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Subject: Academy Games doesn't send backer lists to distibutors? rss

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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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What's going on? I read messages that the games have arrived and Australia and Europe - but that the distributors are waiting for the backer lists (with names and adresses, who gets what)?

From the KS forum (today):

EUROPE: It appears HappyShops are still waiting on a list of backers, as I received the following email this morning....
Quote:
Hello Richard,
thanks for your e-mail.
Yes, you are right - we are shipping Mare Nostrum on behalf of Academy Games.
We are currently waiting for a backerlist and after that we are starting the delivery to all the backers.


AUSTRALIA: a reply from Let's Play Games:
Quote:
Hi Greg,
Yes we are helping Academy Games with the kickstarter fulfilment.
We have the stock and are now just waiting on Academy Games to give us the details on what and where to send. We hope to have that information early next week so we can ship straight away.


...so, they HAVE THE STOCK, but are waiting on a list from Academy. What's so damn hard about sending them a list? Surely its just a list of names and addresses to mail the games to?
Come on Academy, you can do better than this.

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Paweł Bedz
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Lucky you!
My copy (and not only) are still on a ship... If Polish, german and other europe non-english language version will arrive to backers in mid-september i will be very happy... And of course Academy Games says nothing about non-english games in their updates.
I feel like 10th category citizen of Earth... "You backed us, we have your money. Now shut up and sit. Wait for your reward. it will come when it will come... Of course other backers already got their copies, but you are 10th category backer."
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Andrew White
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Regarding Australian shipping. I'm not happy. I got a ridiculous email from Academy games 10 days ago. Apparently the games have been in Australia for over 5 weeks but they have been held up because they are "updating shipping information"

Huh?

I'm sorry, but what a load of bull. It can't take 5 weeks to update customer shipping information, basically updating names and addresses. Well I guess it can, I suppose, if you ignore it for the four 4 weeks. But I am being led to believe that people have been working hard for 5 weeks updating some Australia names and address.

We have a saying in Australia for this kind of deception, we don't like it when people tried to "pull the wool over our eyes"

So, in the next sentence I am told the Australian Games will ship the week following Gen Con. Well, the week after Gen Con is this week folks!!!
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Nico
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Seems real. The german distributor, Schwerkraft-Verlag, got the backer list for the german version not until last week.
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Christian Fuerst-Brunner
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No hurry here. The german editions (and some other, non-english editions as well) are still on the boat from China to Europe.
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Greg Love
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But surely all of these names and addresses were ALREADY confirmed when backers completed the pledge manager?
The pledge manager should simply spit out a spreadsheet of data which can then be emailed to the distributor to create shipping labels, etc?
It's simply baffling, and not surprising that many backers are pissed off and tired of waiting.
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Aaron Bredon
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And how many of those backers have moved since they confirmed? The addresses need to be verified (that is no excuse for not sending the addresses with email info - the local distributor can verify).

I have also seen on some well-run campaigns, that some percentage of backers don't even fill out the initial survey without prodding.
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Barry Iveson
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Well this is just super news.
 
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Frank Conradie
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Shipping in this campaign has been atrocious. Here in Canada the game is now available to order from online retailers, but I am yet to receive my Kickstarter copy. Room for improvement Academy Games...
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Jason Rush
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Now that the games have finally arrived in Europe (nearly a year after they estimated original shipping).

Academy Games let them sit in a warehouse gathering dust because they unable to provide information which should have been organised months ago.

It amazes me that the updates(lol) are so non apologetic and so vague.

I get the impression that there probably working on more their next diaster Kickstarter and have given up on ever pulling this out of a ever spiralling s&"t storm and hoping we forget what a fiasco Mare Nostrum is.

The shame is this game could have been on top of the hotness list for ages with great unboxing videos and reviews from all over the world but instead has been mard by this idiotic shipping failure and lack of updates.

Such a shame.
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Robert F-C
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A user on the KS comments posted a similar thing is happening at the Asian distributor VFI:
Quote:
I am missing the signature decals, they will arrive around the 22nd, I carried back the KS promos from the US to make sure I had them. As soon as they release the backer names I will begin to pick and pack this project. I will send yours out without the signature decal unless you wanted to wait for it. It is really not needed.


