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Story Realms encourages friends and family of all ages to play thrilling stories and grand fantasy adventures in about an hour.
Storm Hollow calls friends and family of all ages to enter a world of thrilling stories and fantasy adventures... for about an hour.
Storm Hollow calls friends and family of all ages to enter a world of thrilling stories and fantasy adventures... for about an hour.
887 backers pledged $87,757 to help bring this project to life.

Progress… What A Journey!

Update by Julian Leiberan-Titus and Angela Hickman Newnham of Escapade Games

Progress… What A Journey!

Today marks ONE YEAR since we signed a contract with Game Salute to publish Storm Hollow (then called Story Realms, but you can read about that here and hear about it here). Since we are overdue for an update, we thought we’d bring you a major update talking about the progress of the game development over the last year and bring you up to speed on where everything is at right now. We’ll explain what we’re working on, how recent events have affected the timeline for the game, and give you an honest, open accounting of everything we are doing to make sure you get the best possible game. We’re going to weave a long tale of a winding journey, but we’ll have lots of pretty scenery along the way for you visual folks, including new art previews and some fun “then and now” comparisons.

“To making dreams come true!” –Escapade Games, 3/10/12

Back in January of 2012, we had this innovative and exciting game that was testing great with both kids and adults, and wondering where to go next. We were very excited by the emerging trend of crowdfunded board games, and the possibilities this opened up to starry-eyed dreamers like us. We started doing research, networking, and preparing to run our own Kickstarter project to fund our dream!

Oh wow, let me tell you…. there’s a lot to learn, and a lot that can go wrong. We quickly learned that we were in over our heads in producing a board game, especially one this big as a first project. Our design was already ambitious, and the idea of self publishing grew more and more daunting the more we learned about it. We knew the combination of unknown designers plus high production costs made our game undesirable to most traditional publishers, so we kept forging ahead by reaching out, making contacts, and learning as much as we could from people in the industry.

Some early concept art, before Game Salute brought in the pros!

At this point, we were lucky enough to cross paths with Dan Yarrington, CEO of Game Salute. We started out talking about fulfillment services (where a company stores your games in their warehouse and ships them to customers for you), but as we talked more Dan explained to me that Game Salute was trying to do something different. They had begun pairing up with independent game design studios, such as us, who had a great idea but no experience self-publishing, where Game Salute would handle all of the logistics; from preproduction and advertising, to running a Kickstarter campaign, acquiring art assets, printing, and all the way to shipping the final product. This was exactly what we needed, it was everything we wanted from a publisher while allowing us creative control and an active hand in developing and producing the game.

So while Game Salute has a different amount of involvement in various projects (sometimes becoming involved even after the project funds to help distribute a game), they were actively involved in the development of Storm Hollow from early on. The collaborative partnership between Escapade Games and Game Salute has been one of the best decisions we made in regards to the game because it gave us the opportunity to work with some amazing and talented folks who brought great new ideas and perspectives to the table that have improved the game by leaps and bounds over the past year.

A Touch Of Mojo (working with David)

David MacKenzie, the guy behind Clever Mojo Games, has had some great success using Kickstarter and was one of the pioneers of crowdfunded board games with the breakout hit Alien Frontiers. Right away after signing with Game Salute, Dan set up a meeting for us to show the game to David because he would be the project manager and producer for the game, as well as the one coordinating and running the Kickstarter campaign. We met David last March at Gamestorm, and showed him what the fun of Storm Hollow was all about with a demo game. David asked us some important questions, gave us a lot of information about how the publishing process worked, and gave us some phenomenal ideas on the spot for improving the game. We felt like we were already pushing it by asking for so much art (because we really felt the aesthetics of the game was important) and after playing it David said something to the effect of “You’re asking for about a billion pieces of art…. But you need about a billion and a half, and here’s why” and proceeded to convince us that each scene should have its own illustration, instead of only some scenes receiving art. He also pointed out that we should consider adding a game board to keep the trackers and art cards on. That was the most stunningly obvious and brilliant solution to the problem we’d been having with cluttery game space, and we were immediately certain it was the right direction.

Adding an art card for every scene allowed for more dramatic and interesting pieces

And one of the most important and memorable things David told us that day was that the game would take over a year to produce. See, at the time we were convinced we could get the game done and out by the end of 2012. He walked us through step by step how long each phase of production takes, and explained that the amount of art was going to be a huge limiting factor and that it would more likely be at least 18 months. “What!? No way… we can get this done faster”, we protested. He replied, with a knowing smile, “Well, we can try”.

