#RPG Thursday – #TTRPG Preorders and Kickstarters

While I keep a good list of preorders for my wargames and boardgames, I don’t do the same for roleplaying games. Maybe that’s because until recently I didn’t really have many RPG items on preorder. That’s changed a bit in the last few months with a (very) few items ordered but not yet delivered…

Blade Runner – The Roleplaying Game.

From Free League Publishing. Preorder via FGLS. “Coming 2022.” I have enjoyed the Year Zero Engine as it is used by Twilight: 2000 – Roleplaying the World War III That Never Was and ALIEN – The Roleplaying Game. If this is going to get here by end of 2022 it’s going to have to be quick…

https://player.vimeo.com/video/705732326?h=7c3ca98be9″ width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Courtesy Free League Publishing

Code Warriors RPG

From Nerdburger Games, Kickstarter. “April 2023.” Pledge in last 25 minutes of the campaign thanks to Jim “The Gascon.” Why? It looks interesting…

Courtesy Nerdburger Games

Cowboy Bebop – The Roleplaying Game

From Mana Project Studio via Kickstarter. “November 2023.” The Quickstart is available for free on DriveThruRPG. This looks very glitzy; hope the game plays as good as it looks.

Courtesy Mana Project Studio

Feature image courtesy Inn on Lake Wisotta

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

2022 Holiday #Wargame #Boardgame Catalog from @compassgamesllc

I’m a bit behind the times here as the Mentioned in Dispatches “Annual Compass Games Holiday Catalog” episode from the Armchair Dragoons has already released. I was name-dropped at a few points in the episode and since I was not on that august panel for the discussion I want to take this opportunity to make a few comments of my own.

I warn you up front that I have a Love/Hate relationship with the Compass Games 2022 Holiday catalog. I LOVE that I get to see all the new (and old) games in one place. I LOVE the pricing on some of the items. However, I HATE to see the various dates. I strongly agree with some of the comments on the podcast; talking about delivery dates is very difficult and some of these games have been in the catalog FOREVER.

Preorders

  • 2040: An American Insurgency (Early 2023) – Why? Because I loved Fortress America
  • Air and Armor: Operational Armored Warfare in Europe, Designer Signature Edition (Mid 2023) – Because I’m catching up on ‘Cold War Gone Hot’ titles I missed in the 80’s…
  • Blue Water Navy: The Pacific (Late 2023) – I was name-dropped on this one and I wouldn’t be RockyMountainNAVY if I didn’t want another Cold War naval game…
  • Breaking the Chains 2.0 (Mid 2023) – I own the original BtC and always have enjoyed this hypothetical future naval conflict…
  • Brief Border Wars 2 (Late 2023) – I love Brian Train’s Brief Border Wars 1 and look forward to the next installment in this very exciting game system…
  • Carrier Battle: Philippine Sea (Early 2023) – Jonathan Southard and navy; need I say more? **UPDATE- The game has gone to Kickstarter which means it’s likely 60 days or so from delivery.
  • Eastern Front Operational Battles (Late 2023) – A throwback to the old SPI quad games; four games for the price of one!
  • Seapower and the State (Late 2023) – The folks on the podcast didn’t seem to realize that this is a do-over from the earlier (1982) game that, as I understand it, started out as a “professional” wargame for the military that went commercial.
  • Series 120 – WWII Campaigns: 1940, 1941, and 1942 (Late 2023) – The GDW version of a (almost) SPI quad game; the ‘120’ means it is meant to be playable in 120 minutes…
  • War in the South Atlantic (Early 2024) – A Falklands War game? SIGN ME UP! (I will order once it shows up on the website).

Not shown in the catalog but also apparently forthcoming sometime in the future from Compass Games is Divine Wind: Pacific Naval Operations in World War II by designers Frank Davis and Ron Toelke. A Twitter post that includes a mock-up of the game box was posted in late October.