And I think the games have been at VFI since June.
So that's more than just being lazy or ineptitude - there's something going on.

My guess would be that they're purposefully withholding the backer details until the decals arrive so that they don't have to send them out separately. But if so, they should just man up and admit it in an update.

If these decals aren't arriving until the 22nd, it really will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. Maybe they'll start to ship out the orders without decals and figure that people with decals won't notice a week or so of extra delay.

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Bernhard Vierthaler
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I´m Austrian and have a friend in Germany to whom I wanted the game to be shipped to. Well, I HAD a friend there, in the meantime he moved back to Austria. So the shipping cost will increase now again, and I still have no clue when the game will arrive.

This whole campaign is a mess and I really regret backing this game. For the moment I don´t even have any desire to play this anymore, but I hope this will change again when it finally arrives (hopefully before 2017). Otherwise I´m sure I will find someone who will enjoy it.
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Christoph K
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I just received a mail from happyshops saying that I can expect my (english) game to be delivered soon to my address (in Germany), so I guess they finally got the list and are about to start shipping!
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Bernhard Vierthaler
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Yes, but I ordered the German version which is distributed by the Schwerkraft Verlag. And these versions are ... I have no clue where they are.
 
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Emils E
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Finally some good news
 
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Nico
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Bernhard Vierthaler wrote:
Yes, but I ordered the German version which is distributed by the Schwerkraft Verlag. And these versions are ... I have no clue where they are.


I can help you:
http://www.marinetraffic.com/pl/ais/details/ships/shipid:152...

On the way to England, at the moment at Gibraltar.
 
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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Update forum:

Quote:
English language shipping updates:

Canada - All pledges have been shipped.

Europe - Pledges have begun shipping today!
(We had some challenges with the CSV files converting correctly into HappyShops programs, so I spent the past few days working on this. Last night I finally got home at 2am, which was an hour earlier than the previous night. This has been a tough week, after two long trade shows in a row.)

Asia and Australia - The War and Peace counter tiles arrived in Australia and Asia and we will be sending the final shipping files today. The games should begin shipping on Monday. PLEASE send us your address changes through a direct message or email to our office. Posting them in the comments sections cannot be found.

Brazil - We are really having difficulties with the customs branch in Brazil. The import taxes have risen like crazy. We are trying to save you as much money as possible and have received final costs for shipping the games on pallets to distributors, who then ship the games to you (most expensive option of about $130 per game). Shipping the games to Germany and then shipping them to you (medium cost and safest). Shipping the games from Mexico (least expensive, but no guarantee that the games will arrive safely). We have decided to ship the games from Germany.

New Zealand - The games are on their way via ocean to be shipped by a local distributor.

Polish, German, Spanish and Italian language games:
Asyncron (the French company that gave all of us the license to print games in our respective languages and who is in control of all printing of all games) is in contact with the publishers of the Polish, German, Spanish and Italian games. Each of these publishers is posting updates on their shipping schedules.

Hopefully everyone will be enjoying this wonderful game soon.
Thanks for your support and patience.

Sincerely,
Uwe
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Paul Shone
Australia
Glenroy
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To me it seems like games at the distributor point were delayed on purpose in order to get the missing pieces to the distributor also - saving on postage (to be able to get the whole order out to punters, instead of managing two).
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Don Lynch
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First off, I am in no way affiliated with Academy Games except as a customer. And I have received my (U.S.) copy.

From KS update July 4, 2106:
"Academy Games has the world wide English language rights to publish 'Mare Nostrum - Empires', as licensed from Asyncron Games in France. German, Italian, Polish and Spanish language games were licensed from Asyncron Games by other publishers. Academy Games was asked to include these foreign language games in our Kickstarter. All money and all transactions for these games are handled by Asyncron Games and their foreign partners. Academy Games has no say in non-English games production or shipping."

Just wanted to get that out of the way.

* * *

Since AG is seemingly responsible for all world-wide English versions, here are a couple of thoughts:

One issue that jumps out to me from various posts is that copies of games were imported into various countries, for example Germany, for transshipment to other countries. There is a lot of noise also about customs duties. If other countries tariff laws are remotely similar to U.S. tariff laws, there is a concept that each and every time a product enters the commerce of a country, it is separately dutiable. There is another concept of International Trade Zones where goods can be stored as though they never entered the commerce of the country in which the trade zone exists. So the concept of shipping to Brazil by way of Germany may not have been handled the cheapest and most expeditious way possible. This includes having to be re-exported and then imported into the final destination country. This takes extra time to accomplish, and may also incur more customs duties when they enter the commerce of the final destination country. Thus the extra customs duties being accrued.

