Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Update: 2/1/17

What's happening!

We have been doing a tremendous amount of waiting, and that waiting is (thankfully!) nearly over.

We are so excited that we may need to acquire a fainting couch.

We have ordered a "short run" from the "Hopeful Factory" --- and it is on its way. So, hooray!  There is some delay because of the Chinese New Year. (Since the materials are all being sourced from Asia, this impacts us.) So, boo.

We found out for sure just a few minutes ago that it would not be here this week, so we decided to go ahead and send the update now.

The contract negotiations continue at the breakneck pace of the Flash... from Zootopia. Yeah, we really feel the main character's pain. The bright side is, our lawyers assure us that the contract we have drafted is indeed quite rigorous.

Lastly, we have definitely secured (in a precautionary measure, should both of these other options somehow fail) multiple raw material suppliers. (Of course, if we come across better deals than the ones we have secured, we are open to discussion! So don't be shy if you happen to be such a supplier.)

We are looking forward to our next update having significantly more pictures and videos and a possible use of a fainting couch.

We are extremely thankful for your patience.  We had no idea that this would take even half as long as it has when we started.  But our collective patience is about to pay off, and we can hardly express how thankful we are.  But we'll try anyway!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for backing us!

PS--For those wanting to update their addresses, don't forget, you can update your address any time on the website.  Just click on right right hand side, "Manage your shipping address."  And if we can help, let us know!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Good News Closing out 2016

So, while everyone got to enjoy their favorite seasonal beverages this past month, GNL was working hard. (We did take the 25th off, though!)
  • For the factory which has been struggling to make the "Master Samples," we are negotiating a tight contract, in the event that we move forward with them.
  • For the "hopeful factory," which has great promise, they have provided decent samples, and are currently working on a short run of production-quality items.  We will show pictures and videos of those as soon as they arrive. 
  • For the machine work (that is, making a machine so we can simply source the material ourselves and make the mats ourselves), we need to make sure that the two most hopeful factories are unable to make them.  Although the "safest" plan, it is also by far the most expensive. 

Which bring us to the good news...

You might be asking yourself, "What the heck was GNL doing during the days/weeks that practically all factories take time off?"  Well...we were showing our product and business model around.  And we got investors.
The best part is the nature of the investment.  It is kind of like the funding we got on Kickstarter---they don't own GNL, they just believe in us, and the stuff we make.  (Since some people are sure to ask, this wasn't "venture capital," nobody new has come on board, and we do not owe anyone any debt.)
This will make life significantly easier, not only for this project, but for our future projects.
They have asked to remain anonymous; they just want to see us succeed.

So what's next?

  • We will wait a month to see what our 'current' factory will do, as far as our contract negotiations. (And the "master samples!")
  • Meanwhile, we will also wait for the short production run from the "hopeful factory."
  • But while we are waiting on the factories, we will be actively securing material sourcing for us to make it ourselves, if it should come to that.
We hope everyone had a good New Year celebration, and we hope 2017 winds up being the best year you've ever had in gaming!
And as always, thanks for backing us!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Factory Shenanigans & Our Attempts

We are, unfortunately, still waiting on the factory to send correct 'Master samples.'  Aptus said months ago that we should be in production by now, but that clearly has not happened. 

We want to assure everyone that we haven't been resting on our proverbial laurels, though.  We have continued to personally reach out to other factories.  One factory in particular has been quite promising.  They specialize in plastics: they went from having a 3D image of a token (one of our future projects) to handing us a production-level sample within 3 weeks. 

During the time we've been waiting on the current factory to produce the Master samples, this other factory (we'll call them the "hopeful factory") has been able to make a materially similar product to the samples we originally gave them.  This is great news.  (We have yet to do the print samples, though, in case we need to explain this later. The materials & feel of the boards, however, is correct.)

So if the current factory doesn't deliver the long-awaited Master samples in the *very* near future, we have what looks like a promising fallback already set up. 

Everyone here at GameNightLife can certainly identify, personally, with the frustration of these delays.  Hopefully, there won't be more.

We hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday, and we hope to bring to you good news of production soon.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for backing us!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Update: 11/2/16

Preventing a Switcheroo

Since we (GNL) were told by the factory & Aptus to expect to move to production in two weeks, we've still been working on getting those final master samples.  The master samples, of course, are needed in order to establish a contract.  A spec sheet will do for most of the components, but showing an acceptable range of real products is what is required for a good contract that involves a printed product.  

In the time since the 9/1/16 update, we have had three more rounds of samples, but none of them were even close to correct. They were a significant step backwards, actually.  The factory decided to glue a layer of card stock (thick paper) in between the backing layers, to help make cutting the backing easier.  This is in exactly none of our communication with anyone.  It makes the boards not spring back into shape when bent (they stay bent, like card stock would), and we have no plans to allow for something that can absorb water to be a part of this board. 

If your reaction is, "Well tell them to stop doing that," we have.

Repeatedly. and emphatically. 

It really seems a habit of material suppliers to try to swap out for inferior (or simply different) materials at the end.  And that is precisely what we are experiencing.  And precisely what we aren't going to allow.

You Will Get What You Paid For!

As a reminder of our commitment to this project: Jerry literally sold his house to ensure that there is money to move forward, despite the shenanigans of the prior factory.  

We have no intention of providing inferior quality stuff. The bait-and-switch nonsense we are experiencing now is precisely what we do not want to do to anyone else, and we refuse to do it.

Now What?

The factory reads these updates as well.  They know the history of the project, and how long people have had to wait.  And not unlike the previous factory, they seem to think that we might just be desperate to move forward with something different from what we originally discussed.

We're not.

