Blogs have a way of simplifying history a bit. The fact is that in December of 2010, Pat, Tian, and I were very excited about doing the game together. But there was one major obstacle that had to be surmounted before we could actually start: we had to find a factory that was willing to work with novices who asked lots of questions, that would print at a low quantity, and that could charge a price that was relatively affordable. Without that, it made no sense to proceed.
During the fall of 2010, I had begun shopping for factories. I looked at American factories, and with Tian’s help we talked to a couple Chinese factories. We had a concern with all of them. Either their prices were way out of our range, they wouldn’t print a low quantity, or they weren’t consistent with their communication. We also realized that if we were going to manufacture it in China, we wanted the factory to be near Beijing so we could visit and do extra in-person quality control.
In mid-December, Tian and I got in touch with a factory in the northern part of Beijing (CivaPrintall in English; 多彩 in Chinese). The sales person, Beau Wang, was refreshingly helpful on the phone, and we set up a meeting at the company HQ in Chaoyang district. It was a long subway ride and walk through the cold, but our mood was optimistic that things might actually work out!
And work out they did. Beau was friendly and treated us professionally, even as we asked him a lot of basic questions. He showed us examples of other games they manufactured, and there were some major names there that we recognized from the American market, which made us more confident. He sat and talked with us (his English was adequate too!) for over two hours looking at our design and helping us determine how much various ideas, materials, sizes etc…would cost. It was exactly what we had been looking for in a factory. The next day he drew up a quote, and it was right in our target range. The biggest remaining piece of the puzzle was in place. Suddenly it all got very real very fast. We were in business!