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Chip Theory Games' standalone sequel/expansion to the award winning Dice Builder RPG, Too Many Bones.
Chip Theory Games' standalone sequel/expansion to the award winning Dice Builder RPG, Too Many Bones.
4,955 backers pledged $882,088 to help bring this project to life.

How Many Chip Shipments Could Chip Shipment Shippers Ship, if Chip Shippers Could Ship Chip Shipments?

Posted by Josh & Adam Carlson (Creator)
113 likes

Greetings from the warehouse, Gearlocs!

The comments have been abuzz with all sorts of questions on shipping. Where are you at? What percentage? Why is it taking so long? What about EU? What about Canada? What about EU again? CANADA!?!?! Etc.

This update will cover where we're at, where we've been, and publicly broadcast a few things we've been covering in the comments while we've awaited more details on EU and Canada. So without further ado, let's get into some details on each of these shipping regions. 

*Reminder that the information below is the best information we have right now, at this exact present moment. Things are always subject to change because crazy stuff always seems to happen in the world of fulfillment, but at this time we have no reason to think the information below is inaccurate. 

The amount of bubble wrap we're going through per day is alarming
The amount of bubble wrap we're going through per day is alarming

 

EU Shipping

Good news, we've been notified that our games have cleared customs in the UK and the container should soon be on its way to Gamesquest! This should only take a few days which means likely it will arrive end of this week or early next week. Gamesquest has told us they'll need about a 4-5 days to receive the container, unload it, and stage their warehouse to fulfill our orders. 

This brings us to our second bit of good news. Every fulfillment company plans and schedules their projects, but rarely to they lock them in until product arrives. In the past, our games have run up against some other huge projects in the queue that squeaked their arrival in just before us due to the sloooooow ship we ended up with. However, not so this time! If things proceed as expected, Gamesquest should be shipping packages by the end of next week. Cross your fingers. We have reached the point where we are now waiting to see if Gamesquest can impress us and improve upon past performance. We're watching closely.

Canadian Shipping

The shipment of Canadian products is still waiting to cross the border. There's a full eight pallets of product headed north, which is taking a lot more time to cross the country and pass through customs than was quoted. By request, the games had to be sent to Starlit's US HQ in Washington and then they are sent directly to Vancouver. We have no official tracking on this shipment, just an update now and then that it is still in transit. We wish we had better news on that front, but the last estimate we were told is that Starlit Citadel Canada should be receiving it by early next week. We'll continue to await information and share it as it comes in. Again, Starlit moved crazy fast last time we used them, so once they have things in hand, it shouldn't take long at all (likely the orders will ship about the same time EU shipments start going out).
 
In the future, our CAN orders are getting to the size that we will have a large enough shipment to send a small container directly to Canada from China. For this to work without incurring extra customs scans, holds, extra fees, and delays, it needs to be only CTG product (we have plenty of horror stories to share when we used to ship our games in mixed crates with other companies products...never again). Sadly, this CAN shipment wasn't enough for its own container. Hence the odd pathing from China to Tacoma to Vancouver to Minnesota (unloading 40' container, build CAN pallets) then back to Washington and back to Vancouver, then to you. 

USA/Rest of World Shipping

So, a bunch of things here. 

First, yes, we are making progress. Myself (Ghillie) and Melonie (graphic design) have been spending our days back in the warehouse picking, packing, and shipping along with the warehouse team. Josh and Adam have been back there when they're able to as well. Josh and Melonie pulled a night shift last night, and others are scheduled to do the same this week. Point blank, it's still not going quite as quickly as we'd like. 

Here is just one example of a contributing factor to the slower output: Remember the game manufacturing/assembly error rate we mentioned, its still high enough that we are still opening quite a few boxes to check, resolve if needed, and reshrink games (yes, we are receiving some compensation for this from our manufacturer). This process slows us down as you can imagine. For those errors we don't catch, we will fix it for you FAST but the last thing we want is someone who's waiting THIS long for their game, to end up getting a box with 2 Duster mats (we've only seen this once but its a good example). 

