​Personal update, and some boring “businessy” stuff


​Personal update, and some boring “businessy” stuff

Posted by -Mertaal ,14th May 2024
​Personal update, and some boring “businessy” stuff

Howdy folks! Well, I must say, it feels great to be blogging again. This is a very personal one, and isn’t really about The Drowned Earth, Ulaya Chronicles or gaming in general, but it is about me, my family and the business but if you're just here for the cool games you should skip this one!

As many of you will know last year we had a house fire, literally 2 days after we moved back to our home after a year of living with my mum while we were renovating our house.

It happened in the middle of the night, but we all got out safely and nobody was hurt. We are still waiting for the insurance company to restore our home, but for now we are renting nearby and everything is great. We lost a lot of possessions (uninsured because we had only just moved back in and contents insurance was on the “to-do” list!).

At the time many of you were hugely supportive- helping out by buying a sweatshirt or some discounted goods (quite a lot of stock was undamaged but the packaging was waterlogged and needed to be thrown away). Michael at Tabletop Workshop ran a charity auction and donated the proceeds to my family while the guys at Drowned Dresden also had a collection.

Since then work had gone from really difficult to a bit easier to “back in the driving seat, baby!”.

We are currently renting (our insurance policy didn’t cover re-homing costs because it was a pre-child decision, and we assumed we’d just go and live with family if anything happened). Our kids are 3 years old and 19 months old, we both work full time, and so those of you with small kids can appreciate that the work-life balance with tiny people is always going to be a challenge! But having a little bit of home-office space back is magic, and done wonders for my ability to carve out something like a normal work day again!

And I’ve had plans. Olmec Games is thriving and I’ve had lots of ideas for improvements. This year I brought all of our non-EU production in-house by purchasing a very high-end 3D printer, which has been time consuming and challenging as well as a big financial investment. Being able to control our production cycle has been hugely empowering and should lead to a much more regular release schedule (although it may take a little while for that to “kick in”).

It also leads to lots of cool ideas. We are seriously considering offering the individual models from starter boxes again (although direct-only, not through stores or distribution). Similarly, who would like a 50mm bust of Sage? Or a 1:20 scale Kassel? We may well be able to do that kind of thing quite soon!

Best of all this new production method means it’s possible to produce most of our figures as single pieces, and the quality is even better than the metal figures we were producing. In effect we are now able to produce master-quality figures at manufacturing scale. Are they really the same quality? Yes- the machine I bought is exactly the same machine we used to use to print our masters, only much much bigger. The downside is that it weighs 150kg… getting it in to the workshop was not easy!

Yep... not small

I have also been working on the environmental sustainability of our packaging. If you buy directly from us you won’t get retail packaging- instead you’ll get a beautiful little hand-assembled package including a fancy wax seal. This saves you postage costs as well as providing you with a dice bag, and eliminating the amount of waste. There might even be the occasional free gift :D.

For stores we’re now producing smaller boxes- all recyclable, and printing our own labels. When we run out of plastic pouches we will start using paper ones- or small boxes for some of the larger figures. Now we can print our own labels in house we no longer need transparent packaging, which was the only thing tying us to plastic.

So yes, there’s been a lot going on, but you haven’t heard much from me despite that! Honestly, I’m very busy with work and kids, and so it’s really easy to de-prioritise communication. I’m not much of a social-media person, and a bit shy really (even though if you’ve met me you might not guess- I fake it hard!). I think my biggest failing as a business-person is in the marketing department. However, coming up to a year’s anniversary of our fire I really wanted to give you all an update, as well as a big thank-you for all your support at that time and more generally.