Game Salute: A Cautionary Tale
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I thank the geeklist Mayday Games: A Cautionary Tale for the inspiration.

There aren't too many companies that I have started to actively hate, but Game Salute is the one and only on my list in the gaming industry. I went from backing their Wok Star Kickstarter to becoming completely frustrated and disappointed with the company in less than 6 months. This is due to shoddy/defective promises, and endless dishonesty.

The purpose of this is to document the problems with their Kickstarter projects, so that future backers can easily do the research that I admit I should have done.

Additionally, we can use this list together to track all of Game Salute's progress in one place. In this way, we can try to keep them honest. I think Game Salute was able to hide itself for as long as they did, because we weren't seeing the entire picture. All the lack of information, and misinformation was released to different sets of people. Let's not let that happen again.

This is still a work in progress. Please feel free to add those that I have not yet done.
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1. Board Game Publisher: Game Salute
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I with to thank the people at Game Salute. Without your shady business practices, empty promises, and poor business sense, this list wouldn't have been possible.

Cheers!

edit: I stared a thread with a poll to determine how others feel about Game Salute, considering their personal experiences.

Game Salute - A Poll
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2. Board Game: Emperor's New Clothes [Average Rating:3.23 Overall Rank:14389]
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Who else would we be able to thank for this... project. No one but Game Salute!

Emperor’s New Clothes
Promised Delivery Date: April 2013
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: 1 year

Latest Update: Update #35 Mar 11 2014
Quote:
Thank You For Your Patience!

Things are progressing. Slowly, true, but they are progressing and we are nearing the end of production and will then be awaiting the delivery of Emperor's New Clothes. I realise [sic] that this may sound like something of a broken record, but ENC is coming. The moment we have it sitting in the warehouse, I shall let you folks know - and even post photos as proof of life!

You don't know how appreciative we are of your patience, and we are well aware of the huge delays on ENC. However, it is coming. We will be delivering it to you. And it will be in the very near future.

Michael

Imagine the delays if the components had actual art on them, or color, or needed to be designed. This project could be postponed indefinitely.
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3. Board Game: Ruse [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:12947]
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There is sometimes good news with Game Salute. If you wait a year passed the promised delivery date, you may get your game!

Ruse
Promised Delivery Date: April 2013
Status: Shipping now
Overdue: Almost 1 year

Latest Update: Update #38 Mar 3 2014
Quote:
Shipping Begins!

As many of you are aware, shipping has now begun on Gaslight Empire: Ruse (to give it its full and official title)! Look, we've got them in boxes and everything!

We are currently working our way through the backer list and are sending out shipping notifications. If you haven't received your one yet, fear not - it's coming! Some backers will have their copies fulfilled through the UK warehouse; as we go through the list, we're splitting your details out to pass over to the European team, meaning that your copies may take a few extra days to land on your doorsteps. Rest assured, they'll be with you soon.

As always, thank you for your patience with Gaslight Empire: Ruse. We hope you enjoy the game when it arrives! Let us know when your copies reach you - we can't wait to hear what you think about it!

Michael


Favorite Comment by Game Salute in the Kickstarter’s comment section:
Quote:
Creator Game Salute on Dec 9
Matthew - I agree, it sucks, but it'll be in your hands early in the new year. This is a problem with Kickstarter; if a project is overly successful, people expect additional stuff to be chucked in. That, however, adds to the production process.


That’s right everyone, the blame is either: All Kickstarter’s fault, or your own, because you demanded free stuff. None of this lies on Game Salute’s shoulders.

Way to Stay Classy.
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4. Board Game: Formula E [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:6368]
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This one is a delight! Games Salute shows time working backwards. Intrigued? Read on...

Formula E
Promised Delivery Date: September 2013
Status: Delivered July, 2014 (updated per request in the comments)
Overdue: 10 months late.

Latest Update: Update #22 Mar 4 2014
Quote:
The Latest!

Hello Backers - Michael from Game Salute here.

The latest news on Formula E is that while it's still in production at the printers, we've been informed that they expect to wrap everything up and even begin assembly over the next week. Now, while there's still a fair distance to go with the production process, this is a major milestone for Formula E.

Once assembled, it will be shipped to us and from there sent out to you guys, the backers. We will, of course, keep posting updates every fortnight but should anything important happen in between now and the 18th (our next scheduled time for an update) you'll be the first to know!

