Steve Jackson’s Ogre will not ship this year

Ogre, from Steve Jackson Games, will not ship this year. Sounds like the Kickstarter was almost too successful.

I put off writing this update too long, because I wanted to report a solid milestone . . . preferably “It’s all at print and will now ship to you on XXX.” But I haven’t reached that milestone, and I’ve gone too long already without reporting “It won’t be in 2012 at all.” The fact is, we really don’t know how long it will take to get the game into your hands. We have progress, but not enough.

The status, in detail, is:

• The maps, the Pocket Ogre components, and the dice are all at print, and have been for some time.

• The counter/overlay sheets and the Ogre record sheets are completely finished and are getting their final in-house check as I write this. They’ll be at print very soon.

• The rulebook, scenario book, and player reference sheet have been laid out, reviewed, modified, re-reviewed . . . I spent the past few hours working on them – specifically, going over a lot of excellent and mostly tiny corrections from Daniel – and actually had hopes that I would finish tonight, but no, not quite. I’ll hit it again tomorrow, and I might get done, but I might also need to go back and forth with Daniel again. When we are provisionally happy with those components, PDFs will be posted for your review. Then, unless you find awful, awful things very quickly, they will go to print.

• The box and trays, and the carton they’ll be shipped in, present the greatest physical challenge because of their sheer size. Everything has to fit together well for shipment; then, after you have punched the counters and assembled the 3-D units, it STILL has to fit together well. And it has to be as durable as possible. The back-and-forth with the printers continues. Fortunately, the box is being handled by Phil and Sam, so it’s not stacked up behind the rules; it’s in parallel.

• We’ll finish the “Read Me First” after everything it’s documenting is really done. It will be the last thing to go to print. It will be the first thing you see when you open the box. Please, please, no kidding, read it first, because this is definitely a “some assembly required” game!

• The Ogre War Room app has been submitted to the App Store. We expect a routine approval in a week or so. We’ll report as soon as you can download it. The iPhone users will be our guinea pigs, and as soon as they can use it without dying in droves, we’ll start the ports to other devices.

So when will Ogre Sixth Edition actually ship?

It will be months. First, obviously, we’ve got to get everything actually finished and to press. That’s getting close, but it is NOT done. Then Phil says we should allow a month just for the questions from the factory. Then Chinese New Year will cost another month, more or less. Then printing. Then ocean freight. Best case: April? Maybe?

And it turns out that we will need a new BUILDING to house all these games and organize them for shipment. But until everything goes to press, we can’t estimate when we’ll need that building (rental? Huge temporary metal building?) or for how long. (For those keeping track of the successes and problems of Kickstarter projects: This is a DISeconomy of scale. With fewer orders, we could have done it in our existing warehouse. But I’m not complaining. It’s a neat problem to have. I’m just reporting something that surprised us.)

We’ll keep you posted, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get you this not-definite-enough information. The next update will be soon.

Car Wars T-Shirts

And now the good news: The Car Wars T-shirts are shipping. Depending on where you live, you should see yours either Real Soon, Fairly Soon, or When The Trails Open Again.

— Steve Jackson

  • blkdymnd

    Wow, so a million dollars cannot buy timely shipping, but all of you get your t-shirts (I’m sure that will make them happy). Still months away, when Dreadball is scheduled to ship early, Zombicide shipped on time, Sedition Wars has been quiet but hasn’t said anything on a delay yet. I’m glad that’s one I didn’t end up backing.

  • green_lumux

    Studio McVey posted a pic update just recently showing the crated sedition wars games, if I’m not mistaken, ready to ship.

  • Grim6

    It seems to me like Zombicide arrived sooner than expected, and if Sedition Wars is boxed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come out early, if even just by a few days.

    Plastic > Cardboard

    Just sayin’.

  • grimbergen

    Well IIRC Z and SW were both nearly complete when they put it up kickstarter — just some final tweaks to the rules and packaging design. The stretch goal bonus/new stuff are planned to be released much later; basically it’s a year after the kickstarter ended also (Zombicide kickstarter ended May 6, 2012 and the final items are shipping April 2013).

    I don’t mean this to justify Ogre (I had little interest in it and didn’t back it), but it just shows that CMON had their act together and didn’t presell something they hadn’t finished yet. You’d think an old an established company like SJ would have that kind of experience by now.

    • Grindar

      Then you haven’t been paying attention to the relic knight rules on the soda pop forums…they’re still trying to figure out how to force some skirmish in the skirmish game because it’s too easy just to rush objectives. That’s a CMON product that obviously isn’t finished yet

      • grimbergen

        Yes, I said Z and SW in my post as I’m only familiar with those products.

