Monday, August 12

California!

I spent most of last week in California for work, which it turns out is a very long way from Newcastle.

The good news is, as suspected, I coped poorly with the jet-lag and woke very early each morning (between 02:30 and 03:40) so I had some jet-lag hours to work on FlickFleet before work. My main focus was trying to flesh out the second Kickstarter page, but I also spent a little time on the website (which still needs more work!) and ran #CraftWednesday starting at 04:00!

Over the weekend I returned to FlickFleet crafting and we have just two weeks of crafting left to finish the Kickstarter rewards - we’re still on track for shipping them all in August.

After that I’ll be reaching out the the pre-orderers and seeing if they want immediate fulfilment at full price or to wait for the second Kickstarter and a discount.

We’ve also got the first of the second wave of Kickstarter reviews from Dan Thurot over at SPACE-BIFF! He was smitten!

Monday, August 5

Week Off!

I'm writing this blog post at 4:45am in an airport lounge while awaiting a flight to Amsterdam, and then a connecting flight to San Francisco. Which sounds pretty glamorous, but the reality is that on arrival in San Fran I'll be whisked to a hotel on a business park in Pleasanton where I'll spend the next two days probably awake from midnight to about 6pm and working (on the same business park) from 9 until 5. I'll not see much of California at all.

Being awake for most of the night with jet-lag does mean that I'll have the jet-lag hours of midnight until 7am to work on the next Kickstarter and other computer-based tasks, but obviously there'll be no crafting until I get back. Last week the crafting finished early too as I needed to find our camping stuff in the boxes in the garage on Thursday and then we were camping Friday and Saturday and I needed an early night on Sunday because of the 3am start this morning.

I've only got 37 more copies to make, so my current plan is to make seven one night next weekend, and then three nights of six the following week. That leaves just twelve to do the following week, which is another two nights' work - just as well as we're off camping again at the end of that week.

If everything goes to plan I'll have finished the crafting by the 22nd of August!

After that I'll have to knuckle down on the next Kickstarter and (at a slower pace!) make up the last of the Zombology stock and some FlickFleets for the pre-orderers who don't want to wait for the Kickstarter.

For now though, I've a plane to catch!

Monday, July 29

Help! Send Time!

I’m really struggling to find time for crafting at the moment. With the summer holidays started and the recent swathe of hot weather the girls have been going to bed pretty late. By the time we’ve got them asleep and I’ve cleaned and tidied up after a day of kids at home it’s often 9:30-10 before I’m free. That doesn’t sound that late, but our nights are still broken by The Toddler waking up and we need to be up early either for work or The Toddler getting up early, so I really need to go to bed at 10 or 10:30.

I can get the crafting done in three evenings a week if I spend 1.5 hours on it, but clearly, even in the best case scenario, there’s not an hour and a half between 9:30 and 10:30.

Last week, with a couple of late nights on the weekend I managed to finish the sixteen planned copies for the week and five of the eight copies that slipped from the week before. This week I’m travelling Monday and we’re camping with friends on Friday and Saturday. I also need a very early night on Sunday as I need to get up at 3am for my trip to the US :-(

Next week I’m away from 4am Monday until Friday lunchtime and I’ll be hideously jet-lagged on the following weekend. At least I'll have some time while I'm away (the jet-lag hours in the very early morning!) to do some more preparation for the second FlickFleet Kickstarter.

I think I can still finish the first Kickstarter rewards by the end of August, but it’s getting pretty tight...

Monday, July 22

A Bump in the Road

With delivery from Paul of everything I needed to finish the Kickstarter rewards just over a week ago and then another visit from Paul yesterday with enough cut box labels to finish the rewards, the time it takes me to finish a game has dropped from 25 mins to just under 14. 

I had intended to complete another weekly batch of 16 last week, but with three days in Manchester for work and then a very late bedtime for The Toddler on Sunday I only managed to get eight done (though I gave those to Paul and he's posting them today) so there’s now only 72 left to do - four and a half weeks’ work. I'm going to try to make up the eight I missed last week over the next couple of weeks, so hopefully I'll be back on track before my trip to California at the beginning of August (I get a week off crafting that week!).

