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Subject: Questions and Answers Kickstarter Update #137 rss

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Reposting here for anyone not on Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rrpgt/robotech-rpg-tact...

Hey, everyone. Wayne here. For those who have wondered, yes, I was sick; and yes, I was working weekends anyway. Still fighting off a nagging cough, but anyway...

I’m sorry for the delay on these. I meant to post these answers last week, but I needed some info from the Ninja Division guys, and they were attending Adepticon last week, and are now at PAX East this week, so not only have they been hard to reach, it's been difficult for them to dig up some of the info I needed.

I’m still trying to get some followup information, so I’ll further elaborate on some of these as soon as I can.

Can we get a projected schedule, broken down by dependencies, to allow for product to be shipped to backers before Gen Con?

Not yet, I’m afraid. I’m still trying to get some of that information. Between the conventions last week and this week, and the need for some of that info to come from China, I just haven’t been able to get all the info I need to give you all a detailed schedule. I am working on it.

How close is the project in regards to completion of the First Wave?

Here’s where things stand:

The Zentraedi Artillery Battlepods, Blast Template, Command Tokens, and bases have finished tooling (mold-making). Initial runs of the Arty Battlepods are en route to us for inspection and assembly. I’ll include some photos of those below.
The standard Regult Battlepods and the Glaug Command Pack are in tooling right now, and will be finished shortly.
The Defender/Tomahawk and Spartan/Phalanx Destroids are awaiting final approval of corrected renders we just received, and will begin tooling next.
The Valkyrie is having its sprue layout finalized. We were told over two weeks ago that prototype pieces were being made, and we received new, corrected renders of all three Valkyrie modes on Tuesday, so the prototypes should be showing up any day now. When they have been examined and approved, and sprue layouts are finished, they’ll go into tooling.
Print elements are all either finished or going through final adjustments and approvals. Specifically, I can tell you that for the rulebook I have 2-3 final corrections and adjustments to make, and I’m currently laying out the painting and decal placement guide in the back of the book.
When all of the above is finished, the game will immediately go into production. Factory time has already been reserved, and they’ll be ready and waiting to start when the last bit of tooling is finished and approved.

The seams in the figures that we've been shown appear significant. Is it possible to see versions of the figures that have not been assembled and then disassembled to see how the seams would appear coming off the sprue?

As tooling for various game pieces finishes, we’ll receive runs from the molds that we’ll be able to remove from the sprues and assemble. We’ll document the process and show you photos from every step of the way, up to and including the assembled pieces.

The piece-count on these figures seems high, while the options for alternate poses seem limited. Is there anything that can be done to rectify this situation, both to reduce piece-count and increase poseability?

First, allow me to disagree with the assertion about the poseability. Of course it’s limited to some extent, but some sets have multiple poses of extra arms to choose from, and many game pieces have round or ball-and-socket joints to increase the variation in poses.

As for piece count, we have tried to keep it as low as possible without losing detail. Some will say it’s not low enough, but there’s nothing we can do about that at this point. We've promised highly detailed game pieces molded in ABS plastic from the very beginning, and with the original designs we have to work with and re-create, there are limits to how low that piece count can feasibly go without changing to metal or resin, which we are not going to do.

Is it possible to miss the Gen Con release date, if necessary, to remake the figures with fewer pieces and less noticeable seam-lines?

We have no desire or intention of delaying things any further, and the piece count cannot feasibly be reduced without changing to resin or metal. Most of the seams are located right where they need to be, in order to avoid either losing an element of detail on that surface, or increasing the piece count even further. (In the much-discussed example of the Spartan, the seams running down the legs are necessary to preserve the ridges on the front and back of the legs and feet, as well as the inset half circles on the backs of the legs.)

As for the noticeability of the seam lines, we have been assured that the fit between pieces will be tight and the seams will be minimal, unlike some of the relatively large gaps that have been seen in our primered, glued, disassembled, and hastily reassembled prototype pieces. Those weren't show pieces, but prototypes not originally intended for public display. They were shown on here to keep you all informed and give you a look inside the process, but they were never expected to be pretty or polished pieces. The final production pieces will look much better, as we will show you when we have them.

