November 24, 2015 Update from GMT Games

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November 24, 2015 Update from GMT Games
By the Staff of GMT Games:
Hi guys!
Wow! It has been barely controlled CHAOS here at the GMT offices for the past month or so.
I sounded the warning last month that the combination of a lot of new games, kickstarter fulfillments, our Weekend at the Warehouse, and the Fall Sale could cause big slowdowns for us. But I had no idea how big those slowdowns would turn out to be.
The good news is that this sale broke all of our past records for both number of orders and total sales volume by a large margin, almost doubling previous sales! Thanks so much for your participation and support! The funds from these sales will definitely help us with reprints and various company improvements over the coming year.
More good news is that we had a terrific Weekend at the Warehouse in mid-October with over 100 gamers hanging out and playing games with us for several days in the warehouse. Renewing old friendships, forging some new ones, all over really fun games. I love these events. Thanks so much to you guys who attended. We’re already planning the next one for April (see below).
So, from my point of view, anyway, almost everything else that happened in October and November was (short term) bad news. And when you’re trying to get a bunch of games shipped out to keep your customers happy, even short term bad news is still pretty frustrating. Here’s a sample:
– The massive (for us) sales volume generated by the yearly sale completely overwhelmed our office and warehouse folks’ ability to pull, pack, ship, invoice, etc.  We can process and ship in the 200-300 orders a day range, but the sale brought in about 6,500 orders in ten days! So we were seriously log-jammed for all the last of October and most of November to date.
– The logjam has had a major and negative impact on our ability to get new games out the door in November and December. We also had some supply chain issues, but the processing/shipping bottleneck was such that even if we had the products on hand, we couldn’t have shipped them.
– We had a local fulfillment house that we thought was going to be able to handle all the Kickstarter volume for us back out of the job, leaving us temporarily with no good options and no ability to deliver the Kickstarter physical rewards when we’d hoped we could.
– We had a “too high” incidence of mounted board problems for The American Civil War – of the same type we experienced with Empire of the Sun earlier this year. So we opened and physically inspected every single map in every single copy of TACW before we shipped them, making the P500 shipping process for that game stretch out for weeks longer than usual and thus adding to the overall slowdown and bottleneck when the sale came.
As you’d probably surmise from reviewing the above, we were “hating life” just a bit for the past month or so. BUT…. we survived it.
– We got all the P500 TACWs shipped finally, with good boards in all of them. We MIGHT get a supply constraint near-term if we get a ton of Christmas orders for them (the printer is going to reprint all the bad boards as they did for EotS), but at the end of the day, we’ll have plenty of stock for what looks to be one of our better releases of the past few years.
– We finished with all the sale orders last week (!), but when I asked Elizabeth for a progress update today, she told me that we’ll be fully caught up with all outstanding orders by the time we break for Thanksgiving late tomorrow. Kudos to the office and warehouse folks!
– We’ve moved a couple games back to January that we thought we’d ship in December, as a result of all the backlog. That’s not ideal, but on the other hand, we now are caught up and ready for several new games set to arrive in the warehouse starting late next week. So we’re going to have a solid group of December P500 releases, with three games plus the Track Pack for Thunder Alley.
– To replace the lost fulfillment center for the Kickstarter items, and because we have no other reasonably local options (we want to have someone from our offices spot checking what goes out) we’ve created a new team (a mix of recent hires and old hands so we can make sure QC stays good) and built a new assembly shipping line in our second warehouse that will begin dedicated shipping of all the Kickstarter items starting December 1. So we’ll have enough people, space, and the setup to get the Kickstarter items shipped while we do normal P500 shipping in our other warehouse. This was not easy or fast or cheap to set up, but it seemed like the only way to go once the fulfillment center option was out of play. For you Kickstarter folks, the $35 tier will go first, followed by the $65 tier, then finally the TS Collector’s Editions. We are not sure exactly what to expect until we get started, but our aim is to get at least 200 orders a day finished from this line, which should let us get all roughly 4800 orders out the door in December.
So, all things considered, we survived “The Deluge” in decent shape for the longer term. We’ve lost some time, and some of the Kickstarter Backers probably hate me by now, but on the flip side we had a great sale, and those extra funds are really going to help us with reprints and system improvements for next year (yes, I’ve been taking notes). So, we’re now set for fullfilling the Kickstarter rewards and providing a solid December of P500 releases. And we’re ready to kick off 2016 with Liberty or Death and Talon, which should be an awesome way to start the gaming new year.
Now on to the rest of the news….
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New American Revolution Tri-Pack
In order to get several of the popular AmRev series games back in print, we are offering an American Revolution Tri-Pack. This all-in-one boxed package is composed of new editions of the flagship game in the series -Saratoga, the long-out-of-print Brandywine, and Guilford/Eutaw Springs. Below is more detail on exactly what you’ll find in the package. As you’ll note, there are considerable additions and changes from the original games, as designer Mark Miklos has endeavored to create and update the finest version of these games that we’ve produced to date. Plus, the package includes double-sided mounted maps for all four battles!
Note that we are not offering an update kit for these games, except as follows:
For those who want to keep their P500 Reprint order for Brandywine only instead of ordering this Tri-Pack, we will honor those orders with a “white box version” of Brandywine (we just can’t get a cost-effective printed box made for only couple hundred orders) that includes all the new internal components including the mounted map for a reduced P500 price of $27 P500. We will not offer this long-term, but we want to make sure that we take care of anyone who has a P500 order in for Brandywine and only wants that battle.
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Churchill and Fire in the Lake are Sold Out!
 
