I need your help and progress update
13 days ago
– Mon, Jan 08, 2018 at 11:40:04 PM
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and the new New year is treating you well.
I need your help
We have been nominated for the most anticipated game of 2018 and now the final voting has opened.
If you are looking forward to The City of Kings then please vote for us here.
The Board Game Geek most anticipated game of the year award is a great way to let new people learn about our game, and the more people who know about the game the more we can expand it.
With the issues we suffered during shipping it's become harder to invest into expansions and growing the world than I had originally hoped. That's not to say it won't happen, but raising awareness of the game and having more people join us will help in countless ways.
If you would like to vote you can do so here:
Thank you for your continued support.
New box update
Not much has changed in the last few weeks, but I wanted to let you know that things are still progressing. The new boxes are being manufactured and we are still on track for the new timelines.
I will be attending HandyCon next week, The City of Games in February and Airecon in March, if you are attending any of these events please come and say hi! I’d love to play a game with you.
Christmas cheer! Updates, conventions, new games and live streams!
about 1 month ago
– Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 11:35:39 AM
Hi everyone, I hope you had a good weekend?
The last couple of updates have been focussed on the damages caused by shipping, so with Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be a great time for some positivity!
Over the last few days I have finalised the new box size with Whatz and updated the artwork for the new size. We’re now signing off on digital proofs and I hope printing will begin soon. I mentioned in my last email that there is normally a long wait to get into the production line but Whatz are currently doing their best to push us up the line. They’ve ordered the raw materials for the boxes and hopefully printing will start in the next couple of weeks.
Gen Con 2018
I am pleased to confirm that our application for Gen Con 2018 was accepted and we will be exhibiting next year in the Entrepreneurs’ Avenue. This is incredibly exciting news for me and I can’t wait to be in America next year with our games and getting a chance to meet and play with more of you!
UK Games Expo 2018
I can also confirm that we have booked a booth for the UKGE 2018. Whilst it’s a little easier to get a stand at UKGE, I’m still really excited as I have big plans for our exhibitions next year!
I’m going to put some information together about this early next year, but I will be looking for volunteers for both Gen Con and UK Games Expo. If you’d like to help on the stands next year look out for the update and let me know.
New Game: Vadoran Gardens
“Vadoran Gardens is a tile placement card game, set in The City of Kings universe. Players take the role of young Vadoran acolytes training to be priests in the Cyrrus Order and must complete tasks whilst exploring the Temple Gardens.
One game of the Vadoran Gardens consists of ten rounds, and in each round your acolyte tries to learn a valuable Vadoran lesson. Each player, in order, selects a Pathway card from the pool and places it on their personal Garden Pathway, representing your journey through the Temple Gardens,and your quest for knowledge! Match the symbols on your Pathway card to your current lesson whilst focussing on feeding the animals, studying ancient relics and maintaining the gardens to succeed!”
Vadoran Gardens is a 30-minute card game for 2 – 4 players which I hope to release on Kickstarter early next year. The game is currently being blind playtested and I’ll be sharing a lot more details about the game in January.
Unlike The City of Kings or Rising Blades, this is a much smaller, quicker game designed to be played as a filler around other games. It comes with both a family friendly mode for 8-year olds and up, and an advanced variant that will challenge advanced gamers to do well.
I’m currently putting together a list of YouTubers to cover the game prior to the Kickstarter, if you know anyone who you think would be great to cover Vadoran gardens then let me know in the comments.
Board Game Geek Listing
If you would like to be involved in playtesting of future games, then please fill in this form:
The City of Games playtesting application
There are a few questions that will let me know the types of things you would like to test, and as games come up that match your criteria I’ll be in touch to see if you would like to help out with some testing.
Live Stream: 7th Continent
I thought it would be fun to do an all-day stream with GhostlyTuna, so we decided this Wednesday at 14:00 GMT we will be playing 7th Continent on The City of Games Youtube channel live. We are hoping to play a full scenario and expect to be there for a long time, but we’ve not yet decided on which one. Hopefully some of you can join us for the adventure as we have some fun in the run up to Christmas!
