SKEPTICS Board Game

Created by Usiak Games and Designs

SKEPTICS is a cooperative, dice rolling game, where players explore potentially haunted locations to prove the existence of ghosts. 1-4 players take on the role of Investigators gathering evidence of the paranormal. Investigators race against the clock exploring rooms and rolling dice to match icon sets to Search, Reveal, and Solve Clues. Each Clue will lead Investigators one step closer to revealing the Ghost. Environment Cards are drawn every hour, which may have hazards and conditions that will impede the Investigators’ progress. Investigators win if the existence of the Ghost can be proven in time, but Investigators fail if time runs out.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Quick Update on SKEPTICS
8 months ago – Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 01:57:55 PM

Hello everyone! We want to make sure we are posting updates at least once a month, even if nothing is going on, and more often when something IS going on. 

I wanted to give just a quick update about the game. Our Manufacturing company has just emailed me saying the SKEPTICS Sample Game Package is almost ready to go and should be shipped out in two weeks. We were expecting it to be here at the end of August, however this slight delay is because they had a backup of other games on their cue, and they had to have the dice made at another partnering 'dice' factory. 

Either way, things are moving along. Once I get the sample in my hands I will go through Each component to make sure everything is good to go, then I will Greenlight the go ahead for production! We are still aiming to meet our schedule, with a finalization to production in December. Even if there are more delays, we put enough buffer in our schedule to reach key milestones.

On a side note, we are almost ready to open up our PreOrder store and just waiting on a few more contracts to sign and finalize.

We will keep you updated soon!

Thank you Everyone! Enjoy your week!

Jonathan Usiak

Usiak Games and Designs

Progress Update and Pledge Manager Status
9 months ago – Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 08:30:54 PM

Hello everyone, 


I was holding off on this update until I had more concrete details, but since we have received a few questions about the Pledge Manager and Pre-order store, I will provide an update for where we are. 


For those who prefer shorter answers: 

  • Production Sample requested 2~3 weeks ago, and we will approve mass manufacturing to begin shortly after we receive and inspect it. Planned Manufacturing Window: July 2021 - December 2021. Overall manufacturing schedule still on track. 
  • Issues with UK/EU shipping has required changes with our planned fulfillment approach. We have been looking at options for that region specifically. The rest of the world fulfillment is still fine.  That is delaying us from opening up the pledge manager and pre-order store. We are hoping to resolve this in the next 2-3 weeks. Freight Schedule December 2021 - April 2022. No impacts to overall project schedule at this time. 

For those who prefer much more details, here you go.  :) 

Production

In July, we received the final manufacturing quote from the Manufacturer that included the Stretch Goal items and upgrades. We provided the manufacturer the "final" files about 2~3 weeks ago and requested an updated manufacturer sample. We are just waiting on this to arrive so we can inspect it to make sure all of the cards and components look fine. While there hasn't been a great deal of major changes since we received our last manufacturer sample in October 2020, we didn't want to take a chance with something slipping by due minor updates within our files. Once this sample arrives, we should be able to approve the start of mass manufacturing within a couple days. 


We were told mass manufacturing will take about 60 calendar days to complete and to expect a one week break for Golden Week in October. Assuming we get the sample in the next 2 weeks and begin manufacturing, that should have that finishing up in mid-November. 


So per our Kickstarter Schedule, it appears we missed our July 2021 Production & Approval milestone, but I had envisioned the approval process was going to be a few week process. I had built in a total of 5 months in the schedule for the whole production process, which is roughly 2~3 months per the manufacturer. So we should still be on schedule for Mass Production to complete in (or before) December as scheduled. 


We will do an update specifically announcing when the Mass Manufacturing has started. 


Pre-Order Store and Pledge Manager (Shipping Details)

A few people have asked when the Pledge Manager and Pre-order store will open. Prior to our Kickstarter, we had everything figured out with shipping and freight forwarding; it has been the same plan since our 2020 launch. Right after our Kickstarter wrapped up, we were discussing the timeline with our fulfillment and freight partners, and they informed us due to changes with UK/EU shipping laws, they no longer provided fulfillment for that region (literally a policy change that week). 


Jon and I have been exploring fulfillment options since then to resolve this issue, and after many meetings with companies, we believe we have a plan to resolve this that will require 2 fulfillment companies. We don't want to announce those details here yet until we have the approvals with the target companies, but we expect this mostly to be transparent to you all until you receive emails from those companies to confirm shipping details near the end of this project.


Our goal with these discussions has been to focus on keeping delivery on schedule and keeping the costs near what we had estimated during the Kickstarter Campaign. More on this to come in an update just before launching the Pledge Manager. 


So while this is currently delaying the Pledge Manager and Pre-order store opening, this has had no impact to the overall project schedule, and since that is not something that even comes up until December, we fully expect to have this all worked out well ahead of time. 


I do expect the Pledge Manager and Pre-order store will be open in the next 2-3 weeks. I actually have everything already setup, but I need to be able to list the fulfillment company in the Backer Kit forms before it can go live. 


Once we have everything signed with the fulfillment companies and freight forwarder, I will provide those details in an update. I will provide an explanation of our Freight and Shipping schedule near the end of the manufacturing process; as with manufacturing, I have 1~2 months of padded time in the schedule to help account for docking delays. 


Wrap Up

That should cover the current status of SKEPTICS. I apologize that there has been a delay with the Pledge Manager/Pre-Order Store. We just want to make sure everything is correct in it when we launch to avoid needing to make further changes to shipping further in the process. 


This being our first game, we have certainly learned a lot and hope we can use this knowledge to make the next game even smoother. On that topic if you are interested...


