An Easter Surprise
This weekend we gave away 18 gobans! There are hundreds of players who would love to have a goban but can't bear the cost, and we were thrilled to have met even a little of the great demand that exists for quality gear. We are a long way from recouping our expenses, but it was very exciting!
The Goban Supply
Some of our boards had been sitting in the warehouse since 2020, and storage costs were continuing to accrue. Spring Cleaning was on our mind, but we faced a difficult decision. We could simply dispose of a dozen and a half boards, and cut our losses right there. Or we could double our costs by shipping the boards.
We decided to ship the boards.
Powered by hope, we made 18 boards available for free on our shop and let them find their own homes. We used a simple first-in first-out method, where the first customer got the board that had been in the warehouse the longest (with some allowance for taste, as customers were able to select the size of Goban they wanted). We announced the program via our newsletter, and then social media.
At the same time, we created a Gift-A-Goban page for players to donate toward the shipping cost of the free boards.
A dozen floor boards and a half-dozen table boards went fast. Hundreds of visitors from the US, Canada, and UK snapped up the free options within hours. Our apologies to the rest of the world that was asleep during all of this.
We could have set a starting time, like an Easter Egg hunt. However, I didn't like the possibility of having our website glitch out if dozens of people were attempting to check out at the same time. We could have created a lottery system, but any random process with prizes is sure to run afoul of gambling regulations.
Paying for Shipping
We hoped our Gift-A-Goban page would operate like a Kickstarter, but in reverse, with a global player base helping to fund the project. We donated the value of the boards themselves, but shipping is a considerable expense. Donations are trickling in, so we will leave the page up and continue to update it until we cover the shipping costs or give up.
Players who selected a table board or small/medium goban can expect delivery by Japan Post in the next 3 months, while players who selected a large goban (and paid for the required FedEx upgrade) can expect delivery in 2 weeks.
Someone suggested making the program only for Students or small clubs. That's not a bad idea, but creating applications and a vetting process seems like a huge burden. We support doing this as an Honor system in the future.
In retrospect, doing a traditional Kickstarter would have been much easier. But if we took the donations first, and only made available the number of gobans that could be shipped based on the results, then what if the support didn't materialize? I was willing to take the chance, and we'll see what happens.
If we try the funding-in-advance route, we will also need to develop a way to identify recipients in advance. How to do that in a fair and easy way?
Maybe these gobans should be tournament prizes?
Another idea is a pay-what-you-want feature. In fact, one recipient added both the Free Goban option and a donation to their cart to make that happen!
If you have ideas, I look forward to reading them in the comment section~
Thank you to everyone that donated already, you give us faith that we're on the right track!