from Google News. Can any of you provide more local information about the closings?

-- Scott S.

IngredientX
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WotC closing all retail stores.

Wow. That is news. It shouldn't be too surprising, but it might deprive some of us of a local brick-and-mortar source for our games. CCG fans can usually find their games if they troll through enough comics stores; but board game fans may be more affected for this.

Of course, in business, there are always silver linings; those mom-and-pop stores that do sell board games may just get a few new regular customers. And for those of us who aren't near too many good gaming stores, there are always the online stores: Funagain, FairPlay, Boulder Games, and Games Surplus are four that I can remember off the top of my head, but a search through Google or Yahoo should bring up more.

Anyway. I guess this is a good time to see if the WOTC near me is selling discounted Formula De tracks. :?

FastLearner
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WotC closing all retail stores.

Note that this also means that the Game Keeper stores (also owned by WOTC) will be closing as well.

Oracle
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WotC closing all retail stores.

I noticed their store near me was closing yesterday. I didn't realize it was chain-wide.

I'm disappointed because I used to like browsing there and I'd buy some small games occasionally.

It's pretty clear why they're shutting down though. For any major game ~$40, it's cheaper to buy it at funagain or fairplaygames at 20-30% below retail and then pay the shipping. Once I'm ordering a big game, shipping is very low on small games, so I'd usually add a few to my order.

What really annoys me about WotC is they often charge more than MSRP for games. For example, when I was in the store yesterday they had 20% off everything to start their closing sale, my GF was interested in getting the Apples to Apples crate and their regular price was $35. Funagain says the list price is $30 and they have 20% off to make it $24.

Jason

IngredientX
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WotC closing all retail stores.

Oracle wrote:
What really annoys me about WotC is they often charge more than MSRP for games. For example, when I was in the store yesterday they had 20% off everything to start their closing sale, my GF was interested in getting the Apples to Apples crate and their regular price was $35. Funagain says the list price is $30 and they have 20% off to make it $24.

Jason

I know what you mean. I was going to pick up New England, but their marked price on it was $50! All the discount would do would be to make it slightly more expensive than an internet store.

Oh yeah, and I didn't realize until last night that the cashier forgot to take off the 20% from my purchase. But that's my fault. :p

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
That brings up a point

I've discussed this briefly on BGG a while back. I'm sure this isn't the reason why the WOTC stores went out of business, but Internet game discount stores do have an impact on local game stores. It's a paradox really. We want games at reasonable costs, so we buy them off the internet. And I don't just mean one, we buy SEVERAL at a time to save on shipping as someone else mentioned. All the while we complain about the high prices of our local game stores or that we don't have a local game store or a place to play. My local game store just went out of business last year. It was in the biggest mall in the area. I know rent there was outrageous. I often wondered to myself how it stayed open. Well obviously it couldn't. Supply and demand is at work. We want low prices. We want places to play. We want to be able to look at the games, open them and play the store's demo copy. Somewhere we as game players are going to have to recognize that we need to support out local game stores. If that means paying a little more for our games, then we should do it. If it means having the game store ordering a game we want that's not in stock, then we should do it.

On the flip side, game stores need to also adapt to the times. If I ran a game store, you can sure as hell bet that I'd also be running a discount game website also. Just think how much more productive it would be if you had your store employees boxing up and shipping internet orders instead of sitting around doing nothing for most of the day. Also think of how many more orders you would get if you offered your games at price in between that of Internet and Retail. This median cost could be about the same cost of an internet game plus the shipping. People would be more likely to purchase games from your store than the Internet.

At any rate, when games stores close, it is a bad thing. But I think we as players need to adapt our purchasing methods, as well as the store owners adapting their selling techniques.

-Darke

jwarrend
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WotC closing all retail stores.

I have to agree with Darke that it's a bad thing when game stores close. I can't say I've really done much to avert the closing of Game Keeper stores, having only purchased at most 2 games from them in my life. It was nice to have a game store in the mall, however, I just didn't find their prices or selection to be all that great. You could find a good German game once in a while, but certainly not shelves and shelves of them.

