2022 #Wargame #Boardgame @Kickstarter Update w/mentions of @gmtgames @compassgamesllc @AcademyGames @LederGames @SchilMil

With 2021 “in the books” I surveyed my outstanding preorders and Kickstarter list. At one point in 2021 this list reached maybe close to 30 titles; today it stands at 20. That’s not so much a testimony to late deliveries but more an accounting of how I cancelled out of more than a few.


GMT Games is the top publisher in the wargame space. Last year I “acquired” 14 GMT Games products, almost as many as the next three publishers combined. Every month Gene sends his GMT Update with the status of the business. The monthly newsletter often (always?) includes at least one—often more—new games for the P500. For a while there I jumped in on whatever caught my fancy. After all, it’s “pledge now, pay later” so it don’t matter, right?

One of the products I acquired this past year was Panzer Expansion #1: The Shape of Battle – The Eastern Front, 2nd Printing. I pledged for this product sometime back in 2017, meaning it took nearly 4 years to fulfill, and then only because somebody decided that the entire Panzer line deserved a reprint regardless of the P500 pledge numbers (which Expansion Nr. 1 never had enough of to “Make the Cut”).

When the reprinting was announced I looked hard at what I had on order and that was when I started making cuts. The entire issue forced me to reconsider my entire approach to P500, preorders, and Kickstarter.

I recently paid close attention to the December 2021 GMT Games P500 GeekList on BGG. What shocked me is how long so many games have been on the list. Like five (5) years in some cases! There is actually one expansion that has been listed for almost 10 YEARS. Hey look, I love that P500 helps gets game published but the timeline is getting ridiculous.

Now, before all the rabid GMT Games fanboys get uppity (Harold, I’m watching YOU!) I realize it is not always GMT’s fault. For example, designer Brian Train of China’ War, 1937-1941 admitted in his end-of-the-year roundup:

China’s War 1937-41: Development screeched to a halt when I lost my gaming space to renos in summer 2020. In the fall of 2021 I developed a 1938 scenario for the game. I recently heard from the GMT developer who also got sidetracked on things, and work will begin again in early 2022. We hope to finish testing and development by the end of summer. Over 1,500 pre-orders now.


Of my 20 games on P500/Preorder/Kickstarter eight (8) are P500. Two might deliver in early 2022 and maybe one or two more by year’s end but all seven? No chance…

  • China’s War, 1937-1941 – My P500 since October 2019. Made the Cut – In Art and Final Development
  • Next War Supplement #3 – My P500 since February 2020. Made the Cut – In Art and Final Development
  • Red Storm: Baltic Approaches – My P500 since April 2020. At the Printer
  • Red Dust Rebellion – My P500 since October 2020. Made the Cut – In Art and Final Development
  • Stuka Joe’s CDG Solo – My P500 since January 2021. At the Printer
  • Next War: Taiwan – My P500 since February 2021. Not There Yet
  • Panzer North Africa – My P500 since July 2021. Made the Cut – In Art and Final Development
  • Flashpoint: South China Sea – Had been on my P500 when first announced how many years ago? Put back on in Dec 2021 but if something needs to fall off this is the best candidate.

Now, I get the “desire” of GMT and the P500—Gene and company (and don’t forget, it is a COMPANY) are looking at where to invest their capital. My disappointment is that the P500 has become the “preorder fanboy cult” as many new games are quick to “make the cut” followed by no real commitment as to follow-on timelines.


I presently have five (5) games on preorder all with Compass Games. Four of the five supposedly have a chance at releasing in 2022:

  • Blue Water Navy: World War III – The Pacific. Since September 2020. Now “late 2022”
  • Carrier Battles: Philippine Sea – Since September 2020. Now “mid -2022”
  • Eastern Front: Operational Battles – Since February 2021. No date scheduled
  • 2040: American Insurgency – Since February 2021. Now “late 2022”
  • Air & Armor: Operational Armored Warfare in Europe – Designer’s Signature Edition – Since February 2021. Now “late 2022”

Like GMT’s P500, Compass Games use preorders to measure interest. I (stupidly) hit the wrong button on a few and preordered—not pre-pledged—which means my money is paid. Now Compass has my money and I wait for my “interest” to be paid back in the form a game. Maybe Compass is better off going the Kickstarter route and taking my money just before production. Speaking for myself I certainly feel my money is being used better that way.


There appears to be some major churn over just what Kickstarter’s NFT-related announcement really means. I can’t tell you because I can’t make sense out of it. The best explanations I have heard talk about a using blockchain not for monetary transactions but as some sort of new IT backbone. Practically speaking, I already feel I have too much Kickstarter exposure and am reluctant to back new projects. Exceptions will likely be with known publishers that use Kickstarter as their preorder mechanism (like Worthington Games and increasingly more Compass Games).

