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Subject: Autopsy Breakdown rss

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Son Do
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Hello folks,

Im one of the unfortunate backers of this game during its Kickstarter project and have been wondering 'What Actually Happened Here'?

Was it mismanagement from Queen?
Lack of miniature board game experience?
Not enough funds to fulfill demand?

Im looking for reasons why this KS project became so abysmal and for anyone to shine a light on it.

**This post isn't about how great the game is as many here already know. (I've yet to play my copy of this as I'm missing an incredible amount of items from it), Im asking about 'where it went wrong and how it went wrong'. Thanks **
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The Game Steward
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Without hearing from QG directly, it's impossible to know with certainty, but the pieces of information available so far paint a pretty clear picture.

There are a number of issues that I have seen referenced, and hold varying levels of validity:

1. QG bought the rights to the game, but when they launched the Kickstarter, they had "stripped out" large chunks of the game, presumably to put them back in as "stretch goals". A lot of backers who had seen previews were really angry at what they perceived to be deceitful. That created a lot of hostility in the comments section that set the stage for a lack of trust with QG.

2. QG had never produced a game with lots of add-on options. This had two effects. First, the menu of add-on options was confusing, poorly explained, and poorly laid out. I can't tell if QG got carried away with stretch goals and add-ons, or if they really thought they had it under control, but the front page is a hot mess. Second, rather than go with a third party pledge manager like backerkit, they tried to shoehorn DDD into the KS survey, which was a disaster. Between the two, a backer was lucky if they really ordered what they wanted (or believed they needed) to get the "complete" game.

3. QG had never produced a minis heavy game, and post-KS production was a disaster. The costs were higher than they anticipated, and Quality Control was poor.

4. QG decided - against all common sense - to ship the game out in October, 2013, despite the problems that they were experiencing with production. This is a classic of example of where delivering on time was the wrong-est possible decision. They should have waited to work out all the problems.

5. Fulfillment was a disaster. QG did not have enough copies of the game to fulfill every pledge, and didn't have some necessary components at all, such as boards for the Radioactive expansion. Some people never received a copy of their game. Among those who did receive a copy, many received the wrong order, or received games with lots of missing pieces. Because QG didn't have sufficient replacement parts, people were left stuck with unplayable copies.

6. QG quickly lost control of PR and customer service. I can't speak to how or why this happened, but QG basically shut down and refused to deal with DDD anymore. Nikki was eventually replaced by Keith, who was marginally more communicative, but that isn't saying much. Customer service with QG is basically non-existent, especially when it comes to DDD.

7. To make matters worse, QG began launching several KS projects in a row, as if everything was on track internally. As a matter of perception, QG came across as arrogant and uncaring about DDD backers who had been left in the lurch. Some backers realized that the best way to find out what was going on with DDD was to pledge for these other QG Kickstarter projects and start flaming QG in the comments section which prompted QG to finally respond to questions about DDD. When the best way to get a response from a company is to flame them on their other projects, there is a *serious* problem with that company.

I'm sure other folks have their ideas as well. And in addition to confirming that the game is great, David Ausloos has been great as well. I feel bad about how he has had to watch all this go on with his creation. David and DDD deserve so much better.
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Clyde W
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Kickstarter happened.
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Brian Hunt
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I think you pretty much summed it up Michael.

I am sure that QG have learned lessons from DDD (in fact Keith has said so on more than one occasion). There was plenty of opportunity to at least up their game on the Customer Service retrosopectivley but they did not.

The result leaves a sour taste, but given the success of their subsequent projects, it does not seem to have damaged them.

I think that there main problem seems to be that they only have one person to look after customer service (as it is always the same person on every project). If they want to up their game they need to resolve this and staff this side of the projects properly. People can put up with delays and mistakes if they are being informed about them in a timely and professional manner.
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Daniel Kearns
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8. QG squeezed DDD in the middle of a steady stream of kickstarters, many of which had already upset backers.

9. QG set the stretch goals very far apart, either because that was what was actually needed to pay for the items, or because they overvalued the product and assumed they would hit the lofty goals. Then, to prevent the campaign from going into freefall, they lowered all of the goals to meet what was actually being pledged. The campaign was saved but perhaps with insufficient funds, which seems really irresponsible. (People have said that the price of miniatures has recently skyrocketed but why weren't all of the promised kickstarter miniatures printed at the time of campaign completion?)

10. They held the license for 6 months without apparently doing any development on the title. The items put up on kickstarter were the same as that which was shown before Queen came on board. A thread here, I'll find it in a minute, suggested that the rules were essentially untouched and had to be translated days before the game was sent to print casting doubt on whether the game was actually playtested (at least in a language other than Belgian). Re: Official revised rules are now online for download

11. Standard shoddy Queen quality control.

12. Standard shoddy Queen PR.

13. Standard Queen misinformation. Expansion confusion between what was promised, what the "expansions" contained, and what would be shipped when. Also, I believe up until recently, the second wave was supposed to be shipped in August but now suddenly seems to be severely delayed/perhaps abandoned. Expansions cancelled; refunds coming.

