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A board game of cooperative card-driven tactical combat in a persistent, ever-changing campaign world. 1-4 players, 30 min. per player.
A board game of cooperative card-driven tactical combat in a persistent, ever-changing campaign world. 1-4 players, 30 min. per player.
4,904 backers pledged $386,104 to help bring this project to life.

Essen, Production Samples, and Speed Bumps: Manufacturing Update 9

Posted by Isaac Childres (Creator)
134 likes

A good day to you residents of Gloomhaven!

Here we are on another Friday afternoon, discussing the trials and tribulations of manufacturing a board game. As promised, the production sample did arrive, specifically, at 10 am last Thursday, right as the exhibition hall doors opened for Essen Spiel. Before I get to the good, however, I feel obligated to sit down and talk to you about the bad.

There were some problems with the production sample. Most notably, after discovering that the holes we originally designed to be cut into the player mats (which were used to hold the HP and XP trackers in place) wouldn't work, we decided to try a single line cut in the mats with the hopes that friction would hold the trackers in place. The first iteration of that was seen in the samples at Essen, and, well, they didn't work at all.

Here's Paul Grogan with a quick video demonstration! (Sorry Paul, you probably didn't realize this was going to be part of the update when you made the video.)

It was frustrating and embarrassing, but the good news is that isn't the end of the story. Luckily the main bulk of these player mats hasn't been cut yet, so we are able to still work more on it and come up with a more reasonable solution. We are limited in the fact the the wood trackers have already been made and the player mats are printed, so the only thing we can modify are the cut lines, but we're working on a number of ideas, and I'm hoping the problem will be solved to my and your satisfaction.

The other major problem with the production sample was much less noticeable at the fair - in fact, I didn't notice it until I started packing up the box at the end - but it is equally devastating. Somewhere along the way, the thickness of the character tuck boxes was miscommunicated, and they all ended up getting printed off much larger than originally planned. In their current size, they barely fit into the box, much less the planned insert to keep everything organized.

These are the boxes in question:

This is how they currently fit into the box:

Again, another embarrassing mistake. And it's looking like the only way to fix this one is to reprint the boxes in the proper size, which will take time.

And, okay, look, obviously a common theme to fixing mistakes is time. In many past instances I've been very optimistic in my time tables, essentially assuming that no mistakes would be made, when, really, that's the stupidest thing I could do. Mistakes were and are bound to be made at every step of this process, if for no other reason than there are more elements to this project than any other single-box board game in history. 

There are so many things to get wrong, probability demands that mistakes will be made. So I'm going to sit here and attempt to be as realistic as I can with you. These mistakes I mentioned are going to cause further delays, likely pushing delivery into December. And that's optimistic, so let's not be optimistic and combine the fact that the factory does everything slowly with the fact that attempting to do any shipping in December is prone to disaster anyway, and we're going to go with a delivery date of January.

2017. It stings, but I think it's the most realistic estimate, which is what all of you deserve.

So, can we talk about the good stuff now? Essen went really well. It was great to meet so many backers from Europe, and thanks to Felix, Florian, Philipp and Steffen, we were able to run two demo tables non-stop for the whole convention, so that as many people as possible got a taste of the game with the actual production-quality game components.

Everyone seemed to have a great time, and there are many more pictures of all the components than what I showed here on the BoardGameGeek page (though there might be some spoilers in the images of the miniatures). I know some of you are hoping for a comprehensive unboxing video with a detailed look at all the different components. I am very much looking forward to giving that to you, but, dammit, I seem to be bearing more bad news.

You see, at the end of Essen Spiel, I was very tired, and my bags were already stuffed with the banners for the booth. I decided to use the shipping service at the convention to get the production sample back to the US, so that I wouldn't have to deal with it on the airplane, but that turned out to be a bit of a mistake. After many emails back and forth with the shipping service, as far as I can tell, they haven't even shipped the package yet. It's still in Germany...

So I am waiting desperately to get the production sample back, and as soon as I do, you will have an unboxing video.

All right, that's enough embarrassing admissions for one update. I hope you all can stick with me through all these delays. Mistakes are bound to be made, but, in the end, we need to do everything we can to make sure the product that comes out in the end is as good as it can be.

