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TrystramK

Delays in RPG Line now due to Legion push?

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A lot of people have placed the delay problem as some sort of conspiracy to ensure a large legion launch. The problems with the delays coincided with the bankruptcy of an extremely large shipping line that has a lot of shipping that covered China to the rest of the world with a large amount of that covering the US. This seems to be borne out with several products, not just from the RPG line showing as being on the boat changing status to back at the printers

What happened to that shipping line when it filed for bankruptcy is the following.

1/ Ships were not allowed to dock , as ports were unsure of getting paid , so they would be delayed at sea

2/ the ships that did dock were impounded by the reciever with goods remaining on board

So the entire supply chain from goods sitting on container waiting to ship, to those waiting to dock or docked and still in port were lost. To get all these goods to retailers meant going back to stage 2 and starting the process to get them remanufactured for just about every product they had announced prior and up to those about to land at FFG

That is a lot to go back and reprint or remanufacture , afaik even Legion , which was originally due for a just after Christmas release is only just making it's Q1 estimate which is 2-3 month late. Altnough being one of the last announced was the least affected (note that most of the products apart from Genesys are now seeing release round about the same time, with a lot of delayed product appearing soon)

Note that this was only a suspect of what caused the problems but given how many products were affected and also the fact that only products from China were affected. Also bear in mind that the removal of a sizable amount of ships from that route would also affect shipping times for months to come after.

Although support remained tight lipped about it , on one of the forums one of the replies specifically said this was the reason for the delays. I daresay that they weren't supposed to drop that info as it would have indicated just how much of a delay would have been involved.

Ultimately Ffg  would have had to wait for the product manufacturers to finish the current print runs, then set them back out to make the missing product again, which further delays the more recently announced products. The majority of the SW Rpg line, excepting the newly announced warrior book were somewhere in that cycle. Note that it isnt just new product that was in these stages of the process but reprints as well were shunted back to the print stage after having been announced as "on the boat"

I would imagine not a particularly happy time for FFG if what I conclude above is correct (much of it quite probably is, but short of an official explaination we will never know for sure, but accusing Legion which was itself delayed just short of 3 months is perhaps a much less likely answer)

edit https://offshoringtbos.com/will-hanjins-bankruptcy-cause-chaos-in-freight-industry/ 

although that report was from February 2017 the bankruptcy started in September 2016 and repercussions were still being felt well through 2017. They had 8% of fhe market of China to the US by sea.

Edited by syrath

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Yeah, this is no grand conspiracy... In so specific order:

  • Delays caused by problems with the shipping company caused a gap in releases in general, causing the line to lose momentum.
  • Things have already been slowing a bit as once FaD was released a lot of the more casual customers had what they wanted.
  • With the release of the Warrior book the Star Wars RPG line will essentially be "complete" more region and theme books might still be published, as well as adventures, but those are less likely as they are more GM targeted, as opposed to the GM and Player targeted career books. The New movies WOULD seem to suggest a need for a setting book there... but by the same note the new trilogy movies actually introduce relatively little new material. A new X-wing and a new TIE Fighter are, from an RPG mechanics standpoint, essentially the same as the old version...
  • Clone Wars is also possible, but there seems to be a hesitation (either by FFG or at the behest LFL/Dis) to produce anything that's heavy on prequel material...
  • Like WotC before it, FFG used Star Wars as a test bed for their own system. Now that Genesys is out, they are pivoting RPG staff over to that, as unlike Star Wars Genesys can support original IPs or lower cost IPs, allowing FFG to pocket more of the return. Likewise much of the staff is also pivoting to Lot5R.
  • Star Wars RPG is pretty full up and solid at this point, so FFG has a choice: Release a little something here and there but generally let it glide for a while, or do what another company would do and charge headlong into 2nd edition. While 2e is an option, going into a 2e at this stage also has a habit of alienating customers. They have the game the wanted, it's good, why do they need to buy the whole game all over again?
  • It appears that the RPG license includes all tabletop gaming, X-wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, Legion, and Destiny are all covered too. And all those games are doing, or are expected to do well. (Pretty sure X-wing was the #2 minis game in recent years following only behind the big grimdark elephant, and Legion is expected to poach some 40kers as well) So it becomes a matter of returns. If the minis games and card games have a better return. Stick with that. The RPG can coast for a while, possibly a long while...