Artistic Genius (working with Dann)

To get going on the art process, David told us to start a Pintrest board and start collecting art samples of the style we wanted for the game. We dove into this part with gusto, finding favorites, comparing notes, and putting together a massive board of art we liked that felt “Storm Hollow” to us. Meanwhile, Game Salute had hired Dann May as their new art director. The first email I got from Dann was an “Art Direction Statement” in which he exactly captured the essence of our world, in writing, just from reading our game materials and looking at our Pintrest board. We immediately knew he was the perfect guy to lead the art team, because he could capture, express, and communicate our vision for the world and the game even better than we could!

Our concept hero board (left) next to the final illustrated version (right)

Dann’s contributions to the game for surpass art direction though. Dann has embraced the world of Storm Hollow, and helped create many inhabitants and stories that make up the vibrant and detailed setting. More than anyone else, Dann has influenced and shaped our development of the game through his attention to detail, aesthetic simplicity, and his ability to find the beautiful and harmonious aspects of each part of the game play, component design, and book layout. His vision and creativity has brought together the game pieces and integrated them into the world with such a unique style, and we feel it has really helped define the game. It was already very fun to play, but now it LOOKED fun too!

One thing we were most impressed by was how Dann was able to integrate the components with the thematic aspects of the game. He transformed the hero boards into a scene in the world. He turned the artifact and power cards into tomes. He designed all the symbols to work together and subtly use color and visual cues in stunning ways.

Dann seamlessly wove together parts of the game and world lore with symbols like these!

When he first suggested we move the trackers onto cards to standardize the size and have them be able to fit with the rest of the Storyteller’s gear we thought it couldn’t be done. Not only did he prove us wrong, he did it with such style and flare!

The progression of a tracker, from abstract to art!

We were imagining a game board with places for scene cards and spots for the trackers, and he suggested putting the detailed world map right there on the board… what a simple and brilliant way to immerse players in the setting! Dann brought fantasy cartographer Herwin Weilink on board, and we couldn’t be happier with how the world map turned out. We wanted a map you could get lost in, one with adventure ideas popping out all over, and a world filled with fun, imaginative stories. Some day maybe we’ll show you how the map evolved (let us know if you’re interested in seeing that progression!).

We were so excited to work with Dann and see our world coming to life, little did we know that was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve now got over 15 artists working on the game, and each brings their own little slice of magic to the game world. But back in the beginning it was just Dann sketching and brainstorming and defining most of the visual feel for the game.

Our Heroine! (working with Kelly)

One of the things we spent a lot of time discussing was how to portray hero avatars. Dann brought in Kelly McClellan to do the portraits for the hero boards, and she put so much care and thought into the development of each heroic role. As we designed the heroic roles for the game, we wanted to make sure each one had a unique place in the party and in the world. These were heroic destinies that the players would be embarking on, and so we went through so many revisions to get them just right. Each role has a unique way to contribute to the team, and each also highlights an important aspect for the world of Storm Hollow.

Early outfit sketches by Kelly capturing the feel of each class!

As a personal avatar, we needed something players could relate to. We knew from the beginning we wanted a boy and girl version of each character (a very important aspect for identification, especially among kids), and since the game is really meant to be played by people of all ages we wanted to capture the timeless quality of adventurers. We told Kelly we wanted “young ageless” heroes with a lot of diversity, and strong female characters that were appropriately dressed for adventuring. We feel she delivered exactly what we were hoping for.

The final full palate of Storm Hollow heroic roles, a male and female version for each!

Another thing that Kelly really contributed to the development of the game was the look and feel of the adventure kits. Adventuring kits were one of the only things that went through every phase of this game’s development with minimal changes. We figured they were solid, played great, people loved them, and there were no more innovations to be had. When Kelly got to work on them though, she came up with an idea for layout that made the kits feel even more dynamic and exciting to play with!

Progression of the Kit card, notice how items really pop and feel special in the final?

Kelly was amazing to work with, enthusiastic about the project and really open to feedback. She even handled the “too many cooks in the kictchen” issues that came up with absolute finesse. We really appreciated how Kelly and Dann wove our vision into something cohesive that we could all be really proud of.

As we progress forward on the game and updates, we’ll try to highlight the contributions of many of the other artists that have since joined in on the project and built upon the strong foundation that Dann, Herwin, and Kelly started.

Reality Check

Ok, so during all these artistic developments, we’re designing, developing, and playtesting like mad. The game system was becoming more refined and elegant all the time. We opened up a wide blind beta and sent out prototypes of the game to a lot of people, and worked on development from their feedback. And we thought “hey, we’re getting there… let’s do this Kickstarter”.