Until next time!

Kovaks, Veronica Andersson, and 132 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Daniel Nelson on

      When I backed this game I had a feeling it was goung to take a monumental effort to see it come to life, and I am so looking forward to playing your finished product. Take your time. Do it right. It will be worth it.

    2. Adam Sergison on

      Please please please - delay the game as much as you need to.

      I'm currently confident that I'm going to get the game at some point. I've got lots to play already. My hype has gone nowhere. Fully realize your vision. I'd rather way another 3 years for a game than try to play it with Betrayal-at-House-on-the-Hill type stat-tracking issues.

      Take your time, you got this.

    3. Gary Kressner on

      I agree with several of the other suggestions here that individual holes for tracking seems to make the most sense, but however things work out, I am still grateful you bring us along through the whole process step-by-step, rather than leaving us to wonder where things are.

      Even the more troubling snags like these and the tuck box size issue are good to know the details about, and that you solicit feedback only reinforces the fact that you care about your supporters, and intend to deliver the highest quality product possible.

    4. Missing avatar

      Holger Schmidt
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the update, Isaac.
      Maybe you dont have to modify the playermats at all. Just guesing here after I saw the trackes at your booth - great components by the way!
      I was thinking about an easy fix: is it possible to attach a Thumbtack to the bottom of the markers? This might keep everything together and won't be visible from above.
      No idea if this could really work, just trying to help here.

    5. Colin Foster on

      Steady as She Goes, Sir. I'm sure we've all got plenty of games to play while we wait.

    6. Lawrence Wimsatt
      Superbacker
      on

      I prefer you take the time necessary to produce the game you imagined. Besides, I'm a bit busy with Seafall at the moment...

    7. Dimitar on

      Take your time, game is looking great. I'd be fine if the player boards didn't have any holes and you moved cubes on the boards themselves! Hope the component updates won't cost you. This already seems like a pretty expensive game to produce and ship.

    8. Missing avatar

      Charlotte on

      Ahh, I was really hoping to have the game before the new year -- it is being shipped to my partner in Germany, and I am only there until the beginning of January before I leave for a different continent again. So if Gloomhaven arrives after my departure, I won't be able to play it until May! :(

      BUT I really appreciate that after working on Gloomhaven for so long, you are still happy to put in even more work to fix everything until it works, Isaac! I think that's the right way to go and it's going to as long as it's going to take -- no complaints, really. I think you are making the right call and Gloomhaven will be the better for it when it arrives.
      The above is just coming from being so eager to play. :)

    9. Tony Cotterill on

      As a fellow creative I know that if there is something about a project that isn't quite right it'll gnaw at you every time you look at it! So good call, rather than be irritated FOREVER :)
      And that's just for your own sanity, never mind ours...
      No worries. January will come soon enough. I expect it will arrive when I'm away on the ski slopes!

    10. Maarten on

      Terrific. Now have more time to play mechs vs minnions before this one comes in and let me abandon all other games.

    11. Rosen Tsolov on

      I have no problem to wait. Just be sure that everything is as you want to be.

    12. Missing avatar

      Tomi Mononen on

      Thanks for the update. Take all the time you need I'm just happy to be part of this magnificent project. I can definitely wait for this!

    13. Jakob Bavnshøj on

      Thanks for the update. Saw the game at Essen (while you were unpacking thursday). It looks amazing! :)

    14. Missing avatar

      Shannon Marden on

      I agree with what someone else wrote on here...it seems the best solution at this time would be to cut individual holes for the markers, and just jump them from number to number instead of slide them. That way, they will stay in place. Great job with this game, Isaac, we all appreciate your honesty and can't wait to play Gloomhaven!

    15. Simon Cooper
      Superbacker
      on

      Be as good as we can be. That is all any of us can do. You are doing a great job there, keep up the good work.

    16. Missing avatar

      Antonio on

      may I receive a box as it is now ;-)
      for me those problems (mats and insert boxes) are very negligible (I do not have any box with the insert still inside)

      but of course I can wait ... the game will be great and I do not plan to have time in Christmas holidays to play it

    17. Peter "Apple Head" Andersson
      Superbacker
      on

      Great update!
      Isaac, this is probably the best kickstarter I've been part of. Which means that you really get it right. Everyone makes mistakes, don't worry about it!
      I'm looking forward to the game in the first quarter of next year.
      Keep up the good work!

