A recent update for an officially licensed Assassin's Creed board game reveals that shipping prices have increased dramatically, the largest we have seen so far for a board game production.
According to the post, developer of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice, Triton Noir mentioned that sea freight shipping has increased exponentially the past few years. The developer cited the following cost according to shipping company Freightos:
* March 13, 2019 (opening of the Pledge Manager): USD 34,500.
* April 2021, new quote from our logistics partner: 105,000 USD.
* June 10, 2021 (estimate with Freightos, see news 107): 158,175 USD.
* July 8, 2021, based on invoices received (Canada, USA) and an estimate for Europe: 218,200 USD.
The biggest numbers of importance are the ones between April of 2021 and July 8 of 2021. Basically, the cost increased by 107% in the span of just three months, that is more than double the expected the cost. Compared to the original projected price back in March of 2019, that is a 532% increase. What this means for backers of the board game is that they will have to pay extra to cover the cost of sea freight shipping, some going as large as 12% of their overall pledge. Given that the highest pledge for this board game is in the range of $285, that percentage adds up. Backers have a full year to pay these additional fees.
Unfortunately, this issue is becoming more common and it doesn't show any signs of slowing down. The Kickstarter for Kingdom Death: Monster included a mention of increased shipping costs for its upcoming expansion Gambler's Chest. but he mentioned that those costs would be coming out of pocket to alleviate the concerns of backers. Petersen Games' most recent crowdfunding campaign for Cthulhu Wars: The Daemon Sultan cites that shipping costs have been adding to the many frustrations plaguing it and other campaigns they had started. Stonemeier Games have also vocalized that shipping costs have leapt up 300-400% when it came to producing their own board games. But probably the most damning comes from surveys and testimonials conducted by Cardboard Edison where multiple smaller independent developers have mentioned increases in price to offset shipping costs; all tripled or quadrupled.
The reasons for this are tied to increasing demand for global shipping. In a logistics report by The Wall Street Journal, the rising cost of shipping has been attributed to many factors. This includes the infamous Suez Canal blockage back in March which lead to a massive rerouting and lost revenue as well as increased demand for products around the world.. It has caused a ripple effect where companies paying more to get supplies out, which has lead to bottle-necking at various ports. There are honest reports of ships full of products basically waiting in the water for their turn to dock. Shipping companies are being overbooked, leading to increased premiums on scheduling and coordinating shipping, which means higher prices for everyone involved to match the increased demand.
Sadly, according to that report, these price issues will only be getting worse, staying at a critical state until the shutting down of the Chinese companies in observation of Lunar New Year in early 2022. As much of a pain in the neck it is for the backers of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice to pay a little extra for their game, they will not be the last ones to deal with these headaches.