Well, it’s been quite the rollercoaster over here the last few weeks. We dropped the PDF of the core rules, I attended a honest to goodness real convention (PAX Unplugged), we launched our Discord, dropped a new video, released our rules light PDF and the recipes and opened our webstore. But there’s larger news going on behind the scenes and I wanted to wait to drop it all to you until we had some kind of next steps and resolution. Let’s start with:
When we began this journey, our goal was to print our book in North America and after some recommendations, we settled in on a relationship with Bang, a subdivision of Sheridan/CJK Group. Throughout the build up to the Kickstarter and our unexpected success, we continually worked on revising our estimates with them and keeping our communication flowing. Of course, these estimates went up as page counts went up, paper costs went up, and employee availability fell. A few months ago we had to adjust the planned retail costs of the book from $50 to $60. You all received the PDF of the game on 12/2. But prior to that on 11/23, we delivered final printing files to Bang. At that point they’d given us a 12-13 week production estimate overall but I suspected that not much would get done during the year end/holiday period. That put us in the March/April time period for delivering physical books to all you backers.
Sadly, on the day we delivered you all your PDFs, I was contacted by my rep at Bang and given unexpected and awful news. They chose this point in the process to tell me that the 12-13 week timeline wasn’t accurate. Instead it was going to be at least 8 months. That would potentially mean that it might be the end of next year for physical delivery to backers. Maybe longer.
Needless to say I was…angry. Beyond that, I no longer had any faith in Bang, and I certainly didn’t feel safe giving a massive portion of our funding capital to them. This has meant that over the last few weeks, much of my enjoyment of the release of the PDF has been tainted by this ugly turn of events and a scramble to find a new printer.
Without getting into ridiculously long (and frankly boring) details, or worse, providing you with spreadsheets, this also has had a domino effect on upcoming future Coyote & Crow projects. Our original plan had been to get you all an estimated ship date on physical books, followed by an announcement of our next Kickstarter, which would have launched in January with hopeful fulfillment of that Kickstarter shortly after the physical core rulebook delivered. For now, those plans are cancelled.
But that brings me around to a larger announcement. Recently, Kickstarter made a pretty big statement: https://www.kickstarter.com/articles/the-future-of-crowdfunding-creative-projects and since then, there’s been a lot of discussion on the potential environmental and fiscal impacts and around blockchain in general. You can read some of the initial reactions here: https://www.dicebreaker.com/companies/kickstarter/news/kickstarter-blockchain-crypto-reaction-designers-publishers
We’re a fledgling publisher, working with many marginalized creators in an industry that is already pretty niche to begin with. Kickstarter is, by default, is going to give our projects the most exposure. However a critical part of our mission statement is to not only pursue environmentally friendly practices when we can, but to lead the way whenever possible. While there is room for discussion about whether blockchain technology is something that can evolve into something both fiscally secure and safe for the environment, we are not at that stage. Nothing Kickstarter has said publicly has clarified the specifics of how they are going to proceed, but based on the information they’ve provided, we’ve decided to take specific action. Coyote & Crow LLC will no longer use Kickstarter for future crowdfunding projects. Where we go next will be decided over the upcoming months.
Moving on, we’re now facing a massive cost hike from our new printer. One so huge, that we’re going to have to raise the retail price of the book yet again, just to help offset these costs. In fact, this printing cost increase (just over a 30% total cost increase) is so massive that, if we’d not had the generous funding we originally had from all of you, it might have crippled the whole project. Instead, we’re now looking at a $70 retail cost of the core rulebook. This does not affect backers or their pledges or pre-orders in any way. We are not asking (nor accepting) further pledge money. This only affects the game at a retail level. But let’s all bring this around to the Good.
We’ve got quite a bit of good news to go around. So let’s jump into it. Obviously, the first bit of good news is, we have a new printer! The folks at Taylor/Balfour were great at stepping up on short notice and working with me to get things moving. They’ve been communicative and transparent and addressed my concerns to the best of their ability. Their prices, while higher, are at least partially reflective of the current paper scarcity that everyone is dealing with. But the other thing to highlight is that they are estimating they can ship books from their facility by March 11th! While this is only an estimate and does not include shipping time to our warehouse in Atlanta, nor receiving and organizational time afterward, nor subsequent shipping to you from our warehouse, it does mean that you’re likely to get your books before this summer, maybe even as soon as April! I’ll fill you all in as things morph, but to me, this was the only real ray of sunshine in the current situation.
This change has also given us pause to rethink our next crowdfunding project. We’ll have more official announcements soon, but we’re radically reorganizing our goals and plans for that. Beyond our next crowdfunding project we have a number of other things we can confirm we’re working on to various degrees:
- Custom dice set for the RPG
- Story Guide Screen for the RPG
- Two tabletop games set in the Coyote & Crow universe
- A novel set in the Coyote & Crow universe
- A number of one-shot Stories for the RPG to help new Story Guides acclimate to our setting
- Lots of other things that we can’t confirm quite yet
Also, this delay in production and getting files to our new partner is allowing us to integrate and correct the typos, errors or inconsistencies in the initial digital release of the core rulebook that so many of you have thoughtfully pointed out. Once we have those completed and we have files off to the printer, we’ll look at sending backers a 1.01 version of the PDF with those updated changes.
We’ve received a couple of early reviews! Check out some of these kind words on our work:
A Tribe Called Geek: https://atribecalledgeek.com/coyote-and-crow-atcg-game-review/
If you want to support us further, please point people to our webstore: https://shop.coyoteandcrow.net/
And if you are or know a graphic designer looking for work, we’re hiring! Please check our blog post for more: https://coyoteandcrow.net/2021/05/09/coyote-crow-creative-opportunities/
Lastly, don’t forget our Discord and YouTube channels:
That’s all for now. Thanks for taking this journey with us. We’ll see you in the new year!
Be safe, be kind, mask up, get that booster.
ConnorCoyote And Crow News ||