Archives for;

Update

Sojourner Tales: We are GO for Game!

sjtlesboxsmallLate last month, we received one of the most important milestones in the production of our Sojourner Tales game ... the Mass Production Sample. This is the approval sample of our game and the last step before your copy of the game is actually made. This represents exactly what the game is going to look like when it arrives. It was all Laura could do not to tear the plastic cover off of the box before we were able to even take a few pictures of it.

The outside of the box was everything we had hoped it would be with deep, rich colors. More than that, this was the first time we actually could feel the weight of the box and game components as it would be in its actual configuration. 

We paused long enough to get a picture of me with the box still sealed but that was as long as either of us could wait. I handed the box proudly over to Laura and let her, at last, rip off the plastic and open the box.

tracynsojournersmall

How can I describe the feeling of seeing the game and all of its pieces spread out before us at last. We have worked so long and hard on this project for all of us ... and now here it is fully realized.

sjlayoutsmall

Well, we have responded to the manufacturer with an enthusiastic...

Sojourner Tales, we are GO for GAME! We currently expect to start shipping in mid-August.

We have approved the final stage and now your game is, at last, being built for you. Now we have to make sure we have adventures for you to play. I'm working even now on our Shroud of the Avatar adventures as well as a Space/Horror game and a Convention Game. I'll also admit to building a game specifically for our family reunion coming up next month.

We cannot wait to get these to you as soon as they arrive here! If you don't have yours preordered...

You can order your pre-launch Sojourner Tales copy here!

Prototype is Awesome!

Proto2Yesterday, a box arrived on my doorstep which caused tremendous excitement here at the Hickman household. It contained the production prototypes for our Sojourner Tales storytelling board game.

This is the next step in the process: approving the prototype for production. It is as close to actually making the game as possible without actually flipping the switch and making the entire production run.

Inside the box were, first of all, two boxes. One was the mock-up prototype which uses low resolution graphics to simulate the presentation of the components. The colors of this presentation are faded -- rather like a quick printout on a color printer -- but it allows us to check and make sure that they are assembling the product correctly. The second box is entirely in plain white -- no printing whatsoever -- but it uses the actual components, papers and finishes of the final product. This is to make sure that the sizes, weights and types of paper and components are correct.

Prototype ReviewAfter these two boxes are found the proof sheets. These are high quality printed sheets which represent the actual quality of the final printing and are checked for color consistency and errors. In our case, pages from the rule book, the included story book, all the cards and the 'MacGuffin' punch outs were inside the box. In addition, we found one of the special dice for the game as well as the player tokens.

We had to laugh when we saw the player tokens; the specifications I gave for them were HUGE. They look like bowling pins on the board. I'll need to get back with the manufacturer and decrease the size of that component before we approve the prototype. In addition, there were none of the plastic story disks included so I'll need to ask about approval on those as well.

The point is that as soon as I get these last minute issues corrected, the game will be on its way! I have the title song from the Lego Movie running through my head now ... everything is awesome!

Holiday Gift: To All a Good Knight!

Sojourn As a special gift to our backers from our Kickstarter Project and here on our website, I have put together a little holiday Sojourner Tales Module just for the holidays. It's a retrofit of our original module and I enjoyed writing the entries especially in a simplified format for family fun. It's now available for your download right here and can be played with your D.I.Y. version of the game.

You'll simply need to log in to this website and the download page for this gift should appear in the menu tabs above or you can download the files directly from this post.

I've been working on this all day for you, my good friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all ... and 'To All a Good Knight!


If you are registered for this website, please log in so that you can download this adventure from this same post! A copy of the Sojourner Tales Game is required to play this adventure. You can purchase a D.I.Y. copy for immediate download right here on our website.


White Weekend Exclusives

I have to admit that I find the idea of 'Black Friday' so negative that I've decided to offer up my own unique 'White Weekend' unique items for your holiday gift list.

Sojourner Tales Premiere Edition

Game_board_DIY_Expansion
Our Kickstarter campaign for our Sojourner Tales Storytelling Board game funded to something like 214%! If you purchase a copy of the first edition game for $45 (+S&H) ... to be delivered next spring ... then the immediate download of our D.I.Y. version of the game is included at no additional cost. And you can also buy the D.I.Y. download version of the game for $25.