Courtesy @FdavisFrank on Twitter

While the many wargame titles are exciting, I’m a bit disappointed by these timelines. The fact most are loaded into late 2023 is more a reflection of what titles interest me than production planning by Compass but still:

  • Early 2023 – 2 (See Carrier Battle above)
  • Mid 2023 – 2
  • Late 2023 – 5
  • 2024 – 1

While I fully acknowledge the dates are a SWAG* at least it’s a bit better than the nebulous popularity contest that the GMT Games P500 has seemingly devolved into.

Second Looks – Games on Sale that I Might Acquire

  • Paper Wars 83 – Rising Sun Over China (Blowout Priced) – ???
  • Paper Wars 85 – RUSSIA FALLING (Blowout Priced) – Timely?
  • Command and Colors Jacobite Rising (Holiday Price) – Bargain?
  • Brotherhood and Unity (Holiday Price) – Heard some good things about this one…
  • Korea Fire and Ice (Blowout Price) – Korean War games are a thing of mine…

Thinking…

Would be interested in hearing your comments on the 2022 Compass Games Holiday Catalog. Jump on over to the forums at Armchair Dragoons and leave a comment or here is you like!


* Scientific Wild A$$ Guess

Feature image courtesy

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – #Wargame and #boardgame #crowdfunding with @ADragoons @TheGascon @gmtgames @Academy_Games @LederGames @stuarttonge @FoundationDietz

I made an (audio) appearance on Mentioned in Dispatches Season 8 Episode 12 “Crowdfunding” with Regimental Commander Brant and Napoleonic colorguard Jim. Please take a listen and leave your thoughts either at the Armchair Dragoons forums or here.

In the podcast I mentioned that I have 20 items either in Kickstarter, on GMT Games P500, or on preorder (mostly with Compass Games). Already in the short time since we recorded (just days before posting) there has been movement on more than a few items:

  • Red Storm: Baltic Approaches (GMT Games) – P500 since April 2020 (24 months); per April 19, 2022 newsletter, “At Sea – No Arrival Date Yet”
  • Reality Shift (Academy Games) – Kickstarter December 2020 with estimated delivery May 2021 (11 months delay); per April 21, 2022 update the games are on ship expected to arrive New York on May 17, 2022 with fulfillment to start immediately thereafter
  • Stuka Joe’s CDG Solo System(GMT Games) – P500 since January 2021 (15 months); per April 19, 2022 newsletter, “At Sea – No Arrival Date Yet”
  • Root: The Marauder Expansion / Root: The Clockwork Expansion 2 (Leder Games) – Kickstarter March 2021 with estimated Delivery January 2022 (3 month delay); per March 28, 2022 update on shipping, “Updated start date: first week of April / Updated end date: mid to late June” NO SHIPPING NOTICE RECEIVED TO DATE…
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight (Plague Island Games) – Kickstarter July 2021 with estimated delivery December 2021 (4 month delay); per April 22, 2022 update from designer Stuart Tonge:
    • “OK… US & Canadian backers – unfortunately, there is a delay.  I only found out yesterday night so this is fresh news but shipping is likely to be 6 weeks late. That would be early May for the games to ship, with an additional 2-3 weeks for Canadian deliveries on top of this. I will not make excuses for the responsible company – they’ve let me down. But I also won’t reveal them, as that would serve no purpose. Please accept my apologies for the delay.”

In the podcast I repeatedly mentioned that communications is the key to my happiness with a crowdfunding or pre-order campaign. Jim Dietz of The Dietz Foundation ran a most excellent Kickstarter campaign for Supercharged and 1979 Revolution in Iran. The major reason I am happy is that he always communicated—good or bad!

While I am an anxious to get 2 Minutes to Midnight into my hands, Stuart Tonge’s explanation is perfectly acceptable and very welcome. It also shows that a bit of humility and honesty are extremely valuable in a relationship. While I wait for my game, I do so with great respect for the efforts Stuart is making.


