HMS News – June 23, 2013 Update

On June 24, 2013, in News, by ArthurGoodwin

We’ve paid for all the remaining printing of Total War and all the supplies needed to shrink-wrap and box the game. We are still working on the money needed to ship the preordered games. Shipment of the first complete game triggers a clock for repayment of our investors. We need to be able to ship the preorder in its entirety in a window as small as possible and then quickly ship to stores.

The fire sale continues to move us closer to the money needed to ship the games. We mailed another 2500 flyers out to a new ‘gamer’ mailing list over the last week and that has already shown good results. We have managed to ship out all Fire Sale orders quickly (within 1-2 days of order receipt) and have received a number of repeat orders that were welcome.

We worked with the printer and reduced the final bill for the printing by about 15% . We’ve also mailed out a number of items that were originally ordered for shipment with Total War, but shipping them early actually saves money overall as it means Total War (now by itself) can go in a much lower cost flat-rate box. We also managed to recycle about 300 cardboard boxes to be used as shippers for the game that shaved some more off the shipping bill.

The Fire Sale remains the primary means to raise the money needed to ship the game. The sale will remain open until the first game of Total War ships, or through July 31, 2013, whichever comes first. Prices will never be this low again. The fire sale has been a lifesaver after the fire completely burned through our budget.

We’ve verified the majority of the Total War preorder addresses after a number of problems with an email merge program and some problems with our ISP that were not finally resolved until a few days ago. If you have a pre-pub for Total War and I have not received a confirmation email response, I ‘ll presume you didn’t get the original email and will be resending it. If you still haven’t heard anything from me by middle of week, drop me an email.

The updated Fire Sale list can be seen at the HMSFireSale8 link below. Changes to the list are highlighted. The price for War of Resistance, for TEM photocopies, and the TEM Bundle Pack have gone down (our photocopy place now gives us a better deal). You can now bundle the various Counter Storage Box Deals with single games (not just with Game Bundles) and save some on the shipping. The Accessory Counter Sheet-1 (the one with odds and DRM markers), the blank 1/2” hexsheets, and the East Front Mapsets are close to selling out. People have asked about availability of the old ETO and Europa Nuts & Bolts newsletters and we now list those.

For the current and final version of the Fire Sale see the HMSFireSaleFinal link under the HMS News – July 18, 2013 entry.


HMS News – 16 April 2013

On April 17, 2013, in News, by ArthurGoodwin

We did not make our early Apr 13 release date for Total War. We held off making an announcement about this until now because there was still a good chance that we could get the game out this month, even if late, and we were working hard to make that occur. But it is now apparent that the game’s release will be delayed into May 13. However, our determination to get the game out has not changed; and we are confident that we will recover from this setback.

So what happened?

The Fire Sale was going well and we reached our overall goal of raising the money need to finish the printing of the game and most of the money needed to ship it. Things were going so well that we had started to tell callers that the Total War pre-pub would be ending very soon. We planned to continue the rest of the sale right up to the release date so as to allow everyone the opportunity to bundle things to ship with their copy of Total War.

Then a setback occurred: We were hit with a hefty supplemental bill for the cleanup from the fire that we had not expected at all. Paying this meant we had to delay some of the final printing. Still, by the end of March we had partially recovered. We had renegotiated our contract with UPS such that our shipping costs with them went down overall (the increased shipping volume from the fire sale really helped here), and we found a way to lower our shipping costs through the Post Office by using Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes, one of which is a nice fit for Total War (before the recent postal increase these boxes could only be used in a narrow area around Colorado, whereas now they can be used anywhere in US — although the post office certainly doesn’t advertise this). We had also started changeover to a lower-cost credit card processing service and a lower-cost toll-free number provider. The fire sale continued to progress well.

In late March, one of our local printers installed a raft of new printing equipment that lower print costs for some things a bit (due to higher speed of machines) and that has the potential to make possible a number of future projects many of our customers have asked for. These could include small print runs of the currently out-of-print Second Front, War in the Desert, and/or a March to Victory add-on to Over There where the countersheets are done locally on a high-end laser cutter-engraver machine. Just a potential right now; but the printer is doing test runs for us; and we’ll be talking more about this in future posts.

We have had a series of meetings with our secured investors who have veto authority over anything we do until they are repaid. We laid out a number of options on how to proceed. They agreed we should spend more money on advertising, expanding the fire sale mailing from the current mailing list so that it can go out to many more of the names in a database we purchased from another game company. They also were enthusiastic about the potential for doing laser-cut counters and urged us pursue this as a back-up plan to the fire sale if necessary (subject to a detailed cost analysis before money is committed). We also talked about releasing the rules/charts electronically but they would not agree to this as they see it negatively impacting sales.

