Everyone has about 2 weeks to make final address changes. If you haven't filled out your backer survey at all yet (there's 26 of you!), please do it as soon as possible so I can get your reward to you in a timely manner. I'll send the 48 hour notice for finalizing addresses on September 2.
I'll be on vacation starting tomorrow and through September 1, and will respond to any messages once I get back. At that time I should also have more accurate estimates for when backer rewards will ship. For now, I think the previous estimate that rewards would ship to most backers in October is still true. However, it will now be September instead of August that rewards will ship to backers in Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America.
Last week was GenCon, the largest board game convention in the U.S. I brought 4 production copies of Lagoon with me to run demos and tournaments. By the end, more than 30 games of Lagoon were played! The response was overwhelmingly positive, both to the production quality and the game play.
Meeting dozens of backers was a major highlight. It feels good to thank people in person for helping make Lagoon a reality, and everyone was so nice and fun to talk to! If you played Lagoon during GenCon, please take a minute and give it your honest rating on BoardGameGeek.
I also had the opportunity during GenCon to meet with reviewer Joel Eddy to do a video preview. In the video, I teach most of the rules to Lagoon. See my comments lower in the linked thread for a few clarifications.
I am over the moon to share the first production copy of Lagoon with you!
But First a Reminder...
If you're one of the 40 people who haven't yet completed your backer survey, please take a moment to login to the Kickstarter website and do so. If your survey hasn't been submitted, there should be a prominent banner across the top of the website with a link to the Lagoon backer survey.
Should you need to change your address, login to the Kickstarter site and visit the main project page for Lagoon. Scroll down to your reward tier and click on the "update" link there.
The art has been gorgeously reproduced with vivid colors, the wooden tokens are a joy to behold and touch, and everything just looks and feels as top notch as I hoped it would. I think you're going to be very pleased with the production quality of this game.
Now that I've approved the advance production copy of Lagoon, my manufacturer Panda will start assembling all the completed components in the rest of the print run. This takes about a week or so. Then the slow ocean voyage begins for most of the copies, some traveling to the U.S. and some to the UK. This covers all North American and European backers. The rest of the copies will be shipped directly from China to backers in Asia and most countries outside Europe and North America.
I'm still awaiting more precise information to estimate when rewards will actually start shipping to backers, and will keep you updated on that. However, I have some rough estimates I can share now. For U.S. and Canadian backers, I think it's likely rewards will first start shipping to you near the beginning of October. Backers in Europe area countries may be about the same. For backers in other parts of the world (e.g. Asia, Africa, South America, Central America), rewards will ship directly from China and ought to go out in August.
Again, I anticipate having more precise estimates to share with you soon!
I'll have at least four production copies of Lagoon at Gen Con to demo. Official Lagoon events have sold out, but there will be other chances to demo during the con. I'm planning to attend the DFW Nerd Nighters event on Thursday, and there should be demo tables there.
Otherwise, the best way to coordinate a demo will be via Twitter (@3haresgames) during the convention. I'll tweet my availability as I become aware of it, and will respond to tweets as best I can!
You must respond to your backer survey in order to receive your reward, so please take a minute and do it now if you haven't. If you login to Kickstarter, a bar across the top of the page should link you to the Lagoon backer survey. This step is necessary for you to provide your shipping address. The survey went out to all backers at the beginning of the month, and most folks have already responded to it.
If you need to change your shipping address at some point or want to verify you've responded to the survey, you can do so from the main Lagoon project page. Scroll down to your reward level on the right-hand side, and click the update link there. I'll need to lock the address list when we get closer to fulfillment time, but I'll provide advance notice so folks have a chance to update their address beforehand.
Advance Lagoon Copy
In about 2 weeks or so, I should have the first production copy of Lagoon in my hot little hands! After all this time, it feels weird to write that and reflect on how far everything has come. You can be sure I'll get an update out once it has arrived so I can share that first glimpse with all of you!
When Will Games Ship?
Now that the backer survey has gone out and most of you have responded, I'm able to begin final arrangements for fulfillment. I haven't sorted out all the moving parts, but it seems feasible for backer rewards to still begin shipping in September. I'm hoping that all rewards will ship before October, but I'll know better about that once I've finalized the freight and fulfillment logistics. Stay tuned for an update on that.
Indie Cardboard Interview
I was interviewed by the good folks at the Indie Cardboard blog last week, which you can read here. In this wide-ranging discussion, I answer questions about Lagoon, the Kickstarter campaign, my creative process, the state of the industry, and more. But an exclusive art sneak peek at the illustration for Neem's Mirror is probably more interesting than anything I have to say! It's the first piece of art in the body of the blog post.
Gen Con, BGG.CON
If you're attending Gen Con, I'd love to meet you! I'll be demoing Lagoon as much as I can. Tickets for official Lagoon events have sold out. Those events are all in the afternoon though, so I'm planning to make myself available for demos the first half of many days. I don't have a booth or any designated space, so these demos will have to be free form. The best way to coordinate a demo will probably be via Twitter (@3haresgames) during the convention. I'll also have some Lagoon freebies to give away!
