Seize the Bean - A Light-Hearted Deck Builder about Berlin!

Created by Quality Beast

Thematic deck builder with brutal resource management, card drafting, set collection, engine building, modular setup & wild components!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Timeline Update, Art Preview & First Store Pick-Ups
about 1 year ago – Tue, Oct 02, 2018 at 01:59:44 AM

Bad news gang, we absolutely hate to do this but we’re nothing if not transparent: we have to announce another production delay. This is really hard for us to say, as we really do not want to let you all down. So we’ll start this update with some whys and wherefores, before hitting on some more positive news.

It appears that a safe delivery date of Seize the Bean is now going to be mid-July, 2019. We can imagine how annoying and worrisome that can be to read. We are neither proud nor pleased with this at all but we promise that we are working to the best of our abilities to deliver you this game! The next few sections below will explain the delays.

The biggest issue we’ve been facing, despite our extremely detailed calculation and Mario’s unbreakable work ethic, is our optimism. Getting hundreds of unique, high quality and fun card illustrations is just taking longer than we planned. We won’t be done with art until October 15th. And this is 1.5 months later than our calculated date of September 1st. (We waited to announce this until we were able to align with our manufacturer over the last two weeks.) What we can promise is that every single piece of art, every single work day is planned out right now so we are confident there is no miscalculation this time. Here’s the schedule for this last month of art:

  • Week 1, Sept. 17th - 21st: Finishing the last Style Upgrade cards (this is done!)
  • Weekend 1, Sept. 22nd - 23rd: Sticker sheets (this is done!)
  • Week 2, Sept. 24th - 28th: Working on Customer cards (this is done!)
  • Weekend 2, Sept. 29th - 30th: Finishing the last of the Customer cards (this is done!)
  • Week 3, Oct. 1st - 5th: Finishing the Founder cards (in-progress!)
  • Weekend 3, Oct. 6th - 7th: Final play mat artwork, non-art cards (player aids, etc) & tokens
  • Week 4, Oct. 8th - 12th: Completion of player boards & rulebook style guide
  • Weekend 4, Oct. 13th - 14th: Completion of box art for base game and expansion

There will be a one-day buffer on Monday, October 15th but after that Mario will head into the hospital for eyeball surgery (unrelated to the demands of Seize the Bean art creation!). This means that we have to be done with art by then. So far, he has been pouring every bit of energy into the game and it shows in the artwork. As of today we can say we’re on schedule to begin design verification on October 15th.

Besides general art delays, we were about 1 month late on delivering our new spec sheet. Unfortunately, due to the bandwidth of our team, there was no way to handle this and make sure the rest of our tasks were completed, so we had to prioritize our work directly on the game over this. It was a hard decision but not one we regret, as we need to get the spec sheet right to ensure the resin components come out as we’ve been planning. And if you recall our manufacturer's previous attempt at mirroring our 3D printer sugar cubes, you can see the pay-off of taking our time with the factory snapshot below:

Boom! This is just a quick snap from the factory floor but the new sugar cube samples are looking great!
Boom! This is just a quick snap from the factory floor but the new sugar cube samples are looking great!

As you can see above, the fruits of our labor are really starting to show and we are very excited to get new samples in the mail! Despite the cool news of the sugar cubes, this late spec sheet changes our manufacturer’s initial estimate of an 8 week mass production time to a 12 week mass production time. And thus, adds another 1 month to our timeline.

We shared a spec sheet screenshot in Update #24 but here's a look at another important page. Above you can see the new design of the resource and player sacks that everyone has been asking about...
We shared a spec sheet screenshot in Update #24 but here's a look at another important page. Above you can see the new design of the resource and player sacks that everyone has been asking about...
...and a following page, detailing the updates to the rest of the Snack Pack and some changes to the First Player Tokens.
...and a following page, detailing the updates to the rest of the Snack Pack and some changes to the First Player Tokens.

The good news here is that the spec sheet is in (as noted in our last update) and our manufacturer is busy at work on the next round of resin pieces, barista meeples, burlap sacks and play mat samples. We do not have an exact delivery date from them but we should be receiving these by the end of October.

