Hey everyone! Thanks for your patience over the last two weeks as we prepared this update. As you know, we try to aim for monthly updates but there are occasions where it makes sense to send out news earlier or later than that, and this is one of those times!
Thank you to everyone who filled out the recent production survey. While we have to balance our choices between our vision and your requests, it means a lot to us to have your input and engagement in many of our processes. We know a lot of you are quite curious about the results so here are some transparent numbers.
343 respondents (approx. 11% of backers)
Note: percentages that follow below are based on the total number of backers who voted not all backers who backed! ;)
White Sugar Cubes:
296 backers (86.3%) want us to keep the current, almost opaque sample
34 backers (9.91%) want us to create a new sample
12 backers (3.5%) want us to use the older, more transparent sample
Brown Sugar Cubes:
163 backers (47.52%) want us to keep the second-to-last, more transparent slightly-too-yellow sample
131 backers (38.19%) want us to try to do another, new sample
48 backers (13.99%) want us to stick with the latest, opaque sample
206 backers (60.06%) want us to keep the carton itself white
136 backers (39.65%) want us to change the carton to be brown
“Woodtisch” Play Mat:
52 backers (15.16%) want us to change the play mat to have round corners
39 backers (11.37%) want us to keep the square corners
251 backers (73.18%) didn’t order the “woodtisch” play mat
Based on the survey results above – and some additional data and testing of our own – we’ve come to some conclusions. We want to be sure to express that when and where we can do exactly as all of you have requested, we certainly will and do. However, in cases where votes are close, it creates a situation where we can’t please everyone, and so if we have additional information which infers our decision it may be that we actually go with the minority versus the majority. Hopefully that’s understandable and doesn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers too much! :)
For the milk, after extended discussion, play-testing and close examination of the accessibility tests we did, we have decided to go with the minority here and produce the brown carton version. Our main reason for this is that while we believe the white carton version matches the regular milk better, it not as well designed for accessibility. It’s definitely not safely passing the test for those who have monochrome color blindness and from an above-view it's indistinguishable from the regular milk. We found through playing that the brown carton version is just as enjoyable as the white carton version, and ultimately the votes from both groups of backers were close enough that either way a large portion of people wouldn’t get their first choice.
For the white sugar, we are definitely sticking with the newest, more opaque, more white sample. This vote was a landslide and all of our team are in agreement too. They look amazing!
As for the brown sugar, based on the vote and our previous delays we were inclined to just produce as is. However, after discussing with our manufacturer, it turns out they can start mass production of the resin bits and get samples at the same time. They’ve said they can “catch up” the brown sugar later, meaning we can get samples without suffering any delays. This is awesome news and we’re very excited that this is possible as it satisfies both groups from the vote.
Lastly, the play mat. As hard as it is to not follow the request of the majority, we were presented with a very good argument to leave the corners square: some backers already purchased the “woodtisch” play mat under the assumption it had square corners. They are right it would be cheeky to change it now. Also, from our perspective, the design is supposed to have square corners. That, and the major reason against square corners is that they supposedly curl. From our tests the play mat works fine and any curling is similar to that of the round corner play mat (ie. yes, they curl some, but not to the point of it being a usability issue, at least for us). Therefore, the only changes we’ll be doing are denoted above: a reprint to fix the minor color correction issues we saw in the first samples.
We've made a couple of other, small adjustments for our manufacturer to be aware of, such as placing the clasps button-side-up on the bags and making sure the handles on the First Player and Next First Player tokens match the latest (more rounded) sample. If you're curious to see more into the process you can click the image above to view our latest (and final) spec sheet. (Or click here!)
Whew, with all of that said we are happy to say our production deposit has been paid and the final spec sheets are in! Once Panda’s workers return to the factory from Chinese New Year we are informed they can immediately begin production on the non-paper parts of the game. This means mass production starts February 18th!
We are extremely excited as this is a huge milestone for our team. We’ve been working hard, non-stop, on Seize the Bean since the campaign and it’s super rewarding to see it coming together! :D
By the end of March all of the paper parts (offset printed aspects) of the game should be in mass production too and we’ll have a much clearer view of the delivery timeline.
