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A high fantasy sandbox adventure setting for use with any table top role playing game.
A high fantasy sandbox adventure setting for use with any table top role playing game.
390 backers pledged $29,695 to help bring this project to life.

It's Always Something....

Posted by Jacob Hurst (Creator)
My face all weekend.
My face all weekend.


On Friday (08/04/17) I received one box of The Dark (20 copies) and one box of the Field Guide to Hot Springs Island (36 copies).

If I'm allowed to indulge a bit, I think they look great. The covers turned out fantastic. All my concerns regarding the art ("Did I clean up the scans well enough?!?!?!") turned out to be unfounded, and all the illustrations look super crisp. Bleeds look good. Cross page illustrations look good. Ribbon bookmarks turned out awesome.


The end sheets in the Field Guide are wrong.

The story of the endsheets: I was planning to do full color printed endsheets in both the Dark and the Field Guide, but because I had to change printers in the 11th hour, I wasn't able to afford Friesen's rates, and had to cut them from the Dark. However, it was very important to me that they be included in the Field Guide. The endsheets for the Field Guide were to show a map of Hot Springs Island, as well as a partially completed list of locations that can be found on the island. Thus a player can fill in the list as they discover locations through play.

All books have two endsheets. One in the front of the book, and one in the back of the book. The endsheet in the front of the book was printed and inserted correctly. The back endsheet was left completely blank.

Being utterly transparent, I believe that if I never told anyone that the front and back endsheets were supposed to be printed, no one would ever even know that a mistake had been made. Which in some ways is the worst sort of mistake imo because then it's like a "secret", and I sure as hell don't personally want to deal with that when my next steps are to try and sell the heck out of these books. Bleh.

How did this happen?

Let's go into the gory details of printing stuff. With Friesens, there are three different documents related to a job (that I am currently aware of). There is the quote. The job specification. And the internal docket.

From the quote:

From the Job Specification:

I have no idea how this appeared on the internal docket as that is the internal file used for actual production (more on that in a bit).

So what happened is that I was quoted for "4 process colors one side of each". I was also charged for 3000 4-color prints (1500 books with two color printed endsheets each).

Where I could have caught the error is on the job spec. Where it says "Front Side Inks" and "Back Side Inks" those two lines are talking about the front and back of the individual endsheet pieces of paper. The next line "Type" where it says "Different Front and Back" was the tell. You see, when it says "front and back" on that line, it's talking about the front and back of the book. I'm sure you've seen books where there is (for example) a map on the front end sheet and tables on the back. This line is what would call that sort of situation out.

To my error, I thought that in both cases Front and Back was talking about the pieces of paper. I was wrong.

On Friesens end of things, when I uploaded my files, I only uploaded a single endsheet file. Thus someone, should have reached out to me at some point to ask where the second endsheet was, and we could have cleared up this confusion. However, that did not happen.

I believe that may not have happened, because I'd already been going around and around with them about differences between the quote and the job spec. As you see on the quote screenshot above, I was quoted for "60lb Rolland Opaque Smooth White" paper to be used in the book. This is a specific type of paper that has a specific set of parameters (in terms of brightness, opacity, caliper measurements etc). On the job spec however, the paper says the following:

So I had contacted them, concerned that I wasn't going to be getting the paper I was quoted. I was concerned that I wasn't getting the right paper, because when I used their tool to get the template I need to make the covers for my books, you have to select the paper your job is using (caliper measurements can make a biiiiig difference). And there was an option for #60 #1 Offset, and Rolland Opaque #60. I also pointed out my concern that the job spec didn't mention the ribbon bookmarks, which was a big deal. Due to this conversation I received a screenshot of the internal docket showing the ribbons and the Rolland paper (it didn't include the endsheet section, but I didn't think it needed to).

So now what?

I have no idea. I've spoke with the customer service manager at length last week (first about the lack of communication regarding production delays, and then regarding the blank endsheets in the Field Guide). He assures me he's going to look into this, but he is out of town on vacation this week and won't get back to me 'till the 14th.

My dad says this will be a great way for later collectors to identify a true first edition from subsequent editions. And maybe we should just roll with it? But it doesn't match the quote, or what I paid for. But does it match the job spec? And if we did go full bore and push for a reprint of the Field Guide, what does that actually mean? The books are in transit right now and who the hell knows what the return process would even look like. And it's too late to have them redone in time for Gen Con, so then there'd potentially be some in the wild with a blank endsheet anyway, and wouldn't it just be wasteful to pulp 1500 books? It'd be one thing if the data was completely missing, it's much more grey since the data wasn't duplicated as instructed.


How it's further complicated:

The books arrived in the UK yesterday for fulfillment, and are expected in other locations tomorrow and Thursday. So they're all just about where they need to be. I'd also given GamesQuest "go" orders, so it's possible that international shipments may have already started going out? I have no idea. The books arrived a day earlier than the original tracking indicated they would, and it turns out that I can't call the UK from my phone (I thought I could call and be billed, but apparently I've got to sign up for additional international service to even make a call in the first place).

And yes, if you're an international backer, I still HAVE NOT reached out to you about payment for shipping (you didn't miss anything in your spam folder). I didn't have final book weights 'till last Friday and I'd wanted to talk to GamesQuest about tracked vs untracked package prices (basically it looked like outside Europe all would be untracked), but yeah... that all went up in smoke.

And then there's boxes....

I'd been planning to buy boxes to ship books in from a local box maker 'cause they're cool people who do good work. But it turns out that the box I thought I could use fits The Dark of Hot Springs Island too perfectly, meaning there's no room for bubble wrap or cushion. And the next size of box is too tall (4" when it needs to be maybe 2"). I am become Goldilocks, needer of the 'just right'. So I need to figure this out.

