At long last, Puzzle Strike pre-orders are available here.
Hope you enjoy the new www.sirlingames.com store, by the way. There are still a couple parts that aren't fully implemented, but it's mostly there, so it's time to get rolling. The actual store functionality is fully working, but the game info and Fantasy Strike sections will change pretty soon. Anyway...
It was a long road to be able to manufacture Puzzle Strike at all. I insisted on keeping the form factor of chips, rather than cards, because it really is better to play a game that requires a fair amount of shuffling this way. It also makes it trickier to manufacture. Regardless of chips or cards, it's also tricky to manufacture *any* game in quantities of less than many, many thousands. My first attempt at indie manufacturing had the retail price at about $800. I made a major breakthrough getting it down to $200. But that's still really high, so worked with manufacturing to find ways to bring the price down more and more.
In the end, I was able to get it all the way down to $159, with another $10 off if you pre-order, making it $149. One of the ways I got the price down was to eliminate the absurd amount of labor involved with hand-applying hundreds of thousands of stickers to these chips. A machine could do it, but would require manufacturing in quantities so high that I can't even afford to do it. Instead, I'm using what's actually a kind of cutting-edge technology that allows direct printing to wood. I know it sounds funny that "print-to-wood" is some high-tech thing, but but it actually is kind of new for this type of application. What's cool is that it not only eliminates hand-labor of applying stickers, but it also means the image can be truly edge-to-edge (usually expensive and hard to achieve) and that the image is really part of the chip, rather than a sticker that might peel off.
I love the feel of the solid wood chips (that come in a very nice custom-designed wood box), but I also knew that even with more efficiency, I would not able to get that price down low enough for many. So I also started working on another version with thick chipboard chips (slightly smaller diameter than the wood chips, also using print-to-chipboard rather than stickers) and the standard kind of cardboard box that normal games come in. Most games that use chipboard have about 0.7 inch thickness, while these are thicker at 0.1 inch.
Anyway, I was able to crack the $99 price point there which was a huge breakthrough. It's still uncomfortably high though. In the end, if I follow the standard practices of retail markup, I was not really able to do any better than $99. After thinking long about it, I decided to just have terrible margins on the standard version of Puzzle Strike. I really do believe in the game, so if I can just get it to you one way or another, hopefully the word of mouth will enable a run of thousands later. The price is $74, with $5 off if you pre-order, making it $69. You get almost 350 chips, 4 cloth bags, a full color rulebook, and a custom designed box interior to keep the different types of chips organized for storage.
It turns out that no matter how you slice it, it's tough to manufacture small runs of high quality parts as an independent guy. Doing my best here! Also, manufacturing too many copies up front is finically disastrous, so the first run is ridiculously small, at only 300 copies of the standard and 100 of the all-wood deluxe version. Another reason to pre-order is so you actually get a copy, without having to wait who-knows-how-long for a second run. Yet another reason is to support a struggling indie so there's enough cash to even *print* Yomi (will also come out this summer if things go well on Puzzle Strike). I don't like to beg, but if there was ever a time, now is it. I prefer that you think of this whole endeavor as something closer to buying special hand-crafted sword from a medieval artisan than buying a the 80 millionth mass-produced copy of Monopoly at Walmart. I have put years of personal care into these games, into design, balance, graphic design, package design, and now the manufacturing. I'd like to think I'm offering something special here.
Canada and Beyond
Thanks to some experience with selling Flash Duel, I'm finally getting a handle on selling to Canada. Flash Duel is now available there, as are pre-orders for Puzzle Strike. (Flash Duel Deluxe will also be available in Canada in about two weeks.) In fact, you technically could order either of those games from anywhere in the world now, but the shipping will be very expensive. In the future, I will actually store some inventory in the UK so that shipping prices are more reasonable, but we aren't quite there yet.
Anyway, I urge you to check out Puzzle Strike. The wild back-and-forth, 4-player nature of it means it a pretty good party game, even with people who don't really consider themselves gamers. Yet the depth is a lot more than it appears at first glance (much moreso than Flash Duel, actually), so "real gamers" should also enjoy it. Because it supports up to 4 players, maybe you can chip in with some friends if you need to. I recommend the wood version. ;)
Here's that link to pre-order either version of Puzzle Strike. Orders will ship as soon as they are manufactured, which I think will be in July. A few might be done by the end of June. If you order, but need to later change your shipping address, no problem just let me know. Thanks for your support!