A few weeks ago we sent all of the files to the printer to get the proofing process started. We also printed out the manual and ran a few blind tests of it to make sure it worked at actually teaching you to play the game. Since then, we are progressing on both of those fronts, here's what's going on:
We received some feedback from the printer about our files through email, and have had a few Skype meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page, and trade ideas and suggestions. We have been changing and correcting things as needed. Here are the high points:
- The manual has expanded to the point that we needed to check some margins so that things don't get lost in the middle where it is stapled. (Done)
- The punchboards were a little too big to fit comfortably in the box, and needed to be adjusted. We had enough room on most sides, but the spare tokens did need to shrink a bit. (Done)
- The quick reference card had a slight alignment issue on one side. (Done)
- Bleeds and border colors on some items were off, mostly due to export settings. (Mostly done)
- Some graphics in the manual were not converting to CMYK color correctly. (In progress)
- The box insert as designed could not be produced using the method we had planned on. We discussed a few options, and found one that meets all of our initial needs. The printer is doing the final design based on our specs, and then testing to make sure everything fits as intended.
They have told us that samples of the wood pieces should be ready in about 2-3 weeks. Once we complete the file corrections and then approve the resulting digital proofs (they essentially run our files through their machines to make sure everything looks the same on the other end) they will take about 2 weeks to produce a pre-production copy. That will be shipped to us for approval, and then mass production will begin.
From there, it will take about 2 months to fully produce and assemble all of the games. After that their estimates say 1-2 months for shipping to the fulfillment warehouses and out to you.
Our feedback from the blind testing has basically been "it's in there, but I didn't look where it was." The manual overall is pretty large (40 pages) but a lot of it is specific examples or breakdowns such as 12 pages of the specifics of each character and mission. This means that most of our changes have been in the cross references and index, making sure that wherever you might be when a question comes up, that there is a quick and logical way for you to find the answer.
When these changes can be done quickly alongside our proofing changes, we are doing them then, but the rest are being held until later so that we can get the initial proofing done and keep the process moving. Since they are all text changes, they will not appreciably change the final result from a printing standpoint, and we can substitute the final file between when we get the digital proofs and when the pre-production copy is produced. This should give us a week or so to do final adjustments without altering the final delivery schedule.
-Rob and Dave