There was only one problem… well ok there were lots of little problems but one BIG problem. We had just gotten the quotes back for manufacturing the game and the cost to print was too high! We wanted the game to be accessible, and part of that accessibility is price. As Dan Y. explained it to us from his years of experience as a retailer, “$40 plus $40 for a game and an expansion is not the same as $80 for a game with the expansion in it”. People are willing to TRY something at $40-50, but if you price a “family” game at $70-80 or even $90 dollars then many people won’t give it a second look. So with a truckload of components and books and everything we wanted in the game, there was NO WAY we were going to be able to have anywhere near the $50 MSRP we felt was so crucial for the game’s long term health. We were personally convinced that folks would back the project at the higher rate (to get the full deluxe game) but KS backers are a subset of the population, and for us to be able to successfully make this game we need to think long term and work towards a solution that would create a healthy brand.

Thinking Outside The Box(es)

Now you probably already know what the eventual solution was, but seeing that from where we WERE was quite a stretch and requires someone with vision to see outside the box. We had created the game to be one big set, and everything in the set worked together. The campaign was a tutorial for running the adventure, the rulebook referenced the examples in the campaign, and everything was all tied together in these 3 books. We had a Kickstarter about to launch for a product that wasn’t going to be viable at retail… with that we delayed the project 2 weeks and headed off to GenCon, confident a solution would be had at this meeting of gamer minds.

As fate would have it, Dan Y. and David had cooked up a great solution… and it boiled down to this: we just needed to add more to the game. Wait, what? How can adding to the game solve our over-budget components issue?? Well, Dan proposed that we split the game into two boxes… a “base” core game, with the rules, setting, all the gameplay components, and a few adventures to get started, and then an “expansion” box that contained everything we had planned for the “Pieces of a Broken World” Campaign. We really wanted the game to be experienced as a whole big package, so there was a compromise made… there would be 3 SKU’s, the base game (now called Storm Hollow: Preludes), the Book One: Pieces of a Broken World set (now called Tales of a New Age), and a “deluxe set” that contained both. This seemed like an ideal solution, it allowed us to have an entry level price point, offer a deluxe product, and have a stepping stone in between that didn’t involve rebuying any content if you liked what you got in the core game.

This is how “Preludes” came to be, just a week before the Kickstarter campaign launched. The more we thought about it, the more it seemed like the perfect route… we’d include all the toolbox stuff for making your own adventures, include some fun “one-off” single story adventures that introduce various parts of the world and can serve as a ready to go starting place before jumping into campaign play. There were a lot of logistics to be sorted out, but it all got the green light and we were off! We figured we had plenty of time during the campaign to get those revisions started, and begin playtesting the new material.

Kicking Our Behinds!

As I mentioned before, participating in a crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work. Epic workload. It’s like running a marathon. We launched the campaign at 3:45 AM on a Friday, the first day of PAX Prime. I didn’t sleep until I got home Sunday night, then only for a couple hours. Questions, promotion, interviews, updates, previews, videos there was always something to do! We kept busy every day of the KS campaign, and the entire team churned out amazing previews and we had an overwhelmingly positive amount of support from all of you. It was a total rush, a dream come true!

Oh How We Stretched!

We wanted to include some exciting stretch goals, but we didn’t want to take anything OUT of the game just to put back in as a stretch goal. Even the bonus game Battle For Storm Hollow we wanted to keep in since it was already designed, didn’t really add that many components, and gave players something simple and fun to play right out of the box. With the constraints of art and component costs already high in this game, we were limited on how much more stuff we could really offer. So we offered more adventures, more challenges, and a few more decks of cool cards that would have limited art costs but add some fun to the game. Essentially, we offered a few more cool pieces of art and a lot more of our own development time without fully realizing how that would all play out.

A sampling of the art for some artifacts added through the Kickstarter campaign

The End Was Just The Beginning

When the KS ended, with all the stretch goals and extra content tallied, we sat down to take a good hard look at everything on our end that had to be completed to hand the game off to Game Salute and let them do their part. (Just a reminder, the “we” in these lists is just Julian and Angie from Escapade Games)

Here’s some things we knew we had to do:

  • Write Preludes Adventures: We had these mapped out, guest co-authors to help on them, and a solid plan
  • Revise Storyteller’s Guide: This book was originally the basic rules, then a walkthrough on how to run the PoaBW campaign, which we felt introduced the game concepts and mechanics in a step by step natural fashion. Now this book needed to stand alone and show the core of our system, both its simplicity and its depth. We needed to overcome the hurdle of “I don’t know how to be a storyteller” with step by step guidance for making your game a success, while providing a toolbox that an experienced storyteller could use to craft amazing experiences. We needed this guide to be the only book you needed to run infinite adventures in Storm Hollow. (Spoiler: this turned out to be more of an undertaking than the simple revision we expected but more about that later)
  • Finalize design on artifacts/powers: We were still playtesting and tweaking the artifacts and player advancement powers and we knew they needed some more attention
  • Finalize Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow: Since PoaBW was taken out, much of the middle of this book(after the peoples of Storm Hollow and the heroes, etc and before the gazetteer) was no longer appropriate… it was tied to characters that had been moved to the other set. We knew there was some sorting to do here too.
  • Card text: Finalize card text, rift rules, helping the heroes, etc on all lore cards, and stories for all artifacts
  • Finish design and testing of all new content created during the Kickstarter campaign: This includes the Landmark Deck, the Rumors and Resources Deck, the bonus adventures, items, and powers
  • Work with the 2 Storyteller level backers to create their adventures: This involves lots of brainstorming, communication, fleshing out new parts of the world, creating allies and enemies, mapping scenes and art, and “teaching” new designers how to write for the game.

What we didn’t immediately see was how many other steps there were to finishing the game, or what surprising challenges would come our way.

Some Things Got as Weird as the Weirding Wilds

Here’s some things we didn’t know:

  • Getting art descriptions of every piece of art to the art team was a top priority: First listing out all the art (which was a bigger job than you might expect!), then making a million tiny (and a few big) decisions, and writing many, many descriptions. We had kind of thought these would become obvious as everything else was finished, but in order to commission hundreds of pieces of art across over a dozen artists, turns out you can’t wait until everything is finished. It was a bit “cArt before the horse” in some ways, but it had to be done and was the main focus of our attention immediately following the campaign.
  • Each piece of art required a lot of creativity and design on our part before the artists even got started
  • We needed to design Venture (and its inhabitants) in epic detail: We should have seen this coming a little, it just got glazed over a bit somehow. At some point along the way we were talking about how we wanted a map of the city of Venture since it was the hub for the PoaBW campaign. It was discussed and decided it would be amazing if Herwin did it, and at the same level of detail as the other map… which led to the idea of putting it on the back of the regular game board so that when you were adventuring in Venture you could use that side. Well, when the products got split, the Venture map became its own gameboard, and while we had designed Venture, we hadn’t done so to this level of detail. While we were on the subject of Venture and the board, David suggested that there should be a “Poppin’s Guide” style setting book in each main release, which seemed like a fantastic idea. We’d make a “Poppin’s Guide to Venture” to accompany the Venture Board and serve as a players companion to PoaBW. So now we’re designing the city down to specific details (enough to do at least 50 rumors and resources cards) plus writing another book!

Early mockup of the Venture Game Board

  • Coordinating and running a final round of playtesting: We need to give this new content the full cycle it deserves, so another round of wide beta playtesting is set up to polish off Battle For Storm Hollow and all the new content, plus the storyteller tools we created for making your own adventures.

We’ve even got fun new Venture-themed adventuring kits to for playtesters to check out!

  • Answering questions and writing updates and dealing with email takes up design/writing time: This was something learned the hard way leading up to, during, and after the Kickstarter campaign. We started logging how much time we were spending on communication about the game versus work ON the game and knew something had to change. We’ve gotten into better work flow patterns, but it means updates and communication has decreased. We hope folks can understand that we are doing the best we can to keep you all informed about the process, provide insights and previews, and be responsive, but we also have to focus on the design and writing and getting stuff ready first and foremost. Our priority is to deliver the best game we can, as soon as possible. Once all the game materials are handed off to the editing, graphic design, and layout team at Game Salute, we will have much more time to do designer diaries, detailed previews, work on curriculum materials and testing, and answer any questions about the design and development process, lessons learned, the game, the world, or whatever you’d like!

Angie and Julian on editing day…

  • The legal mess that was waiting for us at the end of the Kickstarter (read about it here and hear about it here) that would eventually result in the name change. Now, we’re happy with the final result, and it sounds like many of you are too. We’ve gotten so many positive responses from folks and we really want to thank you all for your support and understanding. The reason we’re bringing this up again now is just to explain just how much time and effort we spent trying to resolve this situation and select a new name. Many meetings, with our lawyer, with Dan Y. from Game Salute, the attempts to resolve the matter, and the difficulty in finding a name that really worked for the game. The folks at Game Salute spent hours and hours brainstorming name ideas and suggestions for us, and we went over every possibility we could think of again and again before deciding on Storm Hollow. Here’s an interesting tidbit you might not know, due to the nature of our agreement with Game Salute, we at Escapade Games hold all rights to the intellectual property for the world of Storm Hollow, and the brand. What that means is that Game Salute could have just told us “hey, we’re going to put publishing the game on hold until you sort this out. Good luck”. Instead they stuck by us throughout the whole thing, negotiating and making generous offers on our behalf, and ensuring that they did everything they could to prevent a massive delay of this game to the backers. We all went through the ringer on this, and thankfully all it ended up costing in the long run is about 6 weeks of delay and the rebranding expenses. That may sound like a lot, but when faced with some of the possibilities we were looking at it was definitely one of the better outcomes.

