First Look: Mid Season Game Mat

As the first half of the big league season winds down, we're getting closer and closer to the release of our Mid-Season/All Star Set. We've already teased the Player Cards, and today we're giving a first look at the mat art work. Brief disclaimer: art is subject to change still. Details are still being ironed out, but this mat will likely be sold separately as a limited edition, as there will not be starter/full sets for this set to include a mat in.

Over the next couple of weeks we're going to showcase some more of what the set has to offer, including Strategy and Stadium Surprises, so keep an eye out on our blog/forums/social media for more details. Let us know what you think of the set so far below!


The Reinforcements Have Landed

"Series 1" card pictures on left. "Series 2" card pictured on right.

After another couple of setbacks, as of tomorrow we will officially have more stock. Our new printer did a great job turning around the cards in a quick manner. We have not seen them in real life yet, but we've seen a lot of production photos over the past couple of weeks and we're very encouraged by the colors/quality.

The hardest thing about all of this has been locking down the right people to trust with the production of the game. I've got a box full of failed dice ordered from all over the world for further proof of that. Some dice were too small, some had too many imperfections, some weren't the advertised color. It's a frustrating process.

The good news is that we feel really good about where we're at with all of our trusted production partners as of now. We obviously wanted to be a little further along at this point: be in stores/Amazon, have tournaments scheduled, etc, but all things considered the initial release could have gone worse. We're hoping for a smoother Mid-Season Set release and guaranteeing a smoother 2018 release.

Factory photo of error rainbow foil.

I just want to talk about the cards for a second. While we haven't heard many (any?) complaints about what I'm going to refer to as the "Series 1" cards (the ones that Indiegogo early backers received), we have already gone over some of the defects and will be releasing further details on the mid-season compensation that was promised. The "Series 2" (new batch of cards for official release) will look a little different. For starters, the printer has improved upon the colors/contrast on player cards. We have also decided to ditch the UV highlighting because it just wasn't doing too much. Rare cards will not be foil stamped, instead they now have holographic areas. The attached photo showcases the area in which the foil will appear. Please note that this is a picture of one of the aforementioned setbacks: they put rainbow foil instead of silver foil on the cards initially.

On one hand, I know it's frustrating that the new cards look better/different than the first batch, but we have officially destroyed the remaining stock, so the only Series 1 cards that still exist are the ones currently in circulation. Hopefully that makes them a little more special.

Lastly, we'll once again need a couple days to break down the order and begin shipping. We learned quite a bit from the manner in which we ordered the first set, and our new method will greatly improve speed.  We've also taken a look at our booster pack building process and think we can improve on our randomization.

March Update

$14,715 Thank Yous.

The Indiegogo Campaign officially ended last night. It's going to be a little weird to go into work and not stare at our Indiegogo analytics on my side monitor all day, but it's going to be good to get a little bit of a breather.

It's pretty well documented by now how we got to this point—our initial trials and failures to bring this to life and our long public hiatus. When we finally found a way to make this happen last fall, I wasn't sure what to expect. When our campaign went live on January 13th, I really wasn't sure what to expect. We raised $1,130 in the first 24 hours—we were elated—and then we raised $85 the rest of the weekend. I'm not going to lie, I started to wonder if we were going to reach 5k. Not hitting goal is basically a death sentence for any crowdfunding project, and in my mind, 5k was always the absolute minimum we needed to raise to give this a shot. I never minded putting some money into this, but I could only do so much.

Luckily, that feeling of dread went away quickly as the campaign picked up. I consider anything over 10k a success, and where we ended up to be super-successful. I'm so thankful for everyone who believes in us and Clutch. If nothing else, we have proof of concept. People still have interest in a physical baseball card game.

All in, initial costs are going to reach nearly 20k after production, packaging, marketing, accounting fees, legal fees, and every-stupid government-fee-you-can-think-of. Pretty crazy right? Considering we aren't licensing anything and I've logged multiple-thousands of dollars worth of "free" design hours. So yea, I'm happy with the campaign results.

