The Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world - originating in China - is now having a detrimental effect on life as we know it here in the UK. In this post, we break down how it could be effecting you, the board gamer. From the way Zatu runs to the postponement of UKGE and Kickstarters, we run through it all.
How is this affecting Zatu?
At present, Zatu Games is still business as usual however certain elements of Zatu may be slower. We're doing everything we can to ensure our staff are as protected as we can make them, without asking them to pack your games in hazmat suits.
Returns will not be processed during this uncertain period. All incoming returns will be detained until the Coronavirus pandmic has passed as we simply do not have the capacity at present. If possible, please refrain from calling us regarding a delayed return or refund as our phone lines are extremally busy due to some of the team being in self-isoation.
This will not effect your rights as our standard returns policy has been amended during this time. Instead of our standard 60-day returns period, the returns period will extend to 30 days after Coronavirus has been downgraded from a pandemic.
We understand that in this uncertain time, many of you have questions and concerns. We ask that unless it is absolutely necessary, please refrain from calling or messaging our team. We will not be responding to messages about release dates, suggestions of games or anything none-order related for the time being in order to prioritise those with active orders. For all order queries, it may take substantially longer for us to respond to you. Please be patient with us - we're doing everything in our power to ensure our 5-star service is maintained, whilst also prioritising the safety of our team.
Deliveries may be delayed depending on how our couriers are operating. At present, we are facing slight delays to orders being dispatched and delivered. Please bear with us during this uncertain time and if possible, refrain from contacting our Customer Service team regarding a delayed delivery until 7 days after it was expected as it is unfortunately out of our control.
Customer Service phone lines are very busy due to all the questions we're receiving. We would appreciate it if you could refrain from contacting us with any non-urgent matters. See our FAQ page for more.
We're taking every measure to ensure our staff are as protected as they can be and at this time, we have not had any reported cases in our county however this may change and thus effect the 5-star service that we currently provide to you. We will keep you as updated as we can!
Hospital donations on Zatu have been paused as the NHS is so strained right now. Although we would love to be able to provide them with board games at this troublesome time, we understand they are not able to accept any unauthorised parcels into the hospitals at present (and would likely not have time to do so anyway). Instead, we are collecting for National Emergencies Trust's Coronavirus Appeal. When placing your order, you can select to donate to this appeal at which point, it will be added to your basket.
How is this affecting the Board Game Industry?
In recent weeks, multiple emails have hit customers inboxes from publishers stating they are no longer accepting orders on their sites (but don't worry, Zatu still are). Other publishers (currently only in USA) are instead giving a percentage of the profits from direct sales to the nominated local store of a customer in order to help the smaller, local businesses survive this strange, uncertain time.
All major conventions have been at best postponed or at worst, cancelled. The UK Games Expo has been postponed until the middle of August however due to the uncertainty of our business and the world, Zatu Games will no longer be attending as a retailer at UKGE, if this goes ahead as planned in August. We will however of course be back in 2021, stronger than ever! As of yet, we've not had any word as to whether Tabletop Gaming Live will be going ahead in September but fingers crossed.
All retail stores in the UK are now shut to physical customers - with some providing some level of service. Zatu's Board Game Café in Norwich is closed and therefore our Click & Collect service has also had to be turned off for the time being. You can of course still order online though.
Both Asmodee US and UK have announced they will not be producing their 'coming soon' and 'new releases' newsletters as many companies are delaying games anyway. Having said that, as long as the delivery companies are still running you should be able to get hold of your parcels, board game or not.
As reported previously there was a longer than usual delay to any games manufactured in China due to the virus extending the Chinese New Year holiday for almost all manufacturing factories. Factories have now started opening again at cautious rates, and are attempting to address the backlog.
While production is beginning again in China, many new campaigns have been delayed. Campaigns that were already funded have seen people drop their pledges. That said there are still campaigns launching although it's almost certain that the Coronavirus is causing people to be more cautious with their money.