One of the big problems we have in this hobby/industry is the loose and unreliable way many publishers and manufacturers play with "release dates". It is not only common but expected that when a manufacturer or publisher tells you an item will be released in 'June XXXX' for most gamers to automatically build several months into that estimate.
The question then becomes, why is this necessary? An industry old adage in every industry is that "time is money" and this is probably more true in the hobby industry where gamers often save scarce funds in anticipation of a much anticipated release. However, after already holding your money for four to six months to be put off another three to six months is almost too much for most gamers to bear. So inevitably that small pub that would have gotten that $50.00 purchase from you on its new army loses out to the Mega Shop that actually released its 9th Edition in September 2003 as promised.
I don't mean to single out any individual manufacturers but some illustrations are called: First of all, I have anxiously been awaiting two products from West Wind Productions. The first is its Antagonist line of miniatures for its Vampire Wars game which was announced for release in "Easter 2003", well not only has Our Lord Risen, but we just celebrated his Ascension this past week. The next is their new Dwarf Wars miniature game by Frank Chadwick scheduled for release in June 2003 (I know it's not June yet). Who wants to bet that will be out on time? Finally as a real topper, check out the article on Crocodile Games and the release schedule included with it from their official website. War Gods of Olympus was scheduled for release in December 2002 (almost six months ago) and I am hearing now that it won't be "previewed" until GENCON 2003 in late July!
Meanwhile one new company deserves high marks for actually "exceeding" its release schedule. When I met the folks at Black Orc Games last year at GENCON and asked them about how often new armies would be released for Hundred Kingdoms I was honestly told about "two" per year or one new army every six months. Well, in less than a year Black Orc Games has released over four new armies for Hundred Kingdoms and a new boxed skirmish battle game called Warband. This is on top of the special characters they have continued to release for existing armies and updates and revisions to the official rules. No wonder out of all the new games I previewed at GENCON last year Hundred Kingdoms has gotten more of my money than the rest combined.
Time is money and for all those manufacturers and publishers who non-chalantly ignore release dates as they fly by without so much as a "We're sorry" until you respect our "time" then don't expect to see much of our "money"!
Deano C. Ware
Miniature Gaming News