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Subject: GMT slowdowns production over the coming months rss

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Adrian Iordache
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Sorry if this was posted already. I didn't find it after a quick search.

From July 21 Update from GMT
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As I noted last month, my focus right now is on an urgent update of our systems and infrastructure to meet our accelerating growth and scale with us into the future. We need to move quickly on this, so I've spent much of the past month talking with various vendors, examining software, and working with our shippers and some team members to get a handle on exactly which solutions are going to be the best fit for us going forward.

After a lot of study and several demos, I have identified one integrated system that at this point looks like the best fit, but have not yet made the final decision. Once I get this update finished and out to you guys, I'll spend a day or two finalizing what I hope will be the last "show me how it handles x" document for the vendor. If all goes well with the subsequent demo/conference, I think we'll be ready to sign contracts and move to the implementation stage.

It's premature at this point to give you guys any details on the implementation, but I think it's only fair to tell you that we are intending a BIG slowdown in production over the coming months to make sure that we can focus on training our team members on the new systems during the transition period. I hate doing this as much as you guys hate not having more games, but the transition needs to be our focus in the near-term, so that we can get back to running on all cylinders as soon as possible.

Please also note the section called So What's the Deal with Games That Keep Getting "Delayed?".

Full article:
July 21, 2016 Update from GMT Games
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Jason Cawley
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I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.
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Lewis Clark
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I really don't understand impatience with GMT. I think the update from Gene really clearly explains why there will be a production slowdown - to me it's nothing but positive that a company that sets the standard in the wargames genre has expanded to a point where it needs to spend a bit of time growing as a company. Yeah we have to wait a bit longer for the next 12 months or so but it the long run I can only see benefits for the hobby from this.

On delays to a game - most folk designing in the industry need to supplement their income from game design in some way (my generous assessment ) and sometimes real life gets in the way. At least with P500 you aren't charged until a game is ready.

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Jason Cawley
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Lewis - a bit longer when we are talking 6 months instead of 4 is one thing. Waiting 3 years with "it will be ready in 2-3 months" most of that time, is something else. I don't have to like it, and I don't.
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B Wu
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But it pretty clearly isn't "company threatening" since they're doing it because they're expanding beyond what their current capacity can handle. You might have a problem, but that's different.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


So you are upset that GMT is unable to print games fast enough. Then they announce a temporary slowdown to increase their printing capacity which will reduce wait times in the future. Somehow this isn't good news to you? Aren't they doing exactly what they need to in order to address your complaint about slow production times?
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Rex Stites
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JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


And you have how much money tied up in the game? Oh yeah, none because it hasn't charged.

Perhaps you should take the time to read the explanation of the process from being listed on P500 to the game actually shipping.
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Mike Hoyt

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We have this other thread going right now about how well the classics from AH/SPI have held up and it got me to looking through my shelf and I was a little shocked at how much of it is GMT. And how many games I have P500 with GMT. They look very successful to me!

Can't argue with the decision to focus on enhancing infrastructure short term to be better able to meet demand long term. Plenty of small businesses have to close entirely while remodeling, it's an up front cost with a future pay-off for both company and customers.

My only thought, and I wouldn't even dare to call it a suggestion as I don't know enough about the company, but some titles have a timing component that might tempt me to concentrate on them during the slow down. 1960: The Making of the President seems like it would get a boost in sales over this election cycle. Next War: Poland could be obsoleted by events if we're all not careful....

Ah well, happy to hear GMT is getting even bigger and better.
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Anthonii
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JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


Further to what other people have said, a game really needs to exceed 700~750 p500s to be viable. The 500 number is more of a legacy thing rather than actual number of preorders required.
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Seth Owen
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Play the stuff you got. Can you honestly say you have fully explored the possibilities of the games you already own?
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Michael Rinella
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The "p-xxx" model has exhausted itself. I have been saying this for a couple of years now, and had an article about it in Against the Odds magazine.

If you are content to wait, fine - you get great games from those companies. If you want your games fast you need to look beyond companies employing that model.
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Judd Vance
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wargamer55 wrote:
Play the stuff you got. Can you honestly say you have fully explored the possibilities of the games you already own?


Beat me to it. I was going to ask how many folks have actually played all of their games? I did for one brief moment: about 2 weeks. Now I have 12 unplayed games on the shelf.

I reckon when Time of Crisis eventually comes out, I still won't have that number back down to zero.
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Nick Wade
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JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


I did wonder who those people were whom Gene said became quite angry...
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Sean Chatterton
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Michael Rinella wrote:
The "p-xxx" model has exhausted itself. I have been saying this for a couple of years now, and had an article about it in Against the Odds magazine.

If you are content to wait, fine - you get great games from those companies. If you want your games fast you need to look beyond companies employing that model.


From some of the lead times I've had with P500, it's less an issue with the pledge system and more to do with the amount of time it takes to finish creating the games.

Many games make the cut very early, then take a couple of years to get to production as they are a part time pursuit, supported by volunteer testers, writers, proof readers etc etc.

Does your article have a solution which transforms a niche hobby into a global money making machine capable of supporting dozens of part time game designers and ancillary staff quitting their day jobs en masse and churning out games?
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Andrew N
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Michael Rinella wrote:
The "p-xxx" model has exhausted itself. I have been saying this for a couple of years now, and had an article about it in Against the Odds magazine.

If you are content to wait, fine - you get great games from those companies. If you want your games fast you need to look beyond companies employing that model.


