Tinker Bits on BackerKit
We'll be taking preorders via BackerKit for the two weeks or so after this campaign ends as we put together the final counts for the production order. All of the Add On items will be available there as well. If you happened upon this campaign after midnight Saturday August 20th, please stop by the BackerKit Preorder site, at this convenient link! (It may not be active yet, but we have to get this link in before the campaign is closed and therefore uneditable.) We will also probably have a few leftovers available eventually over on our shop. There's a link to that on our main Project Khopesh website. (That will always have the most up to date shop link; we're looking into other shop options at the moment.)
What are Tinker Bits?
Thanks to a lot of great people, we have been able to make playing cards, a few different styles of dice and a bunch of coins and chips to play a variety of games with. Thank you if you're coming back to see our new project, and welcome to the family if you're seeing these things for the first time!
We love tabletop gaming, and we'd like to branch out and offer something new in the Tinker line. These "bits" may be anything from player pawns to specific game pieces to oddments that can fit with a variety of games. There are a lot of great games out there, and we're looking forward to seeing if we can make them a bit more thematic and fun with a little tinkering.
Our first foray into this more specific series of offerings will be these spunky Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples. Yes, it's a bit of a mouthful, but calling them "steeples" or "tinkerples" just didn't sound right.
Meeples are iconic in the tabletop gaming world. They have many uses and are great little tactile toys. Giving them a Tinkerish steampunk twist is something that we've wanted to do for a couple of years. They started in Carcassonne, but meeples can find a home almost anywhere.
As for offering them in metal, well, that's just one of the things that we enjoy. There's just something nice about the heavier, solid feel of metal game components, and they bring a certain panache to the table. It's not necessary for them to be metal to be playable, and yes, they are more costly than wood or plastic, but we think it's worth it.
So far, we don't have the ability to make these little gentlemen on demand in our own meager facilities, so we need to have another place do the production for us. Would that we had a metal, plastic and woodworking shop, but for now, I design them, and someone else puts them together.
We have to put together a big enough order to make it worth the factory's time, though. That's where crowdfunding comes in, and Kickstarter has been good to us so far, both as backers and as creators. We have been able to pay for the molds and 16 samples in the photos above via proceeds from previous campaigns, but we can't pay for a production run out of pocket.
If we can get enough interested parties together, we can get a batch of these made and sent out. That's the beauty of Kickstarter; making something happen together that just won't happen otherwise.
As noted in the update Across The Pond, we're calling this project "EU Friendly". I've seen a few different takes on that, but to us, it means we'll be sending goods to a shipping company in the EU, who will then send them out to any of you in the EU. This should let us pay the VAT and avoid some customs quirks, meaning you have less to deal with and stress about.
We're trying to keep things simpler this time, female meeple options notwithstanding, so we just have a few pledge tiers. You can pick up a pair of Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples, a 5-piece sampler, an 8-piece sampler, a set of 8 of a single color (the standard one-player playset for Carcassonne), a 5-player playset (40 meeples, 8 each of 5 colors) or an extended playset of 64 Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples (8 each of 8 colors).
You may also get multiples, say, two "Chorus" sets, by adding in the base pledge value when you pledge on that tier, plus shipping if you're outside the U.S. For example, pledge on the Chorus tier, but enter $40 for your amount, and that will get you two Chorus sets, or $60 for three sets, and so on. We'll sort out exactly what you're getting in the surveys at the end of the campaign. You can mix and match, too, say a Duet and a Barbershop Quintet, and again, we'll sort it out in the surveys.
As noted in the updates, especially this one, since we have passed $4,000 in funding pledged, we'll be making a female counterpart to the top-hatted fellows in the photos. Given voting between possible designs, we'll be making the Dame to be a counterpart to the Top Hat Gent that you see in the prototype photos. I've ordered the mold as of 7/30, so with luck, we'll see some prototype photos in two weeks or so.
You'll be able to choose All Male, All Female or a Half and Half mix (for most pledges, anyway) for your order, once we get to the survey phase of the project, just after the 20th of August.
