Kickstarter Experiences: Part 4 – 21 months on!

I haven’t done any KS updates for quite awhile. Mostly because I feel like they turn me into a raging angry arsehole when I look at just how much is owed me by various incompetent businesses and/or suppliers. I’ll do this one as I’ve had a couple of requests on them now.

From oldest to most recent:

Kings of War (Mantic Games): Delivered everything in the end. Their quality control was, frankly, awful. Bait-and-switch on things like the troll sculpts, which I’d gone in big on based on the concept art. Lots of mispacks and miscasts. More than a few shitty sculpts. The Plastic Men-at-Arms are particularly notorious. In the end I swapped out my trolls for way too many Ogres, which are still pretty average sculpts for anyone who wants to build an army with (I’ve talked about them a few times in my Ogre Army building posts). So now I don’t have a troll army, and have a pile of Ogres (way more than I’ll even use) in a box. Yay.

Sedition Wars (McVey Studios): Shitty game with bad rules. Nicely sculpted figures in a sub-par material (restic!) for the first wave. Shitty sculpts in restic for the second wave. Ended up destroying many of them in exchange for a partial refund from CMON in the end. Apparently there are now better rules somewhere on the net. Maybe somewhere on the McVey website. McVey and CMoN passively blamed one another for all of the problems, but McVey’s shit-awful communication has resulted in me not willing to buy anything from his company again. I hope he sticks to boutique resins from here on out. If he tries to go the board game route again I wouldn’t be upset if he went out of business after the line of bullshit he fed us and how much (of my) money essentially got flushed down the toilet.

Reaper Bones 1: Turned out to be a great deal, especially with the shipping. Their communication turned out to be worse than nothing once shipping started, and RoW backers got shunted to the back of the queue, despite all of their previous promises on shipping. ReaperBryan tried to do what he could, but whoever is actually in charge decided that communicating with their backers wasn’t really important. Still. A lot of models for cheap.

Stonehaven Miniatures Dwarven Adventurers: A solid deal, overall a bunch of nice miniatures, and genuinely nice people to deal with. Good communication and delivered on time (or close enough to it that I don’t remember them being late!)

Red Box Games KS1: This one has been well documented, I’m sure. Trollforged was the producer. It seems that poor communication between the two, poor quality checking of figures on both sides, and a rogue employee trying to defend Trollforged (but naturally stirring up even more shit) all led to this becoming a massive clusterfuck with pledges being delivered incredibly late. I got my figures in the end, but still haven’t QAed them to this day, since the whole thing turned me off bigtime. And no, Sky, I’m not fucking giving them to you for free.

Dreamforge Leviathans (Dreamforge Games): still owes me a shitload of stuff and haven’t shipped anything since September last year – so over a full year since they shipped anything. Imperial Guard? Well, with my declining interest in 40k, they’re just models at this point. Wargames Factory make quality stuff, but they’re completely fucking incompetent in getting anything out on any kind of timeframe. Result is any KS getting stuff by WGF is an automatic no-go for me. Mark tries to update every so often with information on new shipping dates from WGF, but it always turns out to be bullshit that they’ve fed him. WGF are also inflexible in terms of part-shipping stuff for backers, offering some sort of coupon etc to make up for the inordinate delays or anything else.  It’s become a bit of a meme with the guys I talk to about it. China says No.

Wargames Factory customer service.

Dreadball Season 1 (Mantic): Got all my stuff in the end, over 2 waves. Got some of it after retail, but that’s par for the course, apparently. Apparently it’s a very good game. Unfortunately, I spent an awful lot of money on what turned out to be shitty figures made of restic garbage, which basically destroyed all interest I have of ever playing it. (When I look at it, it just makes me want to play proper Blood Bowl instead). Shelf fodder.

Bombshell Babes (Bombshell Miniatures): Got the figures. They were sub-par. My postcard also got fucked up since they used the cheapest packaging possible (stuff all the metal models into one zip-lock bag, then stuff that tightly into a padded envelope with no protection whatsoever for the postcards. One was broken. Then send internationally. Then don’t reply to my email that was actually quite polite by anyone’s standards. That’s the kind of customer service that $150+ gets you from Pat Keith, apparently.

Judge Dredd Miniatures (Mongoose Games): Figures still trickling in every so often 2 years after the fulfilment date. Sculpt quality varies, though Matt is personable when fixing up mispacks, etc.

Project Eternity (Videogame): No idea. I kinda lost interest and forgot about this one. I’d track it down, but I find I don’t care much, and being a videogame it’s probably another 2 years off or asking for “founders packs” or some other bullshit. I guess I should track it down sometime.

