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State of GTG - December 2016

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Paul
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State of GTG - December 2016

Greetings Everyone!

Over the course of the past year, there have been a ton of changes here at Greater Than Games. One of the most visible changes to all of you has been that most of us have kind of fallen off the face of the earth with respect to posting on the forum. Even though there were really good reasons for that, I regret that it happened and want to make it up to you. For those of you who have currently pledged on one or more of our recent Kickstarter campaigns, you know that we've been making a point of sending out regular updates once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. Well, starting today, we are also going to be sending out a monthly newsletter to our mailing list (more on that below), and I am going to be posting monthly project status updates for you here on the forum. My project status updates will have more boring details and project-management-y info in them than the more widely disseminated posts. That is not to say that this info is "secret", just that, if you care about it, you are probably on this forum (or should be :) )

So! What happened at Greater Than Games in the past 12 months that caused everything to explode? Let me give you the rundown!

Last year at this time, Greater Than Games was in pretty rough shape. We had spent a ton of money on a variety of marketing channels that didn't pay off (a lot of conventions, Sentinel Tactics tournaments that were awesome but expensive, etc), while simultaneously running out of stock of many of our best selling products (most of the SotM stuff, plus Bottom of the 9th, Compounded, and Brew Crafters). It was bad enough that we were worried about the financial future of the company, and everyone took temporary preemtive pay cuts to help make ends meet. We had a couple of "all hands on deck" meetings to figure out how to right the ship, and came up with a few conclusions:

  1. We knew we had some good stuff in the pipeline for 2016, including the OblivAeon Kickstarter, which we figured would do pretty well. However, we didn't want to bank on just one thing doing well, so we decided to accelerate the timetable on all of our 2016 projects to get as much data as possible on what works, what doesn't, and what people are interested in.
  2. We realized that we were hurting due to our lack of a proper Warehouse Management System to help us manage inventory and stock levels. Acquiring and implementing enterprise software like that is time consuming and expensive, but we needed to start the search process right away.
  3. We knew that, if we pulled out of our slump, we'd need a dedicated marketing person to coordinate all of our marketing efforts and help us avoid our previous "just guess" approach when it comes to marketing our games.

So, how did it go?

Well, as you probably know, the OblivAeon Kickstarter succeeded beyond our wildest dreams and allowed us to immediately get all of our back catalog of popular products back in print and start planning for the future. Then, over the summer, the Fate of the Elder Gods Kickstarter exceeded our expectations by a significant margin, as did the response to the Sentinel Comics RPG at Gen Con. We were then able to take a few more major steps to hopefully set us up for success:

  1. We now have a much better idea of what sorts of Kickstarter campaigns to run, and how to run them. We learned a lot of stuff to do, and not to do, from each and every one of our 2016 campaigns. To that end, we are going to significantly scale back the number of campaigns for 2017 and focus on fulfilling all of our in-progress projects. We'll likely have around 3-5 campaigns in 2017, starting in late February, instead of the 7 we had between September 2015 and September 2016.
  2. We identified a good warehouse management system that we are working on implementing. Jodie and I should have it fully operational some time in January.
  3. We realized that, in order to clear our backlog of projects and also hire a Marketing Director (who would inevitably need a bunch of new visual assets for advertising/marketing), we needed to first get Jenn some help in the Graphic Design department. To that end, we hired Rae, our new Graphic Designer, followed by Mara, our new Sales & Marketing Director.
  4. In the chaos of the past year, our communication with people outside of GTG really fell by the wayside. We started doing regular Kickstarter updates to help fix that, but it isn't enough, and that's no good! Moving forward, we'll be:
    1. Sending out monthly newsletters to our main GTG mailing list, which will have product release announcements, upcoming events, and a little bit of behind the scenes info about GTG.
    2. Keeping a better eye on the forum in general. Christpher has started making sure to keep track of the Playtesting forums, but we'll be working to cover the rest more thoroughly.
    3. I'll be posting these updates!
    4. We'll be starting a separate mailing list for Citizens who help us out at conventions and the like to keep you all in the loop.

We've also been working on clearing our project backlog! We've got a bunch of already-Kickstarted projects in progress that we are very excited to release in 2017, as well as some new projects in the works. Here is the status of all of our works in progress!