Michael


Favorite Comment by Game Salute in the Kickstarter’s comment section:
Quote:
Creator Game Salute on Jan 27
RIGHT, We FINALLY have something to say.
It looks like the games are due to arrive in the warehouse "soon". This could be any time in the next week, it could be six weeks, but we have been informed by the printers that we can expect them to arrive. I realise that this is still spectacularly vague, but at least we've had word from them and know that the games are going to be with us in the near future.
Once we receive them, we shall have them sent out over the following day or two. With nearly four hundred backers we should be able to turn them around in a decent time, and obviously you guys are looking to get your hands on them


Do you see why it’s funny? Check the dates. At the end of January, the games were going to be in the warehouse soon, and shipped to backers. And here in March, it’s still at the printers! At this rate, in two months, they just might be sending the printer the files. Game Salute works in reverse!
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5. Board Game: The Card Game of Oz [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:8400]
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The Card Game of Oz
Promised Delivery Date: October 2013
Status: Unfulfilled Fulfilled now (changed by request)
Overdue: 6 Months or so.

Latest Update: Update #28 Mar 4 2014
Quote:
Latest from the Printers!

Hello backers! Michael here with our latest update.

As mentioned in the comments for the campaign, Dan Yarrington, the owner of Game Salute, spoke with CGoO's creator Jim on Friday via email. The latest that we have heard is that the game is still being printed but is due to be completed soon - assembly of the whole game can then begin, hopefully by the end of this working week.

Of course, there is still a while to go on the project, but this is a significant step on the road to getting your games to you! I have requested that we get some pictures as soon as possible to show off what you'll be receiving, so as soon as I get them I shall post them up here for you.

Again, we thank you for your patience. While I shall certainly be posting an update in two weeks (so, March 18), should I get anything to show you before that I'll let you all know immediately!

Many thanks for your patience as always with this project. It's getting closer!

Michael


My Favorite Comment by Game Salute comes from the Kickstarter comment section for Update #26:
Quote:
Creator Game Salute on February 20
@Wil - I can't give a date, because if I do and we run into more hold ups, it's going to cause another storm. Yes, we hope to get everything done and dusted within the time that you mentioned, but you seem to think that I'm privy to some exact information as to when things will happen - we don't have a date in mind yet. We won't give a date until we know EXACTLY when the game is on its way to us - we can't hide something that we don't know.
Michael

I like this one, because it is basically saying: "Here at Game Salute, we can't provide dates. Well, in our Kickstarter launch, we can, but at that point we want your money. After we have it, we don't want to give you another. In fact, here at Game Salute, even though we have been involved in dozens of games, the entire process is still a mystery. We'd rather not say when the game is due, because we have no damn idea"

Game Salute Guarantee: If your game's not delivered on time, it's because we have no idea how game production works!
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6. Board Game Accessory: Alien Frontiers: Rocket Dice
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Alien Frontiers: Rocket Dice
Promised Delivery Date: October 2013
Status: Unfulfilled, not yet in production according to Game Salute’s chart
Overdue: 5 months, so far, and as mentioned, not in production

Latest Update: Update #45 Mar 6 2014
Quote:
The New Process...

Just a quick one for today - our manufacturer has just sent over this photo of the moulds being used for a new process to make the Rocket Dice. As mentioned previoously,[sic] they expect to have sample dice made next week that will show off the results of this new process. I'll be sure to share the images of the results with you when I have them.

It'll be interesting to see the final results from this new process, and I can't wait to see them!

Michael


Favorite Comment by Game Salute in the Kickstarter’s comment section:
Quote:
Creator Game Salute on Jan 16
James, you have every right to question! I know it sucks, but I don't think you should bank upon June. They could be done and arrive by then, but if you have to submit your proposal by March I'd say to build around not having them. I hope we can surprise you and get them to you on time though.


Game Salute: We can’t tell you when you will get your stuff, but we can definitely tell you when you won’t get it. Don’t bank on June!
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7. Board Game: Wok Star [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1598]
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This game was the inspiration for the list. Except for telling the backers to come here to BGG to vote for Wok Star as most anticipated game, it was a communication waste land since funding.

Wok Star
Promised Delivery Date: March 2014
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: Due now, game not yet at printers, Game Salute says it will take 6-7 months.

Latest Update: Update #23 Mar 11 2014
Quote:
The Latest from the Restaurant!

Hello everyone. Michael from Game Salute checking in with the latest from the production line.

First of all, I'd like to report that the troublesome timer is finally about to make an appearance. The manufacturer has said that we should have a production sample in hand shortly - and the moment that we get it, there'll be photos and video aplenty to show it off. They are also still sorting out the samples for the ingredient tokens, but we're expecting to see them soon.

