News from SPUK

In issue 2 of Phoenix I stated that it was our intention to hold down
prices and allow the increase in units sold to compensate for the drop
in unit profit. I further stated that this situation may only be
temporary since one never knows just when there will be another run on
the pound. Unhappily, a run did materialise and when the pound fell to
1.65 against the dollar I recosted SPI games. The result showed me that
we must implement an immediate price rise and this we have now done. The
rise is approximately 20% over the board on game prices. Whilst this may
appear to be high, I would like to point out in our defence that the
buying power of the pound against the dollar has dropped by 30% since
our last prices were set over a year ago.

Normally we can give some warning on price increases, unfortunately this
just has not been possible on this occasion and I hope that you will
appreciate the unfortunate position we have been put in by the
devaluation of the pound.

Since fixing our new prices, the pound has dropped a further six cents
and there have been mutterings about increased indirect taxation (VAT?)
At this rate we may be forced to revise our prices yet again before
long.

As a further economy measure we are restricting all future S&T and Moves
subscriptions to one year's duration. By doing this we can minimise the
loss in revenue which would be brought about by a further fall in the
pound.

This latest devaluation has reinforced my belief that SPUK must start
printing in the UK on a regular basis as quickly as possible. A price
comparison between a UK printed standard game (3.99) and an imported
standard game (5.55) will illustrate the desirability of producing
games over here. As a further illustration 'Outreach' will be produced
in the UK and will sell at 3.99 unboxed and 4.99 boxed as against a
brochure price of 5.25 unboxed and 6.25 boxed. The brochure prices
were calculated as imported games.

So if the message is that clear, why are we not doing something about
it? The answer is that we are doing something about it. At this moment I
have over 20 of SPI's better-selling titles out at a printers for a
printing estimate. I hope to get some figures soon and on receipt of
these I can push ahead with more UK prints.

To print the full SPI range will take time due to the quantity of
titles involved and the cost factor. We would need 150,000 to print
the full range at one time and since we have not got access to such a
sum we must settle for a lengthier programme.

As I have already mentioned, 'Outreach' will be printed in the UK. It
will sell at 3.99 unboxed and 4.99 boxed, and should be available for
despatch by late November. As will be the case with all future new
titles to be printed, there will be no pre-print offer on this game.
The reason for this - quite simply we must make good our lost profits
on imported games sold in the earlier part of the year.

On now to apology time. We ran out of stock on a few of the popular SPI
titles recently. This was caused by staff problems in SPl's shipping
department which resulted in our regular shipment becoming irregular,
three weeks irregular to be precise. It is possible that S&T 58 will
also be late in arriving due to SPI's demise.

In Phoenix 3 I said that S&T 57 would contain a feedback card.
Unfortunately we were short snipped and only one carton out of twenty
contained S&T's with cards. In this case, no harm was done because we
discovered the shortage and were able to insert our own cards into
Phoenix itself. We will continue this practice in future.

The final apology relates to 'Russian Civil War'. We had it priced at
5.45 in our old brochures instead of 6.75. This was a printers error
which was not discovered until the brochures had gone to press.
Customers who ordered 'Russian Civil War' after the error was brought to
my attention were invoiced for the balance. To those of you who were
inconvenienced by this, please accept my sincere apologies.

Next, a plea from customer service. Please enclose a self addressed
stamped envelope with all queries - thank you.

New games now in stock are 'Napoleon's Last Battles Quads' from SPI,
'Their Finest Hour', 'Burma', 'Avalanche--the Salerno Landings',
'1815--The Waterloo Campaign' 'Battle for Midway', 'Tsushima', 'Port
Arthur' from Game Designers Workshop and 'Emperor of China'. By the time
you receive this issue of Phoenix we also expect to have the following
Simulations Design Corporation games in stock - 'Jerusalem', 'Cromwell',
'Khalkin Gol' and 'Battle for Hue', Details of these games can be found
elsewhere in this magazine.

On now to the results of the Phoenix 2 feedback which was dedicated
mainly to finding out which non SPI games you wanted us to import and
which SPI games you would like to see us print.

Firstly the non SPI games that you wanted us to import include those
Game Designers Workshop and Simulation Design Corporation games
advertised in this issue. Also you want us to supply 'Shenandoah',
'Airforce', 'Custer's Last Stand', 'Submarine' (awaiting supplies), 'La
Battaille de la Moskowa', 'Empire of the Petal Throne', 'Dungeons &
Dragons', 'Spanish Civil War' (supplies not easily obtained but we are
working on it); 'March on India', 'Ancient Conquests', 'Formalhaut',
'Anvil-Dragoon', 'Tunnels and Trolls' (samples received and considered
poor value for money). Those games that are considered poor value for
money will not be stocked.

The response to SPI titles feedbacked for possible printing was
encouraging. When looking at the following figures you should bear in
mind that only 16.19% of S&T subscribers bought 'Seelowe' at our special
offer price and that quantity combined with the non subscriber response
was sufficient to merit the printing of that game. Top of the poll was
'West Wall Quads' with 31.78% saying yes, followed by 'Mech War '77'
29.84%, 'Panzer '44' 28.29%, 'Sniper' 26.74%, 'NATO' 25.58%, 'World War
II' 25.19%, 'Starforce' and 'Modern Battles Quads' 23.64%, 'Napoleon at
War Quads' 20.93%, 'Sorcerer'  20.54%, 'Foxbat & Phantom'  20.15%,
'World War 3' 19.76%.

If we accept that 'Seelowe' is a fair barometer on acceptability then
all the above can be considered candidates for printing in the UK. The
exception to this is 'Foxbat & Phantom' which is to be replaced next
year by 'Air War 78'.

In the last nine questions we asked you to comment on the physical
quality of the three games printed in the UK, your answers were as shown
below:

Feedback results
From the above I think it is fair to assume tha on the whole those who
purchased our home printed games were satisifed with the physical
quality. Finally the question: would you subscribe to Phoenix having
seen the first two issues - affirmative 95.16%, negative 2.41%. 73.91%
would do so on merit, 21.12% to support a UK magazine.