All posts by caperaway

I’m a publisher writer of graphic novels and short fiction. Published works include Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics, The Grim Collection, Black Salt, and Psychosis.

Spiel des jahres 2021 nominations

The nominations for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres were announced earlier in May. The status of these games at ComicReaders is as of the writing of this article. You can contact us by phone, email, or Facebook to inquire about these games.

The Spiel des Jahres category is the category for family-friendly games.

Adventures of Robin Hood. This is not yet available at ComicReaders but we do have it on pre-order for its upcoming North American release. The current listed release date is the end of June 2021, but release dates are often in flux (especially during the pandemic). We are taking names for pre-orders. This is a cooperative campaign-style game that changes as you work through the story.

MicroMacro Crime City. This is not yet available at ComicReaders but we also have this one on pre-order for its North American release. This game comes with 16 cases for you to solve. You use a large map of the city to find clues. I do believe the cases come in sealed envelopes.

Zombie Teenz. This thematic sequel to Zombie Kidz has been in stock at ComicReaders when available from its distributor. Both Regina stores received a limited number again just last week.

The Kinderspiel category is for kid-friendly games.

Dragonimo. This is a very kid-friendly version of the award-winning Kingdomino board game. ComicReaders currently has both Dragonimo and Kingdomino in stock.

Storytailors (Fabelwelten). This is a storytelling game. This game doesn’t yet appear to have a North American distributor but we’ll keep our eyes open for it.

Mia London (Mia London and the Case of the 625 Scoundrels). This is a kid-friendly memory / investigation game. This one flew under the radar when released in 2020 but I know there is one copy at ComicReaders Downtown in Regina.

The Kennerspiel category recognizes excellence in expert / connoisseur board games. These are games with more complexity– what we might call “gamers’ games”.

Lost Ruins of Arnak. In 2020, I attended a virtual tradeshow hosted by one of our Canadian distributors and Lost Ruins of Arnak was one of the games demoed. I liked what I saw and recommended that we pre-order a few copies. ComicReaders keeps this in stock when available and I do believe it is at both Regina locations as of the writing of this article. This game can also be played solo.

Fantasy Realms. ComicReaders has been carrying this game since its 2017 release. Dana at the South store is a big fan of this game and it’s thanks to him that the stores carry it. Fantasy Realms’ first expansion was released earlier this year.

Paleo. I decided to stock this game in 2020 because it had a solo option and solo gaming was growing in popularity during the pandemic. The full game experience is a cooperative game with a campaign-style of play. I know there is one copy of Paleo at ComicReaders Downtown in Regina.

The Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners will be announced in Berlin, Germany on July 19, 2021. The winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced on June 14, 2021.



Bestsellers: March 2021

In May 2020, ComicReaders was getting ready to come out of a lockdown that had us closed to the public for a month and a half. That bleak period feels like it was ages ago, but also feeling distant is a time when we could run in-store events, host Prairie Game Expo, and didn’t have to count the number of people in the store. The March of 2020 was very different than the March of 2021, but we made it through 2020 and plan on making it through 2021. Let’s have a look at our top-selling items for key categories for March 2021 and see what folks were reading and playing.

The King’s Dilemma is a story-driven board game with legacy elements.

Bestselling Board Games for March 2021

Carcassonne: Princess and The Dragon

Carcassonne is still one of our bestselling games each year. It has a number of expansions but those expansions aren’t always available so we like to announce whenever one that has been absent makes a return to the store. Princess and The Dragon was available again in March 2021 and folks were quick to pick it up.

Here to Slay: Warriors and Druids

I wrote about this expansion in the February 2021 bestsellers. I was surprised to see it hit the list again in March. Congratulations to TeeTurtle for another successful board game series.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

This isn’t a new game but we keep it in stock year round whenever it is available. We’ll sell one here and there but it’s interesting that folks were looking for this again in numbers sufficient to make it crack the bestsellers for March. It’s a fantastic cooperative game with a traitor mechanic that eventually kicks in thus changing the game already in progress.

