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Board games with pieces that respond to your touch, react to one another, and think for themselves.
Board games with pieces that respond to your touch, react to one another, and think for themselves.
Board games with pieces that respond to your touch, react to one another, and think for themselves.
1,135 backers pledged $137,493 to help bring this project to life.

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A Midsummer Night's Game

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Hi Backers, (I probably should have saved that awesome update title for our next update, but I couldn't resist :)

Things are heating up, and I don’t just mean, summer is here. Of course Move38 just kicked off our Summer Game Design Internships with 5 wonderful game design interns. Another welcome addition to the Move38 family is our new favorite team member (everyone voted and agrees), our 3-pawed furry mascot, Ernie! He’s a rescue from Nepal and is constantly making sure that we are getting enough exercise in this busy period of design, manufacturing, and development.

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How’s Commercial Manufacturing Going?

First of all, the first Dev-Kits are going out the door, and we will continue to assemble, pack and get them out the door in the coming weeks. We started with our Alpha Backers and have received helpful feedback, that will help us with the rest of the Dev Kits (there are a lot of them 😁 ).

As I mentioned in a previous update, we wanted to do the Dev Kits with a manufacturer that we are considering to also use for our commercial run. Their communication was great and they delivered some beautiful Dev Blinks. Most importantly, they work, and are ready for your creative hands to get ahold of them.

Here’s a quick run-through of the magic that went into producing the Dev Kit Blinks.

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Apply solder paste to each of the panelized Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) 

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Add the components to the PCBs (with a device called a CNC pick'n'place machine) 

Making sure all of the solder is reaching the correct temperature on the components
Making sure all of the solder is reaching the correct temperature on the components
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 Program the Blinks to make sure they are ready for developers to put games on them :) 

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Run the simple test application I wrote to validate that RGB LEDs are working and then validate that all 6 sides are communicating. Here a gang of 6 surrounding Blinks are simply used to test the middle one's ability to communicate. "Can you hear me know?"

What EXACTLY is the difference between Dev Kit Blinks and Commercial Blinks? 

Dev Kit Blinks are functionally the same as commercial Blinks, however, some have referred to them as topless. Don’t worry, these Blinks aren’t flashing indecent exposure, this just means that the electronics are exposed on the top, there isn’t a diffuser, and the button is simply in the middle of the Blink. There are a couple of reasons for their lack of cover, mostly because the original design with diffuser makes for faulty communications between Blinks. While they look pretty and are closer to the final appearance, we didn’t want to supply developers with materials that make games feel buggy. The second reason is that we wanted to get Dev Blinks out the door as quickly as possible so you can start making games.

As for the commercial Blinks, they are looking super fine and we are triple checking our prototypes to make sure everything will work, fit, assemble the way we intend. Did I mention that I designed a new carry case for the commercial Blinks? I am hoping it is not outrageously expensive to manufacture, it should be simple and straight-forward, and I think you’ll really love it. I call it the Blinks Sushi Roll 😛 See it in action here

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Since the Blinks have magnets in them, the case is simply made of steel with a thin sheet of Tyvek holding it all together. The weight in the hand feels amazing and most of my friends are just asking for the case now. I have a feeling ordering extra Blinks Sushi Rolls is going to be a thing, would you buy one of these separately?

How’s Game Design Going?

We’ve announce 4 different games for Blinks, and more are headed our way. Last week we play tested a game called Oath by John Bruneau and Yuxin Gao, that is a button mashing game of influence. The goal is to make Blinks show allegiance to your color, the way of doing so is by touching the Blink when it shows your color (adding influence) and when Blinks of a specific color surround another Blink, they influence the the surrounded Blink. It is a fast paced masher, and every time we see people play testing, they are having a great time winning, or losing 🙂

OATH Prototype at IndieCade East Game Jam
OATH Prototype at IndieCade East Game Jam

The summer interns are just digging in and will be refining and balancing existing games, so if you have a Dev Kit, we’ll want your feedback on play testing our games in development too! There are some nice refinements coming to both Mortals and Fracture and we still have a long list of games in progress.

In Connecticut this weekend and can't wait to get your hands in the game? You're in luck. BeRrY creators are at CT-FIG all weekend showing off their games as well as others. Reach out, send a tweet, or holla at us... so we know who to thank for all of the support.

Want the latest latest?!?! 

Join us for our FACEBOOK LIVE WEBCAST @ 4pm EST TODAY (We will continue to do this on a weekly basis for those looking for more regular updates.)

Any Word On What The Six Games Being Featured Will Be? 

You of course know you’ll be getting Mortals and Fracture. User created games, BeRrY and Bomb Brigade are hits with us, and in the coming weeks/months, we think there will be an explosion of new games from the dev community. We want to give the earliest supporters the opportunity to make and share games that can potentially ship with Blinks.

