Phil Reed, CEO of Steve Jackson Games, published the company’s annual Report to the Stakeholders today. In it, the company revealed that they had a second year of decline from 2014’s high of $8.5 million to $6 million. The main reasons cited for the income slowdown were delays on planned releases of Car Wars Sixth Edition and the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. With the delay on Car Wars, Mr. Reed writes it was due to “an insistence on making the game exactly the way we want it. We would rather not ship the game than ship a game that doesn’t meet our standards.” They are also seeking to get the Munchkin CCG ready to print by the end of the year.

The company looks to have a difficult year ahead for it, with the Ogre Kickstarter campaign from 2012 still not completed. “We are still sinking time into the project,” he writes, even though “we’re seeing real progress; several outstanding pieces of the project are finally coming to a close. Whew.”

Issues with the GURPS line have been problematic for the company as well. Two hardcover books for the GURPS line, Discworld and Mars Attacks, were released but performed poorly at retail. “Today’s cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there.” Also tying up resources at the company is the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS introductory box set. Reed writes, “what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss.”

But it isn’t all doom and gloom: Munchkin continues to do well with reprints, Guest Artist Editions, and expanding into Walgreens. In the top twenty products sold by dollar volume, all but three were Munchkin related. The company released five new games which appear to have done well at retail, and Zombie Dice had to go back to reprint due to “unexpected demand during the fourth quarter” of 2016. “A game from 2010 that keeps outselling our forecast is good and bad, but we’ll take this situation over the opposite problem any day.”

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Mostly Munchkin

stevejacksongamesNearly at the end of 2015, Steve Jackson Games has issued its Report to the Stakeholders for 2014. The report, a tradition for privately held SJG, provides a behind-the-scenes peak in to the company’s performance and plans.

Most notable for 2014, though by no means a surprise, is the importance of Munchkin games. Among SJG’s top-20 products ranked by sales, only two were not Munchkin: Zombie Dice at number 3 and Zombie Dice Deluxe at number 18. Even among the next 20 ranked were only four not-Munchkin.

On the subject of sales, the company reported total gross income for 2014 of $8.5 million. This was, technically, the first time annual income declined for SJG since 2005—it was down down $300,000 compared to 2013. However, 2013 was also the year of the Ogre Kickstarter project, which alone brought in $1 million. Excluding that one-time event, the company’s income in 2014 was up $500,000.

Despite the overwhelming importance of Munchkin to Steve Jackson Games, it’s clear from the report that the company remains committed to a diverse product line. It republished (in 2014) 20 year-old Knightmare Chess, now has a full-time staff member dedicated to reviving Car Wars, and continues to explore options for GURPS despite a very difficult market.

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