In Transit; Scheduled Delivery mid-December

  1. So, so many SotM reprints. Like, so many.
  2. The Metagames KS (Time Management, Traitor Mechanic, and Trick Taking).
  3. Belle of the Ball (This one is a cool old Dice Hate Me title that has been out for 2 years! Check it out if you haven't!)
  4. Great Heartland Hauling reprint
  5. New Bedford errata tiles

In Mass Production

  1. Some more SotM reprints.
  2. Deck Building: The Deck Building Game reprint
  3. Compounded reprint
  4. Brew Crafters reprint

At Factory; Pre-Press Work

  1. Spirit Island
  2. Lazer Ryderz
  3. Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse (also still waiting on a few late art pieces)
  4. Exoplanets
  5. Viva Java
  6. Viva Java: The Dice Game
  7. SotM: Ultimate Collector's Case (this box is gonna be so ridic, you don't even realize)

We are planning to get the remaining KS projects to the printer in Q1 2017, and ideally the beginning of the quarter! Christopher is finishing up all sorts of cool OblivAeon related stuff (see his Kickstarter update today for more info on that). Fate of the Elder Gods is nearly development complete, and and almost all of the art is done. The main thing we are waiting on there are sculpts for some of the expansions.

So, what are we going to be working on for the bulk of 2017? Here are the things I can tell you about!

Current WIP Focus by GTG

  1. Completing OblivAeon
  2. Completing Fate of the Elder Gods
  3. Sentinel Comics: The Role Playing Game
  4. The Letters Page podcast
  5. A sweet Fabled Nexus title that will be on Kickstarter in late February.
  6. Prime War
  7. A new and improved website.
  8. Some other cool stuff, from each of our three imprints, that we'll tell you more about later.

Anyway, that's all for this month! In future updates, I'll stick with the Works in Progress section, but if there are any particular questions or things you'd like me to talk about in addition to that stuff, definitely let me know!

I'll see you next month, if not before!


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi

Powerhound_2000
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Thanks for the update Paul.  I always like reading these posts.  


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UXM266
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This looks so ! I'm looking forward to see that the SotM: Ultimate Collector's Case  is at factory.

Thanks for the update!


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Foote
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These are all good steps Paul. I'll be very much looking forward to seeing you guys accell and deliver a better customer experience. I know you and the crew are doing your best and I can't wait for that to translate into more and better things in the future.

Rabit
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Many thanks for the update, Paul! Greatly appreciated, and glad to hear the explanation and plans. Best wishes to all of you!


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TakeWalker
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I've only been in this community since about the start of the year, so it always amazes me the creators of these games would actually deign to grace us common folk with their presence! :O

Here's to more of it!

Chaosmancer
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Thank you for the update. I've vanished this year because of school, so I didn't notice you guys disappearing.

 

Still, I'm glad you seem to be pulling through the slump and I'm looking forward to keeping up to date on everything you're bringing to the future.

 

I just hope I can pull out of my own financial slump in time for February, since it sounds like that would be something I may want to be in on.

Trajector
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Glad you guys are doing well! Thanks for the update, Paul.

morph147
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I am glad to see this post Paul, something that has been missing from the forums for a long time. I am also glad to hear that GTG didnt go under. Also it would be nice if someone could add a link to the news letter to the post or down below so we dont have to go search for it to sign up.

 

As a final note, I would like to point out that there are those of us that have ordered prime war almost 2 years ago now at this point. I am not going to rush it but I hope this means that this is getting more and more attention. Maybe can use the release time of Prime war to talk Handelabra Games to make that Sentinel tactics video game I am hoping we get.

 

 


My wife thinks Sentinels is ruining our marriage. I think she doesnt know what shes talking about because she wont sit down to play it

Matchstickman
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@Morph147, it's on their front page of https://greaterthangames.com/ thirdcolumn along.

 

Thanks for the update Paul,I too am glad that >G did not go under!


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Belle Sorciere
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Thanks for the update, Paul. It's good to know that GTG is doing better now (and hopefully you won't end up in such straits again), and it is good to know what to expect in the future.

I am also glad that you're sending out monthly newsletters. I don't check the GTG blog very often and missed out on backing Fate of the Elder Gods which I totally would have done if I'd known about it. Being notified of these things will be a big improvement.

Paul
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@Belle

Thanks I'm glad that will help!

If you are still interested in backing Fate of the Elder Gods, there are actually preorders available now through BackerKit!