We're set-up extremely well for this year and the future. We can now invest more into marketing, concentrate on locking down wholesale/retail relationships, and work on building the mid season set. This leads right into talking about these two stretch goals in more detail


Scoring App Update

The app is nearly done. I received a working version of it last week. It's more or less functional. It just needs some minor tweaks and account / game saving functionality added. There's no reason why it shouldn't be available to you guys once pre-orders ship. Like we've mentioned before, this version is going to be a little bare-bones. You'll be manually entering player names for now and that kind of thing. In the future we'll get a player data base, advanced stats, roster builder, and all that fun stuff.

Mid-Season Set Update

We're really excited about this set—more colors, legends, all-stars, and a whole lot more. Feel free to suggest your player additions on the forums over the coming months. We are going to try and lock down a USA printer for these, as the production/shipping time from China is just not realistic for this set.


Where are my cards!?

We can't wait to to start getting these cards into your hands. They were ordered a week ago, so that leaves us with 2-3 weeks more production time and 1 week shipping time to us. After received, the cards will be packaged here in the USA. This will take an additional couple of days before we can ship to you.

Only a small percentage of our order is being express-shipped to us. The rest will not arrive for 5 additional weeks, as it is coming by sea and not air. We wont begin selling on our website or anywhere else until this second batch is received.  So that gives our backers over a month to have at the game early.

Until then, at least we've got some WBC and spring training to hold us over. Hopefully we can get around to live streaming a game or two this month as well.

This is actually happening...I did it mom!

Cards have been ordered!

Today is a huge day for Clutch Baseball–we've just officially placed our order for the cards and uploaded all of the final files. Hopefully we can hit 10k today as well and make this a super special day. Have we mentioned how thankful we are yet? We're truly thankful to everyone who has helped us get here, and an extra special shout out to those who took time to check over our work and help find a few errors.

This is an example of UV highlighting on a card. It's basically impossible to mock up on our cards, so here's a real-life example.

On to the important stuff: the general turn-time is 3-4 weeks for printing and 1 week for shipping. I'm hoping it will be a little quicker than that. Our order is pretty straight forward, minus the UV Coating and Foil Stamping. I'm crossing my fingers for 3 weeks as a realistic possibility to receive them.

The packaging and everything else has already been printed in the US and will be packaged together with the cards here as well. We hope to start getting orders out in the order they were received, within a few days of getting the cards in-hand.

I know there is some confusion of what the cards will look like, so I'm going to try and clear that up here. Don't take this literally–the black represents the areas that will have a UV highlight / Foil Stamp. This is essentially what I had to create for every single card to hand off to the printer so they know what to do.

This is a representation of what every rare card will look like (assuming they don't deny any pieces because they're too small). Every area shown on the left will be foil stamped in silver. The only reason why the On-Base number is not being foil stamped is because silver on white would not show up and 2 foil colors gets pricy. So we're just UV highlighting that portion.

All common/uncommon cards will have UV highlighting ONLY. Their names will not be UV highlighted, nor will their rarity icon. Otherwise the same areas will be highlighted. Strategies and Stadiums have similar UV highlighting. Hopefully this makes some level of sense. If you have any questions feel free to ask here or on the forums.

If you haven't ordered yet–you still have until the end of the month to get in on the fun. All orders before our Indiegogo campaign expires will be shipped during our early release.

Pre-Order Now!

7.5k Stretch Goal Hit + Final 10k Stretch Goal

After just 3 weeks on Indiegogo we have now raised over $7,500! We're extremely happy with the results so far and the support we've gotten from our hardcore fans. We have now sent the fully graphically-designed app into development. Once again, it may only be available as a web app initially-but this wont fundamentally change anything besides how you access it.

Our ultimate goal is to break $10k and beyond before pre-orders are all said and done. As I've mentioned, we still are only about 1/2 way to covering initial costs-which isn't a huge deal, as we obviously are order
ing a lot more product to sell over the course of the year, and the rest of the cash will be fronted out of pocket, but we'd like to have more wiggle room to advertise the game and continue to build our audience.

