Tag Archives: Carcassonne

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
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.

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.

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.

Introduction to German-style Board Games

If your household is like mine, chances are you have closet space or cupboard space set aside for a collection of board games. At my house, our cupboard has the classics Scrabble, Monopoly, Trouble, Pictionary, Yahtzee, and Battleship. We also have no less than a half-dozen decks of playing cards, and a selection of German-style board games.

German-style board games are a class of tabletop games that, generally speaking, have simple rules, short to medium playing times, emphasize strategy, downplay luck and conflict, and usually keep all the players in the game until the very end. Germany produces more board games per capita than any other country, but the style of the German board game has been adopted by other countries, thus board games designed with the same principles in mind are often refered to as German-style board games or European-style board games.

The degree of strategy involved in playing these games can vary, but, in general, German-style board games are designed for everyone– meaning the beginner and the expert board gamer (and everything in between).

With this primer in German-style board games in mind, I give you a list of five such board games that would be a welcome addition to any board game closet or cupboard. The games are listed in no particular order. Continue reading Introduction to German-style Board Games