Update: GeekDad Michael LeSauvage has reported back from PAX Unplugged with pics of the new table!
Back at GenCon, Wyrmwood Gaming unveiled the Prophecy–an amazing gaming table with unique features (like a mechanism that raises and lowers the play surface) and sporting the high-quality craftsmanship that’s ensured Wyrmwood’s continued success.
It’s been a couple of months and I started to wonder how things were coming along. After all, everyone I spoke to at the company said this was a radical change in their business scale and that it would take a large effort to make sure everything stayed on track. I was able to catch up with Jason MacDonald, Wyrmwood’s Master Woodworker, to find out.
GeekDad: Congratulations on the successful launch of the Prophecy! Now that you’re a few months out from the GenCon launch, how are things going?
Jason MacDonald: Thank you! Table sales are going really well so far. The Prophecy is an even bigger success than we expected!
GD: Do you think that has anything to do with the vacuum left by the exit of GeekChic from the market?
JM: I won’t lie, GeekChic was a big coincidence. We were already three months into developing table when that news dropped. But, yeah, I think it definitely helped–we sold out Wave 1 our first day at GenCon.
GD: No doubt. There were people that had saved up considerable cash and were ready to pull the trigger and then had nothing to spend that money on! Like GeekDad Editor-in-Chief Ken Denmead.
JM: Oh yeah! I was just talking to him the other day. There’s a custom engraving we’re working on for his table. He’s table number #8 of Wave 1, as a matter of fact.
GD: As Master Woodworker, what was your input on the project?
JM: I worked three months on the prototypes. It was fun for me. I went to school for mechanical engineering, and the adjustable game surface was a challenge. We wanted something that was going to raise and lower the play surface and tried wires and pulleys at first. That’s when I came up with the crank mechanism.
Doug and Ian have been working on it for a year. They’re master furniture makers, so for them, it was a return to what they were doing before Wyrmwood.
GD: What the biggest challenge been so far?
JM: Honestly, the whole process. Every component that makes up the Prophecy has a unique shape or we have a different take than rest of the field. Curved aprons, dual magnetic rails–the whole project was iterative. It was a whole company effort to build our three prototype tables.
One of the biggest challenges, though, is designing the table with future accessories in mind. We’re still developing them, but the architecture of the table is open. We want people to be able to buy new accessories for their table, like card holders, after delivery.
GD: So the business model will return to something closer to your original game accessories business after they ship?
JM: Well, not really. When we Kickstart a project, we have people vote with their dollars, figure out what we’ll need to produce. This is the first product Wyrmwood has done without Kickstarter. It necessitated a major ramp-up in capacity and production. We’ve had to double the size of our facilities. In fact, I’m flying to North Carolina to source bigger production machines today.
GD: Double the size! Has that transition been smooth? How is it affecting table production?
JM: A lot of the past two months have been spent building jigs and getting machine manufacturers. We also need to source longer, thicker boards with new suppliers. Our current suppliers are great for gaming accessory projects, but they just don’t have the materials on hand. Each Prophecy consists of 160 board feet of lumber. Our other projects, we use about three-quarters of a board foot per product.
We also needed to find machinists and water-jet cutters to manufacture internal parts for the mechanism. Thankfully, we have a local machine shop that we’re working with.
GD: So you’re staying local, you won’t be outsourcing anything to China?
JM: Right, no Chinese outsourcing. It just makes more sense from being able to better control production and quality to being able to rapidly prototype new parts. We stand by our Craftsman’s Promise and we can’t control quality if we outsource parts to a factory halfway across the globe.
GD: You mentioned customization earlier. What’s the biggest request you’ve had? Do you have plans for other styles?
JM: We want to try and accommodate everything we can. We’ve had requests for custom inlays, engravings, even major additions like clawed feet. Obviously, we can’t honor every request, but the most-requested customization has been for different-sized tables, such as a 6′ x 4′ table for wargaming. The design was built to scale up and down, so that’s definitely in the plans for the future.
GD: What about coordinated seating?
JM: We’ve been talking about it, and we have had a few requests, but right now we have to allocate our time and manpower to the first waves of the Prophecy. And, honestly, it’s a mental hurdle when you give people quotes for craftsman-quality chairs. Bespoke furniture makers charge thousands, and people are used to IKEA prices when it comes to seating.
GD: So what’s next for The Prophecy table? Will Wyrmwood be at PAX Unplugged?
JM: We will be there! And we’re bringing a brand new Bolivian Rosewood table sporting an updated crank mechanism.
We’ve already sold out of Waves 1 and 2 and are currently filling slots for Wave 3 to be delivered in March of 2019.
Interested in reserving a Prophecy table of your own? Head over to the official Wyrmwood page or stop by their booth at PAX Unplugged. Thanks to Jason MacDonald for taking the time to chat.