Finally seeing a few boardgame publishers admit that the coronavirus will affect their publication schedule.
Hello everyone! I just wanted to give a quick update on the production process. Our manufacturer is Panda Game Manufacturing. Although Panda is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, their manufacturing facility is located in Shenzhen, China. They have been excellent to work with so far – but obviously the elephant in the room is the coronavirus and how it will affect our timelines. The best estimate is that production will be delayed between two weeks and two months. I wish I had more concrete information and as I know more, I will provide more information. I am anxious to get The Shores of Tripoli into all of your hands!
A note about the Coronavirus situation and how it impacts our supply chain:
As most of you know, we print a significant number of our game components in China. As we see in the news daily, the Coronavirus that began in China is affecting supply chains worldwide, as even companies like Apple are temporarily closing plants in order to help limit the spread of the virus.
Our main printing suppliers and shippers are 500 miles from Wuhan (outbreak central), which is good in terms of geographic separation, but they're still IN CHINA. So, many of the steps the Chinese government is taking to limit the spread of the virus do impact the companies we work with. Here's where we stand right now:
We have been in the midst of the yearly 2-3 week factory shutdown for the Chinese New Year, which is why several of our games "At the Printer" haven't progressed of late. We were notified late last week that our printers would be extending their Chinese New Year closure for an extra week (until February 9) to give extra time for screening and precautions at their plants. Based on news reports, it would not surprise us if these closures are extended further as more details about the spread of the virus come to light and the Chinese government intensifies their efforts to halt the spread.
Key Takeaways for GMT:
1. The games we have "At the Printer" are delayed for now. We have other games almost ready for the printer as well. As those are ready, Tony will work with the printers to determine whether and when to send those to print. So we think we're looking at a situation where our print and release schedules could be delayed by anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months (as factories ramp back up we think they'll be less efficient for a while. Also, the potential for shipping delays due to increased port regulations both in China and the US do exist).
2. If long delays do happen, please don't worry about us on the "can GMT survive this?" front. Tony has done a marvelous job of building solid cash reserves for us. Even if this situation were to become much worse, financially, we can weather the storm.
3. This isn't something we think will happen, but if the situation in China became untenable for us to print there for an extended time, we have all the files and Tony has backup printers both in Europe and the US that we could transition to. Our costs would be higher, but there again those cash reserves would really help in getting through a transition period with minimal disruption.
I hope you find this information helpful. I don't want to scare you at all, but I want you to be informed. Tony and I are not overly worried at this point, but we do see an evolving, dynamic situation that we're going to have to manage with an eye to minimizing its long-term impact to our operations.
In a recent episode of No Enemies Here, Uwe Eickert of Academy Games (@Academy_Games) talked at length about the shakeups he sees coming in the hobby boardgame industry. I fear that the coronavirus may bring about some of those changes sooner than later. Smaller publishers certainly need to be wary.
For myself I wonder about the impact on Kickstarter. I mean, I like how Kickstarter can bring some games to print that might otherwise not be funded but I chaff at the model that takes my money now for delivery of a product then. The longer it takes that product to get delivered the more ‘interest’ – both financially and emotionally – I lose on that product.
Lest you all call me heartless, I am concerned about the welfare of the Chinese people and hope that they can beat back the virus. That said, <rant on> I am very critical of the Chinese Communist Party and their culpability in what looks like a cover up and failure to recognize the severity of the threat. </rant off>. Any boardgamer who has played Pandemic certainly understands the threat and the need to take decisive action quickly!