It’s been another great couple of weeks for Ursa Miner! When we last spoke, Funagain was just sending out the first copies, and they’re now nearly all delivered. We have been receiving great comments from backers all over the world who are excited to receive their game, from Canada to Bangkok and New Zealand. It’s extremely rewarding to see so many people enjoying Ursa Miner :)
If you haven’t received your copy of Ursa Miner yet, it should be very close! Feel free to check the tracking email you received for more information, and let us know if you have any questions about its status.
For everyone who has received their game, please reach out to us if something doesn’t look quite right and we’ll get it sorted out right away. Since everything was packed by hand, there are bound to be a few copies with missing or damaged components which we’re happy to replace! Note that some of the player aid cards seem to be stuck together, so double-check that isn’t the case before reporting any missing cards.
Survey and BGG Review Request!
Like we’ve said so many times before, we have had a blast going on this adventure with you - we feel so lucky to have such enthusiastic and supportive backers. We want to make sure your experience with us was just as good! If you would be willing to fill out this short survey about your feelings on the Ursa Miner campaign and game, we would really appreciate it.
Part of the survey asks if you would be willing to rate and review our game on BoardGameGeek. It would be a huge help if you could! We only need a few more scores before our game can be ranked overall on the website, which retail stores really care about.
That’s all for now - we’ll see you in a couple of weeks with more updates. If you want information in the meantime, go give our new Facebook Page a like :) Otherwise, we hope you have a chance to kick back and enjoy a well-earned trip to Mount Honeycomb!
Happy New Year backers! We hope everyone had an enjoyable end to their year and is off to a great 2018. Thank you so much for bearing with us as we focused on the Pre-Christmas shipping last month. Today, we have some updates regarding fulfillment to the rest of our very patient backers.
In the last update we shared that we had a chance to meet the Ursa Miner shipment in a warehouse on the West Coast. From there, the games were sent up to Oregon to our domestic and international fulfillment partner, Funagain Games. Last week, we received confirmation that the games had safely arrived at Funagain's warehouse, and have since been preparing all of your information for Funagain and transferring them our shipping deposit. As of this update, we can confirm that our payment was received and all of our remaining information has been uploaded into their system. We received word today that shipping has begun and all games are expected to leave the warehouse by the end of the week. Some of you may have even started receiving shipping notifications from Funagain already!
We do want to acknowledge that we realize there has been less visible progress on the game’s delivery since the Christmas rush. We recognize this could cause backers without their games to feel left out, so we’ll do our best to explain why! There are two main factors in play: first, it’s much harder for us to move the games when they’re not in our hands. We are always ready to jump through hoops to make our backers happy (we hope you’ll agree if you look at our last update), but with the games in other places, there is no extra work we can put in to make things move faster. Our shipping partners are all fantastic - but they can’t match the sleepless dedication of two designers trying to deliver on their dreams :)
We did also have one small hiccup in the delivery process, which is now resolved! If you’re curious about the details, here they are: when we shipped the pre-Christmas games last month, we squeezed them into USPS small flat-rate boxes. Our game boxes turned out larger than expected to accommodate the thicker tiles, so they barely fit in the mailers, and we had to put in a little extra packaging work to make sure the games would not be damaged in transit. We expected Funagain to ship in small flat-rate boxes as well, but unfortunately there is no efficient way for them to replicate our very manual process. Our options, therefore, were to either have Funagain ship using bubble wrap mailers or use larger, non-flat rate boxes. The bubble wrap mailers matched our original budget, but we were concerned about potential damage to the games. Despite the extra cost to us, you’ll be happy to hear that we opted for the larger, safer boxes!