Because of these changes in our timeline, it makes it impossible to avoid Chinese New Year, and puts us into manufacturing limbo for a month as factories won’t be running for most of February. We were well aware of this holiday, but our plan had been to see manufacturing away before the holiday. We need to eat our own words in response to backer Kawarazu, who in a comment on Update #21 pointed out the dangers of running into Chinese New Year. It’s a big shame that this overlap exists, but it does, and we just need to deal with it, as it adds another month onto our timeline.

Wrapping all of those delays into one summary, here is our new timeline for you to visually consume:

Our new timeline for production and delivery.
Our new timeline for production and delivery.

While all the delays are a drag (to put it lightly), we want to keep everyone’s spirits up and to show that – while we’re not doing everything right – we are making progress, and the game is going to look amazing when you do get it! Therefore, we’d like to begin sharing, day-by-day, bits and pieces of Mario’s fantastic artwork. We think this will help to keep us connected, to let you know we haven’t gone anywhere, and also to share with you the vast amount of work and love being poured into this game. (And it may help you all to better understand the time it takes to finish a game of this size.)

Here's a collage of some of our favorite recent artwork.  From left to right: BGG's own Ernie, as a Customer Card, a Style Upgrade for the Happy Families group, and a Meeple Cake Pantry Upgrade!
Here's a collage of some of our favorite recent artwork. From left to right: BGG's own Ernie, as a Customer Card, a Style Upgrade for the Happy Families group, and a Meeple Cake Pantry Upgrade!

In order to not spam everyone with super frequent or giant updates (as we know our updates are very long already!), we’ll be posting art every day or two on a series of BGG forum posts. Please click here to find out more!

Click this image to jump over to the Art Status & Preview Thread at BGG!
Click this image to jump over to the Art Status & Preview Thread at BGG!

Finally, we can start to supply some good news for you all! We’ve been incredibly slow to get there, but we’re happy to announce the first three (of hopefully many more) stores that have agreed to offer their location as a local pick-up. The following locations have already been added to BackerKit:

Würfel & Zucker board game café in Hamburg, Thursday Game Night @ RuDi's in Berlin, and Worlds' End Comics & Games in Gent, Belgium!
Würfel & Zucker board game café in Hamburg, Thursday Game Night @ RuDi's in Berlin, and Worlds' End Comics & Games in Gent, Belgium!

In order to provide transparency on our process (and also hopefully slow down the absolutely endless stream of questions about local pick-ups) we’ve setup an entry regarding local pick-ups as a part of our Seize the Bean Kickstarter FAQ on BGG. There you can see the current status and we’ll update this every time we add a new shop to BackerKit.

We realize this is not the update you wanted to read. And we know that due to this second and very-large delay some of you may become quite skeptical. Rest assured we are well aware that we have to prove ourselves to you all! We are dedicated to do this and we simply want to say thank you for any and all understanding you can give us. We are not perfect and as this is our first Kickstarter, we have made some mistakes. But we are learning from them and we are honored to have your support and your continued trust along the way. We hope you stick with us and stay excited, because when the games do arrive, we think you’ll be very happy!

Until next update, everyone!

Art Progress, New Spec Sheets & Store Pick-ups!
about 1 year ago – Sat, Sep 01, 2018 at 01:51:54 AM

What an August! We hope everyone has had a great time during the Summer (it's been hot in Berlin!) – It’s always the busiest for us because of the dense event season it brings. And while we travel a lot, we don’t let that get in the way of our primary focus on making great games though, so we have some progress updates to share.

We are happy to report that currently we have:

  • 85% of the Customer Card artwork completed (this hasn't changed because we’ve focused almost entirely on upgrade cards the last month)
  • 100% of the Pantry Upgrade artwork completed
  • 77% of the Style Upgrade artwork completed
  • In total we are approximately 88% done with all cards for the game!

Keep in mind that as we finish the artwork, it’s not only visuals that we’re completing, because each card’s art is inspired and directed by its flavor text. With all that flavor text completed, our translators can begin preparing the non-English language files for print as well. This is necessary for production (since all games are being made together, using what is called a "plate change") but as a bonus this will also help us to provide the final print and play files in multiple languages.