Boss Monster: Vault of Villains

The third of five expansions to make the list in March. Boss Monster is a card-based game with a retro video game feel. Vault of Villains is its newest expansion and its no surprise to see it on this list.

The King’s Dilemma

This is one of those games we were asked about but could not get our hands on right away. When it eventually was available through distribution we took a gamble and ordered several copies. A few months later word got out that we had the game and interest set it onto the list for March. It’s a narrative-driven game with legacy elements.

Marvel Champions LCG: Scarlet Witch / Galaxy’s Most Wanted

These two expansions for the very popular Marvel Champions are two more expansions to crack the list. This game is definitely benefiting from being a game that can be played solo.

Bestselling Manga for March 2021

For this list we look at the combined sales for volumes in a series instead of sales for individual books. This then tends to favor long-running series, but I do make exceptions and sometimes highlight newer or shorter series that deserve a mention even though their collective sales for the month are below those of the bigger series. We’ve written about all of these in previous posts so this time they appear only in list form.

Attack on Titan
Demon Slayer
My Hero Academia
Haikyu
Dragon Ball Super
Remina (a newer release by Junji Ito)

Bestselling Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks for March 2021

In March we had a number of non-manga graphic novels and trade paperbacks that sold in number and deserve a mention.

Post York
You can thank staff member Martin for this one. He requested one for himself and based on that request I learned more about this graphic novel and thought there might be more people interested in it. The polar ice caps have melted and New York City is flooded. An independent loner and his cat move through this landscape and encounter a mysterious woman and a blue whale.

Department of Truth
I got into this series late because in the world’s current climate I didn’t want to read a comic about conspiracy theories, but Martin (again!) talked this one up and got me interested enough to try out the first few issues. I was quickly engaged. The series does reference conspiracy theories, but it isn’t about conspiracy theories. At its core it’s about the nature of reality and how it can be manipulated by ideas. The art perfectly presents the malleable nature of truth as discussed in the comic. Volume 1 collects the first five issues of the series.

Firefly: Watch How I Soar

The Firefly franchise in comic form moved to Boom Studios in 2018. The comics from Dark Horse are still in print in collections from Boom, but Boom has also been creating new stories. Watch How I Soar is a new self-contained graphic novel that has Wash reliving moments of his past in the final moments of his life.

Understanding Comics

I saw that Understanding Comics was still being offered and I thought it was time to ensure that this important piece of scholarly work was once again available at ComicReaders. Apparently the timing was right because it hit the bestsellers list. I don’t like using the word “must” but Understanding Comics is highly recommended for anyone that enjoys the comics medium. I’d argue it is a “must” have if you ever considered creating your own comics.

Bestsellers: February 2021

It’s almost the end of March which means it’s time to talk about the best-selling board games, comics, and manga for February. Better late than never, right?

Bestselling Board Games for February 2021

Here to Slay: Warriors and Druids

TeeTurtle — makers of novelty t-shirts, reversible plushes, and board games– released Here to Slay in 2020 and the Warriors and Druids expansion in February 2021. Here to Slay was a good seller last year so it wasn’t a surprise that its first expansion was a big hit.

Marvel Champions LCG: Quicksilver

Number two on the list is another expansion. Marvel Champions is the newest addition to Fantasy Flight Games’ Living Card Game engine, a line that includes Arkham Horror, Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings. Quicksilver was the latest expansion.

Ticket to Ride

The only title from the original evergreen trio of Catan, Pandemic and Ticket to Ride to hit the list in February. The staples tend to slow down in the post-holiday season but Ticket to Ride was still hot even as the weather stayed cold.

Azul

Hmmmm…maybe the aforementioned trio should become a quartet…

Codenames Deep Undercover

To the best of my knowledge, the naughty version of Codenames was only available south of the border at Target stores. In February 2021, dirty Codenames came to Canada.

Disney Villainous

I rolled up sales of the original game with its expansions in order to get it on this list. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.

