In the world of Kickstarter news is news, whether its bad news, good news, or no "news" at all, anything is better than silence. I apologize for taking so long to make a proper update, but I didn't have much meat and substance to share yet.
Current status of all shipping
Phase 1 delivered pre-existing items, 5E Wizard sets, PFS Generic sheets (in arcane, fire, plain, darkness, and the multicolored default).
This had a total of 273 backers, of which 239 have shipped. All domestic backers, and international backers who could be shipped in full were among them.
~39 international backers had pre-existing or 5E product, but did not ship yet because they are waiting on additional product.
The 5E Cleric is now also finished, printed, and 100% shipped. There were 25 backers who received this item, including a few international backers in limbo from Phase 1. If you were an international backer and I was debating whether to split shipments, having the 5E Cleric in your order was enough incentive, and has caused you to ship.
In preparation for the next phase, a slew of additional items have had their shipping status toggled, and their orders pushed to ship station. This further muddles the 'shipping status' in Backerkit, so keep in mind anyone logging in will probably see their order "pending shipment" which is a nonsense category. It simply means I have their information loaded in ship station. It's been a continual headache having this many products with such a long development cycle since we're not able to check individual items as shipped, and leave the rest pending in Backerkit.
Moving forward, as it was for the 5E Cleric, each new product that's finished will cause a new list of backers to ship (many of which have already shipped previous items) causing backer kit's "shipping status" to get continually less reliable.
Also for this reason, if you had emailed us and said something to the effect of "I'm willing to wait, please don't split my shipments, save the $5-10 bucks and send it all when its ready." it's a wonderful sentiment, but the reality is that its often more complicated and taxing to check for these messages than to just split the shipments and get them off my books. We're HAPPILY splitting domestic shipments, the cost is very minor. The hangup is just with international shipments.
The PFS (squared off edges) and PF (natural rounded shapes) Wizard layouts are finished. Now they only need to be colored and printed. This layout was quite a headache, and a few compromises had to be made to accommodate the 60' cones particularly, but we're overall very happy with the results.
So the set will have a 15', 30' and 60' cone, 10', 15', 20', 40' radii, a 5' wide beam, a wall of fire correctly depicting the flame and gas lines for the different damage results, a rangefinder, a 10' square, and roughly 45 buff and debuff icons. Having the full spread of shapes is really nice.
Quick note - Because of the massive list of spells in the core PF book, I had no trouble filling this pack without even looking elsewhere. So by happenstance, the basic PF/PFS wizard set (and likely all the future PF/PFS sets) will be "core only". This is somewhat good, since there is a recent rise in PF Core (a game mode where you're restricted to using ONLY the core rule book, and not the myriad of supplemental material) and of course these are the 'normal' spells from the game and perfectly valid in every PF game.
Ironically, the awkward euclidian spacing in the PFS set makes it possible to angle the 60' cone in such a way that it barely fits within the print edge of the sheet.
This will not be possible with the PF naturally rounded version, which will see the graphic clip at the edge of the plastic. When cutting the cone naturally and ignoring the hiccup where the print edge gets cut off, you can minimize the defect, but the 'actual cone' still goes off the plastic, and there will always be a small slash on the edge of the cone. Doing it this way has ensured that the origin, the ends, and the max length of the cone are all perfectly intact.
Since it will have a wide internal ice effect, it's hard to imagine the final cone with the edge clipped, but I assume it'll look decent and there aren't better alternatives so this is what we've had to settle on.
Once the PF/PFS Wizard sets ship, there will be 60 backers who haven't received any product, out of 375 total.
State of the Business, cause of delays, looking for help
"Arcknight" is doing well, which is part of the problem with this campaign and it's delays. Philip and I are extremely busy with our "other jobs" so to speak (Arcknight's day-to-day shipping and operations is my other job, and Philip works 50-80 hours a week in his family business). Plus I've just had a second child and he just got married. So in the last few months, we simply haven't had the time and energy we usually have. We've made honest plans and schedules regarding this project, but we've missed our last several deadlines in a row. We know it will pass (it somewhat has already passed, and we've had a lot more time these last 2 weeks) but this is further evidence that Arcknight is getting too big for the 2 of us alone.
