Right now I am mostly waiting for things to line up. Then the real work can begin. I seriously considered springing for an authentic bar code (UPC), but we finally decided just to wait a bit on that. It will be easy enough to add later. My paperboard order should be shipping out soon, and my printer has the special 13x19 paper I requested. The next step is to finalize all the designs and get the copyright.
A note on playtesting:
During our recent vacation to the beach, we got a chance to playtest the 5-6 version some more. Embarrassingly, I ran away with it, to the point of having to call it mid-game. It was felt that this happened, in part, because of the Pickpocket. It was proposed that I try changing the Pickpocket from 2 Gold per player to 2 Chips from any one player. This would add another way to keep the leader in check, while lowering the value of the space somewhat. Fortunately, I have already decided to remove the Pickpocket from the 3-4 (Standard) version. The 5-6 release date is well into next year, so I still have some time to get it ironed out. I still feel very confident about the standard version.
It is also apparent that more experienced players have a very clear advantage. This is perhaps an obvious statement, but it is important that new players have a chance to win (which I still think they do). This phenomenon occurs in many games (Puerto Rico comes to mind, and even Settlers of Catan), so it's not a game-breaker. I might just need to do less playing and more watching...