Returned from the Gamma Trade Show in Las Vegas.
Learned the Mercs for the Money Fast Forces for Heroclixs was out. I kept doing a Deadpool Mercs for the Money search on the websites I order through. Since Deadpool is listed on the actual item I figured Deadpool would be in the title of the item. I was wrong.
I have now been to multiple Gamma shows. Sadly got food poisoning at the 2016 one. Still went then but it was not ideal. This show is aimed at the gamming side of the business. I would encourage a new business owner who has gaming as part of their business to go to at least once. The first one was the one I learned the most at. My knowledge of comics was much greater than my knowledge of gaming at the time. The last one in 2016 I did not learn that much though I got sick after arriving in Vegas. Then I got back home and received an email later letting me know they had issues with the scanning of the badges and it didn't look like I attended everything I was suppose to. Which I knew I did and wasn't happy about the email since I was sick and still went. The email then said they would still send the material that we were suppose to get for going to the show. So an emailing saying they had issues with recording our attendance but they were still so nice they would still send what they said they would. Weird waste of time email. And I also figured out a lot of people had the same issue. How did I know that? Because the person who sent me the email from Gamma didn't send it blind carbon copy. It had all our email addresses listed for everyone to see.
One of the high lights for me of going to past Gamma Trade Shows is Kevin Eastman one of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was at one. Great person. He was signing to help promote the at the time the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. I was worried since I did not bring a comic or anything for him to sign. No problem he signed for free and had TMNT comics on hand to give away to sign. Even had cards he did small sketches on. I Facebooked one of our TMNT customers and asked if he wanted a signed comic. He said he would very much like one so I got one for him. Kevin impressed me enough I was thinking of trying to see if he would be interested in maybe in the future possibly signing at my store. He was that cool. Sadly with the lease and possible move this year I am playing the save money up game to make sure if a move does happen everything is covered. Also the best time would have been last year around when the last TMNT movie came out. How cool would that be though? To say you help create something that became part of American pop culture? Maybe in the future I will ask him.
The show's focus may be gaming though a lot of gaming does have a comic book connection. Heroclixs by Wizkids of course has a lot of comic related characters. Legends is a card game that has Marvel and DC based characters. Even if it is not comic related odds are a comic store carries card games such as Magic the Gathering. Pokemon the card game enjoyed a boost in sales thanks to the Pokemon phone app last year. Fantasy Flight Games's Star Wars X Wing miniature ships are popular along with their new Star Wars Destiny game. With the Star Wars movies it should stay popular for years, hopefully.
Valiant even has a role playing game out there.
There are a lot of game makers to meet. Before hand I set up a plan. Set out to see the presentations I was interested in most. And of course then I get there and its all different than it was on their website days before the show starts. No problem things happen right?
Sadly there were ones I wanted to see but due to the schedule I had to pick who I thought would be the best for the store and then hope to find time to talk to them on the show floor later. For instance I enjoyed Fireside Games presentation last year. I learned a lot and thought their games were very all ages friendly and started carry their products. Their line of products are a good fit for the store. One of my customers texted me about Fireside's new up coming kid friendly game Hotshots. It is about firefighters that go in to the wild to fight fires. His son is super excited about the game. I was in front of the owners of Fireside on the show floor and asked if he would be willing to talk to one of my customers. He did. I think my customer was thrilled talking to one of the owners. All his questions were answered. Fireside Games just got an order of six for the Hotshots game through me by doing that. Hopefully making it worth their time.
Wizards of the Coast didn't have any new info. Though listening to other's questions are usually good. One person asked about their previous practice of sending free material to their players who were on their players network. Now this is before I was opened. Though the response was honest. They did away with sending freebies and seen no drop in interest or sales. I thought about it and remembered I was sent free Heroclixs when Topps owned Wizkids and I was a player and signed up with them. I enjoyed the freebies. My and my friends would talk about what we had received. But in all truthfulness mine or their spending didn't decrease or increase because of the freebies. Even after Wizkids stopped sending free heroclixs it had no impact on my heroclix spending. I was addicted!
Pokemon last year I enjoyed what they had to say. They acknowledged that big chain stores were breaking street dates by selling early and that small stores like mine were being hurt by that. They were truthful. The big chain stores bring in to much money to punish for doing it while us smaller stores they could. I can handle the truth and respected that. What I also liked was they were looking at letting us sell earlier than the big chain stores to help us out. Wizards of the Coast with their D&D line has let small brick and mortal stores sell their material before big companies like Amazon do. Which really helps sales. Now why should they help us smaller stores out? If we are not able to sell their product there really is no reason to hold gaming for their products and help get new people into their games along with carrying their products.