I hope you all have a great week and I'll keep you updated as things progress!
The plan: A new timeline
about 1 month ago
– Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 01:15:43 AM
I hope you’ve all had a good weekend? It’s been just over 2 weeks since my last update and I’m pleased to say I now have all the information I need to be able to let you all know what’s going on.
Apologies this update took a couple of days longer than I had originally said, but I wanted to make sure I could make it as useful as possible.
What’s happened in the last 2 weeks?
Funagain (our US fulfilment partner) have checked through some of the games and reported back on their assumed damage numbers.
Unicorn Games (our Australian fulfilment partner) have also reported back on their damage numbers.
Gamesquest received the games late last week, and rather than wait another week or two to get counts I travelled to their storage facility and went through the games myself. I spent 3 hours unloading pallets, opening boxes and restacking them and checked through a good sample of all 4 editions.
Unfortunately, the damages have been fairly consistent across all of our locations and we are going back to the printers.
Some facts about the damages:
- The damages are all related to the game boxes, we’ve seen no signs of damaged contents.
- The damages are of varying levels, there is no standard. Some games have very minor issues, others are much more severe.
- The damages are across al 4 editions of the game, but are more extreme in the heavier editions.
Typically, the damage can be described as a deformation in the box where creases have formed as the cardboard has given way to the weight above. Some of these creases have progressed into rips, and others have been less pronounced and simply add mild deformations to the boxes shape.
I believe the overall cause of the damage is due to several things, but it’s become apparent one of the causes is the way the pallets were stacked. During the shipping phase we had set a maximum height on the pallets, but this was incorrectly managed, and the pallets ended up being 2meters tall, something I wasn’t aware of until entering the warehouse last week.
Rather than the pallets being restricted to 5 cartons in height, they were at 7 and this had a major impact on the bottom rows of cartons. It’s very easy to see the variance in damage between games in the top, middle and bottom of the pallet.
Between this, the general weight of the game, the way the contents were packed inside the game boxes, and the cardboard used for both the game and carton boxes, we’ve ended up with games giving way.
The solution to this comes in several phases and steps.
Phase 1 - Storage
Step 1. We have moved all the games into storage. This means no games will be shipped out until we remove them from storage next year. We have also repaletted some of the games to make sure no further damage is created during the storage period.
Phase 2 – A new box
We are designing a new box, this box will be larger than the existing box but will visually remain the same. The only differences are the “box contents” section will be removed and replaced with a short message and the name on the back will be changed to "The big box" or something along those lines.
Step 2. We need to decide on the new boxes size.
Step 3. We need to produce the new artwork for this box and then check digital proofs.
Phase 3 - Manufacturing
Step 4. Print the new boxes and assemble them.
Step 5. Pack the boxes and prepare for shipping.
Phase 4 - Shipping
Step 6. Ship the games to the fulfilment centres
Phase 5 - Fulfilment
Step 7. The fulfilment centres will take the games from storage and open each carton. As they go through the games they will pick out the damaged ones and place the sealed damaged box into a new box. They will not open the seal of the old box.
Step 8. Send the games to you!
The new boxes
It’s important to note not everyone will be getting a new box, some of the games are OK. If you do not get one of the new boxes but would like one, we will find a way to offer them through future Kickstarters for expansions.
I do want to emphasise however that there is nothing wrong with the existing boxes, the damage is directly as a consequence of having hundreds of games stacked, rather than through fault of each individual game.
Unfortunately, this does mean things are going to take a while, I have already completed steps 1 and 2, and we are working on step 3 this week.
Whatz are doing their best to squeeze this print into their production timelines and we are skipping ahead of the queue, but they need to wait for the raw material to arrive and we have Christmas coming up.
We’re currently estimating the game boxes will be printed and ready to ship by the 15th January.
It took 8 weeks to ship the games, so if we assume a similar timeline for shipping we can expect the games to arrive at our fulfilment centres by the middle of March.
Fulfilment is going to take longer than usual as each game will need to be inspected and some will need to be packed into new boxes, so we need to allow for this.
As such, I’m now expecting most of the games to be arriving in April 2018 with the hope some will start shipping in March.