It is also possible that the original backers info may not have been easily differentiated by country (language is only an indicator). If I posit that the lists AG has to work with are for English language only, and one of the data fields is devoted to backer country, then a sort on that field should be capable of providing multiple lists by country. Then each of those lists could be easily sent to the intermediate shipper (e.g. Germany/EU or Australia). But what if the shippers aren't using the same software? What if each country's Customs Service uses a different software package. Then all this data has to be programmed to be converted electronically for each and every instance, or be entered by hand. All the while incurring more costs and customs duties and any other fees that may get attached.

Is AG to blame for the resulting mess? Well if it falls into the scenarios listed above, then maybe, but not with bad intent; only through not researching enough.

"Importing is a hazardous business" is an expression I often used to hear in a different business life.

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Nicholas
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Well Don,

that info (4th July update) was not available when the campaign started. I backed Uwe Eickert and Academy Games. Not another company. Therefore, Uwe and AG are responsible for a) communication and b) producing and delivering the game. The information that another company will do the final delivery was available from the start. However, as these other companies still have received NO GAMES from AG, the ball is still in Uwe's ballpark and all blame is rightfully his. Wheter or not (and how) Uwe choose to outsource the production etc is his problem, not the backers.
The fact that apparently he had nothing to do with production of other language games is irrelevant as well, as this information was not available at the start of the campaign and all backers backed Uwe and AG!

And the mess with non-USA english shipments is solely Uwes business, even if he had been upfront about the responsibilites of the Kickstarter from the beginning. The even bigger mess with non-Europe French copies and all other languages copies is certainly partly (or mostly) Asyncron's fault. But, and I repeat again, as all people backed Uwe, it is his responsibility to make sure that his partners complete their part of the business in an acceptable manner. Both Uwe and Asyncron massively dropped the ball here.
The most irritating part about this that there has been absolutly no trustworthy info on the Kickstarter. Nor an apology of any kind. If you want to have a good laugh, read some of the updates from late 2015 and early 2016. I pre-ordered another game, which was due to be delivered in April. They sent out an email with the basic gist of: "We are not going to make April. We are confident that we will make September. We appreciate your patience." This is a massive difference to the updates in this Kickstarter. Endless updates of: "We enjoy the game. The game is great. You will get it next week/month.", are super annoying.
If I had backed the english version, I would be even more annoyed that for the US. backers another wait was "inacceptable" (Uwe's words), so they airfreighted the chips in but then sat for a solid month (or even more) on canadian copies, without doing anything about them. Not to speak about the rest of the world. There it seems to be perfectly acceptable to wait a few more months.
I actually do believe that the airfreight was done with best intentions (as well as being able to ship out the pre-orders ofc), but nontheless this is a massive "fuck you, I don't care" to the rest of the world, even if probably unintended.

Extra customs? If you read some of the summer updates (or comments) from Uwe, you will see that this is not the only reason. Also, I very much doubt that a lot of countries simultaenously raised their import customs. E.g. NZ was delayed massively due to increased shipping fees from the US.
However, with a project delayed multiple months, AG did have enough time to research stuff like this (as well as the software/data stuff etc). If they didn't bother to do this when they all the time in the world available, then it simply shows a stunning lack of professionalism on their part.
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Don Lynch
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Nicholas,

About the "extra customs" in the last paragraph, I also doubt any country arbitrarily raised their duties on imported products that quickly. In the U.S. that is enacted by law. My point was that every time a shipment entered a country, another duty was applied to the goods. I think this is what actually happened, and I think this blindsided AG. They were unprepared for what they wanted to do. And to take it at face value, AG is going to absorb the extra cost of customs duties.

And I think that if there were any software issues like software programs not speaking to each other, these were not explored in advance. If the programs are not in sync, then it would be like two people each knowing their only own separate language trying to conduct a complicated business deal without an interpreter. And I can say from experience that electronically converting a database to another database is not a simple or quick process. Especially if you don't have the conversion software and dedicated programmer(s) to do it. And each step adds more time and money to the process. AG is not a large company as far as I can tell, which means they are probably making it up as they go along.

