So what's happening with Gloomhaven in retail?

December 05, 2017

I spend so much time writing updates to my Gloomhaven Kickstarter backers, I very often neglect the (hopefully) thousands of people hoping to buy Gloomhaven once it hits retail. So today I thought I'd take some time to explain what is going on with that whole situation. We pick up our story where we left it: with a bunch of pre-orders from distributors and a bright, optimistic future in front of us. In that future, the pre-orders were supposed to deliver to distributors somewhere around August. In the present, though, it is December and Kickstarter backers are just now getting their copies. It has been a long, frustrating year. I don't think it is necessarily constructive to go into why there have been such monumental, humiliating delays, but the delays existed nonetheless, and we are finally at the end of them. Now that the end is in sight, we are almost ready to announce an in-store date. Almost. You see, the thing is, because we organized pre-orders for distributors, certain stipulations were made. We had to make it fair for all distributors who did pre-order, so the games that they are now currently receiving can't be released until all distributors have their copies. So while some have their copies now, because, well, you know, delays, there are others who won't receive theirs for another month. Which is a long-winded way of saying that Gloomhaven won't make it to retail by Christmas. The last of the distributors will receive their copies in early January, and once those last boats start arriving and we know exactly when Gloomhaven will be in everyone's hands, then we will be able to announce an in-store date. That date will also be in January. I think one reason people have been emailing me a lot about exactly when the game will be available in retail is because the first retail release was so ridiculous (see, again, our story thus far). There weren't nearly enough copies for everyone who wanted them. Fortunately, shortages will not be the case this time. We are printing so many copies. So many copies. They will not sell out instantly, so there is no need to camp out at your local game store the day of. The goal, in fact, is to keep Gloomhaven stocked in retail for the foreseeable future. No more shortages, no more crazy Kickstarters. Just a massive game box constantly available at you retail store of choice. (Edit: read the update below - apparently I'm wrong.) Oh, and just so we're all on the same page, the game going into retail is exactly the same as the game available during the Kickstarter. You can't buy the extra solo scenarios, but those will also be available in January through the BGG store. So let's all just calmly wait for January to come, and we will all be able to own a copy of Gloomhaven like normal, civilized people, with a retail release that is as drama-free as possible. Sounds nice to me. UPDATE: We'll it looks like we are going to experience some shortages here. All distributors who pre-ordered are getting all the copies they pre-ordered, of course, but the left over copies we had as holdover are already spoken for, and there is already significant demand for more. So what does this mean? Retailers who didn't pre-order are having a hard time getting their hands on copies and those who did pre-order have realized they need more copies, and are having a hard time getting a hold of those. We are already working on printing more copies (though there is no clear timeline on when they will be available yet), and that is really all that can be done at this point. We did our best to anticipate demand, as I explained in this earlier post, but the problem is that it is more-or-less impossible. Retailers have a reactionary business model for the most part, and that doesn't work when we need to anticipate demand months in the future. At the height of the Gloomhaven buzz earlier this year, I ran a Kickstarter, and then printed twice as many copies as what I sold through that. Turns out it wasn't enough, and I guess now we just have to be patient while I print more. It's a stupidly large game with a lot of components, so it may take a while.

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