In our next update we’ll give a more updated view of the overall timeline in general, but it appears that our estimate on card art was quite accurate, perhaps off by a week or two at the most (our previous estimates did have some minor margins built in, so we'll be crunching the numbers again to see if they can swallow the art time as planned).

Many backers have been asking (quite urgently too, which we take as a generally good sign, though we also take very seriously, as we do not want to let any backers down!) for updated photos of the resin pieces and add-ons. It’s important to understand we’ve been more focused on making sure the art and text is completed for the next stages of file prep for production than we have been with getting updated spec sheets to our manufacturer. This in turn directly slows down the rate at which we get updated samples. This is not because we don’t deem samples and component progress important, it is simply a matter of resource delegation. As an independent publisher, this is very important to do, as the creation of this game is very much a marathon, not a sprint!

With that said, we’re very happy to share that we’ve completed the updated spec sheets for the base game. There are still a few minor tweaks, but the sizing and visual descriptions of all the base game pieces are vastly improved which should help us get a better second round of factory samples, and we'll be sending these off to our manufacturer over the weekend (yup, that's right, all of you backers are seeing the spec sheet updates even before our manufacturers).

Just a preview for now. If backers are interested we'd be happy to share full spec sheets later!
Just a preview for now. If backers are interested we'd be happy to share full spec sheets later!

For those wondering where the expansion and add-on spec sheets are, don’t fret! They are coming just around the corner. We estimate to have the components not pictured above (such as the snack pack, resources bags and player sacks) done and off to our manufacturer next week. Once we receive an estimate from them on the turn around time for the second round of samples we’ll let all of you know promptly (instead of waiting a month to drop another large update). Meanwhile, thank you for your patience and understanding, we know the wait is difficult, and we promise: we’re dying to see the end result just as much as the rest of you!

Yes, it’s true. We do have a confirmation from BackerKit that there is a way they can implement store pick-ups into the pledge manager. In short, their solution is that we can add a new “add-on item” to the pledge manager labeled something like “Pick-Up Option” which will have different “variants”, each of which provide the name and region of the pick-up location (these will generally be retail stores). What’s nice is that we can add stores in one-by-one, and send out short, brief updates informing everyone once a store (or set of stores) has been added. Please have patience with us as we begin to add stores! Now that the hardest part is done (getting things sorted with BackerKit) the rest should go quite smoothly.

Also, please beware: after selecting this soon-to-appear option, your cart may still show a shipping price, but BackerKit assures us there is a back-end “chore” (as they called it) that they can do to make sure all of the people who have selected the pick-up option won’t be charged (or will be refunded) the cost of their shipping. We'll supply more explicit details on this in the next update when we announce the first stores.

Don’t get too excited: Seize the Bean will definitely not be available for pick up at Essen. However, some items may be! Right now we are working out the logistics of this possibility with our amazing event manager, Kerstin (who was also a huge help on Seize the Bean when she was previously wearing the hat of a developer too!). If things seem not too complicated we’re inclined to allow those of you who attend Essen to pick-up whatever items we can provide you with there, and help lower your shipping by removing those items’ added shipping amount (if any) from your total. Even if your shipping isn't adjusted by these, you'd at least get to grab them earlier!

(Please note that this option has not fully been discussed with BackerKit yet, though we can’t see why it won’t be possible, as it's simply a variation of the store pick-up option they've already provided us. The main issue is that it just may be too much work to pull off. We'll report back as soon as we know for sure!)

As promised we’ve also been getting other tasks out of the way such as completing any production we can with our additional manufacturers. This includes the milk carton deck boxes and the Cubee plushie, both of which are in production now and we’re attempting to have delivered in time for SPIEL (though this is still yet to be 100% confirmed, due to how tight the shipping estimates are currently). Regardless, have a peek below at a preview of the final deck box samples, their packaging, and the current state of the plushie samples!

