Last week the pre-production copy (PPC) arrived in the mail and we've spent the last few days checking it. The PPC is a prototype hand-assembled by the factory using final files and specifications. We have photos (above and below) so you can check it out yourself, we'll give our impressions, and also talk about some necessary changes in components due to a shortage of black-core cardstock.
If you want to see the images in high quality, you can browse the full gallery here (and zoom in!): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cUIZ-8u3J7fG-4eMywR8jb27nqE3TKb4
PPC (pre-production copy)
Verifying the PPC is the last step before mass production. We need to verify:
- color accuracy - the PPC printing is different from mass production, but colors should be close.
- file versions
- finishes - for example, spot UV
- materials and sizing - weight, thickness, dimensions
- spacing, alignment, and layout - mass produced components will be die cut, but for PPC they are cut different ways. The cards in particular are misaligned a bit because they are individually cut for the PPC, but won't have this problem in mass production.
- quantities of each component
We have checked our PPC for the above and almost everything is correct. The colors on all components are good. The spot UV on the box and tokens looks great. The thick cardboard used in the tokens feels really good, and the box, in particular, feels super sturdy. There's slight drift on various components, but within expectations, and it should be better in the mass produced version.
We have found a few issues that need correcting but shouldn't impact the production schedule significantly:
The double-layer Headquarters boards are 2mm thick when we were expecting 3mm. We think this was a communication and unit conversion error (our quote request specified a material thickness, and their quote specified a material weight). We are not only getting this corrected but also upgrading to 4mm (more on this later).
The LUCI award sticker was attached to the Promo Pack plastic pouch, but it's actually supposed to be on the shrink wrap. We've confirmed that they will put it on the shrink wrap for the production version.
The Promo Pack barcode sticker was just loose inside the box and not affixed to anything. We have confirmed with the manufacturer that it will be attached to the Promo Pack for the production version.
First Player Token
The first player token that we received was 9mm thick but should be 10mm. It also seems like there was a file mixup and they didn't use the latest version of the shape we provided. The differences are very minor and purely cosmetic so we'll only update the shape in the final production as long as it doesn't affect the schedule.
Our manufacturer has a shortage of black-core cardstock (apparently the supplier in Germany is going out of business, and our manufacturer doesn't know for sure when it will be able to get more) so we cannot use black core for the game.
Instead, the cards in the game will use ivory-core stock, which is still a great quality card stock and is the card stock they use to manufacture the majority of their games. As an apology for the change in specification, they are going to upgrade the player board thickness from 3mm to 4mm. These player boards are going to be nice and chunky and placing dice into the boards is going to feel really satisfying.
We are still waiting for the dice samples to arrive in a separate package in the next week or so. The plastic insert is still being designed and will be worked on in earnest after the PPC is approved.
The Spanish rulebook translation is ready! Huge thanks to Paco Yanez for the translation. This is actually the second translation that Paco has done for us. Previously, Paco translated an earlier version of the rules as well. Thank you, Paco, for all your help!
You can find the rulebook in English, German, and Spanish at https://www.fantasticfactories.com/rules
We're working on Thai and French right now, so those should be finished next.
Once the dice arrive and we sort out the issues around the first player token thickness/shape, we can approve the PPC and kick off mass production in the next few weeks.
Thank you again for all your support!!
Joseph and Justin