I Have A Game Idea, But I Didn’t Get A Dev Kit, What Can I Do? 

Pitch the idea in We ❤ Blinks to designers!

With summer lovin,

Jon + the whole Blinks team (yes, summer interns means it has grown considerably)

Our Blinks are All Grown Up!

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Hi Backers!

I have all sorts of news and progress to share! This week’s update is primarily for Dev Kit backers. We have another update regarding manufacturing and the Blinks game design process coming soon. In the meantime Devs grab your popcorn and let’s get to it!

I like to imagine that all backers look like Bill Hader, it makes creating these updates that much easier :)
I like to imagine that all backers look like Bill Hader, it makes creating these updates that much easier :)

Oh, and of course here is a video update as well :)

Alpha Kits Are On Their Way!

We have received all of the parts for our Alpha Dev Kits. Thanks to everyone who applied and if you received an email from Backer Kit, congratulations you are officially an Alpha! The sooner you fill out your Backer Kit survey, the sooner we can get your kit to you!

Dev Kit components getting ready to go into their mailers
Dev Kit components getting ready to go into their mailers

If you applied to be an Alpha and were not selected, don’t worry, your Beta kits are close behind. The good news is, both Alpha and Beta Dev Kit recipients will soon be receiving details on how to access Move38’s exclusive Blinks Discourse Forum! We are excited to open this forum up as it will serve as the hub for collaboration and inspiration for everyone designing games for Blinks!

Shipping And Lead Time Woes

We mentioned in the last update that there are more Dev Kits to make than possible in house, but not too many to justify all of the parts of the Dev Kits going overseas. While the progress with our partners in China is wonderful and I am very pleased with the work being done so far, there is one component that the Dev Kits require that is running a little behind.

The Blinks Dev Kit programmer - essentially an off the shelf product, one that could purchased on Amazon, or Sparkfun (which is perfect should you need to replace it) is one that is in limited supply. And it isn’t everyday that someone needs hundreds of pieces of a slightly esoteric product. I searched high and low to see if I could piece together the inventory needed, but even when I found a place with stock, they had 1…

Think of that Sparkfun programmer as a milkshake, and let's just say that Move38 drank them all up :)
Think of that Sparkfun programmer as a milkshake, and let's just say that Move38 drank them all up :)

Instead of trusting the optimistic estimate of the stores that carry this product, I went to the source. Unfortunately, the product is back-ordered because Sparkfun is waiting for a component on their circuit boards, and therefore, can’t produce more until they have that part from their supplier. The current lead time appears to be 4-6 weeks, and with any luck it will be at the lower end of that estimate.

So, what does this mean for you the Dev Kit Backers? Your Dev Kit Blinks will be assembled, packed and shipped in July. Yeah, this is not my favorite thing to share as 95% of the parts will be ready in June, but the programmer is an important one! The good news is I’m gonna make it up to you. And here’s how…

(Oprah Voice) You Get A Case And You Get A Case!

Case ≠ Car (just in case... pun intended)
Case ≠ Car (just in case... pun intended)

All Dev Kit level backers are getting slick 3D-printed carrying cases for FREE! Yes, this includes you Alpha Selects! These cases are the same kind I have been using to carry around my Blinks for the past 6 months. There is hardly an hour I am without mine!

3D Printed and with a magnetic snap that you'll just love!
3D Printed and with a magnetic snap that you'll just love!

To make these beautiful carrying cases, we worked with our friends at Voodoo3D, a 3D print farm - and yes, you should be imagining free range 3D printers grazing on biodegradable plastic (PLA). The same 3D printer I use in-house was used to print an initial run of 25 and soon another 250 carrying cases will be added to that herd.

Thanks for everyone’s patience as we got this update put together. Stay tuned for more next week regarding production and manufacturing as well as one of the most important aspects of Blinks - the game design process!

Until then,

Jon + The Move38 Team

New Designs, Dev Kits in Progress, Building Relationships, and more!

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Hi Backers,

A lot of silence on the Move38 side of things as we have been heads down and getting everything in order to make sure Blinks are on the path to a bright future. We'd like to share a bit of how the cannoli is made, and while you will surely get beautiful photos and video of the manufacturing process, first we need to make sure our recipe is correct.

For a bit of a video update, enjoy the following :)

For a bit more detail:

Design for Manufacturing

From the start, I knew that our current Blinks design, one I am very fond of due to its simplicity and non-traditional nature, would not suffice for a commercial product for a number of reasons. Here are the main considerations for redesigning the enclosure of each Blink.