Feature image courtesy pexels free photos

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#Wargame Wednesday – Funding and buzz of Littoral Commander by @SebastianBae from @FoundationDietz

Congratulations to Sebastian Bae for reaching the funding goal of his wargame, Littoral Commander: Indo-Pacific. His preorder campaign, run by Jim Dietz of The Dietz Foundation, overcame technical hurdles with webpages and a full frontal assault by the U.S. Marine CorpsTM over the game’s title. Even after all those challenges the game successfully funded.

I am a proud supporter of Sebastian’s game, and a real fan of The Dietz Foundation. While technical hurdles and an obstinate military bureaucracy during the funding campaign were hard enough for me to watch, what really frosted me was some of the Twitterati commentary. In particular, some folks “bemoaned” that Sebastian was literally doing “all” the marketing for the game and very directly implied that the publisher was not building any buzz for the game.

Yes, @SebastianBae pounded the Twitter-verse with tweets. So did Jim from the @FoundationDietz account. I also personally saw multiple tweets from not only Sebastian or Jim but others EVERY DAY. Granted, this was not a “traditional” big-name publisher campaign. The announcement of the game didn’t get teased in a monthly newsletter, then dropped a month later, and then have the occasional monthly update. Sebastian, as nice a guy as he is, didn’t get designer spotlight moments on BGG. No, this was a small campaign by a first-time designer using a small publisher. So, did it work?

Littoral Commander reached its funding goal in 13 days.

Even without the “correct” buzz the Twitterarti wanted.


Feature image courtesy Dietz Foundation

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

P500

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.

Preorders

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.

Kickstarter

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.


RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

September #Wargame #Boardgame Forecast – It’s Raining Games!

In late June I made a bold forecast that as any as nine (9) of 27 games I had on preorder or Kickstarter could deliver by the end of July. Alas, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

August looked much better. Let’s see what happened this month and look a bit ahead to September….

Delivered

  1. Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games, 2020)Preorder Waro. DELIVERED. Good game slightly marred by the printing errors….
  2. Fort (Leder Games, 2020): Publisher-direct Preorder. DELIVERED. Who are your friends? Only the ones you play with!
  3. Quartermaster General: The Cold War (PSC Games, 2018)Online Retailer Purchase. Strategy Wargame? – DELIVERED. BGG lists this as a wargame. Not so fast….
  4. Scythe Complete Rulebook (Stonemaier Games, 2020): Publisher-direct Preorder. DELIVERED. Having recently started replaying Scythe and nearing completion of our The Rise of Fenris campaign its good to get all the rules in one organized place. Email Update 28 Aug“To-date we have not found a single instance of a rules error impacting gameplay in the 136-page document. Except in one section. The Automa rules need some work. I apologize for this and we take full responsibility. We believe these errors are large enough to justify a reprint. The good news is that many of you don’t play using the Automa (solo mode), and may never reference this section of the rulebook. But if you use the Automa or plan to in the future, we will send you a new spiralbound Scythe Complete Rulebook for free.” Here’s what we’ll do. Simply fill out this form and we’ll send you another Scythe Complete Rulebook when it’s reprinted in a few months using the mailing address from your previous order.”
  5. Dragomino (Blue Orange Games, 2020): Bonus Purchase – DELIVERED. Billed as “My First Kingdomino” I was a bit dubious as to how they could accomplish this. After all, Kingdomino (Blue Orange Games, 2017) is already a very simple game. Ordered as part of the Gen Con Online specials. SO HAPPY! Mrs. RMN introduced this game to all her students; all love it. Even RMN Jr (Mr. Kingdomino in the RMN House) likes to play!
  6. Dig Dog Dig (Flying Meeple, 2019): Bonus Purchase – DELIVERED. Another game bought to support the younger students of Mrs. RMN. This title is criminally under-appreciated. At heart a memory game, the toy factor and play makes this perfect for the early reader or younger gamers in your family.

