For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
While the Earth has been spinning on it’s axis, rotating around the sun, and, in general, life has been moving along for all of us down here, something else has been happening. Mr. Card Game has been moving ever closer to printing and fulfillment. There is quite a bit of info below, please read ALL of it, not just the bit you are most excited about. Deal?
Ok - I know this is the big one, so let’s get it out there. After saying, approximately 11,000 times (that’s ridiculous, it’s not even funny) that I didn’t want to start talking dates I’m now comfortable projecting a timeline, so let’s start talking dates! Or rather spans of time. Summer (officially) runs from from June 21st to September 22nd this year. We are looking at shipping Mr. Card Game in *trumpet fanfare* mid to late summer! This may seem far off, and it does to me to, but this is why I needed more info before making predictions that I might then have to amend. Between now and then, I will narrow this down for you as the printer holds to its schedule (or even gets ahead of it, *crosses fingers*). This should mean that folks will have copies in hand for KoL Con 10, ya know, if you are into that sort of thing. More on this as it develops.
But I Want to Play Now!
I know you do, and I want you to, so here’s what we are going to do. All of the cards, rules, and everything else that you need play will be hosted online for you to download so that you can create a print and play version of the game. A couple of cautions - this is going to be a fair bit of work to assemble. We’ll give you clear instructions, but it will take a chunk of time. Also, printing these at Kinko’s *ahem* FedEx Office will require either a skilled employee or special knowledge on your part as well as a fair chunk of change. Finally, please don’t distribute these files to the world of non-backers. Of course you can play with your friends (we want you to), but we are doing this for you, and folks who want a copy of the game should get one the way you did. The cards can be viewed here http://www.flickr.com/photos/evertidegames/sets/72157633610758853/.
To The Future!
This one is VERY IMPORTANT so please read it. Evertide Games is transitioning it’s web presence. This is very cool, we are super excited, and there will be more info on it to come. For now, what you need to know is this: within the next week you will receive your log-in credentials for our new site. Use them. Log in. This will allow you to confirm 1) that your shipping information is correct 2) that your pledge rewards are correct and 3) whether you still need to pay for shipping (or anything else for that matter). Costs will be pushed to your shopping cart. If you see something that you don’t think is correct, email us and we’ll sort it out. Many of you have had to update us on your shipping in since the campaign. Do NOT assume that that has been done. Please log in, and make sure that everything is current correct and good to go. In the future, if you should move again all of you need to do is update your info this way and it will automatically update our fulfilment info. No more hours of manually updating a fulfillment spreadsheet for me!
What Else Is Coming From EG?
You may have heard about another little project we are working on. The rumors are true, Goblins: Alternate Realities (GAR) is the next thing in the pipe. First, I want to allay some concerns that I have heard: at this point, there isn’t much EG needs to do to get Mr. Card Game to you. What does need to be done, won’t be impacted by this campaign. Secondly, I don’t plan to badger you about supporting this project, unless you want to be badgered.* Finally, everyone at Evertide Games (myself especially) learned a great deal about the process of taking something from concept to reality. That is thanks to you and your support. So I want to pay it forward in a small way, as an additional thank you for your patience, and your loyalty. Included in every set of Mr. Card Game will be special double-sided class cards. Male on one side and female on the other you can use these to change up your game play. Thank you, and enjoy!
In addition there are some ideas that I want to explore that are almost like mini-expansions. Things that are too small to be a full expansion and that don’t fit in well with the expansions we have planned. For example, Fans of KoL know that the Castle in the Sky was recently revamped into a deeper and more complex zone. So why not create a new location stack based on the revamp? So that’s what we are looking at doing: eight more monster/loot cards along with a Castle in the Sky location topper. I had one more idea, but this one you are going to have to wait a while before you find out anything more about it.
So now you know all that’s fit to print, and perhaps a bit that isn’t ;-) Check out the materials, and let us know what you think!
*I know many of you came to the Mr. Card Game campaign purely out of love for KoL. And I am committed to not taking advantage of that. If you want to keep up with other EG projects, places like Facebook and Evertide’s website will help you out. But I won’t be spamming this backer group.