However, if you are looking for something special right away for the holidays, Laura and I have prepared a Premiere Special Edition of the Sojourner Tales Board Game you can order this week end. This edition was revised by me personally today (includes the new game board and location cards) as well as a uniquely marked cover for the box. Each of these is created by the same The Game Crafter company that created our prototypes. As these are print on demand (POD) games they are necessarily much more expensive than our production games coming in the spring and some of the components will not be of as fine a quality -- however it is a beautiful presentation of the game and the board and cards in particular are of excellent quality. A unique gift in time for the Holidays. $74.99 (plus S&H)

For our Kickstarter Backers and D.I.Y. enthusiasts, we haven't left you out! Just for the holidays, we have produced a special D.I.Y. Expansion just with you in mind. This is NOT the full game but it includes a unique version of the box, the professionally produced game board and a full set of Twisted, Tales and Destiny cards with rounded corners and a professional finish. All you need to add is your own chapter disks, rule book, dice, markers and character displays ... oh, and that necessary Sojourner Story Module. $39.99 (plus S&H)


St. Nicholas & the Dragon

Nicholas_newsad Come join us for our holiday story of St. Nicholas before he was a saint, of King Wenceslas who was actually a Duke and of a dragon who is trying to avoid his knight-slaying duties. Available for all ebook formats as well as traditional book form.


Unique Treasure!

Signed, MIB Diablo Computer Game

disignature

Discovered in the Hickman Vaults! This is a first-edition, signed copy of Diablo one. It is still factory sealed. This was originally given to me by one of the developers at Blizzard as a gift. There is some wear on the corners of the box but it is in otherwise perfect condition. While signed copies of Diablo two or three are fairly common, a signed copy of Diablo one is a rare find. I will also provide a signed letter of authenticity for this item.

The Sojourner D.I.Y. is Now Available!

SJ_GameDIY_illo_1

Laura and I are proud to announce that the Sojourner Tales complete board game is now available for immediate download in its D.I.Y. format. Each of our Kickstarter Backers at the Sojourner D.I.Y. level and above should now have access the complete files for the 'Do-it-yourself' version of the game. Qualifying members on this website should see the access to the download on the lower menu bar above.

If you didn't get in on the Kickstarter Campaign you can STILL acquire the digital download today. You can pledge for the download only for $25 dollars.


As part of our download system, you need to be registered and logged in to our website before you purchase the D.I.Y. version of the game. This registration is absolutely free of charge and with no obligation. Simply click on the 'Signup now' link in the 'Membership Login' on the right to create your account, then return to this post. Your purchase options will appear here after you have logged in.


 

DIY (slight) Delay … and a good thing, too!

 Insert_art

We were gearing up for the release of the DIY version of Sojourner Tales we encountered a slight artwork delay ... partly because of your outstanding input! One of the improvements to the game that was suggested by several of our backers was to have the locations be 'double sided' so that the design could accommodate flipping the location cards during the game. We heard you and acted on it.

Unfortunately, that meant a slight delay in getting the artwork together for the locations. We expect to have it on Monday or Tuesday of this week. Then we can immediately place it in the DIY and have the package ready for you to download at last.

And why is this a GOOD thing?

Not only will you be getting an instantly better game but it will allow those of you who have not yet registered for your free account on the Sojourner Tales website to do so before our importing of everyone's data on Monday. We have to have the kickstarter data imported so that those of you receiving the DIY as part of your pledge (which is pretty much everyone above the $20 pledge level) can have proper access to the files.

So, please be sure to get your free registration on the Sojourner Tales website before Monday so that your account will already exist on the website before we import the data. This will allow you to chose your own user name ... otherwise the system will do it for you and you know what THOSE user names can look like!

Ramping Up

rule-read

'Ramp up' describes the period between product development, and maximum capacity utilization, characterized by product and process experimentation and improvements. It seems to me that having so successfully completed the Kickstarter for Sojourner Tales, we are now very much in this ramp up process.