Regarding the offset printing, we’re currently finalizing the text (such as rulebook text and translations). We wanted to get a final version of the rulebook over to you all in this update but it looks like it will be another week or two. Meanwhile, translation has begun on the cards and other components in German, Spanish, French and Chinese. We are very pleased to have all aspects of the localizations going so smoothly considering how many there are!
That’s it for today’s update. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you have any further questions, concerns or simply words of encouragement!
Happy new year everybody! Wow, 2019. By the time Seize the Bean delivers around mid-year the game will have been officially “in the works” for 3 full years, from start to finish. Some days this feels like a really long time to us (we’re learning a lot though, and we’ll be improving our processes to become more efficient in the new year) but other days we feel like the time just flew by. But whatever the day, thank you for being on this wild ride with us!
Also, regarding payment: we will be charging credit cards next week. We do not have an exact day for this, but it will likely be Monday or Tuesday.
Our support team is only available Thursday this week so be aware that if you’re waiting for a response from Kilian he’ll most likely get to you by then. (Can we just take a quick moment here to give a big thank you and shout out to Kilian, who recently joined the team in order to help us plow through our backlog of messages – thank you Kilian!)
It’s been much harder to accomplish the amount of pick-up options we’d hoped for. This is simply due to team resources (at the moment, we do not have a dedicated sales / PR person). As we’ve focused our primary energy on completing the game we’ve been unable to spend more time reaching out to stores. This does not mean we’ll stop though!
Even though the pledge manager is closing we will continue to contact shops. In the next few months, before games ship, we’ll provide a way for you to change your shipping option if a shop provides pick-up in your area. More details on this once it’s relevant, but rest assured we’ll try to save you all the cash we can.
Last update we said “final samples” but these really are the final ones for a lot of pieces. And in any cases where they may not be final, the decision will be up to y'all via a survey (see below). Let’s look through what our manufacturer has sent us over the holidays.
First up, we’ve altered one of the meeple colors, going for a caramel-like brown (photo may not show the color fully accurately). We’re quite happy with the outcome and we’ll be calling this final. With this change, all of the meeples are 100% done.
For those interested, even though Seize the Bean specifically does not have player colors, we've conducted a brief colorblind accessibility test for the meeples (depicted below). We've done this because we also want to make sure that folks who suffer from colorblindness can appreciate the diversity in the meeples too.
You'll note that the orange meeple from the 5-6 player expansion (on the far right) is definitely hard to distinguish from the new, caramel-colored one from the base game (second from the left). Though again, as there are no player colors and the meeple colors hold no mechanic value, we find this acceptable.
The new Next First Player Token came out great. We’re quite happy with the results. This one we’ll be calling final and the only change to the other First Player Token is that we’d like to remove the highlight strokes of lighter brown on the coffee surface as a lot of backers who saw it in person suggested they were not needed and made it look less realistic. We do not need to request a sample to do this as we already have one, so we shouldn't suffer any delays here. (Note that there are no images of the First Player Token below.)
The new player bag is spot on. The stitching fix we requested was performed perfectly by the factory and we are happy to say the bag is now completely usable.
Also the resource bags came back too. You won’t be able to tell by the quick photo below but the ultimate quality of the final samples is very good. They feel quite sturdy and the increased size for the milk and sugar bags allow them to hold not only the base game resources but those of the expansion too. There are a couple of things to note: 1) the sugar barely closes all the way with the expansion resources, but it’ll work, 2) the bean bag doesn’t close 100% so it’s possible that a bean or two may slip if your game enjoys a turbulent travel but this is not something we can fix without massively reworking the bag, and 3) the clasp buttons were placed the wrong way (upside down) by the factory. This final point should be an easy change. And with that, we can call all of these final!
Ah, the tantalizing Snack Pack pieces! We are incredibly pleased to announce that all Snack Pack pieces are now final. With the latest sample of the moka pot (which had its paint job order rearranged, to be sure the black bits didn’t get a metallic spray on them), the croissant and the strong coffee (which were both completely redone thanks to the illustrative talent of Andrea Lagunas) we can call them done. We hope you like them as a lot of work was put into making these perfect.