And what did Pokemon say this year? That we can sell new Pokémon material before the big chain stores if we have pre releases. Guess what? We are going to have Pokémon pre releases now. We weren't we before? Because I feel our area is well covered with gaming events. We do have gaming events for Heroclix and Magic the Gathering. Though factoring the cost and time of having events lowers the rewards of running them. Long story short I have no trouble selling Magic or Heroclixs or D&D or Star Wars X Wing or Star Wars Destiny and so on. The events do not seem to increase interest or sales. Really Star Wars Destiny sells out in no time why have a gaming event where they are giving out for free? Most of our gamers are casual gamers. The ones that play at home or elsewhere with their friends and not at stores. That is our target audience. Though if Pokémon will let me sell before the big chain stores are able to, then by goodness we have a good reason to run Pokémon pre releases.
I went to Fantasy Flight games knowing any new info and maybe a chance to get a pack of next month's new Star Wars Destiny for my customers might be worth it. No such luck. It was super packed though. And people are still upset about Star Wars Destiny being so popular. Oh no, we have a product that sells out as soon as we get it. That is a good problem to have. Anyone remember the Battle for Zendikar Fat Packs? The thought process of they have "valuable" full art lands so they must be bought! They blew out the door and made everyone some quick money. The next set Oath of the Gatewatch Fatpacks that also have the full art lands? People figured out that the full art lands are in every booster are easily available by the team they were released. No one complained about being able to easily get Oath Fatpacks. Online people complain about stores upping the price of the Destiny packs. That is above retail! I do find it funny because everyone goes online to pay less than a products suggested retail price. And those same people want to buy a Destiny pack to get a Force Choke out of it and flip it for $35. I talked with the sales reps of Asmode who owns Fantasy Flight Games (they make Star Wars Destiny) and said I totally understood why they didn't have enough to meet demand. No one said anything in store about Star Wars Destiny till a handful of people asked about it weeks before it was due out. It came out in December when the movie came out which was smart. Then the game totally took off.
They were trying to promote it. They were playing it. Showing it off months before the release date and it wasn't showing signs of being a hot product. Then all the sudden it was. Again a great problem to have. To be quite frank part of the reason it is in such high demand is because people are having trouble getting Star Wars Destiny. If they weren't the interest would be a lot less.
The only thing I was disappointed in was getting emails about signing up to have a pre release for the next Star Wars Destiny that is coming up and then told there wasn't enough. Okay, then don't send me an email telling me to make sure to sign up. My main concern is will Star Wars Destiny go the way of Dice Masters? When Wizkids Dice Masters first came out it was red hot. People were buying packs to flip them to make money. Now Dice Masters sells a shadow of what it did. It's easily available and demand is very low here in store.
After all the presentations the exhibit hall opens and we get to check out the vendor's booths. I take pictures and post on our Facebook page. Our gamers hope for new news. If I can give them some then that gets them excited for new upcoming product then it is all worth it. Sometimes some freebies are given out. Last year and this year Wizkids gave out Dice Masters packs and Heroclixs. Great chance to see new upcoming product and talk with the various people that make games.
Again if you are new and can afford to go then I would say check it out. There are workshops. Even a new store orientation along with ways to make social media work for you. Another excuse for going? There will be games sent for going to it. The "Box". Which is various material from the gaming companies sent to you for going to the Gamma Trade Shows. This helps me out. How? I put it all out in store and learn what games have a customers' interest and what ones don't.
Another reason for me to go to the Gamma Show is a chance to talk with follow store owners. Had lunch Monday outside of the Gamma show with the manager of Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming in San Diego, CA. I thought we had a great talk about gaming and comics. I know I enjoyed it. Asking questions with a follow retailer and learning to me is great.
And then Tuesday I found out that somehow I was not signed up for the lunches at the Gamma Show. Which was weird. I looked into how much food would be at the show if I brought someone and it was to much so I just signed up myself. Or so I thought? It was $400 for just meals at the show if I brought someone and no extra cost if it was just me. Again, or so I thought. I know I had trouble getting signed up months ago. I was told that my email was an issue for some reason. Wendy of Gamma was very helpful with the whole trying to sign up and failing multiple times. Though when I went to get my print out badge for the show I had no idea that meal tickets were suppose to print out also? My print out of the show was part of a stream of others' print out material. The line was long and took quite awhile to get through. I took the two print outs that I thought was all I needed and figured the rest were another persons. There were two computers each at least printing to one printer. Someone had tickets connected to mine in front of me and there was more. The meals wasn't that way last year. And it was even different the year before that. Last year I was sick so not doing meals was fine. This year though I was completely blown off. It was weird going to get a nine dollar hot dog elsewhere thinking I was already signed up and taken care of. Maybe after not having signed up successfully multiple times the time it actually did work I didn't fill out the food option. Either way I wasn't too thrilled. I was looking forward to talking business with others and listening to presentations during lunch. Wanted to see if I could reprint them if that was the issue but again was blown off.
Regardless other people had issues. New people I did help out and explain things. Maybe Gamma should have a video to show what to expect and educate new people and repeat customers like me.
Though with that large of a group of people attending I understand there will always be issues. I still get the feeling Gamma is starting to be to big to care.
One of the presentations I sat down at the group of store managers and owners brought up last years email about the scanning of badges that I had received also. One person called the email "arrogant". I laughed and said yeah I got that email also. It always amazes me how some organizations and vendors treat us. I think wow if I treated my customers like that I wouldn't have any.
