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How do you feel about multiple projects being open by the same creator


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Of the 30+ Kickstarter projects I've bought into, I've had three fail/never deliver. Two of them were small dollar amount buy-ins, and were the first projects by their creators. (Both of those creators actually sought out information, a few years later, to provide refunds to all backers, which they were having to pay out-of-pocket from their earnings on their day jobs - because I could afford to let the money go, I intentionally did not seek refunds, and I have great respect for those creators that they honored their commitment to backers to that regard, and no regrets for the money spent on their campaigns. They truly did their best.)

 

But the other failed project was a larger dollar amount ($200) for a miniatures set. I remember when I bought into that project, I saw all the warning signs. The number of metal miniatures promised for that $200 seemed extremely generous. The project creator had two prior miniatures kickstarters, the first of which was supposedly "almost ready" to ship rewards at the time this third Kickstarter was running. All the warning signs were there, but I decided to gamble $200 anyway. And a year or three later, the creator officially went bankrupt. (I think the rewards to his first couple of Kickstarters did eventually ship, and it was the one I joined plus one later Kickstarter that failed to deliver.)

 

So after that experience, I won't generally back a Kickstarter if there is evidence that they aren't really fulfilling prior kickstarters. But I don't blame, or feel resentment toward, the backers of those earlier Kickstarters who received their rewards. They had even less warning than I had that there was risk in their decision to back, and I'm glad they received something for their money. And I'm grateful to people who come into the comments of a newer Kickstarter to make it clear that the creators are late on prior Kickstarters. That's saved me a couple hundred dollars over the past few years on specific projects I was considering, which I have chosen not to join (and which have since failed to deliver).

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6 hours ago, Cintra said:

And I'm grateful to people who come into the comments of a newer Kickstarter to make it clear that the creators are late on prior Kickstarters. 

That's really the reason I asked.

 

On one hand, future backers should be warned.  On the other, not all projects are deserving of the negativity those warnings can provoke.

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8 minutes ago, kristof65 said:

 

On one hand, future backers should be warned.  On the other, not all projects are deserving of the negativity those warnings can provoke.

That’s true, but it also gives the projects creators a chance to address those warnings and concerns.

And how a project creator reacts to criticism can be Very insightful.

 

For example, I raised concerns when Stonehaven started its first kickstarter, which I ended up backing because of the way they responded and how they addressed those concerns.

And now Stonehaven is one of my favourite mini companies.

 

On the other hand there were the “creators” behind the Ice Age Mammals kickstarter...

That’s all I’ll say about them.

 

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On 5/6/2019 at 2:47 PM, kristof65 said:

That's really the reason I asked.

 

On one hand, future backers should be warned.  On the other, not all projects are deserving of the negativity those warnings can provoke.

 

 

It seems to me like the awareness that "Kickstarters sometimes fail" has grown, but the reasons for failure have not.  Many projects are decried as scams- sometimes for almost no reason.  I was really surprised that during the delivery of one game (while people were receiving it) that there were a LOT of backers talking about how it was a scam and that they had given up on ever receiving their rewards.

I see a lot more people warning backers against certain companies, but a LOT of the warnings I see have no basis in reality.
 

 


I've seen very few Kickstarters that look like real scams.  I mean, if you're a con artist, you don't want to work very hard for your money.  Getting together art, renders, 3D prints, a professional looking rulebook with appealing rules, a prototype board and a decent video and front page pitch is a lot work.

- The only way to get that kind of work into a scam is if the game creators are also victims (ie- one partner runs off with the money while others are left holding the bag).

 


Generally, I think that mismanagement is the culprit when a Kickstarter fails to deliver.  There are warning signs to look for, but it is harder to predict.  I do worry a bit that Awakened Realms and Steamforged are biting off more than they can chew (like Ninja Division did) but I'm not concerned that they don't intend to deliver.  But Sans Detour only had to photoshop some of the old Confrontation photos for their Kickstarter, so I think it is far to think that one might be a real scam.

Edited by odinsgrandson
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25 minutes ago, odinsgrandson said:

I've seen very few Kickstarters that look like real scams.  I mean, if you're a con artist, you don't want to work very hard for your money.  Getting together art, renders, 3D prints, a professional looking rulebook with appealing rules, a prototype board and a decent video and front page pitch is a lot work.

- The only way to get that kind of work into a scam is if the game creators are also victims (ie- one partner runs off with the money while others are left holding the bag).

