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Saturday, May 17, 2008


Steve Cole reports: The last few weeks have been crazy as we finished Distant Kingdoms, Omega Five, and the two Booster Packs (19 and 20) and released them. The die cutter doubled his prices, and we delayed Distant Kingdoms a month to find a better price, and couldn't. Then the die cutter delivered the counters ten days late. We got them on Monday morning the 12th of May and that made it very difficult to get shipments out on time. We considered delaying the releases to the 19th but didn't want to delay things any further, so the whole crew jumped into the warehouse, assembling games and packing orders. I had several crashes with the FCDK rulebook file but kept multiple backups and was able to recover each time without losing much work. For what it's worth, we at least have the counters for Federation Commander: Orion Attack and the two Star Fleet Battles modules (X1R and Y2) in the warehouse, so the only thing holding up those products is us getting the work done. At least we won't be waiting for anyone else. Many do not realize that die cut counters are a royal pain to produce, and you have to print the counters for several products at once. This often means printing counters for a product not even designed yet, and only yesterday, Steve Petrick was working on Module X1R when he asked me "What kind of ship is THIS counter supposed to be?"

The delay in Federation Commander: Distant Kingdom will (as all such delays do) delay other things. Pushing FCDK back as far as we had to put it too close to FC: Orion Attack, so that will be rescheduled from Origins to sometime in late summer or early fall. The late release of FCDK does not leave us time to do Captain's Log #37 for the scheduled 2 June release, so we'll release it at Origins with SFB Module X1R. SFB Module Y2 remains a fall release, and it looks like a new expansion for Federation & Empire is likely for February 2009. Origins 2009 should see us releasing Federation Commander: War & Peace with the ISC and Andromedans.

A few random notes just to pass along some information:
1. Loren Knight was translating Air Force tapes and found records of a colony of escaped Tholians in the Draco drawf galaxy. We'll be covering those in a future product.
2. Adam Turner is busily doing the art for X1R and Orion Attack. If you haven't seen the art by SCUG on the PHP forum, go look for it, as it is spectacular. It's "wrong" in that the ships of the Star Fleet Universe don't look like his art, but his art is so darn cool you have to see it.
3. I have been sending one new ship card per day to FC On Line and am up to #87.
4. We have a new print run of maps due next week. These should be the best ever, being die cut rather than blade cut so there should not be any tearing along the edges. I have, by the way, finished the first new ship card for Orion Attack.
5. Our graphics intern, Matt Cooper, has graduated from college and moved to California for a job that pays better than all of us combined. We'll be hiring a new graphics intern as soon as we can.
6. We have two new wholesalers, Brave New World in Germany and Warpath in the US.
7. Ramses, our chief of security, has been chasing a lot of rabbits lately; it's spring and there are a lot of new rabbits around the house. His sister, Isis, has been going after ground squirrels.
8. My project to kill backlog got stopped during the last three weeks, but I am not any further behind and have resumed steadily dealing with things I never dealt with before. I did the quarterly updates for the Greater Games Industry Catalog. It's annoying to have to stop working for half a day to update this list but it's vital to our company to have all our products listed.
9. The phone company has had lots of trouble upgrading our DSL connection.
10. The Origins tournaments and other events are available for pre-registration. GAMA has been very cooperative in scheduling our events and giving us judge badges and the tables we wanted.
11. Jean Sexton and her team are making progress on the new RPG books and hope to have PD20Modern out for Origins.
12.The building project hit a glitch that may stop the entire idea of building a new office-warehouse building. Which is no big deal; the company will rent whatever size warehouse it needs and I will keep my money in the bank instead of investing in real estate.
13. Work continues by outside designers on Klingon Armada, Silent Death, Victory by Any Means, Star Fleet Battlestations, and Leanna's Fighting Starships.
14. The skyrocketing cost of tin could mean higher prices for existing miniatures by the end of the year.
15. Leanna hired a new cleaning lady who has made the office far more livable.
16. We sent 186 copies of Captain's Log to the 186 war zone recreation centers for US military personnel in the Middle East.

In industry news: RPGnet Gaming Index now records 10,000 unique RPG books and magazines published to date. Duke Seifried had triple bypass surgery. Gencon is being sued over a convention they ran in California which lost a ton of money, but expects to survive and pay off the losses over several years.