The journey (production / delivery update)
Today we have rather sad news. Most of you have expected us to ship the games 4th of December (we also did), but this date unfortunately will be delayed by at least a week. This is certainly a disappointment, as a lot of you wanted to get the game before Christmas, but you can trust us, that no one here is more disapointed then we are.
Whole team had put in amazing effort to get everything in line in given deadlines. There were dozens of problems on the way and we managed to solve 98% of them, but in the end there is something beyond our direct control that cause delay.
Before we will get to current problem at hand we wanted to list you few (out of many, many more) of the issues on the way, that we had to solved on the way, just to give you a better insight on troubles that can happen. Obviously, we don't want to give any excuses as we expected that unexpected things will happen, but we just want to show you our journey - in other updates we were showing you most exciting parts of it: art, gameplay and story of the game itself. But there is also huge part in the shadow that takes at least as much energy as the game itself. Today we want to share with you some of those things in shadow.
If you want to just get to the current news - just skip that part!
Accounting - VAT registration in 5 different countries. There is a special regulation that force you to register and pay VAT tax directly to given country within EU after exceeding some threshold of sales direct to customers. Essentially this law was created so that huge corporation would not pay the lowest VAT tax rate from one country in whole Europe (selling for example from Ireland etc.). For us, it takes great deal of energy, funds and focus to register in 5 different tax administrations (in different language) and following different requirements and documentation.
PayPal frozen funds from Pledge Manager. As some of you may know, this can be a common thing with crowdfunding and Paypal, where they froze your funds until you will send the goods (which obviously makes whole crowdfunding pointless, as you need those funds).
Knowing this as well before the PM, we reached out to PayPal to get confirmation everything will go without a problem (since we have 3 years well documented history with PayPal) and got info that there will be no problem what so ever. Our surprise was pretty huge when a day after PayPal froze the funds nonetheless and we had to document every little thing in the company (tons of documents) to gain access to them back.
Paper for game production. There was also huge problem with lack of paper in factories to manufacture the game on time (there was a reserve made, but it turned out that there was something wrong with it and could not be used for production). But we were very fortunate to deal with printing company in Poland who got to great lengths to get proper paper in time.
Plastic insert re-do. Usually when you design insert you need to make one or two amendments - we needed to make 6, to make sure everything will fit nicely. (it is huge game with huge content and all of it made the task really hard). We had to change the original 1,2 mm thickness of plastic of insert to 1,5 mm to make sure it will be strong.
Transportation. We had miniatures shipped in 4 different transports, to be able to start sundroping as soon as possible. Out of those 4 shipping, only 1 was on time (even thou we have specially shipped with more expensive train option, not sea) and the other ones required constant contact - the final shipping is till on hold and this is the reason for the delay.
Box size change. Lords of Hellas box size was estimated to be 295x295x100mm and this is the box we will print, but turned out that upon putting in all the components box will be 10mm higher (there is sooo much stuff in that box!). So we had to very fast change the Cardboard for packing the boxes, so that they will fit and it created some sort of delay.
... and many, many more. Practically every day is a new challenge outside of standard game design and production and as we said many times over, without your support it would be really hard. In the end knowing that together we make something really awesome, makes it worth it - but such delays are always heartbreaking, especially when everyone gave their 120%.
But from every problem we take a lesson and we know that it gets more and more predictable for future.
Ok, so what's holding us back on the shipping? Actually there are two things. On we already know when will be solved, second - not yet.
Foam production - to make sure as many games will come to you safe, we will include hard foam in the cardboard to hold the game and surprises we prepared for you. Right before going to production we got sample of the foam and it turned out way to soft to actually protect from anything, so we needed to find different producer and his production deadline is 11-13.12 (we already got the new sample and this one is up to the quality we wanted for our shipping).
Last shipping - One of the last shipping that contains few components that without we cannot complete full sets is currently being in review by the customs. This is probably one of the un-luckiest transport in the history of things.
It was actually a air shipping that usually takes 3-5 days, and currently it is delays for over 12 days (full details: first there was rather standard 2 days delay, then it was transported to Munich, from where it was supposed to go to Warsaw, Poland, but since it is Christmas there was no good slots for it, so carrier decided to ship to Frankfurt to speed things up, where there was supposedly an personnel strike so it was transported by the truck to Poland. When it got to Poland it was held by customs for few days, when finally being in control / review).
Current status is that the review will take 3 days from today but we have no guarantee this time will be meet (again, Christmas and a lot of work). As soon as we will learn anything, will let you know!
All other positive news
Ok, so up until now everything seems pretty pessimistic, but it really isn't. We are terribly disappointing with this situation (we were so excited to finally start shipping!) but all other things are going really well!
Paper production is currently on point and everything is looking beautiful! Colors are so vivid!
Miniatures details and quality is amazing!
Sundrop painting is progressing nicely (there is also a lot of problems going here, but so far we are managing to solve them one by one ;) ).
There are also 2 secret surprises that will be waiting for you in the parcel and we hope that you will be really happy with them ;)
Another good news is, that any delay of English version should not affect language versions delivery as the files are already in the hands of our partners (who we will announce with the next update ;) ) and most of the models for those versions are already done and should ship to us soon.
We just wanted to give you a small personal note from our perspective - 3 years ago, Awaken Realms was a small miniature painting studio compose of few people painting in the basement of an old house.
We are extremely grateful to everything that have happened in this time, as the amount of support we got from you is overwhelming and enable us to grow so fast. Other side of it is that we need to put tons of effort and sleepless nights to make up for the speed of that growth and we are learning in the process.
Especially month before shipping is a period of great stress but also excitement - from one side - what if something go wrong? What if you will not like the game or the components? On the other side we are extremely excited to share with you work and passion that we have put into this project and hear your thoughts on it!
For us, Kickstarter is a big bumpy journey, that takes huge amounts of effort but offers great satisfaction. Without it, making such huge games like Lords of Hellas would be close to impossible. We are very lucky to have you with us on this journey.
In the end - we are very sorry about this delay and we promise to give everything in our might to ship the games your way as soon as possible!