Manufacturer Proof - 99% awesome! ( and 1% meh)
So the manufacturer copy arrived yesterday, and its fantastic!
I'm 99% thrilled about everything, and 1% upset with only one part (I'll explain below):
- The new linen embossed cards are probably the best feeling & hardiest playing cards for a board game that I've personally ever seen. I'm incredibly happy with them. The ink also took to the material really well and the cards have an improved richness to them. It was definitely worth the extra cash.
- The board and box are even better than the preproduction copy. The colors just pop better, and the map graphic feels better attached to the board somehow.
- The new blue cubes are exactly the color I was hoping for (YES!)
- The only things that I'm not happy about (that 1%) is that the cards themselves (both in the box and the Deluxe/Supreme bonus cards) are not in order. You could actually say that they are the opposite of ordered. When you open the box and unwrap the sealed packs of cards, it'll seem like they've just been randomly shuffled together. This means that you'll have to separate the cards into their own groups after you open everything and before you play your first game. This isn't a huge deal (it'll probably take you 2-3 minutes), but its annoying since everything else is so professional and perfect - and I hate that one's first impression of the product will now be slightly altered by this (I can already imagine reviewers nitpicking this - and if I was in their shoes, I probably would too). Now I really wish I could blame somebody else for this... but its entirely my fault. Panda (the manufacturer - who has been fantastic by the way) had sent me a message after I had seen the preproduction copy asking me if there was a particular order that the cards were supposed to be in, but also telling me that, if I wanted to impose an order, it would add time to the manufacturing schedule. Well, the cards from the preproduction copy were basically in the same order that they had been in the print files (which is sensical), so I figured, why slow down the schedule, they'll just organize them the same way this time, which would be perfect. But thats not the case. I'm assuming this has to do with how the cards come off the press and how they're cut during mass production vs a short run, but I'm not entirely certain, since otherwise it would almost take more effort to readjust them it seems. Regardless, I've asked them if there's anyway to fix the order, but my project manager at Panda believes that its already too late (the cards have been sealed already). He said he'll check, but its 99% likely that I can't do anything about it. So sorry everyone! It probably would have only added another day or 2 to the process, but I was concerned with slowing things down (this was right after I changed the blue cubes so I was overly sensitive about time at this point). I made a dumb assumption and decision. I know its obnoxious to have to reorganize the cards upon opening the game, and frankly it really bothers me that you'll have to do this (I was tossing and turning last night over this), so again, sorry for that hassle.
Anyways, the components are done being manufactured, and they're just assembling everything now. It looks like they'll be done by the first week of January, and then the games will begin their journeys. Assuming that the games don't get held up in customs (I'm not expecting this but it does happen sometimes), I think its fair to assume that my North American backers will likely see their games by mid to late February, with my international/European backers probably getting their games before then (since I'm air shipping the games to Europe - which is faster than by boat - and a fulfillment center in China is directly turning around the international copies virtually the day Panda is done with them).
Don't forget, on the 20th I'll be closing the ability for you to change your address, so if you need to do that, get on it! Now, you can still reach out to me by message after the 20th and I might be able to still adjust it (especially if you're in the US) but after that date there's no promise that I will (which means you might be footing the bill if it goes to an old address and you still want your game). This is because I have to have everything settled for the fulfillment centers beforehand, and once the machine gets moving its hard to stop.
Well thats it! I probably won't post another update till after the year ends, so have a great Christmas!