We are taking a break from talking about shipping. This is a long update and we hope it contains some answers to what is coming next and explanations of why we are doing what we are doing. There’s a lot here, so please read it carefully. We are taking a risk by sharing inside information, but you guys deserve to know what is happening and have reacted well to honesty in the past.
First some history. Our new, two-man company started this project to raise money to create a high quality board game based on Journey to the West. Although we have not completed all deliverables, we honestly believe we have created a solid game. We see numerous reviews, from games professionals and from our backers, talking about the quality of the components. There is also a lot of talk about the game being fun and the rules being easy to understand. Seeing our backers talk this way makes us very proud.
We thought our location and nationality would help us work with manufacturers in China. While we still think this is true, as shown by the quality of the components they have manufactured, we also had many of the same problems other games companies have, including: manufacturers that stop responding and manufacturers that do not create the quality components they promised. As previously explained, solving these problems contributed to our delays. We honestly felt that this was better than compromising quality.
We had another problem that we did not fully anticipate and that we have not revealed yet. Creating the game was far more work and more costly than we expected. There were costs associated with the delays and margins were always tight, so Ray and I have not been able to draw salaries. All the money that has been spent so far has been directly related to expenses for creating and promoting the game. We have both continued our previous work and we are effectively working two jobs each day; there are no complaints from us, many new business owners have done the same before us. Nor have we been able to hire staff for Marrow Production. This has an enormous impact on the time we put into game development. Simply put, when we are chasing factories to improve their molds, packaging material and going to the post office, etc, etc, we cannot work on developing the rest of the game. There was a limit to how much delay was acceptable, so we totally focused on getting the core game into your hands. We also decided to cover the costs of two shipping waves, so the game could be sent out now, rather than the one full shipment we had planned.
So it should come as no surprise that we are now way behind with the expansions and extras. Hopefully, this is the end of the bad news in this update!
Let’s be clear, although money is tight, we have enough to continue and complete development. Our involvement in delivering the core game is almost behind us. Soon we will be done chasing missing packages and finished replacing damaged parts; then we can completely focus on the future. We know more about the industry and we have made great contacts around the world; we expect to be more efficient in the future than in the past.
Nothing is as sure as change. We will talk about our future plans, but remember, they are just plans and we will need to adapt.
In the short term, we plan to work on two tasks, the smaller goals and sales. We want to show that we are making progress and completing milestones and that will be easier if we start with the smaller tasks. Obviously, this means that the two full expansions will be the last components to be complete. We will also be working on brand new concepts, so long as they take very little of our time. For example, you may have seen our crossover with Return of the Dragon, where AJG did all the work. The second Marrow Cross Project is a collaboration with sculptor Allan Carrasco, more soon.
Sales are important to all companies. The more sales we make, the more time we can devote to Marrow Production. It was important that backers get the core game first, but now it’s time to find new markets for that game. We have just opened our website and we will be doing direct sales from there as well as trying to get stock into FLGSs around the world.
How can you help? Our backers have already done everything we could ask of them. We started this update saying we are proud of what we have achieved at Marrow Production, but we would have achieved nothing without your support. But there are some small things that will make a difference.
Be patient with us. Now that you know more about what is happening inside Marrow Production, you can see that the more distracted we are, the less game development we can do. Of course, we will answer important questions and deal with important issues as soon as we can.
Create a community. If you are happy with the game, let people know. Tell your friends. Ask if you can run a demo in your local game store. Post reviews, battle reports, painted minis, etc, online in our and/or other forums. Rate the game on BGG. The more vibrant our community is, the more new people we can attract. We are not asking you to sell the game or stretch the truth, just show your enthusiasm where others can see it!
The next few updates will cover a mixture of things. We will continue to keep you informed of shipping progress. Perhaps more excitingly, we want to share more detailed information about our new work.
More info to follow!