With that being said, our second and final stretch goal is for $10k and is for the production of our Mid-Season set. We hope this set becomes a real signature item over the years. We plan to feature every All-Star, players not included in the initial set (Rookie cards...?), Legends from the home All Star team, and special Strategies.

The All Star cards allow us to utilize colors more than the main set. We cannot use team colors normally, but as long as a whole series of cards are the same color it's okay. So all our All Stars and legends can have the special Miami design shown here.

Obviously all players are TBD. Please feel free to suggest legends and "missing players" on our forums! This is your game as much as it is ours and that's something we really believe in. Now matter how small/big this game is that will always be the case.

What makes this a stretch goal? Well first of all we hope that showcasing more colors/designs will attract some people on the fence about the game. We also have some big plans for this set, including a custom-illustrated game mat that will cost several hundred dollars for an artist to design. I'm just a humble graphic designer-I don't do "real art". With that being said, we also will be offering some sort of added bonus to all current and future backers with a mid-season purchase.

We are not sure if we will be selling packs/full-sets/whatever yet so we have not decided on a bonus yet but it will come in the form of a discount, exclusive cards, or freebies.

Let us know what you think of the All-Star cards!

Initial Goal Hit + $7,500 App Stretch Goal

As you probably know by now–we hit our initial funding goal in under 2 weeks! Thank you so much to everyone who has backed us and believed in this project. So what does this mean? Well as I've stated before, initial costs for this game are about 20k with legal/accounting fees, printing, etc (not including 100s of hours spent working on it). $5,000 was the initial goal to cover enough of the start up cost so that we can begin doing some other stuff like marketing / community building without going bankrupt.

Now that this first goal is successful, it's time to work towards our first stretch goal: A Companion Scoring App.

Key Features

Ditch the paper score cards
This app completely replaces paper scoring cards. No need to worry about having a stockpile of printed cards. Heck, I don't even own a printer.

Log Pitching Stats
Keep all of your pitcher's necessary stats (IP, R, BB). You'll need these to know when your pitchers are tired. Remember: every 4 runs OR 4 walks is -1 Inning Pitched (can not be combined).

Easily Update Defensive Ratings
You'll need your Battery, Infield and Outfield ratings handy to make advanced plays. These ratings can change as you sub players in and out of the game – this app will make it easy to update these ratings on the fly without a need to erase on a physical score card.

Save Games / View History
Don't worry about paper scorecards piling up – your game history will always be saved. This makes it easy for you to play series/seasons with friends.

Just one note: this "app" may just be an online mobile website at launch. We are not sure if it will be available in app stores at launch. This will not fundamentally make any difference, other than how you will access it. There are plans for many other features down the line, including checklists, roster builder, and more!

Pre-Order Now!

December Update

Merry Clutchmas

I'm going to continue to post monthly updates until Clutch officially drops; things are so busy right now that it's much easier to address all news at once. We've had a lot of good feedback coming our way, and we're extremely grateful for everyone understanding our efforts to work around licensing constraints. So anyway: let's get into the important stuff.

Release Information

The good news is: we're still on track. The plan is to open up preorders in mid-January through Indegogo with various perks. We hope that you will find preorders to be mutually beneficial. We're looking to cover some of the initial production investment, while offering you exclusive items. I hate being vague, but we haven't finalized the exact details–the January update will have concrete pricing, perks and dates.

Tentatively, we will be offering a set of 5 additional LE100 cards as the lowest perk- sneak peek below! The plan is to include David Ortiz and Ken Griffey Jr. Career Year Cards, along with Jose Fernandez and Kyle Schwarber cards that are not in the regular set. We're also including 1 extra-special strategy card that will only be released through Indegogo. And we're hoping to give away couple Beta sets with higher perks, among other things TBA.

