You may have been wondering why I hadn’t posted the monthly update yet. The reason is because I knew the hard proof was in the mail, so I wanted to wait for it to arrive so I could have a really substantial update. So here it is!

The hard proof contains a lot of different pieces: full color glossy prints (on paper, not cardstock) of the cards, box, rulebook, and tokens, a low-resolution mockup of the same, and a blank white copy of all of the above made of the actual material that the final version will be made of. You can see some of each of those in the picture below.

So, I’m sure the question on all your minds is: how good does it seem? Is it up to our standards? Are we finally moving to production? Well, long story short, no: I’m going to be talking with Panda about this, but as it stands there are some flaws that are too big for me to be okay with this moving forward in its current form.

First the good news. The glossy prints of the rulebook and box look gorgeous. The box itself is really nice, solid, and is going to look amazing on your shelf. The cardboard the tokens are made of has a nice heft to it, and the cards fit into the box snugly and securely. The cards are made out of a bluecore which makes them nice and opaque, and they shuffle really smoothly. I spent a long time shuffling them while looking through the other components and they stood up perfectly and without any problems.

Now, unfortunately, for the bad news. The cards are pretty bendy. I’m not sure how big of a deal this is-it would be much easier to tell if the cards had the art printed on them. I don’t think it will be an issue, but it’s not ideal. The much bigger issue, however, is that the glossy prints of the cards, which are meant to show off how the art will look in the final version, are really off. The colors are wrong: they aren’t nearly as vibrant as on a computer screen, nor as vibrant as the prints of the box art. They also have streaky vertical lines in them, which are particularly visible in the black areas of the artwork. The contrast between the cards and the box actually inspires some confidence in me, because if the box art can be printed so well, then I suspect the cards can be made just as beautiful.

So that’s the current situation. I’ve written to the folks at Panda Games Manufacturing and I’m awaiting their response. I’m sure we’ll be able to get all this sorted and get you the best possible game we can. In the meantime, I can post photos of any of the components of the hard proof, if you like, and I also have two questions for you.

First, how much does the cards being bendier than usual matter to you, if they’re still as sturdy as standard cards? They’re not as bendable as paper or anything like that, but they are noticeably more flexible than the cards in other games that I compared them to.

Second, I have a question about your opinions concerning selling Professor Pugnacious in stores. When I was first planning on making the expansions Treachery and Locomotion, I was going to have each of them be priced at $20. However, when it came time to budget for manufacturing, it would save a lot of money to combine them into a single expansion, Treachery on the Trains, which is how they are now. Those of you who ordered them will still be getting all of the same content you’re expecting, just in a single box instead of two. The question then becomes, how much should this cost in retail? It’s a single tuck box expanding the game, like the Call of Cthulhu LCG expansions, which are priced at $15. In order to be fair to what you paid, I feel it should be priced at $40, but given that this is almost three times what people see for similar looking products on the shelf, and is the same price as the core set, and comes in a much smaller, less impressive looking box (the core set’s box is going to look absolutely gorgeous on your shelf), I’m afraid that people won’t want to buy it. What are your thoughts? What would you be willing to pay for it in the store, if you weren’t already getting it (or if you haven’t already)? Would you feel ripped off if it were sold for, say, $30, or $20, given that you paid more than that for it?

I want to make a point of thanking you all for your support. Without your help, and in particular without you being willing to spend that $40 on Treachery on the Trains, none of this would have been possible. My top priority is to get you the best possible game I can-to make sure you feel content that you’re getting your money’s worth. Toward that end, Andrea and I are considering two extra little rewards for you, to thank you for your patience and generosity. First of all, I think we can sneak an extra copy of Incredible Inventions into everybody’s package, whether or not you were already getting it (having two copies isn’t purely redundant; it lets you add multiples of its event to the Main Deck if you want to. Also, collector’s item!). Andrea is also going to be ordering a new set of art prints, not the same as the ones we had back during the campaign, and we’re going to send out a signed copy of those to each of you. Just our little way of saying thank you for all that you’ve done, and for all the delays that you’ve put up with.

Happy gaming,

Thomas Eliot

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