Red Markets got nominated for an Ennie! In the category of BEST GAME, no less.
Never in a million years would I have thought my first RPG would get nominated for an Ennie, not to mention in a year with so many great games as competition. For the whole RM team, this is an honor beyond our wildest expectations. But it’s an honor for the backers as well. Without your generous support, Red Markets wouldn’t even exist: our big beautiful book owes a lot to this community. Thank you so much.
While I can’t ask more than that, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that voting for the Ennies is open. If you are kind enough to want to throw even more support our way, the opportunity is but a few clicks away.
If you’re a fan of Hebanon Games, you know that I’ve been working on some lighter fare as a palette cleanser. It’s a board game that has really pushed my design chops, and it’s helped me stay fresh on RPG work. Well, Party Fowl: The Game of Drunk Ducks has arrived on Kickstarter. If you like Hebanon Games and would like to see our offerings expand, this a great way to do it and score a sweet board game in the process.
The printing process has gone well. I’ve received and approved the F&G proofs. “Folded and Gathered” proofs are the last step before seeing a finished project. The page quality and color is exactly as it will appear in the book, and the pages are cut to the dimensions of the final product. All that remains is to sew the signatures (the packets of pages) into the binding of the hardbacks and paperbacks. You can see what the F&Gs look like below.
I’ve already confirmed shipping addresses and timetables with both Kixto and IPR. They are both ready to receive pallets. The dice have already been shipped to site, and international dice already have their VAT paid. We’re just waiting on Asia Pacific to finish the binding, load up the pallets, and send the books on their way.
Sept. 2nd Deadline
We are on pace for the September 2nd deadline. Here are some things to note.
If you do not complete your survey and pay shipping through BackerKit by September 2nd, you will not receive physical rewards. The need to pay shipping fees through BackerKit was communicated during the Kickstarter campaign and subsequent updates. Hebanon Games has neither the money, time, inclination, nor responsibility to debate, renegotiate, or acquiesce on the issue of shipping fees. The majority of backers have already filled out surveys and prepared for the charges (thank you!). Those that do not pay their shipping fees by the September 2nd deadline will not receive a book; their books will be resold to the general public once Red Markets goes live on IPR. This information is being mirrored on our BackerKit account, the Red Markets websites, and the author’s personal accounts; “I didn’t hear about it” will not be accepted as an excuse.
If you cannot be charged through BackerKit on September 2nd, you will not receive physical rewards. Hebanon Games is not responsible for the individual finances of backers; the funds for shipping fees, add-ons, and pre-orders need to be made available September 2nd. Errors in charging cards by BackerKit and/or Stripe will be dealt with by the publisher and through those services. Errors in charging cards that result from a failure to enter the correct card number are the responsibility of the backer. Efforts will be made to help in instances where mistakes were made in good faith, but the book’s shipment will not be delayed by individual billing issues. Hebanon Games will not be paying to ship rewards in instances where cards could no be charged.
Add-ons and preorders will no longer be available September 2nd. All physical add-ons and pre-orders (i.e. books) will be shipped along with original backer rewards (i.e. books and occasionally dice). Additional copies of Red Markets and preorder copies for those who missed the Kickstarter will not be available through BackerKit after Sept. 2nd. From that point forward, physical copies must be purchased through Indie Press Revolution and other licensed distributors. If you have friends that still wish to preorder the book before Sept. 2nd, please direct them to the following link: https://red-markets.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders
Please ensure your address, credit card information, phone number, and email address are all updated in BackerKit (NOT Kickstarter) before September 2nd. This information is of vital importance to the delivery of your goods. The need for an address is obvious, as is the means of paying shipping fees. The contact information is necessary in case fulfillment services need to contact you to resolve problems.
Again, CHECK THE FOLLOWING ON BACKERKIT
Credit Card Info
Finally, Digital awards will be distributed electronically through BackerKit as they become available. I will resume my typical progress updates once the shipping of physical rewards is completed and out of the way.
That’s everything people need to know about the upcoming deadline. For those interested in more details, here’s what I can tell you.