And then there's the 400 books that need to be signed, and 4 people in 2 cities that need to be wrangled up to accomplish that.

And then there's Gen Con....

TL:DR Recap and Minor Points:

1. Books are finished. They look good, but the endsheets in the Field Guide aren't correct. Considering the error a "showstopper" may cause a myriad of even worse problems. I'll have an update on this front by 8/14/17.

2. Books are in the UK are potentially ready to ship out internationally, but point 1 complicates matters, and I expect to have an update by 8/14/17 as well.

3. Books are en route to Texas to be signed and shipped. It's looking like they should be here on Thursday 08/10, but it's also looking like we won't be able to get them signed and shipped until AFTER Gen Con. And point 1.

4. Everything seems good on the Gen Con front, unless the decision is made to pull the plug and push for a reprint.

For some reason it doesn't want to let me upload another image right now, so here's a link to view the Front and Back endsheets as they are in the Field Guide.

That's where we are.

flyaturtle~, Carl Jonard, and 3 more people like this update.


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    1. entropyrat on

      Don't re-print, I'm perfectly happy with my copy having that "error". Your dad sounds like a good dude, I'd listen to him.

    2. Chase Street

      Just to agree with everyone else... I'd be perfectly happy with the book the way it is and I'm not sure it would be worth the headache (to you) to try and have them all reprinted.

      Bottom line is that the books are going to be awesome regardless of the endsheet! Its also always cool to have an easy way to identify that first printing like others have mentioned.

    3. Missing avatar

      Jon Boylan on

      I think I'm confused: is the entire run of books purchased for this Kickstarter suffering the above-mentioned errors? Or is it just the initial batch? Is that how any of that works?

      Again, I'm not sure I entirely understand, but for me personally: it doesn't matter. Would I LIKE the repeated endsheet in the back? Sure. Is it a deal-breaker to not have it? Not really. Your book(s) would stand on it own w/o any endsheet, so...

      Gotta' add, @Sean Flowers is 100% right - you've been among the top 3 best creators I've ever had the pleasure of backing a project for and it's insanely great.

    4. Funkaoshi on

      Posted this elsewhere, but for posterity: don't reprint, that would be crazy. Your dad is right. You have a book you should good about selling. The mistake is so slight, exactly the sort of thing that will bug the creator, but no one else. This should all be motivation for that second print run when you sell all your books at GenCon.

    5. Missing avatar

      Sean Flowers on

      Had to login to comment after this last update to say thank you Jacob. You have been nothing but above the board, open, and helpful in describing each update to us backers, and it needs to be said how much it is appreciated. Problems may have occurred, but you should put worry aside as you've kept us apprised every step, and you've consistently shown you're working in the best interest of us that want the product.

      As was said, the error is not a gamebreaker, and I find the unique first edition identifier a cool thing. I'm sure those of us that get it will all brag about it for years actually. ;)

      You know... you could up the special could just hand write a collectible number and be sure you don't lose track of where you are in the thousands of numbers... ;D j/k

      You'll have a great GenCon and we're all going to love these books when we get them. Thanks again!

    6. Jon Hammersley on

      Move forward. Your dad is right about identufying a true first print. While it may be disappointing to you that there's an error it has little to no impact on the material.

      As a side note there's a great youtube video of Joseph Goodman discussing book printing and all the craziness that can happen when just one thing is changed (much less a printer change).

    7. Andrew Ross on

      I'm going with your dad, don't stress!

      So you said they were supposed to be different was a map and one was a list you could expand upon. Honestly...all I need is a map. If the back cover is where you had the list, I never would have used it how you intended anyway! I'm not a fan of penning up my game books and I don't know many people who are. And of the map is what isn't there thats okay too!

      I loved the zine and a missing endpage isn't going to make me not love this book any.

    8. Missing avatar

      Ross Hendry on

      I'm happy with the first edition, especially as it's already in the UK! Have a good Gencon!

    9. Missing avatar

      Frits Kuijlman on

      If the front and back endsheets are supposed to be the same go with it and call it a collectable 1st edition.

    10. Invictus - Gardener of Valoria

      Please, please, please be extra conservative regarding packing material. I've received so many books over the past few years from KS and even Amazon and other online retailers that have arrived half mangled due to insufficient protective packaging. It's so easy to get this wrong. Better packaged books tend to be secured in internal protective packaging (tight fitting box or significant amount of wrap covering all corners and then tightly packed in an outer shipping box.

      If you have time in the schedule, the best way to test your packaging solution (beyond drop tests, etc., which may be cost-prohibitive) would be to send a few copies round-trip a significant distance (NY, FL, CA, WA, depending on where you're located).

    11. Eigen Ignacio on

      Don't worry about it. As far as I'm concerned, I paid for excellent content and a well-made book, and endsheets do not make or break either. I will be very happy to receive the books the way they are.

    12. flyaturtle~

      Is the end endsheet supposed to be identical to the front? If so, fuggetaboutit.

      If not, still fuggetaboutit. I, for one, like the fact that now I have a true collector's edition. Or maybe we can get credit for a future Zine or a sticker or an exclusive PDF art sketch we can print and stick on the page ourselves. Personally, I plan on printing out a large 13x19" map anyway.

      For the boxes, wow if it's a cool snug fit it might work perfectly. Bubble wrap doesn't do much anyway if a box is truly dented that badly.

      Rest up and let's have a good GenCon! :)

    13. Lloyd Rasmussen

      Go with the books as is, your Dad is right, we will always know the first printing. Maybe you can get a little refund?