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A little walk behind the curtain.

We ran into the blessings & banes of reprints over the summer. We had the BattleTech Introductory Box Set, Total Warfare and A Time of War go out of stock all at the same time.

The initial reaction (and a correct one) is yea! That much of the line continuing to sell well after numerous years of publication and multiple reprints (we’ve sold over 20,000 copies of Total Warfare, for example, across three reprints, with this being the fourth reprint) is fantastic.

The second reaction, though, is “oh, crap.” There’s a couple of reasons for that:

1. It means that all of the direct ways into the BattleTech line for a new player are cut off: the easiest way into the boardgame, the box set gone; the second way in Total Warfare gone; and finally the back-door, so to speak, via the RPG in A Time of War, gone.

2. It means that significant layout time needs to be spent creating new, corrected files (based upon known errata and sometimes FAQs) and uploading those files; as opposed to being able to spread that work out some so it’s inter spliced with layout on new books.

3. Having it occur weeks before Gen Con means there’s nothing that can be done about it…all efforts are still on layout for everything from the last books heading to print to the marketing materials, to player hand outs, and so on. Then Pax Prime is 9 days later. And then, no matter how much you try, after the months’ long sprint to Gen Con, there’s simply down time as everyone collapses…

4. Finally, it means the system for tracking reprints to get a reprint going before we’re out of a given book didn’t work, so we need to revise.

So yes, that’s awesome for BattleTech. But when they come up all together and under the timing they did…it actually is a bane that kicks ya for a while.

The Introductory Box Set is at the printers and should start shipping to our warehouse in late January (remember it’s overseas), while Total Warfare is again available on December 18th; still working to get A Time of War into the pipeline.

While we were at all of this, we made the decision to go ahead and create a corrected PDF for TechManual. While it’s not getting a reprint, like any of these giant rulebooks, it’s got a lot of errata after over half a decade of use by the fans. What’s more, unlike Total Warfare–or even Tactical Operations or Strategic Operations–because it’s never been reprinted, it’s never been corrected. So the work to input all of those corrections, especially when sometime it’s paragraphs replacing sentences, is daunting and incredibly painful for layout. Huge kudos to Matt and Ray (and before them Adam) for diving down those rabbit holes and somehow making our corrections all fit.

Hopefully the TechManual will finally be done and available in the near future and Ray can get back to those new books (print as well as PDF-only) coming down the pipeline.

Randall