I was recently interviewed for another episode of the Geek Apocalypse podcast by its host, Steven Hesse. You can listen to the episode here (WARNING: the audio autoplays) (SECOND WARNING: it's a long one, because Steven and I both like to talk).
Every few months, we take a look at the Munchkin release schedule and apply the reality filter: "Is this still something we want to do? If so, is it something we want to do when it is currently scheduled? And if so, can we actually get it done by then?"
A couple of weeks ago, we had our sales team in town, so it was an ideal time to make sure our plans and our reality were in sync. We made a few tweaks to the end of 2016 and more substantial changes to the schedule for 2017 and beyond (yes, beyond!). We know there's still some work to be done, but we're a lot more confident in our plans than we were before those meetings. Fortunately, we have a great team keeping us on track, including our Operations Manager, Randy Scheunemann, and our Project Manager, Darryll Silva, who set our deadlines and make sure we stick to them.
For my part, the entire Munchkin plan for the next couple of years is on a bulletin board next to my desk with lots of colored index card squares tacked to it. That's an old-school approach, but the at-a-glance view of what we're doing has proven invaluable when it's time to have another reality-check meeting -- or just when I need to keep tabs on what my own next priority is going to be. We have plenty of online tracking tools as well, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, but this is the one I end up looking at the most, wondering where I could move something a month later here, a couple of weeks earlier there.
Looking at the bulletin board recently, I realized that with a couple of minor exceptions, my design work for this year's releases is done, and I've already turned over drafts of several releases for next year. It's a weird feeling to be this far ahead . . . but it does mean I have some leeway when something new crops up that just has to be done right this second, which happens more often than we would like, even with all this planning. And I still think I could be doing better; I'm hoping that by the end of 2016, I'll already be working on the first few games for 2018!
It's that time of year again . . . we're sending MIB Control Andreas up to Boston to meet with our Men In Black and our retail partner, The Compleat Strategist, to show off games and hand out promotional goodies! This year, we're looking forward to demonstrating Munchkin: Marvel Edition, the newest game from our pals at USAopoly, as well as early peeks at several of our 2016 releases, both Munchkin and not.
If you're going to be at the show, make sure to head by the Compleat Strategist booth to pick up a new game, and go by the SJ Games booth to say hi to Andreas and find out what secrets he's allowed to reveal!
Writing Munchkin Puppies was a lot of fun, even when I thought it would drive me barking mad! I've always been a dog person, so this was right up my tree. There are so many breeds with funny names that half of this set seemed to write itself. Humans have a long history of having dogs as companions, so we have lots of dog-related idioms and aphorisms in English that I could bring to heel for my purposes.
Some of my favorite cards from the set are Bearded Collie, Doge, and Salty Dog. As soon as I read Bearded Collie on my big list of dog breeds, the card popped into my head, fully formed, and Katie Cook drew it just as I had imagined it. Her adorable art really nailed the playfulness of this silly set.
What really made the set sit, lie down, and wag its tail was the masterful coloring work of our own Ben Williams. Dog breeds have very specific coloring to them, and Ben made sure to make every spot perfect, every mottle meticulously placed, and every piebald uh . . . piebald. It took a lot of talent to put Puppies in front of you but every nip and flea dip was worth being dog tired by the end! Woof.
-- Devin Lewis
Actually, it's not quiet at all . . . we've just sent another batch of games to print; Steve, Devin, and I are all hard at work on our next projects; John and the rest of our illustrators are drawing their arms off; and Plans Are Afoot, to misquote a certain consulting detective.
(No, that is not a spoiler. Not even a hint. But that would be an awesome Munchkin set, wouldn't it?)
We just don't have a lot of news that we can actually share right now . . . unless you count "lots of new Munchkin content coming in the next 18 months!" as news. But I doubt that would interest anyone . . .
Some of you may have missed this announcement: we've made select promotional cards and bookmarks available for purchase on Warehouse 23. Each is 50 cents (plus a shipping and handling charge for the whole order, of course), and you can order them by themselves or add them to a larger Warehouse 23 purchase. If a card or bookmark isn't listed, that means we don't have any for sale -- sorry! You can try hitting our Trading Post forum and see if anyone has spares they'd be willing to sell you or swap for.
As we announced at the GAMA Trade Show last week and in the Daily Illuminator this week, we are spacing out some of the later Munchkin Guest Artist Editions to give the sets a little more room to breathe on retailers' shelves and to give our fans' wallets a chance to regenerate. Here are the changes to our announced schedule:
- Munchkin Zombies Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Greg Hyland: now scheduled for October 2016.
- Super Munchkin Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Art Baltazar: now scheduled for December 2016.
- Munchkin Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Edwin Huang: now scheduled for February 2017.
We hope this extension of our 15th anniversary celebration into our 16th anniversary doesn't cause too much cognitive dissonance.