For Our Gamers...

What this ramp-up mostly means is we will begin rolling out your downloadable games, genre packs, solo and Improv rules. In general, we think these will follow in this order:

  • DIY Sojourner Tales Game: This is the biggest and most important of our downloads. It is the full game in a color format whereby you can create your own early copy of the game. We are working to have this ready for release for you within the next few days.
  • Horror Genre Pack: This will be a downloadable card set we hope to have finished next week as well.
  • Improv Rules: This will allow you to play a Sojourner Tales Game while making up the story as you go along. We are hoping to have this as our Holiday present for you this December.
  • Celebrity Modules: Our Kickstarter backers will be receiving these as part of their bonuses for their backing.
  • Shroud of the Avatar Trilogy of Story Modules: These will be released starting in April of next year.

For Our Creatives...

If you have a Creator's License -- or are considering acquiring one (still being offered at the original rates until November 1st) -- then here's how you can help. We are now ready to start testing a few of our systems and we're hoping that you'll be in a position to help us as we bring the website and Sojourner Tales into a fully functional state of entertainment.

Here is what we have been working on and could use your feedback:

SOJOURNER STORY MODULE CATEGORIES & PRICING:

We are trying to establish some baseline tags for our Sojourner Story Modules. These include COMPLEXITY (1 through 5), RATINGS (G through PG13) and some other additional tags such as 'Celebrity', 'Game' or 'Extension'. (SEE our discussion on tags here in the Forums.) Laura believes that we should price our Sojourner Story Modules at a standard price of approximately $7.95 for an average adventure (Complexity 3), $4.95 for an introductory adventure (Complexity 1 or 2) and $9.95 for a premium adventure (Complexity 5, Pro or Celebrity). We would like your thoughts on this pricing so please join the discussion here on the Forums.

SOJOURNER STOREFRONTS:

We have implemented our Sojourner Marketplace system which will allow every licensed creator to have their own Sojourner Storefront for uploading, selling and delivering their Sojourner Story Modules to our growing audience.

Sojourner Storefront Services

Each individual creator with a license will be able to:

  • Establish and administer your own storefront here on our website in order to sell your Sojourner Story Modules.
  • Write blog posts for their individual storefronts about Sojourner Tales which may be featured on the main website posts.
  • Create individual product listings for your SSMs including cover/sales art, product description and the price you set.
  • Upload your SSMs to our website so that purchasers may download your SSM immediately.
  • Receive your payment directly and immediately to your Paypal account when any purchase takes place.

We here at Sojourner Tales will:

  • Host your Sojourner Storefront blog posts and products on our server.
  • Host your SSM product files on our web server.
  • Pay for the credit card processing on each order in your store
  • providing support for your store.

Overhead Fee:

All of these storefront services are expensive to setup, serve and maintain so we will be asking a 15% overhead fee on each store sale made through your Sojourner Storefront on this website. It costs you nothing to setup your storefront, post a product, upload your files to our server or run your storefront blog.

Example: On a $4.95 basic SSM sale, the Overhead Fee would be $0.74. Credit Card processing charges and fees would be roughly $0.45. This leaves Sojourner Tales $0.29 for maintaining the storefront and files.

Also there are no fees charged to you for setting up your storefront, uploading your content or promoting it on the Sojourner Tales site. This Overhead Fee would ONLY take effect when your SSMs were sold on the Sojourner Tales website through your storefront. Licensed Creators are NOT required to use your Storefront; your license permits you to sell your SSM designs anywhere else on the web under whatever terms that are acceptable to you. It may be helpful to note that this is HALF or better of what Amazon.com will collect for their fee and much less than Etsy for similar services. And we believe there is an advantage to selling your adventure here on the website dedicated to Sojourner Tales.

So let us know what you think of our approach to Storefronts on our special forum topic. What would you suggest?

Pioneer Storefronts

Finally, we will start opening up a LIMITED number of storefronts for testing purposes to our licensed creators. This will allow you early access to setting up your storefront and assist us in addressing any major problems before opening all the storefronts. If you are interested in participating in this experimental program, please send us a personal message through the forum system. We'll let you know if you have been selected for this sneak peek program.

