CREO + HermitCraft TCG S1 | An Exhaustive (and extremely long) Manufacturing Update

CREO + HermitCraft TCG S1 | An Exhaustive (and extremely long) Manufacturing Update

Published: September 15th, 2023


Hi! My name is Luke, I’m the Founder of CREO, the team behind the (physical) HermitCraft TCG project.

I initially reached out to VintageBeef back in February of this year, after following the design and development of the HermitCraft TCG throughout Season 9. I’ve been a longtime fan of HermitCraft myself for years, and have been watching Beef’s channel semi-regularly since back in the Mindcrack days. (Go Team Canada!)

Couldn’t be more excited to be working with Beef (and an insanely talented group of artists) to bring the HermitCraft TCG to life. This is a dream come true for me.

I wanted to use this post as a quick opportunity to provide some insight into the manufacturing process and current status, as well as some behind-the-scenes of the design decisions that we’ve made.

Note - this update is only related to the original HermitCraft TCG April/May pre-order (this one got way too long already). More updates on the Alt-Art Collector’s Edition (July pre-order) coming soon!

r/HermitCraft - HermitCraft TCG Game Box

Initial Design

In this section I’ll cover a few details about the design of the product that I thought were interesting, and some things you can expect to see when the products ship!

Starter Deck

There is 1 Starter Deck included in each Game Box, which contains everything you need to get started playing the game. Because you need a specific set of cards to have a functioning deck, these could not be randomized (like the Booster Box). However, we still wanted to have variety in the decks themselves, so there are 10 unique Starter Decks, each which contains a unique combination of Hermit, Item, and Effect cards.

Even better, each Starter Deck ships in an adorable little custom-illustrated Starter Deck folding box, courtesy of the wonderfully talented Aibi.

CDN media

Health Cards

Within the digital/in-game version of HermitCraft TCG, health is tracked using different number cards, and displayed in front of the Hermit cards. To replicate this in a physical board game, would require 30 Health cards for each Hermit, ranging from 10 to 300, increasing by 10 each time. Multiply this by a total possible 10 Hermits on the board, and it would require an extra 300 cards to be included in each shipment.

At roughly 0.5mm thick for each card, this would be a stack of cards almost 15cm (6in) tall! And at roughly 1.75g per card, this would be almost 0.5kg (1.1lb). This would have dramatically increased the cost of the product, as well as shipping, packaging, and basically every aspect of the supply chain.

Therefore, we came up with a different idea - 10 laminated health cards included in each box, along with a simple dry-erase marker for recording Health. We thought this was a simple, elegant, lightweight solution that does the job just fine. And even better, they look pretty snazzy too! We added a subtle Spot UV pattern that you can see on the left card below.

r/HermitCraft - Health Card Samples


The original design for the instructions was a classic accordion-style multi-page booklet, which is what you can see in the original renderings of the product.

r/HermitCraft - Original Instructions Design

However, when the initial sample shipped, I wasn’t happy with the quality at all. The paper felt light, flimsy, and honestly pretty hard to read.

While it probably would have been okay, I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and it wasn’t good enough. So we went back to the drawing board, and completely redesigned the instructions to fit on a single insert (front and back), which will be printed on a much more solid, thicker, laminated insert that will be included with every Game Box.

r/HermitCraft - Updated Instructions Design (Sample)


There’s about a thousand other tiny decisions that we made throughout the production of this product, but I didn’t want to bore anyone with going into more detail than I already have!

However, if you’re interested in more, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I promise I’ll read every single one!

(Base Set) Collector’s Edition Cards

As a reminder, these were the free-add on (bonus) to the original April/May pre-order. Each household is going to be getting one slabbed Collector’s Edition card, from the original base set of the game. And even better, there’s a 50% chance that it will be signed by the Hermit on the card itself!

Signing the Cards

This brings us to the Signing process. Each Hermit (who opted to participate) will be signing two sets of cards in total. The original Base Set Collector’s Edition cards, as well as there individually sold Alt-Art Collector’s Edition cards that were available during the July pre-order window.

These will happen in two separate batches, as the original Base Set cards were ready for signature before the pre-order window for the Alt-Art Collector’s Edition was closed.

