Monday, March 18

Now With Added Colour!

I had a really busy week at work last week and The Toddler had a cold and hence slept even worse than usual, but I still managed to get 13 copies in the post (the last of the Uprising Heroes and a prize for the design a scenario competition I held last year). On the weekend I made another 12 copies (the first of the Reinforcements tier - due in June). That leaves me with another 12 games’ worth of bits that I got from Paul on our weekend away recently. Once I’ve finished those (hopefully this week) I’ll be building up boxes again for our next exchange of pieces.

I’ve got three more weeks of crafting and then I’m away for a week’s holiday with the whole of my family (16 of us) during which I imagine we’ll play some games of FlickFleet.

At the moment I’m focusing on trying to get as many made and shipped as possible before we move house in the next 2-3 months. 

Meanwhile over on the Kickstarter page a couple of people have asked if it's possible to colour the etching on the Deluxe ships so the names are more legible from a distance. Paul's been experimenting and come up with these results:

Colourful Dreadnought!

He drew in the line with a Sharpie pen and then quickly wiped off the excess with a WD-40 soaked paper towel!

Monday, March 11

Uprising Heroes Complete!

The first deluxe tier in our FlickFleet Kickstarter was set for delivery in March 2019. The Kickstarter completed on the 8th Dec and we didn’t get the funds until the 21st (by which time I was already on Christmas holiday!). We didn’t start ordering things until early January and the laser cutter wasn’t fully operational until early February, so it was always going to be tight, but I’m delighted to say that I finished the last of the 52 copies we needed to make last night (Paul is way ahead of me!) and I’ll be posting them all this week - with two weeks to spare before the end of the month I’m very hopeful that they’ll all arrive on time.

The last few copies of the first tier of rewards

We also been getting people sharing pictures of their received copies on twitter and Facebook and even some pictures of it in play at Airecon this weekend :-)

It feels great to be making and shipping copies on time and also to see it out the wild with people enjoying it.

I’ll be sending out the next Kickstarter survey this week and hope to start shipping the next tier of rewards (due in June) next week. I should be able to do about thirty of those before running out of laser cut bits at which point I’ll have to meet up with Paul again to get some more.

I’ve also been thinking about what's next after FlickFleet fulfilment completes. I’ve a couple of game ideas that meet the Eurydice criteria (fast, fun and unique) but they all require a decent chunk of work before they are ready (if ever).

Plenty to keep me busy!

Monday, March 4

FlickFleet in Flight!

As I mentioned last week, we’re now shipping FlickFleet. On Saturday Paul posted 28 of the 30 copies he’s done (he’s hand-delivering the last two to friends) and over the weekend I made another 11 copies of my bits and added the bits Paul gave me last weekend to them and I’ll be posting those during my lunch breaks this week.

Paul’s postage piles!

The first and last groups of games were always going to be the tightest - the first because we had to order everything and get the laser cutter set up and running properly; the last because there’s well over 100 of them. I’m delighted that we’re on track still - so many Kickstarters deliver late, to be making all the games by hand and still hitting our deadlines is a real achievement, and it’ll set us up nicely for future Kickstarters - we’ll have a reputation for trustworthiness in terms of delivery that can only be earned by coming through on your promises.

The next challenge will be that we’re moving house in the next few months which will obviously be disruptive - I want to get as many copies shipped before the move as possible to minimise the disruption. Back to the crafting board!



Monday, February 25

Shipping This Week!

This weekend Paul and I and our families met up for a joint long weekend. We ate and drank well, hung out and chatted, played with the kids and got some gaming in, but most relevant to this blog is the FlickFleet progress. Paul had spent last week frantically laser cutting deluxe sets and I was measuring and cutting box tops. Each FlickFleet deluxe edition is signed, numbered, enscribed with a message and optionally personalised.

I brought 30 finished boxes with the rules and dashboards in on holiday and Paul brought 45 deluxe games’ worth of ships, wooden bits and dice, plus two standard copies for the two backers at the Uprising Hero (first to ship) level who got a standard copy as well as a deluxe one.

During the weekend Paul and I numbered, enscribed and both signed those 30 finished boxes, plus we numbered and signed the 48 box tops I’d brought with me that were cut but not assembled yet.

That will allow me to ship the 45 games’ worth of bits as I make the boxes for them, and Paul to ship the 30 boxes as he cuts and bags more bits, we expect to ship all the Uprising Hero pledges before mid-March, so they should arrive by the end of March as promised on the Kickstarter.

I also made a jig for the box top blanks last week too, which I think will significantly speed up making them as I put the measurements on it once, rather than measuring every sheet. I’m going to make one for the box bottoms this week and time it to see how much time it saves - it felt like quite a lot, but I don’t have the data yet! I still have 345 games worth of box blanks to make, so a saving of a minute or two per game will save many hours of work in total.