1. Robust tile-to-tile communications

2. Perfect button interaction and light diffusion 

3. Simple reliable battery access 

4. Straight forward to Manufacture and Assemble

Making one of something, or even a couple of hundred is one thing, but creating a workflow for others to be able to make hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of something requires careful consideration. To help in this process, the talented Bill Cowles of Fiftyswiss joined the Move38 team to redesign the Blinks enclosure given the above constraints. He proposed clean and clever solutions that we saw the value in immediately. His design, while introducing more parts and materials, was completely modular and considered the injection mold process as well as the assembly process. There were so many aspects to balance and I think we have done a wonderful job of arriving and a design that will impress both eyes and hands.

We didn’t want to lose the soft friendly touch of the original Blinks, so the top material will be a frosted TPU or silicone-like material that allows for the top to retain a friendly touch. The sides will be a hard plastic with perfectly vertical sides, making the satisfying clack reminiscent of domino tiles. The magnetic sides are composed of identical sub-units that will carry 2 magnets and be made of an IR transparent material, but opaque or close to opaque for visible light. We are keeping fingers crossed that this provides robust communication without the need for holes in the sides.

Our next steps will include getting quotes for manufacturing and a bunch of in house testing with the new design. Testing includes various lighting conditions, play testing, perhaps we can invite some local backers to be hands on with the new prototypes.

Shout out to all the Developers

In parallel, we’ve been moving right along with the Dev-Kits, and took the opportunity to light up our potential commercial run Blinks manufacturers as well. So let’s talk Dev-Kits.

Some of your dev-kit parts are 3D printed right in our office, and we are really excited about how these tools are turning out.
Some of your dev-kit parts are 3D printed right in our office, and we are really excited about how these tools are turning out.

With over 150 new developers joining the Blinks community, we have a lot of Blinks Dev-Kits to produce. We planned and backup planned the best ways to get these out as soon as possible. Here is a quick breakdown of the thought process: 

One option was to orders all components as we have been doing and assemble the Blinks in-house, however, the cost of 3D printing the bases accounted for 60% of the cost of goods. Instead of ordering $10,000 worth of 3D printed parts, the cost of simply owning an SLS 3D printer, an option I heavily considered, this became an opportunity to learn about the injection molding process. My first Kickstarter included injection molded parts, however, the molds were for production units and cost around $5000 before even making parts. One great service, ProtoLabs, provides quick turn injection molding, for prototypes or short run products. Keeping in mind that the Dev-Kits design is not the same as the final design, spending a lot of money and time on tooling doesn’t make a lot of sense, unless we are learning something important for our final run. We have been talking with a number of manufacturers and started an exciting relationship with Genimex, a wonderful company based in China and in Brooklyn, NY. Before signing into a longer term relationship for Blinks production, I want to see what they can do, feel out how we work together, and understand the value of working with a team that has been doing this for 40 years.

To recap the options:

1. 3D prints and hand assemble at Move38 

2. Purchase nice 3D printer for the above in house 

3. Injection mold w/ ProtoLabs and hand assemble at Move38 

4. Purchase small injection mold machine for the above in house 

5. Work with Contract Manufacturer(CM) to do the Dev-Kits and determine if we work well as a team to do the production Blinks too

While working with a factory in China to make our Dev-Kits feels the most... for lack of better words, foreign, it is also the one with the opportunity to learn the most, a valuable opportunity we did not want to miss.

Custom PCB to allow for serial communication between your Blink and your computer, a fine and dandy debugging tool!
Custom PCB to allow for serial communication between your Blink and your computer, a fine and dandy debugging tool!

What does this mean for timeline… so far Genimex is pushing to get Dev Blinks to Move38 mid-June, we’ll then do our own inspections, finish assembly of your dev kits with programmers, cables, instructions and box those goodies to be shipped to you! We'll be receiving updates on the tooling, which we just approved, and will post updates here.

Wait, wait, there’s more! 

Want to get your hands on the first Dev-Kits available? If you are still reading this, you are probably the perfect person to sign up for this. We will be ready to ship early Beta Dev-Kits in the beginning of June. This is the same hardware we have been testing with for ~ 9 months, with overly expensive but nice 3D printed bases will go to 10 lucky Dev-Kit backers. Sign up fast since we’ll pick from the list of sign ups by May 25th, we’ll be in contact with you to get your dev-kits first and are looking for active feedback from you as part of this select group.

When are you sending Surveys?

A couple of you have asked, and we'd love to be in touch, so there will be some surveys coming out for basic information, however, our main surveys will happen shortly before we are ready to ship, the survey will arrive via BackerKit, (shout out to BackerKit) our tool for managing pledges and allowing pre-orders while we make Blinks a reality.