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3 hours ago, syrath said:

Ultimately Ffg  would have had to wait for the product manufacturers to finish the current print runs, then set them back out to make the missing product again, which further delays the more recently announced products. The majority of the SW Rpg line, excepting the newly announced warrior book were somewhere in that cycle. Note that it isnt just new product that was in these stages of the process but reprints as well were shunted back to the print stage after having been announced as "on the boat"

I would imagine not a particularly happy time for FFG if what I conclude above is correct (much of it quite probably is, but short of an official explaination we will never know for sure, but accusing Legion which was itself delayed just short of 3 months is perhaps a much less likely answer)

 

Hanjin's problems started in April 2016, they were declared bankrupt a year ago (which is also 6+ months after they'd ceased shipping anything, anywhere). None of the books 'on the boat' at the moment are on Hanjin ships, or were on Hanjin ships. Legion wasn't on Hanjin ships.

SW Legion was originally announced for 4th quarter 2017/early 2018'. You could argue that it's slipped, but given they're going for worldwide release at the same time, and having gotten burned with Destiny by not having enough product available at launch, there's no reason to see this as down to Hanjin because, again, Legion wasn't on any Hanjin shipping and nothing had been shipped by Hanjin for about a year before Legion was even announced.

Hanjin certainly affected Ghosts of Dathomir, and assorted other books, but nothing coming out now is being affected by a shipping collapse nearly 2 years ago.

Edited by Evilref

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1 hour ago, Evilref said:

Hanjin's problems started in April 2016, they were declared bankrupt a year ago (which is also 6+ months after they'd ceased shipping anything, anywhere). None of the books 'on the boat' at the moment are on Hanjin ships, or were on Hanjin ships. Legion wasn't on Hanjin ships.

SW Legion was originally announced for 4th quarter 2017/early 2018'. You could argue that it's slipped, but given they're going for worldwide release at the same time, and having gotten burned with Destiny by not having enough product available at launch, there's no reason to see this as down to Hanjin because, again, Legion wasn't on any Hanjin shipping and nothing had been shipped by Hanjin for about a year before Legion was even announced.

Hanjin certainly affected Ghosts of Dathomir, and assorted other books, but nothing coming out now is being affected by a shipping collapse nearly 2 years ago.

There is a lot of knock on effect as a result of the problems however that were still being felt as late in the year, and having to reset the printers to reprint your last 3-4 months print runs means thwt everything announced/in development /at the printers/ on the boat get knocked back 3-4 months, which then knocks everything planned back 3-4 months further down the line , that effect can also be felt 12-18 months later , couple that with the knock on effect that delayed shipping because capacity is shunted down 8% and costs increased 50% which could efen lead to you looking to alternative supply chains. 

Its the knock on effect to it all (and i did mentiom that in my first post). A company like FFG with multiple product lines wouldnt have multiple product lines delayed by different types of product. If anything development of Genesys is more likely to contaminate SW RPG and Legion would contaminate products like Imperial Assault which has seen even more of a slow down than SW RPG.

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And, if that were the case, then the effect is on the 'At the Printers' stage of production, not shipping.

Simply put, 4 books all went 'on the boat' on the same date, one is being released weeks earlier than the others. Whatever the reason is, it's got nothing to do with Hanjin getting into trouble 2 years ago.

 

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6 minutes ago, Evilref said:

And, if that were the case, then the effect is on the 'At the Printers' stage of production, not shipping.

Simply put, 4 books all went 'on the boat' on the same date, one is being released weeks earlier than the others. Whatever the reason is, it's got nothing to do with Hanjin getting into trouble 2 years ago.