Photo of both final deck box samples. We think they came out great!
Photo of both final deck box samples. We think they came out great!
We've found the material and print quality to be as promised, matching our expectations.
We've found the material and print quality to be as promised, matching our expectations.
We also absolutely love the functional and fun-factor of the hidden meeple compartment in the lid! (Note: meeples sold separately.)
We also absolutely love the functional and fun-factor of the hidden meeple compartment in the lid! (Note: meeples sold separately.)
Take a look at this preview of the final deck box packaging. We really like what Mario did with it!
Take a look at this preview of the final deck box packaging. We really like what Mario did with it!
Here you see the actual, photographed plushie sample on the left, and the fixed photoshop rendering (by Mario) on the right.
Here you see the actual, photographed plushie sample on the left, and the fixed photoshop rendering (by Mario) on the right.
Some more fun (and super geeky) details for the manufacturer to fix the head...
Some more fun (and super geeky) details for the manufacturer to fix the head...
Now for a side view, again depicting the actual, photographed plushie sample on the left with our updated rendering (with fixes) on the right.
Now for a side view, again depicting the actual, photographed plushie sample on the left with our updated rendering (with fixes) on the right.
And lastly, some more final notes, further letting you all into the production process!
And lastly, some more final notes, further letting you all into the production process!

Hope you've enjoyed these images and they not only help you to rekindle some of your excitement but also share with you just how much work goes into this process and further assure you that we are indeed taking the entire production of all the items related to this campaign seriously.

That’s it for today! Thanks so much to you all for your continued trust in us and patience as push towards a high quality, and truly exceptional finished product.

PnP Update, German Vast & Berlin Con
about 1 year ago – Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 12:50:02 AM

Hello backers! August is almost upon us which means, with another month under our belt, we’re getting closer to the end of the art for Seize the Bean. Let’s go through some updates and catch you all up-to-speed.

Time and time again we have tried to hit bi-weekly updates and failed. While some backers suggest this isn’t a big deal we completely understand how it can let others down, send the wrong message or even just fizzle out excitement. We are big believers in learning from mistakes and also not fighting against the flow, so we’ve decided to follow a new schedule of monthly updates from now on. Hopefully this will set a more realistic expectation for everyone. (Also, for the few folks who were asking for less updates, this should strike a decent compromise.) In-between those updates we’ll keep posting in the comments area of the Kickstarter page for those of you who want more frequent interaction. (And of course, if we have urgent news to share, we’ll do so without waiting!)

We are happy to be releasing today an update to the print and play (PnP). Many have asked if we’ll update the PnP in segments (which was our original plan) and a time for that may come but due to lack of resources and also due to significant card changes (such as adding art to all the upgrades) we are releasing the whole PnP again.

Click the image to jump to the new PnP!
Click the image to jump to the new PnP!

The changes in v3.12.0 are:

  • Two new Customer Groups: Unemployed Expats and Starving Artists
  • Nearly full-art on all cards (only a handful missing)
  • Nearly final flavor text / card names
  • All card data (the effects and costs) final (with potential tweaks for balancing between now and production)

Give it a download and let us know what you think! And as for art, here’s where we’re at with cards:

  • Customer Cards = 85% done (boardgame media, quality beast and a few KS backers are missing)
  • Pantry Upgrade Cards = 77% done
  • Style Upgrade Cards = 50% done

It’s important to understand these percentages are based on the approved art. We are actually farther when it comes to sketches and even colored illustrations, but we’re not yet counting something into the “done” percentages if it hasn’t been fully approved.

(Note: Dylan misspoke in the video linked below and described both of the Upgrade card types being over 70% but Mario’s focus has been on Pantry cards first.)

We've promised our backers that we'll not be launching a Kickstarter campaign for our second game, Towers of the Sun, until Seize the Bean is being delivered to our backers. We want to stand by this. We have, however, been able to self-fund the translation of two other games, Leder Games’ Vast: The Crystal Caverns and Jellybean Games’ The Lady and the Tiger, both into German. We're aiming at a SPIEL18 release of both and they're already available for pre-order in the pledge manager. Alongside that, we have a few limited copies of The Wood Games’ Festival of Thousand Cats and The Labours of Hercules in our pledge manager. If any of these games interest you please feel free to add them to your order in BackerKit!

It’s really important for us to note that without all of your support and positive energy we would never have been able to grow so much in such a short time. Because of that we want to extend a huge thank you to all you from everyone at the Quality Beast team!

