I’m starting with some wargaming news, but everyone should still take a look at the second part starting with “Last Thursday”.

With Origins only a couple days away, MMP finally announced what’s going on.

On the ASL front, they got the boards for Few Returned back from the printer to discover “A mystery 3″ hairline white line of unknown origin” on one of them. So… they’re in the middle of getting those reprinted, and hoping to ship a few out to Origins in the middle of the con. In any case, it is nearly done, and pre-orders (like mine) should start going out shortly after the con.

No word on VotG, I’m figuring a month or two for it to come out at this point.

Talavera is officially “out” as it’s been pulled from the preorder page.

Red Star Rising is still on preorder, but will be at Origins, so it looks like I’m about to miss the preorder on that, as I can’t possibly fit it into the budget before next year… oh well.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court partially overturned a ruling from 1911. It has potentially big implications, and the gaming industry is abuzz about it. You can see the thread where I found out about it here (go to the June 29th archive to see the beginning), and a very nice blog post from a person who was WotC’s director of branding for a while, and apparently part of the creation of the Open Gaming License.

The precedent said that any agreement between a manufacturer and a retailer on a ‘price floor’ for goods was automatically in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The new ruling indicates that these will now require a case-by-case review (I see a lot of work for lawyers coming up…).

GAMA and much of the gaming industry seems to be looking at this as a way to lock-in MSRP as the minimum price and try to bolster the ‘brick-and-mortar’ storefronts against the deep-discount places you can find on-line. (Keep in mind that the 1911 ruling also meant that refusing to sell to a retailer purely because of the price he was charging was illegal.)

If these types of plans are deemed legal under the new ruling, and the industry can make it stick… I can see all sorts of latitude for abuse and other problems to show up. However, the current set up is certainly being pretty soundly abused by the on-line sellers as-is. People go to a local store, talk to the salespeople, get advice. Leave, and buy on-line for 40% less. Customer is happy, but the store just provided a service (knowledge of the products) with no compensation. This, and other customer service abuse problems have been dragging a lot of retail stores down for a while.

I’m really don’t know whether this all is going to be a good thing, overall. I do know that for retailers, it would be hard for it be any worse. So, assuming I support the idea of local physical retailers (I do), I can just hope that it does help, and side-effects outside of hobby retail are not too bad.