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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)

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.


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    1. Brian C on

      2017 is just fine with me. Your game is the one I most eagerly await, but I wouldn't want it before it's ready. Good luck putting the finishing touches together :)

    2. Missing avatar

      Sean S. on

      As long as your honest and keep us in the loop, which have done superbly so far, I can wait as long as you need. Thanks!

    3. Locclo on

      Ouch, that's a harsher delay than I expected, but as others have pointed out, I'd rather have it be delayed and amazing, rather than rushed and half-assed. It's hard to be mad when you've been so open and willing to talk about everything that's happening throughout the process. I've backed Kickstarters where there was virtually no communication, where the devs just went silent basically from the day the project ended.

      Also, can I just say that I'm really impressed with the backers of this project for (mostly, it seems) sharing this sentiment? It seems way more supportive than other projects I've backed, where even minor problems/delays had people crying out for refunds. Everyone here seems to have been really supportive and patient throughout all of this.

      So, don't worry about it! I know I'm willing to wait as long as it takes - the game looks great, and I have high hopes that it'll be a fantastic addition to my collection. It'll get done when it's done.

    4. Airmail Adventures on

      So gutted this won't reach us by Christmas :( Such niggly errors to me, there comes a point where you think it's just better to ship it as is. Nevermind!

    5. Peter Hulting on

      January?! I expect a one year delay. Isn't that standard with Kickstarters? No worries, I'm sure it'll be great when it's done.

    6. Eamon Burke on

      This is the first delay that actually feels like a delay to me.

      But I'm okay with it! Just make it great!

      Also, if you end up with copies that got made with minorly subpar components, like trackers that don't work as well or whatever, put me on the list for one of those copies. I don't really care.

    7. Missing avatar

      Matt Mason on

      A frustrating delay, but it is certainly the correct decision. I appreciate you focusing on quality rather than rushing a product that you are not happy with.

      Regarding the tuck boxes: Could you resize a handful of them to get everything into the box, or is there an argument to just resize all of them?

      Regarding the player mats: I was planning to use a dab of poster-putty to hold the pegs in place. I am encouraged that you are working a more elegant solution than that.

    8. Morten Monrad Pedersen on

      Take the time you need and don't stress. The game will be done, when it's done. When I back an ambitious Kickstarter like this I assume that there'll be large delays.

      Even though I love board games enough to have made them a part time job, then they're still just games. They're nice to haves, not need to haves.

      Take a break, unwind after Essen, and spend some time with friends or family. We'll all survive the wait and after Essen I have enough unplayed games to last me until 2018 :-)

      I'm guessing this update wasn't fun to write, but I thank you for your honesty and respect you for it.

    9. Bobby Allen

      Fingers, there supposed to have been a NOT in the first sentence.

    10. Bobby Allen

      Even though we will have the game available, I am looking forward to meeting you and having you bless Bob's Weekend Wonders with your presence during BGG Con. This is/was a huge undertaking. If you compare the delays/issues you have experienced vs. the delays/issues other Kickstarter projects have experienced; your challenges are not uncommon.

      Are you planning on being at PAX South? Owl Con Feb10-12 in Houston is a smaller regional convention. I had a booth there last year and I am hoping to get 2 sections this year.

      We share your pain, hang in there and keep up the good work.

    11. James on

      Not even an issue.
      Thanks for all of your time and hard work!

    12. Gonetotheedge

      It almost look like you need some sort of plastic stand to hold the marker up and would also make the marker fit tighter in the hole. My other thought would be some plastic slider that would let you track horizontally instead of vertically as that might be an easier solution.

    13. Isaac Childres 4-time creator on

      Haha, Brian, let's hope not!

    14. Missing avatar

      Neva Kee on

      Thanks for the update.

      While it is sad that there were mistakes that will cause delays for delivering the game, I really appreciate that you tell us about it and keep us in the loop on how things are going as soon as you know about it.

      But when calculating a new ETA, don't forget the Chinese New Year, which could very well delay the delivery even further.

      However it will turn out, don't let these setbacks get to you. Things like this happen and you are already trying all you can to make things right. Just keep up the good work and keep communicating (as you always did) and I really don't see a problem!

