Its that time of the month again. That magical time where we indulge our statistic chomping inclinations to plumb the depths of the Alliance top 25 to see what’s hot and what’s not. Just a friendly reminder, this sampling doesn’t include data around most miniature games and may have some bias towards those products that are exclusive to Alliance .

maychart.pngThis month saw the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! releases instantly taking over the top spots on the list, pushing the ever-present Magic the Gathering releases into the middle of the list. Pokemon continues to be the one-month wonder of the CCG world, with two new expansions debuting this month, surely to disappear next month. One unexpected entrant on the list is the newest expansion in the Naruto CCG – I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how this game survives as it just doesn’t seem to have the fan-base support required for a CCG to be successful.

Collectible miniature games had a stellar month with the re-emergent Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures line leading the way. As we reported earlier, this new format seems tailor made for D&D 4E players. Also interesting is that the strength of this new release seems to have generated some interest in the D&D Miniatures back catalog, with Against the Giants and Dungeons of Dread both making appearances on the list. That said, the biggest miniature game news this month was the rapid climb of the newest World of Warcraft Miniatures release from 21st to 3rd (also the biggest jump of any game). Its hard to know what to make of the strange sales pattern this game seems to experience. Anecdotally, game store owners tell me that the game seems to only be selling to non-gamers, or more correctly, to MMO players as opposed to hobby gamers.

RPGs were fairly interesting this month – with Dungeons & Dragons 4E continuing to have new releases place well within the top 25, but older titles continue their slow decline on the list, potentially running out of steam. Interestingly, if one looks at D&D as a single category as opposed to separate RPG and CMG lines, it did very well this month, capturing 5 of the 25 slots. The only other RPG to grace the top 25 this month is Wizards of the Coast’s other RPG, Star Wars – I really don’t expect we’ll see this one on the list next month, Star Wars RPGs seem to struggle with expanding their audience base.

maygraph.jpgLast, but certainly not least is the board games category. Board games had a stellar month, taking up nearly a third of the top 25 list with a good mix of evergreen titles like Ticket to Ride series, new classics like Agricola and Dominion and a few new releases like Small World and the newest Memoir ’44 expansion. This part of the list definitely shows a bit of distributor bias given Days of Wonder‘s exclusivity agreement with Alliance, but I’d be surprised if it changes the titles on the list. Its worth noting that Dominion was this month’s biggest drop, falling a full 10 spots as retailers tried to prevent overstocking of the second printing of this 2008 hit.

Overall, the composition of the top 25 seems to remain relatively unchanged, with CCGs dominating the list and the board game renaissance that started in 2005-2006 continuing to generate sales. On a programming note, a few of us from the Pawn will be at Origins later this month and we’ll be hunting down distributors to see if we can get agreements to open up more of the monthly sales data so we can present a more complete picture of the retail landscape.