The game store that I attend for gaming and buy about half my games from has taken an approach that I think has served them well -- to have tons of gaming space that they've used to create a vibrant gaming community. Unfortunately, this community is primarily about miniatures gaming, which I have exactly zero interest in. They also sell a lot of CCGs and RPGs, which equally fail to whet my appetite, yet as a result of this, they're able to stock a very healthy selection of German-style games (at full retail price, but what can you do?) and host a weekly board games night. If the store focused only on German games, they'd go out of business, so what can you do? (Plus, I think the owners genuinely like miniatures gaming, so it's not like they're doing it just for the money).

But I think creating a community of gamers is key to a store's viability. Sure, I can get my games cheaper at Game Surplus, and because of the excellent service and speedy delivery from them, I do order half my games. Yet, I also feel obligated to invest money in my local store. However, there is a local store that I won't invest money in due to too many incidents of seeing customers treated rudely by the owner. And there are others, like Game Keeper, that I don't inherently object to, but also haven't done anything to attract me as a customer, either. So, I'm not sure; I do think that we as gamers should support our local stores, but that doesn't mean we necessarily should support any store that is selling games...should we?

-Jeff

Anonymous
WotC closing all retail stores.

jwarrend wrote:
... I do think that we as gamers should support our local stores, but that doesn't mean we necessarily should support any store that is selling games...should we?

-Jeff

Jeff makes a good point. We should support our local game stores (I wish I had a local game store to support) but we shouldn't do this blindly. If a local game store treated its customers rudely and in general didn't support the products it sold then I wouldn't patronize them. The same holds true of any store - brick & mortar and internet.

I personally would rather buy my games from a brick & mortar store rather than the internet since most of the game stores I've been to will let you play the game before buying. Yes it is annoying when so much space is geared to miniature games (I too can't get into minature games - though I like my RPGs), CCGs, RPGs, etc., but from the stores POV this is the best way to stay alive. A store that focuses on only one type of product, like the animal that eats only one special plant for its diet, will quickly go extint while the generalist will live on. (A simpla analogy, but it applies equally in biology and business.)

My two pence.
- Geoff

Oracle
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Re: That brings up a point

I also think it's bad that these stores are closing and I didn't mean to imply otherwise in my post.

Darkehorse wrote:
Supply and demand is at work. We want low prices. We want places to play. We want to be able to look at the games, open them and play the store's demo copy. Somewhere we as game players are going to have to recognize that we need to support out local game stores. If that means paying a little more for our games, then we should do it. If it means having the game store ordering a game we want that's not in stock, then we should do it.

This is perfectly reasonable. There's nothing wrong with supporting a local game store by paying the retail price instead of running to funagain for a 20% discount. There are also times when I want a game NOW; I don't want to wait to have it shipped, in that case it's well worth the extra money at the local store. It's cheaper than express shipping :).

What I object to is their prices being higher than the retail list price. To me, this shows utter contempt for their customers. While I'm willing to pass up the web discount to support my local retailer, I will not fuel their greed by paying more than list.

I bought Chez Geek at WotC about 18 months ago. It was $20 and I figurued it's in the cheap game class where it isn't worth ordering it. When I got home and checked funagain, I found out that MSRP is $17 and funagain's price is $15. That was my first experience with WotC's over-inflated prices. It was also the last thing I bought from them expect off their clearance rack.

After that experience, any time I'd see something I was interested in buying, I'd go home and check funagain first. Then even if WotC was just charging list (which I would have paid in store), I'd realize if I order from Funagain, I'll get it before I'm at the mall with wizards again so I'd take the easiest route and order online.

IngredientX wrote:
I know what you mean. I was going to pick up New England, but their marked price on it was $50! All the discount would do would be to make it slightly more expensive than an internet store.

As soon as I got home from WotC Monday I ordered several games from funagain including New England for $35 (list price $45).

What I want to know is why WotC over-prices their items. They'll probably pick up a few sales from clueless people (like I was with Chez Geek), but in the long run it's got to cost them more in lost sales.

Jason

Torrent
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WotC closing all retail stores.

I guess I'm lucky as my local gaming store at home is an independant, and been around for at least 15 years. They have several tables that I see people playing boardgames and such on almost everytime I go in, not just CCG's. Their prices are reasonable. I bought Carcasonne for the same price it would have cost me with shipping from the Net. I also know that they sell stuff on Ebay instead of an online discount website. Usually just stuff that has been sitting about for a while.

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