Production Information

We've been making some progress on the production front. We recently unveiled the Official Game Mat. The good news is that they are in production! They measure 22x28 and come folded up on poster paper. They will be included in all "sets". We have not determined smaller set sizes yet but we will be offering full 2017 sets (minus the Indegogo exclusives). They will also be sold separately on our site once we go live with independent sales.

Less exciting: the dice are on our way to us also. The Regular Die will be blue with white numbers, and the Power Die will be red with white numbers. These will have the same inclusion into sets as the Game Mats and extras will sell separately eventually.

All game instructions will be online to save on printing and allow us to continually update them. Sets will include a limited number of scorecards–after that you can download them and print them for free on your own or buy packs of 100 directly from us if you want them to be all fancy-like.

Packaging is all TBD. More than likely the cards will come in a printed box, and all the "accessories" will be in a separate attached box to save on production costs. We're trying to go a little cheaper on the packaging since we will not be sold in stores initially.

Last but not least: cards. There will be 425-450 player cards (TBD)- with rosters locking in February. 70 Strategy cards and 30 Stadium cards that are all ready to go. I can tell you for certain we will not be offering packs at this time. It doesn't seem to make sense for us or you. To keep some "rares" in the game we will be doing more limited run items in the future. For example, a LE All Star 2017 set will be released in the summer–possibly with an exclusive mat. We feel like this is the best compromise for people who want to collect and people who just want everything at once.

Right now we're weighing our printing options. We'd like to have foil stamps on oil cards and holographic printing on some cards. As long as the numbers make sense it's going to happen.

That's about it for now– hang tight, we're getting there. Feel free to ask any additional questions here or on social.

First Look: The Official Clutch Game Mat

We're very excited to give you a first look at the game mat. We're still waiting to lock down pricing, so I can't say exactly what size set(s) this will be included with and/or if it will also be sold separately. It measures 28 x 22 inches, and has space to place your entire lineup, stash your bench and bullpen players, and sort your strategy cards.

So anyway, here it is. Feel free to let us know your thoughts!





Card Design Details

The biggest thing everyone wants to know right now is what exactly will this game look like and why.
Here are the first details about each of the three card types.

Player Cards

Let's get this out of the way right now: Player cards will feature real-life names and stats but not player photos.

Why Not? Well, in an effort to keep full transparency this time around: it's frankly the best option. TOPPS has exclusive rights on MLB trading card licensing until 2020. The only licensing available is through MLBPA. The rules MLBPA has on using player photos is so insane it's just not worth it financially or otherwise. Getting photos is costly and a "don't ask, don't tell how you acquired the photos" process. Once obtaining the photos through whatever means you can, you must not only photoshop all logos off the player's uniform, but also get rid of any other defining characteristics. For example, you have to photoshop a player's number to be a "generic" looking font. Furthermore, you cannot market/sell the game as "trading cards." There can be no rarity and you are not allowed to distinguish between same-city teams (you cannot even put New York (A) or New York (N)). The whole thing is insane, and we couldn't justify the cost / ruined game play for some mutant-jersey wearing players photos.untitled-3

We all know the TOPPs / MLB agreement is toxic for trading card and game companies, but this is our way of fighting against it, and hopefully come 2020 we will be more established and can secure MLB licensing. But for right now, MLBPA licensing is just not in the cards (heh). We're being very realistic about sales projections–we want to stay afloat, make a wicked fun game, eventually produce an app, and see where we can go from there. The licensing would kill this project before it ever had a chance. Maybe someday, but we think what we have made is far better than nothing.

I designed these cards for countless hours, literally trying to create something from nothing. The restrictions of no photos allow us so much more space for the things that matter. I am very proud of the diamond shape I created for the main statistics of players (handedness, handedness bonus and command/on-base). What we lost in photos, we made up for in game play enhancement. The skylines are a nice touch, that give some sort of team/city designation in the best way we could think of. (MLBPA prohibits the use of team colors on licensed cards and MLB has a general claim on team colors)

Stadium Cards

To me, we lost basically nothing with stadium cards. Stadium cards are most exciting for their effect, not their look. The skylines were an idea I had earlier this summer and I'm really happy with what we did with these, especially once we tied the skylines into the player cards as well. Even with MLBPA licensing, this is basically what we would have had to do anyway, as Stadium photos were not permitted.