Still Waiting

  1. One Small Step (Academy Games, 2020)Kickstarter Boardgame. UPDATE from August 7– “The container ship Seaspan Raptor is currently off the coast of Mexico and will arrive at the Panama Canal today. It is expect it to arrive in Florida August 10th! Your games will be shipped to you by Quartermaster Logistics, located in Orlando, FL hopefully by the end of next week.” NOTHING SEEN/HEARD SINCE.
  2. The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games, 2020)Kickstarter Waro. August 10 Update: “I also have some bad news. The shipping date from China has been pushed back further – to September 7. Just as you all have shown patience with me, I know I have to show patience with the folks manufacturing the game. But it is still extremely frustrating. And, unfortunately, airmailing the games here is truly cost-prohibitive – sink the company, never to be seen again level of cost-prohibitive. So this means it won’t be in anyone’s hands until October.”
  3. 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 August 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!!!”
  4. Flying Colors 3rd Edition Update Kit (GMT Games): P500. Charged 05 August. To ship shortly thereafter. Enroute!

New Orders

  1. Empire of the Sun, 4th Edition (GMT Games, 202?): New to the P500 this month. Could. Not. Resist.
  2. Supercharged (The Dietz Foundation, 2021?): Kickstarter. Looks like a good racing game. As the husband of a mother that uses boardgames to teach I also like what the Dietz Foundation stands for. Here he talks about how to use racing games (like Supercharged) for learning. At the time of this post, it sits just under 80% funded with about 20 days to go. HEY, RACING FANS! LEt’s get behind this!

UPDATED July #Wargame #Boardgame Forecast – HOT to NOT!

In late June I made a bold forecast that as any as nine (9) of 27 games I had on preorder or Kickstarter could deliver by the end of July.

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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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:

  1. 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!!!”
  2. Flying Colors 3rd Edition Update Kit (GMT Games): P500. Per July 23 Newsletter – “Charging August 5. Shipping roughly mid-August.”
  3. The Battle of Rhode Island (GMT Games): P500. Scheduled delivery 31 JULY.
  4. Fort (Leder Games): Publisher-direct Preorder. Scheduled for August release.

Of note, these are the three games I added this month:

  1. 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.
  2. Fort (Leder Games): Publisher-direct Preorder. After reading Dan Thurot’s review on Space-Biff this became a must-buy.
  3. 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

July #Wargame #Boardgame Forecast – HOT!

IT IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS THAT CORONAVIRUS ADVERSELY AFFECTED THE HOBBY GAMING INDUSTRY. I have yet to hear of a game company that has gone under but it’s easy to see the stress many are operating under. As the economy starts recovering from coronavirus shutdowns more game production is coming back. Looking at my Preorder & Kickstarter Roll on BoardGameGeek, it looks like July may be a VERY good month for a return to gaming!

Of the 27 games I list on 28 June, there is a better-than-even chance that as many as nine (9), or 33%, could deliver or otherwise fulfill in July. These include:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games, 2020)Preorder Waro. All looks to be on track for an early July release.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Looking ahead to the end of the year, it is possible that as many as half of the games on my current Preorder & Kickstarter list could deliver. That would not only be good for me, but more importantly good for the gaming industry.

Monday rambling #boardgame musings – Sustaining hobby hype

This holiday weekend I got to wondering how the hobby boardgame industry can sustain interest for a game in this era of “Cult of the New” and the many, many new games being published every day. A great deal of my thoughts here were triggered by Uwe Eickert of Academy Games in an interview he did with the No Enemies Here V-cast:

Uwe brings up many good points about how the hobby boardgame industry will likely be facing major changes in the near future. For me, I recently started questioning the future of my part of the hobby as I updated my Preorder & Kickstarter GeekList and looked at “The Hotness” on BGG. What I see is an industry that still is riding high on the “Cult of the New” and FOMO – “Fear of Missing Out.” As I look at my preorder and Kickstarter list and then The Hotness, I wonder if the hobby boardgame industry can sustain the hype they need to sell games.

