Back when Forge War first came out and we sold through the initial printing, I started up a new printing of it and made a small mistake. I changed the SKU from CPH0101 to CPH0102.
The SKU is a series of numbers and letters written on the box, typically next to the UPC, which serves a similar function as the UPC – to distinguish it from other products. Where a UPC is usually used for electronic scanning, a SKU is easier for a human to identify. It typically starts with a three-letter representation of the company (CPH in my case), followed by a series of numbers to identify the specific product of that company. I use the first two digits to identify the product line (e.g. 01 for Forge War, 02 for Gloomhaven, etc.) and the second two digits to identify the specific item in that product line.
The mistake is that the two printings of Forge War are essentially the same product. There are small differences. They were produced by different manufacturers, for instance, and the rule book was updated for the second printing, but that doesn’t change the fact they are the same game, filling the same spot in distributors’ and stores’ databases everywhere.
Right, so let’s say a distributor had orders for the first printing of Forge War, and then we sold out of that, and so now they’ve got a lot of back-orders of a specific product, and they are waiting for that product to come back in stock so they can buy more. Now we print more games, but we change the SKU, so they don’t know it’s back in stock. We have to basically call them up and say, “Hey, CPH0102 is the same thing as CPH0101, so if you’re looking for 01, order 02, and then also tell all your retailers down the line the same thing.” It’s just a big unnecessary hassle.
Now the second printing of Gloomhaven gets a little muddier because the changes made were more significant. The manufacturer was the same, but the rule book and scenario book were updated, along with many of the cards and other components, not only for cosmetic reasons, but to also change the balance of the game in some instances. It is still not a new edition, though. None of the artwork changed, there was only one minor change to the core rules (that monsters couldn’t have more than 10 curse cards in their deck), and the only significant component change was the addition of HP/XP dials to replace the wooden trackers on the player mats.
Now, people are free to argue about exactly how significant all of the changes were, and they did quite a bit last year when I listed them all, but I think that only by stretching reason and common sense to their very limits would you be able to call these changes warranting of a new edition.
And, ultimately, it’s up to me whether I call it a new edition, and I chose not to stretch reason in that way. To me, it is a second printing, and it says as much on the box. It is not a second edition. Those are different things. It’s not a big deal that pretty much everyone gets those words confused and continually calls it a second edition. I mean, it gets minorly grating after a while, I suppose, which is why I am writing this post. I just wanted to set the record straight to hopefully reduce the usage of “edition.”
And also, for the record, a third printing is now in the works. That’s what it says on the box: “Third Printing.” We fixed a couple minor typos, but nothing at all major by any stretch of reason. I’m not going to go out into the middle of the street and declare that it will meet whatever demand there will be for it when it hits stores, but if it doesn’t, then we’ll do a fourth printing and a fifth printing and whatever else needs to be done. On the other hand, though, I have absolutely no plans to print a new edition of Gloomhaven.
I do, however, sometimes think about making a new edition of Forge War… But they are currently just thoughts.