Assimilation Alien Host (Trollforged): 18 months late. He’s started to deliver on some stuff in the last few months, but no doubt it’ll be another 4-6 months before he gets up to Queen level, and even then it’ll take him months to fulfil those. My lack of interest in new 40k makes them probably not going to be a Tyranid Army anymore, so they’ll end up being some sort of greeblies. The worm-things are mostly nice, but the humanoids are a big disappointment after the excellent concept art.

Imbrian Arts: Boy I dodged a bullet with this one. Jody is a talented sculptor, but seems to be a terrible business owner, and possibly a terrible human being as well. I’m sure he’s got his “you can’t rush art” sycophants, but he really hasn’t shown any responsibility or acted like an adult to the people who gave him $63 thousand dollars. (He hasn’t updated for 4 months, again). 21 months overdue. He tried to start up another game with alternate figures while claiming that those figures weren’t Imbrian Arts figures since they belonged to another game (of his). Apparently he decided to redefine IA as a line, rather than his brand/company. He’s got an endless series of excuses, and while I have no financial loss to this shitheel, I would like to say Fuck that Piece of Shit right in his ear. Fuck you, Jody! And to anyone who feels like defending him – fuck you, too! 🙂

Hell Dorado (Kai Nesbit): This one was – as usual – a number of months late. There was talk about an illustrator having broken his hand, but apparently there’s also some connection to Ninja Division/Soda Pop Games, which no doubt had some connection to this one becoming clusterfucked. The French Language version still hasn’t fully shipped due to some kind of chain of events that I tuned out of months ago now. I bought a bunch of extra HD figures to play this with when it looked like delivering vaguely on time (and I had some free time off work to learn and play it in!), but as with many other KS, when it finally arrived, it was during a busy time at work, and now it’s all in a box somewhere. Figures do look nice, though.

Zombicide Season 2: Shipping in Wave 1 was an absolute clusterfuck. When they finally shipped my stuff, more than half of my stuff was missing. Their CS was worse than useless. In the end I was lucky enough to have a fellow forum member kindly help me out with a personal contact, and my missing stuff got delivered. Wave 2 simply arrived on time, complete, and with no drama. Good stuff. The game is great, as well.

Loka (Mantic Games): I only backed for the “River Horse” model, as a bit of support. It was, of course, miscast (the halves of the metal model would not fit together properly). I got in contact with Mantic and asked for just the two pieces – and please make sure they fit together properly. They sent me: Another full model, with the exact same miscast. Into a tub with the first one it went, along with the knowledge that no-one should back Mantic for multipart metal models, either.

DeadZone (Mantic Games): Mantic were good in letting me add a lot to the second survey. Unfortunately they forgot to send me all of the rulebooks, and the models turned out to have the same quality control that we can expect from Mantic’s restic offerings, so instead of spending my week and a bit off work learning to play DeadZone, I almost set the fucking box on fire, and did other things instead while the whole lot sits in a couple of boxes. Wave 3 is of course, horribly delayed at this point in time, but they’re apparently going to start shipping it in December. So I’ll most likely see mine in January, if I’m lucky. Apparently it’s a good game. I dunno. I’ll find out for myself sometime next year when I can possibly make myself give enough of a shit to find out.

Secret Weapon Miniatures: Tablescapes: I actually got my SWM stuff a week and a bit ago (how late? 6 months? a year?), though it’s the middle of a super busy time at work right now, so I haven’t even had the time/inclination to look at them in any kind of detail, and sadly won’t have the time to work on then until the mid-end of December. With the spacers that at least one of the delays were related to not being a thing anymore – until maybe after? – I’m not sure about painting them since trying to store the painted tiles without causing severe damage to them is going to be a real bitch. Remember what I said about Wargames Factory earlier? Yeah.

Robotech RPG Tactics (Palladium Books): “To help ensure realistic deadlines, we have completed the vast majority of our development before launching the Kickstarter. Sculpts for the game pieces are almost entirely complete. The rulebook and game components are deep in development and will be ready for layout soon. Our manufacturers are also ready and have reserved factory time for the project. This means that as soon as the project is funded, we can lock down a timeline with our manufacturers to get the game produced.” Fulfilment date was December 2013. I Understand that some people have started to receive part of their first wave items. Of course, the figures are awful, too many pieces, and no dates projected for Waves 2 or 3… (waves only became a thing around February 2014, as I recall)

 

More in the next update.

And in response to the obvious reply/comments about backing KS being a risk, etc.

You’re (largely) correct. KS at this stage isn’t for me. Despite a few of the projects above having been backed before “lolkickstarter – expect it 6 or 12 months late at minimum” was really a thing – so blaming backers for being pissed off at multi-year delays because the creators turn out to be in competent in various ways isn’t exactly kosher. Still, when we get up to things like Palladium and Raging Heroes, I think Victim Blaming of the backers is pretty poor form. While companies like SWM and DFG got fucked around royally by their Chinese suppliers, companies that have outright lied to us in order to secure funding deserve the derision that they receive. I’ll talk a little about some of my “$1 projects” in another KS update at some point, and talk about why I pulled my pledge down to the $1 value, and/or never got back on board via pledge managers.