As Uwe points out, there are many, many, many new games published every day. Indeed, the lifespan of a game has shrunk to almost nothing. Many games are here one day and gone tomorrow, replaced by another new game. The preorder and Kickstarter approach to buying games throws a wrinkle in this in that the games are not “here today” but “here at sometime in the future.”

What does that mean to me?

Let’s look at a a few of the games I have on preorder/Kickstarter. One of the older titles is Flashpoint: South China Sea on the GMT Games P500. I pledged for this game in February 2018 (nearly 2 years ago). The game status is, “Made the Cut; in final art & development” meaning, well, it just means it’s not at the printer yet and the delivery date is undeterminable. Now, I like designer Harold Buchanan and I ordered the game mostly because it is his design. I follow design diaries when they come out but, to be honest, my interest has cooled considerably in the past 2 years. Whatever hype I had is nearly all lost.

Another game on my list is Root: The Underworld Expansion from Leder Games. I pledged to Kickstarter in March of 2019 with a projected delivery date of December 2019. As it looks now, I won’t get my copy until February 2020 – if I’m lucky. I love Root and apparently many others do too as it is in The Hotness on BGG but…I find myself just playing the basic Root these days sans expansions. In the past year my hype has faded.

My hype deflation doesn’t stop there. The year 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing and I was caught up with the nostalgia; so caught up I pledged for One Small Step from Academy Games in July. Good thing Academy didn’t run the Apollo program because OSS is due March 2020 (compared to the Dec 2019 projection at funding). I love Academy Games but once again they hype I felt is fizzling as fast as a failed booster.

Not all is bad. Designer Lee Brimmicombe-Wood works hard to get expansions for his Wing Leader Series from GMT Games out to players. The next one, Wing Leader: Origins, which went on P500 in July 2019 is already at the printer (meaning 1-3 months more until delivery). That’s a good turnaround and I am able to keep my hype going, especially given the previous expansion, Wing Leader: Eagles, delivered to me in September 2019 – a gap of around 6 months between product delivery. Maybe there is a lesson here….

But then there is Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile from Leder Games. Presently on Kickstarter, Leder Games easily reached their funding goal (though I wonder how much better they might of done if they were not head-to-head with Return to Dark Tower). There is lots of good hype around this game. In particular, I appreciate the efforts of Dan Thurot at Space Biff. I am excited for this game, RIGHT NOW. But…the projected delivery date is January 2021. Throw in a healthy dose of Kickstarter doubt and I might see this game in…June 2021? That’s more than a year away. What is Leder Games going to do to sustain my hype? More importantly (for them), what if they don’t sustain my hype?

In the case of Kickstarter the publisher has an advantage in that they have my money up front and regardless of where my hype meter is they will deliver the game when they deliver it. The challenge for the publisher is to keep my hype going over a long period of time. If they don’t I am less likely to support their next Kickstarter. Publishers that use a preorder system are not as bad off (they have my pledge for a game but don’t get my money until closer to publication) but again, sustaining the hype during game development is a challenge/threat. Aside – I cancelled a preorder once after it charged. I kinda felt horrible telling the publisher that I wanted my money back even before the game was delivered. I understand some publishers are on razor-thin margins and even one cancellation can be difficult. So I try to stay ahead and if I cancel do it before charging occurs. But I digress….

As I look at myself, I feel my own ‘industry’ shake up coming. First, I honestly am trying to slow down my purchases. At this time last year I had taken in six new games; this year I have purchased one board game supplemental item (a box organizer). Of the 18 items on my GeekList, I think no more than 14 could deliver in 2020. That’s averaging more than one game a month – is that not enough?

I also found a few retailers that offer new games at prices similar to the preorder or basic Kickstarter rates. Usually these retailers have the games available at nearly the same time as the preorder is released or soon thereafter (for Kickstarter its early retail release). Here there is no price advantage for me going to the publisher. Instead, have a “disadvantage” in that I don’t get the game first (Cult of the New membership – REVOKED!) but maybe this is better as I get to see initial reactions once the game is “in the wild.” At the very least, I will be able to get a game when my hype (interest?) is highest, not long after it has cooled.