  • blkdymnd

    Exactly, the thing hat angers me most (and I thankfully didnt back either) is you are not even close to your deadline to INVESTORS. You do this in the real world to investors, you’re broke in a gutter. If you can’t do it, don’t promise it, and use that broken promise to generate nearly a million dollars.

    • mathieu

      Kickstarter changed this rule, though…

      Just about every gaming companies out there rushed to jump that bandwagon while gamers where still excited about the idea, and I highly doubt most of them actually thought the whole project through before getting in. I honestly expect MANY projects to see such “unexpected” delays in the upcoming few months.

    • uglove

      Blown deadlines are pretty par for the course in product development.
      From experience, a blown deadline is usually rewarded with extra cash to fix the whatever ‘problems’ are causing the delay. Typically you won’t end up broke in a gutter, as you so colorfully put it.

      A bit of perspective:
      On one hand, you have an angel investor who puts 3mil up to fund a project that may not get off the ground. On the other, you have an enthusiast who is out 80 bucks and told their support will be rewarded a bit later than promised.

  • cannondaddy

    I didn’t back this but I’ll definitely check out that app.

  • JRacel

    I think that this just shows how much better prepared CMON were with their projects. They spent the initial capital to get their game developed and most of the production work figured out long before starting the KS process. KS allowed them to improve the game while also preselling them to a lot of people, but in the end they still had an almost finished product on day one of the KS. All the extra stuff added as part of the stretch goals were clearly designated for a later delivery allowing them to get teh main game out to keep backers happy until all the other iteams appeared later. They also started the trend for allowing changes and additions after the end of the KS project. All in all, CMON set a standard everyone else is now judged against. Considering the size and experience in the industry that SJG has, you would have thought they would have been the company leading the way, but then again, they are still using chipboard instead of plastic, so it appears SJG still needs to catch up with modern times. Kudoes to CMON for their insight and forward thinking.

  • Henrix

    This just shows that Steve Jackson used the Kickstarter for what it’s meant to: to gather funds to actually make something new that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

    He was gauging interest and see if anyone was interested enought to put money down to be able to make the game.

    A lot of the other stuff, the stuff you’re talking about that was about ready to ship? Preorders. Nothing but preorders.

  • Mooniac

    You think SJG wouldn’t have made OGRE without KS? They certainly would have. It was a no brainier. What KS allowed them today was spread the risk to the backers while cutting out the game stores that introduced almost all their customers to their product.

    If I owned a game store I would tell the next SJG rep who came in to demo games that he could rent space for a marketing fee. the fee would be an estimate of the profit I would have made selling the new OGRE to all my regular board game players. Or, maybe next time an established game company tried this stunt, I would tell all my customers that they would be able to borrow that company’s new releases for free.

    KS is great for us to help little companies do things that aren’t predictably successful from companies that shouldn’t otherwise be able to make them happen. It’s not really great to help established companies bypass the LGS which does most of the work in creating demand and supporting the players.

    When Cessna sold planes through flight schools who created pilots, they sold thousands a year. They now sell through distributors who give a small gratuity to the schools, and sell hundreds of planes per year. Online sales and KS sales are going to beat gaming back into obscurity.

    • I think if you look back through some of the writings (blogs, reports, etc) that SJ Games put out, nowhere did they mention doing an OGRE of this magnitude. It wasn’t until they used KS did they decide to do a “Designer’s Edition.”

      Probably a new version, yes. But not the big box designer’s edition. Also, like others have mentioned, Ogre wasn’t even in layout, while you Relic Knights, Dreadball, and others with product almost ready to go. The special KS items appear almost a year later. SJ Games with OGRE, will appear a year later as well because they need to go through the same process to get the entire game to you at once as the special addons are going through. You get OGRE in one box. You get Relic Knights, Dreadball, Sedition Wars, Zombiecide in multiple shipments.

      Should SJ Games possibly have said, here’s the core game in late November, the rest of the stuff will ship in two more shipments, March and June 2013, possibly.

      Either way, I know Steve Jackson LOVES Ogre and considers it his baby. Therefore, they will do the best job they can with the experience and knowledge they bring to the table. SJ wanted OGRE to feel old school, but at the same time be HUGE.

      I don’t fault them for being late in shipping. In fact, I look even more forward to it when it arrives.

      I hope my ramblings made sense…

    • If you owned a game store you would go out of business.

      I’m sorry game stores are not figuring out how to compete with the new online marketplace.

      Look, KS isn’t just for small companies. Why should it be? You want to do market research on a new product, what better way than asking people if they will buy it and to put their money where their mouth is.