Forbidden Desert

Matt Leacock , the designer of Pandemic, brought the simple mechanics of that game to family-friendly themes with Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, and Forbidden Sky. Forbidden Desert was back in fashion in February.

Grounded for Life

When I was a wee lad I distinctly remember not being allowed into my grandmother’s living room one evening because the adults were watching a movie called Jaws. I sooooooo wanted to see what was going on. I wonder if there are wee lads out there now wondering what the adults are doing around the kitchen table with that game of white and black cards. Why is dad blushing? Why is mom cackling? Why did Uncle Jim’s new girlfriend leave the house suddenly? Why did grandma say neighbour Jim is going straight to the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks? Give the youngsters a taste of safe rudeness with Grounded for Life.

Lost Cities

One of the most popular two player games over the years has been Lost Cities. The version we stock now is the latest version, which includes a new, sixth expedition.

Bestselling Manga for February 2021

There were no stand-out graphic novels / trade paperbacks this month in terms of multiple sales so I’ve focused this list on manga. Titles are listed; not individual volumes. Manga are listed based on the total number of volumes sold for the month.

Haikyu

This long-running volleyball themed manga has been around for nine years but it has never enjoyed much success in ComicReaders until last year when it suddenly exploded. A wider popularity in North America means it was hard to get on the shelf, but in early 2021 we were able to start stocking its run. And then most of them sold.

Attack on Titan

Did it end? I think both the manga and the anime have ended or are ending but I don’t want to look because I’m behind in both and I want to avoid spoilers. Sometimes when a series is about to end or does end we see an increase in interest as people look to finish their run or finally want to see what the fuss is about.

My Hero Academia

The only thing surprising about this is that we sold more Attack on Titan and Haikyu. My Hero Academia has had some availability issues so that likely played a role.

One Piece

I started scaling back One Piece because it has slowed down in recent years but here in 2021 its on people’s minds and the volumes are flying off the shelves. This might have been higher on the list had I had more on the shelf. I am trying to remedy that in March.

Naruto

Here is another classic back in fashion.

This list might be prejudiced toward manga with a large number of volumes so let me mention a series that has had a lot of interest in 2020 and now 2021 but does not have as many volumes as the above powerhouses. Goodnight Punpun. 7 volumes. Solid manga. Not for the kiddies.

Bestselling Comics for February 2021

Lots of familiar faces on the best-selling comics for February. Read our January 2021 list to get some commentary on the titles listed below.

Amazing Spider-man
Fantastic Four
King in Black
X-Men
X-Force
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Last Ronin
Venom
King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage
Star Wars
Justice League
Symbiote Spider-man: King in Black

20 Bestselling boards games of 2020

We may have been restricted as to the size and breadth of our play groups, but board games continued to be in demand during the first year of the pandemic. Getting a continuous supply of the hottest board games is not an unknown challenge but it was even more so with distributors working with skeleton crews, delays at printers and shipping for some brand new games, and some regions being fully locked down for periods of time.

The list below is comprised of the 20 bestselling board games at ComicReaders Downtown for 2020. These games were purchased in-store or via curb-side pick-up. ComicReaders appreciates those who shop and support local businesses before, during and after the pandemic.

1. Wingspan / Wingspan European
Wingspan was not readily available throughout the year and whenever we did have it in stock in quantity it still did not last long. What appears to be a busy game is, in fact, a not-too-difficult to grasp board game that can be enjoyed by players with varying board game experience. The theme of birds in their habitats certainly has attracted a lot of people to this game. The European expansion was released near the end of 2020 and it cracked the top 20, too, but I’ve moved up alongside the original.

2. Azul
Azul is now a family of games, with new themes on similar mechanics, but the original continues to be the one in highest demand. When it was released in 2017 it had the usual new, hot game availability issues, but in 2020 it was readily available throughout the year. A visually striking game with high end components, Azul has easy to understand rules and the right mix of clever scoring and forward thinking to make it a bestseller each year since its release.