I dunno, I still prefer it to Kickstarter.
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Robert Fox
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JasonC wrote:

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion.


Demand has outstripped their ability to keep up, so they have to retool their systems to increase shipping capacity. That sounds like the exact opposite of threatened.

Most companies would be thrilled to be threatened like GMT is.
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Carsten Bohne
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FuManchu wrote:
JasonC wrote:

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion.


Demand has outstripped their ability to keep up, so they have to retool their systems to increase shipping capacity. That sounds like the exact opposite of threatened.

Most companies would be thrilled to be threatened like GMT is.


Well, it's kind of threatening because it seems as if the systems upgrade is coming a bit too late for them. However, it would be massively threatening if they waited longer yet again. Apparently they didn't expect such a big upswing in sales but seem to be kicking themselves for the second year in a row for not being able to satisfy demand for Twilight Struggle...
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J.L. Robert
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JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


Cue the wagon-circling.
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Karan R
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J.L.Robert wrote:
JasonC wrote:

I have now already been waiting something like 3 years since Clash of Giants Civil War "made the cut", and a year and change since is was supposedly first going to ship.

This is getting company threatening, in my opinion. I love GMT games. But I can't do so if they never actually print the darn things.


Cue the wagon-circling.
It could be because of the designer not completing his work so GMT can't put it on the production schedule like cactus air force?
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John Middleton
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My major issue is that the printing schedule seems filled mostly with reprints all the time.

Then they will bump something up the print queue, which pushes something else back, to get a reprint going quickly.


It seems that it would be simpler to just increase the print run to begin with for games that are projected to sell well or that fill the p500 very quickly.


Stuff that I have waited to see print is still languishing in made the cut land.


MMP has shipped me several new games in the time stuff has sat at GMT waiting to be printed/designed/whatever.

Sure there's no money invested in in, but that makes it really easy to say screw it and move on to another game.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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wernervoss wrote:
Michael Rinella wrote:
The "p-xxx" model has exhausted itself. I have been saying this for a couple of years now, and had an article about it in Against the Odds magazine.

If you are content to wait, fine - you get great games from those companies. If you want your games fast you need to look beyond companies employing that model.


I dunno, I still prefer it to Kickstarter.


I actually prefer the P500 model - no charging until the product is ready to ship. Of course, maybe they would develop and ship faster with funds-in-hand; but even Kickstarters take notoriously longer than what they estimate (ie, they promise dates usually a good 6 months earlier than they could deliver with to entire backers).

However, that no charge until the P500 ships policy may be a weakness of the system... who likes to have an unexpected $80 charge bite into their budget? No one, and so the Kickstarter model of pay now and have it worked into a budget can be beneficial.
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Nick Wade
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DegenerateElite wrote:
My major issue is that the printing schedule seems filled mostly with reprints all the time.

Currently just over half the games in the production schedule are new and my guess is that it is usually at least half.
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Mark Russo
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DegenerateElite wrote:
My major issue is that the printing schedule seems filled mostly with reprints all the time.

Then they will bump something up the print queue, which pushes something else back, to get a reprint going quickly.
......

Stuff that I have waited to see print is still languishing in made the cut land....

The bottle neck isn't the print queue, it's design teams, all hobbyist working when time allows, finishing the games.
When new games are ready they are printed and shipped fairly quickly. I don't really know of any new games, finished and ready to print, that sit and wait in the print queue.

In the last 18-24 months (maybe three years now?) GMT have been heavy on reprints but they have also been very open in saying exactly why they were doing it.
They needed cash and reprints were a fast way to sell known popular games.
IIRC at first they only wanted to do one big batch of reprints but it was so successful and customer demand always high that they've stuck with a strategy to keep reprints in the production queue.

Many of the games on P500, even those in "Make the cut", aren't even finished. Customers pledge immediately on the strength of the game systems popularity or designers reputation, so the games aren't really languishing. (Cactus Airforce, FoF2, The battle for Sicily...)

One other thing they could do better, and it's always been a problem, is get their message out to a wider audience. Most of issues I see expressed here on BGG were explained or answered months ago on Consimworld.
They stick to the Consimworld page as their base for customer interaction (so they don't have to deal with BGG administration) which is easier and for them but plenty of little bits of important information is lost in the stream there and don't show up again until the monthly GMT newsletter email updates.

But the big take away from that update is GMT Games doesn't consider themselves a wargaming company anymore.
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Michael McCalpin
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dasher47051 wrote:
Apparently they didn't expect such a big upswing in sales but seem to be kicking themselves for the second year in a row for not being able to satisfy demand for Twilight Struggle...

Actually, it has been at least five years in a row, as I heard Gene say that at Consimworld Expo in 2012. He said, more or less, that it's terrifying to keep draining the company bank account to continue increasing the print run for Twilight Struggle (I mean how many more can we sell?), and then it is infuriating to be out of stock again just a few months later. Still, an inventory build-up is a gamble, and he and the rest of the team rightly try to balance the opportunity with the risk.
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Robert Stuart
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I personally have no problem with this -- and one thing I like about GMT is their policy of open communication. I always feel like I'm dealing with friends (but friends with a good enough business sense as to stay in business even as they continue producing quality products).

What will I do with this extra time on hand, now that the pace of my game purchasing activity will be curtailed, to some degree?

(1) Take a break & let the 'games' portion of my budget accumulate some reserve, and

(2) reduce my inventory of un- or insufficiently-played games (not by selling them, but by playing them).


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