We hope that clears up any questions about delivery of our remaining games! Again, we cannot express enough how much we appreciate the patience and understanding you have all showed us as we bring Ursa Miner to you and yours. By offering to wait a little longer, we can guarantee you improved the holidays of a bunch of little gamers across the country :)
Finally, we also wanted to provide a quick update that the order for the additional bear meeple add-ons has been placed, processed, and production has begun. We have received word from LongPack that they will be shipping us the additional bear meeples before the end of January, which just narrowly avoids the month of February when we know China takes an extended holiday to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Based on that, we expect to be shipping any additional bear meeple add-on orders in February.
That's it for now! Once we confirm the games have shipped to all our domestic and international backers, we'll be back with another update which will include a post-campaign survey to get all of your feedback on this entire experience. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions and we'll be happy to answer them. As you receive your copy of the game, please send pictures of you with your favorite meeple to us @RoomNBoardGames! We would love to share, and they always make us smile :)
What a crazy couple of weeks we've had at Ursa Miner HQ! We are proud to report that we were able to rush games to ALL domestic backers who requested them for Christmas :) All art prints and hand-written notes promised through the campaign have been sent as well. We received so many nice messages from people who appreciated having the game under their tree...there's no better feeling than helping make peoples' holidays brighter.
For everyone else, Ursa Miner is still coming your way! Our forwarder let us know that the remaining games should hit Funagain for fulfillment by today, so they'll be ready soon. We're also working on getting the extra sets of meeples which were ordered through BackerKit - we need to go through another round of manufacturing with LongPack to get those, so they're still a couple of months from delivery. Of course, we'll keep everyone updated on progress as we learn more.
If you're curious about how the rushed games made it from China all the way to backers' homes, read on! Otherwise, please enjoy the rest of 2017, and have a happy New Years!
The Life of a Board Game
Getting Ursa Miner into the hands of fans and backers was no small task, and without the help of a huge force of people, it never would have been possible! We owe so much to Nick from Funagain Games for orchestrating the whole process, and giving us time during his busiest part of the year. You'll find that this is a recurring theme - despite being a small Kickstarter, we were lucky to get a big hand from a lot of generous people.
Back to our story, as it started from the last update! On Friday the 15th, all one thousand copies of Ursa Miner were ready for pickup. Eli got them that night, after anxiously waiting with our logistics coordinator Bob for an hour. Bob went over how the games ended up here: from LongPack's factory, a Chinese shipping company trucked them to a co-loader, who gathers pallets to fill a full shipping container. That container went on a ship across the ocean, through customs, and into the co-loader's warehouse. From there, the games were separated and picked up by Ray, who brought them to his warehouse in San Francisco where Eli could meet them. Here's the team that made it happen, along with the full shipment!
Of the thousand games you see above, Eli pulled out about 100, to account for the games that needed rush delivery, and those that needed to be signed. The rest would go up to Portland, for Funagain to fulfill.
With 100 games in hand, it was time to ship! The first step was finding 100 small flat-rate USPS boxes, which was harder than it sounds. The boxes are free, and can be ordered online, but there was no time to wait for them to come. So, Eli went to every post office in the area, asking for as many boxes as he could without leaving the place empty for everyone else rushing out Christmas presents.
That Saturday, Eli hosted a small packing party with his friend, and author of the Ursa Miner character backstories, Julia Zhu. From noon to 10pm, they packed, taped and stamped boxes until Eli's office looked like this:
But they also had several boxes of beautifully packed games, like this! Eli took them all to the post office on Monday the 18th, and they were on their way:
While this was going on, Mike was also hard at work delivering art prints! After printing and signing them, and writing a TON of thank you cards for our Bear Hug backers, the majority of our work was complete :)
That's all we have for now! We'll have more updates soon on the progress of all other copies of Ursa Miner, including our international shipments, which will also be handled by Funagain. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions and we'll be happy to answer them. If you already have a copy, we would be thrilled to see any pictures! Feel free to send us a tweet @RoomNBoardGames :)
This is a big week of news for Ursa Miner, so let’s get into it! Yesterday afternoon, we got word from our shipping partner that our Ursa Miner delivery has reached Oakland, cleared customs, and is ready for pickup! By Thursday, they’ll be brought to a warehouse in south San Francisco, where we can finally get them into our hands :) This process was the biggest hurdle left, and we feel great about clearing it.