 

And the development of a miniatures game holding back a books line (most of the devs for Legion are likely to come from games like Imperial Assault not the RPG line, which probably put its weight behind getting Genesys out instead , so they quite possibly couldnt or didnt do anything about the delays in the Chinese shipping of the RPG books, look at the anniversary RPG for another example of a mega delay iirc it was on the boat a long time ago although absol will have those details likely)

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1 minute ago, syrath said:

And the development of a miniatures game holding back a books line (most of the devs for Legion are likely to come from games like Imperial Assault not the RPG line, which probably put its weight behind getting Genesys out instead , so they quite possibly couldnt or didnt do anything about the delays in the Chinese shipping of the RPG books, look at the anniversary RPG for another example of a mega delay iirc it was on the boat a long time ago although absol will have those details likely)

No one has said anything about development being the issue. I haven't seen anyone say that, other than you, because it obviously has nothing to do with the development of Legion, that seems to be a strawman you've neatly defeated there...

While I don't necessarily agree with it the conjecture as outlined runs down to available spending money/luxury spend in a month:

If a customer is going to spend, say, $130 on 4 RPG books all released in the same month/pay packet, then are they less likely to go and spend $200 on Star Wars Legion? And vice-versa.

Of course, similarly and without involving Legion at all, if a customer is going to spend $40 on one RPG book in a month, will they be able to spend $130 on 4?

Now, that's not getting into the problem of what happened with their development and printing time that saw all four books go 'on the boat' at the same time, and why their release schedule and project management has been so messed up (though that can have some callback to 2016/early 2017 problems of release), but that's irrelevant to 'four books went on the boat at the same time and are coming out at different times'.


Whether Legion is responsible, or they want stagger the books or something else is unknown until/unless there's a statement about it, and given how shocking their communications were over Ghosts of Dathomir, I expect they'll carry on being poor.

 

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4 hours ago, Evilref said:

And, if that were the case, then the effect is on the 'At the Printers' stage of production, not shipping.

Simply put, 4 books all went 'on the boat' on the same date, one is being released weeks earlier than the others. Whatever the reason is, it's got nothing to do with Hanjin getting into trouble 2 years ago.

 

Time to invoke A Certain Point of View.

Those 4 books were announced separately and intended to release separately. Both retailer and consumer were not expected to purchase 4 books simultaneously, so, despite being at FFG’s facilities, are seeing a staggered release. This can be seen as an after effect of the Hanjin issue, as the books would have arrived as planned were it not for Hanjin.

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6 hours ago, Evilref said:

Simply put, 4 books all went 'on the boat' on the same date, one is being released weeks earlier than the others. Whatever the reason is, it's got nothing to do with Hanjin getting into trouble 2 years ago.

Given that their process is a black box, you can't say that with any certainty :lol:

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15 hours ago, sfRattan said:

But if I gave you a bag of M&Ms and told you that 1 in 20 was poisoned and would give you vicious diarrhea for a week before your body's slow processes flushed it out... Would you chance it? Or would you find another bag of M&Ms? Is there any ratio of poisoned to good M&Ms that would make you chance it? That's organized play. That will always be organized play, and I'll reiterate that I'm extremely grateful FFG hasn't tried it with SWRPG.

People are people, not M&Ms. Bad players are a risk at any convention but considering that I've run con games for years and have yet to have had a player that was so bad I needed to kick him out, the risks are low.

A spineless GM who lets a bad player poison a table is a bad GM who should be reported to and replaced by the organizers.

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17 hours ago, TrystramK said:

Do you think that there is no way an organized play could work?  I mean certainly a standard interpretations chart could be issued for GMs to use?  

I do agree that organized play RPGs take the RP out of the G for many people.  However, it is also a rare group that really gets deep into the RP aspects, and isn't driven by Loot & flashy attacks.  

Thanks for the ideas!

