Think About It 1/16/13

As it is not usually in Disney’s character to leave money on the table.  My initial thought was that Disney missed the boat by not integrating a 2nd spell card series when booster packs were launched this past August.  However the more I thought about it they obviously made the right decision.  After the grand opening in February SotMK had already garnered a decent following, albeit mostly Disneyana collectors looking for the next big thing to horde or profit.  The focus had quickly shifted from the game itself to the spell cards.

After the temporary retirement of cards 61-70 from the free daily spell packs and no news of if and when they were to return.  It was only a matter of time until eBay was the only place to get them.  With a steady average of selling at $100+ per lightning bolt I could only assume that Disney had to realize they were onto something and knew they could profit.  So there was the announcement, cards 61-70 would be available for purchase via a 7 card booster pack in which only one lightning bolt would be included.  The other 6 would include a variation of cards available in the free packs given out at the Firehouse or Liberty Square.  In addition to the cards, a home game was also introduced.

Although most fans were initially very excited many were left disappointed at the lack luster and extremely confusing home game portion.  Although the game boards & card checklist were a nice touch.  The home game itself is terrible.  But we’ll save that for another day.  As I said earlier I did feel that the booster pack launch would have been a tremendous avenue for them to introduce a new series of cards.  I realized it’s just too soon for that, the game isn’t even a year old.  It hasn’t reached a large enough audience.  Think about it, the booster packs aren’t for the “Veteran Sorcerer” or AP that goes multiple times a week.  Don’t get me wrong most of us needed them to complete our sets and yes the main draw is the lightning bolt card.  However the booster pack is really targeting the family who is just returning a year after its launch, heard about it online, or only visits WDW once maybe twice a year.  They need to time to catch up.  Disney knows that those guests can’t rely on the free packs to compete one set.  As I am sure most kids want their own set of cards they need those booster packs.  I’m sure the numbers don’t lie, the SotMK Booster Packs have got to be some of the most sought after theme park merchandise.

Do I think we’ll see a 2nd spell card series?  Absolutely.  Give it time.

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6 thoughts on “Think About It 1/16/13

  1. Good article and I totally agree that SOTMK hasn’t reached maximum potential with the guests just yet. In one aspect the trading card game is a hard sell to guests visiting Disney for the first time or those guests who come very rarely. There’s just so much to do at Disney that a small trading card game that takes place only at MK is still just a tiny blip on the radar. Even with the inclusion of the posters/advertisements about it and the small information section about in the park maps, I think it will take a while before it really gets going full force (and when it does the portal lines will probably be as long as Peter Pan… wonderful).

  2. I don’t doubt there’ll be a 2nd series; but before that happens, there’ll have to be new video produced and added to the game for each new spell. I’m not expecting new cards anytime soon.

  3. IMO, before we see many more cards we’ll see the game expand to other parks. At that time, the cards need to change from the “SOTMK” Crest to something more generic. Later, although I’m sure they will add cards, a problem they will run into is that they will then have to add code to support those cards: and I think they are already having plenty of problems with the existing code..

    • While expanding the game to other parks sounds like fun. I highly doubt that will come before the addition of a new spell card series. With the existing issues that plague the Magic Kingdom I can’t see it being rolled out at the other parks until they get a firm hold on the operating system.

      • I agree with the bloggers POV on this – this game is an evolution of now Agent P at Epcot and MidShip Detective on the cruise lines (J Ackley’s initial interviews flat out say this). I do not think the game will expand outside MK… However, I think there is scope for 1 or 2 additional villains which would utilize the current spell cards in a clever way.

        With regards to marketing – I personally believe this is a lag and uncertainty on the popularity of this attraction. An interactive video game at a theme park was a tough sell to start. I suspect the merchandise was planned out well before the initial game launch last Feb and not scaled appropriately due to uncertainty about 1) interest and 2) economic climate. Now, they are behind the ball due to a number of faux-pause… particularly the current QC issues and the poor at home design. If they want this to really take off… They’ll need to develop a better marketing strategy including off property products…

        HOWEVER, with the launch of their own ‘Skylander’ product this summer, I suspect SotMK will remain a moderate in park attraction with new cards released when computer numbers indicate a decline in attendance.

  4. Good article!

    I just got back from Disney World and, of course, purchased some (ok, quite a few) packages of the “home game.” I haven’t had a chance to try it out, yet, so I can’t comment on the actual game play though the packaging and components are of reasonable quality. Dice would be better than annoying card stock “coins”, though (more on that in a moment.)

    The only thing that puzzles me is what is taking so long to put them in the non-park Disney Stores – as others have said, perhaps Disney is simply taking a very cautious approach so as not to overcommit. The retail packs are an outright cash-cow: I’ve played collectible card games for some time and they are sold ~15 cards per graphically rich foil packet (i.e. expensive), with more rugged card material, random foil cards and much more compilcated colation for 4.00 USD, so while the game board and rules sheets are large sheets with lots of ink, at 13.95 USD per cheap-zipper-bag Disney should be making a *very* large profit on each pack even with the likely increased labor and/or automation cost of assembling the packets.

    I mentioned dice, which are just one item that could be sold for the “home version” (assuming anyone actually plays it) – specialized 6-sided dice w/3 Sorcerer’s Crest side and 3 blank sides, card folders (as opposed to the nice but-not-tempting leather shoulder bag things currently available), card sleeves w/the crest printed on the back (for compatibility with the in-park game) to keep your cards safe as you play, etc.

    I also concurr that there will be further sets if this first set is deemed a success. Note the little castle tower symbol in the lower left of each card: this is almost certainly the symbol for this set, though it is meaningless unless and until another set is printed, so Disney has almost certainly laid the groundwork for expansion. Although the initial set hit the popular and newer characters pretty hard, Disney also obviously held back some usable characters (The Beast, Minnie Mouse, etc.) as well as having the ability to simply print different versions of many characters a la Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey’s Broomsticks and Mickey’s Magic Beans. They haven’t even touched the vein of nostalgia that is the Disney TV cartoon series – gimme Darkwing Duck’s Karate Chop, Uncle Scrooge’s Number One Dime or perhaps Zummi Gummi’s would thrill me.

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