News Digest Episode 125

This is a copy of the “script” we used to organise Brainwaves Episode 125. It is not a full transcript but should give you an overview of the news as we reported it.

Brainwaves Episode 125


Petersen games in Pallet Wars

  • Back in July of last year in episode 103, we reported on the apparent troubles that publisher Petersen Games found itself in. Petersen Games are the publishers of Cthulhu Wars. At the time there was controversy over their firing of an employee and they indicated at the time that they would likely ask for more money for backers for forthcoming projects. 
  • As inevitable as Azathoth awakening, that time has now arrived
  • On a recent Kickstarter update, entitled “Big Update for US Backers”, Arthur Petersen laid out the situation for backers. 
  • In short, stock is in the EU, on the way to Australia, held up by misprints in Canada. T he US. Well that’s a longer tale. 
  • Arthur goes onto say this with regards to US fulfillment
    • After enough requests, we are opening the door for people to voluntarily contribute to shipping costs. Totally understand this desire, to have product in the states and not have access to it is frustrating to us as well.
    • Here’s how the numbers break down:
      • 1.  There are 87 pallets left with backer product (90 minus the 3 that already left).
      • 2.  Gamerati will ship out FULL PALLETS. They will not do individual orders.
      • 3.  It costs approximately $1640 to ship the contents of each pallet.
      • 4.  Getting an average of $55 shipping support from each backer means that 100% of product will ship as fast as Gamerati can send it out.
  • They go onto layout that they have added pages to the website listing all the pallets and containers that the games are on. There are 5 containers with a total of 90 pallets in them across all the containers according the Petersen site. 
  • Backers can “contribute” at $10 a time towards the cost of getting an individual pallet shipped, but as we quoted above, Petersen are looking for $55 on average per backer. They say they have had one backer want to pay $1000 towards the costs. 
  • Petersen games have committed to shipping 6 pallets a month based on their current revenue stream. 
  • As far as we can tell backers will know which pallet their game is on so can contribute directly towards getting their game. 
  • However. 
  • One of our Discord members is a backer for the game. We have their permission to share their opinion and information. Their handle is @allbronatar and real name Mihai Georgescu. Mihai backed several petersen games at the ‘get access to the pledge manager’ level but this campaign was the only one they fully backed.  
  • Mihai has been following developments and alerted us to the following. It seems that some backers who have received their game already have been asked to contribute to the pallets that supposedly contain their game. 
  • One user said they had received their pledge on the 24th of June and the details of the pallet their game was in on the 30th. 
  • In an update posted on July 6th, 2023, Sandy Petersen said that some pallets had now gone out and that backers had contributed almost $12k to shipping. Pallets 1, 3, 7, 14, 15, 17, and 18 have shipped. The next ones to go are 77, 44, 30, 33, 60, and 70. 
  • Some backers responded to this update by saying that they hadn’t even had emails to tell them which pallet their game is on. 
  • Our Discord member Mihai had this to say about the situation:
    • For context, I backed a few other Petersen Games around the same time, at the “nominal pledge manager entry fee” level, but CW04 is the only one I’ve properly pledged for.
    • I think I’m very firmly in the moderate camp. This and the other projects in the backlog have been poorly managed and planned from the start. They all claimed they were “China ready”, as in the files just need to be sent to the factory, but they’ve undergone numerous redesigns and delays. I understand that covid and global shipping crises have affected everyone in the hobby, but this project is so far gone that it’s honestly baffling how it even got to this point (they delayed shipping to backers in order to manufacture more for retail, without actually getting the money from said retailers, which… I don’t even know how that works).
    • On one hand, I feel for PG, they’re very obviously in a very bad spot, and I feel especially bad for those that have lost their jobs since all this happened. But it seems they’re trying to dig themselves out of a very deep hole, but they’re digging in the wrong direction, and have done for some time.
  • We aren’t done with Petersen games quite yet
  • During this time when many were asking questions of Petersen games, one of their mods on the Discord tried to answer enquires about pallets by sharing a spreadsheet with some. Unfortunately this had hidden tabs on it that contained personal information of some of the backers.
  • Petersen Games said this about the incident
    • Last week, US Backer PII (no payment information) was accidentally exposed to our PG Discord Community Server. We removed the exposure as soon as it was brought to our attention and notified all members of the Discord that they must delete the sheet in question if they had downloaded it.
    • How did this happen? When we hit the daily email cap, our volunteer Discord moderator wanted to address the various pings asking for pallet information. In an effort to give these backers a chance to locate their product/pallet, the volunteer stripped out the PII from the table used to distribute the mass emails and uploaded a version of the spreadsheet that had (to their knowledge) only three remaining columns, one with partially obscured emails, one with pallet numbers, and one with with the corresponding pallet link. Unfortunately, there were two hidden tabs in file, which the volunteer should have checked for, but didn’t. They, of course, feel horrible at this breach of privacy…as do I. If there is a silver lining, it is that it was in our private Discord and not on a public website which would have had far worse implications. We’ve asked everyone in the Discord numerous times to delete any lingering files and will continue to do so.