  • Reality Shift (Academy Games) – Funded December 2020 with a projected May 2021 delivery. Maybe mid-February 2022 according to Nov 2021 update…
  • Root: The Marauder Expansion + Root: The Clockwork Expansion 2 (Leder Games)- Funded March 2021 with a projected January 2022 delivery. Per December 2021 update – “Right now there are a number of scenarios with delivery dates ranging from late Q1 to mid Q2. We won’t have more specific guesses for at least another month.”
  • AuZtralia: TaZmania + AuZtralia: Revenge of the Old Ones (SchilMil Games) – Funded April 2021 with a projected November 2021 delivery. Per December 2021 update – “Shipments have not yet been booked/confirmed, so I am waiting to hear an expected ETA for port arrivals”.
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight (Plague Island Games) – Funded July 2021 with a projected December 2021 delivery. Per December 2021 update – “Currently the game is in the production queue.”
  • Imperial Campaigns Series 1: The Boer War (Canvas Temple Publishing) – Funded September 2021 with a projected August 2022 delivery. Per November 2021 update Jon Compton has urgent family issues he must handle and will return to production as soon as possible.

That last update is important; family first. Yes, I want my game and, yes, it can’t get here soon enough but, yes, FAMILY FIRST.

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5 thoughts on “2022 #Wargame #Boardgame @Kickstarter Update w/mentions of @gmtgames @compassgamesllc @AcademyGames @LederGames @SchilMil

  1. Now, if no one signed up for the P500 there would likely be no such game, for anyone, ever.
    I think GMT is not willing to put anything up for P500 unless it is essentially a finished game, or they have been given to understand that it is not far from being finished.
    They have a stable of designers who aren’t flakes and more often than not the goods get delivered, and they are usually good.
    But everything you complained about has been worsened by these unprecedented times – even when a game is ready for actual production, COVID has bollixed up all the supply chains… here’s hoping that warehouse full of coloured wooden cubes in Shanghai is never emptied.
    COVID has derailed everyone’s life routines with respect to their day jobs, because no one does this for a living.
    China’s War was lined up to start development under an assigned developer in spring 2020, then everything went haywire.
    Ordinary life stuff pops up too… not only had I lost my testing space in 2020, even if the game had entered development, I lost my Dad in spring 2021 and executor stuff kept me busy the rest of that year. Family first.
    A final factor is that GMT is a victim of its own successes, to which it owes P500 a lot.
    GeneB says that their developer staff are normally working on 60-75 projects at any given time, which means people are spread very thin sometimes.
    And this company’s output of games is phenomenal, year after year.

    In any event, if you want to know where a project is really at, designers themselves are normally available online and normally they are not working on 60-75 things at once, so they’ll probably tell you, unless they have already posted about progress on a blog or BGG entry or some such.
    Like I just did…


    1. Thanks Brian.
      What it all really comes down to is trust. When I pledge to preorder, do I trust the publisher to carry through? Do I trust the designer to do the same? Preorder is more “trustworthy” in that they don’t take my money until it’s closer to delivery.
      Now Kickstarter…they take my money and then…I really have to trust. On your other comment you say you haven’t been burned yet. I will admit that every KS I’ve backed has delivered…eventually.
      And then there is COVID. While it has been a boon for my gaming, my demand outstrips supply. But the economy being what it is also makes me “trust” with my spending money less.
      So I guess that’s my problem.

  2. Interesting comments on the pre-order systems, but the thing I notice is all the Kickstarters are at least trying to deliver, even if they’re late.. (including my game which is likely 3-4 months late, apologies for that!) but the P500’s are often many years late and indeed many haven’t even entered production.

    1. Agree Stuart. No apologies needed…3-4 months in these time is not much. I usually won’t back a KS unless I feel the production timeline is “reasonable” (whatever that really means these days). What bothers me about P500 and other preorders is I don’t have a good sense just how close–or how far–the title is from production. Is it a concept with no real design? Has a developer even looked at it yet? I know I won’t get charged for “a while” but these days I’m not sure I’ll have interest after the year(s) it takes to get to my table. I guess I’ll just have to be a jerk to some companies and pledge my support only to pull the rug out from under them when it comes time to charge if I’ve lost interest. Bad form? Yes, but what is the real alternative?

      1. Oh, and on balance, while I have encountered delays with Kickstarter projects, I have not been burned once… which I gather happens to quite a few people.

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