The cards in the game have been given a few little tweaks to give them a bit of a polish, and we're waiting on Tim's approval. Again, once that's done we can show off some samples of the newly finalized[sic] design while they're sent off to the printers. Meanwhile, the dice that we showed off back in Update #19 have been given the OK and are currently in production.

Sorry that there's nothing to show off at the minute but we'll have a whole bunch of things to display in the near future. I'll be back with another update in two weeks (at the very most) but should something big come in you can be sure that I'll post it up!

Thanks, as always, for your support!

Michael


I have posted about this before here: Item for Geeklist "Controversial or Fraudulent Kickstarters." , so I'll summarize here.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Game Salute runs a kickstarter to reprint this game, Wok Star, and this project was successfully funded on Jul 16, 2013.

In their Risks section, they post the following:



so, my expectation is that by the end of July, the files will be sent to the printer, so I can get my game in March. You know, 'cause that's what they said.

Of course, it was a lie.

There were no updates of any real content posted, but I thought, hey, don't worry.

Here were the latest 4 updates when I realized there was a problem:

November 1 - Update 15
States "everything remains on schedule but should anything be thrown in our paths, we'll let you know."

November 5 - Update 16
Not really an update, just telling us that we need to go and order the game from the Game Salute website, no mention of schedule.

January 15 - Update 17 (over 2 months from the previous one)
Again, not really an update, just mentions that everyone should come here to BGG to vote for Wok Star in the the most anticipated game contest

February 11 - Update 18
This is the update that started this post, it basically states, Umm, even though timers have existed for thousands of years, we still don't have one available, so, you know, 6 month delay. But we like totally just like found out, so, you know, like, thanks for the money suckers.

That's right, a 6 month ( and later, they clarify, more likely a 7 month) delay because they don't yet have a timer. You know timers, those things you can find for $4 on amazon if you spend 1 minute looking. Well, Game Salute has been waiting since July for their timer guy to give them a working prototype. We are still waiting.

Now, I do want to mention, that this timer is a scapegoat. There is no way that Game Salute finds out Mid February that the timer isn't done yet, and because of that, they need another 6-7 months to print the game.

How can I know this, well, read on my good person.

Early in the campaign, there were questions about which content would be exclusive, and which content would be in the regular retail version. All the comments from that time stated that, while there would be exclusive content, that Game Salute wasn't sure what it was going to be. That's fine, I accepted that.

Now, of course, with about 2 weeks until March, the original expected "in my hands" date, this decision would have had to have been made about... 6-7 months ago, because that is what Game Salute tells us about how long it takes to print a game.

Of course, there is this comment in the Kickstarter:



Which states, that as of Dec 9th, the decision has yet to be made. Now, if their printer needs the timer on site in order to produce the games, it also seems reasonable that they would need to know what is going in the "kickstarter" edition, and what is going into the "retail" edition.

So, as of the Dec 9th update, with this decision still to be made, we were already looking at a June / July 2014 delivery date.

Until Game Salute can answer me this question:

What exclusive content will be included to the Kickstarter backers?

the game can't possibly be at the printer yet, which means, more delays.

There is an expression that goes, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity", so I am willing to concede the point that Game Salute is not sitting in their evil lair, twirling their mustaches, maniacally laughing at us.

That just leaves the fact that they are a poorly run company that can't send a file to a printer in 7 months.
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8. Board Game: Gear & Piston [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:5463]
Sam Hillier
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St. Albert
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From what I recall, and from what I can tell from my update history, Game Salute was contracted to do the American distribution for this game. They weren't involved in design or production, just shipping.

Game Salute completely dropped the ball, and Ludicreations had to scramble to find another (actually professional) distributor. They did, though it resulted in a month+ delay for American backers.

To Ludicreation's credit, they offered another Kickstarter campaign for promos to make up for the mistake. If you are an American backer, you got the promos for $1, including shipping.

From their update on November 20th: "Well, we got screwed. It's 20 November today, and the USA-bound pallets have not been picked up. Game Salute has no specific date, and we have to email twice to get even the vaguest response. From what we can deduce, the new date for pickup is the 25th of November, but we've been burned before, so we'll believe it when we see it...

However hostage we are to this situation, we don't like to blame our poor judgement on others. It was our mistake to hire Game Salute"

From their update on November 29th: "We informed Game Salute that we will not be needing their services any further. Well, that's a little bit of an odd turn of phrase, because no services were provided so far."

