I hope you’ve all had a good weekend? It’s been just over 2 weeks since my last update and I’m pleased to say I now have all the information I need to be able to let you all know what’s going on.
Apologies this update took a couple of days longer than I had originally said, but I wanted to make sure I could make it as useful as possible.
What’s happened in the last 2 weeks?
Funagain (our US fulfilment partner) have checked through some of the games and reported back on their assumed damage numbers.
Unicorn Games (our Australian fulfilment partner) have also reported back on their damage numbers.
Gamesquest received the games late last week, and rather than wait another week or two to get counts I travelled to their storage facility and went through the games myself. I spent 3 hours unloading pallets, opening boxes and restacking them and checked through a good sample of all 4 editions.
Unfortunately, the damages have been fairly consistent across all of our locations and we are going back to the printers.
Some facts about the damages:
- The damages are all related to the game boxes, we’ve seen no signs of damaged contents.
- The damages are of varying levels, there is no standard. Some games have very minor issues, others are much more severe.
- The damages are across al 4 editions of the game, but are more extreme in the heavier editions.
Typically, the damage can be described as a deformation in the box where creases have formed as the cardboard has given way to the weight above. Some of these creases have progressed into rips, and others have been less pronounced and simply add mild deformations to the boxes shape.
I believe the overall cause of the damage is due to several things, but it’s become apparent one of the causes is the way the pallets were stacked. During the shipping phase we had set a maximum height on the pallets, but this was incorrectly managed, and the pallets ended up being 2meters tall, something I wasn’t aware of until entering the warehouse last week.
Rather than the pallets being restricted to 5 cartons in height, they were at 7 and this had a major impact on the bottom rows of cartons. It’s very easy to see the variance in damage between games in the top, middle and bottom of the pallet.
Between this, the general weight of the game, the way the contents were packed inside the game boxes, and the cardboard used for both the game and carton boxes, we’ve ended up with games giving way.
The solution to this comes in several phases and steps.
Phase 1 - Storage
Step 1. We have moved all the games into storage. This means no games will be shipped out until we remove them from storage next year. We have also repaletted some of the games to make sure no further damage is created during the storage period.
Phase 2 – A new box
We are designing a new box, this box will be larger than the existing box but will visually remain the same. The only differences are the “box contents” section will be removed and replaced with a short message and the name on the back will be changed to "The big box" or something along those lines.
Step 2. We need to decide on the new boxes size.
Step 3. We need to produce the new artwork for this box and then check digital proofs.
Phase 3 - Manufacturing
Step 4. Print the new boxes and assemble them.
Step 5. Pack the boxes and prepare for shipping.
Phase 4 - Shipping
Step 6. Ship the games to the fulfilment centres
Phase 5 - Fulfilment
Step 7. The fulfilment centres will take the games from storage and open each carton. As they go through the games they will pick out the damaged ones and place the sealed damaged box into a new box. They will not open the seal of the old box.
Step 8. Send the games to you!
The new boxes
It’s important to note not everyone will be getting a new box, some of the games are OK. If you do not get one of the new boxes but would like one, we will find a way to offer them through future Kickstarters for expansions.
I do want to emphasise however that there is nothing wrong with the existing boxes, the damage is directly as a consequence of having hundreds of games stacked, rather than through fault of each individual game.
Unfortunately, this does mean things are going to take a while, I have already completed steps 1 and 2, and we are working on step 3 this week.
Whatz are doing their best to squeeze this print into their production timelines and we are skipping ahead of the queue, but they need to wait for the raw material to arrive and we have Christmas coming up.
We’re currently estimating the game boxes will be printed and ready to ship by the 15th January.
It took 8 weeks to ship the games, so if we assume a similar timeline for shipping we can expect the games to arrive at our fulfilment centres by the middle of March.
Fulfilment is going to take longer than usual as each game will need to be inspected and some will need to be packed into new boxes, so we need to allow for this.
As such, I’m now expecting most of the games to be arriving in April 2018 with the hope some will start shipping in March.
I am truly sorry that we will not be able to fulfil the February deadline and will do my best to keep you updated as we progress in this next step.
I am aware many people will be moving to a new house and need to update their address, once we have gotten closer to the new shipping date I will be setting up a system for you to update your address.
Please do not worry about updating your address until this system is in place.
Financial implications and support
After my last update, many of you contacted me to offer support and to ask how you could help. Sara and I were very grateful for this and I wanted to add some information about the financial side of this and the various impacts it will have.
I’m currently estimating the damages will cost $24,000 to correct using the solution described above. Whatz has agreed to work with me in covering some of these costs so I believe the direct financial cost to me will be less than that but still substantial. This also doesn’t cover the additional time that is going to be required, and of course how disappointment many of you will be.
For me, The City of Kings is about providing you all with the perfect experience, I want to do everything in my power to deliver on the promises I made and as such I won’t be asking for any help with correcting these problems. All I ask is for your understanding and patience as we move through these difficult times.
I know many of you said you would be happy with damaged boxes, but I want to make sure you all get the experience I originally designed. I’ve invested nearly 3 years of my life into making this game and I don’t want to cut corners and “make do” in these last moments.
I promised to create a beautiful, new experience, and intend to deliver that no matter what it takes.
The biggest impact this delay is going to have is on future games, I had originally planned to launch a new game on Kickstarter in February, once The City of Kings had delivered, and I know many of you were excited by that. The hope was to be able to get the game printed in time for the UKGE or at least Gen Con.
Now, with The City of Kings being delayed by several months I’m not sure when these games will launch. Not launching those games, or having them printed for the conventions will make it difficult for us to continue operating, so I am currently looking into the best options for this.