Onto milk! Thanks to two fantastic backers (Michael and Holger) whom we met at SPIEL we were given the cool suggestion to do chocolate milk as the denomination of five. The original idea with the burgundy / red labeled milk was just that the color distinction be as colorblind friendly as possible. What's so rad about Michael and Holger's suggestion is that it helps add thematic value to the secondary milk carton style as well (which as you know is very important for Seize the Bean). We especially love getting ideas from our backers and along those same lines it was cool to further have our manufacturer make a suggestion too: that we go with a fully brown carton. Here are the samples:
From our perspective, while the brown carton is surely interesting, we find it doesn't go so well with the regular milk (at least in-person, in the photos it doesn't look too bad). And based on our colorblind tests we think that the brown label milk is fine. Take a look at both variations next to the regular milk:
And for those interested, here are the colorblind friendly tests:
Last but surely not least, we present to you those sweet, sweet sugar cubes. Yes, we said we were not going to touch the sugar but sitting in a terribly delicious pizza place during PAX Unplugged with our amazing account manager at Panda (the heroic Joe Wiggins) we just couldn't help ourselves and he even made it happen over the phone that we could get last-minute samples snuck into the package being sent to us for the holidays. Big thanks to Joe for the hustle!
The results vary a bit. We're pleased to say that – in our opinion – the white sugar is improved. It has pros and cons, the pros being that it’s more realistic in its color and no longer looking wet. The con being that it could be ever so slightly more transparent to retain that crystalline look. (When viewing the new white up close it is less realistic than the older, more transparent one.)Despite the con we think the new white sugar is better but take a look for yourself.
The brown sugar is a bit rough, though. Have a glance:
Bit like a corn flake, no? Jokes aside, it’s a shame this sample couldn’t have come out better but it seems that if we want to take another stab at the brown sugar we would need to add another delay (of a few weeks at minimum) to our production time. Our initial response was “absolutely not, our backers have been waiting forever” but after some discussion we decided: why not let you all decide?
We’ll be making our final decision this weekend so you only have about 48-72 hours to give a response. We realize that is quite tight but it’s important to get your input! (There are a few other questions on the survey as well, regarding the play mat and the milk.)
As with the other components above, we also did accessibility testing for the sugar, and here are our current test results:
Monochromatic is a bit close but it should be fine. And that similarity does justify having one type of sugar cube a bit more translucent than the other.
And we did similar accessibility testing with the beans too. Here are those results:
As you can see, the results are pretty good. As with the previously shared tests above, the only area which is maybe of concern is monochromatic, but even there we believe the difference is still acceptably noticeable.
We’re dragged our heels a bit on posting regular art previews but we’ve recently got a few more up. If you’re a BGG user and not already subscribed to Dylan’s art preview GeekList then jump on over to follow along as we continue to post more art!
We’ve been so busy it took us a bit longer to upload videos from our last events but they are available now. Mainly you'll want to watch the Seize the Bean update from SPIEL18:
Here’s a full list of new Quality Beast content (in chronological order for you to enjoy):
That's it for today. We'll be back soon with some detailed updates on where we are with the printed files (such as cards, rulebooks, player boards, tokens and the boxes). Until then, take care everyone, and welcome to 2019, the year of the bean! :)
Hey everyone! We hope you’ve had a great November so far. It’s continued to be busy for us but we are becoming increasingly excited because of the progress we’re making on Seize the Bean. Let’s dive right in to not waste time.
When we say “factory samples” we are referring to the components of the game which are not made in an offset printer. This includes the wood bits (meeples), the resin bits (resources), and some of the more specialty items like the scoop and fabric bags.
At SPIEL18our manufacturer literally hand-delivered the second round of samples to us and we were floored. They were amazing! See for yourself below.
Here you can see 5 out of the 6 meeple colors. The last two are from the 5-6 player expansion. We increased the size and shape of the meeples and we are in general 100% happy with them.
Our only issue with the meeples is the color distinction between these two shades (see below). They look almost identical. Therefore we’re playing with a different color for one of them. (If you are interested, you can see our proposed color in the spec sheet which we’ve linked at the end of this section of the update.)
The beans are perfect. We’re calling these done and we are very happy with the result! The one thing we are doing is trying to see if we can put about 25 more beans into the 5-6 player expansion and/or seeing if we can have some extra beans added as a loose purchase (some backers had asked for this in the past). The game comes with more than enough beans but we do realize some folks may want more to play with (mostly for fun factor).
