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When Six Months Is Really a Year and a Half (by Kevinruns262)

We have the pleasure of hosting Kevin as our second grumpy guest. He can also be found on his BGG blogs, 'Bunker Buzz', and 'Kevin's Korner'.

Imagine that you hire a general contractor to do some remodeling work at your house. It’s a big project, but they tell you they can finish the work in two weeks. You’re surprised by the short timeline and ask if they are sure they can finish the work in that amount of time. They reassure you that they have handled many similar projects and have every aspect within their control. They then demand all of the money from you up front. You pay them and then wait, full of hopes and doubts.

Two weeks pass and when you walk through the house, it doesn’t appear that the job is anywhere near complete. There’s trash everywhere and only the framing has been completed; not to mention that no one is even in the house working. You haven’t received any update from the contractor on the status of the job and you’re beginning to worry. Another week passes and you finally get in touch with the contractor. They start talking to you about all of the tasks that are still yet to be completed and how there are other projects competing for their time. You tell them you are concerned and they tell you not to worry; the work will be done in six months. SIX MONTHS? Sounds preposterous, right? Yet that is exactly the pattern followed by many boardgame projects on Kickstarter.

Image source: BGG

Of course delays happen. Anyone who has backed game projects on Kickstarter is fully aware of that. When I back a project, I go into it expecting a delay of three to six months, but just because it’s expected doesn’t make it right. Let’s look at a few examples. Two of these projects I backed and one I – very thankfully – did not.

Deep Space D-6 2nd printing and expansion. This project by Tony Go was a reissue of a game that funded on Kickstarter in 2015 along with a new expansion. The estimated delivery date was December, 2017. I received my pledge on December 18, 2018, which is a full year late. This was a reprint. I get that delays happen, but c’mon, a full year late? Backers understandably got agitated over the delays and let’s just say that the creator didn’t always take the criticism in stride.

Closely related to a reprint, how about a second edition? I’m talking about D-Day Dice: Second Edition by Word Forge Games to be exact. The project funded on December 5, 2017 and was supposed to be delivered by September, 2018. Yeah, we’re still waiting. We are told that the game will be in our hands within the next month or two, but you won’t catch me holding my breath. There was a period of time where it was quite clear that this project had been grossly mismanaged and was way off track.

For the final example, I’m going to choose a project that I thankfully avoided, but still follow so that I can bask in the apathy and hubris surrounding it. I’m talking about Agents of Mayhem: Pride of Babylon by Academy Games. Mayhem? Well, at least the project is aptly named. The game funded on February 27, 2018 and was supposed to be delivered in September of 2018. Yes, that’s right, seven months later. Here were are in September of 2019 and backers are still waiting for their pledges. My favorite part of the whole thing is this blurb that appears on the campaign page:

'Pride of Babylon' is 100% developed and project managed in the USA. We have full control of every aspect of the project. All stretch goals and game expansions have already been fully developed and playtested. All artwork is finalized and manpower has been scheduled and set aside to make sure that Pride of Babylon will ship in a timely manner.

Pride of Babylon is scheduled to ship by Sept 2018, 6 months after the end of the KS campaign! We need this time to finalize the many high detail miniature molds, print the required pledge numbers, ship the games to our fulfillment centers worldwide, and then shipping them on to you. We will only be producing this game in English to speed up and simplify production and delivery.

Timely manner? Don’t hire Academy Games to do any remodeling work at your place.

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3 Σχόλια

To call DDD a reprint is rather misleading. It is completely new with regards to ALL graphics, rules have been rebalanced, it will be available in 4 languages, and the KS saw 4 big expansions, 5 small expansions, a mini game (DDD Pocket), a load of freebies and Airborne in your Pocket. That is far from ‘closely related to a reprint’.

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Jay Atkinson
Jay Atkinson
14 Σεπ 2019

Great article! Academy Games has been notoriously slow even before they did Kickstarter, so I never hold my breath. The only thing that they have going for them is that when the do deliver, it's usually a high quality product. Personally, I just don't think they have the staff to develop the ideas they keep talking about and then either Uwe or his son tend to work on whatever catches their fancy which changes often possibly in mid-project. That's total conjecture on my part though based on my observations.

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It's an interesting situation full of moral hazard. Clearly some k10s really will encounter unexpected problems that delay or prevent the delivery of the product. And some project managers will do a bad job of admitting they’ve messed up. But the fact that this happens, and everyone accepts that it happens, means there’s a space for a bad actor to promise the world and then deliver significantly less.

I have a triple test for k10s now:

- do they have a rulebook that I can read?

- do they offer customs-friendly shipping (I don't mind paying the tax, but I do mind paying the collection fee that the shippers charge to the UK, and this is a good proxy for…

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