So, what happened? Just Queen standard operating procedure mostly. Many of us knew something like this would happen (from experience with Queen) and spoke up frequently during the campaign.
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Michael T. Probst
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GreenLaborMike wrote:


6. QG quickly lost control of PR and customer service. I can't speak to how or why this happened, but QG basically shut down and refused to deal with DDD anymore. Nikki was eventually replaced by Keith, who was marginally more communicative, but that isn't saying much. Customer service with QG is basically non-existent, especially when it comes to DDD.


No communication and replies to many questions raised at all.
They ignored private E-Mails (to Queens Games direct) as well to questions asked inside the Kickstarter Forum or on any other boardgame forum like BGG.
All the answers you get from time to time (over months...) are some like "we have to check the situation...", "we have to find out what happened...", "there are some issues we have to clarify..."
Yes, they lost control of their own Kickstarter really soon!

But there is no excuse about what happend after! No replies, no answers, no deliveries, and it seems now official they never will do...
They try to refund some small amounts...
They took our money and some buddies here still haven't received all their content and will never receive any replacement...
What will happen here? Will they refund all to them!
Queen quit with us. QUEEN QUIT WITH YOU!

You should quit with Queen too!

Don't following their many "stock clearance Kickstarter" they're doing since months...
I can only recomment you to stop to participate in their following Kickstarters and stop buying Queen Games from them directly!
But it's up to you what you want to do with your money. But check the evidence, check what happend and decide by yourself if you could support a company like QG! They could continue only if you allow this... I decided to stop.

But maybe you'll spent some money on their next KS..., ...that's at least good for me, they will have some small money to refund me!
Hope you'll get something too!
(But don't complain afterwards, you could have luck, you could have no luck..., at least you read the warning signs and have made your decision by yourself!)
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Brian Hunt
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erzengel wrote:

All the answers you get from time to time (over months...) are some like "we have to check the situation...", "we have to find out what happened...", "there are some issues we have to clarify..."


You forgot "I was busy at xyz convention and am just catching up on my emails"....
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The Game Steward
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BrianJohnHunt wrote:
erzengel wrote:

All the answers you get from time to time (over months...) are some like "we have to check the situation...", "we have to find out what happened...", "there are some issues we have to clarify..."


You forgot "I was busy at xyz convention and am just catching up on my emails"....


Weren't there a bunch of "I am moving to a new house, so I'm a bit behind" messages as well? Maybe I am confusing that with another crappy customer service rep on Kickstarter.
 
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Clyde W
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I think there's a very valuable lesson here, that everyone who is a Kickstarter user should comprehend:

The moment a game publisher turns to Kickstarter, they turn into something more than just a game publisher: they also turn into a game promoter, a game seller, a game shipper, a game customer service rep, and a game logistics rep. Traditionally, they haven't had to fulfill all of those roles. That's why Queen was effectively a 3-4 person employee prior to the era of Kickstarter. After KS, they were able to make more money per game they sold, by selling direct to customers, but in order do so, that came at a price, in the form of significantly more work and responsibility on Queen's shoulders.

What happened here, I think, was that these realities never really were obvious to Queen. Until now, I guess.
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Lex Talionis
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Queen Games is dead forever for me, even if they will product good games, I will not buy them. It's sad but it's all that they deserve.

Don't waste your money in their kickstarters, they are a bunch of liars and they will be mute if a problem happens. If you really want to buy their games, wait and buy them in a shop.
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Michael Meyer
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Everyone who will be in Essen this year should visit one of the QG Booths, and talk to them face to face. I will do it for sure.
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Tyrone ..................
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Don't forget the fact they were intentionally lying to the backers from the beginning a la having a pledge level for the Crysis board game when they hadn't even asked for permission to make it. I think it was something like 8 months later when they let it slip that at that time they were just beginning the process of asking for permission.
 
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Lee Fisher
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rccoll wrote:
Don't forget the fact they were intentionally lying to the backers from the beginning a la having a pledge level for the Crysis board game when they hadn't even asked for permission to make it. I think it was something like 8 months later when they let it slip that at that time they were just beginning the process of asking for permission.


Huh, where did you see that they didn't ask permission until later?
 
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Daniel Kearns
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clydeiii wrote:
I think there's a very valuable lesson here, that everyone who is a Kickstarter user should comprehend:

The moment a game publisher turns to Kickstarter, they turn into something more than just a game publisher: they also turn into a game promoter, a game seller, a game shipper, a game customer service rep, and a game logistics rep. Traditionally, they haven't had to fulfill all of those roles. That's why Queen was effectively a 3-4 person employee prior to the era of Kickstarter. After KS, they were able to make more money per game they sold, by selling direct to customers, but in order do so, that came at a price, in the form of significantly more work and responsibility on Queen's shoulders.