And yes, there is a whole family of oddball meeples out there like the builder, fairy and dragon. We won't be doing those as part of this project, but I've been designing them, just in case we can get to make them in a sequel project. As such, we should be able to keep this project's scope fairly tight, which should make things simpler for when we get to send them out to everyone, too.
What are the specifics?
Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples will be made in China out of a zinc alloy, and plated with various metals to give them color. They are 16mm wide, 10mm thick and 20mm tall, just a tiny bit thicker and a head or so taller than standard meeples and standard 16mm six-sided dice. They are solid little gentlemen, with no moving bits, just a dapper demeanor. They weigh 11 grams, about as much as two and a half 16mm standard plastic six-sided dice.
We're planning on making them in eight colors, as seen in the images above and below. We have asked the factory for some comparative images of a "Misty Gold" finish which we may use to replace Antiqued Nickel, since that and Antiqued Silver are a bit closer than we would like. We may just be seeing that with the Dame design, but we'll let you all see as soon as we can. It's likely that we'll do the switch, though we're still waiting on photos.
Since they are metallic finishes, their look does change a bit more than paint when lighting situations change, but we've tried to get a good spread of colors that can be distinguished from each other. We will see if the Misty Gold helps us with the extended 8-color suite. If it doesn't, we may ask for some painted variants. Paint introduces many more color options, but doesn't look as good as metallic finishes, and some detail is lost to the paint, so we would like to avoid that route, but it's something that bears mentioning.
When can we expect them?
We've been told that with the molds finished, production will take 25 days, and shipping them across the ocean and through customs usually takes another couple of weeks. Sometimes things take a bit longer during production, but the factory was able to crank out the prototypes very quickly and get them to us in record time via DHL. Bigger production runs can run into issues, of course, but the factory has done great work so far, and we have every reason to believe they will do well for us again.
They produced the first trial run of the Gearpunk Beta dice, and while it took a good long while polishing up the mold (it still needs work, but that's why we did a trial run), production and shipping were quick. The molds are done for the Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples, so we're anticipating a fairly quick turnaround for production, once we sort out how many of these little gentlemen we need to order and get them paid for.
We're estimating that we will get them in October, and then we will ship them out as quickly as we can. As is our custom, our shipping priority uses two rules:
1. Bigger first
2. International first
So, we'll go through the top pledge tier and send out non-US rewards, then US-based ones, then move on to the next pledge tier, and so on.
What about those other Tinker... things?
We do have leftovers from our prior projects. We will make them available in BackerKit after the campaign. We use their services to keep our data together and allow for things like these "add on" items that are tangential to the main campaign.
You can pledge here for them (by putting in, say $27 when you pledge for a 5-piece set for $14, planning on adding a 7-die set of plastic dice for an additional $13) and then tell us what you're looking for in the BackerKit surveys, or you can pick up some items in their system later. It's certainly better for funding this project if you pledge for the additional items ahead of time, since it makes it more likely that we can get the production run of the Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples made. That's not necessary, though, as BackerKit will let you add money in their system via credit card.
We also have some oddments already on offer in our online shop, if you'd rather go that way, but one of the nice things about getting them here is that you can save a bit on shipping, since we can send items out together. Also, our shop doesn't offer international shipping at the moment. We're working on that, but for now, it's generally easier to get things here, unless you're in a hurry.
So what now?
Now we tell as many people as we can and hope that you spread the word too! We've tried to get the word out, but we can't afford to advertise, having spent our money on preproduction, and message boards and the like often frown on commercial posts. If we're going to get a batch of these made, it's going to be largely because you like what you see and want to tell others.
Even if you don't decide to back the project yourself, please let other people who might be interested know about these little guys. We greatly appreciate any buzz that you can generate.
Thank you all for stopping by and taking a look at out Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples! We would love to make these a reality and get them sent out to you!
Risks and challenges
The molds have already been completed. The meeples will be shipped from overseas, which entails some risk, but it is minimal. Once I get the meeples and the packaging, I'll need a bit of time to get everything prepped and sent, and human error might occur, but I'm careful and thorough, and I'll do as much as I can as soon as I can. There could always be troubles once the meeples are en route, but again, those would be tied to random, unforeseeable problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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