We’ve got the same thing to say here with the green beans: no changes, they’re just perfect. Though we do realize y’all may be wondering what these are for. We’ll just keep you wondering for now though... ;)
The milk is also perfect. We have no changes. (But if you didn’t get to see these in-person we can already say they are quite heavy and feel terrific in-hand.)
With the five-value milk we weren’t sure about the color as we chose it specifically to help for colorblind players. That may be working (at least in our preliminary testing it is), but we were having trouble to thematically place what burgundy milk would be. At SPIEL, some very awesome backers suggested it was chocolate milk. We love that idea and we’re gonna run with it so the next step is to play with the color a bit and see what we get, making sure it stays colorblind friendly of course. (If you want to see our ideas jump down to the spec sheet downloads and let us know what your thoughts are on our two variations.)
Let’s just start by saying the sugar cubes are far better than we ever expected. We are extremely pleased with Panda’s work (that’s our manufacturer and in case we haven’t said it before it’s very much worth giving them and the fabulous Joe Wiggins – our account manager / manufacturing wizard – a shout-out for their endlessly solid work) and honestly we would be happy to call these final. There are some points to raise in the sake of transparency: the bottoms are flat and not textured, the cubes in general look a bit “wet”, and overall they could be slightly more white. We aren’t going to attack any of these topics, though. For starters, the way the silicon molds are made for the game’s resin pieces require that at least one side of a component must be flat. While this may cut down on the illusion of the pieces it’ll raise the safety of people recognizing they are not real sugar cubes. For the comments about the “wet” look, we do agree, however asking the factory to adjust this would lose the sparkle effect the sugar cubes have. We greatly value this effect and we want to keep it for sure. Lastly, yes, we as a team do want a bit more white in the cubes. However, based on time we don’t want to mess around. The color process is not an exact science due to the translucency of these pieces. It’s possible we’d request a bit more white and it’d be far too white and we’d lose another few weeks having to do a fourth round sample. We’re not willing to risk that timeline hit for you all. Thus, we are proud to say our sugar cubes are final!
We have generally the same notes here, but instead of a bit more white we (being perfectionists) would be into seeing these slightly more brown and slightly less orange. Once again though, it’s not worth the time or risk and we do strongly believe all of you are going to be delighted upon receiving these as is.
Hilariously enough we had trouble getting the right scoop at first (due to its volume not being correct) and now the scoop that our manufacturer has provided is literally the scoop we were prototyping with, just in another color (black, which we prefer). Since we can’t make a custom scoop this is the best possible thing that could go in the game and we are quite pleased.
And finally, we are able to unveil the resource bags, starting with the faux burlap sack for beans. All of the bags have really terrific materials, especially the very nice inner linings, and their drawstrings are well done. We’re not even going to show the silk-screened versions, partially because we forgot to photograph them but also mainly because it was immediately obvious that embroidery was the way to go. There is literally nothing to change about this bag, it’s perfect!
Milk and sugar bags are a slightly different story. A lot of people asked questions about sizing and while we did do testing for the right size to comfortably scoop beans and grab milk and sugar, we weren’t able to do embroidery or closing tests. Now that we have these, we can, and we found out that there are some issues. First, the embroidery overlapping with the drawstring stitching is a problem for us. We definitely don’t want that, it looks quite messy. Second, while these are truly the perfect size to reach in for resources, they both have issues closing, due to volume, especially if you have the expansion (which adds some extra milk and sugar). The main fix for this is just to make all bags the same size as the bean bag. This solves all of the problems. Except one: the milk bag material is still too thick to close as best as it could. Therefore, we’ll be grabbing a new sample from the factory of both the milk and sugar bags in faux velvet but in two different colors. This should fix all of our bag issues and get these to a final state!
The player bags are great too, and happen to work well as a protective layer for the First Player and Next First Player resin pieces. Our only issue is that the inner lining has a stitching right at the center of the bottom of the bag making it almost unusable for storing resources like beans. Of course we’re working on fixing this in the next round of samples.
Onto the Snack Pack (and yes, we know many of you are eager to hear exactly how this can be used and we’ll answer this in more detail soon, we have some fun surprises to share coming up) and the first piece to talk about is the Moka Pot which represents High Quality Coffee. This is perfect except one minor detail: we want the metallic effect applied in a way that it doesn’t appear on the black parts. Likely this is just adjusting the order in which the parts are painted and we are waiting for a final sample.
