Despite what you may see – especially if you live in Texas, where masks have been relatively "optional" throughout the course of the pandemic – the world is not "back to normal." Even today, over two years after the first wave of lockdowns and caution, the world is a wreck and game publishing is still affected in many ways.
- Shipping, while better than it was a year or so ago, is still slower and more expensive than it was pre-pandemic.
- Manufacturing, regardless of where you may be producing games and expansions, is slow . . . and the paper issues are driving up costs.
- Conventions have restarted, yes, but they're far from safe. After members of our team tested positive following conventions earlier this year, we've made the choice to skip conventions this summer. The health and safety of our team comes ahead of the benefits of showing off and teaching games at conventions.
None of these problems will go away soon. And despite chants of "make your games in the US," we can tell you from experience that doing so isn't the sole solution. First, not everything can be made in the US. Second, those things that can be made in the US often cost considerably more to produce than manufacturing elsewhere. And third, even the items we can produce in the US are rarely sticking to schedules; the new Car Wars and Ogre playmats are being manufactured in the US, and we're facing delays!
While the world will never return to the "normal" we remember from the before times, we can improve the odds by getting vaccinated, getting boosters when we're eligible, wearing our masks, and doing all we can to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes testing before gathering or after assembling with a large group. If you're in the US, please visit this USPS page to order free COVID test kits.
We will get through this and, on the other side, I hope we get to attend a giant game convention and spend a weekend having fun with friends we've been missing these last few years.
-- Phil Reed