Campaign Update #81 - Final Weekly Update
We love seeing the comments on Boardgamegeek of people enjoying the game and showing it to their newer players. We love hearing stories of people who recognise us and explain how they had so much fun playing the game. And we hope you all enjoy playing your new copy of Smiths of Winterforge. Now though, with the Smiths of Winterforge project reaching the end of its fulfillment stage, and the project as a whole has started winding down, it’s time for us to reflect on the project behind us, and what’s going to happen moving forward.
This will be the final weekly update, but rest assured any outstanding and future support requests will continue. Smiths of Winterforge has been a passion project for everyone involved and from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for making this game possible.
Lesson 1 - Less Project Management
This is a strange lesson to learn with Smiths of Winterforge but one we will be carrying long into the future. Smiths of Winterforge suffered from overmanagement, particularly in the period after funding.
With both us at Table Tyrant Games, and Rule & Make having not directly worked with another company on a project before, let alone a big-box project like this one, we found that resources either ended up being spent twice on an item, or not at all on another. You could say the “too many cooks” analogy is a form of the bystander effect. The more people working across a project, the more likely it is for someone to think “oh X is handling it”.
How can we be sure that this is the cause of the problem? At the end of August last year, we set a specific person in charge of the project, rather than all of us taking a shared responsibility. Behind the scenes, we certainly saw in improvement in the time frame. Art that was meant to be finished months prior was finished. The rulebook was stopped hovering around between different people for edits and got done.
How will we ensure this doesn’t happen in the future? We will be placing a single person in charge of each project moving forward. Will it be the same person across every project? We don’t know. It all depends on the workload that person is currently experiencing. But by putting one person in charge overall, it becomes their job not to get things done themselves, but to ensure things are done by everyone on time to deliver the project.
Lesson 2 - Don’t undercost shipping
If there is one lesson we learnt hard from Smiths of Winterforge, it’s that we shouldn’t undercost shipping. When we originally built the campaign, we had an estimate cost of shipping but, as more content was added to the box,delays caused the estimate calculators to slip out of date, and with the complex shipping regions, we found the shipping estimates originally built into the campaign ended up falling below the final costs.
How will we ensure this doesn’t happen in the future? Firstly, by reducing delays. With the first lesson above teaching us to have a single project leader moving the project along, we should see an improvement on project time frames so that we can maintain project estimates as best as we can. Next, to assist with the movement of taxes, tariffs, and global dollar values, we will likely be moving to a post-funding shipping payment system. This means that our projects will not include shipping in the initial pledge amount. This doesn’t mean that shipping amounts WON’T be partially subsidised by the game’s funds, but it does allow us to utilise the full funding amount to better improve the product, rather than set aside a large chunk of funding on what we think the final fulfillment will cost us.
Lesson 3 - Avoid burnout
This is a lesson we have learnt hard with this campaign. See, project creators generally don’t want to fail. Most of us don’t sit behind a computer and make a project purely not to deliver it. We work hard to not only deliver it, but to also keep you informed, answer your questions, and respond to your comments. And I assure you, we read each and every one. Every comment, negative or positive, is read and understood by us, the creators.
Unfortunately, this project took its toll. Table Tyrant Games started out as two friends making games. We designed, developed, played, and argued for a better option every time we sat down at a table together. But now, pending the conclusion of this project, Table Tyrant Games is no more. Will we work in tabletop game publishing again? Likely yes. Will it be soon? Probably not.
How will we ensure this doesn’t happen in the future? We will be ensuring we take the time to step away from the project for a few days during its delivery, with a clear road map for the project when we do. After all, it's better to step away from a project for a week, than to drop it forever.
For the foreseeable future, Rule & Make will be the people to talk to regarding Smiths of Winterforge, and the stickers requested are going to print next week. I’ll still be floating around here until we’re sure fulfillment has been completed and, as always, if you have any questions, ask them in comments here or message them through and I’ll make sure they get to the right people.