Saturday, November 28, 2020

New shipment of Doctor Esker's Notebook arrived

A new shipment of Doctor Esker's Notebook arrived from India today. 4,320 games in the third printing. 12 boxes, about 40 lbs each. They went to Charlotte instead of Greensboro, and my customs broker closed down, so I had to figure out some new stuff. My new customs broker was absolutely wonderful, though - shout out to Charlotte Customshouse Brokers (

Now I have to get them down to the basement sans hernia.

Update to finances of Doctor Esker's Notebook project

I haven't done a business update for Doctor Esker's Notebook recently, so here goes. Last month, I ordered a 3rd printing for the game. Despite being a larger print run, it was a bit more expensive per game because the shipping got a lot more expensive and because I asked them to do it more quickly than previous jobs. My printer in India sends via air freight, and with fewer flights, the printer indicated they had to charge more for this service. 

Where the chart is red, I've put more into the company than I've gotten out in revenues. Where it's green, I'm in positive territory (not including compensation for any of the hours I've put in). So, I am still at positive (but small) net revenue after this most recent print run, which is a first. 

Once I get the shipment, which will probably set me back another $1,000 in customs and transport, I'll have about $40,000 in potential revenue from copies of the original game and maybe $11,000 from the sequel. No guarantees I'll sell through all of those, but so far, sales have been pretty stable. If that keeps up, it's great - it just might take a while to sell out.

So, I'm not getting rich, but the upside potential is pretty good, and it's what I'd consider a successful product. I'm still selling about 2-4 per day average, probably >90% on Amazon, but with a lot of my sales in November and December as the graph shows. Not sure how this holiday season will pan out, but I'm hopeful. 

Fan Tan!

My family has often played a very simple, silly game at family gatherings. We call it 'fan tan,' although it's clear that has a history as a very different kind of game. Our game is a card game where players take turns plaing sequential cards in suit, starting with 7's and moving up and down. The goal is to get rid of all your cards. There's very little strategy, although there's a little bit in terms of when you play what cards, and how to try to force others to play the cards you need. My family can't be together this year, so I went ahead and programmed a version of this game on my website. It's pretty clunky, but it works, and it recreates the experience of the game pretty well. We all played it via Zoom yesterday. It's written entirely in PHP and Javascript, and it makes use of AJAX http calls to make and record moves. Not a thing of beauty, but still pretty cool.
It's not well-documented, but it's here: Anybody who goes to the website can start a game (hit "Reset All" if one is in process and you want to start a new one), and anybody else who's visiting the site can take part simultaneously. Note: The response to moves is a little slow - it takes about a second for moves to register.