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Report to the Stakeholders for 2023

by Steve Jackson

Steve Jackson Games has one stockholder: me. But many people have a stake in our success. Our STAKEholders are our employees, our distributors and retailers, and, of course, the people who play our games . . . as well as the freelance artists and designers who create the finished product, the fans who demonstrate our games at conventions and retail stores, and the folks who run game conventions.


We are, as I assume the reader knows, a publisher of games. We have been in business since 1980. At the end of 2023, we had 30+ full-time staff and contractors, plus a few part-timers. Most of our line consists of card games, boardgames, dice games, and RPGs. We sell through hobby distribution, the mass market, and direct sales. Warehouse 23, our online store, has been online for two decades and now offers both physical products and digital downloads.

2023: Executive Summary

Gross revenue was about $3.5 million, slightly down from 2022 (we recently found out that revenue was overstated in the 2022 closings due to confusion about BackerKit proceeds). Cash flow was acceptable. It was not a profitable year, though. We have identified and dealt with some of the money-losing issues; others will be harder. We are working on it. (No fear; we have plenty of runway left. I just hate to use it.)

2023: The High Points

Car Wars 6th Edition

Direct Sales

Our new Shopify web store has been in operation all year, and Warehouse 23 sales were up significantly over 2022. Those are profitable sales, too, and their contribution to our bottom line is important. We will continue to support and improve W23, especially its direct sales to retailers.

Car Wars Stayed Strong

The 6th edition of Car Wars continues to sell and, just as important, to be played. Props to the team! The book series from Three Ravens has launched, and they're fun reads. More are coming! Support for the system and the world is ongoing, more STLs are coming, and the motorcycles are on the way.

Emotional Health

Always a fraught subject, hard to pin down . . . but our team sure says that they're happier now, as compared to a year ago. And that makes me happy.


Crowdfunding continues to be an important part of the formula. The Car Wars Companion went over $100,000 when the BackerKit add-ons were accounted for. Now we need to learn to do it more smoothly while keeping the "next stretch goal" drama, which is a big part of the fun!

Other Great Things

  • Munchkin Digital. It looks great, and people are playing it! It charted #1 for iOS and Android games for more than a month. Dire Wolf considers it a success. They have released one supplement, and are working on two more.

  • Real Scheduling. Well before the end of 2023 we had announced a release schedule for all of 2024. We supported that with internal scheduling so we can hit those dates . . . we are finding stress points and acquainting the new team with the way timelines feed into each other. Our staff, our licensing partners, and the retail chain will all benefit from knowing what we plan to do and when. And in February of '24, we agreed on a draft schedule for 2025 as well, though it's not public yet.

    We hope never to get locked into a schedule. Things can always happen. But on the whole, they happen best when we're organized.

  • Pathfinder Revolution! The best edition yet of the game, and Paizo was a joy to work with as a licensor. I still don't win very often, but I sure like playing this one.

Ehhhhh . . .

The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition

In some places, we wanted a win and didn't quite get one, or success and failure were mixed.

  • GURPS lived entirely in digital form in 2023, with both PDFs and POD-printable files. We like hardcovers but they have become a real struggle to produce. Other companies can do it – why has it become so hard for us? We are continuing to look at alternative publishing and shipping solutions. In the meantime, digital GURPS support sold well in 2023 and will continue in 2024.

  • The Fantasy Trip continued to please its fans without catching hold in the wider market. The long-delayed TFT Bestiary was further delayed by shipping issues after we finally got it to press. We'll continue to support TFT, but all you'll see in 2024 is the Bestiary (as I write this, it is finally out), three issues of Hexagram, and – probably – some digital goodies that I should not talk about yet. They involve third parties so they're not on the published schedule. Four longer releases are mostly done, but will go onto the back burner until 2025.

  • The website still needs a lot more work – it has not kept up with the times. Parts of it are actively hostile to mobile devices, which over half the world's web users depend on. The content is first-class. The format is not.


We had one dramatic failure that I'm still not free to talk about, because it was the pre-announcement delay of a big release that we have put a lot of work into. I cannot overemphasize the angst that created around here. But it wasn't up to our ideas of what a game in 2023 should look like, and wishing wasn't going to make it ready, so I kicked it back even though it was at a late stage of development.


This was a very unsettled and unsettling year, staff-wise. The absolute worst was the sudden and untimely death of Eric Dow, our diligent and multitalented director of both Events and Facilities. Two key figures, Phil Reed and Sam Mitschke, moved on. There were other losses.

We hired a new Managing Editor, Allison Page, and a new Marketing Director, Katie Duffy. Both bring experience and professionalism, and they play games.

We reorganized the Men In Black into a collaboration with the Double Exposure Envoy program. In the process, we paid off a large debt in MIB points owed to our volunteers, sending thousands of dollars' worth of games to the MIBs and donating more thousands of dollars' worth to charity for the points the MIBs had left unspent for that reason. Go, MIBs, go!

