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December 18, 2019 6 min read

Dear WarStages Backer,

This has been another busy month on the WarStages front. Everything is moving well and we are very close to finishing the manufacturing.

If you want to know all about it, read on.

If you just want to get the scheduling details for the next steps, jump to the last two sections of this update. Have fun :)
 

The Story so Far

If you remember from last month’s update, David, Catherine and Derek, three people of our Chinese suppliers came to visit us on Halloween. David is the boss of the company and Catherine is our main contact. So at that time, we reviewed with them the die cuts problems that we had spotted on the samples they had sent us in mid October. 

The main issue was that cardboard parts that were meant to be assembled without plastic clips (such as the furniture for example) were not working well. The various cardboard slots necessary for their assembly tended to be too loose and so most of the furniture would run the risk of falling apart when manipulated.

Cardboard punchboards like WarStages’ are pre-cut with custom cutting tools called Die Cutters. In the case of WarStages, the die cutters need to be way more precise than what is usually required for the production of tokens and other game elements.

So right after we met, our suppliers’ team began reworking the die cuts of two of the WarStages Cathedral’s punchboards to better assess the problem. If they could figure out how to fix that issue, they would then proceed with the rest of the kit.

November 15 - First test is a success

The day after we published the November update, we received a batch of new samples. We were relieved to see that now the assembly of the parts was perfect. And this meant that the team could start to rework all the other die cutters. This was a massive job that would take them about a month!

WarStages Furniture
Here is the new version of the WarStages furniture. There is no visible difference but the assembly is now easier and the parts are holding together much better than on the previous test

While David, Catherine and Derek were here, we also asked them to change the cardboard they used for a better one. There are mainly 2 types of cardboard, the grey one and the brown one. The grey one is made of cloth fibers and the brown one is made of wood fibers. The two types of fibers are often mixed together and so the cardboard can be more grey-ish or more brown-ish. The thing is that the grey cardboard is more sturdy than the brown one.
The first samples we received were made of grey cardboard but it definitely had a brownish tint to it. So we asked for a more “pure” grey cardboard and this is what they used for this new set of sample. And the difference in strength was really noticeable, so this was good :)

Saturday, November 16th - Working like crazy!

On Saturday 16 at 23h00, Chinese time, Catherine sent us a small video on Skype: she was at the factory with her team, adjusting the die cutters late in the night to catch up on the delays!
 


We are also reviewing each detail to make sure there is no problem. 

In the video below, one of the crease line on an element of the Cathedral's big entrance doors proves to be a problem, so a fix needs to be found.
 

 

On Friday 22, Catherine’s team was done re-testing the cardboard connections and the first pass was nearly done on the die cutters

During that week, on our end, we had to spend time making minor texture adjustments on several elements before sending back a full set of updated files, so in the meantime, our partners started re-checking the plastic clips connections.

It was at about that time that we received the floor mat samples. They look great! The colors are vibrant and the material is very good. It hardly wrinkles and has a nice finish. As you can see in the video below, we’ve asked for two different material thicknesses and we ended up choosing the lighter one as it was wrinkling less.

That particular supplier is now waiting for our greenlight to print the 600+ floor mats. This is a massive factory and they can print, fold and package that in just 3 days!

The reason we don’t want them to print now is that we need everything ready for shipment at the same time.


 

Friday, November 29th - most of the punchboards are printed!

On November 29th, we got a message from Catherine telling us that they already had printed most of the punchboards. She sent us many pictures from the factory. All the punchboards could be printed while they were still working on the die cutters, as the die cutting happens after all the cardboard material has been printed.

 

On Saturday, the last die cutters were finished and used to start making a new round of samples. 

The samples were a bit longer to produce than expected. On Thursday, December 5th, Catherine shipped us a first batch and the rest was shipped on Monday, December 9th.

They were also working on the plastic clips, hoping to have the molds done in mid December, so probably this week. After that, there will be testing and adjusting the clips. This can take a little bit of time as they have to rework the molds to make sure everything fits perfectly and to do so, they might need 2 or 3 reworks.



Monday, December 9th - Creating the packaging

On Monday, Catherine asked us for the graphic elements that will be on the boxes. The boxes will be strong corrugated cardboard. I started designing the printed elements but I still need Catherine to send me the specs of each box so that I can properly layout the text and images.

On Tuesday, we received the first batch of the new samples and JR started to assemble and test everything right away. This time, the assembly was excellent! 

On Wednesday, we sent feedback on the first batch of samples and on the same day, we received the second batch.

On Thursday, we sent our feedback for the second batch. JR spotted 3 minor problems that need to be corrected. So Catherine and her team will adjust the problematic die cutters accordingly and then cut all the printed sheets. 

The sheets that have been approved are already in the process of being cut. 

We expect all WarStages punchboards to be finished by the end of the coming week.

Tuesday, December 17th - The Clip Molds are Done

We just received a message from Catherine telling us that the clip molds will be finished this week and that they hope to test the clips this coming weekend.

Next Stage: Getting Ready for the Fulfillment Phase

We are now on the last stretch of the production and this means that in the next few days we will have enough information to start getting quotes from various Shipping Services and Fulfillment Centers.

At this time we are still waiting for the exact dimensions and weight of each product and the last info we need to calculate this is the final weight and volume of clips for each kit. We will have his info as soon as the first test run of the clips mould have been made. So most likely in the middle of next week. 

Since the Game Mat is made by a different provider, we are also working out the best solution to bring together and ship elements from our two different manufacturers.

The Journey is Nearing the End! 

So yes, we are now very close to the end of the production and it means that we will soon be able to start shipping the rewards your way.

Once we have the quotes from the fulfilment companies and made our selection, we will be able to tell you about the shipping schedule and costs of your pledge. 

Once the production is done and shipping fees are gathered, we will start shipping the rewards. 

Catherine is working hard to have everything done on her end for mid-January.
So if all goes well, we would start shipping before the end of January. 

However, this year the Chinese New Year is a bit earlier than usual and will happen at the end of January. So if there were some delays in the last phase of production, it could mean that the fulfillment would begin in mid-February

In any case, we will keep you posted about what’s going on.

Wrapping up

So that’s all for today :)

We can’t wait to be able to send you your WarStages kits. We are also very excited by the new things we are working on to integrate the WarStages concept in our upcoming game, so that you can put your WarStages kits to good use in the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy universe. 

But we also know that you already have plenty of other uses planned for them, so we can’t wait to see what you’ll do with them.

We will be back soon with more info, but in the meantime, we wish you a great Holiday Season. Have fun with your loved ones and don’t eat too much chocolate ;)

And as always, for any questions or comments, contact us directly at RagingHeroesTeam@gmail.com.


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