For the majority of things at this point – I’ve recently decided that I’m pretty much done with KS at this point. I may back rare campaigns run by those who have shown competence, or have something I really want – but for the rest of them, I’m happy to pass and just buy retail items from Perry and Warlord and a variety of other small producers and occasionally from GW and FW (and videogames) for the 2 years they’ll take to come to market.

 

 

Kickstarter Experiences. Part 3

OK. Part three.

Since the last update, I moved house, finished up all the craziness at work at the end of the year (at the same time) and have been unpacking while Christmas and the New Year all happened.

Dreamforge Games, AKA Mark Mondragon‘s project to create some Leviathan Crusader giant mecha to go with his game world that also features Eisenkarn (aka WW2-inspired Space Germans) and some other forthcoming stuff. The mechs of course come in two scales – 15mm, so you can use them in your Flames of War games (?) – or they just happen to work as excellent Dreadknights. Similarly, the 28mm ones would just happen to work as Imperial Knights, though a lot of people plan to use them as Proxy Warhound Titans. As the Kickstarter continued to do gangbusters business, the scope expanded into variant mecha, infantry (light, heavy and female) and Hanomag/251-inspired APCs. I also went in for some of the heavy infantry and the girls, as they were the best bang/buck as I didn’t have much money left after going in for 4 of the big mechs and 4 of the smaller ones, plus extra weapons….

The first wave of these kits (including the aforementioned Leviathan Crusaders) were of course due to be in backers’ hands during October, and, well, you should be used to this by now.

The latest update forecasts it being in Wargames Factory’s (Mark’s production partner) at the end of January, so if I’m lucky, I might see my toys at the end of February! Only 4 months overdue! Yay!

The difference between this campaign and some others in that regard is that Mark has kept his backers updated regularly with information and pictures – rather than disappearing into the ether for a month or more at a time.

So, am I happy? Well, Not as such. But I’m not bent out of shape either. Honestly, when the campaign finished in Mid-September, I knew there was no way they were going to arrive in October (WTF was Mark thinking there?) but I did hope they might arrive for Christmas.

Dreadball, by Mantic Games. I have to admit that I was quite pissed off when this one was first announced. I felt that Mantic should have finished delivering on their Kings of War Kickstarter before starting a second one and going back to the till. I was also a harsh critic of the start of their Kickstarter, with essentially “suuuuure they weren’t going to make the ref plastic” and the like, as it was all-but-guaranteed with a “goal” of $20k, and while I do still retain many of those beliefs about the early stretches, and still hold that things like making the Hex bases a paid-for add-on, and the short-numbered teams of 8 players (to sell more add-ons) I do have to also give Mantic a lot of credit for actually setting a date and then going balls-out to make that date.

Apparently they got fucked over by the same Chinese printer that screwed McVey’s Sedition Wars project (took the money and did a runner), so the story goes that they sourced another printer, and got the stuff on a boat in time to meet their deadlines anyway. On top of that, apparently the games were supposed to come pre-boxed (which was why they changed their “all rulebooks will be signed” offer to a shitty signed pamphlet). Then when the stuff arrived from China, the boxes weren’t assembled or packed, so they closed down the Mantic Warehouse for a week and had all their staff making Dreadball boxes. While I felt that they should have gone back to the signed rulebooks (because that’s just a lot cooler than a pamphlet that half of us are guaranteed to lose), it’s a minor niggle.

In the end, they got out the first wave of stuff out to backers in time for Christmas. On top of that, they delayed the shipment by a few days and also managed to include the first wave of MVPs in the shipment, and also got out the January wave of Dreadball boxed games. They also sent orders out in a way to help guarantee that everyone in the world would get their by Christmas, so stuff to Australia et al went out first, and UK stuff (with fast local delivery) went out last. That’s the way to show all your customers that they’re valued – Kinda like a fuck you to CMON.

Oh, they also sent stuff into the UK retail supply chain as soon as they got them, with the result that some UK retailers and shops running demos had their toys a few days before backers in the UK, sans all of the extras, of course. This of course sent bits of the internet into apoplectic fits. But really, the campaign said December. You got your shit in December. Man the fuck up and shut the fuck up.

Through all of this, they also managed to continue giving updates for both DB and KoW, including some much nicer sculpts than you’d expect from Mantic’s earlier stuff…

(ignore the “donate” part of the banner!)