Well, ok, to be fair it did slow me down a bit. But stop me? No, never. And while I spent most of the day unable to lift my head without pain, the good news is that the pain is *mostly* gone! Huzzah!
But really, you didn't log in to hear a sob story from me, you want to know stuff, that I know, about the game. For example ....
The Card Proofs Have Been Approved!
Some of you are already intimately familiar with the process of manufacturing, you can skip down a bit. For the rest of you who are still reading ....
There are steps to this. You send files, then they look at files, then they send your files to someone else, who hosts them for you to review in a slightly different format. Then you do that, catch all the mistakes you missed in your last three rounds of proofing and after redoing everything you start the trading back and forth process again. This, takes a fair bit of time. Alternatively, you can just print, and hope you didn't miss anything. We almost followed that course by accident ;-) Just kidding of course. But now the card images have been reviewed for what I think is the last time before being printed by the printer. I believe there is a physical proofing stage as well, but hopefully, because we have worked so hard at this stage, the physical proof will be perfect and the full run of printing can commence.
What About the Other Printer, the one that was Causing Problems?
Rather than making the near obligatory joke "which other printer that was causing problems" I'll say simply that after some rather challenging and frustrating discussions (and lack of discussions) the entity has finally started producing the CoL prototypes, and they should be shipping next week. There will only be one more announcement on this topic and it will either be "They've Shipped!!!" or "We are unable to discuss this publicly going forward." I suspect you can figure out what the second one means, but I really hope it won't come to that.
Why Haven't you Shown us ALL of the Clan Card Backs Already?
Because then I couldn't dole them out one at a time like so. Today let's look at KoL Addicts. Because I said so!
Pie is good. Pie is great. Pie is, in fact Greater. Greater than what you ask? *innocent whistle* I'll never tell.
And You Thought The Cards Were Complicated!
Remember that back and forth that I described for the card images? Well imagine then what it must be like for the pages of the rulebook! You have already seen the first couple of pages, but I wanted to show you a few more. You wouldn't believe the time that goes into laying out one of these spreads, but boy am I glad that isn't my job. Learning from last time I am just going to post these on Evertide's website with a link here, so that you can actually read the text on the pages. Here you go!
All the Info you Need for your Sleeving Pleasure
As I have been asked this question a few times, I wanted to lay out the final-ish numbers on sleeves for those of you that are planning to sleeve your sets.
First, the cards are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Also known as "poker sized". But since some of you have moved on from the regal and storied tradition of English measurement to the barbaric and sterile metric system I provide this link to assist you.
Second, the maximum number of sleeves you will need for your set (unless you add things we didn't make) is 385 sleeves total. But there is one more thing I need to remind you of which is ...
Third, some of the cards have game info on both sides. 119 of them in fact. So if you are sleeving your copy, remember to sleeve these in clear sleeves. In fact you can do the whole game in clear sleeves, but even if you use color sleeves for the other 266 cards, make sure to have 119 clear sleeves too.
That's what you get for now, so no deluge of angry emails for me!
EG Entering the (Exclusively) Digital Age?
Last night Rich and I had a conversation, the substance of which was "all future EG projects should be digital only". This was not a serious decision, but the core of it was born of serious frustration. As I am typing these words the Council of Loathing supporters should have received their prototypes a solid week ago. They have not. Folks are asking why not. I have personally made dozens of communication attempts and so far I don't have a prototype in hand. If this printer was in my town, or within driving distance I would simply knock on their front door and sit in their lobby until things shipped. But they aren't and I can't. Just before I published this update, I received a phone call from the printer. Here are the unvarnished facts:
- Only the owner can make the boxes for the game.
- The Owner has been very ill for several weeks.
- The Owner can only make the boxes after hours, because it takes up the "entire shop".
- As of today, 12 days after all the units were to ship, no copies are ready to ship.
- Starting tomorrow, they plan to ship 3-5 copies a day. Basically the pace at which the Owner can complete them.
In theory, this means that all of the Council of Loathing prototypes should ship in the next two weeks and that people could start receiving them as soon as Monday. I sincerely hope this is the case, and I will be following up with them in order to make sure we don't slip through a crack.
And then another of our printers, said everything was ready to go, and as soon as we wired them the money to begin, promptly went on a week's vacation. I wish I was making this up.