What are the plans to support this game at launch? Will the Megaversal Ambassador system be used to help spread and advertise the game?

The folks at Soda Pop/Cipher Studios/Ninja Division will be lending their experience and helping us establish and improve our organized play program. The Megaversal Ambassadors will be the backbone of that program. They are a group of volunteers who run demos and regular games in their local stores, as well as conventions they attend. Most of them, and many new applicants, are eager to start running Robotech® RPG Tactics™ games and demos, and we will do all we can to support them and coordinate their efforts.

Are the other generations planned for a future release?

Definitely. We've had some internal discussions of how to deal with potential scale issues (a game that includes both the Mk.II Monster and Cyclones on the same field of play makes scaling of game pieces tricky), and the rules have been designed with future expansions and generations of Robotech® in mind. The Masters Saga™, The New Generation™, and The Shadow Chronicles® are all planned, but our focus for now is on getting the rewards for this Kickstarter done and in your hands.

Can more videos of actual game play be provided? We would like to see videos of games played by experienced testers and players who have only been given the rules with no guidance.

That sounds like a good idea. I’ll see what we can do.

Is it possible to have a community organizer interact with us on Kickstarter to provide regular feedback, and not just in the form of updates?

I’ll try to do a better job of that. Palladium Books is a small company with only six full-time employees. Manpower is severely limited, and none of us can spend significant amounts of time watching the comments sections of these Updates. Jeff reads all the direct messages that come in and answers those as best he can. The rest, I try to address in these Updates. Like I said, I’ll try to do better.

What plans are in place to rebuild credibility and goodwill within the backer community?

My plan is to be as open, honest, and communicative as I can, providing info and updates as often as possible. I think we still have credibility and goodwill with the vast majority of the backer community, but we have a number of very vocal, dissatisfied backers. I think the only way we’ll ever make them happy will be to deliver a high quality game and game pieces, as soon as possible. I know it can’t be soon enough, because it’s already several months late, but we’re doing everything we can.

Can we please have detailed pictures of each figure as it gets completed? Both a detailed, assembled 360 degree set of pictures and also shots on the sprue?

Absolutely. As soon as we have them to show you, we’ll be happy to do just that.

At the moment, the only such thing I have to show you are these photos of the first test runs of the Artillery Battlepod mold. Note: I’m told the white/light gray frames were run for the factory’s own test purposes, and the darker gray ones were the first test color they ran. The actual color the production game pieces will be is still being discussed.


(they also posted some pictures of parts on sprues on Kickstarter)

I'm just a frustrated backer myself.
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Hexis wrote:
I'm just a frustrated backer myself.


I hear that.

Backed with 2 other guys, and with hindsight we definitely wish we'd gone in for half what we did in the end.
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Nevin Beaver
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While I can understand the disappointment, they have been fairly open about the design and manufacturing hurtles that they have been dealing with. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt because I would want them to deliver a quality product rather than rushing out a crap game.

Kickstarters are almost always delayed and it seems that the process of bringing a game (especially a miniatures game) to market is fraught with unexpected problems and delays.

Now if it is a crap game when we finally get it, then I'll be pissed.
 
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Nevin73 wrote:
Kickstarters are almost always delayed...


Every one I have backed so far, except one. Only one has been on time, to the day. Cinefex back issues all delivered on time. I just keep holding on to that as my happy Kickstarter experience. Don't think about Catan board being 1/2 fulfilled with no end in sight... Cinefex awesomeness. Yeah, that's it.
 
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Eh, there are shades of grey on the spectrum. Lots of KS's are late, but many of those are by mere weeks, or even months. This one is, at best, going to be half a year late just to deliver on 1/2 (roughly) of their commitments, and at least 1 year late (probably more) to get the whole thing out. That's not just 'a little late', that's 'a whole lot late'. And there are good odds the first wave misses the (current) July target, August is a cluster-shenanigans with Gencon, which means we're suddenly in September.

Doubly so for a campaign that spent so many months last year telling us that all was well, things were progressing smoothly, can't wait to get the figures to us, etc, and it wasn't until we began creeping up on delivery targets that they started backtracking on those statements.