The piece representing Strong Coffee needs the most work. We basically want to create a whole new sculpt. Our manufacturer did a great job representing the sketches we sent them but we just aren’t happy with how it’s coming out. Therefore we’ve completely redesigned this piece. With that said, we are happy with the top area where you see the beans and the scoop, we just want a more realistic and organic looking bag.(If you’re curious what our new model looks like, check out the spec sheets below!)
Finally we can share the Soy Bean representing Soy Milk and as far as we are concerned they are perfect. We all agree they are a tad bit small but again, the process of updating the molds is a risky one as it means they have to redo the whole thing and it could require another sample round past the third. For this reason we are happy with the current model and sticking with it!
The sculpt of the Croissant is quite nice but we have issues that the back of it is flat and not the bottom. As well, the coloring is a bit too saturated and feels very airbrush-like. Just like the Strong Coffee we’ve opted to do a new design for this one that more clearly shows the shape and coloring we want to hit and you can see this in the spec sheets below.
The donuts are amazing. Maybe one day we’ll do a blog post where we compare the first donut sample to these and we can all have a good laugh. But thankfully this is the outcome. The only things we raised with the manufacturer here was the fact that the bottom of the donut is completely flat and the center hole doesn’t go completely through (not visible in the photo, our apologies for that). These are not topics that are easy for them to do because of the way the molds are built so we’ve let these topics go. We believe you will all be super happy with the donuts as is.
The pie is also perfect. You can even make a pie with all six of them!
The resin First Player and Next First Player tokens are moving along great. Our only major change is that the Next First Player token is not completely empty, as we requested. We’re adjusting the spec sheet to make that more clear to the factory and waiting on a final sample.
A lot of you have asked for photos of the play mats with cards on them. Please see below. Our apologies these images aren't better, but it was the best we could provide whilst focusing on finishing the game. These are basically final (the art is for sure) but you might notice they could both use a bit more margin on the sides and if you look super close you’ll see a minor coloration issue in the first play mat’s good review spot. We’ll be sure to get these topics fixed up before we go to mass production.
Dang. That is a load of tasty components and we can honestly say we’d probably be happy if that was the third and final round of sampling. But it’s not, we have one more go at it and we’ve already submitted the new spec sheets to our manufacturer last week so we can expect the new samples coming soon! (We do not have an exact date for that but it should be within the next weeks, as planned, during our pre-production phase that ends approximately in mid-December).
Interested in seeing the spec sheets? Click one of the images below for a PDF download and everyone give a big shout out to the hardworking Pietro (that's our lightning fast graphic designer) and the healthily-recovering Mario (that's our amazing artist if you didn't know by now) for their hard work on finalizing these spec sheets.
The rest of design verification goes well. For those that do not know that term, that is the time in which we are preparing all the print files for our manufacturer and they are letting us know if things are technically correct. Pietro and Dylan (with Mario’s previous artwork completed) have begun getting all the print files to our manufacturer. We are happy to say that all files have been created though none of them are final yet. One of the key things we are doing now is finalizing the rulebook to be sent out for translation. We’re also starting to pump in your good and bad reviews to the punch boards. Here’s a teaser of the setup before doing so:
If you couldn’t make it to SPIEL or you missed us while you were there you’ll have another shot: Seize the Bean is a featured game at the First Look section next weekend at PAX Unplugged! Come by to give it a play or look for Dylan and Janna (the designer of another Quality Beast game, Quantified, estimated for Kickstarter in late 2019) floating around PAX. We’d love to meet you and say hi!
That’s it for now, we’ll be back with more info on the Milk Carton Deck Boxes (which are 100% done and on their way to our fulfillment centers) and some exciting videos in the next update. Take care everyone and happy gaming! :)
And we're back with (for the first time ever) a very short, single-topic update: we'll be extending the pledge manager to December 31st. This will allow us time to attempt to get more local pick-up options and also to answer all of your unanswered questions. (Please be aware that we are swamped in messages on all platforms and we are answering them as fast as we can but we are also hunting for a customer support panda to join our growing team.)