State of the Industry

It is a golden age for gamers, with more variety and sheer volume than ever before. But it's a rough time for even the biggest publishers – all that volume represents competition! Some companies have had to do massive layoffs or cutbacks. But others thrive.

The distribution network continued to challenge us all, as retailers told us over and over that they could not get such-and-so a game, which we were trying desperately to sell to them through distributors.

Amazon became a more important sales tool for all of us.

Shipping costs dropped again, but printing in China remains more costly and difficult than it was before COVID.

Repeated printing and shipping delays meant that several "4th quarter 2023" releases did not ship to stores until 2024.

Shared Goals and Partners

The game business is a network, and the healthier it is, the better for all of us. SJ Games continues to value, and rely on, its hobby-industry partners. These include:

  • the hobby-game retailers, who not only sell our games, but provide gamers with space to meet each other and play;
  • PSI, our fulfillment agent for most distributor sales;
  • Surge, our licensing agent, as well as our many licensing partners;
  • Kickstarter and BackerKit, an important part of our operations and a great way to successfully launch games and accessories that don't exactly match the needs of the larger market;
  • the many overseas publishers who are translating Munchkin and other games;
  • the convention organizers who showcase our work and the dedicated hobbyists who demonstrate our games;
  • GPI, which manages most of our manufacturing;
  • and the publishers who distribute their digital products through Warehouse 23.

Priorities: 2023 Report Card

Here are the priorities we published in last year's Report to the Stakeholders, and here's how we think we did on each one.

First priority: Admit that 2023 is a rebuilding year, and do it right. Help Meredith get comfortable in her new position, and help the staff get comfortable with their new (and in most cases enlarged) duties.

Well, it was a rebuilding year, all right. 2024 will be, as well. We have some excited new team members, and when we get properly shaken down we will do some great stuff for you.

Second priority: Give Munchkin the love we promised it last year. That game is what keeps this company afloat, and we'd better not forget it.

We did that, definitely, with Munchkin Shadowrun and several smaller supplements, as well as the success of Dire Wolf's Munchkin Digital. And we got more Munchkin material into the pipeline.

Third priority: Get better with the digital tools of 2023 – not just online marketing, but also modern product photography, group communication, virtual tabletops, and the STL files that let hobbyists create their own miniatures.

We paid attention to this one, sending Meredith and three of the production team to the Adobe release/workshop event in October. Results: lots was learned, and changes are being made. As for STL: releases continued and they looked darned good.

Confidential unnumbered priority: Announce (maybe at Gen Con!) the Seekret Projekt that we have been working on for the past couple of years!

Abject failure. It wasn't even close to ready to announce. It's back in the shop for repairs.

Priorities for 2024


First priority: Meet that schedule. Ship the things we have said we will ship – and don't get crazy about adding other things just because they would be neat. Rebuild!

Second priority: Feed the Munchkin. Make sure that the 2025 Munchkin schedule is as good as the 2024 one, if not better. You know that Munchkin Paranoia is coming. There's more. Oh, I so want to drop more hints. Nope, not gonna do it.

Third priority: Get that Seekret Projekt in shape for an announcement – not even release, just an announcement – by the end of the year.

On the whole, we have a good team and a good product line. I'm still getting to make new games and take care of the old ones. And it's definitely an "interesting time" for the whole hobby. We are still interested, and we hope you are too. Thanks for reading.

– Steve Jackson

Top 40 Products by Dollar Volume
1.Munchkin Deluxe21.Pathfinder Revolution
2.Munchkin22.Munchkin 4 – The Need For Steed
3.Wiz-War23.Discworld Roleplaying Game POD
4.Zombie Dice24.Illuminati
5.Groo the Game25.Munchkin 6 – Double Dungeons
6.Box of Astonishments26.GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns
7.Munchkin 2 – Unnatural Axe27.Munchkin 5 - De-Ranged
8.Munchkin Warhammer 40,00028.Munchkin Witches
9.CARnage STL KS29.GURPS Basic Set: Characters and Campaigns
10.Illuminati Second Edition30.We Love Cats
11.Gelatinous31.Kitten Poly Dice Black
12.Munchkin Druids32.Zombie Dice Deluxe
13.Munchkin 10 Time Warp33.Munchkin 8 - Half Horse, Will
14.Zombie Dice Horde Edition34.Munchkin 7 - Cheat With Both H
15.GURPS Basic Set: Characters35.Munchkin Squids
16.Munchkin 3 – Clerical Errors36.Car Wars 6E Double Ace Box
17.Steve Jackson's Munchkin® Presents BATMAN™37.Munchkin 9 - Jurassic Snark
18.Munchkin Cthulhu38.Tribes Pocket Box
19.Greed Quest39.Munchkin Pathfinder Deluxe
20.Car Wars Core Set 40.TFT Bundle Bonus PDF

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