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Rediscover over 35 of the original artists of Magic: The Gathering® reunited to create new paintings for this limited release art book.
Rediscover over 35 of the original artists of Magic: The Gathering® reunited to create new paintings for this limited release art book.
Rediscover over 35 of the original artists of Magic: The Gathering® reunited to create new paintings for this limited release art book.
1,509 backers pledged $149,899 to help bring this project to life.

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Fly, My Pretties!

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The Standard Edition Sketch Card Sets are shipping. Right now. Here's the shipping schedule:

  • 1st wave domestic shipments: Wednesday, Sept 3rd. 
  • 2nd wave domestic shipments: Thursday, Sept 4th. 
  • International shipments: Thursday, Sept 4th. 
  • "Random 100" and "Random 200" sets: Friday, Sept 5th.

All domestic packages are traveling Priority Mail and should reach you two or three days after shipping. Indeed some of you may have to interrupt reading this to grab yours (they require a signature).

International packages are traveling Priority Mail Express International and are expected to reach you within three to five days but customs may slow that down.

Please take note, all packages will require a signature.

Open the Box!

Open the shipping box on the side with the address and take note of the little CAUTION notice. A minimal amount of tape has been used in the packaging and the bubble wrap is held in place by pressure. Follow the instructions on the CAUTION notice to easily reach your card boxes.

Yeah, they're beauties.

But let's not forget, the boxes are not the product, they're just another layer of protection for your cards, albeit very decorative ones.

Each box is sealed with a mana palette sticker on its front slide-out flap. Once that's removed and you've gotten the box open (it may be a tight fit FYI), you'll find your cards are bagged and surrounded by a cushioning layer of foam.

While the box and bags are ph neutral, the foam is not. If you're not planning on shipping the cards anywhere, we recommend disposing of the foam.

The cards themselves are double bagged: each self-sealing bag holding two smaller bags that contain roughly 50 cards apiece.

Be sure to check out the note that's included too.

We hope you enjoy them!

For those of you that are getting one of the random assortments of cards, there'll be no mana palette sticker or any of the notes. Thankfully your package is much easier to remove from the box without spilling it everywhere!

In the Cards

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A round-up of the few products left to ship -

Collector's Edition Books

Jeff's status update on the CEs -

"Last domestic copies of the CEs shipped out during the first week in August. The remaining international CEs are shipping first class with insurance and REGISTERED. Registered shipments take a while to process, with lots of handwritten paperwork, but we are down to less than 85 to go."

If you live in the U.S. and haven't seen your package by the end of this coming week, we recommend dropping Jeff a line at fullsteaminquiry@gmail.com. 

For those of you outside the United States, DO NOT PANIC. International shipping (and especially customs clearance) are slow processes.

The Standard Edition Sketch Card Set

Always a mouthful, that one. The printed set of 404 sketch cards came into being as a response to backer feedback. It was an idea generated mid-campaign and in hindsight it probably should have been its own Kickstarter given that the magnitude of the card set's production grew to rival that of the book.

Currently, all the card sets are being prepped for shipping. When that is done, they will ship over a few short days so there isn't the same protracted delivery that has troubled the CE and left a few of you anxiously watching your mailboxes. The cards - protected in their custom boxes - will be shipping to their owners before the end of August. We will let you know when that begins.

Here's your first look at the custom box design:

Magic cards included for scale only.
Magic cards included for scale only.

The full set comes split across two boxes. This was the best balance of maximum card capacity with the structural integrity to not tear or collapse while trying to hold all the cards. Each box weighs just fractionally under 3 lbs (or 1.355 kg to be precise)!

The Original Sketch Cards

Little by little, the lucky backers who nabbed a reward tier with the original collector's edition sketch cards have been posting photos of their haul.

If you use Facebook, there's a group dedicated to these originals. Here you'll find a number of the sketch cards already on display. The group's regulars are always eager to see what new treasures people have received, and there's also the opportunity to trade (or, shock!) sell your original sketch cards. 

One question that we hear about the cards is "why is there no visual spoiler"? Well, we wanted there to be a steady roll out of the images as anticipation and discovery is all part of the fun. Our ideal sequence of events was:

  • Backers get their 2 original sketch cards and share with others online. 
  • Backers get their complete standard edition card set. 
  • A visual spoiler is posted (by us or someone industrious) online.

We weren't beholden to this schedule as on more than one occasion it looked like the card set would be ready to ship before the Collector's Editions books, and we certainly wouldn't have held up one product to maintain our preferred release sequence. However, the card set had its share of production issues and is only now ready to start shipping.

