Introductory Box Set: Part 1

We announced the coming of an Introductory Box Set way back in February, providing some solid details on why we’re doing a box set and an overview of its contents. So I’m not going to spin our wheels going over that again.

Instead, I’m going to start showing the box set off, as this should be heading to print in less than two weeks. Here’s what the full lid wrap looks like as we send the file to the printer (make sure and click on ’em for a much bigger view!):


“What? It’s just going to print now?! Why so late!” I’m sure those questions are bubbling and they’re very valid. Primarily we ran into two issues:

1. I’ve said this many times before, but it’s worth saying again…we tend to be too ambitious for our own good. Now, at the end of the day, more often than not, that ambition turns out some really cool stuff…but it often can bite is in the short term. And our ambitions for the launch of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition were almost limitless, trying to do all at once what not even FASA ever did for Shadowrun. So while it took us longer than we expected, I believe the final result will be well worth the wait and provide a fantastic way for new players to leap into the Sixth World. There’s a ton of stuff piled into the box of goodies, after all…


2. Second was manufacturing. Again, I’ve mentioned before, we’ve tried very hard to move as much printing as possible back to the States. Just 5 years ago everything but softcover black & white work was printed outside of the US. Hardcover, full-color books were printed in Thailand, hardcover, B&W books were printed in Canada, and anything with plastic, wood or punch-out components was printed in China. We’ve managed to move all but the very last bit back to the States.

That works absolutely great for books. However, for items such as the Introductory Box Set that have a variety of different types of items, you can’t just pile it all into one domestic company (at least not yet). Instead, you have to take those elements that are all alike and match it up to a domestic printer that specializes in that work to ensure you’ve got the lowest price for best quality ratio.

For example, for the Shadowrun Introductory Box Set, we’re using 5 different printers: All the booklets are printed at one location, all of the laminated maps/character sheets at a another locale, the spells/gear cards at another printer, the dice still sourced from overseas (simply cannot find what we need domestically), and all of that shipped to the company printing the rigid set-up box for final collation and casing to ship to the warehouse.

Now that’s a lot of extra shipping, and even the costs of printing are still slightly higher…but all of that roughly comes out to printing/shipping in from China. Actually, honestly, it still doesn’t. China is still cheaper. However, the price is close enough that it’s worth dumping an extra month off of the shipping time and not having to deal with foreign manufacturing to suck up the difference (yup, that’s right, our experience is all of that coordination across all of those companies is still less of a migraine than dealing with foreign manufacturers).

What does all of that mean? It means some items we’ll publish still have to be done overseas…but we’ve managed to get this one printing domestically It means the Introductory Box Set is hopefully, finally going to print in less than two weeks now that we’ve got everything lined up. When is the Street Date? Sorry, as always, we never give that out until it’s in our warehouse…we’ve learned that lesson the hard way too many times.

However, in the coming weeks I’ll keep posting blogs surround the guts of the box set and how you can use it to introduce new players to the world we love.

Randall N. Bills

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