I'll get to the subject of that provocative title in a minute! Aside: this is my 666th blog post. Make of that what you will.
Just a brief update on progress this week, and a review of my card purchases.
At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals. Seeing as one of them was a deadline for last Thursday, I figured it'd be a good time to take stock of how I'm progressing against those goals. The deadline was to get initial playtest copies out to some close friends who were key Reiver Games playtesters by the end of February. I missed it, but only by a couple of days (I got them ready over the weekend, so they are ready for posting today). It was close, so I'm going to count that as a goal met! The only other goals relevant at this point are the blog ones. So far I'm on track for those too, I've blogged every Monday this year, the page views are above the target of 20,000 views this year and I've two new followers since the start of the year too. All good :-)
Setting the goals has really focussed me, I've worked quite hard the last few weeks to the get playtest copies ready, spending my evenings after The Daughter goes to sleep printing, cutting and collating to get the copies assembled. The biggest stumbling block was the rulebook, which I had to write from scratch in Adobe InDesign since the previous one was written in Microsoft Word, had no examples and was hideously out of date. The last minute change to simplify things that I thought of last week didn't help as that made changes necessary close to the wire.
Still, I consider myself on track so far this year :-)
As another aside, I recently read an article on BGG by Lewis Pulsipher, designer of Britannia among others, stating that to be taken seriously as a designer you need to be working on multiple games at once. One game makes you look like a dilettante apparently. I consider myself focussed, rather than a dilettante, but maybe others feel differently. Anyway, I've a family now and they come first, with limited time available the only way I can make any progress is to focus on a single game.
In other news, in making these prototypes I mentioned above, I've finally got around to using some of that card I bought a couple of weeks ago. I bought it from PaperCutz a supplier I'd not used before, so I thought I'd review the purchase briefly. I've used the card extensively in the prototypes: the box insert, deck dividers, cards and player mats are all printed on and made from the new card.
PaperCutz were pretty easy to deal with, I ordered over the internet, the card arrived in a couple of days. The card was fairly well wrapped and then boxed, but regardless both the 300gsm and the 240gsm were slightly dinged on one corner, probably as a result of exuberance on the part of the courier. It's not a problem, since I cut at least 10mm from each edge as part of the construction and I can feed the dinged corner into the printer last so it doesn't throw the printer out of whack, but still slightly disappointing.
I bought 25 sheets of the 300gsm for making box inserts and 250 sheets of the 240gsm for the cards, dividers and player mats. That's enough to make 15 games :-). Or at least it was until I fell in love with the 300gsm stuff. Honestly I'm not normally a deviant, but the silky smooth, unblemished exterior coupled with a firm core that kinks pleasingly when you caress its surface with a craft knife totally got me. I've used it for the box inserts as intended, but also for the dividers and player mats, so now I've enough card to make 3 more games. I need more. I'm going to get another 100 sheets of the A3 300gsm, which I'll use for the dividers and player mats and I'll also get 25 sheets of a more voluptuous SRA3 (a slightly bigger size) for the box inserts. It turns out that I can't do maths to save my life, and the calculation I'd done in my head which lead to the decision that A3 would be big enough for the box inserts was way out. SRA3 isn't big enough! But it's close enough and will do. After those purchases I'll have enough to make another 15 copies - so I should be sorted for the next wave of prototypes in the summer too :-).