However, as more space opens up in the warehouse, our checking, staging and packing becomes much easier and every day our speed is increasing. We are a little over halfway done - sorry if that shocks you in a bad way. We expect to be done in roughly 3-4 weeks depending on how much additional temp help we can get in the door and how many late shifts we can convince our spouses to let us pull. Yes, the checking of games has slowed us down a bit - but our spirits remain high about the response the game is getting and with just a little more time, everyone will have their order in their hands.

Each of these pallets contains as much as 800 lbs of TMB related goodness.
Each of these pallets contains as much as 800 lbs of TMB related goodness.

The "secret sauce" to our fulfillment priority is packing in like batches. Then, while a new batch is created and we await the next big stack of packing slips, we fill more complex one-off orders. We're not prioritizing any one state, or country, or backer. World orders are regularly going out to all corners of the earth. US orders are regularly going out to all corners of the country. Whether someone in your state or country has received their order is irrelevant to the current state of your order :-) 

We'd also like to reiterate how important it is to pack 10 lb games in giant boxes with care. You pay a lot for these products, and the worst thing that can happen is to have said package arrive all dinged and dented. To pick and pack all this stuff appropriately takes time, care and knowledge. We're not going to say an outside fulfillment company couldn't do it faster, we know they could. But if we had used Quartermaster for instance...they would not be checking games for correct components and I promise you they would be using less bubble wrap! :) Nobody else would be investing the amount of care into these packages that we are.  

Along those lines, however, we are genuinely interested in your feedback. We had extensive conversations with Quartermaster at Origins this year and came close to pulling the trigger on switching to them with Undertow, and will have continued conversations with them for Cloudspire. 

There's always a tradeoff. It's more expensive to use an outside fulfillment operation, and our shipping rates (for which we charge *actual* shipping, just another reiteration that we are not making money on shipping, we often still lose a bit when you factor in packing materials) are already on the high end. Using a fulfillment company would increase these rates an additional $2-10 depending on the game/complexity of the order. However, you'd likely get your games a few weeks to a month sooner. If paying that extra "tax" for faster fulfillment is worth it for you, we'd be happy to hear it. 

I think our main concern here is quality control and the outside chance that even with that higher shipping cost, people could still end up waiting as long as if we did it (even the big fulfillment houses experience delays now and then). Bottom line, we're *always* listening to our backers. Always! If this is something the community is interested in or would prefer, we're certainly open to it so feel free to let us know.  

 
So with all that said, allow us to close as a broken record. Please continue to do your best to be patient with us and this process. We can't emphasize enough how hard we're all plugging away to get you your games as fast as we can. We so appreciate each and every one of you, yes...even those offering criticism and impatience. We wouldn't exist without you, so thank you for hanging with us. 

*From JC* Ghillie has been pulled from any further writing of this update and is headed back to the warehouse to tape more boxes now so apologies if comment responses are more sparse than usual. Every time we make him hop back on the computer to answer a "Where's my order?" comment, imagine your package sitting for an extra couple hours as a result... ;-) Unacceptable! Its back to shipping!...and yes, its 12:09 am. 

Josh, Adam, and Josh (Ghillie)

Travis, Greg Durrett, and 111 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. John Medany
      Superbacker
      on

      So .... two weeks on ... any news from Gamesquest in the UK ... I’m well aware I usually get there email with the tracking number a week AFTER they deliver the package - so I wondered if CTG had heard from them ?

    2. Missing avatar

      Adam French on

      Wooo-hoooo!! I finally got shipment notification here in California - order includes all of Triplock stuff.

    3. Dyne1319
      Superbacker
      on

      still nothing for canada

    4. Missing avatar

      Jeremy
      Superbacker
      on

      I haven't received my games yet, so I can't really say if I would prefer a 3rd party shipper going forward, but assuming you are catching and fixing a substantial number of mistakes prior to shipping it's probably in the best interest of your bottom line and our end quality to keep it in house.

