Collectible Card Gaming for Girls

I don’t know anything about Collectible Card Games, so I’m just kibitzing here to cause trouble, because it reminds me of other times spoiled retailers have complained about exclusives. But let me see if I can work this out.

Bella Sara card

A company creates a trading card game called Bella Sara involving horses aimed at girls 5-12. Because of that target market, they’re only selling it through big-name mass-market stores like Blockbuster, K-Mart, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart, and supermarkets.

Even though I apparently missed out on the “oooh, horsie!” gene that so many other little girls have, this seems a genius idea for something to collect pictures of, with different qualities and abilities. There’s also an online component with unique card codes.

The CEO of the game company released an open letter explaining their retail decision, based on these factors:

* They cater to young girls and mothers.
* They are part of a chain of stores with outlets in several cities so that we can produce mass-market television and radio advertisements that direct customers to those stores.
* They are networked through an electronic data-management system that gives us prompt data on sell-through volumes by location.

This makes perfect sense to me. Go where the audience is, where you can mazimize your advertising dollar, and where you can get rapid sales feedback. He even expands the offer, if other stores meet similar criteria:

If you are a hobby-games retailer and you pride yourself on having a store that’s welcoming to young girls and mothers, and if you’re willing to give us weekly sell-through data, please contact us! We would be happy to sell to you directly through 2006, during our launch period.

Of course, this doesn’t stop some stores from whining:

It continually amazes me when hobby game manufacturers complain openly about not getting more women and girls into hobby gaming but then release everything that may remotely be interesting to the target pre-teen female customer exclusively to mass market. When will they wake up and realize that these consumers are more shopping savvy than most of the core gaming market and will travel to where the things they want most are sold? Give us the opportunity to sell your products and let us decide if we want to carry them.

This guy apparently thinks that all he needs for a female-friendly store is someone to shove product at him, and the audience will go out of their way to seek him out. It doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. If he wants more women and girls in his store, it’s up to him to make sure that he’s truly got a welcoming store.

So many people think “oh, sure, females will be fine in my store” without realizing the message they may be subtly sending through decor or staff attitudes or product selection. If this guy is as self-centered in his store as he appears here, then maybe he’s not getting as many female customers because he’s unable to put himself in another’s position or mindset?

That line about “more shopping savvy” is a back-handed compliment. Why should women have to travel to find what they want? Why shouldn’t they have it easy for them, with product in locations they’re already visiting?

Most importantly, why isn’t this guy willing to do the extra work to qualify to buy direct if it’s so important to him to carry the product?

19 Responses to “Collectible Card Gaming for Girls”

  1. Joshua Macy Says:

    He doesn’t even say he wants to carry it; he’s just outraged he isn’t being given the opportunity to decide whether or not he will…

  2. Adam Conus Says:

    Adam from Hidden City Games here. It was after the ‘angry’ letter that we decided to allow any retailer willing to provide the metrics we need to carry the product. Peter, Sean (our Sales Director), and I spoke on the phone with the author of the letter and came to an understanding, including the hobby game sales-option. It seemed we were all pretty happy at the end of the call. This is a new sort of product (at least for us!) so we’re taking baby steps with this launch.


  3. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad it could all be worked out — thanks for letting us know!

  4. Cindy Says:

    We’re having trouble finding Bella Sara cards. We live in Redmond, Washington. We have called Target, Toys R Us and Blockbuster stores in our area. I have found only 1 Blockbuster store that has even heard of the cards. They said they have had them, are currently out of them and don’t know when they will get more in. No one has even heard of them at Target and Toys R Us. Have they just not made it to the Seattle area yet? Any idea how I can get some cards for my daughter? Thanks for any help you can offer!

  5. Johanna Says:

    You might try emailing (found on their website) with your question.

  6. Cindy Says:

    Thanks! I’ll give that a try.

  7. brooke Says:

    thanks ill give it a try PS.people, dont copy the code from the card it wont work!! PPS. hi peeps!!!!!

  8. Kelsey Says:

    Hey I tried them and I LOOOOOOVVVVE bella sara cards. As a 10 year old i is just a awsome trading card series that finnaly the boys will stop asking me for a card!

  9. haley Says:

    i love them too but all my card codes wont work for some resone.

  10. Shyanne Says:

    Hey im so freakin mad that you cant get a new horse without having the code and you cant get a new code without buying a freaking card one of which i completeley over priced and a waste of money which is retarded all thats wanted are free codes to activate new accounts BUT NO THAT AINT HAPPINING IS IT pssh whatever

  11. Johanna Says:

    Shyanne, if you want it all for free, what’s the company incentive to keep the game going?

  12. Taz Says:

    Why cant U activate thee codes? Int that wasting money?

  13. shannen Says:

    hey there,
    i love bella sara, even though i dont yet have any cards. if you cant find any cards, go on ebay and there are heaps there!

  14. Changing Times LinkBlogging » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] strategy to make them available where professional women with daughters shop. I wrote an article about it over a year ago, and it’s still getting hits as users search for more information. […]

  15. kaitlyn Says:

    i love bella sara oh yeah

  16. Brianna Says:

    hey i love bella sara its a really fun game and im happy with the !PRICE! of the cards

  17. alexa Says:

    bella sara is so awsome i love it! except i cant get the horse i want lien

  18. Horse Lover Says:

    I love bella sara and my grandpa is going to get me cards in 8 days from canada. You can get them from walmart and target. If I dont like lets say one card I may share the unused code with any one that is nice.

  19. Keeley Says:

    You Can Find Loads Of Cards ON Ebay, Ok Maybe The Code Won’t Work But I Love To Look At The Beautiful Horses And I Also Like To Draw Them :)




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