Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Robotech RPG Tactics: Game of Quotes

Robotech RPG Tactics
Very recently, the delivery concerning wave 2 of Robotech RPG Tactics (RRT) was again pushed out to an unspecific date in 2018. Who will take the plastic throne of Robotech RPG Tactics? Who will break the never ending wheel? First this manufacturer is on top, then this one, then Kevin Siembieda, then Essen Spiel, then that manufacturer, a power outage, the internet is down, and a spider stops by for a visit… And oh look! A squirrel!  In honor of this “development,” let’s talk about that. But, as I learned from the last time I posted about this project, (and for those new to this debacle) let’s recap.

Note: And yeah I'm a blogger with a grudge, while my friends are currently out their wave 2 "rewards."

Robotech RPG Tactics (RRT) surpassed its initial funding goal of $70k, to the tune of just over $1.4 million. Funding of the campaign ran April 18th thru May 20th 2013. In total, the crowdfunding roped in 5,342 backers. With a rough estimate that’s an average pledge, a bit over $260. While Kickstarter lists the project as completed, this is not actually true; as Palladium Books claimed dividing the project into two waves was the more efficient way to proceed. While the first wave was pushed back it was eventually delivered, with international shipping completed by May 13th 2015. While four years, and three months after funding... Wave 2 remains only a twinkle in Rick Hunter’s eye.
During this time the main comments section continues to roll (it will hit 100k soon). During the process of wave 1, complaints related to delays, the overall part count, positions of the seams and the skill level required for assembly of the game pieces, were many. However, in the last 2 years and while the (second wave of the) project has remained in ether, or as I like to call it the Game of Quotes, complaints have shifted, to outright anger and contempt. Most of this in regards to a clear lack of transparency by Palladium Books.

Since May 2015, despite the claim of Kevin Siembieda that the project will deliver... What has Palladium said, or more importantly shown, that this is in fact the case? The answer is not much. But let’s take a look back:

By: Kevin Siembieda
·       “…I want you to know there has not been any misappropriation of the funds raised by the Kickstarter, nor any wrongdoing of any kind. Not by me or anyone at Palladium Books.”

·       “…we have not been able to show you physical work, because we are exploring different possible solutions…” 

·       “As stated, we’re shooting to release RRT Wave Two around the end of 2015 or sometime in the first quarter of 2016.”

By: Kevin Siembieda

·       “…as we explore a number of different possibilities. For a variety of business reasons we cannot yet discuss or reveal exactly what we are looking into and considering.“

By: Kevin Siembieda

·       “As I have stated, for strategic and business reasons we have been unable to share with you everything Palladium has been exploring, considering and working on.”

By: Kevin Siembieda

·       “We are working on something exciting right now that, if it pans out, could change everything and help us bring you RRT Wave Two by the end of 2017.” 

·       “We have not released details these many months because everything has been in motion, and still is.”

By: Kevin Siembieda

·       This update Kevin Siembieda reveals that one of his freelancers (a co-creator of RRT) has attempted suicide after wading into the comments section of RRT to discuss the Rift Board Game.

By: Kevin Siembieda
·       “…we are trying to make improvements and headway on Wave Two rewards, via reduced part counts for easier assembly, reduced seams and better sprue layouts. This is happening right now, as we compare quotes utilizing new manufacturing approaches and technologies in the production processes to help attain what we are seeking, while preserving the high detail and quality.”

·       “…With Wave Two rewards having so many unique unit designs to be broken down and quoted, and with Essen Spiel (one of the largest gaming/miniatures conventions in Europe that is visited by many miniature manufacturers - just transpired in October) and the Chinese New Year over, we are hoping the congested pipeline for quotes will move much faster now.”

·       “Once we have the quotes, we can then decide which manufacturer(s) to move forward with. Unfortunately, this process does not yield visual results that can be publicly displayed.”

Angry Nird
What has Palladium Books been working on? Working on getting quotes (of coarse) and reducing the part count. But even being conservative, from the finished delivery of wave 1 (May 13th 2015), to KS last update (Feb 23 2017) that’s 22 months (counting days) or nearly two years. Two years of getting quotes!? C’mon man? Many are asking: what is the reason it’s taken two years?

More recently Scott Gibbons recently announced himself as Palladium Books business manager (or fresh face of the Game of Quotes) and apparently… comment wrangler extraordinaire. And in his first update he actually provided something a bit diiferent than: “For business reasons, we cannot share details about reasons… of um, err business.”