      I have received several shipped games with dinged corners and it always upsets, but it's never been bad enough to request a replacement from independent publishers. So if keeping it in house keeps quality high and defects low, I'm fine with accepting the delays associated with that.

    5. Joe
      Superbacker
      on

      I'd prefer quality over quantity.

      When I get a damaged box, 1 of 2 things happens:

      1. If the damage isn't too extreme, I just begrudgingly accept it. It's annoying, but I don't feel comfortable asking for a whole new box to be shipped for just some dents and scratches.

      2. If the damage is extreme enough, I then have to spend time taking pictures in order to submit my request for a replacement. And sometimes the replacement box isn't much better.

      I'd much rather have the box come undamaged in the first place. But often it is clear the fulfillment company is more concerned with shoving as many games into shipping boxes as possible because their priority is getting them out the door as opposed to getting them to people in good condition. Sometimes there is no packaging material at all, or just a token amount randomly chucked in as if its mere presence would magically create an aura of protection around the contents.

      I do have to say that so far all of the shipments I have received from Quartermaster have been well-packaged. There was even one shipment where the shipping box was heavily damaged, but the contents inside were pristine.

      But if you are able to handle the volume, I'd much rather wait, and have you guys do it than somebody else.

    6. Ghillie Collaborator on

      @Sack of Justice Productions - You absolutely will be sent a tracking number. Seems to be a slightly higher rate of folks saying they didnt receive one for some reason, but as I stated, the tracking number is generated and automatically sent to the email tied to your order the second we print a shipping label. It's not a service we ever shut off, so a tracking number goes out with every single label printed.

    7. Sack of Justice Productions
      Superbacker
      on

      All I want to know is should I expect an email confirmation once it's shipped? I'm not in any rush to get the package, but we've been having some issues with people stealing packages from our building lately, so it would be good to be able to track the package once it goes out so I can try to intercept it when it's delivered or at least know if I need to report a theft.

    8. MentatYP
      Superbacker
      on

      I say continue to do it yourself and do it right, especially since that's the course you've chosen that works best for your company and I've had no complaints about it to date. I'd rather my games arrive safely packed with plenty of protection (I can count on one hand the number of games I received from fulfillment companies that I would consider to have been properly packed) and with the correct components even if it takes a little longer. Nothing as deflating as the excitement of receiving a game followed by the disappointment of not being able to play it due to missing, incorrect, or damaged components.

    9. Steve on

      I do not have my copy of the game yet or a tracking, but I would much rather you guys kept handling shipping as opposed to handing it off to a fulfillment company. I do not mind the wait, especially when I know there is so much extra care going into the shipping and my chances of having issues are greatly diminished. Now if you decide that you do not want to handle it anymore, I will still support you because you are a great company, but I am happy with the wait. Sure I would like to play undertow, but like many here, I have way too many games to play already lol. Thank you.

    10. The Redheaded Pharmacist
      Superbacker
      on

      Do what you think is best for your company. I wouldn’t hesitate to support this company going forward either way! Keep up the good work. I look forward to playing all this new stuff soon.

    11. Robert Haddon on

      @Chippies It seems that most common communication that Creators issue is explaining delays to placate irate Backers who want their stuff delivered by the *estimated* dates. Therefore, I can only assume that these irate Backers are a vocal majority.
      So here’s something different: take your time, CTG! Stop pulling night shifts, enjoy the summer with your families. Just give us a normal work week and we’ll get our games when we get them.
      Irate Backers: I suggest you start a hobby. I like to paint and craft.

    12. Ghillie Collaborator on

      @Brian Mann - Indeed - I edited the hard copy on Kickstarter, but as we've noted before, once those emails from Kickstarter go out, they are impossible to change :-)

    13. Brian Mann
      Superbacker
      on

      I believe you meant to say “wouldn’t” instead of “would” in that closing line of your update.

      This mistake is apparently easy to make, however in your case I actually think you really did mean “wouldn’t” unlike the other example we’re all aware of.. sadly.

