I got the quote from Carta Mundi yesterday, as promised. Unfortunately it's significantly more expensive than the German offer, so I guess I'll be going with them and waiting for the games until the end of August at the earliest. I've asked Carta Mundi for another quote though, so I may still get something from them.
Still nothing back from the artist, but I know he's got an exhibition on Friday, so I imagine he's exceptionally busy at the moment.
I'm considering another hand-made run to keep my hand in until the professional run of Carpe Astra arrives. I think I can do it fairly cheaply and with little effort on my part (the game I'm considering is fairly simple), so this morning I requested a bunch of quotes from the suppliers I used for It's Alive! to see whether it's worth doing.
This morning I popped over to a local warehousing company to see what they offer. They are prepared to deal with me (despite the small number of pallets I'll be receiving), and they're with my storage budget so that's a good thing.
I'm going to request a final quote from the Germans today, and then once the artwork is finished I can start the ordering process. It'll take them eight weeks from when they receive the artwork for the cards and boards. I've then got two weeks to get the rules and box artwork to them. Six weeks after that they'll ship to me, and then a week or two after than I'll receive them.
I had Lisa round for playtesting last night, and I'm going round to Paul's again this afternoon to try out the latest tweak to Carpe Astra. I think it improves the player interaction and gives you more routes to winning the game, making it feel a bit more Euro (though there are definitely things about it which aren't).