We will be using the time while the Fire Sale continues to:

1) Put out an email/print mailing to everyone who has Total War on order that will list the shipping address you have on file, any special instructions attached to your order, and your order sequence number. This mailing will ask you to confirm the information (and doing so will move up your order sequence number if your address was last verified over six months ago), and will give you one last opportunity to access the Fire Sale (with any order going out in a bundle with your Total War). This will go out next week to all 1200 pre-pubs, so if you haven’t received your confirmation notice by Monday, 29Apr13 then be sure let us know.

2) Compile/print a multi-page survey that will ship with all copies of Total War. This survey will ask detailed questions about what you want to see from HMS next, and over the short term (rest of year) and the long-term. This will be a major opportunity for you to influence the future of Europa, Glory, and The Great War..

For the current and final version of the Fire Sale see the HMSFireSaleFinal link under the HMS News – July 18, 20



HMS News – 20 February 2013

On February 20, 2013, in Uncategorized, by ArthurGoodwin

We are at about 50% of our goal of raising the money needed to ship ALL copies of the Total War pre-pub. At current rate of fire sale this means we should reach 100% about the end of March. We have arranged the printing of the remaining components for Total War so as to make everything come together also around the end of March. The first of the remaining components just went in to the printer and the rest will go to the printer on a staggered schedule between now and the middle of March.

Some good news on the box front. Indviduals have agreed to accept just over 200 copies in plain white boxes and this count continues to grow a few each day. We have also found a printer that can deliver (relatively) inexpensive color lay-in sheets for the white boxes (11×14 full color on glossy 32 lb paper, one for front, one for back, showing same as on original printed box, held in place against box by the shrinkwrap, can be glued in place permanently by customer if desired)- we are testing this out now with a order for color lay-ins for the War of Resistance white box, and if quality is satisfactory, all the Total War plain white boxes will have color lay-in sheets front and back of box.

Wavell’s War is now sold out. We still have two copies of Balkan Front, however. War of Resistance is down to 46 copies (cannot make any more after that as the G1 countersheet is then used up, all the rules/OBs/charts are expended, and 7 of the 19 mapsections are gone.) We’ve also updated the fire sale to add a few items to the Game Parts page (G2-G7 countersheets and maps for War of Resistance, a new marker sheet bundle deal, etc.).

For the current and final version of the Fire Sale see the HMSFireSaleFinal link under the HMS News – July 18, 20



HMS News – 4 February 2013

On February 4, 2013, in News, by ArthurGoodwin

We went into the Fire Sale with one main and three subsidiary goals. Our main goal of ensuring that Total War is released and delivered to everyone who ordered it is on-track given the generous support shown by the Europa Community’s participation in the sale. Of the three subsidiary goals, the first, to raise the money needed to complete the printing of the game has mostly been met (more on this below). The second, to raise enough money to ship the game once it is printed is being accumulated and looks likely to be fully in place about the time the printing is completed or shortly thereafter.

The third minor goal, to get 300 people to agree to take a $10 credit in return for their copy of the game shipping in a plain white box (roomier and sturdier than the original) has been less successful: 71 people have agreed to this. We needed this because only 1200 (out of 2500) game boxes were recovered from our fire-damaged warehouse, and 1500 boxes are needed to cover all the pre-publication orders for the game + the minimum of 500 copies for sales to stores to repay our secured investors.

Given that we have not met the 300 plain white box goal, our investors have required that additional boxes be printed to cover their 500 game minimum before funds are spent for other purposes. This may delay printing of some of the other components. However, we will be meeting with the local printer shortly to see if we can work around this by printing some of the non-box materials now, and some a little later.

Due to the extra costs for printing that we now face (for the boxes and because piecing work out some now and some later costs more than when everything goes in all at once), we have decided to extend and expand the fire sale. In addition to the website and email promotion done so far, this includes a direct mailing to a much larger wargamer audience that will go out in stages over the remainder of this week. We have also tweaked the fire sale a bit and lowered the prices on a few items – for the current details click on the “HMSFireSale5” link directly below this announcement.

For the current and final version of the Fire Sale see the HMSFireSaleFinal link under the HMS News – July 18, 20



HMS News – 1 Feb 2013

On February 1, 2013, in News, by ArthurGoodwin

It looks like the Fire Sale brought in 100% of what is needed to finish the printing of Total War sometime yesterday. The Fire Sale, however, will remain open until we also raise the money needed to SHIP the game (for particulars of the sale click on the link at the bottom of the “HMS News – 28 Jan 2013″ entry below). I’ll post a more detailed update on Monday morning, after we have time to crunch the numbers in detail and HMS holds a conference call meeting of the board of directors and secured investors. But at this point it sure looks like we’ve cleared the biggest of the remaining hurdles in getting the game out. Our thanks to everyone who helped by participating in the fire sale!