As far as the production issues go, I hope to have more constructive news next week. By then, the first prototypes should be in hand, and our other manufacturer should be back at work. In the meantime ...
How About Some Cool Stuff to Look At?
Here is another of the newbie gear card backs. This one designed by and for my own clan Old CW's. I have to say I like how it turned out though I didn't have a hand in the design myself at all. Pretty cool, huh?
And here's a big one ... the opening splash pages from the manual. Now nothing is final till it's in the box (and maybe not even then) but I wanted you guys to see what this was looking like. Enjoy, and feel free to let me know your thoughts below or via email.
So now you are up to speed. I'm working on another game article (as well as hounding manufacturers) and hope to have more substance, next week. Until then, take care.
For those of you who missed it this went up on Facebook on Sunday …
“Graydon vs. the Rigors of PoD Manufacturing, Victory!
Hey folks, there will be more info coming, but the good news is that I won! The advanced prototypes for the Council of Loathing level supporters are being manufactured as we speak and should be shipped out approximately March 1st. Shipping in North America is ~1-3 days, with South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia all taking a little longer. What this means is that 1) in less than a month these prototypes should have arrived, and 2) if any Council of Loathing supporters have moved and not updated their address with me please do so, right away email@example.com.”
Now for everyone who didn’t pledge at the 404 level, the first question in your mind (and in some cases to your fingers) understandably is - “what about me?” So to clarify, EG didn’t stop working on progressing the main production run while we dealt with the PoD. But, for a number of reasons, the PoD issue needed to be sorted out before we *could* complete all of the steps necessary for the main run. What this means to the majority of you is that one more road block has been removed from the path. I, personally, and everyone at EG are very sorry about the delays to production and shipping the game. We made mistakes, and we aren’t pretending we didn’t. So, let’s talk about what has delayed us so far, what we are doing about it, and the path forward.
Number 1 - Lack of experience. It sounds so simple when you say it like that. None of us at Evertide have ever carried a project through from conception to market before. And it turns out that it is difficult, complex, and prone to more pitfalls than we imagined, and we thought we imagined a lot. We had a timeline for manufacturing this game in time for delivery last month, and in the end, we heavily underestimated. Having looked at other gaming projects on Kickstarter what I have realized is that either the space between the completion of the campaign and delivery needs to be much longer or you risk almost certainly missing your estimated delivery. Our inexperience defaulted us to the sub-optimal option 2. Lesson learned.
Number 2 - Added content = added time. The success of the campaign led to adding a lot of components which needed to be designed and sourced and that adds production time. We thought we had accounted for this, but we underestimated the time needed to take a playtested component, like say the bosses, and transform them into the final component that ships with the game. And we did that to ourselves several times. It is a great problem to have, but is also why a smarter timeline has more space between the end of the campaign and delivery.
Number 3 - working with other people = added time. For over a year Mr. Card Game was a project between Rich and me, Asymmetric and our playtesters. Once you start talking about producing a complete game that people are paying money for, the work flow becomes *much* more complex. I have talked a little about the problems with the PoD portion of things and I won’t rehash that here. Suffice to say we (naively) went into this process thinking that anyone we were giving money to would be anxious to do things necessary to take our money. Unfortunately that has turned out to not be the case on several occasions. Which has delayed (and will continue to delay) things. Once again more time between the campaign and delivery will help to allow for ironing out the arrangements with other people. Additionally in the future EG will be much sterner with our manufacturing partners, the trust we afforded them for free this time will need to be earned in the future.
Number 4 - diversity of components = added time. All of the cool things that we included: the badges, t-shirts, play mats, character boards, poster, plastic tokens, not to mention the game and the box itself (plus the insert) had to be designed and in many cases separately sourced. All of these things took up the time of our limited staff. The good news is that all of the solutions we found to these challenges are such that we can carry them forward. Also in the future, we won’t try to tackle so many different new things at once.
Number 5 - perfectionism = added time. This may sound like listing “work-o-holic” and “loyal to a fault” as your biggest flaws on a job application, but it’s true. Prior to the campaign Rich and I had been designing this game for well over a year largely at our own pace. What this meant practically is that we could tweak and polish things as often and as drastically as we wanted. Post-campaign the rules changed, but our process didn’t change enough to match them. We still wanted to take the time necessary to incorporate the new material and polish it all just as we had the core experience. But we didn’t have a year to do that this time. So while we worked faster we still fell behind.
