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The Settlers of Catan board we've all been waiting for. Portable, affordable, and true to Catan craftsmanship.
Created by

Bill Trammel

5,331 backers pledged $361,030 to help bring this project to life.

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Seafarers Board Box Design Complete

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Hi everyone,

Monday I received the prototype for our Seafarers board packaging, and I'm very impressed with our vendor's work. Their design team really nailed the needs of the packaging, and it has a good presentation as well. Here's some photos of the box:

We asked them to design the box so that it could hold either 2, 4 or no card banks. They delivered.
We asked them to design the box so that it could hold either 2, 4 or no card banks. They delivered.
Additionally the package has to be able to securely hold either 8 or 12 modules depending on if it's a 3-4 player or 5-6 player board. Their solution is quite clever.
Additionally the package has to be able to securely hold either 8 or 12 modules depending on if it's a 3-4 player or 5-6 player board. Their solution is quite clever.
The box isn't a single folded sheet, which means there will be more labor cost during packaging, but it's a larger product anyway so that would be higher either way. Overall I'm very happy with how it turned out.
The box isn't a single folded sheet, which means there will be more labor cost during packaging, but it's a larger product anyway so that would be higher either way. Overall I'm very happy with how it turned out.

 I'm still waiting on BackerKit, will update as soon as I have more info. Thank you.

Recap of the Week's Progress

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Hi everyone,

Just wanted to provide a quick recap of the week.  The Seafarers Board mold will be in the machinist's shop for about 3 weeks for the rework on the ribs and outside edges. They will also be adding a round flow channel down the middle of the part so the plastic can flow more easily to the outside edges and fill with less pressure. This allows our production operator to have finer control over the quality of the part, and ensures we don't end up with flashing at the shutoff surfaces of the mold.  Here's the flow channel location:

Our packaging vendors will be receiving our full parts set early next week, and will be designing custom packaging for us.  I've asked to be called by phone at the onset of any question or concern, but we've had very good experience with them in the past on their speed of design and prototyping and I'm optimistic this time will be no different.  

We now have edge parts, so I wanted to share some shots of the Seafarers board with those in place, as it finishes off the edges nicely. These are shot on the same mold, just replacing one side's inserts with flat shut-off surfaces instead of hooks and pins.  Our operator reported that the transition time to go from standard SF module to edge SF module was surprisingly quick, so we were glad the design worked as intended. 

Here's a few shots showing the edge pieces:

 Explorers and Pirates Scenario

We've decided to ship every backer who's getting a 5-6 Player Seafarers Board enough modules to accommodate the full 3-4 Player Explorers and Pirates scenario, which is one more module wide than the standard Seafarers 5-6 player scenario.  So each backer will receive a total of 12 modules, 10 standard modules and 2 edge modules for the outside edges.  Here's Explorers and Pirates setup and ready for play:

 I love how huge and expansive the landscape looks once all the tiles are turned over.  The exploration dynamic is one of my favorite parts about the sea-based expansions. 

BackerKit

I've been having a humdinger of a time figuring out how to work out our BackerKit. The people at BackerKit have been very patient and helpful, but we have a pretty unique setup with two Kickstarters, one of which has been partially fulfilled and one which has yet to be fulfilled.  Each Kickstarter also has several phases of fulfillment for each reward level.  I'm sorry it's taken so long to figure this out, but we will and soon.

Bringing It Full Circle

A number of you may have read or are familiar with the book "The 4 Hour Workweek".  Reading that book was one of the primary inspirations behind why I decided to pursue bringing the Catan Board to market full-time.  I quit my job at Dick's Sporting Goods two weeks before the Kickstarter launched and never looked back.  The author of that book is Tim Ferriss, and I recently had the privilege of meeting him and being able to thank him in person for writing the book that prompted me to take the leap.  

He was very kind and just generally stoked on life and projects he was working on. He has a podcast, a blog, several other best-selling books. But the thing he was most stoked about was he finally got the previously un-released rights to a documentary TV show he co-produced called the Tim Ferriss Experiment, in which he shows you how to deconstruct any skill and learn it as quickly as possible.

I've now watched every episode, and can say with absolute certainty that it is the most useful/exciting series I've ever watched.  He basically learns how to do everything I've ever dreamed of learning, including drumming, parkour, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, surfing, poker, urban escape and evasion. 

If you've ever had even the slightest desire to be James Bond at any point in your life, you'll very much enjoy it. 

You can check it out on iTunes here:  http://bit.ly/tfexperiment

Or don't, that's cool too, this is America.

Updated Timelines

I'm shooting to get all the card banks out by the same time the Official Catan Collector's Series wooden gear is going out, which is May 31st.  As of right now, we're on schedule to hit that target for both fulfillments. 

With the rework on the Seafarers mold, we anticipate beginning fulfillment of the Seafarers boards mid-July. This will allow for packaging lead times and production lead times. 