I am truly sorry that we will not be able to fulfil the February deadline and will do my best to keep you updated as we progress in this next step.
I am aware many people will be moving to a new house and need to update their address, once we have gotten closer to the new shipping date I will be setting up a system for you to update your address.
Please do not worry about updating your address until this system is in place.
Financial implications and support
After my last update, many of you contacted me to offer support and to ask how you could help. Sara and I were very grateful for this and I wanted to add some information about the financial side of this and the various impacts it will have.
I’m currently estimating the damages will cost $24,000 to correct using the solution described above. Whatz has agreed to work with me in covering some of these costs so I believe the direct financial cost to me will be less than that but still substantial. This also doesn’t cover the additional time that is going to be required, and of course how disappointment many of you will be.
For me, The City of Kings is about providing you all with the perfect experience, I want to do everything in my power to deliver on the promises I made and as such I won’t be asking for any help with correcting these problems. All I ask is for your understanding and patience as we move through these difficult times.
I know many of you said you would be happy with damaged boxes, but I want to make sure you all get the experience I originally designed. I’ve invested nearly 3 years of my life into making this game and I don’t want to cut corners and “make do” in these last moments.
I promised to create a beautiful, new experience, and intend to deliver that no matter what it takes.
The biggest impact this delay is going to have is on future games, I had originally planned to launch a new game on Kickstarter in February, once The City of Kings had delivered, and I know many of you were excited by that. The hope was to be able to get the game printed in time for the UKGE or at least Gen Con.
Now, with The City of Kings being delayed by several months I’m not sure when these games will launch. Not launching those games, or having them printed for the conventions will make it difficult for us to continue operating, so I am currently looking into the best options for this.
Important Update: The City of Kings shipping
about 2 months ago
– Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 12:48:42 AM
I will be doing a live Q&A, along with a detailed overview of the information in this update on YouTube in 45 minutes (21:00 GMT). Once it is over, the video will remain on YouTube and I’ll post a link in the comments section of this update.
It has been over 6 months since The City of Kings Kickstarter launched and I consider myself very lucky with how smoothly everything has gone. We raised far more money than I ever dreamed, I finished the game on time and to a point where I was more than pleased with it, and then the manufacturing period seemed to fly by.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I updated you all to say how we were months ahead of schedule and it was even possible many of you would get your game before Christmas, months before our original shipping date.
Today however, I am afraid that this will no longer be the case.
It is extremely unlikely anyone will receive their game before the end of the year. I’m sorry.
The story so far
I’m going to try and set the scene and let you know what’s been going on for the last week, I’m afraid this isn’t something I can easily summarise into a sentence or two and I’ve not slept much recently so I’m afraid my writing skills aren’t at there best.
Last week our fulfilment centre in Asia (VFI) started to sort and pack The City of Kings into boxes to send out to our backers. However, after going through a few cases (boxes containing multiple games) they started to notice some issues.
They contacted me, and we discussed the situation in detail and I asked them to stop packing the games, and to instead simply do a full inventory check. It took a little bit of time, but they came back to me with bad news.
There are a lot of damaged boxes.
At this point I contacted Unicorn Games, our Australian fulfilment centre and asked them if they could do a similar check once the stock arrived with them. They agreed, but it’s very important to note Unicorn Games had originally planned to process all our games over a 2-week period and doing a full inventory check is a long task which they can’t turn around overnight. As of now, they have opened 5 cases of games and reported a lower number of damaged boxes, but still much higher than planned for.
Over the last 72 hours I have been chatting with our US fulfilment centre and arranged for them to do a damage check of their stock as soon as it arrives, and I am hopeful I will get this information back within the next week or so. They are much better equipped to do these types of things quickly and have experience with similar situations in the past. They also have nearly 50% of our stock turning up at their centre so their counts will be much more telling.
Once Funagain have completed their checks, I will have enough information to be able to understand the full impact of these damages and to put a plan in place. Additionally, by the time Funagain have completed this count, the EU games should start to arrive in England and I will be able to get direct access to the games for assessment should it become necessary.