Legal Troubles Were Like Being Stuck Deep in the Weeping Marsh

  • The cost of illness in a small business: As far as companies go, we’re tiny! The two of us work well together and keep each other motivated, on track, and steadily moving forward. However, since both of us have families with young kids, and it’s winter, there have been some major illnesses that have circulated through our households, impacting productivity. Both families had a bout of illness in December, sick kids and sick parents makes for long days and nights. Then I (Angie) was very ill throughout most of February; first with strep, then the flu, then progressing to pneumonia. I tried to keep up at first, we had design meetings over text and emails when I couldn’t talk and each worked on pieces individually, but eventually I was just too sick to do anything productive and had to take some time to heal and recover. Julian forged tirelessly ahead, checking things off the list, but with one person sick and “out of the office” on a two-person team it was a serious drain. The last thing I wanted at this point was to cause more delay, but those kid germs got the best of me. Hopefully with spring coming we’ve seen the last of the crud!

In Storm Hollow they have the Auto-boiling Mettle Kettle, I could sure use one of those!!!

So, where does that leave us now? And why are we telling you all this???

Here’s a quote we’re fond of, by Shigeru Miyamoto (the designer of Mario and Zelda and numerous other Nintendo games)

"A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad,"

There’s no easy way to say it, nor single cause to blame, but the truth of the matter is this game is going to be late. We believe the relationship between us and you, as backers, is best served by honesty and open communication, so we wanted to tell you this now rather than having the delivery date whoosh by and have you all wondering where your game is. During the campaign we strove to show you who we were, what our vision was, and why this game was worth supporting. We’re starry-eyed dreamers with a unique vision, and we’re so lucky to be able to make this game with all the bells and whistles and work with the dedicated team at Game Salute. We don’t want to let YOU down, you believed in our idea and we’re going to deliver it, it’s just going to take more time. We’ve tried for months to pin down exactly how late the game will be, or what date to promise you all, but every time we think we have it some new challenge arises. So instead of making projections, we decided to lay it all out for you and explain the progress we’ve made over the last year, where we’re at right now, and what comes next. We’ll keep you in the loop as we progress through each of the phases, and we’ll deliver you an amazing product… the very best we can make… as soon as its ready.

Right Now We’re Working On the Following:

  • We’ve got most of the art descriptions sent off to the art team, and are working on the final batches. Each character, location, enemy, item, and power has to be written out in detail so the artists can create the captivating glimpses into the world, and the results so far have been stunning

Smites, the Last Dragon sitting on top of his precious “Eggs”

  • We’re finalizing the content on FIVE books: the Storyteller’s Guide, the Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow, the Preludes adventure book, the Poppin’s Guide to Venture, and the Pieces of a Broken World campaign.

Work-in-progress Poppin’s Guide gazetteer section sample. There will be 2 FULL COLOR Poppin’ Guides!!!

  • The Storyteller’s Guide is our current focus. Since it has become the core book for the game system, we want it to be robust and contain everything you’ll need. We’re almost finished with this massive overhaul, and here’s a few new developments.
  • We’re creating the adventure planner toolkit for Storytellers to make their own adventures. This includes detailed templates for creating 3 types of story challenges and 8 types of action challenges (ranging from traps to boss fights to dangerous negotiations, to chase scenes).
  • We’re designing and testing example scene keys for each of the 28 “challenge” art cards, for easy “mix and match” adventure design and examples of how to use the optional mods and add-ons to create dynamic stories. Each “challenge” art card depicts people, places, or events in Storm Hollow that could be used as dynamic focal points for adventure creation. These are cards that are not used in any premade adventures, and have the picture on the front and scene information on the back.

A few example challenge cards, what adventures will you make??

  • We’re working with Herwin and Dann to create the amazingly detailed and beautifully illustrated map of the city of Venture for the Venture game board

A small sample of the Venture map details emerging

  • Across all the sets in the launch lineup, we’re finishing the content for SEVENTEEN adventures, 96 Lore cards, 28 challenge cards, 52 scene cards, 96 artifacts, 96 power orbs, 10 campaign cards, 6 hero cards, and 18 adventuring kits. Most of these with mechanics are in the late development phase and working their way towards final playtesting, the text for the cards is in various drafts stages but will be coming together soon as we prepare playtest kits and cross-check with book content. Add on to that the 70 Landmark cards and 50 Rumors and Resources cards, and we’re up to our eyeballs in design and development (what a lovely “problem” to have!)

