Pirates of the Spanish Main underprinted, selling out

We played a fun two-player game of this on Sunday, but we’re torn as to whether to write up a playtest report when, odds are, in a few days you’ll have to wait until September to get the game. Retailers across the country are reporting that distributors have told them not to expect any new shipments of Pirates of the Spanish Main for another month. It looks as if WizKids really didn’t know anybody would want their game… either that or they are trying some extremely misguided collectible-thingies sales strategy now that they are owned by Topps. I don’t really believe the latter, though. Can WizKids afford to blow another product launch, especially when this is the first new product they’ve launched in a year and a half that’s actually good?


  1. You didn’t like Shadowrun Duels? What was your main complaint? The high buy-in cost? That was rather steep. Still, I enjoyed the system.

  2. Yes, but at least you got to buy and play the game. Europe is not getting any stock until the reprint next month.

    Rumour has it that WizKids pulled the European orders to satify demand in the USA.

  3. We sold through the one display we were able to get in under three hours. Now, on the Industry Forums I traffic, retailers are looking to pay retail or more for displays just to fulfill customer demands. They are turning to ebay, and to whoever else will sell any of these things to them. I don’t think there has been a single initial release from WK in the past ever that hasn’t been short shipped. This is just another example. What stumps me is, have you all seen how much advertising money they have been pouring into this game for the past few months? There wasn’t a single gaming mag that didn’t have a full page ad in it. So, they drop gads of cash into advertising, and obviously didn’t believe it was gonna work. I am very tired of telling my customers that this game they have been hearing about for months is already O/S. Oh, rumor does have it that they are not anticipating running out at Gencon Indy in two weeks….

  4. Matthew, I should have commented on your post in the one above, silly of me to post twice. I am pretty certain you are spot on. We have heard the same things from our distributors. There are times I simply have no idea why we support a company who has such poor customer service.

  5. All I know is that the three packs I was allowed to buy at Origins weren’t enough to have two players play, so I haven’t yet gotten to try the game, and now it looks like I’ll have trouble getting any more.

  6. Of course they’re not going to run out of stock at Gen Con Indy. They get 100% of that cash, no discounts to distributors or anything. I’m sure WizKids set aside plenty of cases for the cons.

  7. Gee. I thought only a few would embrace such a new game trend that is “Constructible Strategy Game.” I think they were being conservative when they put in the order for the first batch. After all, if they don’t sell all of the unit, they have to eat up the financial loss. I guess they’re going to put in a much bigger order for the next batch run.

  8. Yes Dai, and hopefully (for WK anyway) they haven’t lost the momentum they were able to build in under a week. There are some VERY good new releases hitting in the next month, one of them being the Star Wars collectable minis game. I could list a bunch more. I am sure the WK diehard fan base will keep this afloat (athankya), which in many ways is a shame. But that is my own personal bias against WK talking….

  9. Well, barring any complication and delay from the manufacturing plant, they should keep up the demand. I think WizKids were just as surprised about this as anyone. Who knew it would take off this fast, this early? It’s not like they have a crystal ball telling them to order a bigger batch the first time around.

  10. Dai, It’s hard for me to believe they were surprised by anything. While retailers may have been cautious with their pre-orders, there were pre-orders. Numbers reported to distributors of how many they wanna buy. The distributors in turn place THEIR pre-orders to WK. If they were unable to fill those, that’s just bad business. More importantly, they have been doing this every single time they release something. “Ultimates” was short-shipped in June…This is a pretty old tactic used by lot’s of different industries to build up demand. In this case, it may have the opposite effect. May not, dunno. I do know I have a bunch of customers coming in pretty ticked they can’t get it. As for why I am not fond of WK, that’s along story. I will tell you another time when I have a bit more to spend on it.

  11. While pre-order is a good indication of what you should order for your first batch, not many gamers actually pre-order stuff, so how many more unit above the pre-order number should you put in for those last-minute consumers (those who will buy it off the shelf)? Based on your conclusion, you believe they intentionally ignore the pre-order number and ordered less. Am I correct in your assessment?

  12. Where you are off a bit, is the fact that WK did not even fill all the pre-orders. Many stores got less than they pre-ordered. That left many of us with not enough to sell beyond what our customers pre-ordered from us….

  13. Part of the reason for the big sell out is that Historical wargamers are using the ships for games like Heart of Oak, the number 60% or so sticks in my head. The game store I frequent told me that most of the people that are buying are going to use them for miniatures instead of playing the Whizkids game.

  14. The new bit of news we received from distribution yesterday, was that the second run due to hit in September is also being handled through Pre-orders…thats a new one.

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