RANDOM THOUGHTS #109
Before I could even start working on new products, I had to wrap up Captain's Log #45 (the FLAP list, or Finish Like A Pro list). That meant doing not just the days of work updating indexes and databases, but getting the Supplemental File and the Large Print Edition ready to print by mail order day (seven days after CL#45 shipped to wholesalers.) Added to that, the 10th of August fell at the end of FLAP WEEK which meant that before I could work on this fall's new products I had to do what amount to two minor products (that we don't get any sales money from), those being Communique and Hailing Frequencies. I have also been reminded of the need to do a video about CL#45 and the two Starmada books we just released.
Work this fall will be dominated by one large factor (counters) and two minor ones (Kickstarter and Tribbles vs. Klingons).
We need to print FC Reinforcements Attack and that needs a sheet of counters. Since you have to print four sheets at once, we will have to find three other sheets (and maybe three other games) to print. One of these might be a reprint of a sheet that is out of stock (assuming that the die cutter in question cannot deliver the promised "die cut on demand" short-run counters he spoke of). One might be Marines Last Stand, simply because it's ready to go (even if other things have a higher priority). One sheet, or a half sheet, will all but certainly be a new SFB module. One might be FC Flagships Attack if only because that product (a year in the future) would be so very easy to get ready. We might also need the counters for Tribbles vs. Klingons if we don't get the whole game done "turn key" overseas.
Kickstarter is a minor issue if only because we can only put up one project every six or eight weeks. The first one will all but certainly be the expansions for Star Fleet Battle Force, but several other projects (notably Tribbles vs. Klingons) are competing for second place.
Tribbles vs. Klingons will affect the schedule because there are two ways to do this. One is to get it done "turn key" overseas. The other is to do it in the US by producing each part and assembling them ourselves. Thus, the card deck might or might not be combined with the print run for the SFBF expansions (meaning we might do one, two, or four such packs) and the die cut counters might or might not be part of that big countersheet print run.
Anyway, here is a rundown on what we are working on. I want to warn you right now that there is simply no way that all of this is going to get done in the last five months of this year.
1. FEDERATION COMMANDER-REINFORCEMENTS ATTACK: This product is almost done. All of the cards are done, and the "rulebook" (not done yet) consists only a ship descriptions and scenarios (selected from those tested via Communique and Captain's Log). The problem is counters. While those could be ready for press in a week, that does no good until other counters are selected and done. The three boosters aren't done but aren't hard to do.
2. STARMADA: Battleships Armada will be done quickly (for both Nova and Admiral editions), as will the Nova versions of Alien Armada and Distant Armada. Frankly, the only issue with scheduling these books is that they aren't big enough releases to be scheduled alone, and must be added to some other release.
3. STAR FLEET BATTLES: We will do a new SFB module in the next few months. It might be R13, Omega 6, C6, or any one of several other products. We know that the most-wanted new product is X2, but that may take more design time than we have calendar days available before the FC: Reinforcements Attack counters must go to press.
4. CALL TO ARMS: Mongoose will release additional squadron boxes and another Call to Arms Journal on their own schedule, and book #2 Battle Fleets will be done next year. What matters to ADB, Inc., is the need to finish up the Ship Card packs (delayed by issues fixing mistakes on the drafts) but once those are done the reprint of Book #1 can continue. Because we have almost sold out of Book #1, we may well have to push the Ship Card project forward in the work order, but we're all very reluctant to see any more ADB, Inc., products delayed by work on Mongoose products.
5. STAR FLEET BATTLE FORCE EXPANSIONS: Even while designing the card game Star Fleet Battle Force, we wanted to do expansions with more empires (Lyran, Hydran, ISC) and more variants (scouts, commando ships), and more special cards. The problem is that cards are incredibly expensive to print and card games are a very high-risk investment. (Over two-thirds of published card games in the last decade have failed to make enough money to pay for their own printing.) The plan is to print decks of 132 cards, hand divide those into four 33-card expansion packs, and sell those in clamshells.
6. TRAVELLER PRIME DIRECTIVE: Jean finished converting the PD Core Book into Traveller while she was here in May. There are two problems which actually solve each other. One is that doing a "proper" notice to wholesalers means that this hardback book cannot come out before December or maybe January. The other is that Mongoose wants the book expanded by about 60 or 80 pages, including some additional planet information (turning 20 one-paragraph planets into two-page planets). We'll use the time to prepare that new material (then use it in Final Frontier #1 so that GURPS and PD20M players can have access to it). Mike West and John Sickels are working on that but I haven't had time so far to track their progress and inspire them to get those done. The deck plans will have to be done by four or five artists and I should have organized and assigned that work two months ago but (overloaded to do list) I just didn't get there. I'll get on that after I finish FLAP week. The current plan is to have Jean wrap up Traveller Klingons while here in December, assuming Mike West does the files for it, assuming he finished his assigned work on Traveller PD itself. More stuff I need to keep track of.
7. STARLINE 2400: This product line won't die (not that we want it to) and it was only in July that ADB's profits from 2500s exceeded the profits for the year from 2400s. To support the line we plan to do some new ships, but for that to happen, I have to recruit, assign, and keep track of sculptors. That's another thing that got sent to "the week after FLAP WEEK."
8. CAPTAIN'S LOG #46: Steve Petrick has already kicked off Battle Groups (for SFB and FC) and has almost finished the Monster article. If we can find a decent story by an outside writer, this may get done on schedule in November or December. If I have to write the story, expect it in February and I did not say what year.
9. BOOKS: Federation Admiral needs to get back on my "do a few pages every week" list. I could do Reference Starship Book and Reference Scenario Book for Federation Commander on a rainy afternoon but I'm not sure they'll sell. Patrick Doyle said he would soon deliver the Federation Commander Tactics Manual, but after looking at dozens of style book fixes and "Jean things" on his four-page article in CL#45 I informed him that until he can deliver pages with a lot fewer things for me to fix, I won't accept the manuscript because it takes too many Steve Cole hours. If he cannot do that before May 2013, that could be something Jean fixes for him (and for me). I have always wanted to do more paperback books, which are fairly easy formatting jobs, but until we can figure out how to get them into Kindle that's just not worth doing.
10. OTHER: Battlestations Star Fleet (a joint venture with Gorilla Games) is either easy or impossible to do (depending on the status of a draft rulebook I have yet to read). It might or might not be done via Kickstarter. Merchants of the Federation (Jay Waschak's train game) will only be done if it flies on Kickstarter because train game players expect Chinese level production values.