Now let’s talk about the question on everyone’s mind: Christmas delivery. To recap the original plan, we hoped to receive the games by the end of November, send some games to Funagain to distribute to international backers, and handle domestic packages on our own. We budgeted two weeks to pack, label, and ship about 600 packages - if this feels high, it’s because we are first-time creators and anticipated unexpected challenges along the way.
Of course, our original plan to receive games by the end of November did not pan out, for reasons discussed in Update #17. Even with the games in hand on Thursday, we are not confident we can get them out to all of you by Christmas, especially with deliveries slowed during this time of the year. But there may be hope yet, read on for details!
Urgent Shipping Survey
From a shipping survey discussed in Update #18, we came to understand that only around 15% of backers need to receive Ursa Miner by Christmas, and that those who do not would understand if their games came a bit later. So, we have forged a plan! We will work overtime this weekend to put together an emergency shipment of Ursa Miner to those who need it the most :)
If you have an urgent need for Ursa Miner, please fill out this survey. We are putting people into three tiers of need. Ideally, we can rush games to all three tiers, but may not be able to help everyone depending on survey responses.
For anyone who doesn’t receive the game by Christmas, fear not - Ursa Miner will still make a great gift for the New Year! Games that are not rush shipped will still be sent by the end of next week. The reason we can beat our above estimate of two weeks is because we are now planning on using Funagain for domestic fulfillment, rather than shipping them by hand. As you might expect, Funagain is slammed at the moment and cannot guarantee Christmas delivery, but still promises speedy shipments. This decision comes at a fairly steep cost to us, but we are confident that it will provide the best possible shipping experience for you.
Again, we are so grateful to all of you for your patience with this process. Shipping comes with many unknowns, and everyone has been extremely understanding as we learn the answers. We hope you have the happiest holidays, and a happy new year!
Bear hugs, Eli and Mike
P.S. Happy Hanukkah! For those who don’t celebrate Christmas (half of Room and Board Games included), we hope you’ll forgive our Christmas-centric delivery schedule.
When we last checked in, we had said that production was underway, and today we are pleased to report that it is complete! LongPack sent us over a production sample from the final batch, and we're very happy with how everything looks. There are no discernible differences from the pre-production sample, apart from the fact that the card stock is now thicker and the final box includes an extra bag for the bonus cards.
The next step is getting all 1,000 copies of Ursa Miner onto a boat headed for Oakland. Our contacts at Funagain have let us know that they are ready to ship, and the games should set sail this week. Once that happens, they have promised they'll know a delivery date with 98% certainty, and it should be around 3 weeks away. Clearing customs takes another 1-7 days, and then the games will be in our hands.
We're hoping for confirmation of the delivery date to Oakland soon, and we'll let you know when we have it. If all goes as planned, the games land here on December 8th, clear customs by the 15th, and ship to you by the 18th. That means Christmas delivery is still too close to call, so we'll continue to keep you up to date!
This is the inaugural year of PAX Unplugged, held in Philadelphia! It will be a huge event, specifically focused on tabletop games. We (Eli and Mike) will be there, and would be so happy to say hello and show off our production copy of Ursa Miner. Our graphic designer Anthony Amato will also be there as half of Cardboard Fortress and will be circulating between the IDW, Greater Than Games, and and Tabletop Co-op booths - flag him down at the if you'd like to see more of his work, we highly recommend it!
Since shipping is coming up, we'll need to lock in your addresses soon! At the end of the month, BackerKit surveys will close. If you haven't provided your address, or have recently moved, please check your email for your personal BackerKit survey. If you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org should be able to resolve them for you. As always, we're here to help too if you want to send us a message!
If we don't say it enough...we really think we have the best backers, and are still loving every minute of bringing Ursa Miner to your home. Keep in touch!