    15. Weresheep of Sin AKA Stefan

      I "wanted" to be disappointed and angry with the delay ... reading your text, looking at the pictures on BGG ... I can't. You are honest, you own up to your mistakes, you don't deserve anger. Man, those character mats are BEAUTIFUL ... I cannot be disappointed, this will be great and what is a month or two considering what I'll be getting?
      Thanks for that update and don't be too hard on yourself. What really matters is that we'll get a great game with no corners cut.

    16. Brendan on

      Something I learned when buying video games (and to a lesser extent board games) is that a rushed product to make deadlines is NEVER worth it. You are doing fine Issac, take whatever time you need to make sure your game is remembered fondly. Once it's out, anyone complaining about timetables will be hushed and all the noise will be about quality. Make sure the lasting noise is what you want it to be.

    17. Martin Looij

      Isaac, try to worry not too much, relax, have a good night sleep. We are patient and prefer quality over speed. It was great meeting you at Essen, sorry I couldn't make any time to look at the game some more but I was too busy with my own game all fair long, even though we were only like 100ft apart I didn't succeed in stopping at your booth for a minute. But please take care and don't frustrate yourself too much! I know you take it personally, so did I when some things went wrong with Scuba but remember that we are doing the work of 20 people in a 'normal' company so it's only natural stuff goes wrong every now and then. Keep up the good work!

    18. Missing avatar

      Brian Pierce on

      Somewhere in Essen there are 4 shipping company employees halfway though their Gloomhaven campaign :)

    19. Gregory Booth

      Can I just say how happy I am? Not only with the updates (whether positive or negative), but also with the fact that all of the comments are positive. What a refreshing change of pace. Thanks to Isaac and thanks to my fellow Gloomhaven backers.

    20. Jarvis K Jensen on

      Hang in there, Isaac! Thanks for all your work on this project. I will survive a few more months of waiting :)

    21. Missing avatar

      Cantide on

      I don't mind waiting for a quality product. Just do what you gotta do, Isaac, and don't worry about the speed bumps :)

    22. GeneralGrundmann on

      Stay strong Isaac, you are the best! :-)

      Don't rush anything, take all the time you need to make Gloomheaven as good as it deserves to be. ;-)

      Best regards

    23. Bryan on

      We will all enjoy it when it's correct.

      As far as holes/cuts, could you make alternating holes ... like two offset hole-rows... even numbers and odd numbers?

    24. Bryan on

      We will all enjoy it when it's correct.

      As far as holes/cuts, could you make alternating holes ... like two offset hole-rows... even numbers and odd numbers?

    25. Reality Games Studios on

      This kickstarter is really a model. Yes the timeline is delayed, but still. You managed to get so much stuff produced in that tight time frame! Gogogo!

    26. Starranger

      I really appreciate the candid look at the production problem and the discussion of what is going wrong that will cause a delay. It is very refreshing compared to many other projects where something falls over and you just hear crickets.

    27. Jon Mickle on

      A quality product is worth the wait. Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. By the time everything is finished, I know it'll be a product that you (and all of your backers) will be proud of!

    28. Sven Van Roeyen on

      Dont worry Isaac. I saw the game in all its gloriness at Spiel. What we will get eventually will be a benchmark for all other dungeon crawler like games.

      It was great to meet you last week and wish you all success, I hope you were able to sell a lot of extra preorders to offset the tight margin you must have to get this big bow into our hands.

    29. Marty

      I really appreciate the timely updates. Take the time you need to get the product done correctly. You've got a ton of positive exposure from various events and news outlets. Don't let the struggle of production get you down. Keep doing good steady work.

    30. Dejan Holmstrand on

      Gogo, 2017 will soon be here! Can hardly wait :)

    31. Stuart Woltkamp-Moon on

      January 2017! Sounds good to me, had way to much already to do this year :) Also, id rather have a good product and have to wait longer than something that is rushed. Its looking really good!

    32. Missing avatar

      Jongdae Han on

      Not a so-expected-kind of news, but echoes from the Essen are still entertaining! You are doing well, so keep it up!