From: Vermont, USA
There is no need for pessimism. When this was first posted, I was still on vacation. Then I was sick, since then I've been catching up and unfortunately forum posting gets done as time allows.
We are very close to starting a wider beta test, we've just been playing whack-a-mole with some multiplayer issues since returning from vacation. The box art is in progress, we're on the second iteration of the final interface art and we've gotten some great art for the final victory/defeat screens as well. While Tom keeps debugging the multiplayer, Mark is going through the final scenario and game rule review to make sure we haven't missed anything and that it's all as polished as possible before the wider beta test begins. Once that starts, I'd guess 6-8 weeks to release depending on how it goes.
Mark, Tom and I are working on this daily. I'll try to keep you guys more up to date now that we're caught up and back in sync.