The Devil is indeed in the details
Hello Faithful Backers!
I'm just dropping by your inbox to say that production is rolling along. Well, bumping along. Lurching is a better word, but not plodding. It's fast when it's moving, but it gets hung up sometimes on the smallest snags. Overall though, I'm assured that things are wrapping up and that we will, at some near date, have a small mountain of games show up at our Washington base.
The production company sent an email this morning to double check our shipping information and to say that the packing slip and a physical sample of the game will arrive early next week. I replied, thanking her and saying how anxious we are to deliver the game to our backers. I added offhand that this has been a four-year process. She was shocked and said she is always amazed at the amount of time and effort that goes into a full-scale board game.
After the exchange, I got to reminiscing and thinking about how complex just one piece of that process ends up being. Whether it was concept, prototyping, playtesting, kickstarter campaigning, production, or (soon) fulfillment, each step has seemed like a war in and of itself, an exhausting campaign fraught with all manner of unpredicted and unpredictable obstacles.
I don't want to bore you with my musings, but a couple of you were curious enough to ask about the processes involved, so I'll detail some of the more recent foibles. Production alone, and I'm just talking about the reboot since LIYA Int'l replaced their less-then-functional representative with a functional one, has resulted in 211 email exchanges.
These discussions covered everything from exact Pantone colors for each meeple to design possibilities for the box's organizer insert. The production process is incredibly thorough, often resulting in tiresome but necessary discussions of the tiniest details that all must be understood and approved by both sides before production can lurch forward another step.
I fielded questions at every turn. Questions like: Is it okay to stretch the box bottom graphic by 5mm? The games comes with orange dice that do not correlate with a meeple color, is that correct? The black bleed border of some cards is slightly asymmetrical, not in terms of positioning, but the black is slightly bluer on one side or the other (not visible to the naked eye), was that intentional or would you like to revisit those files?
Also, there were tedious changes that really needed to be made before we could continue. Originally, the cards were arranged in sheets of 18 or 36, per the specifications of our prototype printer. The production printer, however, needed each card uploaded as a separate file. That's 504 files for the card fronts! Fortunately, our art guy figured out a way to automate the process of selecting each card on a sheet (spacing with a <1mm tolerance), cropping the file, converting its color mode, then naming it and saving it as a particular file type with exact settings. Even so, the process required two long days.
As exasperating as those hitches can be, we are grateful to the professionals at the LIYA factory for their attention to detail and exacting standards. In the end, all they are doing is increasing the quality of our game.
We're excited that production is coming to a close and we can get on with the busy work of fulfillment. We have received seven emails or messages with address changes, so if anyone else has moved, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or with a kickstarter message.
-Karl & Jeremy