As for AG 'professionalism', that may only apply to making games.

None of which absolves them of blame, but I don't think it's malicious.

*

Regarding the rest of your post, I found the following info from the bottom of the Mare Nostrum Empires Kickstarter campaign:

* * *

Risks and challenges

English language worldwide game pledge customer service and shipping will be handled by Academy Games.

Service client : Vous pouvez contactez ASYNCRON games à l'adresse mare.nostrum@asyncron.fr pour toute question relative à Mare Nostrum et/ou à la campagne Kickstarter..

Kunden, die deutsche Ausgaben der Spiele gepledged haben, erhalten ihren Service und Versand vom Schwerkraft-Verlag: http://www.schwerkraft-verlag.de/kontakt/

Le spedizioni dell’edizione italiana verranno gestite da Giochix, così come il servizio clienti. Se hai domande o commenti da fare in italiano puoi farle sulla piattaforma giochistarter, dove c’è una sezione dedicata a Mare Nostrum in lingua italiana.

Wydawcą polskiej edycji gry jest Wydawnictwo PHALANX (www. phalanxgames.pl). W razie jakichkolwiek pytań związanych z przebiegiem akcji prosimy o kontakt za pomocą formularza: http://www.phalanxgames.pl/kontakt/

Todas las dudas relacionadas con la Edición en Español del juego Mare Nostrum serán atendidas por el editor de la edición Española Ediciones MasQueoca por favor contacten a traves del siguiente email MareNostrum@MasQueOca.com

Academy Games will attempt to answer all Kickstarter supporter questions. But language specific questions must be directed to our foreign language partners. They are 100% responsible for processing and shipping your language specific orders. Our non-English partners are all well established companies with excellent track records. However, Academy Games has NO control over our non-English partners and can take no responsibility for their order fulfillment.

Academy Games and Asyncron:
Our first three Kickstarter projects, '1775 - Rebellion', 'Freedom - The Underground Railroad', and 'Fief - France 1429' were very successful. Our growing success with each new project brought about new challenges, from which we learned a lot. Our last project 'Fief - France 1429' was so successful, that we unlocked all of our stretch goals. Although this added a lot of value, it also added unforeseen development and production delays. However, our supporters agree that the end results were worth the wait. Online Forum and BoardGameGeek ratings and comments are very high and positive.

With Mare Nostrum, all stretch goals and game expansions have been fully developed and play tested. Most of the artwork is finalized and manpower has been scheduled and set aside to make sure that Mare Nostrum - Empires will ship in a timely manner world wide.

We appreciate your Kickstarter support, which allows us to continue to create unique and high quality games. A small company such as ours could not survive without your support and love for the hobby.

Thank you,
Uwe Eickert
Academy Games
2201 Commerce Drive
Fremont, Ohio 43420
info@AcademyGames.com
419-307-6531
 
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Nicholas
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Quote:
Kunden, die deutsche Ausgaben der Spiele gepledged haben, erhalten ihren Service und Versand vom Schwerkraft-Verlag: http://www.schwerkraft-verlag.de/kontakt/


That translates too:

Customers who backed the german version, will receive their customer service and shipping from Schwerkraft-Verlag.


Quote:

But language specific questions must be directed to our foreign language partners. They are 100% responsible for processing and shipping your language specific orders. Our non-English partners are all well established companies with excellent track records. However, Academy Games has NO control over our non-English partners and can take no responsibility for their order fulfillment.


Well thats not true obvisouly. Schwerkraft had nothing to do with production (according to Uwe). But you are right, I missed that part in my recollection of the original kickstarter.
But, as this info is not true (Asyncron was responsible for German production, not Schwerkraft as suggested above), it's still Uwe's business.
Besides, Schwerkraft complained that Uwe refused to publish info concerning the german backers on the Kickstarter when asked.
 
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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donlyn wrote:
Since AG is seemingly responsible for all world-wide English versions, here are a couple of thoughts:

One issue that jumps out to me from various posts is that copies of games were imported into various countries, for example Germany, for transshipment to other countries.

