Getting Too Big For Our Hat

The game industry is hard work, and even when you’re “living the dream,” there isn’t always a guarantee it will be a good dream. Today, we have some sad—but thankfully, not dire—news to share with you.

In the last few weeks we did a financial review of the company, reviewing both the past performance of our product lines, and our future financial/cashflow projections. The results were unfortunately grim. The short version is that we’ve been publishing too many games that haven’t performed well enough to continue at our current pace and volume.

Looking at what we’ll need to do to stay solvent has been a painful process. On the project side it means focusing largely on RPG books in our 2019 roster. We understand the risks and costs involved in them very well, as we’ve been making many of them over the past 13 years. We believe that narrowing our focus to focus on our core strengths will be best for helping us get back into the black in 2019. Unfortunately doing so means cutting or postponing a lot of projects (a dozen in total) composed mostly, but not exclusively, of our our in-development non-book products.

Our hope is that once we’re on sturdy footing again we’d be able to pick up some more experimental projects, but in the near-term we’ve got to focus on what we know works.

We’ll also be seeing some staffing changes as part of our effort to get our costs under control. Carrie Harris, our Head of Marketing, and Chris Hanrahan, our Head of Business Development, are leaving at the end of October. This will give Chris and Carrie the opportunity to focus on some other things that they’ve been eager to take on. And sadly, our significantly decreased art direction needs for 2019 also means we have to let our good friend Brian Patterson go after the end of 2018.

This process has been a rough ride for everyone involved. We’ve done our best to make it as gentle as possible. Many of the projects on our cut list are getting “mothballed” rather than canceled, and we hope that in 2020 and beyond we can return to them. A few others we will work with to find new homes at other publishers. They wouldn’t have gone on our (overambitious) prior roster if we weren’t excited to see them all make it out into the world!

The silver lining, if you will, is that we’ve spotted this problem well before we’ve run into it at a speed which would not have done good things to the company or anyone at it. Seeing a problem from far off and course-correcting to avoid it is a good thing! Ultimately, these changes are about regaining our footing and rebuilding our core strengths and finances to where we can return to our growth agenda in future years. The company that remains will be a company positioned to survive, and even thrive, in the ever-changing landscape of the tabletop game industry of 2020 and beyond.

Projects that remain with us from now through 2019 include:

  • Tachyon Squadron: Releases next week!
  • Improv for Gamers: Coming later this year!
  • Channel A: The Kickstarter on the Alpha Genesis Edition concluded recently and we are hard at work getting it ready for the manufacturer.
  • Shadow of the Century: Our new successor to Spirit of the Century, moving the SOTCverse timeline forward to 1984! Artwork is in development and should wrap within a month or so. This will be the final digital release to our Fate Core 2013 KS’s backers, and will be followed by a release in print likely within a few months of that.
  • Fate of Cthulhu: We had a very successful playtest round recently, and the team is working hard on taking all our playtester feedback into account as they work on producing the final complete draft. We expect to Kickstart this around March of 2019.
  • Band of Blades: We’ll be bringing you another Forged in the Dark game from the Scum & Villainy team in 2019.
  • Agon: We’re working with John Harper and others to update his classic swords-and-sandals RPG of greek heroes. Expect a Kickstarter about a year out from now, very approximately.
  • Monster of the Week: Tome of Mysteries: Michael Sands from Generic Games, designer of Monster of the Week, has been working on a supplement for the game for a while now. We’re happy to confirm that we will publish this as well. Layout is currently underway.
  • For the Queen: A card-based story-building game from Alex Roberts — one of our few remaining non-books — is targeted for next year.
  • Digital stretch goals for Uprising and Tachyon Squadron remain in development, and will be released to the backers, and then for sale on DriveThruRPG at least, once ready.
  • Patreon! We still have several Fate Worlds of Adventure in development to bring to you, pay-what-you-want like the rest of the line over on DriveThruRPG.

As you can see, that’s still a plenty busy slate of games and projects for us to get out the door over the course of the next year and change. So fear not, fans of the Hat! We’ll continue to bring you a selection of the best games in the field for the foreseeable future.

And thank you all, so much, for your past and continued support!