Either way, the end of August that we're aiming for is a personal target - it's way ahead of the December target we set in the Kickstarter.  One of the benefits of hand-crafting the games is that everything is under our control so we're not at the mercy of a factory's production schedules or international cargo shipping.

Of course the downside is that we're spending a lot of time physically making the games, and hence we have a lot less time for testing other games or working on scenarios.

My hope is the next Kickstarter will be successful enough to support more manufacturing outside my kitchen and Paul's garage!

Monday, July 15

All Systems Go!

For the last six months Paul and I have been managing FlickFleet construction between two sites that are 100 miles apart.

I’ve got all the printed stuff (box labels, dashboards, Zombology bits) and to begin with had the greyboard for the boxes too. Paul has the laser cutter, acrylic and wooden bits (and for the last couple of months has had the FlickFleet box greyboard as well).

Paul, who works part-time, has been blasting through his half of the construction and we’ve been periodically meeting up so he can supply me with the bits I need to finish copies and ship them - either through family visits on the weekend or a quick pint in York (where Paul lives) station on my way home from frequent work trips to Manchester.

With my house move looming over us for the last several months I’ve been trying to minimise the stuff I’ve got in my house, so I managed to offload the greyboard onto Paul (and he cut all the box blanks from it!) and I've been trying to turn the stock around as quickly as possible to minimise finished stock in the house.

With the move now safely behind us, I need to reverse that trend. I'm aiming to make and ship 16 copies of FlickFleet a week now, and the last couple of times we've met up I've taken 20 or so copies from Paul (which due to the weight of the acrylic and wooden bits is pretty much all I can carry!). I go to Manchester every three to four weeks - that's clearly not a solution we can rely on, so this weekend we invited Paul and his family up to see the new house and bring everything I need to complete the Kickstarter rewards - that's around 100 games' worth of box blanks, acrylic and wooden bits and all the postage boxes he had.

Now I have everything I need to complete the fulfilment - Paul's done (more than!) his fair share. Though he did take eleven finished copies back with him to post while I'm in Manchester next week. He also took a bunch of labels - so he can cut them out - saving me a further three minutes per game (about five hours for the rest of the Kickstarter rewards).

All I need to finish Kickstarter fulfilment!

In related news, I'll be at Tabletop Manchester at The Wharf pub tonight for gaming and will have Zombology and FlickFleet with me if you're interested to try them out!

Monday, July 8

Back in the Saddle

This week I have resumed FlickFleet crafting in the new house!

We’re still in a chaotic state with boxes everywhere, but I’ve found the FlickFleet materials and started making games again. 

With my crafting table in pieces on a pile of boxes in the garage I’ve had to improvise, and I’ve been using the kitchen island instead.

Bon app├ętit!

The good news is that this is a better height for standing at (I stand up to cut out the labels and dashboards) but worse for sitting at (the bar stools are much less comfortable than my office chair!).

Last week I made 16 copies as planned and this week I have everything I need to make 10 of my 16 target, then I've run out again. So we’ve arranged for Paul and his family to come up and see our new house (and bring everything he’s made that I need to complete the Kickstarter rewards: 87 cut box blanks, 87 bags of sorted bits and all the postage boxes he’s got). 

That will remove one of the obstacles to hitting our deadlines: our need to meet up periodically and exchange things made at one or the other house!

Monday, July 1

Box Fort!

Last Tuesday we moved into the new house. It all went fairly smoothly on the day and now we are just sorting through all the stuff we still have in boxes trying to work out where it will all live.

My half of the Eurydice Games stuff ready for the move!

Long term the plan is that the smallest bedroom will end up as a crafting studio for me to make Eurydice Games, but in the short term The Toddler is in there while we sort out the other rooms.

On Friday I brought the bits I’d collected from Paul and left at work home with me and I intend to resume crafting this week. Progress will be slow for a few weeks while I sort out the rest of the house, but at this point I’m still right on track for completing the Kickstarter rewards in August.