My grandfather enjoyed making things with wood and had a favourite saying: “Measure twice and cut once”. While this is relatively simple and obvious on the surface,it is a good lesson for all of us and not enough people follow it. With a little more time and care to begin with, you can save time, frustration, and materials in the long run. Earlier this Spring, I learned the hard way that this advice can apply to more than just woodworking, and when followed, can save time, money, frustration, as well as potential embarrassment.
At the time I learned this lesson, I was faced with the need to get review copies of The Hackers Guild out to some reviewers and other playtesters in preparation for my anticipated April 1 launch on Kickstarter. I decided to order 12 physical copies of the game from Print & Play Productions, and to save time, had them ship the US copies directly to the reviewers. Prior to receiving my copies of the prototype, I heard from one of the reviewers that some of the cards had incorrect backs. It turned out that I had laid out the cards on the templates incorrectly so that had they been printed the way I submitted them, one side of the card would have been upside down. In an effort to fix this problem, the printer created the new problem of having cards with incorrect backs. To make the problem worse, I only had 5 of the 12 copies in my possession as the other 7 were sent to US reviewers/players to “save time and money”, which likely didn’t happen in the long run.
Once I realized what the problem was, I reached out to all of the US gamers and gave them the option of sending the game back to me, at my expense, before playing it. I also had to inform other gamers who were waiting for their copies that they would be delayed. I lucked out that everyone was super understanding, and only one ended up returning the game to me, but this problem had the potential to become a really expensive mistake.
Now you could debate over which problem was worse, having the fronts and backs match and one side be upside down, or having mismatched backs, and how much responsibility the printer should have taken for the issue, but that isn’t the point I want to make with this post. The lesson that I learned, and hopefully others will not have to learn by reading this post, is the importance of applying the “measure twice, cut once” mentality to your print files when preparing them for submission to your printer. Had I spent a little more time and care in following the directions that I was given by checking, double checking, and even triple checking my files prior to submission, I could have avoided this whole mess.
Also, as often happens in these situations, I learned a lot about the importance of timing and the challenge of using printed prototypes when playtesting your game, but that is a topic for another day. 🙂
Do you have any lessons you had to learn the hard way? I would love to hear about them and what you did to resolve the issue! Leave a comment below, or share this post on social media.