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  • Writer's pictureRobey

Why you can't have a PDF of Horizon Wars

As of 29th June 2020, I have sold out of copies of Horizon Wars: Science-Fiction Combined-Arms Wargaming. Although I am looking into it, this pretty much marks the end of my ability to sell the book. And I cannot sell a PDF either. This blog post is here to explain why this is the case.

I, Robey Jenkins, owner, Director and sole employee of Precinct Omega, am the author of Horizon Wars. I own the rights to every work of the book. I do not, however, own the rights to the book. The book was published by Osprey Games, an imprint of Osprey Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bloomsbury Group. Osprey commissioned the art and the graphic design for Horizon Wars. I took the photos and wrote the text. So the published product is jointly owned by both parties: Bloomsbury on the one hand and me on the other. Neither can publish the product without the agreement of the other and, as of 1 Jan 2020, that agreement was terminated.

The reason the agreement was terminated is because, quite frankly, the book wasn't making either of us any money. I had plans for the game that Osprey wasn't interested in supporting, there was no prospect of a re-printing and no desire on Osprey's part to commit any effort to marketing or promoting the book.

I don't hold any ill will towards Osprey for this. That's the nature of the publishing industry. It is unrealistic for an author to expect everyone to be as passionate and excited about their work as they are themselves. In fact, Osprey were nothing but helpful and, after a little back and forth, agreed to an early termination of our contract which they didn't have to do.

Consequently, as of 1st January this year, Osprey no longer had the right to publish or sell Horizon Wars. I was, myself, able to sell the book in my capacity as a retailer because I had already purchased stock of the product. But from 1st Jan I could no longer buy new stock and nor could anyone else. Amazon was allowed to continue selling the book and the Kindle edition of the book because they had already paid in advance for those rights.

My plan, originally, was to commission new artwork, do a little tinkering with the text and re-release it through Precinct Omega in the Autumn of 2020. But then Strato Minis came along with Hardwar.

Hardwar is Strato Minis's own setting for sci-fi combined arms warfare and they expressed an interest in licensing the Horizon Wars rules for that setting. I did some work for them, accommodating their miniatures range more effectively into the rules, and then handed them the manuscript. Currently, Strato has a non-exclusive licence for the game, which means that I could re-release Horizon Wars for myself. But Strato are contemplating a more exclusive arrangement. So it makes no sense for me to release a game in September that I might have to un-release in January. Consequently, I have decided to sit on Horizon Wars for the time being until I know the format of Hardwar, and until Strato has a chance to decide what they want to do with it.

Either way, Hardwar will represent a re-release of the original Horizon Wars rules with a new wrapper and a bunch of new options. It will include some material from Over the Horizon but not all of it (because not all of it is relevant to the Hardwar setting).

If you want the original Horizon Wars, your only option, for the time being, remains Amazon.

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