The other reason for not just releasing the visual spoiler is because we think that the people who paid a premium for the original sketches and/or the card set deserve the opportunity to see the cards first. However, we're going to release one little snippet of information now. Below is the list of who contributed sketch cards and how many they did. You'll notice the number varies wildly but each of the artists was asked to tackle a number they felt comfortable with and here's the result:

  • Doug Shuler 36
  • Bryon Wackwitz 33
  • Pete Venters 28
  • Ken Meyer Jr. 27
  • Melissa A. Benson 24
  • Mark Poole 24
  • Drew Tucker 24
  • Anthony Waters 20
  • Pat (Morrissey) Lewis 16
  • Mark Tedin 13
  • Randy Asplund 12
  • Liz Danforth 12
  • Heather Hudson 12
  • Jeff A. Menges 12
  • Brian Snõddy 12
  • Nicola (Leonard) Beeson 12
  • Sandra Everingham 11
  • Richard Kane Ferguson 10
  • Daniel Gelon 10
  • Ron Spencer 10
  • Kev Brockschmidt 9
  • Michael Kimble 9
  • Richard Thomas 6
  • Julie Baroh 3
  • Ed Beard Jr. 4
  • Dan Frazier 3
  • Kaja Foglio 3
  • Phil Foglio 3
  • Margaret Organ-Keen 4
  • Nene Thomas 2

We'll be back soon to let you know when the card sets begin to ship.

A Fulfillment Update

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Collector's Editions Questions

Common questions we're seeing regarding Collector's Edition (CE) Books — 

  • Did my CE ship? 
  • If so is there tracking / do you have my tracking number? 
  • Is there some kind of problem? 
  • I've seen that some people have got their CE. What about mine? 
  • Why is it taking so long? You've had these books since the start of May!

Yes, the CEs arrived here weeks ago (though not the start of May, that was just the early copies for final sign-off). They are now showing up in the hands of backers, in online posts, at tournaments and occasionally on eBay...

But— There are still more shipping out every day. Really. Every single day.

Both the hardcovers and softcovers were shipped, in bulk, by the fulfillment unit of our printer. It was easy because they've a large staff and all they needed to do was pack each book with a set of promo cards. The fulfillment center was able to accomplish this in roughly two weeks.

The Collector's Editions are a more complicated matter with a number of steps applied to each and every volume: QA inspection, hand numbering, placement of the numbered page insert, and special care taken to ensure that the book and its cover aren't creased or scuffed when inserted into the slipcase both upon delivery and after the numbering process. In addition, almost half of the CEs need to be paired with original sketch cards as well as the promo cards. This all amounts to lots of hands-on work that adds up quickly.

Every day a new batch of books is shipped but because it's a slow process there's going to be a measurable difference between the delivery date of the first CE and the arrival of the last. So please don't worry if you don’t have yours yet. They are here, and I’m working on it every night, until they’re all out. We’ve also hired some help to fold, tape and label boxes, so I can get to filling them faster.

A recent “Sunday run”, to the 24-hour mail kiosk… 

Each of these 18 boxes had at least two books in it
Each of these 18 boxes had at least two books in it

All current shipments going out have tracking and insurance, and we’re trying to get tracking on all international packages where possible. These steps minimize problems; it’s in the best interest of the post office to make sure the package gets there. In addition, International Mail is labor intensive and more expensive than ever, but some have gone out already, with more on the table.

One last thing; since the edition is numbered, people have asked how the numbers are assigned: They're random just like which original sketch cards some will receive. Any other option simply didn't seem fair.

The Printed Sketch Card Set

This has been an equally challenging facet of the project, with multiple print runs and tens of thousands of cards to inspect, sort and pack. We’re currently working with the last 5%, and hope to be shipping the 400 card sets very soon.

I've made two trips in the last week to review the print runs of the remaining portion of the card set and hopefully we are close to shipping. We'll let you know when that starts.

We're Getting There

We understand your desire to have your books and cards. Rest assured that we're working as many hours as we have available to see this done.

May We Present...

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The Numbered Collector's Edition! 

At last.

Collector's Edition with a Standard Edition for comparison.
Collector's Edition with a Standard Edition for comparison.

 The books themselves were printed months ago but the slipcases have been a veritable thorn in Jeff's side. However! Jeff has received final samples of the slipcases and he's cleared them to be shipped from the manufacturer to the book printer for final assembly of the edition (if you remember from the last update, a third party was brought in to make the slipcases).

Here's Jeff to let you know the latest -

"The slipcases have the weight and heft that we imagined they should have, and the fit to the book is snug but not over-tight.

The slipcases should have arrived at the printers today, (5/1/14) where they'll be paired with books, and packed to ship to me on Long Island, where I will fill each individual Collector's Edition related order. Priority Mail Boxes are being prepped (Stamped, labeled, filled with packing, etc.) so that when the books come in, I can get a good jump in on them right away.

Jeff "

Here's some shots of the slipcase with the regular and Collector's Edition -

Where the standard edition's cover is mostly glossy with some spot "dullcote", the Collector's Edition's cover is mostly Matte with some spot gloss. As you may be able to tell, there's metallic stamping on the slipcase. Here's another shot taken out in daylight that gives a better sense of the treatment given to the "mana palette" -

The approach for the Collector's Edition's book and case is elegant minimalism. Here's a comparison shot of the back of the both editions of the book that really drives home that difference -

Being that the Collector's Edition isn't for sale "on the market", there was no need for blurb, pricing,etc. One other nice little feature that may not be apparent from the photo above is that "Numbered Collector Edition" on the back is in gloss ONLY. Here's another shot for you to compare to the one above.