A peek at some of what we’re working on!

So, we’re working on all those things. Furiously. Behind the scenes Dann is coordinating all the art, and the army of amazingly talented artists he’s gathered are steadily impressing us by churning out some of the most fantastic fantasy art we’ve ever seen! David is doing all of the bean-counting and production planning, getting samples and checking everything twice. Dan Y. and David are lining up their end of the team for a smooth transition, so that when we hand off chunks of the project there will be editors, graphic designers, and other brilliant folks ready to get the stuff ready to print and error-free.

“Create the Legend”, preview art for a Talespinner power

“Hold The Phone! I’ve Got A Great Idea!”

One idea that has come up frequently throughout this content organization and evaluation/planning phase is that we could finish just the contents for the deluxe set, and ship that sooner, then finish all the expansion stuff and stretch rewards to ship later. While that would certainly be an awesome way to go, there are a lot of logistical details that interfere. This is not our department, but here’s a breakdown of a few things we DO know:

  • While the Kickstarter campaign was very successful, the expenses on this game (printing, art, etc) are higher than the amount raised. Game Salute is investing heavily in this game to make sure we can create an amazing, sustainable product line moving forward. So there’s no piles of extra Kickstarter money laying around, in fact there’s NO extra at all.
  • With the subsidized shipping we offered in the campaign (free to US, only $10-15 international) we’ve soaked up a huge amount of expense on each package. Splitting the KS rewards would create even MORE shipping fees. Did you know the average cost to ship a regular board game in the US is about $11? And I’ve heard that International Shipping is around $50 a package. This is going to be one hefty game, so I don’t know how that factors into cost, but as you can see shipping is a HUGE consideration
  • Printing becomes more economical the more you do. There are huge fees for setting up printers, die cuts, and all kinds of other things that get absorbed into the manufacturing cost the more you print at a time. Printing this as one big order is going to be leaps and bounds more cost effective than parsing it out into smaller orders
  • Shipping to customers isn’t the only shipping we have to worry about. The games will be printed by Panda Mfg in China, and need to be shipped to the Game Salute warehouse via boat. Securing container space on boats is expensive, I hear, and the more you are trying to ship at once the better the options become.
  • Game Salute warehouse and shipping center is a facility ran by real hard working people. Separating these out would create a whole other batch of shipping, picking, packing, stacking, etc and a lot more person-hours, which of course come with more costs.

Fidgewick and Gump, Keepers of the Eddur

TL; DR (too long, didn’t read) Recap:

It’s been an amazing year!

  • The folks at Game Salute have been amazing to work with. Each of them has brought something special to the game and the team, and we couldn’t do it without them.
  • We learned a lot through the Kickstarter process. We appreciate you standing by us cheering as we overcome obstacles. Lets all continue to keep our eyes on the prize.
  • This project is like the Blob, it just kept getting bigger… and bigger. We’ve got a handle on things now, and a plan to get it all done. This will likely be the heftiest boardgame you’ll ever heft (unless you Kickstarted Ogre)
  • The game is going to be late. Not a little bit late, but pretty darn late.
  • We don’t want to promise you a date we cant deliver by, again, so instead we’re going to tell you where we’re at each step of the way, and how that impacts the timelines. Right now we’ve just got a heaping list of stuff to do, as we check it off and send it to the Game Salute team, we’ll keep you in the loop.
  • We’ve looked into alternate solutions for getting the game to you sooner, but discovered busting tail and getting it all done at once is our best bet.

Whew, when we go a month without an update, we’ve got a lot to say! Thanks for reading (or skimming down to the bottom!) We’ll be back with a less epic, but still worth your time, update in a couple weeks.

The Rainbow Serpent flying high above the clouds


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    1. Andrew Flansburg on April 7, 2013

      Ahhh! We finally get to see what both sexes for the characters! I'm certainly glad that this game will be cared well for before it comes out so that we'll all take the same care after its in print. I certainly think that you shouldn't have a problem getting this game on B&N's shelves or anywhere else for that matter. (Like my shelf!) I've seen another Kickstarter game there while browsing books.

