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 SPIEL18 our 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! :)