Unrelated News

Obviously, our focus has been on getting these business details worked out for this Kickstarter, but there has been a lot of downtime waiting for email replies and time in-between Zoom calls. Jon and I have been starting the drafting process on the next two projects in the SKEPTICS universe. Jon has been drafting a direct expansion for the board game while I have been working on a prototype card game. 


We don't have any timeline on when these will be ready for Kickstarter, but it won't be until after the current game has been shipped to you all. We want to see customer feedback about the SKEPTICS base game before we finalize the direct expansion.


We won't derail this Kickstarter Project's Updates with upcoming project announcements until the current game is in your hands, but I did want to say if you are interested in hearing about future game details and the potential to help playtest before then, sign up for the newsletter at https://usiakgames.com/.  We haven't done much with the mailing list yet, but this is something I plan to work on once everything is sorted out with shipping/fulfillment


Again, we won't create updates on this project solely for future projects, but occasionally, we may end an existing update with a quick preview of future projects like I have teased here.


Have a great week :) 

~Brian and Jon

Master Pledges and More!
9 months ago – Tue, Aug 10, 2021 at 10:40:59 PM

Hello everyone! 

I wanted to give a quick shout out to all our Master Pledges who signed up for a playtest with me, the designer! I will be reaching out to each of you over Kickstarter messages within the next day or two, to begin setting up time and dates to play the game either on Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator! Please look out for that message!


In the meantime we are finalizing the last few things with our edits (mostly just re-reading the cards and rules). Within the next day or two, we will be sending our files to the manufacturer for that next level sample package before we begin production! Stay tuned for more information on that sample over the next few weeks!


We will also have more updates coming including our Pre-Order store before we get that production rolling!

Thank you very much everyone!

Jonathan Usiak

Answering questions about late pledges and pre-orders
10 months ago – Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 11:12:53 PM

Hello everyone,

We have had a lot of questions about being able to upgrade your pledge level in the post-campaign. I figured since we have had this come up many times now, I would go ahead and explain how this will work.

Short Answer: Yes, you will be able to get the game (with all unlocked Stretch Goals) in BackerKit even if you didn't back at the $50+ level or even pledged to the campaign at all. 

If that is all you needed to know and prefer the short answer, you can stop reading and return to your day. :) 


For those who want a more detailed explanation of how this will work, get comfortable and continue reading. :)  

Existing Backers

You won’t be able to change your pledge level like you would in Kickstarter because the campaign has closed; however, you will have access to the BackerKit Pledge Manager in August. There you will be able to add the components you wanted from the Kickstarter. You will need to pay for the game, any selected optional add-ons, and the shipping for your region. 


Anything that was unlocked during the Kickstarter will be included when you order in BackerKit; we didn’t want to take anything away from those who want the game but were unable to do a full game pledge when the campaign was live on Kickstarter. The entire first print run will include these bonuses, but future print runs will not.

Here is a draft of what the Pledge Manager will look like if you were a $1 – Inquisitive backer; this will be sent out to everyone in August.

Here is your typical shipping screen.

And here will be your payment page. For $1 backers, you do technically pay $1 more (or whatever you pledged at the Inquisitive level) because of the way Kickstarter and BackerKit handles non-item pledges. The shipping total will have a value once I finish adding the shipping regions and prices in.

Below is the add-on screen if you backed at the $50+ level showing that you do not need to add the board game to the cart unless you want an additional copy. If you added any add-ons during the Kickstarter campaign, it should also already be included and shown as in the red box; if not, then you will have the available credit to add the add-on items. 

Those Who Missed the Campaign

There will be a pre-order store available to non-Backers also in August. It will look something like this (there is more at the top of the page I cropped off):

For anyone wondering why we show the price of $75 slashed out and the current price of $50. That is because the MSRP of the base game is $60, and the expansions we have included for the first print run will be sold separately later for $10-15. So early adopters are essentially getting a $20~25 savings over the second+ print run. 


Current Progress

We are currently wrapping up our agreements with the shipping and freight partners, and once that is finished, we will be able to finish updating the Pledge Manager with shipping costs and open it up for everyone.

Jon and I have been wrapping up the final edits and will likely be sending the files to the manufacturer late next week to order a new manufacturer sample, and once we check each of the components/cards in that final sample, we will sign the contract and begin production.


I will do an update in late August going over the detailed schedule, but as of now, the important milestones are on track.  Also, Jon will have time to make a pretty graphic rather than my boring Microsoft Project view.

Those familiar with durations for Production and Freight may think these numbers are large...and they are. I added 2 weeks to large tasks that are out of our control as a buffer. Best case, we tell you the games are coming earlier than planned.

If you made it this far, congrats! You now know a lot about our process. We prefer being transparent about how things are going so there will be some longer updates like this with the quick answers most people want first and then the details the minority are interested in. 

Have a great weekend, 

~Brian

Kickstarter Surveys Now Available
10 months ago – Sun, Jul 18, 2021 at 10:44:28 PM

Hello everyone, 


I just have a quick update for everyone. I just sent all backers the Kickstarter survey. This is to collect shipping information and a few questions regarding add-on items. Nothing in the survey is locking anyone into additional purchases. We are just trying to get an idea of how many additional copies of the game and dice we should order from the manufacturer at this time. We were already planning to order a set amount to have one hand in case of damaged games and to sell during the preorder phase and after  delivery to the backers. The 1~2 minutes you spend on the 4~5 question survey will help us with that. 


We look forward to providing further updates in a few weeks once we get the final manufacturer sample. I am sure there will be will additional pictures and maybe another video once we receive that. 


Have a great start to your week everyone, 


~Brian Moats

Usiak Games and Designs