Man Behind the Curtain

behind_curtain

Years ago, I played the Wizard in a local community production of 'The Wizard of Oz'. I rather enjoyed being the wizard although it meant that I was about the ONLY actor in the production who DIDN'T get to sing. So I have something of an appreciation for the Wizard and all that effort that he went to 'behind that curtain.'

It has just been a week since the exciting and dramatic conclusion to our Kickstarter campaign for Sojourner Tales. The tornado of emails, updates and comments may seem to have quieted somewhat from your perspective, but it has been a tremendously busy time for us behind the scenes. You may have experienced a hiccup or two (our registration system was down for a while) but for the most part the changes and advances have been all a frantic-paced flurry of construction out of sight on the site.

Here's what we've been up to:

  • PRODUCTION: We have been working our way through revised bids on producing the game -- especially after the upgrades on the game components -- and trying to determine the size of the first-edition print run. We're grateful to all of our Sojourners here on the forums who have contributed wonderful ideas for inclusion in the base game: we're trying to implement as many of them as we can.
  • FULFILLMENT:  that's about who we get or how we manage to ship your game and add-ons to you when they arrive. This is a lot more complicated than it sounds when you realize we have to sort out who gets what out of over seven hundred incredible backers!
  • DATA TRANSFER AND INTEGRATION: Yes, it truly is as mind-numbing and essential as it sounds. We will be collecting information from you shortly with surveys through the Kickstarter website. This will give us the final data file configuration that we need to migrate your information to the sojournertales.com website and for our fulfillment. This means taking the data files that we get from Kickstarter and then translating them into a second set of data files that our website can then import and understand. The transfer and translation have to be precise so that you get the services, games and add-ons that you requested.
  • YOUR SSM SALES: For our licensed creators, we want to make sure that the website is set up not only to handle your sales efficiently and quickly but that you be in direct control of your sales content, able to post new SSM adventures, and receive your payments directly. This has required something like brain surgery on our Sojourner Website which Laura and I have been doing on our own. (Also why the registration system went down for a couple of days.) The result will be that  each of our license holders will have their own store section available to them, very much in the same way that etsy handles their sales. We are still working through some setup issues but the end result should make your experience of being a licensed creator simple.

And, of course, I'm supposed to writing both three books and a few Sojourner Story Modules while I'm at it.

Where's Glinda when you need her?

Sojourner Pro: Kevin J. Anderson

THANKS TO YOU FOR MAKING OUR GAME POSSIBLE! I am thrilled today to announce our second set of stretch goals which is topped off by a VERY exciting addition to our Sojourner Professional Writers:

SOJOURNER PROFESSIONAL #2: Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than 115 books, 52 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists; he has over 23 million copies in print in thirty languages. He has won or been nominated for the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, The Faust Award, the SFX Reader's Choice Award, the Scribe Award, and New York Times Notable Book. Kevin has coauthored twelve books in the Dune saga with Brian Herbert. Kevin’s epic SF series, The Saga of Seven Suns, is a 7-volume opus that topped international bestseller lists; he is currently at work on a sequel trilogy, The Saga of Shadows. His Terra Incognita trilogy is about sailing ships, sea monsters, and the crusades, and he even produced and cowrote the lyrics (with his wife Rebecca Moesta) for two crossover rock CDs based on the novels, performed by rock legends from the groups Kansas, Dream Theater, Asia, Saga, and others. His novel Enemies & Allies chronicles the first meeting of Batman and Superman in the 1950s; Anderson also wrote The Last Days of Krypton. He has written numerous Star Wars projects, including the Jedi Academy trilogy, the Young Jedi Knights series (with Moesta), and Tales of the Jedi comics from Dark Horse. Fans might also know him from his X-Files novels or Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son. Kevin wrote Clockwork Angels the Novel based on the CD by the multi-platinum rock group Rush, with his long-time friend Neil Peart, the band’s drummer and lyricist. Death Warmed Over is the first book in Kevin’s humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI; the next two books, Unnatural Acts and Hair Raising, will be released in 2013. Kevin is hoping to write a Dan Shamble-themed Sojourner Story Module for his submission to our project.