Well, I can say for certain that my home group isn't playing FFG Star Wars for the loot and flashy attacks because the game system itself isn't particularly granular. There's a very low power creep so players who play FFG SW hoping to power game through a campaign are going to be very disappointed. These are the type of people who prefer dungeon crawls over more narrative, scenario-based adventures because a dungeon crawl is, at it's most basic, a math problem to be deciphered.

I don't think organized play would work in the way you're envisioning it because the way you're envisioning it seems to be more like D20/SAGA-style gaming. I can also tell you that, as someone who has written for games, coming up with a standard interpretations chart plus writing an adventure that's suitable for every career-type is such a grinding and awful process once you start doing it, nobody would want to do it. 

I could see a series of 4-hour, linked scenarios being released for convention play but I would really struggle to see them being treated as a "living" campaign. Or what the profit motive would be for Fantasy Flight considering that it wouldn't put any more money into their pockets. Keep in mind that D&D/Pathfinder organized play is essentially a massive marketing campaign on behalf of WotC/Paizo to get you to buy more supplemental books. FFG SW doesn't run on the same "splat book and miniature creep" model that Pathfinder/D&D does.

The various FFG SW miniatures games do run on a model of releasing a continuous stream of more miniatures for purchase, but that's all miniatures games! :D 

 

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12 minutes ago, Concise Locket said:

People are people, not M&Ms. Bad players are a risk at any convention but considering that I've run con games for years and have yet to have had a player that was so bad I needed to kick him out, the risks are low.

A spineless GM who lets a bad player poison a table is a bad GM who should be reported to and replaced by the organizers.

I wish it were that easy.  Having done my time playing nights at the FLGS, I've had far too many experiences that your solutions wouldn't solve.  Maybe cons are different, but people are people all right.  

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Just now, themensch said:

I wish it were that easy.  Having done my time playing nights at the FLGS, I've had far too many experiences that your solutions wouldn't solve.  Maybe cons are different, but people are people all right.  

FLGS's are a different animal because you're at the mercy of the owner, not the publisher. If the a-hole at the table is a friend of the owner, you're screwed. I'll admit, I've never run games at a game store but if the store owner is an alright dude/dudette, it seems like they'll be less tolerant of a-holery.

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Just now, Concise Locket said:

FLGS's are a different animal because you're at the mercy of the owner, not the publisher. If the a-hole at the table is a friend of the owner, you're screwed. I'll admit, I've never run games at a game store but if the store owner is an alright dude/dudette, it seems like they'll be less tolerant of a-holery.

I hope I have the same fortune going forward.  Poor experiences at cons and FLGS have left me feeling reluctant to participate in them because ain't nobody got time for that.  I guess I want an omelette but I'm unwilling to break eggs.  :lol:

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2 hours ago, themensch said:

Given that their process is a black box, you can't say that with any certainty :lol:

Fair point

Based on my time in the industry and related industries, experience of dealing with shipping companies, licensors, development, production, printing, distribution and common sense, I don't believe that Hanjin going out of business 12-15 months before these products were announced, let alone into shipping means I don't think Hanjin has anything to do with the current delay in release when they all went 'on the boat' at the same point, but only one is in stores (in the US) and the others haven't gone to shipping yet.

PS Hanjin were, quite clearly, not FFG's only shipping company. While we can surmise (again having to be supposition because of the lack of communication) that Ghosts of Dathomir was affected, they did not cease release of everything from China for the same period. Other products were being produced, shipped and released while that book was in limbo. This ongoing shifting of any issue back onto a singular (extensive but not catastrophic) event in 2016 is getting silly.

Edited by Evilref

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47 minutes ago, Concise Locket said:

Well, I can say for certain that my home group isn't playing FFG Star Wars for the loot and flashy attacks because the game system itself isn't particularly granular. There's a very low power creep so players who play FFG SW hoping to power game through a campaign are going to be very disappointed. These are the type of people who prefer dungeon crawls over more narrative, scenario-based adventures because a dungeon crawl is, at it's most basic, a math problem to be deciphered.