Speaking of growth, we had the largest booth we’ve ever had this past weekend at the Berlin Brettspiel Con. It was approximately 57sqm and contained tables for showing 6 of our games (plus 1 secret one we were demoing for a friend designer of ours), an area for our growing RPG department (Necrotic Gnome) where we ran old school D&D sessions and a win-a-map contest, staffed a sales counter and even had left-over space for our Taiwanese partner, Citie Lo, to demo and sell his games from The Wood Games.

Huge thanks to our amazing and energetic team for a big success at the Berlin Brettspiel Con!
Huge thanks to our amazing and energetic team for a big success at the Berlin Brettspiel Con!

We’ll have a recap and individual game update videos coming soon so if you’re not already following our YouTube channel you can do so in order to be notified once things are uploaded. Thanks to our amazing videographer, Pietro Vallome, we already have a Seize the Bean video online.

Click the image to view the update video on YouTube!
Click the image to view the update video on YouTube!

In case you don’t watch the video it mainly includes:

  • Update about art progress
  • Show-off of our prototype coffee blends
  • Explanation that we're still working on the pick-up option in BackerKit

That’s it for July’s update. See you next time at the end of August!

Pledge Manager Opening, Milk Carton Deck Box & Cubee Plushie
over 1 year ago – Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 12:57:46 AM

The moment many of you have been waiting for: the pledge manager is finally opening! We’ll dive right in and not waste any of your time. We've setup the pledge manager in its entirety and turned on what is called a “smoke test”. This is when surveys are sent to 5% of backers at each backer level. The intention is to flood in a small number of early people to do a live test and check that everything is running smoothly. This may sound strange – rest assured we’ve done our own, pre-live testing too, of course – but this is precisely what BackerKit (our pledge manager provider) recommends. Thus, if you got a survey already you may very well be part of this so-called smoke test and therefore please jump in as soon as you can so that we can verify all is good and send out the full chunk of surveys!

This is a preview of what your survey may look like!
This is a preview of what your survey may look like!

For those that did not receive a survey yet, do not fear: it will be approximately 12 to 24 hours until you receive yours, based on the estimations from BackerKit (and assuming there are no major issues to be fixed). We know this means that many of you won’t actually get into the pledge manager until June 26th. Our apologies for this wee delay!

We previously informed you all that we were delaying the pledge manager so that we could make store connections to supply you with local pick-up options in order to circumvent the cost of shipping. We also wanted to provide a more finalized decision on the play mat. In the end, we decided it made no sense to continue to waiting on both topics and that’s why we set June 25th (today!) as the pledge manager opening date, whether or not those topics got resolved.

We’re very glad we did this because, lo and behold, those topics are not resolved. Please stay tuned though – we’ll still be working hard to get store pick-ups running (it appears we already have near-confirmations in Berlin and Belgium) and as soon as we can confirm them we’ll update the pledge manager with that as an option.

If you can believe it, we’ve got something mooo-re fun to share today: we’re very excited to unveil Mario’s finished milk carton deck box designs. We’ll have to provide an even closer look once we get back a printed sample from the manufacturer (again, someone different than Panda) but meanwhile let us know how you feel about these!

Here are both colorways depicted: white and black.
Here are both colorways depicted: white and black.
There are a couple of different designs for the sides...
There are a couple of different designs for the sides...
Here's a preview of the front (on white).
Here's a preview of the front (on white).
And a teaser of one of the sides (also on white).
And a teaser of one of the sides (also on white).
And the ingredients side, which we had a lot of fun with!
And the ingredients side, which we had a lot of fun with!

Lastly, we’ve gotten our “turnaround” (as it’s called) off to our plushie manufacturer. Because that company is different than Panda (it’s Symbiote, the same company that both Gamelyn and Leder Games have used for their plushies) the production timeline won’t be halted by our delay in art. This means we’ll very likely have the plushies available at SPIEL. We may be able to work out a pick-up option for those that want them but we’ll report back on this later. For now, simply gaze on in glory at these early turnaround graphics that our fantastic artist, Mario, put together!

Here's the new plushie mock-up, as seen in the pledge manager...
Here's the new plushie mock-up, as seen in the pledge manager...
And a sneak peek at the full turnaround!
And a sneak peek at the full turnaround!