Each Hermit was sent a batch of around 400 Base Set cards to sign, along with some metallic sharpies, some black sticky notes to test their signature, and a little note from yours truly. It was so fun seeing all the Hermits post about signing their cards on Twitter. I’m obviously a little biased, but folks these cards look amazing.

Despite a few dried-out markers, the signatures overall went flawlessly!

….Or so we thought.

Shipping the Cards

Receiving the cards back from the Hermits, we identified an issue. A large majority of the cards had some metallic residue on the card, from the signature on the card ahead/behind in the stack. We tested the markers extensively prior to shipping, without any issues, but we think pressure/heat changes during shipping led to the paint in the metallic sharpies bleeding slightly.

Disaster! While we could absorb the cost of re-printing the cards, the timeline impact would be dramatic, as it would take months to re-print the cards, cut/trim them, send for signing, and finally return for final assembly and shipping.

Because some of the cards are being randomly inserted into the Booster Packs, this would delay the fulfilment of the entire original pre-order, likely until 2024.

Cleaning the Cards

Therefore, we went with the only solution I could think of - manually cleaning each and every card by hand.

We are ever-so-carefully wiping the back of each and every card, holding it in one (gloved) hand and wiping with the other, so as to not disturb either the varnish and Spot UV finish on the back of each card, or the signature on the front of the card.

This is a tedious, time-consuming process but it’s the best option to do right by the people who supported this project. And besides, I’m no stranger to tedious, time consuming projects! I might not always get it right the first time, but I guarantee you I will always do my best to do the right thing in the end.

Timeline Impact

While this solution absolutely is faster than re-printing and re-signing the cards, there is still a timeline impact because of the required manual labour. We’re about half-way through the process right now after a little over a week, and we’re estimating it to take another week for the cards to be fully cleaned.

From there, some of these cards will be used as the free gift for each household, and the remainder will be randomly inserted into the Booster Packs. This final assembly process involves ultrasonically welding the cards into the sealed slabs, then putting them into a box and sealing the box. For the Booster Packs, the autographed cards will be randomly inserted by hand into the Packs, then sealed shut.

Timeline Update

Overall Timeline

We had originally committed to a timeline of “Fall 2023” for the shipping of the original Base HermitCraft TCG April/May pre-orders, and were aiming for September/October specifically.

However, with the timeline impact of the aforementioned signature challenges, this timeline is definitely trending towards the end of that range. At the earliest, an optimistic timeline would be to expect the pre-orders to start shipping in the last week of October. This is a somewhat moving target at this point, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated with more accurate timelines the moment we have them.

I want to take a moment to apologize for this delay - this project is only possible because of the trust and support of you all, the people who backed the project from day one. At the end of the day, I take full responsibility and accountability for this delay, but you have my word that I am doing everything in my power to get these cards shipped out as fast as humanly possible, without sacrificing the quality of the product.

Address Update

Quick note - if you have moved since you placed your original pre-order, please make sure to send us an email so we can update your shipping address! Head over the Contact page on the website, and make sure to include your email address that you used to place the order, your order number, and your new address so I can get it updated all in one go.

Refunds/Returns Policy

We have a 100% refund policy on any item that is pre-ordered prior to the point at which it is shipped. Therefore, if the impact to the timeline changes your mind about the pre-order, I completely understand, and sincerely apologize for this delay. Please send me an email through the “Contact” form on the website with your email address you used to place the order and your order number, and we will immediately issue a refund.

We actually have a bit of a waitlist for people who missed the pre-order window, so any refunded units will more than likely find their way to a good home.


Please let me know what you think of this style update! Too long? Too short? Too detailed? Not enough? What do you want to know more about? I may not be able to reply to every response but I promise I’ll read every one! I actually really enjoyed writing this, so if people want more I’d be happy to oblige.

I can’t thank you all enough for giving myself and the rest of the CREO team the opportunity to bring this project to life for you all. We are working day and night to make this the best possible product for you all and I genuinely cannot wait to get these cards into your hands, I think you’re going to love them!


- Luke Chesney

Founder, CREO

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