3. Pandemic
This one surprised me. We’re in a pandemic. Doesn’t this game hit too close to home? But maybe that was the appeal this year. Pandemic is still a solid cooperative game 12 years after its original release.

4. Codenames
Just One is the most accessible word-based group game, but Codenames continues to dominate that genre. The original Codenames enjoys the #4 spot on this list but also in circulation are other versions, including Codenames Duet, Codenames Pictures, Codenames Simpsons, Codenames Marvel, Codenames Disney, and Codenames Harry Potter.

5. Catan
There’s just no stopping Catan.

6. Exploding Kittens / Streaking Kittens / Barking Kittens
A family-friendly bestseller expanded in 2020 with Barking Kittens. The expansion Streaking Kittens and the original Exploding Kittens were on the top 20 list, too, but I’ve stuck them together in #6 to make room for a couple additional games.

7. Trial by Trolley
The naughty group games are always popular around the holiday season. Trial by Trolley is a new entry in this genre at ComicReaders Downtown.

8. Carcassonne
Here’s another game that shows no signs of slowing down. I’m not surprised, of course. It has been a favourite in my house for 15 years. The large number of expansions keeps the game fresh, too, even though most of them were not available at all during 2020.

9. Kingdomino
This great game for the whole family is worth a look if you’ve not yet heard of it. We sold out during the holiday shopping season but both Regina ComicReaders expect to have it again near the end of February 2021.

10. Cards Against Humanity
For years we couldn’t get Cards Against Humanity. When one of our Canadian distributors started carrying it I wrestled with how much we should stock because surely the local market was already saturated because of online sales. #10 on the bestsellers list proves there were still more people out there that like their games dirty….and I don’t mean mud dirty. And controversial. And full of cuss words. And with zero design.

11. Root
When a game is in demand but often out of stock for months at a time I’ll order from multiple sources to better improve my chances of getting the game when it available. With Root, all those orders were fulfilled at once and I found myself thinking, “Oh man. I’ve over ordered.” This is a complex game with a sizable sticker price. But they were all gone by the end of 2020.

12. Dutch Blitz
ComicReaders Downtown might sell 4 copies of this game from January to October. The bulk of the purchases are from November to December.

13. Joking Hazard
More bad words. More naughty. More controversy. But now in comic form.

14. Disney Villainous
This one surprised me. Licensed games have a history of being a theme slapped onto some less than spectacular set of game mechanics. Disney Villainous by Ravensburger, however, is solid mechanics on a theme sure to attract players. The result is a bestseller. It has expansions, too! And a new Marvel version.

15. Just One
This was a game that people were telling us they were playing with friends over Zoom.

16. Patchwork
Our one and only pure 2-player game to make the top 20.

17. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is another perennial bestsellers.

18. Gloomhaven
This monster of a game continues to sell well. Fully immersive campaign.

19. Jaws
Oh man this makes me happy. Ravensburger, which released Disney Villainous, gives us another strong theme on well designed game mechanics. This game has two phases. In the first, the shark menaces swimmers and avoids capture. In the second, the players are on the sinking ship and battling the shark in the climatic finale.

20. Scooby-Doo Betrayal at the Mystery Mansion
A family-friendly Scooby-Doo theme version of Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Honourable Mentions

Exit The Game
There are a lot versions in the family of games known as Exit The Game. If the sales of all those titles were combined into one score then Exit The Game would have hit the top 20.

Keyforge
If sales from one “board game” family were combined into one total then Keyforge would have been the #1 game on this list. What is most interesting about that is the majority of those purchases was before March 2020 because we still had in-store gaming and Keyforge events always enjoyed a large turnout. Sales of Keyforge during the second half of 2020? Almost nil.

Bestsellers: January 2021

Things tend to slow down at ComicReaders Downtown at the beginning of a new year. It takes about a month for the store to recover from the holiday season. Product flows back into the store through January though this year it has been more difficult to get some items (Vallejo paint and hobby supplies and Games Workshop spray primer, for example), and things that are available get here a little bit slower, but I think we’ve all learned that patience is a virtue during a pandemic.