It’s worth noting that we did not depict the apron nor the cup on the pledge manager because we’ll still pricing these out and waiting to see if they’re possible.

Alright, that’s it for today, a short update but back on track for bi-weeklies as we promised. Let us know if you’re interested in anything in particular for the next update, whether that be further news on production samples or perhaps some exciting leaks of Mario’s massive stack of artwork being lovingly crafted for the final game!

Timeline Update, Factory Samples & Pledge Manager Opening Date
over 1 year ago – Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 02:09:54 AM

Whew! It has been a suuuper busy 6 weeks since our last update. We want to fill you in on everything going on, but first, we want to apologize (again) for betraying our commitment to bi-weekly updates. This is the second time we’ve taken longer than we aimed and we’re aware that for some of you that is really disappointing. In truth, Seize the Bean has been much more successful than we expected and we’ve been overwhelmed with all the (mostly positive) messages and comments coming our way on every platform. As you know by now, transparent communication is very important to us, so when we’re not timely with our responses or updates, we’re really not proud of it. We’re still learning how to balance this part of the business with all the cool, creative stuff we’re doing. So, thank you all for giving us the benefit of the doubt and hanging in while we sort out our messaging!

In the last update we said we wouldn’t put a bunch of things together into one update, though due to our busy event schedule recently it’s been hard to get things out separately, so we have to admit we’ve got another chunky one for you all. With that said, let’s get into the nitty gritty of production timelines, manufacturing samples and that eagerly-awaited pledge manager...

This is no easy way to say this so we’re just going to give it to you straight: we won’t be able to deliver in October as we had hoped. In fact, if we are 100% transparent, a safe delivery date is February. Yes, February, 2019. We know that while reading this a lot of you will feel upset, let down, or just straight-up angry. That’s a five month delay from our originally estimated delivery date (of September, 2018). We want to explain this and we hope your excitement for the project and your understanding of our situation and our mistakes might help balance out any sorrow or impatience you might feel.

It all comes down to art. We had originally thought that we had enough of a headstart on the art and that we could get a lot more done in a given week than we actually can in reality. Our early estimates were way off. With only a single (amazing) artist there is a limit to what can be done. In case you’re wondering if we’ve just been over here lazing about, we’re happy to report we do have the art of almost 300 cards done (277, as of today, to be exact), and a majority of that is the hard stuff first (customer art, Kickstarter backer portraits, etc). We did originally attempt to speed up the process in a few ways, but the drop in quality was noticeable and so we promptly scrapped that approach. We felt it best if we went back to allowing Mario to work at the pace required to deliver the quality we expect for Seize the Bean (and frankly, anything from Quality Beast). We wanted to wait a bit to get an average of how much card art we could get done in a given week and now that we are confident with that average we’ve taken some serious time to granularly estimate a more realistic timeline and reconfirm it not only with our team but with our manufacturer, too. Here it is broken down:

  • September 3rd, 2018 = All Files Uploaded to Panda (our manufacturer)
  • September 14th, 2018 = Design Verification Complete (meaning, all files 100% approved)
  • September 28th, 2018 = Pre-Production Copy Arrives (for our feedback and proofing)
  • October 8th, 2018 = Mass Production Begins
  • November 19th, 2018 = First Mass Production Copy Arrives (for last minute emergency checks)
  • December 3rd, 2018 = Mass Production Finished & Assembly Begins
  • December 17th, 2018 = All Games Leave the Factory

As you can see, we’d have the game on its way this year and even beat the holiday season shipping crunch, however, it would be on an estimated 6-week-boat-ride to each fulfilment center and then be on its way to you. This is why we estimate an arrival time of February. Depending on where you are in the world (and if games get slowed down in customs at certain fulfilment centers) it could be a bit faster or slower.

The only three things we can do about this timeline is to communicate it transparently to you all (as we are doing now), apologize for it, and learn from it. We are truly sorry if this upsets anyone but this does not change a single thing about the project: we are dedicated to delivering you a extremely fun, high quality game dripping with theme. And we hope you will stand by us on this wild ride which is a learning process for us too!

