I am finally free of shingles, or at least it doesn’t hurt anymore and is healing, so I can concentrate on work again. That said, my doctor advised me if I don’t want to keep getting shingles in my 30s I need to chill-out, apparently they are triggered by stress. As much as I love doing CSL, I’m not going to lie and say that it isn’t stressful at times. Especially given we have tons of people waiting on quality games that they paid for to arrive to their door within a reasonable time frame, the initial loan I used to start the business is gone and I rely on pre-orders to both pay for rent, game-components, and producing the actual games themselves.
This reasonably puts me under a good deal of pressure. For one thing, I am pretty sure I am the only 1-man publisher that does everything other than art and its a s*it ton of work for one person to take on. What work I am able to get done is mostly in thanks to volunteers who go through the writings I generate deductively editing the noise out, but given they are volunteers I can’t impress upon them in a pinch (without being a huge jerk). Every other wargame publisher has other people that are at least part of the company, the smallest example being a husband and wife shop like Hollandspiele.
Not to sound like I am listing a group of grievances, it's more or less to remind and reassure myself that I’m doing a shit ton of work and even if not everything is perfect, I’m doing alright. In fact, I think that at this point, I can argue that I am among the hardest working designers/publishers currently in wargaming. Most other CEOs of wargame companies, most likely do something else for a living. You don’t really hear of many people making enough money to survive in the wargaming business (except to the inflation adjusted average SPI wage of 30 something grand in the 1970s,) and there are maybe only 2-3 people I know who are able to do so now, by account mostly that they work as hard as I do if not harder.
Not sure what the point of all of this is except maybe as a therapeutic exercise to remind myself that I’m not totally fu*king everything up. In fact, CSL is doing better than average in terms of how our games have been received so far. The thing I’ve prepared myself most for was negative reactions to the games, being a new designer and not having the resources to playtest or refine as deeply as bigger companies, I wanted to be extra cognizant of that and try to make sure all of our games are indeed playable, historical and enjoyable. I think I am at a point now where I can objectively say none of our games as of yet (saving how 1987 is ultimately received,) are broken, unplayable, or all that bad so far. In fact, I am willing to wager they are probably more enjoyable and playable than many less affordable AAA titles available given my own experience as a wargamer.
All of this said, I don’t intend on slowing down the number of titles I’m working on, rather just force myself to stop worrying about them and have faith in the process I have come up with. By next week, all of the art assets for pre-orders will be paid for and I hope to share tons of new content with you as it gets done. The one part where I have failed is that the games have not come out as quickly as I had hoped, but I ultimately think most customers understand and accept this as its for the best. No one wants a game before its done either way, and it's not like I’m taking years to deliver on pre-orders like many other publishers. Most of my release estimates are optimistic in terms of timing, so as a general rule, knock a month or two off any planned release date for the actual release date :)