Bestselling Board Games for January 2021

Twilight Imperium: Prophecy of Kings
Our top-selling board game was the highly anticipated new expansion for the epic Twilight Imperium. Unfortunately, there were production issues so each customer who purchased a copy from ComicReaders is now waiting to hear the results of an investigation by Fantasy Flight Games as to the extent of the issues in the run and what will be done. Needless to say, we no longer have copies on the shelf and won’t have more until Fantasy Flight Games does a reprint.

Cards Against Humanity
This party game staple had another strong showing. If we included the sales of its expansions in our numbers then the family of Cards Against Humanity would have been our top seller for the month of January.

Codenames Duet
The two-player version of the evergreen Codenames has enjoyed a renewal during the pandemic.

Pandemic
We received a restock of the original Pandemic early in January. I do believe both Regina locations have had to reorder it since. The original Pandemic is still our top-selling cooperative board game after all these years. Accessible, challenging, and now with the added bonus of mirroring the world’s current situation.

Unstable Unicorns
Unstable Unicorns has not surpassed Exploding Kittens as the go-to silly family game featuring cute artwork, but it continues to perform well. It is well supported with multiple expansions, a naughty version, and blind-box vinyl unicorns that come with a card you can add to the game.

Catan
Every year for the past five years, I swear, we say this is the year Catan will slow down. And we were wrong again.

Under Falling Skies
Only during a pandemic would a game you can only play solo make it to the bestsellers list at ComicReaders Downtown. It’s a visually striking game and a challenging one at that. You can set the difficulty to your liking and it comes with a re-playable campaign mode.

Bestselling Graphic Novels for January 2021

Our bestselling graphic novel list is comprised of titles, not individual volumes. We take the combined sales of volumes within a series. This usually means the list is made up of manga, since the most popular manga have many volumes, but we like to include other graphic novels or series of note.

My Hero Academia
No surprise here. My Hero Academia is a powerhouse thanks to it also being a hugely popular anime.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is set to wrap soon, but sales continue to be strong as people pick up volumes or dive in for the first time. The final season of the anime is underway, too.

Boruto
A sequel of sorts to the always popular Naruto.

Danganronpa
This title built up some serious steam in the back half of 2020. We were caught by surprise, to be honest. We didn’t have enough copies on the shelves and the distributors ran out. We got volumes back in stock in early January and they’ve been movingly steadily.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes
A side series to the popular main title also enjoys a healthy readership.

Gideon Falls volume 5
The final volume of Jeff Lemire’s Gideon Falls hit the list. Gideon Falls is a creepy journey filled with stunning visuals.

Bestselling Comics for January 2021

Our list of bestselling comics is comprised of titles and not individual issues.

Dark Nights: Death Metal
The heavy metal inspired alternate version of the DCU has been popular in all its iterations. Death Metal was the latest miniseries, the final issue of which debuted in January 2021.

Amazing Spider-Man
Spidey has been a bestseller for years and usually enjoys the top spot on the list.

X-Force / X-Men / X-Factor
Jonathan Hickman orchestrated a revival of the X-Men and its titles and it appears as if the quality shall continue in 2021. X-Force, X-Men, and X-Factor are the top three titles. If you are interested in what Hickman has been cooking you can get in on the action by reading the Dawn of X trade paperbacks.

Avengers
This Marvel flagship title continues its successful run.

Fantastic Four
Marvel has brought the Fantastic Four back into the limelight after years of doing next to nothing with the family.

Venom / King in Black
We are lumping the Venom title alongside the King in Black miniseries because they are closely connected. Writer Donny Coates has really become a powerful influence within Marvel. Well earned, too.

The Eternals
A return of The Eternals just in time for the upcoming Marvel movie.

Once & Future
This is the only comic not from DC or Marvel to crack the list. In Once & Future, folks try to prevent the return of King Arthur. Jumping onboard this series in comic form is not recommended. Check it out in trade paperback to get caught up.