With the bad news out of the way, we’re extremely excited to be able to share our first round of manufacturing samples! What we haven’t formally announced until now is that we’re working with Panda as our manufacturing partner. If you’re new to that name, they’re known in the industry for delivering super hiqh quality components. They produced the amazing Stonemaier Treasure Chests, and now our resin Snack Pack is following the same production process, which we’re really stoked about.

For those wanting something a bit more dynamic then a text-and-pictures-update, check out our video recap from the UK Games Expo in which Seize the Bean’s lead designer, Dylan, goes through each of the samples one-by-one and in detail:

Click the thumbnail if you prefer to see a video about the samples!
Click the thumbnail if you prefer to see a video about the samples!

Here’s some more detail on those components, are you ready?

Let’s start with the most important component: the beans.

A quick shot in our Quality Beast studio of the Panda bean samples...
A quick shot in our Quality Beast studio of the Panda bean samples...

These are pretty much spot on and totally put us at ease about what Panda is capable of. You can see the resin sculpt is very accurate and the paint job is quite realistic. There’s a nub on the bottom that we’re discussing with Panda about (though highly unlikely you can even see it in these pics, it’s so small) but in general the only thing to do here is increase their size to about 7mm x 12mm.

Milk samples were given to us, but we won’t go through these now. Why? Because the sizing on the spec sheet was wrong and we ended up with some very… elongated milk cartons. Don’t worry, Panda has assured us that with a simple update of the spec sheet we’ll be seeing more cubic milks as intended. We should be seeing a second round of resin samples at the end of this month (June) so we can share more then. The coloring and sculpts were looking good though.

Sugar cubes. Well, what can we say – it’s a start at least…

We aren't happy with these yet but we're confident Panda will come through...
We aren't happy with these yet but we're confident Panda will come through...

These are definitely not yet meeting our expectations. And Panda knows that and has assured us they will continue to work on the shape, size, sculpt, texture and coloring to get it to look as close to our 3D printed prototype as possible. More info about these as the second round of samples come in.

Regarding variations on milk and sugar for dealing with the issue of running out of resources, we did get samples of two color versions of milk (two different label colors) and brown sugar samples though we’ve got a lot of feedback on these for Panda so we’ll show them when the next round comes in. Same thing for the scoop, we did receive a sample, but it’s not quite the right size so we’re doing some back-and-forth there and we’ll share it in the next round.

Barista meeples are looking pretty close to perfect.

We're loving these and mostly just want to see a bump in their size!
We're loving these and mostly just want to see a bump in their size!

The main change here is size (we want to bump them up to about 16mm x 20mm, which is the size of the meeples in, say, Topiary). We’d also like to tweak the color and back print. For the color, even though there are no player colors in Seize the Bean (and we’d encourage everyone to play with a diverse set of baristas) we’d still like to have four unique colors and as of right now two of them are too close together. Also, for the five and six player expansion we’d love to introduce a fifth and sixth color, to increase that sense of diversity (and fun).

Cubee meeples are 100% done.

We are absolutely in love with these! <3
We are absolutely in love with these! <3

Size, shape, print, color – everything is rad. We’re stoked about these and if you were at the UK Games Expo in-person then you got to see them in the flesh! (Er... in the fur, rather?)

Resource Bags are started, but not yet meeting our expectations.

A decent starting point, but a ways to go to meet our expectations...!
A decent starting point, but a ways to go to meet our expectations...!

The main issue here is that the bags need to be a bit more sturdy. We’re exploring the possibility of an inner lining with Panda. Also, the sizing is wrong, and to make the contents as accessible as possible we really need to lock that down. The drawstrings are also not present (yet) but will be sewn into the bags, and the prints will likely be different on the bean, milk and sugar bags. We may also play a bit with some color tweaks on the bag materials themselves.

We did also get player resource bags, but like some of the items noted above, we’re not very happy with these as they are, and we’d rather wait for the next round of samples to show some imagery of them.

The first player and next first player tokens are steadily on their way, too.

These are quite large, at about 35mm x 40mm x 45mm!
These are quite large, at about 35mm x 40mm x 45mm!