Bay Area Maker Faire

If you are in the area, come say hello! Move38 will be at the Bay Area Maker Faire selling Troxes. If you'd like to help out at the booth, send me an email (jon@move38.com) and I'll be sure to get you a free pass and some Move38 swag for helping out.

Last but not least

Our friends, CW&T, just launched their latest Kickstarter for Time Since Launch, we think you'll love it just as much as we do. Also, with only days/hours left, go support ELIA, another beautiful design project with a powerful mission to provide tactile literacy to the 99% that need it, with only days left, I've witnessed Andrew's hard work in bringing this project to life, keep their momentum going!

Our project was featured on First Backer Newsletter and we’d like to invite you to join its growing community of Kickstarter backers - You'll receive fresh Kickstarter amazing early bird offers and awesome freebies delivered right to your inbox. Click here to subscribe.

Looking forward to sending our next update, keeping you in the loop, and will try some new methods to let you peak into the process even more.

all our best,

Jonathan and the Move38 team

We Are Officially Kickstarted!

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After nearly two months, Blinks - the board game system with a mind of its own - is officially Kickstarted! We are beyond thrilled that 1,135 of you pledged $137,493 towards Blinks, bringing in more than 180% of our original funding goal!

Truly a Good Friday :)

Come Monday morning, we have our work cut out for us, but first, we decided to take the evening to celebrate. Here's a little lens into what that looked like:

I don't understand work and play boundaries, so Blinks joined us for celebrations at the local bar :)
I don't understand work and play boundaries, so Blinks joined us for celebrations at the local bar :)

Backers Really Got Our Back

It’s been an incredible ride and we’ve said it before but we could not have done this without each any every one of you. The deepest thanks to you, our backers, as well as everyone who helped spread the word about Blinks over the course of this campaign. It spread like wildfire!

Early prototype of Blinks spreading wildfire... Yup, this will surely lead to a game :)
Early prototype of Blinks spreading wildfire... Yup, this will surely lead to a game :)

This is just the beginning of our journey, so join us in saying...

Let the Games Begin!

With endless gratitude,

Jonathan + The Move38 Team

Final Countdown + Birthday Wishes

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Hey Backers,

HOLY MOLY! Our minds are blown that we've broken $100K, in fact, flown right past it and are quickly approaching $120K. What that means is that I've been a busy bee refining designs for carrying cases and getting sample materials to find the perfect one to deliver your stretch goal! You stretched and now we're delivering on our promise. A special welcome to new backers, you're the ones that made these sweet, sweet carrying cases possible.

More stretch goals you say? The more we raise, the more games we can release at launch. This weekend we topped the charts of Product Hunt and are featured on one of our favorite design blogs. Keep up the awesome work, and share along with us.

Blinks reprogram each other to play BeRrY
Blinks reprogram each other to play BeRrY

Let's celebrate together

Believe it or not, today is my birthday and it's tough to wish for anything else, since bringing Blinks to market is far bigger than any present I could have asked for. Because we reached our goal early, we're already in motion with manufacturers.

Speaking of motion, I've been sketching a new game on Blinks in which it is your goal to keep the flow moving, recycle Blinks to keep the path moving, reach the end, and...

What do you think of my initial animations?
What do you think of my initial animations?

500 Backers, 500 Backers More

At the time of writing this, there are almost 1000 of you (and any excuse to play a proclaimers song is a good one). Be sure to let your friends know they have hours to join the campaign too, since you can combine your Blinks together, the game possibilities are endless wild with multiple sets.

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Lastly, I wanted to share with you a few Kickstarters that really loved Blinks and I thought you might appreciate their projects as well, and a nice opportunity to support creators. 

The Orbiform: A mathematically perfect solid of constant width. 

An Orbiform is a little-known, unintuitive geometric shape, with fascinating mathematical properties. Orbiforms were unwittingly used by Leonardo da Vinci in 1514! It is also quite fun to roll around. As a math enthusiast, I love that this is math you can touch. Get Orbiform here.

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Flypdeck - a handheld electronic action toy

Flypdeck is the judge as you and your friends compete in attempting to land any of the game's 40 tricks. Use combinations of twisting, corking, and flipping to throw the tricks. The flypdeck uses our software paired with motion sensing technology to determine if tricks are landed successfully. Three difficulty settings and five game modes keep flypdeck fun and challenging for players of all ages and skill levels. Extra bonus points to the backer that makes a Blinks flip game :) Support Flypdeck here.

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Air Deck - The ultimate travel playing cards

Last year I backed Air Deck's successful KS campaign for their ultimate travel playing cards. In their words "The Air Deck features a beautiful minimalist design, but they’re also premium, waterproof, compact, lightweight, and durable." I imagine some Blinks games will use playing cards too. You can get your Air Deck here.

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See you at the finish line!

Jonathan + The Blinks Team