[ Amber's Note: Sorry for not updating the KS blog when there was an update on BGG. The warehouse has been busy finishing packing together your packages and working out shipment logistics to have as few holdups as possible to get your games to you as fast as possible when they are off the boat! So there were a few days of delay having the mirrored update here, but the good news is that as soon as this update posts, the Groton team is off to grab a ton (literally) of games off the Boston harbor.
Below is a mirror of what was posted in BGG. There is a discussion with questions being answered in the thread so please see if your question is answered there already: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/834437/update-28-rome-wasnt-shipped-in-a-day
Thank you all so much for your patience! I'll be back with a report when the games are in.]
The good news is that so far our Black Box shipments have proven remarkably zombie-free!
Awesome Zombie Legionary by Justin Floyd - http://students.autodesk.com/?nd=m_student_profile&account_i....
Here’s where we’re at:
DELIVERIES TO STORES - Our Groton team has been trying to nail down shipping arrangements with all your local game stores. The good news is that only two stores have said no. The not as good news is that several other stores have been unresponsive to us and/or annoyed with us for these delays (go figure). Matt and Mithu are on the phones pretty much every day to get authorizations from the remaining stores. Also, we want to make sure that stores don’t authorize shipping of your Black Box, then just sell your game to someone else.
At some point, we'll have to arrange a workaround for stores that won't agree to accept Black Box deliveries or aren't responsive to us. Rest assured, we'll keep you in the loop when we have something to report.
U.S. - The games are warehoused in Boston, waiting to get through customs. Apparently the Bill of Lading I emailed was not an “original” Bill of Lading, so we have a new one coming from the Shanghai factory (also by email, but this time in .pdf, not MS Word, because apparently that's what it takes). So it looks like Amber or Chris will be able to pick up the games on Monday or Tuesday and drive them to Groton.
Once we get the games, our Groton team will be busy making sure that rewards for each backer get sent to the right address or store, as appropriate. (Note that games to South America will be shipped from Boston as well.)
CANADA - It’s been our goal to take care of all shipping costs for Canadian customers, including customs and GST. Hence my several hours of wading through customs’ regulations, talking to shipping companies, customs officials, etc. However, a couple of Canadian backers in an earlier thread seemed fine with paying the customs/tax themselves, upon arrival.
So here’s our offer – If you’re a Canadian backer and you don’t mind paying your own customs/tax upon the game’s arrival, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and the Groton team will mail you your game, alongside the games they are shipping to US customers. If the game is going to a game store, you’ll need to confirm that you've worked it out with your local game store. In the mean time, we’re trying to work out a strategy to get the rest of the games to our Canadian supporters, free and clear of any taxes/customs fees. My best guess is that this means an extra 2-3 weeks, but I can’t promise anything right now.
EUROPE - We have received a notice from the shipper that the goods were scheduled to arrive on about July 21, but I have not yet received the actual arrival notice, possibly because our customs agent is on vacation until August 6th. There's little doubt that the games are there, but I need to coordinate with our agent to get the games through customs. Oh, and also, we don't actually have a warehouse in Holland yet, so Ed is arranging that part. As soon as the games are through customs, Ed will double-check rewards for European backers, then send out the games throughout the EU himself.
ASIA/OCEANIA - No, we haven't forgotten about you, but have not yet resolved the box damage issue. After getting photos of box damage from 3 backers (IIRC, from Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand), I sent these photos to our Shanghai agent. His response was “It's a little strange cause we have packed it very well.” Needless to say, this did not exactly comfort me - which puts us in a tough spot. We can either just go ahead and ship the remaining hundreds of Black Boxes around the region, hoping that these games are packaged more carefully by our agent (who assures us “I will pack them better than first time.”), or find another agent. I hope to have an answer for you all by middle of next week.
APOLOGIA - This has been an extremely ambitious project for a tiny, mostly-volunteer game company. In fact, the international shipping logistics (and costs!) alone prompted our then-Operations Director (a bright, hard-working, Mandarin-speaking import-export professional) to quit, more or less on the spot.
So I volunteered to be in charge of Black Box fulfillment. I don’t speak Mandarin, and until a few months ago I knew nothing at all about international shipping. But I’m what you’ve got (well, me plus our stellar Groton crew, plus Ed and Wake and Rob). We're gettin' there, but of course, there's still plenty of things that can go still go wrong.
If you have any comments/questions/tomatoes to throw at us, please only post onto the most recent update thread (this one for now). With everything else going on, it’s a bit unwieldy to monitor several threads at once effectively. I will try hard to answer your questions as time permits, but frankly what time I have beyond my family and high stress day job is probably best sent tackling these somewhat mesmerizing logistical challenges - so please understand that although we may not update quite as often as you'd like, we are working hard to fulfill each and every order for our supporters.
I can't promise that there won't be more delays. Or slightly dented boxes. Or uncooperative local stores. Or zombie penguins. I can only tell you that we won't stop trying to get it right.
We appreciate your patience very much - and completely understand why some of you are no longer patient. We remain hopeful that however you feel now, you’ll like the game once we finally get it to you.
Director of Production and Itinerant Game Designer
Cambridge Games Factory
UPDATE 28.1 (Sunday night): The pdf Bill of Lading was just emailed from Shanghai to Shipco in Boston. I'll double-check with Shipco in the morning.
UPDATE 28.2 (9:16 am, Monday): Nope, turns out that the Shanghai guy sent the wrong Bill. He says he'll send the right one tomorrow Shanghai time. So assuming he gets it right, looks like a Tuesday pick up.
UPDATE 28.3 (5 pm, Monday) Turns our that Tuesday proved impossible for our Groton team, so now we're shooting for Wednesday. Also, I checked with Chris in Groton, and we're a go for shipping USPS to any Canadian supporter who agrees to pay customs fees (if any). Finally, looks like we're going to go ahead and send the rest of the games throughout the AS region using the same Shanghai agent, and are currently working with him to ensure better packaging for the shipments. Amber or Chris will respond separately here to questions regarding when shipments will go out from Groton. And I will post another micro-update when we actually have the games in hand.