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