    2. Angela Hickman Newnham on March 15, 2013

      A few quick notes about this update, and future update stuff. Apparently Kickstarter only lets you edit an update for the first 30 minutes it's up, so by the time I saw the final "live" version the Sprigboard team so kindly posted for is, it was too late to fix any mistakes/omissions :(

      1) I wanted to include the artists names for each preview art piece, but somehow that got lost in the shuffle of putting this update together. I'm going to work on setting up a gallery somehow of all the previewed art to date that highlights who created which pieces and gives proper credit where credit is due! Im also going to be extra caredul in future update to make sure the credits get into the art captions. These folks are doing a seriously amazing job, and I want to make sure you all know who they are so you can keep an eye out for their other work, check out their portfolios and websites, and if you want even become a fan (like we have!!). To that end, I'm also still planning to do a "meet the art team" post with bios and link to as many of the artists sites as I can (those that want to participate)

      2) we learned after posting that we used the wrong version/format on several of the images (cMYK, which is for printing, rather than RGB, which displays the color correctly on computer screens). Sorry!!! So many things I didn't even know that I didn't know! Anyhow, point is that the color is off on some of the preview images here (you can especially see it in the challenge card 4-pack) and wanted to take responsibility for that and make sure you all know that is not indicative of a color problem, just a posting error. We'll watch for that with future updates and try to give you the properly formatted versions of the upcoming previews.

      3. We accidentally left off one of the images/visuals the Julian put together about how an art description becomes a final piece, (which gives you a glimpse at what the artists get from us to work with, and reeals a dew secrets about a new character previewed in the image!) so we'll include that in an upcoming update. I'm only me ironing this because the caption was left in there, (the second bullet point under "some things we didnt know) so it read a little funny to me and I just wanted to explain that redundancy and also why we'll be talking about tht specific topic a little more, I mean we already have the visual!! :)

      4. Please let us know if there is something you want to know more about, and if there is any of the previewed images you would like to have as wallpapers for your computer/ devices (we'll do the best we can to accommodate!)

      5. Thank you again, so much, for all the support. It really makes a difference an helps keep us motivated during the hard times. We're very excited to share this process with you, and while we have to "schedule" and limit our time to make sure we're making good progress on the actual game stuff, we're still happy to answer questions or take suggestions for update topics, just please be patient for replies and we'll try to get to everything as time allows!

      6. Last thing before I get back to editing... as requested by a backer, Dann May wrote up a wonderful look at the process of developing the Storm Hollow Map from beginning to end so we'll be posing that for everyone in the next few days. I'm VERY excited for you to see the absolute magic Dann and Herwin worked to transform our rough ideas into a vibrant world of endless adventure.

    3. Olna Jenn Smith on March 13, 2013

      I am so excited about this update! This is what I love best about Kickstarter -- when I get to see into the PROCESS. I hope you'll share more about the development and manufacturing of the game!

      The art is fantastic. The clarification of just how much bigger the game is now is fantastic. And...well, I DID back Ogre. So honestly, these "delays" are probably just going to get me to smirk and say "Well, that was a GOOD TRY at a delayed project, but not quite up to professional levels of delay..."

    4. Alex Draper on March 12, 2013

      This will be an unfogettable trip of storytelling fun! Well done - keep going you very creative and talented people! x

    5. Swampfox01
      on March 12, 2013

      Thanks for the detailed update. I am more than willing to wait for the best game experience possible. Hang in there, keep the faith, and knock our socks off!!!

    6. Angela Hickman Newnham on March 12, 2013

      Thank you all SO very much for your kind comments, understanding, and support. I was very nervous about this update, hoping you would be able to see how hard we're working and the importance of doing the very best job we can (creativity can be hard to schedule sometimes!). You folks have once again showed us an amazing level of empathy and encouragement, and that kind of support means everything to us and keeps us going when the going gets rough. I genuinely can't thank you all enough, and I'm so relieved to see all these positive comments today. Thank you all so much!

      Kurtis: I think Game Salute is working on that very idea, but we're focuse on our stuff and letting them handle all the logistics, so I don't really know the details... Just that it's being looked into!

      And one last follow up...(in response to Jeff, but I'm sure others are wondering too) I know I was vague in the update about timelines, but that's because there are still so many variables. As we go along we'll explain the steps, and start giving estimates for each phase and details about the process. A solid delivery estimate will be given once we get to a point where we can make those kind of predictions, but right now rather than listing all the possible scenarios and calculations, or just growing out a blind guess fueled by our personal hopes, we need to just keep working and focus on getting things done. Step by step, and we'll share the journey with you all as we go. I hope that can be enough for right now, and with each upcoming update we'll try to go into more and more details about next steps and timelines.

