Sunday, November 20, 2016

RPG NEWS: What’s Up Robotech RPG Tactics?

Robotech RPG Tactics obliterated its initial funding goal of $70k, to the tune of just over $1.4 million. The campaign ran April 18th thru May 20th 2013 and was funded by 5,342 backers. That’s 3 ½ years, since I very nearly backed this Kickstarter project. I didn’t back it for a few reasons most of which to do with the level of funding the project had reached by the time I was about ready to pledge (over $500k at that time). In short I thought the funding level of this project was far above the capabilities for Palladium Books to handle. I tried to convince a number of friends to not back it for the same reason. About half heeded my words, in one fashion or another. Some backed it for less, some not at all. Unfortunately, I was right. I also didn’t pledge because of how they handled a crowdsource project the previous year (or so) for Northern Gun 1&2 supplements. I can’t remember the details and I can’t find them-but this was a much smaller project. The third reason and most relevant to this post, was what I read in the Risks and challenges section. You should certainly consider looking closely at what the creator says here and if it meshes with their history. Certainly my experience and knowledge of Palladium Books helped me avoid this train wreck-but all the more reason that if you see a Kickstarter you like-it would be good to take a very close look at the company, its history and what they note as Risks and challenges. Basically you are looking to see if all of this meshes. Lets take a closer look, I’ve highlighted (Intentional or not) what I found misleading:

Risks and challenges

“A project of this scope requires the successful collaboration of artists, sculptors, writers, game designers, and manufacturers. Managing this complex process and minimizing delays are the largest challenges we face in bringing Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to market. We have learned from past experience that success requires careful planning and a full understanding of the scope of the project. In order to facilitate the timely delivery of Robotech® RPG Tactics™, Palladium Books and Ninja Division have brought in a host of new talent to work on the project.
Angry Nird
1)      At this point, the past experience of Palladium Books includes a lot of delayed (RPG) books & Books which were never finished. They haven’t fulfilled a self-created release schedule or delivered products on time since the inception of the company. They aren't just occasionally late in delivery... They are ALWAYS late. They may have learned that success requires careful planning, but given the history-delivering on time (which they don't) seems another matter entirely...

2)      So far as I’m aware a host of new talent seems misleading. Palladium hired one person (I could be wrong, but as far as I know) which they have since let go. Ninja Division didn’t hire any new talent but continued with what they have. If I’m wrong on this please leave a comment. One additional hire is hardly what should be defined as a "host of new talent."

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.

3)      A red flag went up here on these last two sentences. Manufacturing in most industries does not work this way. A manufacture does not reserve factory time before locking down a timeline. This makes zero sense. This seems to be the case of Palladium putting the cart before the horse (hindsight especially being 20/20) in how they “think it’s going to work.” Still it’s misleading.

It is our commitment to you, the Kickstarter backers, that we will maintain consistent communication throughout the process. This means regular updates, product photos, and plenty of behind the scenes insight as we complete the creation of Robotech® RPG Tactics™.”

4)      No red flags here, but again in hindsight any of the above is hardly the case.

Palladium Books broke the delivery of this Kickstarter into two waves and after continually pushing back the release of the first wave after supposedly being 98% complete, Robotech RPG Tactics finished international shipping May 13th 2015. Complaints are numerous and often in the comments section due to the part count and lack of transparency about of the project. Though certainly most comments are owned by a vocal minority this has to be the most commented Kickstarter in the history of Kickstarter for sure as wave 2 has been again pushed for a non-concrete date in 2017, the comments which are at 97k will certainly break 100k before completion; despite losing a considerable amount of steam.  

In the meantime while Palladium Books continues a complete lack of the transparency in regards to delays. Just about every update starts out with, “sorry about the long silence-and-still getting quotes for miniatures.” The bottom line is that if Palladium Books still hasn’t got the price quotes for the completion of wave 2-the longer this delays the less likely it will be completed at all. I for one believe that Palladium would like to do right. The question: At what point will Palladium Books surpass the financial capability to do so?   

In the last few days Kickstarter has at least come to their senses to at least remove the tag: “A Project We Love.” They have their money no need to rub salt in the wound I suppose, but then again this project is still counted (by Kickstarter) as a success. A lot backers would certainly disagree.