September 2nd: Backerkit surveys are locked, credit/debit cards are charged, and preorders/addons shut down
September 5th: Hebanon Games pays shipping fees to the printer, and the pallets exit China headed towards their respective warehouses.
Approx. 1-2 weeks: Pallets of books arrive in the USA and UK.
Soon After: I transfer the shipping/handling/packaging fees collected from BackerKit to the fulfillment services. Red Markets goes on sale through IPR.
Upon Payment: Fulfillment services begin shipping backer rewards, add-ons, preorders, and first sales to customers.
TBD: Books and/or dice arrive at the whim of your national postal services.
In Future: Funds collected from the Backerkit tipjar, preorders, add-ons, and sales will go towards a new round of contracts for the layout, art, and writing of stretch goal digital supplements.
If there are additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comments or via direct message. I can be found on twitter @HebanonGCal. Don’t forget to listen to my podcast The Mixed Six, and the many Red Markets actual plays over at RPPR (with another campaign in progress).
Again, thank you for all your attention and support. Here’s hoping we’ll all have books very soon!
Please forgive the appearance. The guy I paid for design and hosting made the website, took my money, promptly unplugged everything, and ran. I’ve had to get by with what I can figure out for myself, but at least the game has a digital home outside of KS now.
For a more in-depth update, continue on.
I meant to delay publishing this update for a few days…nearly a month ago. Sadly, the news I was hoping for is still delayed, but this is the phase of the process where we find ourselves. I’ve got to leave town for a wedding in a few days. I can’t stand to leave the enclave in suspense any longer, so I’ll drop what news I have.
This might lead to more frequent updates in the next few weeks. I know I hate having my email flooded with too much Kickstarter ephemera, but I don’t think our once-a-month rule is going to cut it in the short term. Before I get to why, I beg you to keep an eye out for Red Marketsin your inbox for the remainder of summer. I promise you each update will be important, even if one comes a few days after another.
The Book Itself
First off, it’s bigger than I thought, even planning for my tendency towards over-writing. We planned originally for 400 pages, then I figured I’d be safe and budget for 450. When the final pages came in…it was actually over 500.
Cutting that much content from the pages would have two effects. Firstly, it would deny readers content promised in the Kickstarter. Secondly, redoing the left-right alignment of all the pages after multiple chapters had been pulled out would have added months to the production time. More time would have been added as we waited for entirely new print quotes. And none of these delays would account for the nearly two months it will take for the books to sail from Hong Kong to the distributor.
I don’t want to be late, so I didn’t cut anything. It’s just a big-ass book now.
Red Markets is 496 pages long. We were lucky enough to be overfunded in the Kickstarter thanks to the generosity of backers like you. It’s enough that I can cover the additional print costs. Rather than split the volume up into three different books (as is the fashion of late) or delay even further by cutting again, we’re just moving ahead.
It’s not a smart business move, retail speaking, but the core Red Markets book can get you playing in a couple hours and keep you playing for years. It’s got enough advanced rules variants and setting generators to fill two supplement books. I always wanted to make a big-ass game with staying power. If this isn’t it, no one can say I failed for lack of trying.
So the text is done. All art is placed and finished. I’ve laid down a deposit with our printer (Asian Pacific International), and I’m currently in my second round of proofs.
I’m not releasing PDF yet for multiple reasons. The first is that I can’t promise a PDF released today will be the same book that shows up in print. Print specifications for big companies are extremely unique, specific, and specialized. We’ve already had to make pretty drastic changes to things like art placement and margins; I can’t say it won’t happen again as the proofing process continues. I don’t want to release a PDF that ends up with a completely different Table of Contents and Index than the print version.
The second issue is a bit more complex. I’ve received hundreds of emails from people that missed the Kickstarter and would like to preorder. That’s absolutely great! Frankly, we need the money. Since the page number is beyond expectations, the print cost is overbudget, and that’s cutting into the stretch goal budget. It’s nothing that a hundred of the pre-ordered hardbacks can’t make up for; hell, less than half of that would get us back on track with the stretch goal budget. With all the people that have contacted me asking for a copy, I’m confident spending more on the print cost.
