September 29, 2019: Autoduel Weekly: Front-Loading Work
By now, it should go without saying that work continues on Car Wars Sixth Edition. We've invested tens of thousands of dollars – as well as several years – into the creation of the new edition of our '80s hit tabletop game, and every step of the way has been guided by the desire to produce a fun, fast-playing game that can survive beyond the excitement of Kickstarter.
One of the ways we hope to maintain the momentum we gain during an active crowdfunding campaign is by reducing the time between close of the project and delivery to backers. If you've supported other miniatures games on Kickstarter, you're well aware that it can take a year or more for a successful campaign to deliver. (I have a few projects that I backed as far back as 2016 that have still not delivered.) Two to three years between the close of a project and actually playing the game is a long time to wait, which erases all the excitement generated during the game's funding stage.
What are we doing to reduce the time between project funding and delivery? One of the big steps we have taken is to move ahead with some of the early stages of manufacturing, even before launching the Kickstarter campaign. We've already told you about the custom dice that have been tooled up and are ready to go. That cuts weeks off the manufacturing process, and when the project goes live, you can rest easy knowing that the dice shown during the campaign already exist. The images aren't computer renders of a thing we hope to make; they will be the actual dice that we are already holding in our hands.
What other steps are we taking to reduce your wait to play Car Wars Sixth Edition? Well, the absolute biggest and most expensive manufacturing stage we've tackled is the one that trips up and delays a lot of minis campaigns: the preproduction work to make plastic miniatures. Unlike a number of Kickstarter projects, many of the miniatures for the Car Wars Sixth Edition campaign will be actual prototypes produced by the factory. Rather than open the project with computer renders of combat-car miniatures that we hope can translate from digital files to reality, we will show photographs of the master miniatures – raw as well as painted – so you can see exactly what we are making.
Now, none of this promises that there won't be car designs where all we can show are 3D images of CAD files. We cannot afford to produce scores of masters without some guarantee of demand. But we have over a dozen prototypes in the works and we are now reviewing those masters. And work continues! We haven't stopped designing and preparing miniatures, but if the Kickstarter goes big, we will have to share CAD images instead of masters for later stretch goals. We will identify if (when?) we are using computer images rather than photos of physical models.
It is our goal to deliver the game as quickly as possible after the crowdfunding campaign comes to a close, and moving into the prototyping stage with the factory before launching on Kickstarter will help us to achieve that goal. And if all goes well, we'll be ready to go with a second Car Wars Sixth Edition campaign once the core game has shipped to project backers. As we said, we want to see the game live beyond the excitement of a successful Kickstarter launch, and bringing you more miniatures and expansions shortly after you receive your copy of the game is just one of the ways in which we will keep the game alive for many years to come.
Note: To receive email notification when the Car Wars project goes live, please follow both the Steve Jackson Games and Warehouse 23 pages on Kickstarter.
-- Phil Reed
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