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ACD Distribution Games Day

By Tim Kidwell
Published: August 30, 2010
ACD Games Day 2010
Back to the Future demo
Kristin Looney demonstrates the "Back to the Future" game.
Games Workshop
Games Workshop's Tanya Brown talks a retailer through some painting techniques.
iPad Zombie Dice
Steve Jackson Games is developing a Zombie Dice app for the iPad.
Professional Game Store Association
Pat Fuge (in red) helps a retailer become a member of the Professional Game Store Association.
More than 100 retail stores showed up for game distributor ACD Distribution's open house at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., Aug. 25-27. Seventy lines were represented by 40 exhibitors, including industry heavyweights such as Games Workshop, Mayfair Games and Privateer Press.

While adding more sales reps in the last year, the biggest sign of expansion for the distributor itself has been its online ordering system. ACD’s web-based store allows retailers to search its entire database of games, check account balances and handle returns.

There were plenty of new games for retailers to look at, and attendees were treated to a number of seminars by manufacturers and fellow store owners. Some of the educational tracks included approaching community groups to generate institutional sales, increasing your business' bottom line and best business practices. Thursday night, retailers were treated to three hours of open demos. Manufacturers taught dealers to play their games, but more importantly, they discussed key selling points and how to better sell their products.

On Friday, retailers were invited down to ACD’s headquarters to tour the facility, finalize orders and ask any last-minute questions of publishers.

Some interesting offerings included Looney Labs Back to the Future, a card game based on the famed Universal Studios movie trilogy. Looney Labs President Kristin Looney said that the game’s release is timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Back to the Future movie franchise and the Blue Ray and DVD rereleases, allowing retailers to ride its coattails and build additional sales.

Sandstorm Productions was busy demoing its lineup of games, including Globalization from Closet Nerd. In it, players vie to dominate the world’s economic markets, grow their conglomerate and be the first to reach $1 billion.

Osprey Publishing, famous for its historical military titles, has branched out into sci-fi and fantasy novels, and alternate universe military manuals. It has six premiere titles for its fiction imprint, Angry Robot, and includes work from authors Gav Thorpe and Dan Abnett, famous for their Warhammer novels. The new Zombies: A Hunter’s Guide, envisions an alternate Earth overrun by zombies since World War II and cashes in on the zombie craze.

Steve Jackson Games announced a bevy of Munchkin releases for this holiday season, including the new Santa’s Revenge and Reloaded! boosters, the latter reintroducing cards that disappeared when Munchkin Dice went out of print. Of course, these are compatible with any Munchkin set and take advantage of a popular brand name.

ACD Games Day is focused on hobby game retailers, says Boyan Radakovich, ACD's marketing manager. The goal is to bring key vendors together with top retailers, facilitating communication and networking with industry professionals from across all tiers.

"Every vendor in our top 25 list was at the show," Radakovich said. "We're not trying to sell booths. We're trying to fill the show with quality manufacturers."

Both the Professional Game Store Association and the Game Manufacturers Association were present at the show. Pat Fuge said that membership for the PGSA now tops 80 retailers, with open registration still available on the website until Sept. 15. The PGSA will also be present at the iHobby Expo trade and consumer show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., Oct. 21-24.

(Vendor numbers edited for clarification 9/2/2010.)