 


Generally, I think that mismanagement is the culprit when a Kickstarter fails to deliver.  There are warning signs to look for, but it is harder to predict.  I do worry a bit that Awakened Realms and Steamforged are biting off more than they can chew (like Ninja Division did) but I'm not concerned that they don't intend to deliver.  But Sans Detour only had to photoshop some of the old Confrontation photos for their Kickstarter, so I think it is far to think that one might be a real scam.

Agreed. 

I generally feel that most of the bad in the world is related more to incompetence and over optimism than true maliciousness, and that definitely applies to Kickstarter as well. 

But even if that's the case, there are people who don't deal with their own failure well.  That's what many of these KS issues look like to me, especially when it's related to cascading failures from the same creator over multiple projects - a lot of "this time we'll get it right AND fix the issues from the previous one!" without learning anything (or as much as they need to).  After awhile, that looks to be as much of a scam as a true scam. 

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15 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

To a district attorney, there's a difference between fraud and incompetence. To a customer, there often isn't.

 

As a customer, I'm as worried about one as the other.

 

Interesting as SFG have just posted their own terms for their current kickstarters, and they appear to be in that downward spiral of using one campaign to fund another, while making sure they cover their rears with a separate set of terms for backers to be aware of.

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27 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

To a district attorney, there's a difference between fraud and incompetence. To a customer, there often isn't.

 

As a customer, I'm as worried about one as the other.

As well we should be. 

Sadly, most people just start screaming "fraud!" rather than considering why things failed.  And of course, the natural tendency for people to attempt to CYA themselves to avoid looking bad doesn't help. That's likely where a lot of things push the line from incompetence into fraud. 

I don't want any creator to push themselves into committing fraud just to avoid admitting failure.  And yet, the way most people react, I completely understand why so many seem to head down that path. 

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On 5/20/2019 at 12:21 PM, IgwanaRob said:

 

Interesting as SFG have just posted their own terms for their current kickstarters, and they appear to be in that downward spiral of using one campaign to fund another, while making sure they cover their rears with a separate set of terms for backers to be aware of.

 

That's what it looks like- and the comments and funding numbers show that this is what the backers believe.

However, Steamforged recently got an investment of $9 million into their business.  If they had screwed up their finances, that is (probably) enough money to get them back on track.

 

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On 5/20/2019 at 10:58 AM, kristof65 said:

Agreed. 

I generally feel that most of the bad in the world is related more to incompetence and over optimism than true maliciousness, and that definitely applies to Kickstarter as well. 

But even if that's the case, there are people who don't deal with their own failure well.  That's what many of these KS issues look like to me, especially when it's related to cascading failures from the same creator over multiple projects - a lot of "this time we'll get it right AND fix the issues from the previous one!" without learning anything (or as much as they need to).  After awhile, that looks to be as much of a scam as a true scam. 

 

 

So, I'm wondering exactly what the right thing to do is.

Normally, I'd say that owning up to your screw ups is the right thing to do, but I get the impression that admitting that a project ran through its funds will hurt your chances of pulling enough money together to actually fulfill.  Clearly, there's a point at which this is a legitimate business strategy, and at some point it is an unintentional Ponzi scheme.

But I feel like it is hard to tell exactly when the one turns into the other, you know?

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On 5/5/2019 at 4:58 PM, Corsair said:

I am reminded of when my Dad found out I had started playing poker for money. He sat down, cleaned me OUT, and then told me "Never gamble what you can't afford to lose." Was the best lesson I ever got on money.

 

Sharply, succinctly, and accurately put.

Ultimately, there is no easy answer. At one point recently, Steve Jackson Games had three Kickstarters in the air: their Fantasy Trip resurrection (which is now pretty much fulfilled) and their Pocket Box resurrection and their Decks of Destiny accessory for TFT, which have not. Then again, Steve Jackson Games has been around since the oceans drank Atlantis, and is pretty good about not overleveraging their assets, so to speak; I trust 'em to deliver.

I would have trusted Palladium to deliver, too, and for much the same reason, and yet their Robotech minis game campaign was apparently mismanaged, got into financial issues, and went down in flames, due to backers' money being, um, shuffled a bit to cover expenses other than a Kickstarter.