    14. Toxic Chibi on

      I appreciate the care you're taking to get the correct product to us packaged with care. I'd much rather have it done slow and right the first time then to have to fix something post delivery. Thanks for your efforts and communication. Can't wait to take Sanza for an adventure.

    15. Missing avatar

      Rodney Somerstein
      Superbacker
      on

      @Ghillie - There is probably no perfect solution, unfortunately. If you do decide something like allowing expedited/early shipping, I would suggest adding enough extra cost that people have to actually stop and think about it. Otherwise, if everyone goes for that, you haven't gained anything except resentment when shipping is still slow for some of the "expedited" orders.

      Luckily, Chip Theory Games ultimately always seems to end up doing what offers the overall best customer satisfaction. Though there will always be individual cases that are problematic, we know you are working hard to do the best possible.

    16. Missing avatar

      Paulo Fornazari on

      Good news at last for EU backers! Thank you for the great work guys!

    17. David Martin on

      With I see the Chip Theory Games company logo, three things come to mind.

      1. Excellent customer service.
      2. Excellent, gorgeous, and unique games that are amazing to look at, but even more fun to play.
      3. If I ever ran my own business, I would want to run it like Chip Theory Games. Putting the consumers first before anything else. Even if it meanings affecting the bottom line a little. You guys have proven to me, time and time again that this model does work beautifully. I am one of your lifelong and very happy customers.

      With all that being said, put me into the majority of people that can and will wait for a super high quality Chip Theory game at my doorstep; waiting patiently as always while your company does what it does so well.

      I take pride and comfort it knowing, that if there is in fact any sort of discrepancy or error with the materials that are coming my way, that it will be taken care of regardless of what issue it is. That's how you guys roll and I love you for it! I've even more confident knowing that this is less likely to happen now, because you are not only aware of this but are taking great strides to insure quality control.

      Please, save the money on the expedited shipping and use whatever money you save to help keep that wonderful, very inspirational company afloat and to help cover the costs of the packing materials and the wonderful customer service your company provides.

    18. Greg on

      Really thanks for the update (the title made me laugh really hard), will now wait really quietly my shipping notification from Gamesquest and cross my fingers hoping they will take care of our games as much as you do :) !
      And btw i'm really curious about those "horror stories to share when we used to ship our games in mixed crates with other companies products" !
      Best wishes from France !

    19. Sam Kimpton
      Superbacker
      on

      @MegaProtoMan: That would be a bad idea. Randomizing the shipments would make sending them out take much longer. As they stated in the update, they combine similar orders in batches so that preparing them is much faster. Also, adding an option to prioritize orders would similarly make everything take longer.

    20. Missing avatar

      Paul A. on

      It gets here when it gets here. I've got lots of games. Thanks for all your effort.

    21. MegaProtoMan
      Superbacker
      on

      Why not put all backers names in a randomizer, and publicize the order through an update. That way people know exactly where they are in the queue. I feel like the most frustrating part is not knowing when to expect the email tracking. Then you guys could just update every few days with the number you guys are on, and that might help appease people.

      Another option might be to give backers the option of a 5 dollar refund to volunteer to receive theirs last. I bet some people would jump on that.

    22. David W. Bauer
      Superbacker
      on

      I thought I saw that you were sending tracking invoices on this? Thanks.

    23. Ghillie Collaborator on

      @Rodney Somerstein - We're talking about that. One thing we want to avoid doing again if at all possible is offering split shipping. It sounds *so* good in theory but it is a mess logistically (we do not seem to be alone in this regard either. I backed Dinosaur Island which offered split shipping and they are feeling the weight of the extra headaches this creates right now based on their updates). If we could ship half of the orders, say the simpler ones, to an outside facility and keep the complex ones that require extra TLC in house, we may consider that. Thanks for your feedback!

    24. Johnathan Sergeant on

      I'm with Scott 1100%. This delay is for a good reason, has been communicated, and it being handled. Seriously boneheads, lets support the awesome team at CTG. Trust that I want to be playing too; we all do. It will come. :) And it will be awesome when it does!