I don't think organized play would work in the way you're envisioning it because the way you're envisioning it seems to be more like D20/SAGA-style gaming. I can also tell you that, as someone who has written for games, coming up with a standard interpretations chart plus writing an adventure that's suitable for every career-type is such a grinding and awful process once you start doing it, nobody would want to do it. 

I could see a series of 4-hour, linked scenarios being released for convention play but I would really struggle to see them being treated as a "living" campaign. Or what the profit motive would be for Fantasy Flight considering that it wouldn't put any more money into their pockets. Keep in mind that D&D/Pathfinder organized play is essentially a massive marketing campaign on behalf of WotC/Paizo to get you to buy more supplemental books. FFG SW doesn't run on the same "splat book and miniature creep" model that Pathfinder/D&D does.

The various FFG SW miniatures games do run on a model of releasing a continuous stream of more miniatures for purchase, but that's all miniatures games! :D 

 

I think there's a really interesting problem to solve here.

To use some non-related games

GUMSHOE games are not 'find the monster, kill the monster, get the treasure' but do 'okay' at conventions (OKay because D&D and Pathfinder do crazy numbers), Likewise The One Ring, likewise Delta Green/Cthulhu, likewise assorted other games, so convention gaming in and of itself is not the issue but more the problems that arise with the 'living campaign' model as espoused by D&D/Pathfinder et al.

SWRPG games are in that niche between crunch and narrative. You can bling/monty haul the heck out of characters because of all the options, and i've read of 'Darth Revan is in my head and I have 5 force dice' games as well as 'we're scrabbling for enough money to eat this week' games.

I could see a 'living campaign' working as an expressly linked series of advantures, but at no point do I think that would be easy to highlight the strengths of the system. GM A interprets 2 advantages to mean X while GM B interprets them to mean what's on the spreadsheet would inately cause contradictions, as I think you highlighted in a previous post.

So yeah in theory it could work, but it would be a more limited version.

What can work is a game run in a store, in regular slots, with the same GM and running much like any campaign, but there's no 'take my character to the next game and run it under the next GM' as with the various living games out there.

Edited by Evilref

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20 hours ago, Evilref said:

I think there's a really interesting problem to solve here.

To use some non-related games

GUMSHOE games are not 'find the monster, kill the monster, get the treasure' but do 'okay' at conventions (OKay because D&D and Pathfinder do crazy numbers), Likewise The One Ring, likewise Delta Green/Cthulhu, likewise assorted other games, so convention gaming in and of itself is not the issue but more the problems that arise with the 'living campaign' model as espoused by D&D/Pathfinder et al.

SWRPG games are in that niche between crunch and narrative. You can bling/monty haul the heck out of characters because of all the options, and i've read of 'Darth Revan is in my head and I have 5 force dice' games as well as 'we're scrabbling for enough money to eat this week' games.

I could see a 'living campaign' working as an expressly linked series of advantures, but at no point do I think that would be easy to highlight the strengths of the system. GM A interprets 2 advantages to mean X while GM B interprets them to mean what's on the spreadsheet would inately cause contradictions, as I think you highlighted in a previous post.

So yeah in theory it could work, but it would be a more limited version.

What can work is a game run in a store, in regular slots, with the same GM and running much like any campaign, but there's no 'take my character to the next game and run it under the next GM' as with the various living games out there.

I've run GUMSHOE games for Pelgrane Press at GenCon for the past few years and my tables are usually full. The adventures are one-shots pulled from existing published books of adventures with pre-generated characters. They're intended to demonstrate the system to prospective buyers and give people, who wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity, a place to play the game. But no other game is going to do D&D/Pathfinder numbers because those games are the 900lb. gorilla of the industry... and because most (but not all) hard core D&D/Pathfinder players don't regularly play other RPGs.