Ludicreations was able to deliver a fantastic game despite the efforts of Game Salute to ruin it.
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9. Board Game: Princes of the Dragon Throne [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:6751]
Glaya B
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Princes of the Dragon Throne
Promised Delivery Date: March 2014
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: Due now, game supposedly at printers

Latest Update: Update #20, March 13 2014
Quote:
Just a quick note (continuing our plan of regular, fortnightly updates!) that Princes of the Dragon Throne is still currently with the printer. This part of the process always seems to take an absolute age but there's a lot of work to be done on their part to get everything done and dusted to make our project a reality.


The graphic along with the update shows "3d6 months" as time until delivery...so, 3-18 months.

Note that here is what was said in Update #15, November 5 2013
Quote:
Things have been a bit quiet on the PotDT front, it's true, but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening behind the scenes. We're kind of that phase where all the necessary but really rather unexciting things are happening - stuff is getting printed and made, decisions are being made on thrilling stuff like typefaces, that kind of thing.

Everything is still on track for our planned delivery date of March 2014, and we'll be keeping you guys up to date on more exciting developments as they unfurl.


In November "stuff is getting printed and made," but in March it is still with the printer?
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10. Board Game: Hero Brigade [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:10190] [Average Rating:6.13 Unranked]
Alison Mandible
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Hero Brigade
Original estimate: Nov 2013
Status: Fulfilled! (I got my copy March 26, 2014.)

Not all of this delay is on Game Salute; there's an update from the designer in December 2013 saying "here's the proof copy, we're about to send it for printing".

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yutingxiang/hero-brigad...

On January 9th, the project creator seemed to believe it would be "3-5 weeks" before he had copies to ship out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yutingxiang/hero-brigad...

On February 12th, Game Salute sent an email with more numbers, suggesting that they were 30 days into a "40-100 day process":

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yutingxiang/hero-brigad...

This happened at the same time as several Game Salute projects announced delays, all with different reasons.

At the time, the simultaneous delays with different reasons seemed like clear evidence of lying. Now I wonder-- was that just the point at which they made an across-the-board effort to communicate with people who they should have been communicating with all along?

GS seems to have been, at best, happy to let optimistic creators and backers think stuff was happening "soon" when it just wasn't. It seems like many parts of the game creation chain involve giving bogus estimates; it's often hard to tell which of those are being made up by people who should know better, and which are just being passed along. But it seems as if Game Salute should know better?

Update: I got my copy of Hero Brigade in the mail 43 days after the February update, right in the middle of the estimated time window given then. If GS maintains that standard of communication (timely and correct!) in the other projects I've backed by them which are still in progress, I will have no bones to pick with them.
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11. Board Game: Chaos & Alchemy [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:6594]
Alex Ansari
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Moore
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Add this to the list of games that should be shipping now, but have yet to even enter production. I'm really looking forward to this, but it looks like it could be the end of the year before I see it. I wouldn't say I've soured on Game Salute yet, but it is frustrating considering that many of these issues don't just happen over night. It really seems to stem from a lack of planning.
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12. Board Game: King's Forge [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1290]
Alex Ansari
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Here's another one that should be shipping next month, but also hasn't entered production. I'm a bit more optimistic about this one though as from what we've been told, everything is nearly ready to send to the printers. I guess what I would like to see more from them is a consistent dialogue about where each project is and what the obstacles that are causing delays. I would still do business with Game Salute, but I'll admit that I've become a bit more leery when backing their projects.
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13. Item is no longer in our database
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I'm surprised no one has added this to the list yet. The promo pack ballooned with stretch goals so delays were to be expected. They offered to send out 4th edition, faction pack 1, and factions to pledgers at their own expense (which I thought was generous) and then turns out that the fourth edition of the game has an error on the board (not vital to gameplay but c'mon FOURTH edition!) they offered to send stickers to repair the board but still.

The only success I had with them was with games that were already in print and them just delivering (SOS Titanic and Keyflower the Farmers) otherwise this one kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth. Not saying I wouldn't pledge another of their games but I am on notice especially in light of these other projects. I appreciate Michael addressing each one on here that shows initiative but it seems like things are not trending in the right direction. Maybe it has to do with the vast number of games they Kickstart at the same time?
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14. Board Game: Nova Cry [Average Rating:5.36 Overall Rank:10570]
Kristoff Bergenholm
United States
Millersville
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When I saw 'Powered by Springboard' on this project, I had my misgivings but went ahead and pledged anyway.

