We have talked with the printers a number of times since Sunday. The problem on the evening of November 27th was booklet sheets that appeared too light due to a major variation in paper porosity. The company has agreed that the print is not acceptable (did not match the proof copy we signed off on). They will reprint our material as soon as possible. The problem is that they have booked their presses until the 18th of December.
They offered to discount the already printed booklets and match the color shade on what has been printed but it would arrive at almost the same time. We have reluctantly accepted a reprint of the darker (proof) version. They have given assurances that they will use any available press time that becomes open. We will let you know if that is possible and when we are told to expect the material. We will begin packing and shipping as soon as we receive the printed components.
We should have these before Christmas but cannot know how many will be shipped before then. Any that are not shipped by the 24th will continue to be shipped as rapidly as possible.
We hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!
In the midst of all of the holiday rush, we missed a late Wednesday cell call from the printer. This was questioning our instructions for reprinting several of our booklets. We have had standing instructions to call with any questions, at any time. We understand from the message that they have suspended printing until our Monday and Tuesday meetings. They have a long weekend and were not available after Thursday. We will let you know if this results in any delay.
In the mean time, we have permission from our investors to make the initial surprise turn of the Soviet OB available for download, since we have already given a sample of the initial Axis OB and are close to a shipping date. This should allow customers who have already received their counters to begin to trim and organize the Soviet border MD units for placement.
Appended below are extracts from the Total War Axis/Soviet OBs showing the initial conditions/setup for both sides.
Total War should now begin shipping December 6th, 2013. After getting approval for the last of our electronic files from the printer, we uncovered an error. This was a error on our part, here at HMS. Due in part to the long development time for the rules and OBs, we had not coordinated our software conversions as well as we should have.
While the bulk of the booklets are in a standard format, the OBs and part of the rules use a number of special symbols and graphics. Transfer from Mac to PC files and then to the format needed by the printers, slightly altered some of the text. Our scans of the initial print proof copies focused on the page length and margins since we had already edited the text of the files. The printers have generously minimized the cost to reprint and we will move ahead with the new print schedule.
We can now state when Total War will ship – 18 Nov 2013, and this means that all copies should go out before Thanksgiving (28Nov13). We have completed arrangements for funding that will be available on that date that will cover the shipping costs for the game. There is a possibility of earlier shipping if another source of funds we have been exploring pans out, but the 18 Nov funding is now definite.
Completing the arrangements to ship the game has been complicated. We had borrowed money to complete the game just prior to the fire. The cleanup/recovery of material from the fire-damaged building then used up that funding. Most of the investors who put up that earlier money have been patient and allowed us time to work things out, but there have been things we have had to work around. One loan has a repayment clause that requires its repayment in full within 30 days after the first complete copy of Total War ships. Another investor sits on the HMS board until he is repaid and his worries that the discussion on the EuropaAssociation list about the Total War rules would negatively affect store sales (from which he will be repaid) has meant that further releases of rules examples or posting of electronic copies of the rules/charts has had to be ruled out until after the game ships. But we can now state that a definite funding process/shipping date is in place that accommodates all of these concerns.
We want to stress that reaching this point would not have been possible without the help of the Europa community. Your support, patience, and good will have made our recovery possible.
Looking to the future, we will have a new price list, information on laminated maps, and a discussion of a limited-edition reprint of Second Front & War in the Desert on the website over the next couple of weeks.
It has taken a bit longer than I had expected to go over all the options here regarding shipping of Total War and new price list. Howevere, we will have this resolved and a definitive update posted sometime this weekend.
Two pieces of good news:
1. We’ve mangaged to get costs confirmed that will allow for a limited edition reprint of Second Front in near future (this is original printed counters, not laser-cut ones we talked about before). There will be more about this in near future.
2. Gordon Johansen kindly provided a pdf of ETO #58 so it is now available for download. Just click on the link below.