    18. Missing avatar

      John K on

      The trackers issue is huge. You have to find another way so they get inside a bigger hole. Maybe use the trackers orizontally and not verticaly as you have now. Lay them down and make appropriate holes so they can match/fit into, or make it into two rows. One above, one below.
      For this, you may have to make the character board bigger.

      Friction also does not help, because after some games the cardboard with start to loose friction and the trackers will be flying around.

      Or just throw them away and go with a more robust solution.

    19. ionas on

      All good, take your time!

    20. Volker Bache
      Superbacker
      on

      On the plus side, the components looked stellar at the fair :-)

    21. rashktah on

      Months ago I doubted that Gloomhaven would be out around SPIEL 2016. Isaac told me, I'm a Kickstarter-spoiled pessimist. Guess I was right after all? I can wait, the game will surely be awesome. But I don't think that it will be released around January 2017 with the Chinese New Year and all the other possible speed bumps that could await Isaac in the near future. My guess would be a delivery around May.

    22. DZero
      Superbacker
      on

      Out of curiosity, what happened to the original design for the boards with the punched out holes for each spot on the HP/XP tracks?

    23. Nakano
      Superbacker
      on

      Journey Wrath of Demons has a similar health tracker and share the issue. I don't think this can be solved by modifying cut lines. What I would suggest is a solution from Allegiance: A Realm Divided. It uses glass cubes to track economy. Player can see through the glass cubes.

    24. Missing avatar

      Trienco
      Superbacker
      on

      Well, the game will be on my shelf (and table) for decades, so I'm going with it "get it right" over "get it quick". Epic scope means tons of little details and unexpected issues.

      While it might look a bit fancy, could the trackers be rotated 45°? You could keep the single cut-out line (just a tad thinner) and add notches at the top and bottom. Not sure if their cutting process would be precise enough. The upper notch could even sligthly overlap the number fields without making them unreadable.

      That would be the smallest change to possibly make it work I can think of, but you probably had that idea already and it didn't work.

    25. Missing avatar

      David Di Muro
      Superbacker
      on

      No worries Issac. This game is so complicated and intricate I would have been surprised if everything went smoothly. Seeing it all splayed out like that got me really exited. Your excellent communication and transparency means I have utmost faith in your final product. Take your time. Relax. Enjoy life. I'll play it when it arrives.

    26. Missing avatar

      Paul Ferguson on

      Every update is just another list of issues and delays. I am not wanting to make Isaac feel bad, this stuff happens, but for a guy that has successfully produced games before, this is starting to feel like a very amature attempt. The game was meant to be out in May 2016, and if I recall correctly, we got an update in May/June, with Isaac informing us that he was just starting the scenario book. I understand that this is a big undertaking, but it is starting to feel that it is too much for Isaac to handle.

    27. Missing avatar

      Michael Roberts
      Superbacker
      on

      Like others have said, it's better to do it right and keep us informed like this. We can understand what's happening and can be patient.

      Plus I find it interesting to see these details. All the minor things that we don't normally think about!

    28. Ryan Michael on

      Bummer man! But all good, take the time this game deserves. It's gonna be epic.

    29. Travis Hunter
      Superbacker
      on

      No biggie on the delays. I'd rather wait an extra six months and have you get it right than have it shipped with haste with mistakes. All good things come to those who wait.

    30. Missing avatar

      Christopher Ulm
      Superbacker
      on

      Echo the sentiment, take the time to do it right. This is a massive undertaking, this will only make the anticipation last longer!

    31. Jedra7609
      Superbacker
      on

      This just means you get to be the most anticipated game in 2016 AND 2017! Don't worry about the delay - make sure you are happy with the final product. I doubt anyone here is going to shout at you for wanting to make sure it's right and this is what pre-production copies are for after all.