      Do I think Steve Jackson was going to put out a new OGRE? No. OGRE has been dead for years (decades?). SJG has been out of the miniatures business for a long time. I would never have suspected so many people would want to buy it.

      So, hypothetical game store owner that you are, are you also going to not sell CMoN products like Super Dungeon Explore and Relic Knights? What about Endless Fantasy Tactics or Wolsung? You also should probably not sell Games Workshop Products or Privateer Press because those guys have the gall to sell online cutting into your business!

      Anyway, if they are late they are late. That’s the risk you accept when you decide to back on kickstarter. At least with SJG you’ll probably get a quality product.

      • Mooniac

        You don’t get it. If you chase anyone with sense out of the game store business, the online market dies a slow death. First the stores die, then the player population stops growing, then it dwindles. The LGS is what grows the gamer base. One game in fifty could do well in a no store environment.

        Any store can pick a bad vendor and tell them to go pound sand without going out of business.

        If SJG had asked gamers about OGRE they would have gotten a huge response. If they wanted to do KS they should do it in a way that doesn’t give the backers the game. Game stores need a chance to compete for the business of the people who are part of their community.

      • metalsifter

        Yes SJGames was going to put out a new Ogre game, it was announced quite a while back ( I think at last years Gen Con), without using Kickstarter.

        They realized that in order to produce the game SJ wanted to it would cost a lot so they decided in the end to use Kickstarter to gauge interest in the game. If the campaign didn’t pan out they wouldn’t create it. That was known from the start.

        Fortunately for those of us who like Ogre it worked out differently. We knew from the start that the game was in development and wouldn’t ship for a while.

        • Mooniac

          All the PR may or may not be true, it doesn’t matter. The result is yet another end around the people that do the most to support the gamer community and grow it, Every dollar that goes thru KS for a copy of a game is a chunk of change out of the hobbies future.
          There are all sorts of great reasons why using KS for OGRE was good, but its also bad.
          It’s Pyrhic profit.

  • Bobofreak

    Its Steve Jackson people, who in my opinion only ever turns out quality product. Lets see if Zombicide has the longevity of OGRE before touting it as the example to be followed (no knock on Zombicide I backed that as well) . I would rather wait for what Steve wants to put out then have him rush it to meet shipping expectations.

  • Henrix

    Sj has talked about wanting to do a good Ogre game for years, but that he couldn’t – he didn’t have the money to do it right, and he didn’t think it’d sell enough to cover the development costs.

    Of course you can use Kickstarter as a big company – but the intent is to get new ideas and projects started.
    And complaining about someone actually using it for that purpose and not just as a preorder is damned weird.

  • ElectricVoodooMagic

    As pointed out previously the CMoN games are shipping in waves while The stretch goals in Ogre expanded the core game, and the box, while giving extras to the backers which will be shipped witht the core game. SJ was up front and honest about the delays and, with some other companies, found out con season was a bad time to run a KS campaign. Ogre was planned as a one time run, but now has staff and support to be a regular product with future expansions. Waiting sucks, but it will be worth it. I look forward to the future car wars campaign as well.

  • Durandal

    Honestly, as a backer, I was expecting that the added success would add more time on to things. The box is huge and they were only planning to do 2000 originally. All of their initial plans were based on that. They had enough space for 2000 boxes of that size in the warehouse.

    After that there was no longer any more Ogre planned. The KS was so successful it brought a game line back from the dead. The KS alone more than doubled the scale of the initial production run (not including LGS pre-orders). Our backing of the project gave at least one person a full time job. While we can fault them for being so conservative with their initial projection, such surprises aren’t entirely uncommon (see also: the recent Tenra Bansho Zero KS, where the translator figured it would scrape past $9000 in the last few days). And certainly the level they were under by was almost beyond belief (remember, they stopped producing Ogre for a reason).

    I’m a bit miffed that I wont be getting the box until April or later, but seriously, the KS went so far beyond expectations that if they hadn’t have added all they did it would have been a bit disappointing in the other direction. And truth be told, between the costs of production, shipping and all the rest, I doubt SJG actually made much money from this endeavour (but then, KS projects rarely turns an initial profit).

    I just find it amusing that the tribalism that sprung up around a bunch of high profile board games is bringing out the grave dancers in such numbers. Some people take this crap too seriously.

    Oh well, I’m willing to wait a bit longer for all the extra promised stuff. The box is large enough to fit a small family in, if that doesn’t present some unique project challenges, I don’t know what does. The wait may give me time to actually find space to store that thing.