2016, the year of the Panda
Wow! It is hard to believe that we are in the final weeks of the year. It seemed like just yesterday we were turning the page in our calendar to 2016 and laying out our plans for the months ahead. Now that we are looking at 2016 in a more reflective manner, we are happy to see that a lot of what we set out to do this year got accomplished.
New Manufacturing Facility
The biggest to-do on our list was to move into our new manufacturing facility and that went very smoothly and we are loving the new digs! The new space will allow us to continue to provide the high quality tabletop titles we have in the past, while also giving us some room to grow. We shared some pictures of the new factory in our last update, but we are still so excited about it we want to share a few more here. We also recently hired on a videographer for a couple of weeks to film our production facility, so stay tuned in the very near future for some of that footage. Anyone who is a fan of “How It’s Made” is going to eat this up!
Michael Lee, Panda CEO, standing in front of Panda’s new factory
Our First Panda Summit …
Another big milestone for us this year was holding our first ever Panda Summit in Dallas Texas. This was quite literally an “all paws on deck” event as we had our entire team in one place for a few days where we got to share our big wins on the year and more importantly, just get to spend some time together and play some games. Since our team is strewn out across the entire US, Canada, Europe and China, having everyone in one place was a rare treat and we definitely made the most of it. We also welcomed two new pandas to our team – Alex and Heidi. They have joined our prepress team and it felt like we had known them forever from the get-go. We are so excited to have these extremely talented individuals on our team.
Pandas at Top Golf in Dallas, Texas
… Then On To BGGCON
After our retreat, we moved hotels over to the Hyatt Regency at the airport and attended BGGCON. This is always a great exclamation mark on the year as we get to spend time with our clients, friends and fans of games in general – the convention has a great vibe and it is a great reminder why we work in such a caring and close industry.
Pandas (left to right) David Lipman, Stephen Selego, and Matt Sims playing Raise your Goblets
Oh Yeah, We Also Made Some Games
Of course we made a ton of board games this year and we would love to list all of them, but our newsletter service has a character limit and we would run way over. Suffice it to say, 2016 was our biggest year yet for releases with many games that pushed the boundaries of what board games can do. We want to thank everyone we worked with this year for letting us be partners in their passion.
Even though we cannot list ALL of the games we have made this year – we can take a look at a couple. We are working on having a little bit more structure in our newsletter, so moving forward we would like to highlight certain projects that either just finished up and can be found out in the wild for play and/or games that we are currently working with publishers to produce. These will be called Finished Game Features and In Process Spotlights. We hope you enjoy our first installments below.
Finished Game Feature: Pandemic Iberia
Pandemic Iberia takes the original Pandemic and brings it to a new location and period in time. You have to fight off four historical diseases using the technology available in 19th century Spain and Portugal. There’s no flying around the board – you must build out a railroad network throughout the game to increase your mobility. Also unavailable are modern vaccines that allow the eradication of diseases, but you are equipped with purified water to protect regions from disease, which works a bit like the barricades in Dead of Winter. The components are similarly matched to the historical period, with all custom wooden tokens and a parchment art book. Fans of Pandemic and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy this one. We really loved working on the custom wood components for this game – they add so much to the theme and table presence.
Some of the components period-approrpiate components for Pandemic Iberia
In Process Spotlight: Wasteland Express Delivery Service (WEDS)
One game that we are working on currently that has been a lot of fun is Wasteland Express Delivery Service (WEDS). The game is being published by Pandasaurus Games and is designed by the talented trio of Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, and and Matt Riddle. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but unlike most dystopian worlds, this one is inhabited by a ton of colorful and lively characters. Your task is to outfit your truck, hire on help, fend off enemies, and GET PAID while looking for the occasional bit of shade in a story that unfolds over the course of ten games (or in a randomly generated scenario).
Most games have one big showcase component and in the case for WEDS it definitely is the trucks – so we knew we had to get working on those early with the publisher and our production team. What is unique (and awesome) about the trucks in WEDS is that because the game has pick up and deliver elements to it – the truck beds can actually carry cargo. The process for making these pieces is one of constant communication between our team and the client – where the publisher will submit files and then we would provide updated files that are adjusted to make mass production of large quantities easier. This is done because files for one-off 3D printing and files for mass production moulding have some fundamental differences. Pandasaurus has been a great partner in this and we have loved making suggestions and helping bring their already super designs to life!
The trucks in WEDS are as practical as they are good-looking!
We have finished all of the non-printed components for WEDS and Pandasaurus is putting the finishing touches on their print files before we review those and get proofs up for that. Last but not least, there will be a custom game insert in this title with the design for the tray coming from the folks at GameTrayz. This is a very exciting collaboration and we can’t wait for you to see the final product. Stay tuned next year for Wasteland Express Delivery Service!
2017 and Beyond!
Looking ahead for 2017, we will be kicking off our convention season early in the year in Europe. First we will be going to Nuremberg, Germany for the Nuremberg Toy fair from February 1st
through the 6th.
For those of you in the USA, don’t fret, we will be hitting conventions in the contiguous states early in the year as well. You can catch us at either GAMA in Las Vegas from March 13th – March 17th or at UnPub in Baltimore, Maryland from March 17th – March 19th. Since that is St. Patties weekend, some of you may actually share a pint with some Pandas at that one ; )
We are so thankful for everyone’s support over the last year and we cannot wait to see you all again when we hit the road!
Until next time…
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This year was an exceptional Essen Spiel with many great releases, and we thought you might be interested in a quick recap from Panda’s perspective. Here is a list of some of the games that we had released at the show, with a few select images of unique components.