My family went down to Eureka, Utah this past weekend to see what sort of photos we could collect. It’s an old mining town that still has a small population in it, so it hits a sweet spot between a ghost town and a place that people want to live in, which means some amenities and environmental cleanup (taking care of lead from mining, mostly), but relatively easy access to some excellent old mining machines and sites.
So naturally, the weekend we planned to go there, Harley Davidson had an event there, with nearly 2000 bikers in town (more than double the town’s normal population). I found this would be the case the morning before we went, and I was a little dismayed, since I was looking for a nice quiet photo expedition. I don’t have anything particularly grievous against bikers (secondhand smoke is annoying, but the bikers I tend to run into here are decent folk), but I was hoping for, well… quiet. As it happens, though, the event was exactly what we needed.
One, they were doing a poker event. Heh. I wound up handing out my whole deck of business card prototypes (really just my deck’s aces with a link to my website Project Khopesh on the back). Funny how that works out. (Incidentally, the Project Khopesh site mostly just points back here at the moment, but it’ll be more interesting when I get things rolling.)
Two, because the bikers were in town, Eureka was more open than it typically is, letting us explore their Union Pacific trolley and the Chief mining facility. Those are almost never open according to the people I talked to, and we were able to get some great photos in both locations. I also got to talk to an older biker guy (dude? gentleman? whatever) who was also taking photos of the machinery. He was quite genial and told me about some of the machinery, since his wife’s family was a mining family. He really knew his stuff, and was happy to share. His story about the underground mule stables was most interesting; I had no idea they did that, but it makes some sense on reflection. (They needed the mules to move ore carts, but if they ever brought the animals above ground, they wouldn’t go back down. So, they lived their whole lives in the mine, complete with underground stables.)
I did record some video at the Chief mining site to make a promo video for the Kickstarter for the deck I’m now calling the Tinker Deck (still carrying the subtitle “Heroes of the 19th Century”), but there was an almost constant background chatter of Harley motorcycles. So, once I get it cut together and presentable, just know that such isn’t the normal soundscape of Eureka. Those bikers were our “angel facilitators” of a sort, though, so I think it’s wholly appropriate that they are part of the campaign, even if it doesn’t sound like a sleepy semi-ghost town.
Anyway, here are some of the photos from the trip over on my Google+ account.
I also got a bunch of photos of the textures of the place, like a lot of really cool shots of rusty metal, and I’m weaving those into the card designs. So yeah, when I said the art was done, I was right… at the time. I tell you, it’s possible to tinker endlessly with art if you really let yourself. At this point, though, I’m polishing it up to make it more appealing to Kickstarter denizens, some of whom have somewhat particular tastes. It’s subtle things, like making the card back perfectly rotationally symmetrical and making the faces use the same edge; these are big things for magicians and some collectors, and pretty easy to make happen.
The bigger question at this point is whether or not to print via Bicycle or just USPC… or just the best priced Chinese company… or something in between. I’m still not sure on this, so any input you all might have would be appreciated. I’m leaning to the cheaper cards because I want to peg the price per deck around $5 instead of $10+, but I’m really not sure how that will sort out. I’m price sensitive, but the Kickstarter market seems… fickle. Also, the alpha version of the deck (pre-Eureka upgrades) will be available at The Game Crafter for $9.99 without shipping. I know, Bicycle makes better cards, so $10-12 for a deck with upgraded art isn’t a bad deal, but that $5 price point is still intriguing. One of the biggest points of doing a Kickstarter in the first place is to get a better price thanks to the economy of a bulk order.
Anyway, plenty of numbers to grind and research to do yet. It feels agonizingly slow sometimes, since I want to get the deck released into the wild and move on to other fun projects, but sometimes the gears of progress grind slowly… slowly…