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Lockdown in China: The Consequences

Board Game: Shogun no Katana
[Editor's note: Mario Sacchi, CEO and lead developer of Placentia Games and Post Scriptum, regularly blogs about game development and production on the Post Scriptum Games blog on BGG. This article was first published on May 6, 2022 on that blog. —WEM]

We have to say that this article is gloomier than usual, covering the worst accident that has ever happened to Post Scriptum in seventeen years of business, with this being only the latest of a long series of accidents that have hit all the supply chains in the world. Nevertheless, in the end you'll find a sparkle of hope which confirms that we are determined not to give up or get discouraged; we will continue to do our work, which we love very much.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Here we go again.

The finish line was in sight: Shogun no Katana's launch seemed near, possibly even in time for the Play game fair that's scheduled to take place in Modena, Italy at the end of May. Everything was planned for the delivery of the boxes, and we were looking forward to touching our years' worth of work, admiring the miniatures, getting a whiff of the freshly printed cards...

When this happened –> From CNN: "Hunger and anger in Shanghai's unending lockdown nightmare".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

As you might imagine, we had entrusted the production of most of Katana's materials to a Chinese company, one with its offices in Shanghai, a region that is now in complete lockdown.

Obviously, we are first and foremost devastated for the drama that our Chinese colleagues are living, colleagues who are being forced to live in fenced houses to prevent them from going out, but even though we can't compare our situation with theirs, we are also experiencing serious problems.

First, we have no clue as to when this situation is going to be over. Then, even if they reopen shortly, we can predict neither when production will return to a normal pace, nor when our games will be produced or when they will actually be shipped. (You won't be surprised to hear that Katana is not the only game in queue to be printed.)

It's not sure whether we will manage to publish it by SPIEL '22, and this is horrible news for us as we had already planned a great stand, and we now must completely change our plans.

We are sorry about this situation, and we completely understand how frustrating it is for our backers and for those who are looking forward to buying it in their favorite shop. We, as boardgame enthusiasts and as Katana's "parents" couldn't wait to play a game on which we have worked so hard and so passionately, from game development to the obsessively thorough care for the materials.

For us as entrepreneurs, this unforeseeable delay has presented a serious blow to our business, which relies a lot on this game. We can keep going thanks to a diversified strategy and many collaborations, but we must admit that we are living a time of discouragement and worry for our business.

As I mentioned in this article, games that are launched on Kickstarter are almost exclusively produced by Chinese companies. This is true for almost all boardgame publishers in the world, not only because it is more affordable, but because the companies that we work with have a highly structured business with high-tech solutions specifically for board game production, especially for the creation of miniatures.

The downside, as you probably already understand, is that we rely completely on one or two suppliers — for Katana, we have one for the miniatures and one for the rest — and when something like this happens, there's nothing you can do.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

But here's the sparkle of hope: Post Scriptum is the dream of a lifetime, and we won't let a production delay, no matter how serious, bring us down. We know that the delivery is guaranteed; the advance payments have been paid, and the funds for the balance are secured. We need only to be more patient.

That said, it is time for us to find more sustainable alternative solutions, such as new European (or, why not, American) suppliers, even for more complex materials in our games.

This is not an easy choice because the costs are higher, the technology is less advanced, and because our Chinese colleagues have proven to be extremely professional, and we have built a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

This is also part of managing a business: predicting how the wind is going to change, and unfurling the sails in the right direction to expeditiously advance towards future projects.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

We would like to ask you a question: In order to produce somewhere else, we have to use fewer plastic miniatures and more cardboard and wood. What do you expect from our games in this sense? What entices you in a game that doesn't have miniatures? Printed meeples, paper goods, many boards on the table? We would like to hear your opinion in order to create your ideal game, with the highest quality in reasonable times, so please comment here or hit us up on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Telegram) as we can't wait to hear from you.

And please subscribe to our BGG blog not to miss any of Post Scriptum's articles!
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