      No shade thrown at the impatient though. I know CTG is interested and listens to opinions on what could be done differently. Thanks Guys! I appreciate that you're willing to go slower to make sure to the best of your ability that orders are correct despite a load of enthusiastic, grabby fans lol. Me included.

    25. Missing avatar

      Rodney Somerstein
      Superbacker
      on

      As a follow up to what I just said, maybe a compromise between the two is possible? Offer people the option of expedited shipping for a higher shipping cost and keep it in-house. Then, it might be possible to both keep up the quality and meet customer desires of delivery times vs. cost.

    26. Missing avatar

      Rodney Somerstein
      Superbacker
      on

      My vote goes to paying a couple of dollars more for shipping to get things faster. I find it much more frustrating to sit and wait while other people are having fun. With Triplock, I was in the very last batch of US shipments. I suspect if I was first, I would have had no complaints at all. Given the current methodology, it will be especially bad for people who repeatedly end up at the end of the shipping queue with the prolonged shipping period.

      I know that everyone at Chip Theory Games is doing the best they can, but unless there is a big staff increase, it probably won't be possible to improve shipping times without using fulfillment companies.

    27. Missing avatar

      Stephen Stanton
      Superbacker
      on

      I hope you and your staff are taking a day off here and there. Go watch a movie, play a game, seriously.
      You have always been, and remain, #1 in Customer Care and Transparency.

    28. Sam Kimpton
      Superbacker
      on

      Personally, I say stick with what you're doing. Your shipping rates are some of the more reasonable among the various Kickstarter projects I've backed, and that's saying a lot considering how heavy your games are.

      From the thickness of the boxes to the quality of materials used in the games' componets, it's very obvious that you guys take pride in your work and in running smooth Kickstarter projects. It's also apparent that you work really hard to not only deliver games to backers as quickly as possible, but to make things right when mistakes are found. This kind of quality comes at a cost, but Chip Theory Games has kept those costs very reasonable.

      It seems to me that the complaints are few and far between. I think you would get more complaints about higher shipping costs than slower delivery times.

    29. Chris Gulde on

      I don't feel it appropriate to use the example.. "well at least it isn't taking as long as X-Campaign". I feel like that is a poor example and should never be used. At this point I would pay an extra $20 to have my game sooner. With that being said, I do know you all are working very hard to get these fulfilled and I am sure this is the worst part of being a creator/distributor. Thank you for your hard work! Very excited for this game.

    30. Troy Martin on

      I appreciate that CTG engages with its customers in this fashion and takes their feedback seriously. At the end of the day, though, the company has to do what’s in its best interest.

      My two cents (which is worth exactly that) is that the company needs to stay true to its brand. The hallmark of a CTG game is quality. The company did not cut any corners in make its games, why would it do so at the end of the race in its fulfillment? Stick with the approach that allows for the greatest amount of quality. Keep the fulfillment in house. We can wait a little bit longer if it means that our games arrive in pristine condition.

    31. Titus on

      I understand and will be nice and patient as long as mine ships this week. ;p

      Seriously, though, keep up the great work!...

    32. Hellspark
      Superbacker
      on

      I am happy to wait. Past experience of a number of fulfillment companies delivering board games from other Kickstarter projects has defintely shown a general disregard for quality control. Some are far worse than others and I have been amazed at how some items were delivered nearly undamaged despite the use of very little or no (in a few cases) protective materials used inside the delivery boxes.

    33. Missing avatar

      Scott on

      QC>All.

      Shaving a week or two off fulfillment isn't worth the potential errors. Getting the correct items shipped the first time, that arrive in good condition, is what matters.

      I know you folks want this stuff out the door, and you've got some very vocally anxious commenters, but don't let the warehouse staff die from exhaustion. Take your time, be safe, get it right, and we'll get the games when it's time.

    34. BoardGameGuy on

      Why does it matter if the game arrives at our doorstep this week or next. First World problems.