Gizmodo welcomes their AI Overlords

  • We know we are a tabletop news show but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep our eye on the wider world, and this next story caught our attention. 
  • We’ve all heard about the march of AI and that programmes like Chat GPT and Midjourney are causing creative folk like us no end of concern. 
  • Now site Gizmodo, who we’ve shared links to in the past, has gone a step further by employing Gizmodo Bot to write an article on the Chronology you should watch Star Wars in.
  • Not only is that chronology wrong but it also is barely an article having no introduction at all and just being a list of films and series in the Star Wars universe. 
  • Linda Codega who writes for i09, another site under the Gawker Media group that owns Gizmodo, shared this from their writing team:
    • “For 15 years, io9 has grown an audience that demands quality coverage of genre entertainment, from critical analysis, to insightful explainers, to accurate news and industry-shaping investigative reporting. 
    • These readers have grown io9 into one of the best performing desks at Gizmodo, G/O Media’s flagship site in terms of traffic, and they have done so by rigorously holding this team and the colleagues that came before us to a standard of expertise and accuracy that we have been proud to achieve. 
    • The article published on io9 today rejects the very standards this team holds itself to on a daily basis as critics and as reporters. It is shoddily written, it is riddled with basic errors; in closing the comments section off it denies our readers, the lifeblood of this network, the chance to publicly hold us accountable, and to call this work exactly what it is: embarrassing, unpublishable, disrespectful of both the audience and the people who work here, and a blow to our authority and integrity.
    • It is shameful that this work has been put to our audience and to our peers in the industry as a window to G/O’s future, and it is shameful that we as a team have had to spend an egregious amount of time away from our actual work to make it clear to you the unacceptable errors made in publishing this piece. ” 
  • It is signed by all members of the io9 writing team including the Deputy Editor
  • Since this statement Gizmodo has not responded and has left the article up. 

Kickstarter steers away from Blockchain

  • In 2021 Kickstarter announced its intention to move a lot of the back end architecture of the company to a blockchain model. 
  • The intention at the time was to decentralise some of the software that runs the platform but it was unclear how this would benefit backers or creators on the platform. 
  • Now it seems that Kickstarter are walking back from this stance
  • Confirming to website Polygon on Thursday the 29th, Kickstarter said they are
    • not committed to moving Kickstarter to the blockchain
  • This followed a news post on the 22nd that brought to a close the inaugural Community council. IN the news post Kickstarter thanked the council members and said that because of their feedback they would now be focusing on
    • The core business and needs of our creative community
  • Participants in the council game from all sorts of backgrounds including the world of gaming. 
  • Kickstarter further clarified their stance to Polygon
  • “Where we are focused and deeply committed […] is on our core business and making Kickstarter better. This is why we’ve prioritized finding ways to give creators access to the pledge management and digital marketing tools they need to be successful during and after their campaign period.
  • “The creation of the Community Advisory Council was actually born out of the feedback we received about the [blockchain] protocol, We saw a need to create another surface for feedback and conversation with our community so that they could be involved in our direction and our decision making — not just about the protocol but about all the topics that are top of mind for us and our community. We hope to continue this dialogue with our second cohort of the council this fall.”


One Ring has been found

  • On the last cast we reported on the search for the coveted One Ring 001/001 card from the latest Magic: The Gathering set called Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth. The One Ring card is available as a regular card in packs, but this version of it has only had one copy printed. 
  • Well Sauron will be happy because the card has been pulled from a pack in Canada on the 30th of June. 
  • It has been graded as gem 9, which is 1 off the highest grade of gem 10. It was graded by a company called Professional Sports Authenticator, which is a division of Collectors Universe Inc. This is a company based in Santa Ana, California who grade all sorts of collectors items from baseball cards to SNES games. 
  • This grading indicates that the card has some small flaw or imperfection, which could be a result of printing rather than mishandling by the owner. 
  • The search for the one ring had caused a frenzy over the collectors booster boxes that potentially held the coveted jewelery. Boxes were going for around $518 dollars just before the card was found, about twice what they would normally according to site Polygon and writer Charlie Theel. 
  • The card was pulled in Whitby, Ontario at Maximum Cards and Collectibles. It is apparently now in the possession of Dave and Adam’s, a New York reseller of cards. They had been offering $1 million for the card. A spanish game store had offered over $2 million last cast. 
  • According to the Polygon article the owner is now entertaining serious bids of over $1 million through a law firm. 

