Sunday, February 9, 2014

Domains at War Kickstarter Update

Received an email update from Autarch saying they're getting closer and the reason for going dark on the project for the last several months.  While the finished materials are accumulating in a warehouse, they still don't have a ship date, as not everything is ready.  Email is below the jump.

On the otherhand, I received an email late last week that the soft covers of Joe Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage have printed and shipped.

Kickstarter is a way for people passionate about what they're doing to get initial funding to produce professional results. I don't think that you can rely on that model to build a long term customer relationship.

What's new with Domains at War?

The layout of D@W: Campaigns is final. The layout of D@W: Battles is almost final, pending three minor edits. All counters are drawn and colored, including the custom units created by backers. All these are available as PDFs at the backer download page.

Why has it been so long since the last update?

As the guy responsible for updates, I hit a rough patch in my non-Autarch life. A performance evaluation at my day job had me wary of spending time on other things, and a series of deadlines increased the amount of time my day job took up. During this stretch I got a lingering cold that then passed to the rest of the family. Work on Domains at War continued during this time, but for a while I felt stretched too thin to report on it.

What's being done to avoid another lapse in updates?

I'm going to stick with this Q&A format; it helps remind me that updates should be simple and informative, like filling out a questionnaire, and not elaborately crafted like a mini-essay. I'm also going to move the work of project management online using a Google spreadsheet that'll be shared at the backer download page, so that I can refer to & summarize that in the update and backers can track progress as it happens.

When will the rewards be delivered?

The project is close to completion, but we'll have some rewards sooner than others. Here's a breakdown by category:

The PDFs available for download now are the double-page spread that's optimized for print signatures. Converting them to a screen-optimized PDF with internal hyperlinks and bookmarks is a separate job, which our internal team isn't available to do. We have the budget to cover hiring a freelancer to help with this step, and I have someone I'd like to be working with; we're scheduled to talk early in the coming week. I'll have an estimate for delivery of the PDF rewards after that call, but I imagine it'll be before the end of the month.

Finishing the remaining edits to the layout for D@W: Battles is straightforward, and both books should be ready to go to the printer within the week.

The vinyl battlemat and outdoor map are at complete and at the Game Salute warehouse.

We have an initial layout for the hexbook, and a round of edits and improvements that's been ready to be implemented for a while now. This might be a job best passed on to a freelancer as well; that's something I'll sort out this week.

We have initial designs of the inserts into the vinyl sleeve, but haven't heard back from the vendor for the sleeves in a while. I'll follow up and pursue the pre-planned alternates if that doesn't work out.

Our original plans for printing the unique elements of the Complete Set - the counter sheets, folio, and folding maps - fell through. We have found another printer who can handle the job of printing the complete set. We are now rearranging the 32 pages of counters to sort out which are required to play the game and will be printed for the Complete Set, and which will be made available only as PDF. When D@W goes into wide release, these PDF-only counters will be sold separately, but as backers you have them already.

In closing, please accept our apologies for the delay and lapse in communications as well as our assurance that you'll soon be receiving both the physical and PDF rewards you pledged for. There's work yet to be done to make that happen, but we're on it.

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