Weight and size-wise these are grand. We’d like to see the sculpt a bit more polished, which is quite hard with a resin figure of this size, but Panda has said they’ll see what they can do. On a very exciting note they’ve agreed to try a cool experiment with us: we want to make the two cups much more distinguishable so we’ve been discussing details for both. We don’t want to give away too much yet, but let’s just say this might be another chance for us to work latte art into the game…

And finally, we come to the resin Snack Pack. Or, at least half of it, for now.

So delicious! We're loving the rough drafts here, so far!
So delicious! We're loving the rough drafts here, so far!

We’ll be quick here, as this update is already huge: the moka pot is on point as far as sculpt and size and color. We’re requesting that the factory put some finishing touches onto it with a bit more detailed shading, but generally we love the direction it’s going in. The pie is pretty much there, but we want to go the extra mile and try to stick a dollop of whipped cream on top, and also adjust the color so that the crust is distinguishable from the inner top and bottom layers. Other than that, like the moka pot, the pie’s sizing and sculpt are both really clean and we’re quite impressed with Panda’s resin work so far. Lastly, the strong coffee needs a bit bigger size and it needs an improvement in the sculpt to get the bag looking more plump and organic and less geometrical. Also, the paint job needs to be a bit less sloppy (that silver scoop shouldn’t be partial brown) and include some more realistic shading. But it’s certainly on its way too!

What about the rest of the snack pack? We’ll show the soy bean, the donut and the croissant in the next wave of samples. We received some of these, but were quite unhappy with the first round. However, don’t let this worry you; Panda has assured us this is quite normal in the process and the steps that Stonemaier took for their Treasure Chest pieces were very similar. We can expect to have at least three rounds of samples for the resin so there’s a lot of room to improve things.

And finally, the player mat. It’s mentioned in the video (and depicted!), briefly, so we should note it here. We won’t be showing pics or describing it in detail yet as we’re still conducting some tests, but what we can say is that Panda is open to try and add a thin backing to it to help it from sliding around. As far as our early experiences go, this is about the only thing we had major feedback on.

Boom! That’s a lot! But hopefully this should all be exciting news as it shows some real progress on what Panda is calling “a monster of a game”. You can all be proud to be a part of this project – without your support we would’ve never gotten this far. And having seen even these early rough draft samples we’re getting extremely excited for the final product. It’s going to be wild to unbox!

June 25th. We promise. And unless you have questions, that’s about all we think we need to say on the topic! ;)

Jokes aside, for those that missed our notes in past updates or in the comments section, we waited this long for two main reasons: 1) we wanted to try and contact as many regional retailers as possible to provide more opportunities for store pick-ups. We did this because early on in the campaign it became apparent that shipping costs were a financial barrier for a lot of avid gamers. Since discovering this we’ve done everything we can to cut those costs down, and partnering with retailers for store pick-ups is part of that. The problem is that it slows things way down (much more than we would’ve guessed). And 2) we really wanted to get a final verdict on the play mat material as well. By now, we’re done waiting on these two topics and we’re just going to open the pledge manager on the 25th of June whether or not these topics are resolved.

What’s that mean? It means that if we get agreements for store pick-ups later, after the pledge manager is open, we’ll be sure to inform everyone and give you the chance to go back in and change your shipping (where possible).

It also means that if you order a play mat and we have to change the material later we will do our very best to not alter the price. If for some reason we’re forced to, we won’t lock anyone into anything, but instead refund the cost of the original play mat and give people the chance to decide if they want the second version. That being said, we’re working closely with Panda to discuss a good compromise that will avoid this whole process and we’re excited to share more news on that as a second wave of samples arrive!

We said it in the past update and above in this one but we want to say it once more and commit to it (third time’s a charm, perhaps): we’ll do our very best to get back to a bi-weekly update schedule. At this point, we have only two more events on our immediate schedule (Ducosim on July 1st and then Berlin Brettspiel Con at the end of July) so we shouldn’t be getting slammed with too much travel preventing us from communicating more consistently. And for those of you requesting event photos, perhaps we’ll save those for the next update! ;)

See you all on June 25th (if not sooner), for the next update, celebrating the opening of the pledge manager and some more awesome news as we progress on other topics such as the Cubee plushie and the milk carton deck box!

From all of us here at Quality Beast, thank you so much for your support, your understanding, and your positive energy as we push towards the finish line of this amazing project.