I have a big manufacturing update for you - news both awesome, and not quite awesome.
First up the awesome news: Manufacture of Package!? has finally begun. BOOM.
The not quite awesome news: Getting to this point took somewhat longer than I'd have liked. Actually we are just over 5 weeks behind schedule on hitting the 'go' button on full manufacturing. But why? Good question...
There's been a few elements that have caused this. Firstly, I probably didn't budget for the time taken quite a well as I could have. I was bang on with my delivery times, but as I'm not the only person involved in the chain of production it was unrealistic to expect everyone to be quite as prompt (excited!) to deliver... or have the time to do stuff NOW. The next issue was the need to amend a few files for the manufacturer in China. The back and forth took a few days, which then became a week as we nailed stuff down.
Eventually I thought we had everything right, but we hit Chinese New Year. This was a long wait for the factory to re-open. 10 days later they were back and a few more changes were needed. Agh. By this time, Simon Lacey (who has been a champion throughout) had taken a new day job and due to a range of factors was now only really able to pick up design work emails and jobs at the weekend. Come the weekend Simon would nail down the changes in the files, I'd return the files to China, they would want something else tweaking, I'd have to wait for the weekend again... This went around for 3 weeks.
This Monday, all files were confirmed and the deposit for the work paid. PHEW.
I'd like to point out that no one is at fault here. Simon did what I asked of him during the time he had, China were just pushing for the best possible results in the end product, and I'm a newbie when it comes to manufacturing games. Lessons have been learnt:
- Budget more time to get stuff done. Things can go wrong.
- Pick up the phone to communicate - an early delay came from Simon not getting an email that I assumed he was working on. Insist on confirmations and follow up if you don't get one.
- Be aware of the calendars of others involved - Is someone going on holiday or celebrating Chinese New Year.
All good lessons.
So, whats next. Later this week payment will be confirmed by China and a production sample will be produced. Estimated time for production of the sample is circa 10 days. The sample will be for the game and play mat. I'll be sure to post images of the sample for everyone to see. Once this is confirmed (I'm feeling confident that the production quality will be great given the work we have put in to prepare the files and the samples of other games I've had my hands on) we will move to full manufacture which should take around 35 days.
That leaves the issue of the 5-6 week delay on manufacture. Firstly, yes, there is a chance that may mean a 5-6 week delay on delivery of your games. I don't want that to happen though and am currently working with shippers to find a suitable (and importantly affordable) way to receive the games via airmail to recover much of the lost time - Sea freight can take a good 4 weeks where as airmail is likely to be just a few days. I don't want to make promises at this point about making that happen, but I am committed to doing what I can to deliver the game on time (or as close to as possible) without cutting any corners.
Manufacture of the wooden boxes for the limited edition game is well under way and will be completed on time and ready to go.
Once the production sample is confirmed I'll be sending out backer surveys.
I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding, and for their support of this project so far. I'm excited to received and share the manufacturing prototype with you very soon.