Daily Illuminator

February 27, 2011: Pushing Munchkin Into The Mass Market

Munchkin Zombies at the Tribe eventIf you shopped at major book store chain in the past couple of months, you may have noticed copies of Munchkin on the shelves. This is a huge win for us -- thousands of potential gamers walk those aisles every day, and they wouldn't be exposed to Munchkin any other way.

With mass market retailers, it's a bit like dominoes: once you get the first one to drop, the rest fall in line. Of course, it isn't nearly that simple, as Phil can tell you from his trip to New York Toy Fair. But having one of our games in one of the major book stores makes it significantly easier to get into the others.

Does this mean we've left our roots -- the hobby games retailers -- behind? Of course not! The game stores that have supported Steve Jackson Games from the early days remain our core. They are the targets of our MIB demo teams (that didn't sound quite right . . . "demo" as in "demonstration" not "demolition"!), and they're the ones we turn to for feedback on packaging and pricing. They're the market we create games like Give Me The Brain for.

Most importantly, they're the ones who will continue to support our lines. No matter how many copies of Munchkin Zombies are sold through a big box store, the major corporations don't carry any line in depth -- meaning they miss out on the sales of Munchkin Zombies 2 and the plethora of other Munchkin expansions, as well as our more geeky releases (Awful Green Things, for instance). The clerks at the big box store won't be able to tell a polyhedral from flying polyp, and they certainly won't be able to help you decide between Revolution! The Palace and Munchkinomicon.

Mass market retailers can introduce our games to a demographic beyond our usual crowd, and that's exactly why we're pushing into them. But we won't sacrifice the shops that have serviced our core fans to chase the elusive "new gamer."

-- Paul Chapman

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