We (GNL) will continue to insist to the factory that we want the final product to match the construction of the samples we initially showed you guys in our videos.  (Not the color, don't worry!)

So we are still waiting for the factory to produce the correct master samples, and to make it match what we agreed upon earlier.

This is certainly not where we were told we would be two months ago, either.  But we're not daunted; we're going to make the boards.  It's just a matter of time.  And we have no intention of being swayed by 'hardball' negotiation tactics. 

Thanks for reading, and thanks for backing us.  We really do appreciate all your support!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Update 9/1/16 (Good news!)

The short version: Barring any disasters, we are a week or two from starting production!

The Print Samples were Good!

We've been taking pains to make sure that everything is as high quality as possible. This includes what went wrong last time: the printing.  We managed to find people who had worked for this manufacturer before to help us make sure that whatever we printed, it was as consistent as it was humanly possible to print.
This manufacturer makes stuff for big-name board game companies (like Mattel), and their standards were already quite high.  We worked with them to figure out how to get the most consistent print possible, and we were all pleased with the results.
Looks pretty consistent to us!
Looks pretty consistent to us!
The closer to natural light you are, the better it looks.  This was taken in an overcast day, and these particular mats are bent (especially at the bottom of the photo).  Which brings us to our next point:

What's Next?

The factory is making what are called "Master Samples." These are the standard by which the final delivery is judged, in the event of a dispute.  We don't expect there to be any disputes, of course, but these are the sorts of hoops we jump through to work with the best printers we can. 
That should only take another week or two.  Once that is finished, we sign contracts, and they begin production that day.  Exciting times!
The time of production itself should take a couple of weeks, and then there's shipping to us, followed by us shipping to you.  We plan to have some pictures and videos during production.
We'll give definite dates as we have them, but that's the approximate schedule as we know it, ourselves.  You now know what we do about the schedule!

Updating your Address

Don't forget that you can always update your address at http://www.gamenightlife.com/myaccount.asp   If you can't change it on your order (and some people have that weird bug!), then you can change it on your account itself, and we will notice.

At long last, we are about to have our wonderful beginning.  Thanks for sticking with us through the ups and downs; we intend to make the wait worth it, especially with all the stuff we will be bringing you guys in the future!
So, as always, thanks for reading, and thanks for backing us!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stencils & more!

We have been working hard with getting everything to folks like we promised.

Here's a little bit about the stencils!

The Design

The idea we had was to try to put as many useful map-related things in one spot as we could.

This meant three things:
  1. Symbols often used on a map, but that were hard to draw.
  2. Blast / cone templates for area effect stuff (like fireballs and rocket launchers).
  3. A functional ruler.
On top of that, we wanted something supremely durable. Something that wouldn't shatter like one of those protractors you used in middle school.

And so, this was what we came up with:

You can see how this works:
1. The symbols all over typically are hard to draw; the lines being accurate divisions for angles.
2. The basic shape of the whole stencil, including the large spaces, allows for the most common sizes of cones and blasts.  (The arcs are divided at 1" intervals.)
3. The bottom edge of the stencil is designed to be a ruler (although this silhouette doesn't show that).

A Slight Correction

So, ever so long ago, we were a little surprised to find that the material that one of our original suppliers used had shrunk slightly.  This meant that the ruler, and the basic shapes for the blast radii and cones, was off by a little bit. (The 8" ruler was only about 7.35")

The supplier we are working with right now for the stickers (an update for those should be very soon!) also now be making these stencils. And they are actually located close to where Jerry lives, so that makes checking in very easy and frequent.

A Tiny Video

Just a quick visual of them!

Upcoming News

We want to put updates out more frequently, but the samples have been a bit slow to come lately. Part of the challenge involved with that is that we can't just get a production-quality sample, we have to have an actual production run.  This makes confirmation about what we're going to get a big, big step.  Having experienced problems with that in the past, we're preferring to take our time. However, this is a factory renown for actually getting it right on the first try, so we're just following their processes to make sure it happens that way.  Unfortunately, this means less-than-interesting updates.

For now, everything still seems to be on track!  Aptus assures us that this is the case, and that we are still moving along at a slightly-faster-than-average pace for a new product.

This week we should also have a look at the corrected stickers!

So, if you have any questions, feel free to email us any time!  Sometimes we get backed up and it takes us a little time, but we always get around to responding to everyone.

And as always, thanks for supporting us!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Good news!

Hello, supporters of various kinds!

Things have been moving along quite well here. The part that everyone is most interested in, of course, is how the production of mats has been going.

We got the latest round of samples rather late (FedEx had a mixup somewhere along the way).

We finally got to start testing the latest round of samples. And the results could hardly be better.
The erasing surface seems to be spot on. It handles all kind of markers --wet erase, dry erase, and permanent marker. Ink doesn't just come off cleanly after an hour or two. It comes off cleanly (in one swipe for the dry erase) after being left in a car for days in the hot June sun. But it still seems to hold the ink the way it should when in the "closed" position (when you have to move the mats). We'll put up some videos of that soon!

The bottom layers are also just right. It grips the surface of tables extremely well when there's pressure on it (no slipping!), but still "floats" perfectly when you want to move a row of tiles.

The magnets were exactly correct, too! The holding strength was just what it should be---easy enough to pull them apart when you want, but strong enough to hold the tiles together in a sheet.

We are rather excited. The new factories are living up to their reputations so far, and we feel confident that we are moving in the right direction.  The next steps are making sure that the print quality is correct.  That's what the next round of samples will try to show.

After that, we will make sure the cuts are precise.

We have a lot we expect to share in coming weeks, but we thought we'd share this really soon, instead of having a lot of videos at the ready.

Again, thank you all for your patience.  It appears that it will shortly be paying off!

And thanks for backing us!