Is AG to blame for the resulting mess? Well if it falls into the scenarios listed above, then maybe, but not with bad intent; only through not researching enough.

"Importing is a hazardous business" is an expression I often used to hear in a different business life.

Firstly: AG is responsible for the fulfullment of its kickstarter. As I said before, if you let 3rd parties produce a part of your stuff, it doesn't mean you are not still the sole and only responsible party;

Secondly: AG even the resource chips send in to the US by (costly) air fright because "more delay was unacceptable" so the US backers already received their game and were playing Mare Nostrum a few months ago.
Seemingly more delay wasn't unacceptable for European and other backers: the ship with English copies destined for Europe hadn't even left the Chinese port yet when the US copies were delivered.
 
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Don Lynch
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Teowulff wrote:
donlyn wrote:
Since AG is seemingly responsible for all world-wide English versions, here are a couple of thoughts:

One issue that jumps out to me from various posts is that copies of games were imported into various countries, for example Germany, for transshipment to other countries.

Is AG to blame for the resulting mess? Well if it falls into the scenarios listed above, then maybe, but not with bad intent; only through not researching enough.

"Importing is a hazardous business" is an expression I often used to hear in a different business life.

Firstly: AG is responsible for the fulfullment of its kickstarter. As I said before, if you let 3rd parties produce a part of your stuff, it doesn't mean you are not still the sole and only responsible party;

Secondly: AG even the resource chips send in to the US by (costly) air fright because "more delay was unacceptable" so the US backers already received their game and were playing Mare Nostrum a few months ago.
Seemingly more delay wasn't unacceptable for European and other backers: the ship with English copies destined for Europe hadn't even left the Chinese port yet when the US copies were delivered.


You realize you didn't quote me; you just cut up my post and passed off bits and pieces as one quote which makes no sense.
 
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Emils E
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donlyn wrote:
Since AG is seemingly responsible for all world-wide English versions, here are a couple of thoughts:

One issue that jumps out to me from various posts is that copies of games were imported into various countries, for example Germany, for transshipment to other countries. There is a lot of noise also about customs duties. If other countries tariff laws are remotely similar to U.S. tariff laws, there is a concept that each and every time a product enters the commerce of a country, it is separately dutiable. There is another concept of International Trade Zones where goods can be stored as though they never entered the commerce of the country in which the trade zone exists. So the concept of shipping to Brazil by way of Germany may not have been handled the cheapest and most expeditious way possible. This includes having to be re-exported and then imported into the final destination country. This takes extra time to accomplish, and may also incur more customs duties when they enter the commerce of the final destination country. Thus the extra customs duties being accrued.

It is also possible that the original backers info may not have been easily differentiated by country (language is only an indicator). If I posit that the lists AG has to work with are for English language only, and one of the data fields is devoted to backer country, then a sort on that field should be capable of providing multiple lists by country. Then each of those lists could be easily sent to the intermediate shipper (e.g. Germany/EU or Australia). But what if the shippers aren't using the same software? What if each country's Customs Service uses a different software package. Then all this data has to be programmed to be converted electronically for each and every instance, or be entered by hand. All the while incurring more costs and customs duties and any other fees that may get attached.

Is AG to blame for the resulting mess? Well if it falls into the scenarios listed above, then maybe, but not with bad intent; only through not researching enough.

"Importing is a hazardous business" is an expression I often used to hear in a different business life.


You do raise valid points, which in large part are irrelevant to the situation. If you notice most people complaining are from EU. Even though EU consists of many countries duties and tarrifs are charged only once, when games eneter the zone not to mention EU backers paid a higher shipping so this should be a non-issue. More importantly I think most people would have no problems is the games were delayed because of longer shipping times and delays in customs. It is the delays game suffered before freight shipping and after they have cleared customs.

As far as database compatability, I agree that this can delay fulfilment, but should be non-issue if started in timely manner. You don't do this once the games have arrived in fulfilment center but at least couple of weeks before. I belive addresses were locked for editing before US pledges started shipping, so they had more then enough time to sort this out.

So is AG to blame for the mess? Short answer is YES.
The above are only small additions of the main problem (which has already been mentioned - accordind to Uwe in a KS update a delay in fulfilling US copies is unacceptable, where as same delay if not even bigger in freight shipping the games to Europe seems to be more then acceptable.
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