Evil Hat's Fate of Cthulhu Kickstarter not shipping to Europe [There's a reason, see tweet in post #8]

Jagash

Genesis of Legend
Validated User
As a small publisher _and_ an international customer, there's a lot of math going on in the background that folks might not be as aware of. Fred is absolutely making the sensible decision in the current context, despite how it may seem.

Printing a black & white hardcover book through a 2000 unit offset print run, based on my current quotes, runs about $3.60 USD per unit, and the price drops even more as the quantities increase. Printing a single copy of that same book costs about $8.75 USD per unit, and will tend to have a noticeably lower print quality with a higher level of returns / complaints. If you are upgrading to full colour, those prices roughly double on both sides. I am not privy to all of the specific printing numbers that Evil Hat is working with, but I can easily extrapolate even more favourable deals on offset print runs, and identical prices for Drivethru.

As a data point, I have had to send three copies of a single product to South Africa. Even using the most creative options available, the unreliability of the international postal service meant I was losing about $20 USD on the pledge _after_ charging a significant premium. When you add in the particular challenges associated with board game shipping, it's terrifying.

By contrast, shipping to international retail stores via distribution channels is remarkably affordable thanks to freight forwarders. If Evil Hat was to ship a copy of a $40 book to your friendly local gaming store, they would walk away with about ~$16 of that total, and there is no significant shipping cost on their end. Even better, the vast majority of the money they are forfeiting goes into supporting your local retail stores, and _you_ get the product cheaper because the shipping gets subsidised via distribution.

Trust me when I say that there is no mismanagement of funds on Evil Hat's side. The marketplace and shipping landscapes are significantly scarier than most folks realise.
 

Uthred

Nature's critical miss
Validated User
Trust me when I say that there is no mismanagement of funds on Evil Hat's side. The marketplace and shipping landscapes are significantly scarier than most folks realise.
In the twitter thread linked upthread Mr Hicks literally says that part of the problem with the disastrous KS was bad accounting device i.e. mismanagement of funds. I don't think anyone's saying international shipping isnt complex. But at the same time lots of companies of similar size do it. It's not that it can't be done, it's that Evil Hat can't/don't want to. Which is of course their perogative.
 

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
In the twitter thread linked upthread Mr Hicks literally says that part of the problem with the disastrous KS was bad accounting device i.e. mismanagement of funds. I don't think anyone's saying international shipping isnt complex. But at the same time lots of companies of similar size do it. It's not that it can't be done, it's that Evil Hat can't/don't want to. Which is of course their perogative.
It doesn't say anything of the kind.
 

Jagash

Genesis of Legend
Validated User
In the twitter thread linked upthread Mr Hicks literally says that part of the problem with the disastrous KS was bad accounting device i.e. mismanagement of funds. I don't think anyone's saying international shipping isnt complex. But at the same time lots of companies of similar size do it. It's not that it can't be done, it's that Evil Hat can't/don't want to. Which is of course their perogative.
Bad accounting advice is _very_ different from mismanagement of funds. The former is a situation where a contractor didn't provide the specific information that would have led to the optimal outcomes, while the latter is far more serious.

As a company of smaller size, the only way that I manage the risk is by only producing physical books and not paying myself for my labour, which isn't exactly the most sustainable method either.
 

Uthred

Nature's critical miss
Validated User
🔴 Warning + Threadban
It doesn't say anything of the kind.
If you're going to call someone a liar you could probably do the bare minimum of clicking on the mentioned link. I mean I'd have to be an idiot to make up something that could be so easily proven false, or you know, verified as being true.


To save you the trouble of clicking on the link, which is apparently a bridge too far, "A problem of timing with taxes, royalties payments, rising shipping costs, and scale (including the shipping bill for that project being six figures on its own). There was also some bad accounting advice in the mix in there too, which complicated the matter. " Edit: Ah apparently the new forum software embeds tweets.

Bad accounting advice is _very_ different from mismanagement of funds. The former is a situation where a contractor didn't provide the specific information that would have led to the optimal outcomes, while the latter is far more serious.
Excuse my evident ignorance, but I dont see how managing funds poorly isnt mismanagement in a literal or common sense? Perhaps it also has use as a term of art?
 

Jagash

Genesis of Legend
Validated User
Excuse my evident ignorance, but I dont see how managing funds poorly isnt mismanagement in a literal or common sense? Perhaps it also has use as a term of art?
Mismanagement of funds in this context would refer to embezzlement, which is very much different.
 

Uthred

Nature's critical miss
Validated User
Mismanagement of funds in this context would refer to embezzlement, which is very much different.
Ah well it certainly wasn't my intent to imply that. I only meant that in a literal sense that a problem with how the funds were managed in that instance contributed to the problem, certainly not to impugn Mr Hicks reputation.
 

Tanka

We See You
Staff member
Moderator
Validated User
If you're going to call someone a liar you could probably do the bare minimum of clicking on the mentioned link. I mean I'd have to be an idiot to make up something that could be so easily proven false, or you know, verified as being true.


To save you the trouble of clicking on the link, which is apparently a bridge too far, "A problem of timing with taxes, royalties payments, rising shipping costs, and scale (including the shipping bill for that project being six figures on its own). There was also some bad accounting advice in the mix in there too, which complicated the matter. " Edit: Ah apparently the new forum software embeds tweets.

Excuse my evident ignorance, but I dont see how managing funds poorly isnt mismanagement in a literal or common sense? Perhaps it also has use as a term of art?

Moderator Text:

There is absolutely zero reason to respond with this much hostility. Leave the thread.
 

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
Mismanagement of funds in this context would refer to embezzlement, which is very much different.
Thanks for continuing to explain what was really going on, it's appreciated - as are your own insights into the realities of publishing.
 

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
Here's a fleshed out Evil Hat post on the subject:

I’m having to write variations on this response repeatedly today, because many people believe that after 12 prior Kickstarters—many of which did do some variation on international shipping as I tried to find scenarios that could actually work for us—I simply don’t know what I’m doing by making the choice not to offer it here.
Our business reasons for our shipping setup here was developed through careful experimentation, research, and over the course of the prior twelve kickstarters, many of which *did* offer international shipping.

Then we had one where shipping costs overruns nearly financially destroyed the company and led to us taking out a six-figure loan that we’re still paying off (comfortably, thankfully, due to other successes and making smart choices like limiting where we’ll ship). Yes, some other factors went into that as well, and I’m grateful that we were able to learn from it and, more importantly, recover from it. But the simply massive shipping bill, a very large portion of which was internationally based, didn’t help. That there is what you call a risk factor, and businesses that survive, especially in low-revenue industries like tabletop games, survive because they eliminate risk factors they just can’t otherwise reliably control.

At the end of the day, all we’re asking international folks to do is wait for the book’s release and buy it through a store supplied by a distribution channel. We sell to a number of them in the international market, see www.evilhat.com/home/for-retailers for our list. Post-publication distribution, unlike international shipping reward tiers in Kickstarters, actually does scale and work for us without risking us destroying the company.

When it comes down to it, we can’t keep falling on our sword to please every potential customer’s idea of what options should be offered during a Kickstarter. If that means you can’t support us, we get it. You need to do what makes sense for you.

We need to do what makes sense for making sure there’s still a company here to make more games.
 
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