I truly hope that you had a great week, maybe you are already in the summer holidays, enjoy it 😊 As announced last week, this is the last weekly update before the summer break. I need some weeks off from writing updates. I’m a little bit tired. It was a huge effort; I hope that you can understand that. I will get back to you in time a few weeks before the launch of our second campaign for the expansion, Darwin’s Choice – Before and After.
First of all, of course, I’d like to briefly give an overview regarding the fulfillment:
EU/Switzerland: Fulfillment has been completed for months. If you haven’t received your package yet, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with an email.
USA/Canada: The packages were sent 3-4 weeks ago. You should all have received a tracking number. If you haven’t received a tracking number and/or your parcel hasn’t arrived yet, please contact me with a mail to email@example.com.
RoW: The packages were sent 2 months ago. If your package hasn’t arrived yet and you haven’t contacted me yet, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NZ/Australia: The packages were shipped last week, each of you should have received a tracking number. If you haven’t received a tracking number, please contact me by email at email@example.com, I have a master excel sheet with all numbers.
Asia: Shipping started last week and will be finished early next week i.e. some backers already have their tracking numbers; the remaining numbers will be sent to you next week. I am in contact with the Fulfillment Center every day. If you have any questions, you can always contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Philippines are a bit special. In these countries our fulfillment center has a hub warehouse, i.e. the packages are sent there together and then sent individually. This has the advantage for these backers that you certainly don’t have to pay any custom 😊 These backers get their tracking number a little later (towards the end of the week) when the packages are shipped individually from within the country.
The Origin of Species Cards (199 CHF pledge level): Last week the last cards arrived 😊 Now everyone really should have received their card. Please contact me if this is not the case.
Then one more information, the remaining copies of Darwin’s Choice in the Canadian Fulfillment Center were donated by us to the BC Children’s Hospital (Vancouver). For the remaining copies in the USA I have already received some good ideas from you and will get in touch with these organizations.
And now to the “exciting” part 😊 our summary of the KS campaign of Darwin’s Choice. I will divide this part into three subparts: positive, negative and improvements for our next KS campaign.
First to the positive stuff 😊 Honestly, there are thousands of things here that I could address. Because the whole campaign went wonderful, we are incredibly proud of our first product/game, the product quality is excellent, Rozenn drawings are just beautiful etc. We’re just super happy how everything went. Sure, we worked hard for this, but we were also extremely lucky how everything went, luck is always part of such a story. Besides that, I would like to emphasize 2 major aspects:
1) The most positive of the whole campaign were you, our backers. We have gotten to know so many great people all over the world through this campaign (With many I talked via comments/personal messages/emails and with some I even skyped). We don’t know most of our backers, and yet they have supported us, written nice comments, and shared their joy with us. Some of our backers went even further, they helped us translate the rule book, answered questions when I was asleep, organized the fulfillment for us, it’s incredible. I really didn’t expect that. Also the mood/spirit in the whole Darwin’s Choice community was simply super friendly, humorous and peaceful. We had 3-4 toxic comments in over 3000 comments (including the updates). This great atmosphere was just extraordinary and gave us every time a boost to work even harder. Many thanks to all of you.
2) In addition, a big positive plus is that we learned a ton through this campaign. This was our first KS campaign and of course we made some mistakes, but from every mistake we learnt. You made it possible for us to develop, produce and ship our own product/game. We had insights into the entire value chain of a product. We now know exactly what it needs to get from an idea to the final product. This know-how is enormously valuable and will help us to improve in the future/for future campaigns. That’s just priceless.
There is only very little that I can add to the “negative” area. It’s definitely “whining on a very high level”. 2 aspects which I noticed as slightly negative; I would still like to address here.