By: Scott Gibbons

·       “First, Wayne and Kevin spent half of Friday morning (7/16/2017) on a conference call with a manufacturer (I did not sit in on the call due to another pressing business need that morning). During the call they discussed the manufacturer’s initial quote on producing Wave 2 which we had received the day before. There were some points in the quote that needed clarification, as well as setting expectations for what we need in the finished game pieces. All in all it was a productive call and we are looking forward to getting a revised quote soon.“

·       “From here on out, I personally will be posting updates every two weeks - even if nothing has changed I will check in to let you know.”

By: Scott Gibbons
·       "Part of the conference call with the manufacturer on 6/16/2017 was spent discussing delivery in 2017. The manufacturer expressed that they believed a fourth quarter delivery was probably possible. We asked them to look closely at this while working up the revised quote and see if they could give us a firm commitment for delivery."

By: Scott Gibbons
·       “We have been in contact with the manufacturer I mentioned in the last update several times over the past two weeks, giving answers and clarifying our expectations on a number of issues. We had hoped to have their revised quote by now but are still waiting.” 

·       “In the meantime we have reached out to several other manufacturers (ten in total) in case the manufacturer we are currently working with is not able to satisfy our need for quality assurance, delivery time frame, etc. On that front, we have received responses from several that are interested in the project and a few that aren’t due to already full production schedules.”

·       “With the extended delay in getting back the revised quote, an end-of-year release for Wave 2 is beginning to appear less and less likely. However, we will not know until we see the quotes and hammer out all the final details.”

·       “Several people have asked for renders of the Wave 2 game pieces - I will work on getting those posted here for you.”

Update #202: Jul 18 2017

By Scott Gibbons
·      “We got three new quotes at the end of last week, a refined quote from the factory that we’ve been dealing with as well as initial quotes from two others that we had reached out to. We are currently analyzing the information in the quotes - a task that is not as simple as it may sound.”

By Scott Gibbons

·         One new Rendor…

Update #204: Aug 1 2017

By: Scott Gibbons
·      “We’ve gotten several quotes now from manufacturers, some of which are encouraging while others were not. “

·      "The manufacturer Palladium had been talking with when I came on board at the end of May has updated their quote to us. It is not what we were hoping for however, as their quoted price went up significantly. We’ve asked the broker who has been our go-between to seek additional details from the manufacturer about why the price jumped so much.”

·       Of the quotes we have gotten from other manufacturers, we are actively reviewing and comparing several of the most promising and there are two that are very promising. In fact, we were happily surprised with one particular quote, as everything we had heard about this broker and manufacturer said they did excellent work but tended to be expensive. We will be meeting with their reps at Gen Con, along with several other companies.” 

·       “We also had a soft-introduction this week with a domestic injection-molding company (our thanks to the gent who sent them our way).”

·       “With the dragged out quoting process we’ve been going through, unfortunately, I sincerely doubt that RRT Wave 2 will be finished with manufacturing by the end of this year.“

Update #205: Aug 15 2017

By: Scott Gibbons
·       “We have reviewed the quotes and pared down the selection to our top candidates for the job. We are looking forward to reviewing their manufacturing samples and terms before making our final selection.”
At this point even if Palladium Books completes wave 2 they have failed. They needn’t concern themselves with the 200-300 semi-irregular (and rightfully ticked) posters in the comments page. What they should be concerned about, is the 5k plus backers who aren’t commenting at all… They should realize that whatever they do, if wave 2 is finished, that alone doesn't build a game. The unfortunate mis-management of this project, the lack of transparency is and has been, just too much. Play the game of getting and squiring quotes long enough, and despite Scott Gibbons attempts, there really is little difference between what had come before:

“For business reasons, we cannot share details about reasons… of um, err business.”

And what is coming now, since Scott Gibbons has claimed the plastic throne. Or as one backer put it…
“Yeah, the WE'RE GETTING READY FOR GENCON!!!!!!!!! update. Can't wait to firm up those quotes at Gencon! Quote me on this, Wayne and Kevster are quoting the quotes to get a quota on some quotes. You can quote me that even though I Scooter the Magnanimous will not be there in person, Kevayne is totally Mouth watering to get some highly detailed quotes that will forever change the quote market with reduced parts to the spreadsheet. Have you ever tried to quote a spreadsheet? Don't quote me but the quotes will be quoted after Gencon. Buy sum product! Robotech bux!”

Who will take the plastic throne of Robotech RPG Tactics? Who will break the never ending wheel of quotes? It won’t be one of the ten quotes fielded from some random Chinese manufacturer…
Palladium Books can spin it how they like (and have), but the wheel is already broken.

Game of Quotes: Part Two

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