The books! They are coming!

Sketch Card Sets 

Over 40,000 cards were printed to make 100 sets of this mammoth sketch card edition. A grueling eight days of collation was unfortunately hampered by the discovery of even more card printing issues. We expected to be shipping these sets RIGHT NOW but currently we are talking to the card printer about replacing the problem cards. Hopefully this will be resolved very soon.

Getting There

That's it for now. As ever, we cannot adequately explain how sorry we are that these last few facets of this Kickstarter have been so badly delayed. Here's to getting this project over the finish line.

Quality Control

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For all those still waiting for the Numbered Collector's Editions, pull up a chair, here's an update—

Taking Stock

We're in this together. I've nothing to gain by delaying this in any way, I'm waiting as much as you are. And I'm at my wits end dealing with the compounded delays on the part of our suppliers.

Our printer - that promised they could meet the demand on the slipcases - was sorely mistaken. When the books were being finished, it was time to get the slipcases finalized. The printer provided me with their specs and I discovered our expectations for the slipcases were still not in agreement.

I requested that if they were unable to meet my slipcase requirements, they should tell me and I would take that part of the job elsewhere. I was assured that they could handle the heavier packaging, and so we went forward. But it was at a snail's pace and all the while - in December and January - the softcover and hardcover books were beginning to finish, ship, and arrive here and at the fulfillment center. In January, I informed the fulfillment center not to hold any of the shipping, thinking the slipcases would follow in a few weeks.

Finally, the printer sent a sample slipcase: It was the right weight, but completely wrong in height, depth, and width. Like it was for another book entirely! I couldn't believe they would send this, and I asked them to actually fit a case around the finished book. I found out that the slipcase work had been contracted to an outside vendor. So, in fact, the printer couldn't do it, but was unwilling to let me take the business elsewhere. Besides the outrage, it's frustrating as it slows the process down further, because the printer is now the middle man on this part of the job.

Eventually a properly fitted slipcase sample arrived, and I asked for a “dieline/blueprint" of it. In the trade, this is a mechanical drawing with measurements, so I could produce an accurate document that will properly position our printing and stamps for the outside of the slipcase.

After a few rounds of undue confusion, I get a document that I can work with. I send my document, they send a proof, it needs a little adjustment, they send a pdf, etc. That's how it goes, and almost where we're at.

I'm now waiting to find out if the slipcase manufacturer okay's the fit of the placed stamps (they provided the dieline/blueprint, so I don't know why this is even an issue). If given the okay, the printer will print the cover sheets that will then wrap around the boxes, and afterwards fill said boxes with the numbered edition copies that they have had since early January. It will then take a few days for them to be shipped here, and THEN I can start packing and shipping them.

I don't have dates from them. The printer won't commit to dates for the same reason I cannot. Until it's in front of them, they can't know how soon they can turn it around, and if they give me a date, It gives me more ground to be upset with them if they miss it. So they just don't give them, even when I ask directly. Part of dealing with a printer this large is that, even printing the number and quality of the job we did, we are a TINY customer, and have little to no clout to increase our priority.

So, here's what's happening now -

For Orders That Include a Numbered Collector's Edition

There are plenty of supporters who bought multiple copies, such as the Retailers, the Completists, and Near-Completeists. Starting this week, I will begin to pack the books and ship these orders MINUS the Collector's Editions. This will start with those who have the most copies to ship, i.e., the first to go out will be the "Retailers" who ordered nine other copies of the book besides the Collector's Edition copy. When they are all out, I'll go down to the next level, and so on until they are all shipped or until the CEs come in.

Please don’t write to ask when yours are shipping. The more mail I have to answer, the less time I have to pack books. Sounds silly but it’s true. This part of the shipping was always going to be handled by me and we don't have the personnel of the fulfillment center. They are ALL in process. I’ll announce the shipping of different levels as I finish the previous one.

Most of you have been very supportive, and I appreciate that. Some of you have been very frustrated and I share, REALLY SHARE, in that frustration. I want the Numbered Collector's Edition copies, just as much as you do. When I get a sample slipcase fed-ex'd to me, I'll post a picture here so you can see what's coming.

For Orders That DON'T Include a Numbered Collector's Edition

If you pledged at a level that didn't include a Numbered Collector's Edition (or purchased a softcover or hardcover directly from Full Steam before the November cut-off) you SHOULD have received your book by now. If you haven't, drop me a line at fullsteaminquiry@gmail.com or via the internal Kickstarter messaging system.

In The Cards

The other delay is regarding the 400 card set of printed sketch cards. The set is being held up by 48 cards that need to be reprinted. They've been reprinted once but a technical glitch meant they were not up to standard. If the new reprints have no issues, the 400 card set will begin shipping in mid-April.

That's it for now,

Jeff