Looking ahead to BGG.CON in November, this will be the first convention where Three Hares Games will have a booth and games to sell. If you're going, please come by the exhibit hall and say hello! I love meeting backers in person, and am hatching plans to make our booth a destination well worth visiting. :-)
I'm pleased to share that as of today, the final hurdles have been cleared to begin mass production of Lagoon: Land of Druids. Before explaining what caused the delays, I want to show you how beautiful your druid and seed tokens will be!
The two most significant manufacturing problems that delayed production of Lagoon relate to the wooden tokens and the box insert.
Producing the silk-screened tokens correctly took multiple iterations with Panda, my manufacturer. The first round of samples included tokens whose silk-screened designs had either too much paint or too little paint. Additionally, the emblems were pixelated and jaggy at the edges instead of sharp and clear. In the photo below, you can compare the final turtle druid tokens (top) with the first round of samples (bottom).
Likewise, the seed tokens required several iterations to meet my standards. The first round of seed token samples (bottom) have jagged edges and insufficient paint in several regions of the design. Both of these issues are corrected in the final tokens (top), which are sharp and clear with full paint coverage (and corrected color for the red maple seed design).
Moving on to the box insert, we've determined the volume of game components is too great to include a usable insert in the box. Increasing the box size would allow an insert, but that would raise the cost a decent bit. The box is already the largest it can be without jumping up to a large sheet of cardboard at the factory, and doing so would result in a lot of avoidable waste. Because the game includes a large drawstring bag that can hold all the components except the player reference sheets and rulebook, an insert is not especially needed. To make the box nicer though, I've decided to print one of the game illustrations in greenish monochrome in the box bottom interior.
The backer survey will be going out later this week, so please respond to it as quickly as you can. If your shipping address changes later on, you can update it through the Kickstarter website. I'll include instructions when the survey goes out. I think September delivery is still likely, but will confirm with you after updating the schedule with the most current information.
Greetings druids! Summer is shining brightly here in Portland, and I'm feeling grateful for all I've learned so far this year. I hope the season wherever you live finds you happy and well!
This update covers these topics:
Print proofs, white copy and mockup
September delivery likely
Forthcoming backer survey
Play Lagoon at Origins and GenCon
The package of hardcopy proofs for a board game includes three types of proofs, each of which is described and pictured below.
First, there's a stack of high resolution proofs of all the printed matter for the game, which should represent the reproduction quality and color fidelity that the manufactured game will have. I'm delighted to report the art is gorgeously vibrant and the sharpness of the text is superb.
Second there's a white copy of the game that includes all-white versions of the box, insert, punchboards, rulebook, etc. to demonstrate the component quality. I'm pleased with the quality and feel of these samples, and the 3mm thick punchboards look especially impressive!
Finally is a mockup that uses inkjet quality reproductions of the printed matter pasted onto the box and other components to give a low resolution impression of what the final game will look like. The only component missing in this photo is the small token draw bag used in the solo mode of Lagoon. The print proofs and white copy are the real focus, but it is very cool to see a rough approximation of the finished box and other components!
September Delivery Likely
Although I included something like 6 weeks of buffer time in the schedule, I'm sad to report that it was not enough and Lagoon will miss the target August delivery.
My intention was for all the buffer time to be available for covering delays in manufacturing and delivery. I didn't count on being so burned out after the Kickstarter campaign that I needed several weeks to recover before tackling the rulebook. Writing and editing a rulebook is one of the most taxing steps in producing a board game, and I was too fried to get it done as quickly as I had imagined.
But when Lagoon was handed off to my manufacturer Panda for pre-production, we still had several weeks of buffer time. I also knew a few additional weeks of buffer time were available. My internal schedule aimed for early August delivery so Lagoon could make its retail sales debut at GenCon in mid-August. That goal started seeming unlikely, but several more weeks of buffer time could be gained by delivering in late August.
However, manufacturing delays have gradually eaten up that time. There were some minor issues with our source files that we immediately fixed. After Panda signed off on the fixes and I subsequently approved Panda's digital proofs, Panda identified a new issue that had to be fixed in our source files -- starting the whole review process over again. Panda kindly expedited their review of this revision, but overall these delays consumed several weeks.
Finally, at the beginning of last week, Panda informed me the insert that fits in the box was too tall. I was waiting for guidance on how resolving that would impact the schedule before updating backers. I still don't know the status on the insert, but enough time has passed now that I know August delivery is no longer in the cards.
I think September delivery is likely, but until manufacturing is actually underway it is hard to know for sure. As soon as I learn more about the insert, I will share it with you straight away. I'm truly sorry for the disappointment of this delay, which I keenly feel as well. I knew manufacturing a board game would be complicated, but until you actually go through the process it's hard to know what all the risks are and how best to manage them.
Forthcoming Backer Survey
I'll be sending out the backer survey in a week or two to collect your addresses and other information for delivering your rewards. Please keep an eye out for it, because you must fill it out to receive your reward!
I'll also provide instructions at that time for updating your address later on if it changes after you complete the backer survey.
Play Lagoon at Origins and GenCon
I'm bringing multiple Lagoon prototypes to the Origins game convention next week. If you're attending and want to play, let's meet up! The best way to connect with me during the convention is via Twitter: @3haresgames.
The same goes for GenCon, but I'm also running several Lagoon tournament events there. Thanks to all of you who bought tickets for these, because 3 of the 4 tournaments are already full! However, there are still 3 tickets available for the tournament at 1pm on Saturday (BGM1460137) if you'd like to participate.