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. https://brtrain.wordpress.com
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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