200905062027.jpgBusiness of Games (BoG) is our regular series looking at the business of games from the perspective of the gamer.

Wow – what a difference a month makes! In our monthly review of games sales (using Alliance Distribution’s Game Trade Magazine monthly top 25 list), we see a ton of movement! Nearly half of the titles on the top 25 titles are new to the list. In all fairness, 4 of these new titles are related to the newest release of Magic the Gathering (Alara Reborn) – which should help convince people that Magic is still the king of hobby gaming.

Hobby/designer board and card games had a great showing this month with new BoardGameGeek favorites Le Havre and Smallworld taking spots in the top 5 and recent hits Agricola, Dominion and various Ticket to Ride games holding down the middle of the list. RPGs on the other hand continue to not perform particularly well with only Dungeons and Dragons making the list in a few places, but losing ground overall.

CCGs and CMGs as a whole suffered this month. Non-Magic CCGs faired very poorly, with every game losing ground. CMGs faired even more poorly with the new Star Wars expansion falling in the ratings and the new World of Warcraft expansion debuting lower than the core set’s rating last month!

The biggest improvement this month was DaVinci Games’ Bang! which seems to be the game that just won’t quit (doesn’t everyone already have a copy of this???). On the negative side, the biggest loser was the newest Pokemon expansion (Platinum) – its an interesting movement – do retailers buy in bulk the first month and just let the inventory run through.

Even more interesting is what games didn’t make it to the list this month: Heroclix and Monsterpocalypse (there were a few others that didn’t make the list, but these are particularly interesting). To a large degree, it seems that the soap opera that is the fight over Heroclix is leaving gamers uninterested in continuing to pay for a game that might not ever see another expansion. Monsterpocalypse on the other hand may be suffering from its own complexity and lack of recognizable characters (though the upcoming Voltron expansion might turn this around).

Overall the ratings this month are encouraging – a little over half of the games on the list are collectible (which seems to put the lie to the folklore that gamers don’t like collectible games), but more hobby and designer games performed very well this month. As always, we’d love to have some raw numbers or input from other distributors – if you can help, drop us a line!