Reaper's a younger company than either of those, and yet has consistently matched my expectations. Sure, they've had issues, but they deal with it, they communicate, and they fulfill when they can. They've earned my trust, and if an issue was to arise, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt as opposed to screaming "CROOOOOOKS!" across half the internet. And sometimes, broccoli HAPPENS; Andy Hopp bent over backwards to make things right for the backers of his Low Life Miniatures, including me, but things fell apart when it came to some of the more ambitious minis in the offering, and last I heard, he was STILL struggling to fix that. Man's not a crook; things just went sideways, is all.

There's red flags, sure... I am inclined to remember a campaign that was well discussed in these parts where, when asked about specifics, the spox would respond with diatribes about how this company was being run by a woman, and WHAT ARE YOU, SOME SORT OF SEXIST? ...as opposed to answering the question and/or addressing the issues. And sure enough, that campaign and its followup both just sort of faded away, taking the backers' money with them. So... ultimately... if you can't be bothered to communicate with your backers, that's a bad sign... but it sometimes only surfaces AFTER they have your money, regrettably.

I'd never have invested in Mantic or CMON, frankly, due to the sheer size, complexity, and licensing issues of the stuff they put out. That, and they invariably have three to six projects in the air at any time, it seems. And yet, they have a fine track record. They're making names for themselves in the industry. And then, I've seen perfectly good little startups that stumbled, puttered, and fizzled, sometimes with refunds, sometimes not.

Ultimately, it boils down to what Corsair (and Doug Sundseth) have already said: it's a crapshoot. Do your due diligence, decide if you want in, and don't bet more than you can afford to lose.

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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15 hours ago, odinsgrandson said:

However, Steamforged recently got an investment of $9 million into their business.  If they had screwed up their finances, that is (probably) enough money to get them back on track.

 

I heard a different number, but whatever. I dug into it more and am ambivalent that this investment will help out much. Mebbe they'll burn through the money and deliver on one or two projects, then it's the same mismanagement again.

 

"The investment comes with a high-profile name attached: Ian Livingstone, who co-founded Games Workshop and had a multi-decade career in the videogame business, will join the Steamforged board as a non-executive director in a deal facilitated by Foresight." Frankly, that doesn't sound any different than SFG's own connections to the videogame industry, which has brought more sales pitch than satisfied customers. OTOH, These games are going to retail, so I'll skip the drama and wait for a sale. With KS at $100+ apiece, even sticking to creators with better track records drains the wallet.

 

Posted this on Dakka:

 

fwiw, Here's SFG's £5 million ($6.5M) investment. It's from a private equity firm. Mebbe they're pulling an Asmodee. Foresight manages "£2.9 billion of assets" so £5 million is probably trivial to them. : 
http://www.tabletopwire.com/private-equity-firm-invests-6-5-million-in-steamforged-games/
https://www.foresightgroup.eu/news/foresight-invests-5-million-into-manchester-based-games-developer-steamforged-games/
https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/774839.page#10431592

If SFG got $6.5M, I think it would be better spent repairing their reputation, by fulfilling their KS and sending DMC through traditional retail channels (or not releasing it at all). $6.5M sounds like a lot of money, but CMON raises more than that in only two KS. Really, DMC should have pulled in $3M or more, instead of $200K. I'll just wait for retail, thanks. 

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21 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

Reaper's a younger company than either of those, and yet has consistently matched my expectations. Sure, they've had issues, but they deal with it, they communicate, and they fulfill when they can. They've earned my trust, and if an issue was to arise, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt as opposed to screaming "CROOOOOOKS!" across half the internet. 

Reaper used to be pretty good at communication, but it broke down pretty thoroughly during Bones 4. There was open snark and hostility from some of their communications, and then they didn't clearly or adequately communicate things like Argent's downsizing or the Hut's lack of removable legs. They still delivered, but I was very disappointed with how that delivery overall played out.

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49 minutes ago, Orlando_the_Technicoloured said:

Wonder if that's a consequence of Brian moving on?

I'd say that it's a very high likelihood. It's probably that Brian knowing he was leaving caused some of the tonal problems that preceeded the negative impact in communication overall, too. It happens. But It's over a year since Brian left, and Reaper hasn't done a particularly good job in replacing their voice. For a while we had Lady Storm, but she retired, and that shouldn't have been a surprise. But I'm getting off topic, so I'll leave it at that.

 

In general, I don't mind multiple KS from a company, as long as they have a proven track record and decent communication. I've backed CMON and gotten KS from them while they're still running others. They seem to have it more or less worked out.

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