With an original projected delivery date of August 2012, you can see how well this has gone.
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15. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:38]
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Game Salute finally brought a Key game to North America. It is awesome. The end. whistle
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Donal Behal
Ireland
Cork
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Backed this as PDF only; game has been printed and I am still waiting for my PDF file for over 18 months.

Contacted project owner via KS after GS taking the projct on board. Still waiting for either to contact me with my files.
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17. Board Game: Storm Hollow: A Storyboard Game [Average Rating:9.04 Overall Rank:6113]
Cestus
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I cant believe you guys missed this gem. A year after it was supposed to be complete, they sent out a ridiculous update. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamesalute/story-realms...

They completely wasted a year lying and doing nothing, then sent the most bloated timetable I have ever seen. At this rate, we will be lucky if the game comes out 2.5 years after the close of the kickstarter. It made almost $90,000.

Another interesting little tidbit: I used to work for the owner/creator of game salute, Dan Yarrington. Worst boss Ive ever had, unconscionable business practices. We were required to copy down customers credit card, phone number, address, etc even when specifically asked not to. He regularly takes display/promo items and reshrinkwraps them and resells them for retail cost. I was asked strongly to leave his store after a Dungeons and Dragons free game day. It was free-game-day in order to get new people to play the game and drum up excitement. He wanted me to go to the tables of people playing and charge them each money for sitting at his store (which he does regularly). I told him he would have to do it himself, as I had a rapport with the customers and did not believe this to be an honest practice. A day later he called me and said I wasnt a team player and that I should quit. I have affectionately dubbed him "the used car salesman of board games."
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18. Board Game: Troll Hunt [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:10641]
Jason Koskey
United States
Kahului
Hawaii
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NOTE *** THIS ONE IS NOT PAST DUE, IT JUST LAUNCHED. I WILL REMOVE IF ANYONE FEELS IT DOES NOT BELONG HERE..

Well I noticed the new banner here on BGG for this newly kickstarter game called "TROLL HUNT".

So I clicked and was laughing out loud when I saw the spread wings of Game Salute logo on this campaign...

Sooo I guess we can add yet another shovel of dirt on the huge pile up of...WELL let's just say games.. Above....

Regardless of what anyone feels about GS, I think it is pretty crazy for ANYONE to say that it is a good business move for them to continue to take on new campaigns at this rate...

Argh....
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19. Board Game: Magnum Opus [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4280]
Jason Koskey
United States
Kahului
Hawaii
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20. Board Game: Epic Death! [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:11554]
Jason Koskey
United States
Kahului
Hawaii
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21. Board Game: A Duel Betwixt Us [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:12214]
Daryl McLaurine
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Getting to the "What the ..." stage.

#3 of 5
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22. Board Game: The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die [Average Rating:3.41 Overall Rank:14391] [Average Rating:3.41 Unranked]
Jay Reigns
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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I like some stuff Game Salute's done, but this exists and their name is on it, so there's that.
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23. Board Game: Stack & Attack [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:9834]
Don Riddle
United States
Leesburg
Unspecified
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I'm beginning to doubt we'll ever see this one. As a lower earning KS, I'm sure it's low on GS's priority.
I'm so thankful for this list because I thought it might just be me getting frustrated and wary of GS.
The consistency of their "problems" and delays makes me wonder where the money's really going. Especially after hearing of Yarrington's "character" issues.
I think indie developers get propositioned by GS and they think "Wow, these guys are going to handle everything for me! Gee, that's swell. Here's my KS money! Let me know how much I get when it's all done!" And then...
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24. Board Game: The Big Time! [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:7127]
Jason Koskey
United States
Kahului
Hawaii
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Ok this is getting borderline CRAZY.

Just found yet another freshly listed kickstarter from the great "Game Salute".

Good luck to anyone who decides to back this....

Edit...I struck the above sentence after reconsidering it. I do NOT want this to be a discouragement for anyone looking to support this game. The game looks great and the designer seems passionate about it.

Again I encourage everyone to read this entire post and THEN, make your own opinion/decision to back it or not. However, when doing so please don't just discount it because of some thread here on BGG or opinions of others in of itself...end edit
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25. Board Game: Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:7101]
Charles Boyung
United States
Brookfield
Wisconsin
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Let's see. Estimated Ship Date was 12/2012. It arrived 7/2013, so yes, it was late. I count at least one update a month from end of the campaign until after everyone received their rewards. Game quality is excellent. Yep, every single game that GS has their hands in has been an utter failure in all respects.

As I said, you did not, in any way, make a full list of their games (as you said somewhere in the comments). You are doing nothing but trying to hurt this company (and its designers and partners) that you dislike.
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