First, an aside: It looks like It's Alive! will arrive this week as planned. I think the earlier problems with arrival dates were down to dealing with an overly optimistic sales guy, since I've been dealing with the Production Manager, his estimates seem to be right on the money (if longer than I'd hoped).
Carpe Astra seems to be proceeding nicely though. I've got art coming from the artist all the time now, often with a few emails a day arriving. To whet your appetite, I've posted the logos for the six guilds (left to right: Traders, Settlers, Priests, Politicians, The Military and Engineers) below and an example tile too. The tile has the die-line superimposed. As usual, click on each image to see a larger version.
I've spent the day on Carpe Astra, first of all the meeting at the bank to secure finance (apparently I'm a 'valued customer', and my credit score with them is such that they were willing to lend me 40% more than I wanted at 4% less APR than their standard rate). Since then I've been creating guides for the artists, showing him the exact dimensions of the art I require, including the bleed (areas outside the item that the background needs to cover in case of cutting error), and margins (areas inside the item that the main content cannot enter, again due to potential cutting errors). I've been doing them in Adobe InDesign and then exporting them as JPEGs at the right resolution. The rest of the day I'll spend again in InDesign, this time laying out the various cardboard components on the boards that will appear in the box. I have to lay the art on one layer, and the die-lines on another, and obviously both need to line up! The German manufacturers say that I should leave 10mm between items on the boards, and between and item and the edge, but they've sent me an example layout (on which they based their calculations) which has probably 7mm between items, so I've asked them what to do. I can still make a start though, I can always tweak things later.