Boardgames in the News: Covid-19 Impacts the Industry

Last week, we speculated on some of the changes that the Coronavirus Pandemic may have on board gaming and the community that surrounds it.  Initially, games groups and conventions were postponed and retailers were limiting sales to online orders only, but now the distribution network is also suffering major disruption with knock-on consequences.  A week ago, arguably the largest distributor in the USA, Alliance Games, announced:

“Product distributed by Alliance has been shipping from our Fort Wayne, IN and Austin, TX warehouses. Both are closing at the end of the day on Tuesday, March 24thin the interest of employee safety and to comply with direction from local governments. Any orders not shipped by that time will not be processed until further notice.”

Yesterday, it was further reported that the parent company, Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE), released the following:

“As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our focus is on protecting employees, understanding the risks to our business, evaluating the risks to our industry and examining the Federal Government resources available”

“While the full impact of this epidemic is still unknown, one thing is certain: supply chain disruptions have cash flow implications across the extended industry that can’t be underestimated. While we work to understand the current industry landscape, the unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers. This requires that at this time, we hold payments to vendors previously scheduled to release this week.”

Some small games producers, rely on the income obtained from distributors.  For Twogether Games, for example, this means three months of revenue will be delayed.  For some small companies, such a large loss, even if it is only short term, could be the difference between remaining solvent and bankruptcy.  Although board games may not be seen as an essential at the moment, playing games is good for our mental health and has been recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  Additionally, any purchases made now, could help keep a small company from going under and their staff from losing their jobs.

– From