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi

godzilla999666
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So disappointed in this company, and glad i decided that they will not get any of my money until they deliver. Tactics has been at the bottom of the priority list since you opened the preorder.  You have products that were not even convieced at the time of the pre-order that wil be delivered. If you are not going to produce it, man up and just say so and refund the money, instead of just keeping it at the bottom of the list for years, saying yea we will get to it eventually. I used to play sentinels of the mutliverse once a month, and the app at east every 2 weeks. Honestly, since gen con, I have not touched your products, and it sits in the corner gathering dust.  I used to talk up your company and recommend this company and these games. I even bought my nephew a set for christmas and then expansions several years running. I can't honestly recommend anyone buy any of your products anymore. I can't believe that you are selling on sale tactic for christmas, knowing that sometime several years down the road, people will have to buy a conversion kit to incorporate the new products.  That is crappy for someone to buy a game only to find out that at the time of the sale, it was known that you would need a conversion kit.  I know that lots of people will defend everything you do but I can't and will not support you or your games until things change.  I hope you are enjoying the interest free loan, i mean the preorder money for a product that might never see the light of day it seems.

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Correct me if I am mistaken, but aren't they offering a refund on Sentinel Tactics Battle for Broken City and For Profit?

UXM266
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Ronway wrote:

Correct me if I am mistaken, but aren't they offering a refund on Sentinel Tactics Battle for Broken City and For Profit?

This is correct.

Source: https://greaterthangames.com/content/announcing-prime-war 

"For those of you who pre-ordered Battle for Broken City and For Profit, you have some options. If you are unsatisfied with how this process is going, feel free to contact us at contact@greaterthangames.com and we can arrange for a refund. However, if Prime War and Rise of the Ennead sound like products you want, you can maintain your preorder and you will get those games FIRST, as well as some additional items. We understand and appreciate your patience and are working on some special rewards just for you - our true believers."


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Paul wrote:

@BelleThanks I'm glad that will help!If you are still interested in backing Fate of the Elder Gods, there are actually preorders available now through BackerKit!

Thanks!

How long will it be available? I'm not sure I can afford it this month (but there's a possibility I can, so who knows? Not me).

Wait - when does Backerkit actually take the money? Right away or when it's time to ship?

Bas
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godzilla999666 wrote:

I can't believe that you are selling on sale tactic for christmas, knowing that sometime several years down the road, people will have to buy a conversion kit to incorporate the new products. 

While I understand your predicament, and I share your views to some extent, I do appreciate that they are updating the game, rather than continuing with a set that could have been better. Yet, the rules are not bad and the game still interesting and it makes sense to get people more interested, or give them an opportunity to check the game out for a better price, even when knowing the conversion kit will improve things down the road (it is not like you have to buy a whole new game box, merely some panels, cards and booklets).

phantaskippy
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There is effort being taken to keep the conversion as simple and low cost as possible.

Belle Sorciere
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Belle Sorciere wrote:

 

Paul wrote:
@BelleThanks I'm glad that will help!If you are still interested in backing Fate of the Elder Gods, there are actually preorders available now through BackerKit!

 

Thanks!How long will it be available? I'm not sure I can afford it this month (but there's a possibility I can, so who knows? Not me).Wait - when does Backerkit actually take the money? Right away or when it's time to ship?

Could I get an answer to this?

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Belle Sorciere wrote:
Belle Sorciere wrote:
 Paul wrote:
@BelleThanks I'm glad that will help!If you are still interested in backing Fate of the Elder Gods, there are actually preorders available now through BackerKit

Thanks!How long will it be available? I'm not sure I can afford it this month (but there's a possibility I can, so who knows? Not me).Wait - when does Backerkit actually take the money? Right away or when it's time to ship?

Could I get an answer to this?

I don't currently know when, exactly, the BackerKit for Fate of the Elder Gods will be locked down, but you've at least got another couple of months. Your card won't be charged right away, but it will be charged when everything gets locked down. That's usually six to eight weeks before things ship, unless weird things happen.


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Belle Sorciere
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Craig wrote:

 

Belle Sorciere wrote:
Belle Sorciere wrote:
 Paul wrote:
@BelleThanks I'm glad that will help!If you are still interested in backing Fate of the Elder Gods, there are actually preorders available now through BackerKit

 

Thanks!How long will it be available? I'm not sure I can afford it this month (but there's a possibility I can, so who knows? Not me).Wait - when does Backerkit actually take the money? Right away or when it's time to ship?Could I get an answer to this?

I don't currently know when, exactly, the BackerKit for Fate of the Elder Gods will be locked down, but you've at least got another couple of months. Your card won't be charged right away, but it will be charged when everything gets locked down. That's usually six to eight weeks before things ship, unless weird things happen.

Thank you much, Craig. Hopefully I can swing it then. :)