Hope everyone's having a great weekend.

Thanks,

Bill

Production Update

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Hi everyone,

Thank you for your patience with us these past few months. We have a lot of good news on our production progress, so let’s get right into it.

Resource Card Banks

All of the production is complete for the card banks, but we're waiting to finalize our BackerKit before we send it out for everyone's address.  This review process should be complete in a few days, after which all of the surveys will go out. The packaging is also on its way, so shipping should commence within  a week or so of the survey going out. 

Seafarers Board

This next part of the update is something that I’ve been looking forward to writing for over a year. We ran first article production parts of the Seafarers Board and they work exactly as originally designed. 

It’s difficult to put into words how I felt the first time I put two Seafarers board modules together and put a couple hexes and ports in it. The parts lay flat and fit everything exactly as planned. Here’s a video of the first time putting our first article parts together:

We have a few next steps that will be running in parallel. The first step is obtaining custom packaging for the Seafarers Board.  A full set will be en route to our packaging vendor's design team on Monday to craft a custom cardboard box for it. We’re designing it to have a space to include two sets of resource card banks in order to help us save on shipping and allow for bonus bundles in the future.

The second step is performing some more machining on the mold to fix some issues.  The issues are fortunately minor, but they need to be completed before we can do a large-scale production run.

The primary issue is that the finish on most of the vertical rib area is quite rough, as you can see below:

 This causes the part to stick on to the core of the mold and causes the ejector pins to create stress marks on the other side of the part as you can see below:

There's also a bit of overcut on the edges of the port area that will need to be machined down before we send the mold to polishing/texturing:

But all of the important things, such as hex fit, port fit, road and ship fit are all spot on.

Here's a few close-up shots of the fit in the different areas:

We’ll update with a more accurate shipping timeline as soon as we have the final package design in hand. Once the production packaging order is placed it will take about 2-3 weeks for our packaging vendor to produce all the boxes and ship them to our warehouse. Once they arrive on our dock, we’ll begin packaging and shipping immediately.

Thank You

We can’t wait to get everyone’s rewards to them and really appreciate your patience and support throughout the journey to get to this point. We now have production parts for each product you helped launch, and it’s a great feeling.

We noted that Mayfair posted something about them having a plan to fulfill our Kickstarter. We’re not really sure what they meant by that, as they are not the ones fulfilling anything for any of our Kickstarters, but we are proceeding according to plan.  We are continuing to move forward to get your rewards to you and bring these products to market.

Thank you

Production Update

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Hi everyone,

We've completed production of all the card banks, and are wrapping up our BackerKit setup.  We're beta testing a new feature of BackerKit that allows project creators to provide T-shirt rewards and have them sent out automatically, before all the other rewards. I've always wanted to make a cool Catan T-shirt, so this seemed like a good time to take advantage of this new feature.

Here's a sneak peek of the design:

 I wanted to create something representative of medieval crests, to show that the person wearing the T-Shirt is a noble citizen of Catan, and wields the power of the knight to grow their kingdom. :-)

The crest design will be white, but we're still  deciding which color to place the design on. I'm leaning towards forest green, to represent the Cities and Knights expansion color.  We're going to be receiving design proofs of the colors, so maybe we'll do a short poll to see which color would be most preferred by our backers once we get them. 

Today also marks the launch of a cool Kickstarter I've been doing some consulting for.  The Cardboard Guys are a team of guys who are looking to change the marketplace for kid's furniture.  If you think about it, kid's furniture is something of an anomaly in the design industry, as it's the only furniture segment that the target user is guaranteed to outgrow and no longer find useful.  There are entire companies dedicated to recycling and reselling kid's furniture/clothing to new users.  Not everyone takes advantage of these, though, which means a lot of the furniture just ends up in landfills.  The Cardboard Guys have created an affordable and strong desk/chair combo that's made entirely out of cardboard.  Not only is it recyclable, it's  super robust and is the only furniture that you can actually ENCOURAGE your kids to draw on and customize to make it their own.  I realized after I began working with this team, that the current state of kid's furniture really doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to provide kids with smaller versions of standard furniture.  When I was a kid I drew on everything I could get my hands on.  Nobody wants to spend money on some Pottery Barn Kids furniture and then have their child grab a Sharpie and turn it into the Castle of Doom. Kids are going to be creative, and the Imagination Desk encourages that, which I think is pretty cool.  I don't have any financial stake in their company, I've just been helping them a bit, and I think they're a team of honest, enthusiastic guys who deserve some support to get started. Also, they made a custom one for Catan. I mean come on, how sweet is this:

RCH Production is underway

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Producing around 3000 units for this first run. Whoo!
Producing around 3000 units for this first run. Whoo!

 Working on BackerKit so we can get everybody's current address confirmed. More on that soon. Thanks!