Bombshell Babes, by Bombshell Miniatures, aka Patrick Keith. Another campaign I wasn’t impressed with at first, since the basic level to buy in came to $15 for one figure, which is frankly ridiculous, even with shipping included. Once you got up to $150 or so, the value scaled up reasonably, and the ability to choose exactly which figures you want was also a bonus, rather than being stuck with the figures in a pre-defined set.

This one’s due …this month actually. It appears that it’s on schedule, and Patrick has been keeping his backers up to date with regular updates and greens and so forth. This being Kickstarter, the figures will probably begin to be mailed out on Jan 26th, and overseas backers will be sent last. 😉

Taking that and International shipping times into consideration, I’ll expect to see these sometime in Feb, hopefully.

Mongoose Publishing’s Judge Dredd Kickstarter. I’ve been a fan of Dredd for a hell of a long time, and so I went in on this one despite not really wanting to do anymore Kickstarters in 2012. This one leveraged a lot of their existing model boxed sets as rewards in order to get money to put together a bunch of new sculpts. Mark from Mongoose listened to feedback, and allowed people to pick and choose which of the 10 boxed sets we got, rather than one of each of the existing ones. With that in mind, I got a whole bunch of Judges and only a few perps. All of the existing boxes have already arrived, and so I’m waiting on the repack boxes (other pre-existing Justice Dept single models repackaged into boxed sets) and of course the new sculpts.

This one was due in November, though that doesn’t count the stretch goals or the repack boxes. I actually received all of the stuff that was promised in November in 3 separate boxes from Mongoose on the 1st, 7th and 15th of December. Which is not too shabby, especially considering that Mongoose’s production facility is in the US – so things got messed up a little by Superstorm Sandy in getting product over to the UK in a timely manner.

There has been a reasonable number of updates showing off new sculpts and such, so as long as they keep up on this, and keep the figures coming (repacks soon, I hope!) then I’ll continue to be happy.

Now, Updates:

Kings of War: More sculpts shown up to Christmas, as noted in my half-update. Their new stuff is using a lot of Remy, who used to sculpt for Rackham. I’m one of the many people who are surprised at the sudden turn to high quality sculpts that Mantic have taken. This is only a good thing.

Sedition Wars: A snarky “non-update update” just after Christmas shows that CMON still lead the stakes in customer service. I’m glad I skipped their Guilds of Cadwallon Mini-Kickstarter. Some new sculpts shown by McVey that look pretty shit-hot. Still probably going to come in Feb. Hopefully.

Avatars of War: Felix has put out one or two of the units. Characters (including the standard bearer) are set to be done last. People are starting to hope out loud that he can manage to concentrate on the Dwarfs long enough to get them all out and not get distracted by new shiny to sculpt. I’ll no doubt buy some when they hit in-stock retail – for the same price as his KS offered…

Reaper: They’ve been quiet for a little while, though they showed a great big fuck-off dragon a few weeks ago. The proportions of it looked a bit wonky, but when they ship that stuff it’s going to have to come in a fucking big box. In fact, due to Australia Post’s regulations, it’s probably going to have to come in 2-3 boxes. So they should just ship me my paints now! 😉

Stonehaven: The little white box of figures arrived a week or so ago, right when I was in the midst of moving. I still haven’t had a chance to look at them. October date, figures arrived in December. From a little startup outfit just getting into the game, who also bothered to keep up updated, I’m alright with that!

Pirate Goblins: Well, I finally got in contact with Bruno, who has said that he’ll fix me up with that extra Goblin I was after. Due October, it’s now January. Last update was around the 15th of December with Bruno saying that they’d be sent out between the 17th-20th of December. I guess I should expect to see them in a week or two?

Red Box Games: Apparently there were issues with the casting screwing up some of the figures, so stuff was sent back and forth between Tre and the casters – Trollforged. Some people have their stuff, there are potential issues with the round shields. Not sure what Tre’ has back or how much more he’s waiting for, but I’m pretty sure my stuff hasn’t been sent out yet, so again, I’ll hope to get this October KS in hand by Feb. At least the delays forced Tre to give up on his cockamamie plan to start another KS in Mid-November…

Studio Miniatures Zombies: Well, they did arrive. Unfortunately in what I presume was a rush, Stuart completely missed our chain of back and forth emails stating which survivors I was after and “no problem” on getting German Zombies as well and additional payment doubling my pledge order. He was apologetic when I emailed him with my “um, I think you sent me someone else’s order, because this one is really wrong” and has promised to send the stuff out to make it right. Since all this happened just before Christmas, I’ll expect it in a couple of weeks.

Next time: Trollforged Assimilation Alien Host and some commentary on Kickstarters I was initially in for, but backed off to $1 pledges. Probably not worth writing for a couple of weeks so we can see how some more of these pan out…