Strategy Cards

With MLBPA licensing, photos on strategy cards was essentially a no-go as well. Getting a photo we would be able to use that was relevant to the card with all the rules would have been basically impossible.
I came up with another system that I'm pretty proud of to accomplish the same goal of enhancing game play in the space where a photo would have gone. Using the diamond shape, we created a new area which provides an opportunity to visually see how/when the card can be played. Once you learn the visuals, you can easily flip through your hand and see what you have to play.

Is this everything we dreamed of when we started this project? Probably not, but we are insanely proud of how we've managed to create something from nothing, especially after being shot down so many times. We're hoping to still have your support and understanding after seeing the cards and hearing about the legal limitations. We look forward to hearing your feedback on our blog and social media.

November Update

We're back—for good.

It's been over a year since we removed ourselves from the internet. Just about everyone thought the project was dead—including us at times. I'm going to attempt to answer some of the biggest questions here in this blog. We vow to be as open as possible about this project going forward. Keep checking our blog and follow us on social media for the latest updates.

Why did the website go down?

The short answer: we didn't think we'd need it anymore (explained below) and it was getting attacked by viruses. I must have fixed that website a dozen times and it just kept getting assaulted, and I'm still not sure why/how. It also violated countless copyright laws—which we were well aware of—but we figured it was a good way to get the word out / draw some attention during the beta phase.

Why did Social Media go down?

To be honest, we didn't have much to say for a very long time. Every lead we once had basically was dead (explained below), and we weren't sure what direction we were going in / could go in. There's only so many times you can post "updates coming soon" without actually having an update.

I thought you guys had a plan!?

This is partially true. When we went into this, we had no idea what we were doing. We just figured if we made a good product we would figure out a way to make it real. We were actually partially right. We forgot about the whole part of it taking 5x longer than we anticipated and getting figuratively slapped in the face a few dozen times.

The thing is it did kind of start to work itself out—so we thought. Creating a website and showcasing Clutch led to some interesting opportunities. We made quite a few contacts, and one of which was a very hot lead. This person had already created his own game and had MLBPA licensing. He wanted our game and we thought it was our best chance to make Clutch right then and there. We started developing the game for immediate release. Then he ghosted a couple months into the "merger." This was probably the biggest shot to the project. We had been working on this game non-stop for so long: perfecting the game balance, fighting over the rule book, calling every company we could think of to pitch it to—we were beat.

Well, what have you been up to?

We took a lot of time off—we needed it—physically and mentally. I know personally, I thought about it every day even when we weren't actually working on it. My head was always spinning with ideas on how we could make it happen. Truth be told, we learned a lot of valuable information on what we can/can't do while working on the failed merger project.

The timeline gets fuzzy for me, but earlier this summer I had a few idea sparks on how to make stadium cards / strategy cards work under the limitations and I mocked them all up. I think we mutually agreed they we're pretty darn cool and would do the job. We couldn't agree on how player cards could work and our spurt of ambition fell apart for the rest of the summer.

Earlier this fall I got back into card designs. We found one we agreed on and once the season ended and we had new statistics to work with, I ran the formulas and made the cards. I've been working on this website for a couple of weeks and we've just "reclaimed" our social media presence.

Surely you have a plan this time!?

Yes, we do! We're printing a new beta set this month. Luckily we don't need to do any testing, since it's the same game we tested the crap out of a couple years ago, just with a new look. Once we decide on a printer we're going to work with the community to decide which way to release this will be best for everyone. We plan to sell directly on this site and Amazon Prime, however we have not decided if we will be offering random packs, full sets, or something completely different. We'll be launching a kickstarter after the holidays to take preorders and cover some initial costs, with a release before the 2017 baseball season.

Okay, sounds reasonable–tell me more about the new designs!

Alright, fair enough. Check out this blog for more info.