Tuesday, January 21

Almost Ready!

Things are starting to move now on the second Kickstarter fulfilment. Last week I made a couple of outstanding website orders and all the Alpha Wing pledges that hadn’t upgraded to a different level in the Pledge manager and I’ve been posting those in my lunch breaks.

I’ve also been catching up on the bookkeeping and trying to collate the Gamefound orders with the Kickstarter backers. Due to an error on my part we didn’t load Kickstarter backers chosen rewards into Gamefound so we have the late pledges and ~90% of people with a Gamefound order and then a bunch of people who haven’t completed the pledge manager so I’ve got to track them down in Kickstarter instead (and chase them for their shipping address). I’m trying to build a single spreadsheet that contains all the information to make fulfilment as straightforward as possible.

The manufacturing orders I whinged about last week are sorting themselves out - the missing acrylic (plus a couple more sheets I needed to order due to another mistake of mine :-( ) arrived on Friday and the missing wooden bits were restocked at our supplier last Friday too and are shipping today. The boxes are due to arrive on Monday 27th and then it's just a case of cutting the bits, bagging them and shipping them.

I was hoping to spend the last day of my current job (31st) going down to York to help Paul with the boxing of bits and to sign all the deluxe boxes, but he's travelling to a convention that day, so we'll need to do that another day instead.

Exciting times!

Monday, January 13

The Course of True Love...

You know where I’m going with this!

The orders for the FlickFleet fulfilment are not running smooth. Half of the wooden bits order have arrived, they are out of stock of the rest and will send it on when it arrives from their supplier. Annoyingly the bits they've run out of are the ones we’ve run out of too, so we can’t make any more full game sets until they get here.

The acrylic arrived last week. Or at least some of it did. Despite asking them to arrange delivery with Paul (he needed to be in at home to receive it), they didn’t - just emailing me an hour(!) before it was due to arrive at Paul’s. I quickly told him and he raced home from work and it arrived a couple of hours later. When it did arrive, three of the colours were missing. We got on the phone and they were very apologetic and said it would be delivered next morning. It was, but it was only then that Paul double checked and the previous day’s delivery was missing 8 grey sheets (of 155) and 88 red sheets out of 185 (nearly half!). Needless to say we’re chasing that at the moment. And the clear sheets are too small. Not a happy customer.

However, the boxes order is going ok. The proofs are arriving today and assuming they are fine they will be printed next week. Once we’ve got those we can start shipping the sets we’ve got made up.

Paul and I met up yesterday to swap bits. Last year he was cutting the 1st edition box labels and greyboard so I’ve taken all of that plus a decent number of bagged up games so that I can keep fulfilling website/retail orders using the 1st edition leftovers. I've collected the 2nd edition and expansion rules and dashboards from the printers in Newcastle, so I handed all of that over along with some shipping boxes.

This year Paul is taking on all of the construction and shipping in addition to the laser-cutting (thankfully it's a lot easier this year as the dashboards are pre-cut and the boxes made for us). I will continue to do the website, accounts, social media/marketing and graphic design.

Just to prove it's not all going badly, here's a look at some bits coming off the laser-cutter:

The fluorescent objective tokens

Monday, January 6

All Change

Happy New Year everyone! I hope all had a good winter break/Christmas.

Last week was both quiet and busy. We had four website orders, but I need to meet Paul and get some bits before I can fulfill all of them. I proofed and placed the order for the expansion printing (rules and dashboards) which I’ll collect on Friday and the box proofs are on the way.

There was a problem with the wooden bits order (only half of it arrived) but I hope that will be resolved soon. We’re almost at the point where we can start fulfilling the Kickstarter rewards...

In other news I restarted the Newcastle Playtest group which I co-founded but have been unable to attend for over a year due to FlickFleet crafting and work travel. That’s tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to it. Over the weekend I’ve been making a prototype for another space-themed dexterity game that I’ll be taking along to try out. It’s very early days on this one, so we’ll see how much work it needs. Probably loads.

In yet otherer news I handed in my notice at work last Thursday. I’m going to a new job, still in Newcastle city centre so I can still walk to work and it should include less travel, certainly in the short term, so that’s another bonus. It’s going to be a wrench, I’ve been with my present employer for 8.5 years and have worked there three times over the last 19 years. I’ve known a lot of my colleagues for 19 years and consider several of them my closest friends. Fortunately the new job is with a former sister company, so I’ve known a lot of them for 19 years too!

Monday, December 30

Happy New Year!

Another brief one this week, as I’m still on holiday with my family in Bristol at the moment.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way during 2019, especially those who bought our games or backed our Kickstarters - we literally couldn’t have done it without you.

And finally I’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy and successful 2020!

Monday, December 23

Merry Christmas!

Today’s blog post will be brief as I’m now on holiday for the Christmas break.

I’ve spent last week on the last few orders of FlickFleet materials and starting to catch up on the bookkeeping from the pledge manager. We’ve now placed all the orders except the Expansion rules and dashboards printing (2nd January) and are just waiting on the boxes, wooden bits and main acrylic order before we can start making and shipping rewards. It’s all coming together for a big push early in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to the rest!

Monday, December 16

Orders, Please!

Last week the focus of my lunch breaks and evenings was mostly around getting quotes and placing orders for the FlickFleet reprint materials.

These are all done except the wooden bits now, and we’ve already received the dice and asteroid acrylic and the printing proofs. This week we hope to get the rest of the acrylic and the printing so then it’s just the boxes and the wooden bits outstanding. That and the printing for the expansion (rules and dashboards) which will follow in the New Year. Next up for me is making the first set of rewards (7 deluxe games with no extras). Paul meanwhile is flat out laser-cutting bits for the second set of rewards: deluxe games and expansions, which aren’t due until April, but there’s a lot of them.

Test cuts of the deluxe asteroids, ramming ship and round counter marker

Then we’ll have a break for Christmas before I start on the other tasks: website work and designing the next expansion for FlickFleet.

With the boxes (approx. 15 mins / game) and the dashboards (~4 mins / game) now being done on our behalf, a decent chunk of my time is freed up. Last year I really struggled to work on anything other than making and posting games, which is clearly not sustainable!

I’m looking forward to being able to spend time in 2020 on tasks that got neglected this year. Hopefully that will lead to noticeable improvements in our preparedness for the next project.

We're also getting some of the first Kickstarter left-over stock into Travelling Man, a small chain of game stores in the North of England. I'm delivering some stock to the Newcastle store at lunchtime!

Tuesday, December 10

Spend! Spend! Spend!

With the pledge manager now closed we know what we’re on the hook for so I’ve been able to start placing the orders for materials. First up was the boxes - these have the longest lead time. Once they were ordered next up was the dice (a simple order) and the asteroid acrylic. We’ve also asked for fresh quotes on the printing (which came in yesterday) and the wooden pieces.

The last part of the puzzle is the main acrylic order which is dependent on me laying out all the components on cutting sheets (until now all I’ve just laid them out on small Print and Play sheets). Over the weekend I did the Imperium (grey), Uprising (red) and the Civilian ships (blue). Monday lunchtime I did the mines and the clear acrylic (mine blast template and cloaked ship). That just leaves the objective tokens and I can get a quote and place the order.

Once the orders are all placed things are ready to go. The dice have arrived and asteroid acrylic will arrive this week, the box proofs before Christmas. The printing and wooden bits I’m still waiting for a date on.

Our next deadline is shipping the deluxe only copies (down to 7 as several of those pledges got extra expansions in the pledge manager) by the middle of January. We’ve got almost everything we need to do those already as we can use the leftover stock from the first edition.