Greetings WizKids Customers.
I wanted to follow up on a few topics regarding Marvel Dice Masters and broaden the update to include some HeroClix topics as well. We’ll be releasing more of these updates in the near future.
First off, thank you again for your enthusiasm and support for Marvel Dice Masters. We understand the frustrations of not having enough product. As we noted in our first update, we thought we had ordered enough product to last us three to six months when we initially placed the first print run.
Marvel Dice Masters
MDM Reprint #1 (Starters): The starter reprint is arriving as we speak. We took the opportunity to split the air shipment between a west coast warehouse and a mid-west warehouse, to speed our time to market. It looks like we will start shipping orders late next week , with some trailing orders hitting the beginning of the follow week. Additionally, there is a portion of this reprint that went by boat and should be arriving in a few weeks. However, due to the chance of custom holds and other delays, we are unable to project when this portion will be available.
MDM Reprint #1 (Boosters): The first reprint for the boosters is scheduled to hit in July. We’re looking into options to expedite this shipment due to the continued high demand. We’re going to have to send another update out when we have more clarity on the shipping.
The reality of the situation is that even with these inbound shipments, we are still far short of the back order demand. We placed this reprint last March and the numbers had just started to ramp up at that time.
MDM Reprint #2 (Starters and Boosters): This reprint was issued before launch and should infuse a good amount of supply into the channel. I am confident it will make a significant dent. The problem is that this shipment is not slated to arrive until the end of August. Again, we’re looking at options to expedite the delivery, but I won’t have clarity on that topic for a few weeks.
A short aside: Air shipping is very costly. As most of you know, we’ve been aggressive in our pricing for this product. Instead of raising the price we are trying to find the right balance between supplying the market and keeping the price where it is. Air shipping all of the product would require raising prices across the board. Nobody wants that.
MDM at Origins Game Fair 2014: As part of the belt tightening leading up to the launch of MDM, we released all of our reserved product to the distributors. This means that we have no starter product for our scheduled events at Origins. Instead of peeling off product from the reprint, we’re going to cancel any MDM events at Origins that require the purchase of sealed product. I’m confident this is the right decision in the long term and for the good of the business.
MDM Set 1 Collation: We always receive a lot of questions on this topic. Given the Quarriors DNA of the MDM, many people are asking about the cost to collect an entire set. As a policy, WizKids will not comment on collation, nor do we guarantee collation of a randomize product. It is a long-standing policy, one that we have proven out through experience, and one that we’re not going to change. However, based on feedback, we’re going to tweak the next set, The Uncanny X-Men. First of all, we’re going to move to a HeroClix sized Gravity Feed unit which will fit 90 MDM booster packs. This should allow for a little more space for the packs to lay flat. Also, we’re going to change the insertion rate to target one or more Super Rares per gravity feed. As always, we do not guarantee collation; it is simply a target we strive for.
Last year was a pretty amazing year for HeroClix, however, it did not come without a few bumps in the road. Specifically, a number of last minute delays forced us to move release dates on short notice. There are many things that can (and will) derail a products release date. Most are under our control; unfortunately, some are not. During the last six months, we got hit with so many issues, it is remarkable that we were able to perform as we did. It is a testament to the hard work of our distributors and the patience, creativity and tenacity of the retailers and customers that shop at FLGS. We know how disruptive a release date change is to an OP program. We know that release date changes ruins schedules, planning and participation. We appreciate the effort to work with us while we cope with changes outside of our control.
So why were the release dates impacted?
1: Weather: As I’m sure you recall, last winter was one of the worst winters in recent history. The weather had a tremendous impact on our shipping & warehousing infrastructure. We had numerous logistics issues and closures caused by inclement weather. Obviously, all this wreaks havoc on a release-date driven system.
2: Customs: In an attempt to curb counterfeit product, the U.S. Customs office increased their screening of containers filled with games and toys, especially those with licensed products. Over the past six months, we’ve had an unusually high number of containers pulled for routine inspection. Even if we pass through these inspections with no issues, the entire container may be detained for up to four weeks. The issue here is that the last containers are usually coming in one to two weeks before release and, if they are detained, it usually creates an automatic delay. The complexity comes from the fact that you don’t know for how long the container is going to be held. You literally have to check on the items everyday. So when a container is pulled for inspection, it could take one day or it could take 21 days. This makes announcing a delay very challenging. Do you announce a delay on a container that might clear in one day, only to have to announce a false alarm? Do you wait until you have better information and can estimate a release date? We opt for the latter, as it allows a store to reset their event and communicate complete information and eliminates the ‘false alarm’ issue. We have hundreds of containers delivering each year. Announcing potential delays for every routine inspection is not feasible.
Thank you for your continued support and patience. We’re floored by the response so far and we’re doing everything within our power to get product into your hands in a timely fashion.
Have a great weekend,