June 22, 1941. Operation Barbarossa began as Axis armies crossed the border and attacked Soviet forces. Total War, the latest (and very late to ship) Europa game to simulate Barbarossa, should be in the mail late next month. We had thought long ago that a June 22 date would be the ideal to begin mailing the game. Several print starts with the new charts and one booklet have shown that we had additional work to do for the printers. While this should not take a lot of additional time, medical issues have delayed the the printing and shipping.
Arthur has never been very keen about admitting any medical issues and only spoke about problems after he felt they had passed. In this case, the problems where not going to pass without treatment. We have now arranged for medical treatment to begin shortly and are assured that he will be fine once the procedures are complete. Initial examinations have also shown that he put off new glasses for far too many years and he will be sporting two new pair of lenses. Arthur has never had medical insurance and refused all but the most serious treatment. That has changed with the help of many of his friends. We both apologize for this delay and will let you know when he is back on-line.
One of the issues that the company has had for some years before we purchased it, was the obsolescence of our computer software. A good deal of experience with mainframe software issues led me to believe that we should not try to change horses (necessary systems) in the middle of a game (or stream). After we believed that the printers were set to go with the game, Arthur convinced me we could begin that replacement process. We now have that software (Adobe Creative Suite ) and a modest, but adquate Mac hardware upgrade largely in place. I was correct about its possible impact if we had still been working on game but the upgrade is now almost complete.
Using the new and sometimes complex software in the future will wait for A Winter War II. At least Arthur will be able to read the screens from farther than 5 inches. While it in no way makes up for the late shipment date, we will start to display samples of the game again. We displayed a new Terrain Effects Chart before. After receiving input from two customers, four of our volunteers and a close review by both Arthur and myself, we ended up with just short of thirty small changes to that chart. You can see the new and final TEC by clicking on the link below.
We have met with the printer’s staff three times over the weekend and today. I believe that we have resolved the issues of immediate concern. They now understand that Arthur and I are the only individuals who can approve a print run. We will be doing several samples and reformatting they have requested. They will be generating proof copies in at least two styles and will begin printing the first of many game charts as schedule fillers, early next week. They will give us a new print schedule for the more expensive rules and OB booklets late next week.
Appended below is another extract from the Soviet OB – this one covering how all the terms used in the OB work. Next up will be the Total War charts.
We have been out of touch for too long due to tax and medical issues here. An additional series of eye surgeries left me, literally, in the dark for some time. As a result, I missed many phone calls and could not read much e-mail until recently. My vision is better now and expected to return entirely.
Arthur was busy with our 2012 (amended) and 2013 corporate tax returns. With the fire in 2012, prohibited access to most of our records/part of our inventory that extended into 2013, a resulting inventory write-down, and the need to recreate many records lost to the fire/cleanup, our tax accounting was complex and time-consuming. The Fire Sale was successful in recovering our funding for these expenses but it also added to the work and complexity.
Printing of the remaining Total War components has continued and we now have many of the game charts and rules in the storage facility. Unfortunately, while I was down and out and Arthur was off-site, the printer had made several attempts to reach us that went unanswered. They were at a point were they could begin to schedule the remaining blocks of our printing. When they could not reach us, they then proceeded with their regular customers.
Arthur worked alone during this time and coped with a re-occurrence of some medical issues while having to put up with my bad humor. Neither of us felt able to explain what was impacting us here personally and with the business side of the business. We should have made much more effort to do that. I clearly failed to keep the printer informed and I will be meeting with them this week to let you know where we are. We are returning to samples from the Total War game components and will put this out at a much faster pace as well as letting you know more about new work that has been in progress.
The sample below is an updated version of the Soviet OB initial setup extract previously posted. This version fixes some issues regarding deployment of the 7th, 12th, and 9th Armies and some of the initial conditions regarding transportation lines/etc.
We are keeping in touch with the printer to follow their current schedule. The print shop has been working both late hours and part of this last Saturday. While we have not been given a copy of their actual schedule, it appears that they will catch up in late February, though this is from the floor staff and not management. We have not received a proof copy with the new paper yet but that may appear next week. We will keep you updated as we get news.
Both Gar and I have been partly sidelined for a while. Gar had two minor eye operations that mean he can now has almost full vision again — although the resultant bruising meant he looked like a raccoon and had to spend a good bit of time on his back with ice packs on his face. I had a staph infection (initially misdiagnosed), including a massive rash/itching I hope to never experience again.
Another OB sample appears below. This covers the Axis Air OB for the entirety of Total War, including how the surprise air raid is resolved.
We met with the printer again on Friday and examined a sample booklet they had printed. The printer agreed that this booklet was still not acceptable, with graying-out problems, and they will no longer try to use this 60lb paper for the Total War printing.
While the booklet is readable, it is not the full black-on-white we approved on the original proof. The printer has offered to use a finer grade of 70lb paper without adding to our cost and there will be no charge for reprinting of the booklets already done.
This paper is thicker and our major concern in accepting it is that the added weight may add to the postage costs. We will absorb any postage increase. While we had anticipated some of the games shipped before Christmas, this cannot be met by their available press time.
We will let you know as soon as they begin reprinting.