Some may point out that the preorder and Kickstarter methods serve the publisher as it is a barometer of interest. I sometimes wonder just how true that is. For instance, my oldest P500 at GMT Games is from October 2017 (!). Apparently, there are only 164 people who want a reprint of Panzer Expansion #1. Yes, there is a copy available on GeekMarket…for over $100! I want the game, but I don’t want it that badly. What good is it doing remaining in a vast limbo on the P500? Apparently the hype is long dead with this one. How many other games suffer the same fate? If I don’t preorder or back on kickstarter what is the real penalty for ME?

Then again, maybe I am being too impatient and paying to much attention to the hype-of-the-moment. Is it so bad to wait six to 18 months for a new game? Is that not a reasonable period to allow a game to be developed, playtested, manufactured, and shipped? There are plenty of (bad) examples of what happens when a game is rushed.

I’m torn. What are your thoughts? What is your boardgame hype like?


Feature image courtesy Leder Games

 

March 2019 #Wargame #Boardgame #Kickstarter & Pre-Order Update – or – The Root problem of Defiantly losing control to Memoir-able games!

Coming out of the holidays in 2018, Mrs. RockyMountainNavy asked that I try to “control” my spending budget for boardgames and wargames in a bit of a more reasonable manner. She asks not because she dislikes my gaming hobby (on the contrary, she heartily endorses it) but because I was a bit too frivolous with my spending. I promised to do better.

To that end I have tried to control my “acquisitions” so far this year. One change in strategy I adopted is to go ahead and look at Print-n-Play modules a bit more. I also took a hard look at my GMT Games P500 and other pre-orders to try and “trim the fat.” I also committed to looking alot harder at what Kickstarter campaigns I would pledge to support. As tempting as they were, I passed on several new P500 and Kickstarter campaigns. I was doing pretty well until this month. Since the last days of February and into March, I have fallen off the wagon a bit and pre-ordered or pledged for three games.

 

I backed a new Kickstarter campaign in March. This one is really a no-brainer for me as it expands my 2018 Game of the Year. Leder Games Kickstarted Root: The Underworld Expansion. As I write this post the campaign already has over 10,000 backers and nearly $850,000 pledged – with over 2 weeks remaining.

I really am looking forward to this expansion with two new factions and two new maps. I realize that my $50 pledge will grow by at least $20 more for add-ons. Of that money, paying $5 for corrected Faction Boards is an easy choice. Paying $15 for the Better Bot Project may seem pricy, but given that it includes Bot Boards for all the factions it will make the game not only more solo friendly but able to play larger faction counts with fewer players. But given my love of the game it is so worth it.

poland-defiant-coverI also pre-ordered Poland Defiant from Revolution Games. Having picked up Counter-Attack 1940: The Battle of Arras (Take Aim Designs/Revolution Games, 2019) and Panzer Expansion #4: France 1940 (GMT Games, 2019) earlier this year I am on something of an early-years World War II kick. The period is coming to fascinate me as the various nations tried to figure out what the new age of warfare would look like. I really enjoy playing Counter-Attack 1940: The Battle of Arras and positively enjoy seeing Youngest RMN Boy discover more history through Panzer Expansion #4. I also look forward to the chit-pull mechanic as I have come to appreciate the power of that mechanic and its useful application for solo gaming.

pic4610324Another game I pre-ordered is Memoir ’44: New Flight Plan (Days of Wonder, coming May 2019?). I expect this new module to get heavy use as the RockyMountainNavy Boys often play Memoir ’44 without me. That said, these days I enjoy the simplicity of Richard Borg’s Commands & Colors-series and its various implementations in Memoir ’44 or Battlelore. Don’t get me wrong; simplicity is not lesser enjoyment. Games like Commands & Colors: Tricorne – The American Revolution (Compass Games, 2018) are awesome for teaching and learning more about the time period.

What about you? What games are you (im)patiently waiting for?


Feature image Leder Games