1) BGG: BoardGameGeek is probably the most important platform for board games/card games. Although the platform is more important in the USA than in Europe/RoW, it is probably the most important rating for games worldwide. We are satisfied with the rating of Darwin’s Choice, it’s good. Nevertheless, there are people who gave us very low ratings (1-4), which I really don’t feel justified and such low numbers logically have a strong influence on our rating. Every single of these ratings hurt us a bit, because Darwin’s Choice is like our baby xD We have heard from so many backers that they really like to play Darwin’s Choice and really like the game. Unfortunately, the likelihood of someone giving a negative rating is simply higher than the likelihood of someone giving a positive rating. If you are satisfied, you are satisfied, but if you don’t like something, you want to tell everyone. This is a phenomenon that has already been proven with many scientific studies. It would be truly awesome if some more backers would take the time to give Darwin’s Choice a rating on BGG. That would be super nice and of great help!
2) The only “real” criticism I’ve heard so far is the “high” shipping costs. I may have heard this from 3-4 backers (I know that’s a very low number). I honestly have to say that we didn’t take too much money for shipping from any backer worldwide, i.e. either the shipping costs were exactly right, or we paid a part ourselves. Worldwide shipping of packages is enormously expensive, and no project creator has an interest in taking too much money for shipping. Nobody likes to pay shipping, but it’s a reality. Additionally, you can’t just compare our shipping costs with those of your local post office/with sending something within the country. The games first have to be sent in bulk to the fulfillment centers (sometimes halfway around the world), then the fulfillment center has to be paid (employees, packaging material, boxes, storage costs…) and then there is the individual shipping (most of it tracked, which also rises the costs). You can 100% trust me/the whole team that we will only charge as much for shipping (of future campaigns) as we need.
Finally, I would like to mention some aspects that we want to improve in the future 🙂 Because as I wrote, we learned a lot last year. It’s impossible to list all the things we will adjust for future campaigns, because there are a ton of them and most of these adjustments are also small internal changes, e.g. we will produce our future prototypes ourselves, Gifs/3D renderings will be done by Elio Inhouse, we’ll do the filming ourselves from now on, in the next campaign we’ll add more questions to the FAQ section, etc. But there are also some changes that are important for you, because you will see the difference directly 😊 Our 3 main changes are the following:
1. With the start of the new campaign I will write a short summary above each weekly update. So, all backers should see the most important things at a glance and the important things don’t get lost in the text.
2. Our second campaign will include more exclusive content i.e. more exclusive cards. During the campaign we noticed that this is important for many backers and we want to meet this need in the future. You deserve to receive a special Kickstarter version. For me as a backer, exclusive content has never been important, but since a majority wants it, we will do it of course.
3. The first backers received their games in March, as promised. However, most backers received their games in April/May/June and others will received their games now, in July. It’s impossible for all backers to receive their games at the same time, i.e. Switzerland and New Zealand will never get their games at the same time, but we can get better. Time was wasted mainly with the “Bulk Shipping” to the Fulfillment Centers (about 1 month was “lost”). Ludopackt, who organized the bulk shipping, did not do an optimal job here (the organization took too long, the communication was suboptimal, and the pallets were badly packed, so many games arrived damaged at the warehouses). Quarter Master Logistics, who have done an excellent job with fulfillment in the USA, will probably organize this in the future. With Quarter Master Logistics we are generally highly satisfied, this is the fulfillment partner of our dreams XD Starlit Citadel have also worked well and so far it seems that VFI Asia and Aetherworks are also doing a good job. In Europe we will also be looking for a new partner for future fulfillment, which was organized by Ludopackt for this campaign. We have very high demands on ourselves and on our partners and these have not been met (e.g. packaging, cooperation with DPD, invoice clarity, etc…). As you can see, we always take your feedback seriously and include it in our decision-making process! That’s why your feedback is always very welcome. We hope that with these changes we can bring you future games even faster and safer.
That’s it with my/our summary about the Kickstarter campaign of Darwin’s Choice 😊 Now I would love to hear your feedback, what did you like, what did you not like and what can we do better for the next time? Any constructive feedback is truly welcome and will help us enormously for our future development.
One more wish at the end, could every reader of this update press the “Like” button? 😊 I would be very interested to know how many backers have held out so far and are still reading my updates. Thanks a lot!
Now I simply wish you a wonderful summertime, we’ll read each other again in autumn! Thanks again for everything you made for us, you are amazing!
With best regards from the whole team,
Marc, Elio and Samuel