However, the moment I release the PDF to backers, it WILL be pirated. This is not a personal rebuke to our wonderful backers; it is a fact of living on the Internet. The beta was released for a grand total of three days before I found it on a google search. Piracy is an inevitability. It’s the price of doing business in the digital age: one that must be continually paid so long as the book is on sale.
If the pirated PDF harms the preorders people keep emailing me about, it’s going to harm the brand in its infancy and slow down the production of stretch goals. I don’t want that to happen, so the PDF release needs to be delayed a few more weeks. I freely admit this is a profit-motivated business move. In my defense, I offer that I don’t make many of those, and this one is made out of my dedication to providing the best service to the backers that made Red Markets possible.
The final reason I’m delaying the PDF release is that BackerKit isn’t ready. We know the dimensions of the book and weight, both with and without the dice. The dice are prepackaged and ready to throw into a box once the books arrive stateside. I’ve got distribution and Kickstarter fulfillment under contract.
BUT (there’s a lot of those, these days) the book is going to ship to over 50 countries for Kickstarter backers alone. That doesn’t even take into account international pre-orders that take place after the Kickstarter. It takes a long time to calculate the cheapest shipping prices internationally for each individual nation. Until I get the estimate of shipping costs, I can’t program BackerKit to charge backers. If I can’t charge shipping costs accurately, I can’t pay to get the book into people’s hands.
As such, the BackerKit is waiting on the quote. I’m going to launch it the very second the shipping tables can be built, but the timing on that is out of my hands. Kind of like the timing of receiving proofs, or shipping the book, or …
The Least Fun Stage
Publishing a big book always includes a lot of hurry up and wait. There are parts I’m personally able to influence (writing, contracting, etc), but the majority remains in the hands of other people. Project management can do a lot to mitigate this issue, which is why we assembled the books in rotating sections rather completing one stage at a time (by far the easier method). Hiring good people is another controlling factor, and I’m one of the luckiest people ever alive it comes to talented and reliable editors, writers, graphic designers, and artists.
But unless you’re big enough to run your own printing press and warehouse, there comes a time when the process almost entirely leaves your hands. This is that time. I’m confident I’ve picked good service providers, but they ship and print stuff everyday for thousands of clients. They’re going to get to Red Markets when they can, and we all have to accept that it’s done when it’s done.
Regarding the LifeLines forums: I don’t want our great communities on G+, Facebook, and Reddit to dry up, but the dedicated forums are a great way for us to curate all the great ideas the communities have had over the last year. It also has a dedicated in-character board where the inspiration shared by our oh-so-creative Takers can be turned into a living game document! I’ve never seen a forum where half of it exists to discuss the game and half of it exists IN the game. I’m super excited to see how it works out.
The website also has a resources page where we can collect all the character sheets, cheat sheets, and other peripheral handouts that make the game easier to play. I’m far more excited about our resources page than any promotional aspect of the site. I hope it’s as useful to all the players as it is to me.
I wish both sites looked more slick, but I have to admit I got scammed on the website. Rather than waste more money on uncertain results, I’ve decided to make do with what I can hack together myself. I hope you like it.
I may have another important update an hour from now…or in a month. I can’t really tell. Thank you for your patience and support for Red Markets. Please keep an eye on your inbox in the coming weeks. As always, you can read me on @HebanonGCal. You can hear me on RPPRand The Mixed Six. And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.
It’s not as pretty as I’d like, but that’s what you get when the web designer you paid takes the money and runs. It’s the best we can do for now. I suppose it’s fitting for Red Markets to make-do in such humble digs for now.
This is the new home of Red Markets. I’ll be duplicating my Kickstarter updates here. It’s also where you can find track out links to the Backerkit pre-orders and IPR store when the time comes
Perhaps most importantly, we now have a dedicated resources page where you can grab all sorts of useful stuff like game handouts, character creators, and inventory lists. And if that’s not enough, LifeLines is up! Get on there and join the Carrion Economy!