Not so fast.
It looks like the boardgame/wargame publishing industry is coming back, but at a bit of a slower pace. Let’s look at my forecast and then discuss the reality.
- One Small Step (Academy Games, 2020) – Kickstarter Boardgame. An update from mid-May stated that shipping in July was expected. I have not seen an update since. Academy Games does not have the best track record for keeping to timelines but that negative is more than compensated by the top-quality game that usually ends up being delivered. UPDATE from July 8 – “August 11, 2020 Arrival Date: Jacksonville, FL, USA. Note, that shipping to Florida takes 10 days longer than to our normal shipping destination in Cleveland. To Cleveland, the product is shipped to Seattle, WA and then transported by rail to Cleveland. Whereas to Florida, the ship needs to steam to Panama, cross through the Panama Canal, and them make its way up to Florida. USA and Canadian pledges will be shipped from Quartermaster Logistics, which is based in Orlando, FL.”
- Wing Leader: Origins 1936-1942 (GMT Games, 2020) – P500 Preorder Wargame. This one is a lock as I already have my UPS tracking number with delivery scheduled for 1 July. UPDATE: DELIVERED July 3.
- Philadelphia 1777 (Worthington Games, 2020) – Kickstarter Wargame. A late June update reported the game is arriving at the freight-forwarder and Worthington expects to take possession early in July and start shipping immediately. UPDATE: Delivered July 17.
- The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games, 2020) – Kickstarter Waro. Coronavirus delays have pushed this one back from April, but it looks like July is seriously in play. UPDATE from July 21 – “My post-pandemic expectation was that our print run would be ready to ship from China in early July. Because of a bottleneck at one of the factories (our manufacturer, Panda, uses three different factories for our game – one for the dice, one for the wood pieces and one for the printing and final assembly), the games will not be ready to ship from China until mid-August. The slow boat from China takes five to six weeks, so I am looking at alternatives – mainly, having enough copies airmailed to our distribution points (we are using Quartermaster Logistics and their overseas partners) so we can ship to all of our backers before the end of August. If it is not cost-prohibitive, that is the plan. But if it is cost-prohibitive, then we are looking at delivery in late September. Ugh, I do not even want to contemplate that. As I know more, I will keep all of you updated.”
- Here to Slay (Unstable Games, 2020) – Kickstarter Card Game. Late June update reported game is out of production and on way to publisher for fulfillment. DELIVERED July 25.
- Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games, 2020) – Preorder Waro. All looks to be on track for an early July release. UPDATE: Bought through a 3rd Party seller who expects it to their location “late-July.”
- Heights of Courage: The Battle for the Golan Heights, October 1973 (MMP, 2013) – Sale Wargame. Bought as part of an amazing MMP sale in June. Having never ordered before from MMP I don’t know how fast they usually fulfill orders and realize coronavirus restrictions may be slowing them down. I had hoped to have these games in hand before July but it looks like they will not arrive until after the new month starts. DELIVERED JUNE 30.
- Panzer Battles: 11th Panzer on the Chir River (MMP, 2016) – Sale Wargame. Like Heights of Courage above, this is another Standard Combat Series game. I have little experience with MMP so these two games will serve as my introduction to SCS. DELIVERED JUNE 30.
- Operation Mercury: The Invasion of Crete (MMP, 2017) – Sale Wargame. On sale for an incredible $40 versus the usual $172. Will be my first foray into the MMP Grand Tactical Series (GTS) of games. DELIVERED JUNE 30.
It appears to me that shipping, not actual production of games, is a new long pole in the tent. Not surprising given the lack of air transportation worldwide. I know that many games are not airshipped, but the maritime shipping, rail, and truck industries are picking up other cargoes that air shipping used to handle leading in turn to a general slow down of those transportation modes. If you look close even Amazon Prime is sometimes backordered.
How about the look ahead to August? Here are what games may be in play (pun fully intended).
First, my Preorder & Kickstarter GeekList sits at 23 games. Of the three carry-overs from July (One Small Step, Shores of Tripoli, and Undaunted: North Africa) there is a good chance that all but Shores of Tripoli will deliver in August. Of the remaining 20 games:
- French & Indian War 1757-1759 (Worthington Publishing): Kickstarter Wargame. From a July 29 Update – “The ship carrying both CRUSADER KINGDOMS and FRENCH & INDIAN WAR will hit the port in New York Auugust 13. We should expect for us to receive the games within 2 weeks of that barring a customs snag. Thats means it is possible we may be shipping the last week of August, and if not then the first week of September!!!”
- Flying Colors 3rd Edition Update Kit (GMT Games): P500. Per July 23 Newsletter – “Charging August 5. Shipping roughly mid-August.”
- The Battle of Rhode Island (GMT Games): P500. Scheduled delivery 31 JULY.
- Fort (Leder Games): Publisher-direct Preorder. Scheduled for August release.
Of note, these are the three games I added this month:
- Buffalo Wings 2nd Edition (Against the Odds): Kickstarter Wargame. As the economy tanked I backed out of Wings of the Motherland from Clash of Arms. Mistake. Need to get that one too.
- Fort (Leder Games): Publisher-direct Preorder. After reading Dan Thurot’s review on Space-Biff this became a must-buy.
- Wing Leader Supremacy 2nd Edition Upgrade Kit (GMT Games): P500. I am a sucker for the Wing Leader Series. I have barely gotten Wing Leader: Origins to the table and Wing Leader: Legends is not quite to 500 orders. But. Must. Buy.
Looking ahead to the end of the year, it is possible that as many as eight or nine of the games on my current Preorder & Kickstarter GeekList could deliver. Like I said before, that would not only be good for me, but more importantly good for the gaming industry.
Feature image “United fleet grounded in Washington Dulles” James Dingell Photography