    35. David Nero on

      If you already have the infrastructure for shipping, you should keep it in house.

      It sounds like it's the time spent on quality control that is the real issue. Why hasn't your manufacturer already done this? Don't you pay for that? I'd rather you spend (make us spend) a few more dollars on q.c. than for faster shipping with more errors.

    36. Nullpunkt
      Superbacker
      on

      Keep doing what you're doing. Your care and attention to detail is why you're my favorite game company and why I'll back any of your products sight-unseen.

    37. Missing avatar

      Paul Diaz
      Superbacker
      on

      I don't mind waiting. I just want it correct.

    38. Daily Grind on

      I don't mind waiting, I'm just happy to hear a timetable. About halfway done in the US tells me not to start worrying yet, sit tight for a few more weeks. No problem. I was one of the last 100 fulfilled on Gloomhaven and that took 4 months and was Amazon, so you're doing fine :)

    39. Naiko Hatesyou on

      I prefer quality over speed but I know you guys replace bad product, so...whatever you think is best~

    40. kerskine on

      I'm all for more accurate packages and cheaper shipping. Although your time is worth something so hopefully that's factored in. Keep up the great work guys. It's all very much appreciated, even if you don't hear that every day.

    41. Ronald Schachtner II
      Superbacker
      on

      I would much rather wait longer and have a carefully checked and pristine packaging then to use a fulfillment company and get a dented up box which may or may not have all the right components in it. You are a high quality gaming company, let’s keep it that way.

    42. Himle on

      As long as you feel that you can keep up the personal touch i say do it.
      For myself, i much rather wait another few weeks to get my game and know that it's 100% what i ordered and that it won't be damaged upon delivery.
      As for the transport cost. I'll just say this, to high cost has kept me out of a lot of projects.

    43. Missing avatar

      Steven W. on

      @CTG: You guys are doing extra QC for the US/rest of world copies. Is GQ going to do something similar for the EU copies? And if not what are the problems that we should look out for when we receive our copies? I ordered a near all-in so I have a lot of content to check. And since I won't be playing undertow for a while after I get familiar with the base game, it might take a while for me to notice production errors otherwise. And I would still want to be in a window where replacements are given without extra costs for me.

    44. Missing avatar

      Gary on

      +100 Russonc!
      U guys r really the gold standard for quality and communications :-)
      I certainly prefer lower error rates, n lower costs
      Fulfilment companies don’t necessarily equate to faster shipping anyway (due to the massively growing demand from especially from Kickstarters) but will certainly add to costs which is a serious deterrent for Rest of the World backers ;-)
      Take good care of your health and spouses too pls! :D

    45. Russonc
      Superbacker
      on

      Your company, thanks for the offer of input, but really, do what makes the most sense to you! You have a great company, so I trust you. I personally like that you do shipping in house and are very careful with how you ship. I've seen other games go through fulfillment companies at a not much faster pace (although they don't get slowed by conventions; they can get slowed by multiple projects hitting at once). Also, health, having fun making games, ....even spouses... are important; don't over do it!

    46. Missing avatar

      Jens Larsen on

      My board game budget is limited, so I’d like to not pay more than we already are for shipping.

    47. Joost Nauw on

      I would definitely pay extra if that means getting my game sooner.

    48. Kuangkai Tsai on

      As Double Chip Shipments Chip Shipment Shippers Would Ship, if Chip Shippers Would Ship Wrong Chip Shipments.

    49. chang on

      dont stress it! speaking as someone that ownes and love tmb, the game to come would be great quality and to add/improve an already pretty good gane.

      given the option i prefer to wait over to pay more, just dont kill yourself. Game would get here when it gets here.

      thanks for update

    50. Moises Munoz
      Superbacker
      on

      I hope I'm in the majority when I say this: though I am excited to have my hands on what I'm certain will be a great product, I'd rather you not exhaust yourselves cause I know I'll have it soon enough. Thank you for your efforts!