There has been the ability to run the Mega65 on an available FPGA platform which is something the Next never had. So a board only offering probably makes less sense.
What I was thinking when I mentioned a two step release is that many who did order the "board only" were more comfortable with a soldering iron and flashing a new FPGA image than the typical user (who ordered the final and complete version) might be.
The FPGA users are probably the parallel of that for the Mega65.
I wish I could afford one of the pre-production units. I've done commercial product management before, so I understand the price and don't think it's unreasonable--it's just more than I can afford.