Wow! A sell-out of Churchill in 2 1/2 months and a sell-out of our largest initial print run game – Fire in the Lake! Thanks guys, for ordering and playing and telling your friends about these games!
We have set up P500 Reprint Edition pages for each of these games, for those of you who want to pre-order the reprint editions. Just click on the box links below to go to those order pages. We’ll be working to get both games back in stock as quickly as possible. As always, your support of the P500 program helps accelerate that process.
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GMT Digital Gift Certificates!
We’ve had a bunch of customer requests for us to create Gift Certificates that you can give from our website. Our trusty webmaster, Mitch Land, has now configured these for us, so you guys can gift away!
PLEASE NOTE that Gift Certificates do NOT work for P500 orders, only for in-stock orders.
To purchase and send a gift certificate, just go to our Gift Certificate Department and select “Email Gift Certificate.” You’ll then be able to choose from $10, $20, $25, $50, or $100 Gift Certificates. Then when you checkout, once you Update your cart and hit the “Checkout Now” button, our system will ask you to fill in the recipient’s name and email address for each Certificate ordered (you can include multiple gift certificates on a single order). You’ll also be able to include a personal note to the recipient.
We hope you enjoy this new addition to the GMT website and that it helps you with your gifting during the holidays.
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Digital Games Update
Our Version 2.02 of the Dominant Species app is out and doing pretty well.  It includes an Interactive Tutorial from Kai Jensen and our friends at GameTheory, which will hopefully help new iPad players to learn and enjoy Dominant Species.
We have run into a big problem, though, with our plan to do one more big update to add online multi-player functionality via Apple’s Game Center. The programmers have created the version, but the problem is that Apple’s Game Center is pretty rigid in how it deals with turn order. As you DS players know, turn order jumps all over the place in Dominant Species. The coding on our end of things is fine, but where it integrates with Game Center, there are a few problems that are (at least unless/until Apple updates their GC code) outside of our control to fix. These problems would, in our estimation, make for very unsatisfying delays during online Game Play.
So for the moment, at least, we are kind of “stuck” in terms of multi-player. We’re continuing to discuss with the programming team, but no really great solutions have leapt out at us to date. We’ll keep you guys updated, but for now, I’m really not wanting to put a multi-player version out there that’s going to cause a lot of player headaches just to say “we have multi-player.” I’d rather live with the current 2.02, which plays really well, until we or Apple can figure out a solution to the multi-player issues that make it workable.
If you haven’t tried Digital Dominant Species for iPad yet, check it out! You can get the app here. If you are already playing and enjoying it, please take a minute to review it on the Apple Store. Thanks!
Playdek is now publicly beta testing the Digital version of Twilight Struggle – through Steam on PCs – with the Kickstarter backers. They’ve made  a lot of progress already. I heard from one of the Playdek team members earlier today, and they said they are planning to post a full digital update later this week.
That’s all for now on the digital front.
 
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Won by the Sword Update
 
As I mentioned in a previous update, we have the updated cards and counters in the warehouse. Those are the two big pieces to the update kit we will provide. I just checked with Mark Simonitch on the rules and playbook updates today (we’re transitioning the project to our final layout folks now), and he told me they should have these finished for the printer in December, which should put them back in our warehouse and ready to assemble and ship in January. I’ll get you more exact times once we have the books on the way to us from the printers.
Really sorry this one’s taken so long, guys. There’s a very cool game underneath the blemishes of initial production issues, so I hope you guys will put WbtS back out on your game tables and check it out when you get the update kit…..
Tentative Production  Schedule
Here’s our most current Tentative Production Schedule. The most notable changes from last time are these: 1. The two early January games were pushed back a bit from December due to overall schedule delays from the October sale workload and our desire to not have our office and warehouse folks working long hours during the Christmas holidays. 2. We’re moving At Any Costout of the 1st Quarter (for now) as they need more time to do campaign game testing. Once that is complete, we’ll drop it back into the production queue pretty quickly.
December 1 
Non-CE Twilight Struggle Kickstarter Items
 
Early December 2015
Mid- December 2015 
Twilight Struggle Collector’s Edition – Kickstarter
Early January 2016 
 
Late January/February 2016
 March/April 2016 (Tentative)
Thanks, as always, for your support of GMT!
Enjoy the games!
Gene

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