I’ve been quiet on the blog recently. That’s what happens when Real LifeTM hits you hard. Between a near 100% return to work (now with MASKS…yeah…NOT!) and family “situations” my wargame/boardgame time dropped to zero. With an upcoming (and really needed) summer family vacation in the not-too-distant future I expect to stay “quiet” in this channel for a few more weeks.
The worldwide shipping container shortage is also slowing not only my, but I am sure many of your, gaming habits. The July 22 update from Gene at GMT Games provided a good snapshot and some idea of the impact on publishers of not only container shipping, but component supplies as well:
Supply Chain and Shipping Slowdown. As I noted last month, we’re in a bit of a slow period at the GMT Warehouse/Office as we wait for our printers to begin shipping us some of the 21 new products that are currently being printed. The same global supply chain and shipping issues that are hampering businesses worldwide are having a negative impact on our operations, too. Both the time to get games printed (due to the issues they are having with their component supplies) and the shipping time to our warehouse (which has doubled over the past few months) are seeing big delays at the moment.
Still, we did just get a notification that three games will ship out to us at the end of July, which with current shipping times should mean we get them in early to mid September. So, at least we’re starting to see games that are at the tail end of the printing process and prepping to ship. Tony is telling me that this should accelerate over the coming months and that between September and the end of November we should see most, if not all, of those 21 new products in our warehouse.
Of course, we have plenty of other games nearing print readiness as well, and we’ll continue to send those to the printer as our art department has them ready (see the Production Outlook later in this update for current details). We’re hopeful that we’ll see some improvement on both the supply chain and shipping sides before year end, but in the meantime, we’ve just had to adjust our planning to take the delays into account. The result has been this “lull” in new games between now and early September. Once the pipeline is open again, though, we should see a steady stream of new products to ship out to you all for the remainder of 2021.
There are other clues out there. Nolan (@NolanNasser) of Deep Water Games tweeted about the dramatic increase in shipping container prices.
I’ll also say that @BoardGameGeek on Twitter is also covering the shipping apocalypse pretty well. How long will these shipping challenges last? Industry insiders are saying maybe until AFTER the Chinese New Year in February 2022!
On a more personal gaming level, the lack of game time and supply challenges means I have not bought a new game in over a month. That’s unusual for me when compared to the last three years. Of the 31 games I have on preorder/Kickstarter not a single one is tracking on time. Sigh….
On the plus side, all this delay means I should get a chance to catch up on my unplayed games, right?