With Christmas nearly here, things are beginning to slow down (the joy of delivery times). Sadly, while business is slowing down; our arrivals of games have not. 2012 has been the worst year for missing deadlines since 2008. I can’t think of a single game released this year that actually hit its deadline, with most coming in 2 – 3 months late with some over a year delayed. There seems to have been a few causes for this…
It started from what I can tell in 2011 when a German manufacturer closed. That wiped out quite a few games, pushing them to 2012 and concentrating the manufacture of our board games into a number of other companies. I’m sure these other companies are throwing more production into place as it goes, but not surprisingly this takes time.
The New Year That Doesn’t Happen
Then we had the non-regular Chinese New Year. The New Year caught a ton of publishers by surprise and suddenly, items that were meant to be delivered in January – March were pushed back by another 2 – 3 months. How a 2 week work-stoppage that happens once a year managed to evade so many people’s notice and mess with their plans, I don’t know. Either way, it seemed to have a knock-on effect throughout the year, with publishers finally catching up around December, with most games only 1 – 2 months off their ‘expected release dates’.
Now, I’m getting into rank speculation since I’m not a publisher or manufacturer; but I think there’s a few other factors…
There’s been an increase in the number of board games appearing on Kickstarter and being successfully funded. Guess what – all those games have to be manufactured somewhere. I would not be surprised if the manufacturers are finding themselves even further swamped with demand as more new publishers come to them. I doubt it helps that many of these publishers are first-timers, with the ensuing lack of experience and thus requiring additional hand-holding to get the job done.
TableTop’s the other major change this year and it’s introduction of board games to a whole new set of geeks seems to have increased demand. Certainly certain games showcased on TableTop have gone into and out of stock faster than I’ve ever seen them do so, and this has pushed the games into a reprint mode that seems to have been choked up the supply side even more.
The Next Year?
Some of the one-off effects should be gone by next year. Others, like Kickstarter and TableTop isn’t likely to change. Hopefully the manufacturers are adding sufficient production to reduce this problem, but I really don’t know if are. We have so little control over these aspects and the only real thing we can do is sit back and hope.