GenCon Sell-outs

Well, folks, GenCon has come and gone. Unfortunately, this trend also extended to most of it’s big releases this year. Many many people couldn’t get ahold of more than a few titles this year, and it wasn’t just sad…it was infuriating.
First of all, though, here’s my short list of the top titles that sold out FAR too quickly at GenCon:

#5) X-Wing (Fantasy Flight Games)

I got a problem here…
…I can HOLD IT!
…no, no, I’m alrigh–G’AAAHHHH!!!
~J. Porkins (famous last words)

X-Wing was a big hit this year, and the impressive stack was gone relatively early. Surprise? Not really; anything carrying the Star Wars license is a guaranteed sell. I didn’t get a copy, but it does look fun!

#4) Smash-Up (AEG)

The cover itself is covered with Awesomesauce!

Wizards do battle with pirates who do battle with ninjas who ride dinosaurs with laser beams on their heads while taking on aliens from another planet. This most awesomely-themed quick card game didn’t sell out on the very first day, but it did sell out the next!

#3) Seasons (Asmodee)

‘Tis the Season for Sorcery!

A sleeper hit, this one. A curiosity at first for me, considering it’s wizardly theme, but it sold out on the first day. I heard it was because Asmodee only brought a handful of copies, but it’s popularity is enough to warrant a closer look…when they get more copies, that is.

#2)Mage Wars (Arcane Wonders)

It’s time for a thaumaturgical THROWDOWN!!!

This was the game that I told myself “If I only get ONE game this GenCon, it’s going to be Mage Wars.” I tried this game out last GenCon, and I was instantly hooked. This is my game of the year, hands down.
I almost didn’t get a copy. They were sold out on the first day, an hour before I even arrived in Indianapolis. The second day, I woke up early to be the first person in the vendor’s hall…only to see a LONG line wrap around 3 different booths. I was about to say “screw it” until I saw Bryan Pope (Mage Wars’ designer) walking down the isle counting off people in line. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard him say “You’re the last one” to the guy behind me!
So, I got my copy…get yours when they get more in!

#1) Netrunner (Fantasy Flight Games)

Jack in and feel the Matrix flow through your mind, chummer!
Wait….wrong franchise…damn!

This is in my number one spot for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is because the way the distribution was handled for this game, and how quickly it sold out. Secondly, from what I’ve been reading, this looks to be a faithful recreation of a great game. The new facelift and the great design make it a winner to me. I may, however, be waiting until LONG after its release to pick up a copy, as seeing it at the moment leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I don’t blame the games, of course…after all, they wouldn’t sell that well unless they were pretty awesome. I blame the publishers for only bringing a scant number of copies of their “totally awesome” debut games to the convention. I can only imagine the scene in the board room of Gaming Company X, where the marketing manager announces “This game is going to blow everyone’s socks off!”

He’ll be supported by a round of cheers and applause.

Then, he’ll REALLY get them when he says, “Let’s only bring about 400 copies!!!”

In what arcane dimension I have yet to travel to does this make a lick of sense? That number assumes that LESS THAN 1% of all of GenCon goers want your game! Now, assuming that you have, say, DOUBLE that amount…wouldn’t you want to make bank by bringing your whole first printing stock? If you need stock for your release to retailers, why not print more? If GenCon is where everyone is going to be the first to get their mitts on a game, you’d think they’d be more prepared than this.

I’m far more forgiving towards companies like Arcane Wonders, with their debut game, Mage Wars. After all, it’s their FIRST game. I am, however, looking at YOU, Fantasy Flight Games…

…you should know better.

Out of all of the above games, Netrunner’s sell-out pissed me off the most. The reason? Netrunner sold out on Thursday at 10:17 am…for all you folks at home, that’s 17 minutes after the doors to the vendor’s hall open on the first day.
How does one sell out of 250 copies in 17 minutes? Well, it’s because they sold 80% of their stock before the doors even opened…

…enter “The V.I.G.”

The V.I.G., or “Very Important Gamer” is a special badge you can buy for GenCon that not only gives you access to a VIG-only lounge, but it also gets you into the vendor’s hall an hour early. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me, but if we want to be totally honest, the badge really should be called a “V.I.S. badge,” or “Very Indignant Scalper.”

I hate scalpers.

I REALLY, REALLY hate scalpers.

There’s a special level of Hell for scalpers to burn in that’s right alongside child-molesters and people who talk at the theater.

Fantasy Flight Games completely enabled them this year by allowing those scalpers to buy TEN OR MORE COPIES of Netrunner. Seriously? TEN!? What did you think was going to happen? Did you honestly think that the 400-pound mouth-breathing butt-whistler in front of you holding ten copies of Netrunner was honestly filling out a God-damned Christmas list? That lump of sentient cholesterol is going to go home to his mother’s basement and post his hoard of Netrunners on Ebay for DOUBLE what he paid for them!

…and guess what?…

…the MSRP for Netrunner is $39.95. As of the writing of this article, Netrunner is selling on Ebay for no less than $80.

What really grinds my gears is that they’re actually being sold. There are people out there enabling this jack-assery by giving these parasites what they want. They are perfectly willing to pay DOUBLE to get this thing a month early. I’m not sure which makes me more sick; the pushers or the enablers.
FFG said at their In-Flight report that they never expected Netrunner to be this big, and had to intercept a shipment mid-GenCon to get more. They said they’d limit how many copies customers were able to buy, and that it would be more organized. Great job, FFG, you set up your Netrunner pile practically in the damned isle OUTSIDE your booth, and left it unguarded…then you got bum-rushed as soon as the doors opened, and people started grabbing copies before you knew what was what. Then, you had the audacity to allow people to KEEP the copies they had in their hand, while you sent people like me to the end of the line to hope they had a copy left, walking past dozens and dozens of people standing in line with copies, secure in the knowledge that they can stand in line worry-free.

Way to drop the ball, guys. I can only hope you change your policies next year.

I implore you gaming companies, please, for the love of God, place a cap on the number of game copies people can buy. One or two per customer is more than fair, and you’re not allowing leeches to make money off of you. Just because you won’t move your entire stock on the first day doesn’t mean you’re not going to sell out over the course of the weekend, I promise you. You’ll still make bank, and you’ll piss off far less people.


Posted on August 28, 2012, in Board Games, Conventions, Living Card Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My friend John (the one who dressed like Bane) is right there with you on missing Seasons. The main new thing I kept an eye open for was Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars; as you well know, I got ahold of it–there were like a million copies floating around Saturday. I guess they (wisely) overprinted the hell out of that one.

  2. True about Star Wars, but I suppose they didn’t “over-print” it, as they are now sold out completely.

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