Landfall! I've been informed that the shipment of games has reached port in the U.K. and has cleared customs. Yay! Now I'm just waiting for the local shipping company to pick the games up from the port and move them to the warehouse.
As with everything else in this process, the freight shipping has taken longer than I expected. So far it's not too bad of a delay, but it's still frustrating. The games went onto the boat and shipped out at the beginning of October, and it's the beginning of December now. I was given a total shipping estimate of two months, so I expected that the games would have been at the warehouse and going through inventory by now. However it seems like I'm still a few days short of that. Meh.
I'm still hoping for December delivery, but as it stands now I'm questioning if that's going to happen. I haven't given up on it yet, but the holiday shipping rush has started and I have a lot of competition for shipping bandwidth. I'm keeping my fingers crossed; I could still get lucky.
Oh, yeah, and VAT import taxes hurt! That was a couple thousand dollars that I wasn't expecting to spend. While using GamesQuest for my fulfillment was definitely cheaper on paper, I wasn't told about how bad the taxes would be. I'm going to have to rethink how I do this the next time around. Maybe doing a split shipment, sending half of the games there and half to the U.S., would work better.
So, I'm having trouble with Suicidal Cabbages. I've been working on this game for almost two years now, and while the rules have come along fairly well, the game is still missing something. I've had that vague feeling pretty much every step of the way, that the game as it stands now is mediocre, like playing it invokes a 'meh' feeling. It's just an instinct, really, hard to put a finger on. I've gotten plenty of good feedback about the game, but some negative too. I think it's time to put it on the shelf for a while, come back to it later after I've had a flash of inspiration or something.
In it's place, I'm currently working on a new game. It's doesn't have a real name yet, but at the moment I'm calling it 'Islands'. It's basically an area control game, but it doesn't have a game board. Instead, the game's map is a group of randomly-chosen cards laid out in a row in the center of the play area, where each card has a location shown on it. Each player plays several 'troop' cards with both locations and strength values printed on them. The troop cards are played into splayed stacks such that only the top card is completely visible, while the location is obscured but the strength is visible for cards underneath. This signifies that the locations for the cards underneath don't matter; the 'army' is at the location indicated on the top card.
But here's the catch: the cards are played face-down! All players know how large a stack is, but not it's location or exact strength. To counter this, each player gets one 'scout' action each turn, which lets them flip up one card owned by an opponent. Typically players will flip up the top card of stacks, to know where an army is located, but not all of the cards will be turned up by the end of the game. This makes it a hidden information area control game. I personally don't know of any other games out there that use this particular combination of mechanics, although I doubt I'm the first person with this idea.
So far I've been through three playtest cycles of this new game. The feedback has been strongly positive. Frighteningly so, in fact; I didn't expect it to come together this quickly. With a huge amount of luck, I might actually be able to launch my Islands game next year. (Of course, it won't be called that. It does need some cleaning up, not to mention a theme and artwork, but so far I seem to have a good foundation.)
So far, so good, I guess. The games are moving along, and I have a second project chugging along with haste. Plus, I still have the Manaforge expansion waiting on the back-burner, bubbling with ideas.