This information was originally streamed in Keith Avallone's "Mid-Month Info Mash" video on the PLAAY Games Facebook Page, Monday March 16th, 2020. It was most recently updated on Thursday, March 26th. As things are rapidly changing, we'll continue to update as needed, when we have new information to share. Thanks for being part of the PLAAY community; community is more important now than it ever has been!
Obviously, the thing that everyone's talking about right now is COVID19, the Corona Virus. You've probably gotten a bunch of emails from various companies you do business with, providing information about what they're doing and how things are the same/different while this thing is going on. I thought it would be good for us to do the same thing...
For us, and probably for MOST online businesses, it's pretty much business as usual. USPS is operating normally, and I don't expect that there will be any disruption in ordering and shipping of games and card sets. (Even in Italy right now, there's been no disruption in mail service.) As of March 26th, Colorado issued a stay-at-home order through April 17th. However, we operate from home and our print suppliers have been deemed "essential services" through the crisis. The only potential hang-up for us would be if our provider of perforated cardstock shuts down. We have tried to be proactive in projecting our perforated stock needs, and I think we'll be OK for at least 30-60 days.
Unfortunately, we have been forced to postpone our event scheduled for May 16th in London. The airline on which my flight was booked (United) has suspended its Denver to London flights indefinitely. In addition, the London hotel we're using for a base has also been closed down until the outbreak is over. It's disappointing, because we had such an enthusiastic response and a good-sized group of gamers who planned to be there. On the plus side, it won't be hard to re-boot plans when this all settles down, since we already know who's interested in attending and have flights, accomodations and venues already picked out.
I'm optimistic about our convention, PLAAY-Dot-CON 2020, going on as planned, since it's not happening until the end of July. IMPORTANT: We're NOT going to put anybody's health and safety in jeopardy (including our own)! But at the same time, a lot can happen in four months. So I don't see anything wrong with being patient and waiting. I spoke with the events coordinator at the hotel, and she said that most groups with events in May or later are sticking with their plans. So, we'll stick with ours, for now. If that changes, we'll make alternate plans.
I feel the same way about our planned Cooperstown, NY event (8th Annual Fall Classic Pre-PLAAY) in late September; I'm pretty confident it will go off as scheduled. Again, if that changes, I'll let everyone know.
In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, there was a popular feature in "This Week" magazine called "Words to Live By." Every week, famous people would share a proverb, a saying, a simple truth shared with them by another person, and explain how these words had impacted their lives. One such article was by Rear Admiral George J. Dufek, on the subject of patience. I have drawn upon the wisdom of these words many times over the years, and believe they are especially worth remembering today...
"I learned to handle a ship in polar ice on Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's antarctic expedition of 1939-40. I was a lieutenant and navigator on his flagship.
"Admiral Byrd wanted to penetrate the ice of Sulzberger Bay farther than any vessel had been able to go before. But the small wooden ship U.S.S. Bear became locked in the ice. Her sails were useless. Her low-powered engine could not break her free. 'Patience, that's what you need in the Anarctic,' Admiral Byrd said as he paced the bridge around the tiny pilot house. 'Wait—give wind and tide a chance to change. It will loosen the ice and allow us to go on.' Turning to me, the Admiral said "Remember that, George. It applies to life, too. When you're stuck, don't give up. Be Patient. Wait. Hold what you have. Circumstances will change and let you go on again.'
"We got through the ice in Sulzberger Bay, and in the years since then I have found the Admiral's philosophy to be true...I believe men should work hard when there is something they can do, but when there is nothing left to do, patience is better than pessimism. At these times, I would go to my cabin and pray. It has always worked."
So, I have been practicing both patience and prayer. I think it's a good approach—like Admiral Dufek, I have found that it has always worked.
Beyond praying and being patient, Sam and I have been thinking about what else we can do in response to the outbreak. A couple thoughts...
• With all college and pro sports suspended, there's a huge VOID where sports used to be! This is where our hobby really has something to offer, I think. Without real sports, we can still "watch" sports through our tabletop games.
• People in charge are pretty much all telling us to stay home, keep isolated from other people...practice "social distancing." This also, I think, creates a void because people are meant to interact with each other!
So we thought we would try to address both of these things—the absence of sports and community—by creating a sports season of our own that people can watch together on our YouTube channel stream, maybe find a team to root for. So we've started a short Fury Football season—We're calling it "Big Fury 6," "Six teams, Six weeks, One Champion!" It'll be six teams, coached by six of our Fury Football coaches. We'll play every Tuesday night for six weeks, each team plays each of the other five teams once, and then the top three teams make the playoffs, which will be played in the sixth week. We've spiffed up our studio look to be more like ESPN Sports Center, and we've already had some EPIC games! The games are quick—usually about 20 minutes#8212;and I encourage you to join the fun, and the community. Hopefully, once the Big Fury 6 season ends, things will more or less be back to somewhat normal. If not, we'll figure out something else to do.
Finally, we want you to know that we are here for you! For us, PLAAY Games is a vocation more than a business. I fee like it's kind of "my calling." So it goes beyond just playing games and shipping packages. I have been exchanging e-mails with lots of folks, many of whom are anxious, some facing significant challenges. I started sort of an impromptu prayer list a few weeks ago, and want to expand it to include anyone who feels moved to reach out. We have quite a few folks in our community who are people of faith, Christ-followers, and it's such a privilege to love and serve. For prayer, or if there's anything else we can do, please let us know!
Speaking of faith, there's a verse that is often-quoted as a bible verse, but is actually not IN the bible anywhere: "This too shall pass!" Though it's not in the bible, the sentiment is, I think, biblical (which is why it gets quoted so often, probably!). With faith, hope and love for each other—we will get through this!
Blessings and good health to you and your loved ones!
Keith Avallone, PLAAY Games LLC