Secret HQ

art (c) Mike Trap

The Future of Shadowfist

Many of you have been wondering what has been going on and with good reason: things have been quiet.

I love Shadowfist and love what we have done for the game in the last 5 years (really, 5 years!). 8 booster expansions, 2 starter expansions, some crazy stuff like Cans of Whupass - it's been a fun ride.

But the last few sets, while they have sold quicker than most, have been excruciating to design and playtest. Many people got burned out and never flamed on again.

Producing Shadowfist has been frustrating and more importantly, time consuming. Too much time invested in a game that didn't reap enough reward - yeah, the game itself is reward enough, but you can't pay bills on that alone. For the last 5 years, I have watched everyone make money on the game but me. Yeah, we made some, but if you factored the time invested into it, it wasn't nearly enough. Add to that, I am expanding my business, plus my day job has increased my workload, so my time has become less available. I was doing nearly everything for this game - designing, playtesting, production, art director, shipping, packing, order taking, invoicing, Silver Band running, support sending, tournament organizer, and more. I can't do it anymore.

Add to that the loss of the Secret War Society names and rankings.

Add to that the state of the hobby industry. 2005 was bad year, Many stores closed down (an estimated 1000 stores). Several of those stores were big on Shadowfist. We also lost several groups of players due to different circumstances. The CCG category has also suffered a loss in sales.

So while we were working on Critical Shift I did not feel it was a viable product, one that can succeed in today's marketplace. The reason to do CS is to get more players - but I don't think that can happen. Not with the glut of CCGs in 2005, the downturn of that category in sales, and the coming glut in 2006 - mostly of licensed games. How can Shadowfist compete in a world of lower CCGs sales and only licensed ones reaching some level of success (and too many have failed)? The answer is I don't think it can.

So I was ready to call it quits. However, a certain group of fans decided that this cannot happen and have implemented a plan to keep the game going. But it means some change.

So this is where we stand (and things may still change). Fist will continue. However it will mostly be sold direct from us. The price will be $65 per box plus shipping. There will be a shipping discount if you order a case or more. We may ask for preorders first. We will open it up to any retailer or distributors who want to buy it from us to sell to customers since I know there are groups out there who are not on this forum. But their price will be nearly the same as yours. The street value will be $83.76 - $3.49 a pack.

We understand this decision means the game will not grow. The game is being continued for the sole purpose of getting it to the fans of the game and keeping you guys happy with new cards.

The next expansion will be set in the Wild West. CS is put on hold until 2007 at least.

The new team of Shadowfist will include Julian Lighton, Gavin Edwards, Braz King, Alex Bergmann, Brian Smith-Sweeney, Allen Hege. They each have roles assigned to them and will be helping to shepherd the game forward. I will continue to manage production of the game and probably art direction.

Over the next few days and weeks more news will come, probably from Gavin.

Thanks for sticking by us all these years and I hope you will all continue to support the game.

Zev Shlasinger, President
Z-Man Games, Inc.

Shadowfist is (c) Z-Man Games -- visit the official Shadowfist website!

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