About this project
What are Tinker Bits II?
Thanks to a lot of great people, we have been able to make steampunk meeples, 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!
SPECIAL NOTE: Once the campaign is over, we'll be offering these, including Add On items, via BackerKit at this link:
For another two weeks or so, as we wait for the funding to clear from Kickstarter. After that, we'll have our online shop linked to from our main Project Khopesh website.
Tinker Bits are steampunk-themed game accessories for use in a variety of games. We have several projects in mind, and we're hoping to offer a lot of fun bits to make your games (or about anything else) more fun! This time, we're delving into the Mad Science part of the Tinker world with the Mad Scientist and Tinkerer Metal Meeples!
Meeples are iconic in the tabletop gaming world. They have many uses and are great little tactile toys. Giving them a Tinkerish steampunk twist worked well last time, and there is a lot of design space to, well, tinker in. They started in Carcassonne, but meeples can find a home almost anywhere as player pawns, worker markers, special pieces like the Catan Robbers, or even just decorations.
As for offering them in metal, well, that's just one of the things that we enjoy. There's just something nice about the durable, heavy, 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 here 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.
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 packages that are large enough (smaller packages don't run into problems) 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.
Also, if you're outside of the U.S. and would like to pick up three or more Add Ons, please get in touch with me via private message and we'll make sure that the shipping costs are sorted out. I've tried to sort it out as well as I can, but sometimes the prebaked systems here at Kickstarter and in BackerKit are a bit of a sledgehammer approach, and it's possible we can save you money on shipping.
We're offering the following:
Putterer: a semi-random pair of Tinker Mad Science Metal Meeples
Techie: a 5-piece color-mix
Mechanic: an 8-piece color-mix
Specialist: an 8-piece set of a single color (the standard one-player playset for Carcassonne)
Convention: a 5-player playset (40 meeples, 8 each of 5 colors)
Pandemonium: an extended playset of 64 Tinker Steampunk Metal Meeples (8 each of 8 colors).
Also, to make things a little easier if you want a bit of everything, we're offering the double-sized Crash Team and Pit Crew pledge levels, where you can get two 5-piece or 8-piece color-mix sets (one for each gender).
You may also get multiples, say, two "Specialist" 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 Specialist tier, but enter $40 for your amount, and that will get you two Specialist 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 Techie and a Mechanic, and again, we'll sort it out in the surveys.
You'll be able to choose All Male (Mad Scientist), All Female (Tinkerer) or a Half and Half mix (for most pledges, anyway) for your order, once we get to the survey phase of the project.
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 about 16mm wide, 10mm thick and 18mm tall, just a tiny bit thicker and a little bit taller than standard meeples and standard 16mm six-sided dice. 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 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. They also have front and back designs, for a little extra flair.
Tinkerer (Female) Front (Brass) and Back (Antiqued Brass)
Mad Scientist (Male) Front (Antiqued Copper) and Back (Copper)
When can we expect them?
After the campaign finishes, there is a 14-day waiting period before we receive the funding. After that we can place the order. 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 Gearpunk Beta D20 dice for us, and while it took a good long while polishing up the mold, 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 we need to order and get them paid for.
We're estimating that we will get them in late May or early June, and then we will ship them out as quickly as we can. International shipping will naturally take longer to receive. Our shipping priority uses two rules:
1. International first
2. Bigger first
We'll get the international (non-U.S.) orders together first to get things with the third party shippers in order, then we'll work on the rest, biggest orders first. In practice, this usually means that once we get them to our base, it takes a few weeks to get everything sent out to everyone.
What about those other Tinker... things?
We do have some 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. We are also somewhat limited in the count for some of these, and BackerKit allows us to make that clear in their system, so these "Add On" items are first come, first serve, once the BackerKit surveys come out.
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, and it will be more clear what is available and in what numbers there.
As noted in this update, the numbers can get a little squirrely when it comes to international shipping, and if you pick up more than a couple of Add On items, we can usually get you a better deal on shipping, so please let us know as soon as possible if you're outside of the U.S. and have a shopping list in mind. We'll sort out your numbers.
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 only reach so far. 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 Mad Science 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.
This project will overlap a bit in time with the Tinker Bits: Steampunk Metal Fairy Meeples project, but will not have problems as a result.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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