    32. RavenMad on

      Like everyone else has commented so far, I'm fine with the extra delays because it means you're making sure this beast of a game is the best quality it can be in all regards. Given how huge it is (size and campaign length), I'm glad you're trying to make it as good as possible - it would be super annoying to have sub-par components in front of you the whole time. Just keep plugging away - the fact that you're keeping us informed counts for a lot. When we do get it, it'll be awesome! :)

    33. The Redheaded Pharmacist
      Superbacker
      on

      Delays happen. I can wait. I have no doubt the final product will be worth the delays in production. Thank you for the update.

    34. RHPDaddy
      Superbacker
      on

      Also, I don't know about a branching gear shift or comb pattern slot. They would seem to have the same problems to me. Have you seen the player boards in Scythe?

    35. RHPDaddy
      Superbacker
      on

      |||||||||||||||||
      vs
      -----------
      -----------
      vs
      Some other arrangement...

    36. RHPDaddy
      Superbacker
      on

      Isaac, don't beat yourself up too much. Just wondering if the character tuck boxes have to be put in the box the way you show in the photo above or can they go into the box as two rows perpendicular to that?

    37. Missing avatar

      Vincent de Wildt on

      Hi Isaac, I have no problems with the delay, What I'm curious about is the solutions you have in mind regarding the trackers, Is it possible that you give us some more info about possible solutions?

      Good luck with overcoming the last hurdles

    38. Iain Reid on

      It will be done when its done. The quality of the end product, and good communication are both far more important than minor delays. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

    39. AtomicFenix
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the information. Don't worry, we understand that things like that can happen :)

    40. UhOh Crow on

      Hang in there and get some rest. Travel's a killer

    41. J. Gillespie on

      If you use the alternating "gearshift" cut you would likely need to alter the graphics your up, then down and circled numbers would look better then rectangles.

      Another idea besides alternating 'gearshift' pattern in case you can't alter graphics too much would be to have a comb like pattern. One horizontal line across with teeth up or down.

      If this still moves too much put an additional small, horizontal "foot" or line segmentat the the end of each comb tooth. This would comprise: 1. A horizontal line, 2. "comb" teeth upwards towards the number 3. A small horizontal cut from the end of the tooth, alternating pointing left then right.

    42. Baginses
      Superbacker
      on

      This update may cause me to shed real tears because I want my hands on this game so badly. Not angry at all though just disappointed along with you. Thanks for handling everything so well and remaining up front and honest, even regarding your mistakes

    43. eclipse on

      Gloomhaven is a massive game with lots of work In it , keep up the good work issac and hope you have some rest from Essen .

    44. aron aka jello on

      I'll quote myself from a thread about the delay on BGG:

      "Shit happens, we all know it.. there's a reason most companies don't announce dates until the products are already on the boat. Isaac has been very communicative and always up-front about the status. Very few KS backers, in my experience, are all *that* worried about delays in general... it's when the creator just drops off the face of the planet for months at a time or outright lies about the status, etc. Then beyond that I'm getting a copy at $64 shipped.. retail is looking to be 100ish even after discounts.

      Not really sweatin' it, I must say."

      Don't stress it more than you already are, Isaac. Just make it awesome in the end, and it'll all be good!

    45. GameTurners on

      Thanks for the update. These things happen but you have been honest with us, and that keeps me informed and content. I am sure your frustration far outweighs mine. Looking forward to 2017!

    46. J. Gillespie on

      "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."
      -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

      How about a gear shift inspired cut? A line with "branches" alternating up and down. Just have to make a little more room graphically.

    47. Brie
      Superbacker
      on

      Bummer about the delay, but your communication more than makes up for any worries. The game will be awesome when done.

    48. Missing avatar

      Kris Thompson on

      At least you're still being communicative and honest about things. The game will get here when it gets here, and all the awe about its quality will more than make up for any grumpiness over the wait, I have no doubt. Stay strong and carry on, good sir.

    49. Missing avatar

      Justin Lizza on

      I'm glad most other commenters are being supportive. We all understand the amount of work and frustration this has been for you and we look forward to playing the finished product!

    50. Missing avatar

      Diederik Daggelinckx on

      Haha, your updates are super entertaining. Secretely I hope for more delays, because more delays means more updates! ;)