Number 6 - saying goodbyes = added time. EG has never been large, but at the end of last year, we had to say good bye to some of our core team. The other demands of their life meant that they couldn't continue with us as they had been doing and this meant that for those of us still here, there was more work and less time to do it.
Number 7 - saying hellos = added time. This year we have added some folks to the roster, which paradoxically also slows things down as you work out division of labor and communication. As a company whose personnel are all over the country these challenges also take time to sort out.
Apologies for the long-winded explanation, and more importantly for the delays, but that is a portion of what has been holding us back.
On to the Main Event
Over the next few days we will be feverishly finalizing all of the files, formatting, precise wording and so on for our manufacturer for the 5,000 copies of the game that make up this first print run, along with all of the extras like the badges, boards, maps and posters. Part of the complexity here is simply the number of sourcing vendors and manufacturing vendors in play. Since we don’t have a “one-stop shop” that can handle everything, getting all of the elements to play nicely with one another is an ongoing challenge. At this point, the cards are finished, and the remaining assets are being touched up. Once that is done, there will be another round of formatting for production, and at the same time integrating a few other elements. After all of that, we should be ready to hand off everything to the production people and then it is simply a matter of test-produce, verify, large-scale-produce, and ship. You’ll know more when I do.
Speaking of Those Other Assets
What? I said assets. Anyway. Here we have the finalized versions of three of the character boards (sans personalization of course). Ain’t they snazzy?
And here we have a few of the dividers. The full set is finished, these are just a few for your viewing pleasure. These little guys will help keep the 360+ cards in your box organized so you can spend more time playing and less time setting up.
New Card Article for Your Perusal
Scooby-doo, Where are you?
Many of you have sent in address updates as your living circumstances have changed, but for anyone who hasn’t, if you have moved please update us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can make sure you get your pledge rewards.
That's all for now, be well!
pledged of $15,000 goal
seconds to go
Sep 19, 2012 - Oct 16, 2012
Pledge $2 or more
Toot Oriole Supporter: Our biweekly gratitude, credit in the rules and one Dense Meat Stack voting token. You receive these rewards for any level you pledge. See the main body text for description of all rewards.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $11 or more
Class Trainer Supporter: This $11 reward gets you an exclusive con stlye badge to show off your kickstarter support. Let your friends at conventions and various 12-step meetings know that you love Mr Card Game and Kingdom of Loathing! This badge is also your VIP Pass to future convention and event promos. You will also get the rules credit and one DMS.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $25 or more
Torso Awaregness Supporter: Show Fragnk that you have the torso to support a t-shirt that exclaims your support for supporting supportively. (Hint: It's a T-shirt!) Plus, of course, one DMS, and the exclusive badge. (Please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $37 or more
Mr. Adventurer Supporter: The game! The game! The thing you want! 1 copy of Mr. Card Game with its staggering 300 cards and 60 tokens, exquisitely designed and produced. Plus you'll be eligible for any stretch rewards if we reach higher funding levels. Plus, of course, one DMS, and the exclusive badge. (Please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $55 or more
AMC Gremlin Supporter: Upgrade your copy of the game with 6 sweet character class boards. (Please add $15 for international shipping).Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $99 or more
Y2K Supporter: You'll get the game. You'll get the special character boards. AND you'll also get the special Kingdom of Loathing map playmat!Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $151 or more
95 backers Limited (5 of 100 left)
Palindrome Supporter: One of every reward item + a limited edition Mr. Card Game poster signed by the Asymmetric and Evertide Games design teams.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $252 or more
50 backers All gone!
Completionist Supporter: Each of the rewards from the Palindrome Supporter level PLUS a complimentary copy of each expansion to Mr. Card Game we ever print. (Please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $404 or more
17 backers Limited (8 of 25 left)
Council of Loathing Supporter: Each of the rewards from the Palindrome Supporter level and a complementary copy of each expansion of Mr. Card Game. PLUS membership in our playtester corp for Mr. Card Game. (Please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Dec 2012