At this point of time I can’t provide much information on the causes of the damage, it could be shipping related, it could be manufacturing related, it could be packing related or it could very well be a combination of all these things. I’m afraid we’re still assessing this and until the larger stocks arrive with Funagain it’s difficult to confirm in any way.
I’m afraid right now we have to wait, it’s likely to be 1 - 2 weeks before I can update you with useful information.
Until Funagain have completed their assessment, and Whatz (our manufacturer) and I have managed to confirm the cause of the issue, I have made the decision to not ship out any games.
I know this will upset some people but please understand, I have chosen to do this for 2 reasons.
1) I want to make sure everyone receives a game in the condition they would expect to receive it. This means we need to identify the issues, possibly manufacture additional things and replan fulfilment.
2) This problem has the potential to cost me £10,000’s, it is very possible all profits we made from the game, my personal savings and other money may be needed to rectify the issue. I have to follow the safest path for all of us until we have a full understanding of the issue and a solution in place.
I will fix this, you will get your games, and you may very well still get them on time (by February), but I ask you. Please trust that I am doing everything in my power to get your games to you as quickly as possible, you don’t need to worry.
I am sorry for this, I am sorry that the games won’t arrive before Christmas, but I know that it will be worth the wait.
The City of Games
As some of you know, we are in the middle of a Kickstarter for The City of Games convention next year. I want to confirm that the funds for this convention are isolated from the game, and any possible financial problems caused by The City of Kings won’t have any impact on the event.
Shipping, shipping, and uhh... Shipping?
3 months ago
– Tue, Nov 07, 2017 at 06:59:26 PM
Is it suddenly winter where you live as well? Since returning from Essen it has been a little cold and wet around these parts... Speaking of Essen, it was great to meet so many of you and I'd like to thank you all for coming over and saying hello.
I wanted to let you all know that your addresses have now been sent to the fulfilment centres. Thank you to everyone who supplied their address updates promptly as it saved me a lot of time!
Where are the games?
Asia: Your games are now at our fulfilment centre in China and no damages were reported, it was a quick journey and they are ready to send. We will be holding them back for a couple of weeks to try and deliver them in a similar time to other regions of the world but it wont be long now.
Australia: Your games are on a boat and will be arriving in Australia very soon! I've been chatting with the fulfilment team and they are feeling confident that a good amount of the games should be delivered by Christmas as long as nothing goes wrong.
You can watch your boat here.
America: Your games are half way across the ocean and should be arriving in the docks next week. It'll take some time to get them to the fulfilment centre but I will keep you updated.
You can watch your boat here.
Canada: Your games are on the same boat as the American games and will be sent via our US fulfilment centre to our Canadian one. So your games will likely arrive a few weeks after the US ones, but I will try to reduce this by as much as possible.
UK and Europe: Your games were the first to be put on a boat, but unfortunately the boat had technical issues in the docks. I was informed that no damage was done to any cargo (ours or anyone elses) but it did delay the ship leaving. I'm still trying to get an update but I believe the boat is at least 1 week behind the original schedule. This means a December delivery is going to be much harder to achieve but I'm still hopeful some games will get out. I'm working with the teams to see what our new timeline looks like.
You can watch your boat here.
Rest of the world: Your games are shipping from the UK, so will be sent at the same time as the European games.
A word on boats
Please be advised, that a boat arriving in your country does not mean your game is going to be there soon. It takes a long time to unload the ships, truck the games to our centres and then process the games before shipping them. I'll keep you updated as best I can.
The City of Games 2018
Some of you may have noticed I launched a Kickstarter for The City of Games today, our 3 day board game convention we're hoping to run in Bristol next year. Whilst I know many of you aren't local, I'd appreciate any support in spreading the word and hope to see at least a few of you there!
Frank plays ____
During the Kickstarter all those months ago I promised I would be working on my video setup and it's finally up and running. I've now started a new video series where I play through games, and yes, I will be doing runthroughs of The City of Kings soon. Currently I've done Indian Summer
, Bunny Kingdom
, Coaster Park
I hope you all have a great week and I'll update you again soon!