Regarding Essen, we'll be sharing some highlights from the event in our next update. Though, we should say, that some of you may have already heard through the grapevine or here in the comments that we received new manufacturer samples. In fact, more samples arrived to our Berlin HQ today. We're going to take a few days over here, recovering from the event and going through the samples to get feedback to our manufacturer, and then we'll be documenting them and sharing them in an update with you all.
Thanks for your patience and special thanks to anyone who came by the booth(s) at Essen!
As promised we’ve stuck to our new schedule and we've completed all the artwork for the game earlier this week (on Monday). Actually, let’s be honest – our amazing artist, Mario, completed all the artwork. We want to express how proud and thankful of him we are for the last two years of work. And we’re wishing him well as he goes into his eyeball surgery to activate his telescopic laser night vision. You know, just a routine operation for a true Quality Beast!
To honor Mario’s work, let’s dig through some previews together!
If you want to see the finished card art we’re sharing it piece-by-piece on a geeklist posted by Dylan on BGG. We’d love to share it all at once but it takes time to put up images and we need to balance that with finishing up the pre-production for the game. That, and we’d like to also share some notes with each image! Now we're trying to share at least one or two images every other day or so, but give us some time to get ramped up (things are a bit hectic leading up to SPIEL). We hope to see you subscribe to the geeklist and help us share it. We’re eager to hear what you think of the cards!
Our graphic designer, Pietro, will be working with Dylan and Galen (our new usability designer at Quality Beast) to finalize the functional parts of the player boards but meanwhile we’d love to share the different café artwork with y'all.
We'll definitely share these again in our BGG-hosted art previews and give some more details and background when we do, but for now we hope you've enjoyed the sneak peek!
A while ago we had a vote. The “woodtisch” design of the play mat won by a landslide. However, while working with samples, both Mario and Dylan fell in love with the “tablecloth” version. So, we’ve discussed with our manufacturer and gotten approval to do two different prints. We realize that people have already ordered the play mat, and they may be expecting the “woodtisch” version. What we’ve done is loaded up two variants into BackerKit and automatically moved everyone over to the “woodtisch” version. If you’d like the tablecloth version, please jump back into the pledge manager to update your order!
These samples are on their way to us now and with good timing we should be able to show them off at SPIEL18. (Please keep in mind the photos from the factory have not been color corrected and may have been taken under bad or misleading lighting. Once we receive them we'll take better photos and send out another update with a detailed look at them explaining what the different sections are and how they're used in play.)
We're going to repeat that important part from above: if you bought a play mat in our pledge manager please return to the pledge manager to select your choice between the two (and remove the current play mat from your cart). If you don't, you'll still receive one, but it will be a random one based on available quantities (very likely "woodtisch").
While there is some graphic design work to flesh out on the rule books (and we'll have solo book text to share after SPIEL) the main artwork is done. We are very happy to unveil a sneak peek with you all now. (Don't mind the chunky border visible in all of these images... it's simply some extra bleed used for the manufacturing process.)
That's the rule book preview for now. We'll share more with you once Dylan and Pietro start filling out the pages!
Our manufacturer has continued to push on the more complicated parts of the game. We want to share a few quick photos from the factory with you here. First lets look at the resource and player bags. (Keep in mind, these are made in a way where they'll hold their structure once they have pieces in them, so standing empty they may look a bit strange.)
One thing we should note is that we can't fully give feedback on these until we receive them in-person but we can already tell from the photos that the print or embroidery overlaps a bit with the drawstring stitching. We'll certainly be working with our manufacturer to address this as it could be done in a cleaner way.
Next, let's take a look at the new resin samples. While we don't have a picture of the painted samples, we do have an image from the factory of the new sculpts, which look much much better:
These should be available at Essen SPIEL if shipping treats us well. And, from what we hear, they could be painted by then too.
Oh, and while our favorite little buddy won’t be making it en-mass to the fair she’ll be turning up in small numbers at least! We've been told by our manufacturer that we can expect a couple of pre-production plushie samples at our booth. Let's take a look at how she's turning out:
Speaking of Essen, are you going to SPIEL? We’d love to see you there! Please come catch us at one of our booths:
Hall 4, Booth 4F107 = current board game releases (Seize the Bean and free coffee!)