And in Other Stretch Goal News...

We are introducing two new stretch goals on our way to enjoying our story from Kevin J. Anderson. These include:

Just in time for Halloween! Get your scare on with this downloadable set of Genre Pack cards, created by Tracy & Laura Hickman, that will transport your Sojourner Story Modules into the realms of fright! INCLUDED AT ALL PLEDGE LEVELS!

A COMPONENT UPGRADE FOR EVERY GAME! The Chapter Disks in the current game are punch cardboard disks but with this stretch goal we will be upgrading everyone's game to include complete sets of plastic disks, their backs engraved with a Sojourner symbol. These disks will not only look better on the board and last longer without wear but will make game play faster as they are far easier to manipulate. INCLUDED AT ALL PLEDGE LEVELS THAT INCLUDE A COPY OF THE GAME.


Dungeon Crawler's Radio Interview

Last night, after Laura and I flew home from GrandCon earlier in the day, I drove over to Epic Games to appear on the Dungeon Crawlers Radio internet broadcast. Because I entered the address into my GPS with the wrong street number, I was a little late getting to the broadcast ... so my appearance actually beings at about the thirteen minute mark.

We talk Sojourner Tales for about an hour and a half ... so this podcast is for the hearty listener!


Coming Attractions!

We are working hard on the Beta download for our 'Grass-roots Licensing' supporters and will be doing our best to have that available this week. In addition, we will be doing a revision of the rules and the card sets to reflect improvements suggested on the Sojourner Tales website by supporters just like you!

THANK YOU FOR HELPING US MAKE A GAME IN WHICH WE CAN TAKE PART!

The First Stretch

 

It is incredible! Thanks to the amazing support from our backers we have surpassed 88% of our funding in the first seven days of our Kickstarter Project!SJ_Stretch

As promised, we have a remarkable set of stretch goals for you that are going to take your Sojourner Tales game into a whole new dimension of fun!

SJ_Strech_goals1B

When we reach our funding goal, you will be able to celebrate with an ADD ON for one of our Sojourner Tales t-shirts. These t-shirts come on a rich 'cardinal red' featuring our Sojourner Tales logo on the front and 'Once Upon a Time there was a...' with a QR code to our website on the back. Simply add $20 to your current pledge level ($25 for international) for each T-shirt you want and we'll ship these to you with your game!

SJ_Strech_goals2c

A new way to play for adventurers! What if you could not only enjoy the storytelling of a Sojourner Tales game but also make it up as you play? This expansion to the game gives you both Optional Rules and a new Sojourner Story Module designed by Tracy & Laura Hickman that let you pick the genre and setup for your story and just enough inspiration at each turn to help everyone at the table create their own improved story as they play. INCLUDED AT ALL PLEDGE LEVELS!

SJ_Strech_goals3c

Keeping track of the Lead Player during any turn of the Sojourner Tales game is important so why leave such a critical position to be indicated by a cardboard disk? As a Kickstarter backer, should we reach this stretch goal, you will have the opportunity to obtain one of our brass-forged Lead Player challenge coins minted EXCLUSIVELY FOR KICKSTARTER BACKERS. These coins measure 1.5 inches in diameter with full-color front and back images.

SJ_Coin_illo

THIS IS AN ADD-ON ITEM: In order for your to receive this coin you will need to add $15 to your current backer level.

SJ_Strech_04b

SOJOURNER PROFESSIONAL #1: Larry Correia is a New York Times bestselling fantasy novelist. His first novel, Monster Hunter International, despite being self-published reached the Entertainment Weekly bestseller list in April 2008, after which he received a publishing contract with Baen Books. Monster Hunter International was re-released in 2009 and was on the Locus bestseller list in November 2009. The sequel, Monster Hunter Vendetta, was a New York Times bestseller. The third book in the series, Monster Hunter Alpha, was released in July 2011 and was also a New York Times bestseller. INCLUDED AT ALL PLEDGE LEVELS!