I've mentioned before that I'm moving all our operations to the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area, where I have a much larger warehouse lined up, and our first employee to take the shipping off my plate and unleash me to keep doing all the new design and special projects we want to continue with.
But we're also interested in help in other forms, specifically 2 part time (but could become full time) positions that we're hiring for. The ideal situation would be if one of our dedicated backers are interested in the work, since you understand the project, our company, and this genre.
We've experienced so much growth, and we would love to find people that we can work with to get us back on schedule, and possibly keep working with for many years to come.
Position 1; First-Pass Cataloguer
Needs to be familiar with the PF game (ideally, public society play in general). Needs to be able to use excel, and mine the internet for spell lists, paring down the hundreds of spells that could work in our format into concise lists based on the number of pages in each pack. Format an excel file to our needs, that I can in turn work off of, to save me the time of doing this "first pass" myself. PFS experience is helpful to know the common non-core spells that are legal in PFS that modern players tend to use and want.
(Estimated $12-15 an hour, negotiable, can change based on how it goes.)
Position 2; Adobe Illustrator VTT file processor
Needs to be proficient in adobe illustrator, ideally with Adobe CC installed and up to date (though older versions might work). Has a computer capable of handling complex .ai files with MANY graphic styles and patterns (more than an older laptop). Needs to take existing .ai files and break their elements into individual artboards, and export those artboards with specific settings, then rename the individual files and feed formatted folders back to us, creating the groundwork for the VTT digital assets that we are behind on creating. This will ensure that backers do not have to wait any longer than necessary for these files (since it would directly delay getting new packs done, these are a lower priority for my immediate time).
(Estimated $12-15 an hour, negotiable, can change based on how it goes.)
How to apply
If you're interested in either job, please send an email to email@example.com with the position and your name in the subject line.
1> Yes, I do want a resume, but it doesn't need to be a normal resume. Just a brief section on yourself and your gaming history, why you would be good for the job, and your relevant work experience. Confirmation that you have the programs/skills needed for the task.
2> If you're interested in both jobs, yes I would like you to send 2 separate emails, one for each position, even if they are just copies of each other.
SXSW Gaming was a Travesty
Last month was SXSW Gaming in Austin, TX. It was awful. The least successful tradeshow I've ever attended. Although video game booths and game-centric booths were present, it's just not a real game show. IMO the gamer culture and the drug/music culture do not mix well. Wait 5 years then if, and ONLY if, you hear people you trust saying "no it's actually good now" should you consider attending.
Our total sales over the 4 day show did not cover the booth, let alone associated expenses. And these products sell themselves. To give you context, we often made more per hour at PAX South than we made the entire weekend at SXSW, and these shows are 2 hours apart. There just wasn't an RPG/tabletop audience to speak of (well, there really wasn't any audience at all, except for those casually curious to wander the show for an hour, or people interested in queuing up for the nintendo switch booth and playing zelda for 15m).
The "tabletop experience" was a dozen or so aluminum tables where you could play your own games.
There were no scheduled RPGs. There was no 'schedule' for any games at all really. So unless RPG players were willing to bring their dice, books, and miniatures and hope for a pickup game... they weren't playing. And, no surprise, nobody attempted to do that.
This show shares the weekend with the GAMA Trade show, so it's no loss for us, but I was hoping this would be another regular for us in Texas.
Our next trade show is GenCon 2017. This will be the big 50th anniversary, so it could be big! 2016 was a great show for us, so we're excited to return.
PAX Unplugged 2017
If you haven't heard, PAX is launching a new show in November, in Philadelphia. "PAX Unplugged" is coming fast, and there's not a whole lot of information on it yet, but we're certainly excited and we'll be there.
"PAX Unplugged will be an exciting analog-focused extension of our already existing portfolio of PAX events. We've found that the Tabletop parts of PAX have grown and grown to the point where we said, "You know what? Let's make a show that's just that.""
So as I understand it, it's an all-tabletop, no electronics show. For us, that could be MASSIVE. If you're interested, check it out!