Wednesday, August 20

Breaking Into America

Which sounds like I'm stood on the Canadian border with a crowbar and some wire-cutters. But I'm not. Honest.

Yesterday was devoted to making a couple of prototype copies to send to my potential US distributors. This took a surprisingly long time. First I had to layout all the components onto sheets of paper that would fit through my printer. My printer (an HP Deskjet 9800) will print up to A3, and I've got a pack of A3 card so that was the way to go for most of it. The shields however are too long, being 420mm in length - the length of a sheet of A3 paper. By the time I'd discounted the printer margins (where the printer won't print near the edge of the page), I've a printable area of maybe 400 x 287mm. So instead I popped to my local art shop and bought some A1 card, which is massive. I cut that down to 280 x 596mm (into thirds length-ways) and printed the shields on those. I'd bought a spare sheet of A1, and I only needed two of the thirds per sheet, so I had five spare thirds. Needless to say my printer promptly used them up, a combination of running out of ink, printing a test page when I least expected it and some feed errors. Even the ones that worked had quite bad front/back registration - the front and back didn't line up well at all. After hours of fighting with the printer I'd finally finished the printing by 8pm. To think I'd hoped to get it in the post yesterday - that was wishful thinking! Needless to say I was a bit stressed by the time I finished.

This morning I cut out the bits, boxed them and I'll post them this afternoon, once I've got the address for one of the two distributors.

On a related note, ThoughtHammer, a big US online shop, contacted me to ask about stocking my games. I told them they could either buy from me directly or from a US distributor, and pointed them to the two distributors who are considering stocking my games. They came back saying they don't deal with one of them and haven't heard anything about it from the other (unsurprising considering they've not yet decided whether or not to stock it). They told me of a few distributors they use, and said they'd tell them about me.

Brown Box, Inc. in Texas promptly emailed me to ask about stocking my games, and it now looks like they're going to place a fairly large order. Sweet!

In other news, I heard from the Production Manager of the company who are making It's Alive! for me. Tomorrow I should receive a game that is finished except for the die-cutting of the coins. This will be my first chance to see a finished box and the glued-up coins - very exciting. All being well I'll also be able to weigh the box and settle on a final shipping cost for the It's Alive! pre-order.

Talking of It's Alive! pre-orders, Michael, who's done the German translation of the rules contacted me to see if I'd mind him pimping It's Alive! on the SpielBox forums. Mind? Hell, no! Michael's post has led to several pre-orders from Germany which is great - thanks Michael!


Jason said...

Awesome news all around. Making prototypes (or in this case, pre-production samples) can indeed be a challenge.

Philip said...

Congrats on getting US distribution!

Jackson Pope said...

I think it's more like Texan distribution than US distribution, but it's a start. On of the two prototypes has gone in the post, the other is just waiting on an address, hopefully I'll hear back from them soon.



Smuggins said...

Prototyping is a pain. I am wondering what card thickness you used to run through your printer? I have been prototyping by hand, and finding a way to cut thick card stock is a nightmare.

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Coldstone,

I get packs of A3 card from Staples, 25 sheets to a pack, I think the weight is 280 gsm. I then cut it out using a steel ruler and craft knife.