Ennie Award Nominees

  • The Ennie awards have rolled around once more with the list of the 2023 nominees. This has just been announced on the day of recording. 
  • The Ennie awards area fan based set of accolades given out once a year to RPG designers, artists, writers and publishers. The Awards are a spin off from RPG focused site ENWorld
  • The awards cover a large number of categories including Best Adventure, Best Cartography, Best Electronic Book and many more besides. 
  • We aren’t going to go through the whole list as there are 5 nominees per category and 23 different categories. 
  • Free League make an appearance with nominations for Vaesen – Mythic Britain and Ireland and the new Blade Runner RPG. The enormous WFRP: Enemy Within special edition gets a nomination under best production values. Rowan Rook and Deckard get a nomination under best production as well for the DIE RPG. There are a lot of different types of games and products getting to have their moment.

Game Crafter gets into Warehousing

  • Game Crafter is a US based company that provides components for folk to prototype their games and also make small run games through their printing services. They print cards, boards, all sorts of game related objects. 
  • Now they are expanding the business and getting into warehousing for games. 
  • From the testimonials they have on the site it sounds like they’ve been doing this for a few clients already but now the service is being opened up to the public at large. 
  • The services on offer include Pallet storage, Inventory management alongside Domestic and International Shipping. 

Dannie Loe leaves Hachette

  • Hachette Boardgames USA has announced that Danni Loe is leaving the Marketing Manager Position
  • Loe was one of the early staff members at the company. 
  • Posting on Twitter Danni said
    • Long Story short: I was presented with a new opportunity that has me excited and inspired, but that announcement is secret for a couple more weeks. 
    • I leave the HBG team with nothing but love and appreciate their support the past few weeks as I’ve been transitioning responsibilities

Chaosium Canadian Woes

  • Chaosium, the publishers of the Call of Cthlhu RPG, has been having issues with their Canadian fulfilment. They posted this thread on twitter on the 29th of June.
    • TLDR – we had to suspend our Canadian fulfilment centre operations due to poor service and lack of communication from our local partner in Canada. We have not opened a replacement yet. 1/
    • Chaosium has invested significant time and money setting up fulfilment warehouses across the world covering about 85% of our main customers, something that is not easy for a company our size. 2/
    • Last December we announced we regretfully had to suspend our Canadian fulfilment centre operations. This was due to poor service and lack of communication from our local partner in Canada. We fully refunded all customers whose orders were in the backlog of unshipped items. 3/
    • Since then we’ve actively looked at new options for Canadian fulfilment, and have identified several potential companies who could take on this role. 4/
    • Unfortunately though, we’re still attempting to get our inventory back from the existing Canadian warehouse. This has proven to be frustratingly slow, but we do need to close the loop on that before switching to a new Canadian fulfilment centre. 5/
    • We know this is not the news our Canadian fans would like to hear, and we apologise. 6/
    • Please note our two Canadian distributors, Universal and Lion Rampant, are in no way affected by this situation. They both order directly from our US Warehousing & Fulfilment company Bang/Sheridan. This means our products continue to be available at Canadian retail outlets. 7/
    • Please also note our existing Chaosium fulfilment centres in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and EU (Poland) are unaffected. If you order direct from the PDF is included in price. 8/end
  • Fulfillment centres deal with customers directly whereas distributors deal business to business. 

Jobs, Opportunities, and Events

Bez Leaving Party

Bez, designer of many, many games including Wibbell++ and In a Bind, is heading for pastures new. She is holding a leaving party in August. It’s happening in the Marriott Hotel in Milton Keynes from the 11th – 13th of August. It will be full of games and fun and you are invited along. Details in the link we will provide and you can get in touch with Bez for a discount on the price of attending, but you’ll need to book your own hotel room. 

Patreon Shoutouts

Kevin Bertram from Fort Circle Games
James Naylor
Shaun Newan

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Sir Meeple


100 year of Hasbro Monopoly

  • It only seems like yesterday that the Hassenfeld Brothers, Herman, Hillel, and Henry, started selling textile in Providence, Rhode Island in December 1923. Since then, the company has grown and taken much more items of business and now trades under the name Hasbro. Well it’s been 100 years and many games, toys and intellectual properties are under the Hasbro belt, and what could you make to celebrate the centenary but a version of Monopoly?
  • Monopoly Hasbro 100 takes the game we all know and presumably love and turns the properties into Hasbro-led IPs, including Nerf, GI Joe, Scrabble and Magic: The Gathering. And of course, Monopoly takes pride of place in the spot of Mayfair (or Boardwalk).
  • For pieces, play as classic toys such as a My Little Pony, Mr Potato Head, Peppa Pig, or a Tonka Truck and build Lincoln Log cabins and Littlest Pet Shops

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Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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  1. 10 Jul 2023

    […] iTunes LinkSpotify LinkNews Digest 125 […]

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