Wargame SITREP 230410 N4 Supply – The Canvas Folds for Canvas Temple Publishing

I really like the attitude of Jon Compton at Canvas Temple Publishing (CTP):

The premise behind the formation of CTP is a simple one: A drama-free environment for old codgers to publish game projects because they want to. It is essentially a publishing vehicle founded by industry veteran Jon Compton for he and designers he considers friends to publish games that they want to publish without pressure or angst of a publishing company trying to make a fortune. CTP will be a small, friendly (probably sarcastic) little group of folks who are doing this because they want to. We intend to have fun, and hope you’ll join us for the ride. So sit back, enjoy our antics and our games. Try not to take it too seriously, and save the drama for the other companies.

CTP website

Which is why I am a bit shocked opening my email today and finding this:

A Letter to My Customers

First of all I would like to thank all of you for supporting Canvas Temple Publishing these past few years.

Next, a shipping update. At this point I’m 90% done shipping out copies of Pratzen and Boer War. Like everything else, it’s taking longer than I’d like, so I thank you for your patience. Please PLEASE do not email me asking whether or not your game has shipped. If it hasn’t arrived yet, or you haven’t gotten a shipping notification, it probably hasn’t (although some are going in the mail today). I truly am going as fast as I can given all that’s on my plate.

But I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you little about the future of CTP. All of our previous games have been printed in China, and the results have generally been very good. Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with my printer, who has always done quality work and treated me fairly, especially given the small size of my print runs. However, the last three projects took just under a year between submission of the press files to delivery of the games. Obviously much of that was due to pandemic shutdowns in China, but honestly it is just no longer tenable for me; to say nothing of the increases in freight costs that have occurred over the past two years.

Over the past months I’ve tried to identify an alternative printer closer to home. For the most part, there are almost none willing to run my low quantities and those that are cost 3-4 times what the cost of the printer in China charges. The result is that my previous business model for board game publishing no longer functions. The past five years I’ve very much enjoyed the process of Canvas Temple, and have resisted allowing it to grow beyond the boundaries I set for it as I didn’t want it to transition from fun to work. It appears that is no longer possible. As a result I’ve taken the decision that for the time being I will no longer publish traditional boxed games.

I have already released pending projects back to their designers for them to take elsewhere. I do not intend to close Canvas Temple, however. The 3D printing portion of the business is doing rather well, and has exceeded my expectations. I’m also not closing the door on future publishing, but for now the business model I created for publishing boxed games is taking too long to cycle, and shipping costs rise too quickly and abruptly for those long cycles. For example, the overseas shipping charges for the Pratzen Kickstarter came in 25 to 40 percent (depending upon what country) under the actual cost of shipment over a year later. CTP is simply too small to absorb things like that.

To be sure, I am not closing the door on publishing at some point in the future. I still have a strong interest in some aspects of doing so. But to be honest, I’ve simply not enjoyed that process over the past year. I intend to complete shipping Pratzen and Boer War as quickly as I’m able, and then I’m going to take a break from it. The website will remain open to orders regardless, so long as inventory lasts.

Thanks again!

Jon Compton

CTP email, 10 Apr 2023

I own two Canvas Temple Publishing titles, The Boer War (2023) and World War 2 Deluxe: War in Europe (2018). Yes, my comments on The Boer War were a bit harsh but I stand by them. Especially in light of the generally positive feeling I have for World War 2 Deluxe because it proves the CTP model of larger counters and hexes can work.

Yet, I am not really shocked at Jon’s decision. The clear hints were there in the updates to The Boer War. I am deeply saddened by the near-demise of a wargame publisher, but also happy to see Jon reach a decision that is best for him.

Good luck, Mr. Compton. I hope someday you can publish again. Until then…

Feature image courtesy CTP

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2023 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

7 thoughts on “Wargame SITREP 230410 N4 Supply – The Canvas Folds for Canvas Temple Publishing

  1. Blue Panther is more expensive than China printing I’m sure but seems to be a viable business model for several established game companies and low volumes are no problem for print on demand. Unsure why this was not an option. The pressures of perturbed international supply lines seem to be bringing a few ventures to a close. Sympathies to the publisher.

    1. I’m not sure if Blue Panther can do the whole larger counters piece if the CTP model at a reasonable price point.

  2. I’ve seen this on the RPG side of things. Print-your-game-books-for-cheap-in-China is going away. Increased container shipping costs presently. And rising political tensions will result in trade retaliation. Anybody doing business in China had better be looking for the exit ramp. I hope American printers will step forward to lower costs and pick up the slack, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

    1. I believe Mike Lambo and Worthington’s Solitaire wargaming books are print on demand via Amazon… this could be a way to go for books at least.
      Gamers in Europe and Australasia would benefit greatly from local printers for games that are otherwise expensive to manufacture and physically ship. Good design, artwork and editing can be done remotely, maybe we have to accept simpler components in order to see a game published. I’m speaking from little personal experience, but when you can buy a basic laser cutter for $700, square counters should be within reach, just like 3D printing is.

      1. As much as I want to agree with you, have you ever seen the criticism GMT Games or Compass gets off a slightly misaligned counter?

    2. People are overly critical of components for sure. So much work goes into the development and production of a game, each one is a little miracle of modern collaboration and manufacturing. People expect too much for $70, it’s not a Lambo(rghini) – forgive the pun. The IP and design is the critical part, the rest is chrome and marketing. As above, I’m happy with well designed paper maps and card chits if it means the game gets published rather than shelved.

      1. I agree with you as I’m sure many Hollandspiele or White Dog Games or even Tiny Battles Publishing customers do. Yet there are others who vocally push for more “aesthetically pleasing” games who will be the ones throwing a tantrum when they don’t get GMT quality mounted maps and counters.

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