STATUM ATLANTICUM ANNO MMXXIII
It’s been another great year at Wargames Atlantic - our biggest year yet - not without it’s challenges but what’s the fun in not having any challenges?!
In this update last year we were about to release our 22nd-25th box sets. We’re now about to release our 36th-38th!
The big news from the end of last year is the launch of Atlantic Digital. We’ve been keeping an eye on the 3D printing space for a long time (and 3D printing has been part of our workflow from day one). We determined the time was now right to throw our hat into the ring.
There are a lot of reasons to go the 3D route which we’ve talked about here and online:
- make smaller sets/characters that wouldn't be viable in hard plastic (just like other companies make non-hard plastic figures in metal or resin)
- create conversion parts for existing plastic sets
- make a lot MORE great 28mm figures for you
- make things much, much faster
- have your participation in what gets made
- give the sculpting team a chance to create interesting things that they want to design
We knew we wanted to offer 3D STL files for folks who had their own printers (or access to one) but we also wanted to make it easy for non-printers to just buy figures that we made in this format. Our solution was partnering with MyMiniFactory which helps us do all these things.
We’ve set up a Tribe on MMF - a monthly subscription service that provides you with figures and complete sets for all 11 of our ranges each month! These are built around a theme each month - December was “Civilians”, January is “Rebels and Revolutionaries”, February will be “Religions and Cults”, and March is being voted on now.
We also use MMF’s physical printing arm Only-Games.co to sell physical printed versions of our digital sculpts in smaller packs. Eventually we will be selling printed versions of these products on our own site so that you can bundle plastic sets with printed resin products. We’ll be putting that in place over the coming months.
Hard Plastic Production
The big move of our manufacturing from China to the US took a longer time to ramp up to the levels of China-quantities production. Now we’re there with the right equipment, team, and processes and firing on all thrusters.
Our original plan was to ramp up in 2022 to 4-5 new hard plastic releases each month and we built the Release Schedule to prepare for that volume. But since it became a restructuring year we decided to refocus on the fundamentals…more on that below.
We also want to move toward GLOBAL releases. Right now this is how it works:
- New set is sculpted and parts are sent to engineering
- While engineering happens we print 3D models for painting
- While tooling is happening the photos of the models are given to Henry Hyde (who will already have the box illustration) to design the box
- We print the boxes in the UK and send enough for US and Australian/Asian production to the US (amazingly this is less expensive than printing in the US)
- At the same time we run the plastic in the US. Some gets packed into the individual boxes for the US/Australian warehouses and some is sent as cartons of sprue to the UK where our friends at Sarissa pack out our boxes for us and then do UK/EU fulfillment
- But…then we run into ship and air schedules for getting things from the US to the UK and Australia. Ideally we’d like to have everything in each warehouse ready to go and all pre-orders ship out the same day…a Global Release date. That’s going to be the goal for future releases after the current batch are all out the door but this may take some time to perfect.
Speaking of the current batch - Ooh Rah are en route to the UK (arriving Southampton on the 13th February), Landsknecht Ogres and Harvesters are with the freight company waiting for a spot on a ship. Ooh Rah, SpaceNam, Landsknecht Ogres, and Harvesters are all going via air courier to Australia (so will beat the UK). The two sets we did for 02 Hundred Hours - SAS/Commandos and German Sentries are having their plastic run (boxes are already printed). Our next release after those is WW1 British.
Future Hard Plastics and the Release Schedule
The other challenge we’ve had this year is just keeping product in stock. We can never seem to catch up because you lot are buying our sets too fast! (We know this is a GOOD problem to have and thank you!)
As mentioned above we’re going to spend time further refining our manufacturing and release process. This will help reduce confusion on when new releases will be available and keep everyone happy. At the same time it will give us more time to build up stock in the three global warehouses (US, UK, and Australia). Our goal is to get ahead of demand with thousands upon thousands of sets in place so that we can then restock well in advance of anything getting to low quantities.
Basically, we’re slowing down the pace a bit so we can hit a stride with global release dates and then get faster and get back on track for those 4-5 sets each month. 12 new sets in a year is nothing to sneeze at - we don’t know of anyone other than Games Workshop putting out that much in hard plastic each year? - but we want to do MOAR.
That brings us to the Release Schedule. There is a LOT on it. Even when we put out 12 new sets this year it will leave 20+ sets still to do. So we want to put the decision on what gets made first into YOUR hands.
We have a track record of letting YOU decide what we make. The Aztecs, Conquistadors, and Landsknecht Ogres were all the result of your ideas and your votes. Now we want to take that concept and make it into a more formal system.
Introducing VOX POPULI!
Vox Populi is our system where your votes are going to determine what gets made next…and ongoing. Here’s how it works:
- Every item that was formerly on the Release Schedule is now set up in Vox Populi and open for voting. Any set that gets at least 1000 votes moves immediately into fast track production. (If multiple sets reach this milestone quickly we will have to space them out a little but we will try to get them all out concurrently and as quickly as possible)
- Votes are purchased for $5 each. You can vote for as many sets as you like and make as many votes per set as you like.
- The $5 vote is also a voucher that is immediately able to be redeemed on our site. You can spend $5 on a vote and immediately redeem that $5 as part of a store purchase. Or you can save them and use them later when the sets you vote on are produced and available to order.
- This isn’t a crowdfunding campaign. The money is not held or allocated for any specific set it’s just a way to have folks put their money where their mouth is toward specific sets. This way the playing field is level. We have chosen to use this method in order to ensure genuine Wargames Atlantic fans get the chance to influence our future releases rather than an open voting system that can be spammed by any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Boaty McBoatface
- Just because your set doesn’t generate the votes necessary doesn’t mean it won’t be made. Everything in Vox Populi is moving toward production but this program will get you what you want most the fastest.
- We reserve the right to release additional products that may not appear within Vox Populi
- As sets are made we’ll run contests to suggest and add new entries to Vox Populi
We hope you like this idea and are excited for the chance to determine our future product line up! We’re very interested to see how it goes. If it works great, if it doesn’t generate a lot of interest we’ll scrap it or revise it. Nothing ventured nothing gained!
What else is in store for 2023? Lots! We’re going to put our mark on Kickstarter and see what that’s all about. Maybe it lets us get a whole army out in one go for you. We’re also going to be moving ahead with our license partnerships and releasing more products with them and possibly adding some new ones too. And our first games are being worked on - some small, some big. They may not see 2023 but they are moving along. And we have a lot of outsource projects we’re working on for other companies too.
We hope you continue to ride with us on this journey and we hope you enjoy what 2023 brings!