I'm struggling to see what a slimmed-down or limited rule set would look like considering the dice mechanics in FFG SW are actually pretty simple. The core conceit of the system is that it's narrative and players and GMs are encouraged to put their own spin on the dice. That would basically limit dice rolls to "Did I hit it?" and "How much damage did I do?" I don't think that would be particularly fun but maybe there are people who would enjoy it. 

I think I agree with OP assertion that this system isn't getting a lot of back-end support from FFG. I don't think the publisher should feel obligated to put a bunch of effort into some sort of RPGA-style organized play system. But it would be nice if they put out the occasional free adventure or three. Or a free three-page write up on some out-of-the-way planet that's not going to go into a setting book. I've written gazetteer-style information for other game systems and I can knock those kinds of articles out in 8 - 9 hours if I'm motivated. Or just re-write something that was published for the D6 years and clean it up for the FFG system. I don't care.

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25 minutes ago, Concise Locket said:

I think I agree with OP assertion that this system isn't getting a lot of back-end support from FFG. I don't think the publisher should feel obligated to put a bunch of effort into some sort of RPGA-style organized play system. But it would be nice if they put out the occasional free adventure or three. Or a free three-page write up on some out-of-the-way planet that's not going to go into a setting book. I've written gazetteer-style information for other game systems and I can knock those kinds of articles out in 8 - 9 hours if I'm motivated. Or just re-write something that was published for the D6 years and clean it up for the FFG system. I don't care.

Agreed, while I don't think the market would support something like Star Wars Gamer, there no reason (other than cost/effort) that they couldn't do something such as the articles from Pelgrane's 'See Page XX'. They've sort of done it a few times with X-wing, and had people writing about it, but it's rare even for that sales behemoth.

E.g 1k words from you on sandbox gaming in the Tion Cluster would work well, or articles on ship/vehicle/weapon/armour modifications with examples to show how to make use of the systems. Or a regular 'GMing Star Wars games' series.

Obviously that's all taken up by third parties - excellent threads on the forums here, reddit, order 66 etc. Having things here wouldn't lead to so many 'where do I find out more about X' questions and pointing people all over the web for information/ideas/support.

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17 hours ago, Concise Locket said:

That metaphor is so reductive that it's meaningless. 

It's a metaphor about risk assessment. In how much detail should I attempt to account for all the unique facets of every potential person?

I'm fortunate enough that the risk I'm assessing is mostly of wasting my own time at an awful game table. For many, I'd assume the risks abusive people present are more severe. What's meaningless to them? A cold but necessary assessment of risk, or the unspoken something-or-other absent from the metaphor, the absence of which you call "reductive?"

Maybe you would be less upset if I used the much more common phrase "bad apple?"

Edited by sfRattan

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16 hours ago, Evilref said:

Agreed, while I don't think the market would support something like Star Wars Gamer, there no reason (other than cost/effort) that they couldn't do something such as the articles from Pelgrane's 'See Page XX'. They've sort of done it a few times with X-wing, and had people writing about it, but it's rare even for that sales behemoth.

E.g 1k words from you on sandbox gaming in the Tion Cluster would work well, or articles on ship/vehicle/weapon/armour modifications with examples to show how to make use of the systems. Or a regular 'GMing Star Wars games' series.

Obviously that's all taken up by third parties - excellent threads on the forums here, reddit, order 66 etc. Having things here wouldn't lead to so many 'where do I find out more about X' questions and pointing people all over the web for information/ideas/support.

**** I am sure there is cutting room floor stuff they could share. Even WoTC did this.

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57 minutes ago, Khazadune said:

I’m boycotting any other product till Fully Operational comes out, and might reconsider making any purchase after. This company’s b u l l s h I t  timelines won’t be reinforced by my wallet. 

That's your right, but....really?  This must be exceedingly important to you, I'm so sorry for your pain.  

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6 hours ago, themensch said:

That's your right, but....really?  This must be exceedingly important to you, I'm so sorry for your pain.  

This company clearly only listens when it comes to money.

Also, I don’t need your condescending attitude, so you can go ahead and keep it.    

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