Now that we've discussed my involvement in the birth, the development, and the art of the game we can finally we talk about one of the most stressful and time consuming sections of the launch of Destined Legends. I feel it's important to take the time to acknowledge this, not only give everyone reading this an overview of what this involves but to possibly demystify the conception that Decobot is a large company. Our team is very small: Ali, Shawn and I are core team, we alone dealt with the development and production of the game and were the only ones handling any of the orders received during or after the Kickstarter campaign.
After a grueling few months in production (of which Ali took full lead), the game arrived in Long Beach, California one day into San Diego Comic Con. As if stress wasn't high enough getting ready for the con, Ali was forced to leave the convention center and rush 2 1/2 hours north to receive the game before the port closed for the day. Then he had to bring 1000 copies each of the game, sidebars, and playboards on another journey to Northern Los Angeles approximately 1 from there and finally drive a car full of everything back to San Diego in time for day 2 of the con. I still remember vividly how physically drained Ali was for the remainder of the con. If it wasn't for his brother helping at the Decobot booth (I was too busy manning my own booth), Ali would have likely collapsed. On top of still having a full time job at Apple, he was the one fully in charge of paying our artists, finding and communicating our products vision to the production company in China, and coordinating our affairs with customs. Ali truly is the unsung hero of making this game happen.
With San Diego Comic Con over, the hope was that we could breath for even a day, but that was not the case. The games were in our hands and it was time to get it out to 303 backers and over 200 pre-orders (both online and from Anime Expo). As we were getting ready to ship these out it had been called to our attention an error had slipped past our tired eyes and made it into the final production of one of the creatures cards, the Manticore. We quickly placed an order for 4,000 new cards to be printed (4 of this card shows up on each Battle Set) and had to wait for them to come in before we could ship a single game. This however did not mean that we twiddled our thumbs in anticipation, instead we began pre-packing and labeling boxes, sorting orders and preparing for the thunderstorm of shipments, order tickets and other unexpected events that would follow.
It's a known fact that we raised $23,000 dollars for our Kickstarter, that sounds quite amazing doesn't it? We were so excited about the fact that we were going to likely have some extra cash to be able to pay for conventions, advertising and use this money other essential things to try to build a business as a result of our successful funding of the game. This however was not the case, and here in lies one of the hardest lessons we had to learn. Things never go as planned and even if you set a sensible budget, when doing something as big as this, you can not plan every aspect of who or what will need money from you at any given time. With a few backers bailing out, taxes removed from our initial earnings, the printing of the Manticore correction card and apology cards explaining how and why we amended a new card, errors in art prints that needed reprinting, miscalculating supplies, and the worst of all the Post Office raising their shipping prices for international shipping rate ( 1/3 of our orders), we exceeded our budget.
I really can not stress how much the shipment of these games really affected our budget. My first book L.A.W.L.S. Vol. 1 weighs between 1-2lb (depending on which edition), and on average and cost between $3-6 dollars to ship domestically. It also cost no more than $10 or so to be shipped internationally. Considering that, plus our calculated research from the Post Offices website we decide on reasonable prices for the games shipment. This however was before two key factors changed. Firstly, we weren't able to get accurate weights of things from china because the game had yet to be assembled. The actual weight per item ended up being much more than we expected. The second factor is what I mentioned before, the Post Office considerably upped their prices to ship all orders, particularly international orders. Just to give you an idea of what it cost to ship out a Genesis Collectors Set (our highest ordered product) here are some numbers: It cost somewhere around $12 to ship domestically and international orders can range anywhere from $25-45. This means that after every 3-5 games we ship we've already spent around $100. It doesn't take long for a couple of those to add up to a grand, and so on. You can see now how we burned through a lot more money than we had expected.
After weighing our options, Ali reluctantly had to take out a business lone to make sure that the remaining orders would be shipped to everyone who had paid for the game. Fortunately this also allows Ali the opportunities to cover other emerging expenses as well as begin the process of developing new projects under the Decobot name! Luckily we can now say that all the games have been shipped and that we've finally been able to breath before what is coming next! I can't talk too much about what we are working on at this moment, but one thing that is actively in the works is the next set of cards for the game! The next series will have original artwork by me and other fantastic artists. With being part of this game from the beginning and now watching the growth of Decobot success, I must say, I can't wait to see where this game and all Ali's future projects go!