What happened here, I think, was that these realities never really were obvious to Queen. Until now, I guess.


I'd have a lot easier time swallowing the kickstarter-live-and-learn story if this was Queen's first kickstarter. Okay, how about Queen's first kickstarter screwup. No. That's not it either. Hmm, this is getting harder, how about the first time Queen short-shrifted a game. Uh crossroads, urbanization. Okay, the first time they screwed over their customers and fan base. Well, they're a pretty new company... No, I don't even........

Okay, got it. This is the first kickstarter screw up where they short-shrifted a zombie game (with miniatures!) and betrayed their fanbase.

I guess you could still say that being overwhelmed by many kickstarter campaigns is what really caused Queen to disintegrate and is understandable... If of course they weren't still hammering kickstarter projects.
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The Game Steward
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I'm not completely familiar with their projects prior to last summer - I backed Amerigo and DDD. Amerigo was completed largely without incident, unlike DDD. In fact, I was pretty impressed how smoothly that campaign went overall.

From what I am learning, however, the problems in other campaigns seemed to arise with their projects that had lots of add-ons or lots of stretch goals. Hence their recent "Big Box" campaigns which have had neither.

Their Escape Big Box project was (I believe) the first one since DDD that had lots of stretch goals included (Tortuga had some, but it was a pretty small project overall, dollar-wise). It remains to be seen if Escape Big Box manages to "escape" (yes, pun totally intended) the same problems that plagued some of their earlier campaigns.

Maybe they'll get it together, and maybe they won't. I suspect that if Escape has lots of problems, the tipping point *might* be reached in terms of gamers finally throwing in the towel and ceasing to back their KS projects.
 
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Clyde W
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
I'm not completely familiar with their projects prior to last summer - I backed Amerigo and DDD. Amerigo was completed largely without incident, unlike DDD. In fact, I was pretty impressed how smoothly that campaign went overall.
Good old Stefan Feld efficiency vs Ausloos theme-first, perhaps?
 
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Daniel Kearns
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About miniatures:

During the campaign one of the ideas that was thrown about was that the kickstarter funds were needed to buy the miniature molds and once Queen had the molds, the cost of printing miniatures was essentially negligible.

Now one of the ideas about what cause the project to go south is that the cost of miniatures "skyrocketed".

A few questions as I don't know the answer.

1) I think both ideas about the molds and cost of miniatures are coming from fans, not anyone official. Is that true?

2) What is the relative cost of the molds to the print? What caused costs to "skyrocket"?

3) What part of miniature production (post design) would cause such severe delays?
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Hubert AMG
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look what has happened with M.Wallace project - one he put plastic into the box (Moogha invaders) - it is still not there.
QG did same mistake - moved from wood to plastic miniatures (even if they are not fantastic quality - they have to be produced).
Company without experience in producing plastic pieces - jumped to the ocean to check if they can swim ... and well you see the result.

Amerigo is great example. They produced their regular game - wood and paper - et voila - done.

Wallace regrets until today - as he fails to deliver Moongha same as QG with DDD - or even worse - as DDD is already in retail and backers got it a while ago - when Moongha just got the plastic pieces "approved".

It's difficult for both of them - but they lost the virginity in the hard way.

I learned my lesson - hard way as well. My ass still hurts.

I am sorry for QG - that they experimented with the backers on their new business and their lack of communication.
I am sorry for David - as the game does not get the loved it deserved - mostly due to QG mess
I am sorry for M.Wallace and his super lack of communication
and In the end - I am sorry for myself
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Son Do
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dkearns wrote:
About miniatures:

During the campaign one of the ideas that was thrown about was that the kickstarter funds were needed to buy the miniature molds and once Queen had the molds, the cost of printing miniatures was essentially negligible.

Now one of the ideas about what cause the project to go south is that the cost of miniatures "skyrocketed".

A few questions as I don't know the answer.

1) I think both ideas about the molds and cost of miniatures are coming from fans, not anyone official. Is that true?

2) What is the relative cost of the molds to the print? What caused costs to "skyrocket"?

3) What part of miniature production (post design) would cause such severe delays?


Unless someone provides a source/link for this issue of 'costs of miniatures have skyrocketed' then I will forever regard it as an urban myth.

Costs may have increased slightly (like most products) but the term 'skyrocketed' is a bloody huge exaggeration suggesting miniature production cost has doubled or more, I highly doubt it. Unfortunately this myth is being perpetuated by forums such as this.

Increased, maybe. Skyrocketed, I don't think so.
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