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Links: More Production Woes, Flying Buffalo Returns, and CMON's NFTs

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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CMON Limited has announced a partnership with Monsoon Digital for "a brand new series of digital products and promotional material using Monsoon's soon-to-launch NFT (non-fungible token) trading platform".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Monsoon Digital will launch the public beta of its platform later this year, with CMON's first wave of digital collectible packs set to be the site's flagship product. Details of the first wave are being kept under wraps.

"While this is absolutely a breakout year for NFTs, we were determined to do something different and unique with the blockchain technology," said Geoff Skinner, CMON's SVP of Marketing & Entertainment. "As it is with our tabletop games, our focus is on the customer. The goals we set for this new collector experience are simple: it has to be easy to use and accessible, it has to offer a special, personalized experience, and most importantly, it has to be fun. To these ends, we're working with our top game designers, graphic designers and artists to create our first blockchain product on Monsoon's incredible platform."
I've seen NFTs described as Tamagotchis for the 2020s, and that seems like a valid take. Here's a possibly helpful explainer on NFTs for those who are confused about such things — although I've read multiple articles on NFTs, and I'm still confused as to why anyone would want to buy one, outside of you hoping to flip it to some other buyer in the future.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
• On August 4, 2021, Webbed Sphere — which owns online retailer and publisher Toy Vault — announced that it had bought publisher Flying Buffalo, Inc., which had been dormant since the death of co-founder Rick Loomis in August 2019. An excerpt from the press release announcing the deal:
"Flying Buffalo and Rick Loomis hold an esteemed position in the history of gaming, and we are proud to now be a part of that legacy," said John Ward, CEO of Webbed Sphere. "Flying Buffalo has thrilled generations of gamers over the past 50 years, and it will make a great compliment to our Toy Vault and Mchezo brand lines. I am excited about what the future holds."
• "What's Driving Seattle's Tabletop Gaming Renaissance?" That's the question asked in SeattleMet, which features designers Emma Larkins, Fertessa Allyse, and Shawn Stankewich of Flatout Games.

Board Game Publisher: Post Scriptum
• Many publishers have relayed woes related to shipping costs and manufacturing slowdowns (and I compiled many such laments in mid-August 2021), and now here's another take on the situation from Mario Sacchi of Italian publisher Post Scriptum.

To set the ground, I'll note that in November 2020 Post Scriptum concluded a Kickstarter funding campaign for Shogun no Katana with an initial expected release date of September 2021, a date that has changed (for now) to mid-2022. Now a few excerpts from Sacchi's post:
In our case we don't know yet how things will go: considering that Shogun no Katana is not ready yet for shipping, and that quotes change on a daily basis, we don't know what the future holds for us. We know that we are a solid company and that we can absorb higher expenses than what we had predicted, however, we won't put our mind at ease until we know how much higher the expenses will be.
On how production and shipping difficulties in China have spilled over into Europe:
...because producing in China is difficult, all the European suppliers at the moment are overworked and have ridiculously long printing queues. For example: to carry out our third-party consultancy work we have been working closely with different printers, one in particular who prints at least 30,000 boxes a year for us and had guaranteed certain delivery times for 2021 if we agreed to print more (which we did). During the first quarter they actually met the deadlines, but in April they emailed us communicating that they would push the deadline back one month. This implied a considerable change in our plans, but nothing too drastic, because we had planned our productions well in advance and we were ready to face this type of issue. The problem was that a week later they pushed back the deadlines one more month, saying that they weren't accepting any more orders for 2021, except for their main customers, which included us. To sum up, we ended up closing all the productions of the year with our main supplier by July, which had never happened before.

Board Game: Shogun no Katana
No Shogun no Katana for now

The problem is that, usually, our consultancy work receives more requests in the last months of the year, with the request of receiving the games by Christmas. Actually, our main strength has always been being able to ensure extremely short turnaround times, and making "miracles" which would otherwise be impossible. It took us years to set up a quick and efficient production chain, based on the fact that, putting together the works of many clients we have more commercial power than what they have as individuals. We still have this strength, because we also work with other providers who are interested in receiving big orders like ours, but it is obvious that any change to normal routines imply extra work, and it creates a queue for them, who, in turn have to increase their turnaround times. And of course all this has an impact also on the production of new games for our catalogue.

This is the sorest point because planning future publications is already very complicated and risky, especially when you have to choose the print run, and to this we had already met further difficulties due to the impossibility of meeting our partner in fair, but now we aren't sure of when our games can reach the destination or how much it will cost to produce them.

Even on games that were planned and that I considered "done and dusted" there were delays, because all (all!) the providers say that paper provision is more difficult and more expensive than it has ever been, I tell you for sure that this situation is unprecedented, certainly in my 16 years of activity with Post Scriptum.
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