Asmodee's board game Heat - Pedal to the Metal has been heating up tempers since the German version was published: some fans criticize the exclusivity of Thalia, other fans are annoyed that the order option in the online shop is not available. And indeed, if you look at the website of the book retail giant, it simply says: "Currently not available for order".

There was a lot of hype about Heat - Pedal to the Metal, and it was a tough struggle until the German version was published, because the localization was actually not planned at all - at least that's what Asmodee's former PR boss revealed at the last game fair. After the calls for a German version of Heat - Pedal to the Metal didn't go away, Asmodee obviously gave in. However, there was a small snag right from the start: the board game was sold exclusively through Thalia. 

Specialist retailers were left out – until now

The general rule is: Among the book stores, Thalia is the one that can offer a comparatively well-assorted board game portfolio. A comparison with a specialized retail store is not. The exclusive availability did not appeal to all fans, especially those who cannot access a Thalia branch in their immediate vicinity. The board game was quickly sold out online in the bookstore chain's online shop - and it still is. There were contingents in the branches on the day of publication and beyond, but you had to be able to go to the stationary shop. 

The alternative seemed obvious: just buy Heat from another store. However, this option was not available for the German version of the board game due to the exclusive distribution agreement between Asmodee and Thalia. Fans often vented their anger on social media. 

After all, the board game will now make it to specialist retailers via detours as a “German” version. As Asmodee confirms again when asked, Blackfire will be distributed from the third quarter of 2023: you will receive the international version of Heat - Pedal to the Metal, but then including the German-language set of rules. The board game will then also be available in Asmodee's flagship stores. 

It will look completely different with the expansion to Heat - Pedal to the Metal. It is expected to be released in spring 2024 and will then be distributed "through all channels", as Asmodee explains. "This expansion will be compatible with both editions," says the Essen publisher.

The fans also criticized the exclusivity not only because of the limited availability, but also because of the distribution agreement itself. This is "a slap in the face to all retailers who have been supporting you for years," as one user writes on Asmodee's Instagram page. In fact, the exclusivity of a large company like the Thalia Group with annual sales of well over one billion euros (2021) seems to run counter to the idea of ​​supporting local specialist retailers - mostly small retailers.

In the course of the criticism, Asmodee affirmed the concept of "organized play", promotional campaigns or the Hobby Next program, as well as the "SPIEL.lokal" events taking place at the Essen Games Fair. You can't dismiss this out of hand: the Essen-based publishing giant is definitely committed when it comes to placing its new game titles in smaller shops - sometimes before the official start of sales - in an effective advertising manner, then also to the advantage of the dealers. Still, the deal with Thalia didn't go down well with fans. 

Last updated on 25.05.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API