We were not been able to ship Total War by Christmas as we had hoped. Both Gar and I sincerely apologize for that. We know that many of you were especially keen to get into the game. We tried… but illness, family problems, and financial issues made it impossible to get the last of the components for the game printed in time. And, then there was a massive postage increase in January. We did not want to make any new projection for a release date until we had worked out a plan for how to deal with these problems.
The main reason for the delay has been my fault. I simply was not able to complete my portion of the remaining work. Starting in June of last year I began to feel chronic pain, progressively lost most of the feeling in my feet and hands, and my vision declined dramatically. By September I felt so debilitated that I was spending most of each day in bed. I was then diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and put on medication. The meds, a new diet, and walking about 10 miles a day over the last several months have changed everything! My vision has stabilized, I can use my hands again, and my blood chemistry has improved to where I am now considered to be only borderline diabetic.
Gar worked hard to take up the slack while I was ill, but a member of his family has Parkinson’s and that means there are days where he has had little time to devote to the game.
And… there have been some financial problems. First, the sale of stuff through our e-bay store (which I run) collapsed when I got so sick. Second, the cost to print the remaining game components went up significantly and that required a search for a new printer again. (We had printed two batches of charts through our printer, but when we took in the third batch we found out they had just merged with another chain and the discounted price we had been getting no longer applied.)
As the Christmas date became unviable we also knew that we were facing a massive increase in shipping costs going into 2016. UPS and FEDEX both increased their rates; but the bigger issue was the US Post Office increases/changes to Priority Mail (PM). Not only did the domestic PM rates go up over 9% (and the overseas PM by 20-25%), but the discount for commercial shipments was dramatically decreased, and the USPS on-line click-n-ship system now gives only retail (not commercial) rates. The combination means the cost to ship the game have gone up significantly.
So what is the new plan?
First, the e-bay store reopens. We still have over 3,000 books and nearly 1,000 war games (many un-punched), plus a lot of miniatures, comic books, graphic novels, etc to sell. Based on past sales, this should bring in enough over about 4-6 months to finish the game. The store should be back up with a lot of new items by the end of this week. Thereafter, more items almost every day.
Note: All the war games will be listed on the HMS website first, with each batch listed there for about 10 days before the unsold ones go to ebay. We’ll post more about how this will work later this week.
Second, we will be doing a mailing to all current subscribers to The Europa Magazine (TEM) and all individuals who have a copy of Total War on pre-order. This will both let everyone know what is going on and will help us to update our database in preparation for steps three and four.
Third, issue #88 of TEM goes out. This will be a trial run for the new printer (before they print the last components for Total War) and will further validate the mailing addresses. This issue will include a block of 40 die-cut counters and two 8.5 x 11-inch full-color maps. Note: The maps and counters for this are already printed and in the warehouse.
Fourth, we finish the printing of the game and then ship it.
A hard look at the facts shows us that our company’s ‘staff’…. both of us (since Jason Long graduated)… have not been enough to get everything that comes our way done in a timely manner. We are working to change that. To that end, we will begin shortly to talk with individuals and groups who may have something they can offer or suggest. For those interested in these possibilities, call us at 303-377-6255.