Was surprised how addicted people are to their phones during the presentations. I understand at times they are useful. Such as I had some minor issues back at the store that were easily handled through texts. But other people were looking at "funny" videos and pictures and totally not listening to the presentations which I just wondered why even come then?
Met new game store owner Richard Nicholson. Owner of Baxter's at Queen Creek, Arizona. He just opened in December of last year. He is a brave man.
Ed Catto of TCGPlayer invited me to their presentation. Very nice person. They had a great presentation. TCGPlayer Pro sounds like what we should be using in store. I knew of TCG because it is popular with Magic players when pricing cards. What we were shown was a program that is pretty good. Almost like a phone application but works with a store's products. Put a card down scan it and the price shows up and its availability. Cards from Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and more work for it. It has regular updates for the pricing. And it works for comics also. It can be a part of a store's website. The price point was very reasonable. It is now a future project for us.
Richard was already using TCGplayer for selling cards in his store and had nothing but positive things to say about TCG.
This along with the Pokémon Pre Release news were the two most important announcements to me.
Gaming is popular. Big chain stores such as Target are getting exclusive games. Heck, the carry Cards Against Humanity now which used to be only available online. I went to Cards Against Humanity's website and applied to carry their products and basically was ignored. Tried again and was informed they know I tried once before but no reason saying why they wouldn't sell directly to me. Not very helpful. Now that Target carries Cards Against Humanity at prices lower than I can so I basically have dropped carrying it. How was I getting it? Off line of course.
At times I do wonder if gaming has become so big that smaller stores will be left behind. I do feel at times we are launching pads for products.
Last December was our best month of sales for games in the six years we have been open. So for us there is a market currently.
For 2018 the Gamma Trade show is moving to Reno. I do wish it was staying in Vegas. There is a lot to do. It is more than just gambling. One of my favorite places to stop in is the Pinball Museum. Old pin ball games from years ago remind me of my youth. Playing the old Spider-man pin ball game is very cool. There is a Superman pin ball game also. My father's business many years ago was supplying video games, pin balls, pool tables, and jukeboxes to bowling alleys, bars, and other places. The garage used to be filled with nothing but games. One of his pin ball games was the old Spider-Man. Sadly I tracked it down to Texas where it was in a restaurant fire. Buying one is on my bucket list.
There are plenty of shows to see in Vegas also. Again lots to do. Just walking the Vegas strip is a story in its self. Reno I have never been to before. Before this Gamma show I had planned on going to the 2018 Reno show. Now I am a little butt hurt over the food thing along with last year's email. Membership to Gamma and the trip isn't cheap. Not saying it should be. Just like the average customer doesn't want to just shout take my money no matter what you do!
Upper Deck, Wizkids, Alliance, ACD, Fireside Games, and all the companies were great to deal with this time. I was surprised at first but then remembered I looked like death warmed over the previous year. People did comment on how bad I looked then. This year I looked normal at least. Dave from Diamond even thanked me for fighting the good fight and selling comics. He even gave me a Harley Quinn Bombshell paperweight bust. I was looking at because I was shocked he told me it was already available but somehow I over looked it. On the box it says "Collectible Bust Paperweight Harley Quinn Icon heroes" Its Diamond title is . We have Harley Quinn fans so I was shocked I failed to order it. Had so much material given to me at the show I had the Harley Quinn and other freebies UPSed to me. That one as long as it arrives in one piece will end up at home to remind me of the Gamma Show. I just ordered two of them through Diamond for the store along with the Superman and Batman from the line. Again very nice of Dave.
My trip felt like Hangover the movie part four or something. Weird, wild, and crazy. Had a blast in Vegas. Best Vegas trip out of all the Vegas trips I have taken. Granted I ended up flying into Omaha, Nebraska instead of Des Moines, Iowa where I was suppose to return to and left my car at but that's life. Sadly way to much happened that isn't game or comic related so I won't get into it. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas if it isn't gaming or comic related?
That's what I remember. I say that in case I incorrectly remembered something.
JUSTICE LEAGUE vs SUICIDE SQUAD 1 Exclusive Rodman Comics variant Ed Benes colored and black and white
Dark Knight III the Master Race Rodman Comics variant
DC Comics Harley Quinn 1 Exclusive variant Rodman Comics Cover by Ed Benes
Harley Quinn 1 Exclusive Artgerm Black & White variant
Harley Quinn 1 Exclusive Artgerm variant
Harley Quinn 1 Exclusive cover Guillem
Harley Quinn 1 Rebirth Exclusive Amanda Conner Black & White
Harley Quinn 1 Rebirth Exclusive Variant Amanda Conner
Harley Quinn 1 Rebirth Exclusive Variant Warren Louw
SUICIDE SQUAD # 1 DC REBIRTH Paul Pelletier ROCK SHOP VARIANT NM Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad 1 Rebirth Dale Keown Buy Me Toys Exclusive Variant