Patience is a virtue. It's great that so many backers aren't bothered by quarter year slides on release schedules, but it's kind of disconcerting how little is expected of KS creators. Being off by a few months is one thing. Being off by a factor of 3 (8 month target, 20-24+ months for delivery) is more than a mere 'oops'.

Edit: and worth noting, it's not an absolute. Dwarven Forge did 1.9 million in funding, thousands of backers, and depending on ones perspective, they delivered 2 weeks early.

It'd be nice if KS creators made a point of padding their targets. If a project is likely to take a year, don't tell me it's going to take 8 months and expect me to just sit quietly when it goes to 16, as a hypothetical. It may be that this campaign actually thought they could deliver 36+ figures in 8 months. Reality turned out that they were very, very wrong.
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Stacie Winters
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Over 15 years ago Palladium Books advertised, took preorders and is still advertising a couple of Rifts sourcebooks that have never been released.

If this game comes out before 2016 consider yourselves lucky.

This KS might just turn into that one KS that ends up being a huge debacle because of how Palladium Books does its business. Their one previous KS was a Rifts sourcebook that was 18 months late.

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Daniel Leitl
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The delays I can understand to a point, what frustrates me is the "Hey we are almost done" update followed by the "we still need to finalize the stuff I told you was done in the last update" update.
I am to the point I am considering selling my Battle Cry Copy as soon as it all gets here, which at this point I will be surprised if it is by the end of the year.
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Andrew Leahy
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grinch wrote:
I am considering selling my Battle Cry Copy as soon as it all gets here, which at this point I will be surprised if it is by the end of the year.


Do you think anyone is going to buy this bundle of miniature hurt they are making? Sorry for the pessimism, but this just doesn't look like it is going to be very good anymore. So sad.
 
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It wouldn't surprise me if there were some kind of secondary market demand for these things. Remember, that while the add ons may have been fairly close to retail prices, the "Battle Cry" boxes were, according to some napkin math I've been over a few times, around 1/4 to 1/5 of retail/MSRP, so even selling for half what they'll be going for in the stores, it should be possible to recoup at least some of those costs, be it from people willing to put the time into doing the modelling, or who just want a few figures for their shelves rather than a full gaming collection, or who are even willing to put up with the shenanigans for a good enough deal.

If Palladium is selling 2 Veritechs for $37, and online stores are selling them for $25, presumably they shouldn't be impossible to move some of them for $15-20, depending on the circumstances (supply, demand, competing with other local backers, whatever). Given that backers essentially only paid like $10 for that same kit, it might be possible to break even and still have figures left to spare. All the more so if the "limited edition" figures in Wave 2 ("end of 2014"... yeah right) hold appeal to those who missed out on them.

It probably isn't a situation like the Reaper Bones 1 "Vampire" boxes that were selling for 2-3 times what people paid for them, but it wouldn't shock me if people managed to at least recoup a good chunk of their cash on ebay, craigslist or other secondary market sites when all was said and done.

Hell, I ended up with a third Battle Cry of my own for $90 due to the idiocy of their Shipping and Handling arrangement (it's too stupid to bother getting into), or less than $1 per model. Given that the models have an MSRP of $6-12 per figure, there's an awful lot of wiggle room between what I paid and what stores will be selling them for, even those stores well known for steep discounts. (note, many of which have yet to update their prices to reflect an MSRP hike that happened earlier this year, so current prices may not be what they actually charge when all is said and done).

Given the ongoing popularity of robotech figures, toys, models and whatnot on Ebay, and not to mention that some Battletech players see this line as a manner of getting ahold of a good number of "unseen" mechs in vaguely the right size/scale, we'll have to see, but I suspect/hope there'll be at least some demand out there.

Personally at this point I intend to sell roughly 1/2 of the models I have coming to me, or around 150 out of 309. Given how little I paid per figure all told, including shipping and a few add ons at not particularly great deals, I've got some significant room to play with pricing, and who knows, there's a low (but not zero) change some of this stuff is even in demand. But even priced out at, say, 1/2 retail, I can still break even without much trouble, assuming there's any local demand.
 
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