It’s really exciting to be shipping the games this week - our baby will be in peoples’ hands shortly - I hope they enjoy it as much as we and the reviewers do!

Monday, February 18

Switcheroo!

I’ve little progress to report this week - I’ve been travelling in the US all week, first a couple of towns around Boston, MA and then just under 18 hours in Raleigh, NC. 

I had two opportunities to do something gaming-related while out there, but sadly achieved neither. I was hoping to go back to The Castle Board Game Cafe in Beverly after work on Tuesday and then get a late taxi down to Milford, but as it turned out that day a snow storm came through Massachusetts so we finished work early and tried to get out ahead of the storm. We didn’t succeed - the 57 mile journey took us three hours!

The second attempt was entirely unexpected and abortive. I was sat in the hotel in Raleigh eating breakfast and I mentioned it on Twitter. Rob of Coin Flip Games, one of our #CraftWednesday stalwarts, got in touch to see if we could meet up. Sadly I was only free for the next hour, and he couldn’t get over to my location in time. It would have been cool to meet up in person, but sadly not to be. I get down there once a year though, so I know better for next year! (Last year I met W. Eric Martin of BoardGameGeek news for a video segment and to show him FlickFleet).

Paul has had a better week though - the acrylic arrived on Tuesday - so he’s now started cutting and etching the deluxe edition ships in earnest.

Etching complete!

We’re meeting up this weekend for a long weekend with our families. We’ll hang out, play some games, hopefully test my new idea for the first time and swap FlickFleet components. I’ll give him boxes with dashboards and rules inside and in return I’ll get the bagged up ships and wooden pieces. When we get back we’ll both start combining what we make with the stock from the other half and simultaneously start shipping the first set of Kickstarter physical rewards. It’s getting exciting!

Monday, February 11

Off to Snowy Boston!

Last week was spent delivering Zombology copies to Travelling Man for another stocking order (they are our only retail stockist: a chain of four games stores in the north of England - but they have single-handedly sold a quarter of the print run!), starting to make a few more to replenish our stock pile which has just been cleaned out, and trying to get ahead of the game on FlickFleet stock.

Meanwhile Paul has been completely redoing the laser-cutting files I sent him to support the etching mode on our laser cutter  and then doing the test cut so we could go ahead and order the bulk acrylic.

A deluxe fleet

I’m in America all week this week for work (I’m posting this from an airport coffee shop on the way to Boston), so I wanted to get some stock stacked up to stay on track of fulfillment despite taking this week off crafting. Our accelerated plan had 26 finished last week and 35 this week, but I only managed to get 30 boxes and 12 games' worth of dashboards done before I left - I’ll be catching up slowly over forthcoming weeks. 

This week I was planning to go to The Castle Board Game cafe in Beverly, MA on Tuesday night to demo FlickFleet and Zombology, but the weather tomorrow is now looking like we’d be better heading to our next stop as early as possible as they are expecting heavy snow on Tuesday - we don’t want to get snowed in to the wrong city!

When I get back I’ll have just under a week to get some more FlickFleets made up before we go away for a long weekend with Paul and his family. The plan is to swap the boxes, dashboards and rulebooks that I’ve made with laser-cut ships and wooden pieces that he has bagged so we can both start shipping copies on our return!

After a few weeks of frantic crafting, my hands could do with a break this week!

Monday, February 4

Stocking Up

FlickFleet construction is continuing with boxes getting labelled and filled with ship dashboards and rules in Newcastle and the wooden pieces arriving and laser cutter experimentation happening in York. 
 
The first batch of finished boxes

I’m off to Massachusetts for work in a couple of weeks so I’m trying to get ahead of the game as that week I’ll not be able to do any construction (side note: if you’re near Beverly, MA on the evening of Tuesday 12th February, why not pop along to The Castle Board Game Cafe - I’ll be there with my FlickFleet prototype and Zombology).

My focus before that trip will be stacking up FlickFleets that are as finished as I can get them, but also some more Zombology stock. I’ve currently got 15 finished Zombology games at home. Five of those are for the first few batches of Kickstarter backers, so stock is 10. One of my goals for this year was to keep five Zombology in stock - I've had a couple of times recently when I’ve not had enough finished stock to fulfill orders.

I’m in that boat again :-( This week I got another stocking order from my local FLGS chain for ten more copies - I’m all out! I’ll have to fit some Zombology crafting in around the FlickFleet work. The chain have now taken over one quarter of the whole print run and account for over a third of all sales!

On the upside, Paul has now sorted the deluxe laser etching - we’re all systems go!

Testing the etching