    7. kurtis on March 12, 2013

      I know this may sound like an expensive option but it could save loads of money as I know plenty of other ks projects have done it for international backer (esp the cmon ones where the boxes get very large in order to protect the fragile minis inside) but using a distribution center in other countries so you pay for pallet space and shipping from within the region. It may not be a viable option for everywhere as some backers will be remote, but I assume you would have a fair amount of eu backers that this would work for. Shipping can definitely eat into your funds and quickly, I know one project (kingdom death: monster) is anticipating $400,000 in shipping cost.
      In a side note, while I'm upset at (I assume that they are the ones with an issue) and will miss the old name, the new is growing on me. I also think its a great idea to devote a set amount of time to your backers to keep us updated then the rest to work or people like me would talk your ear off!!!

    8. B on March 11, 2013

      Love all the artwork. Thank you again for all of the time and effort that you have put into the game.

    9. Jacob Martin
      on March 11, 2013

      Thanks for the great update on the game. You two have shown me and I believe other people will agree with me that you guys really have commited all of your free time and effort into this game.And for that I would like to thank you for all of your hard work in trying to make the best game possible with the best components you have to offer in order to bring this game to life. THANK YOU...

    10. Anthony Martins on March 11, 2013

      Thanks for the update! Don't go broke!

    11. Dante Gagne
      on March 11, 2013

      "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad,"

      I know that other people pledged more than I did, but what I did pledge wasn't insignificant. If you're telling me that it's going to take longer to make my money well spent, then I'm telling you to take longer.

      PLEASE make a game that I will be proud to pull out of my collection and play instead of rushing to get me a game that's going to take up space.

      And thank you VERY much for the info. I vastly prefer the periodic updates to the 'gone dark' that I've gotten from other projects.

    12. Red Island Games on March 11, 2013

      This is an incredible and informative update! Thank you so much for it. P.S. Rainbow Serpent = awesome!

    13. Jonathan H. Liu
      on March 11, 2013

      Great update, and I love getting the inside scoop on what happens in running Kickstarter projects!

    14. Scott Koon on March 11, 2013

      This is a great update. It's nice to see a KS project realize that a pro job requires pro work and pro work requires pro time and if you slip that you need to let your stakeholders know ASAP. Keep up the great work and I'm sure the final product will be amazing.

    15. Brad Smoley on March 11, 2013

      As soon as I saw it, I wanted Story Realms to play with my son when he got a little older. He's 2 now, so take as much time as you need! :-D

    16. Missing avatar

      Zanzibar on March 11, 2013

      I was originally going to put something comically sarcastic here, but eh, never mind!

      Just take your time. 95% of every KS project is delayed anyway and that's perfectly fine. Your Shigeru quote was dead on target. There's no rush.

    17. Brent Warner on March 11, 2013

      Everything looks awesome. I'm glad I haven't talked about the game with my son yet, the wait is killing me as it is. But you're doing the right thing, keep making those hard decisions and deliver it as soon as it is ready, but no sooner!

    18. Jay Shaffstall on March 11, 2013

      Loved the look inside the process of producing a game like this. I'm hopeful that it's still a 2013 delivery, but I think my daughter will love it no matter when it's finished. A PDF delivery of the Poppin's Guide would be awesome, though, to let us get into the world while waiting for the physical game.

      P.S. For anyone looking to introduce youngsters to RPGs, I can recommend Mermaid Adventures. My daughter (then six years old) loved it, and the system is good for younger ones.

    19. Ken Mencher
      on March 11, 2013

      Thank you for the update...I really appreciate all the artwork and story behind the game!

      I'm just glad you're not leaving us hanging...regular (even if they're monthly) updates will certainly keep the community from rising up in flames...

      And, i have to say, the artwork so far is incredible...and the depth you're putting in really makes me hopeful that this is going to be a stellar game.

    20. Kassidy Helfant on March 11, 2013

      This is, without a doubt, the most exciting and satisfying update I've seen on Kickstarter. It's fantastic to learn about what has gone into making this game, and it means a lot to me that the Story Realms team is so transparent and able to share.

      Keep at it, and make this the best game that it can be!

    21. Andreas Josefsson on March 11, 2013

      One part of me is screaming: "It is mine - give it to me now!!!" But it is easily comforted by the other part that whispers: "Sshh, all good things come to those who wait".

      Take your time. Do it properly. Do it thoroughly. Don't dilly-dally. Just make it the best you can.

      The more I see of the game, the more amazing it seems! I'm very happy with backing this project.
      Then of course, it would be nice if we could have it in time for christmas. *<;^)

    22. WalkinPneumonia on March 11, 2013

      Thanks for the update. I never expected this game to be out before Christmas, and really closer to next March based on the magnitude of this game.

    23. Grison on March 11, 2013

      Thanks for the update! I appreciate the commitment to ongoing communication, but the lack of a more specific revised timeline is concerning. Does "pretty darn late" still mean 2013? I'm hoping to use this to introduce role playing games to my kids, but they aren't getting any younger! ;-)