Tabletop Game Companies Step Up

As the pandemic continues to roil the globe, tabletop game companies have seen an uptick in play even as supply chains and distribution channels have been disrupted. But companies are finding other ways to pitch in the battle against COVID-19 that goes beyond just playing games.


Wizards Summon Freebies

Since April 6, Wizards of the Coast has been releasing free material to support Dungeons & Dragons tabletop play, including content for families and younger gamers:
We believe the social connection playing games, including D&D, can continue to be helpful for those of us who feel isolated or alone in our homes in order to stay safe from transmission. As social distancing impacts our ability to get together in person, we wanted to offer resources and advice for more remote play ... with schools closed around the world, many parents and caregivers are at home with their kids, including many in the D&D community. If you are in need of fun & educational material to share and/or play with your kids, you can check back here for D&D materials to help during this time. And if you (or someone you know) is a younger gamer, we’re also releasing resources to make it even easier to get into D&D.
This content ranges from starter set rules and pregenerated characters to coloring pages and adventures. Particularly admirable is the fact that Wizards is releasing content every weekday.

That's not all Wizards is doing to help. They have a Stay at Home, Play at Home initiative that extends to Magic: The Gathering as well and indexes all free content in one place.

Wizards is part of Hasbro, a global juggernaut that publishes many other types of games and gaming media. Their parent company has been busy.

Hasbro Steps In

Printing for both book and card games have been disrupted due to the pandemic. DriveThruRPG's print on demand was temporarily halted but resumed on April 20:
Our operations facility that prints our cards, posters, and GM Screen inserts has been cleared to reopen with light staffing. Card ordering is now active and you can place new card orders immediately. Due to light staffing, turnaround times may extend outside of our traditional 3-to-5-day turnaround, so we appreciate your patience as we ramp production back up.
The card printing was followed by book a printing update nine days later:
Printed books can now take as long as twelve business days to ship: U.S. orders for paperback books are estimated to print in 5-7 business days; U.S. orders for hardcover books are estimated to print in 10-12 business days.
Social distancing requirements have left game manufacturers like Cartamundi in a bind. Fortunately, Hasbro and Cartamnudi joined forces to produce 50,000 face shields a week for front-line health care workers over the next several weeks. The personal protective equipment (PPE) will be manufactured at the Cartamundi facility in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and donated to local hospitals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, home to Hasbro’s global headquarters.

In addition to much-needed PPE, people everywhere have been experiencing shortages of hand sanitizer. Game developers have options there too.

Washing Their Hands of the Whole Thing

Just as local distilleries and nationally-recognized companies like Pernod Ricard, Diageo and Anheuser-Busch have pivoted from making alcoholic beverages to producing hand sanitizer, the miniature gaming and painting market is following suit.

The Army Painter, a hobby supply chain who produces paints, sprays, and washes for models since 2007, shifted its idle manufacturing facilities to create hand sanitizer. The supply will be donated to local schools in its native Denmark for free and then gradually introduce through its international distributors.

Similarly, Games Workshop, of Warhammer 40K and Warhammer, shifted its Citadel line of paints and glues to developing hand sanitizer production for the UK’s National Health Service.

The damage the pandemic has inflicted on tabletop gaming will reverberate for years to come. But for now, game companies are doing what gamers do best--improvising with the tools at hand.

Special thanks to brimmels for providing links that were used in this article. Thanks Beth!
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

A lot of people are trying to help in this terrible health crisis, but here in Spain we are in the hands of.... to say it softly, best example of toxic people. We need tests but we haven't got them yet. Our goverment is buying Chinese sanitary material what is more expensive and worse quailty. A cockroach was found in one of the packs. Spanish companies are selling face masks to the rest of Europa because our goverment isn't buying. Armancio Ortega, a rich businessmen, donated face masks, and these were rejected because the goverment said they weren't aproved/homologated. Sanitary material has been seized, but not distributed, waiting in the warehouses. Our health staff is being infected. And we started later, when lots of lives could be saved, because the goverment wanted a march for the women the March 8th. They are going to the trials for lawsuits, accussed of criminal negligence/reckless manslaughter.

Here the quarentene will continue more time because they don't want to save us, but to controll us, using this emergengy to keep the absolute power. They are behaving like dictators.

Some day somebody will producte an action-live movie about this goverment as one of the best examples all damage caused by a toxic boss.


Small God of the Dozens
Holy cow. Games Workshop did something ... good?! I'm a massive fan from way back in the day, but this made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Generally GW isn't, well, either warm or fuzzy, although they've been better recently than they were years ago.

I hear they plan on making hand sanitizer in both left and right hand varieties...

Artisan Dice is also making face shields, funded by their dice sales.

Locally, at least two of the distilleries here are making hand sanitizer.

Holy cow. Games Workshop did something ... good?! I'm a massive fan from way back in the day, but this made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Generally GW isn't, well, either warm or fuzzy, although they've been better recently than they were years ago.


Pendraken Miniatures, another small indie wargaming figure manufacturer in the UK, has also been making face shields for several weeks now and they have local volunteers taking different shifts, plus have passed their designs on to other companies in the industry - so great that our industry can be part of the solution!

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