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Project: ELITE» Forums » General

Subject: "We are experiencing technical difficulties" i.e. "Houston we have a problem".... rss

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deekerston schweddy
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This is now the excuse Drawlab is giving their backers as to why the games have not been delivered. What are those difficulties? Why haven't they posted an update? WHY OH WHY aren't they truthful and transparent with their backers?? Oh, I forget, it's Drawlab. Go out of business folks, please. It will save all of your future suckers from being scammed. Artipia, you ain't much better for allowing this to happen and not stepping in to make it right. Your name is on this also....
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This never-ending story is absurd. Artipia and Drawlab are firmly on my blacklist to never back again.
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Ken Newell
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It is absolutely appalling the way Drawlabs and Artipia are handling this fiasco. Yes I have blacklisted both companies from not only my purchasing but also my playing lists. I have told my game group I will not play games by either of these two companies to help dissuade my group from buying anything from these two. It is almost like they have decided to just say forget it and to heck with their backers. Absolutely disgusted with Artipia and Drawlabs. Certainly not the way to treat your customers.
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Konstantinos Kokkinis
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Artipia Games has no involvement on all the delays that have occurred since the shipment was sent out during summer.

We repeatedly announced that the whole process is handled by Drawlab.

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.



Thank you.
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Thomas -
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I got my copy in Denmark long ago. I have even received replacements for a couple of aliens that arrived with minor damages.

And the game itself is very, very good.

If I come across another Kickstarter from either of these companies where I like the way the gameplay is looking I would back again. No hesitation.
 
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3pod wrote:
Artipia Games has no involvement on all the delays that have occurred since the shipment was sent out during summer.

We repeatedly announced that the whole process is handled by Drawlab.

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.



Thank you.

And this hand-washing is why you're on so many of our blacklists. Artipia's name is on the project. YOU need to fight for your backers. It doesn't matter if it's the factory, fulfillment company, postal service, etc. at fault--if backers aren't getting their games in a timely fashion YOU need to keep them informed through regular updates as well as spur on progress from whatever party is holding things up. This passing the buck and lack of communication is ridiculous.

I understand that on a practical level Drawlab is handling the shipping. But in the end it's still your project, and your finger pointing is a sign that you don't care enough about your backers to do what you need to do for things to improve, whether you mean it that way or not. Continuing to double down on such a frustrating position is why we're not happy with you.
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Jeff Paul
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I agree that the process has not been smooth, but "absolutely appalling?"

Not even close.

They've sent semi regular updates. They remade all the aliens (sure, some are still not the best molds, but many are very nice, and all are table-worthy). And the game play is a lot of fun.

You want to use the absolutely appalling description, they've got to work a lot harder. Like absconding to Australia with the kickstarter cash. Selling MANY games to consumers and making Kickstarter backers wait for wave II. Delivering crappy miniatures and saying suck it...

Just disappearing.

Sure the process with Project:Elite has been bumpy. But I, for one, believe they've tried hard to make this right. It's taken longer than I would have liked. And the fact I do have a copy of the game may help temper my thoughts, but I've always felt that the game would arrive. Unlike some other projects...
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Paul Chamberland
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MentatYP wrote:
3pod wrote:
Artipia Games has no involvement on all the delays that have occurred since the shipment was sent out during summer.

We repeatedly announced that the whole process is handled by Drawlab.

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.



Thank you.

And this hand-washing is why you're on so many of our blacklists. Artipia's name is on the project. YOU need to fight for your backers. It doesn't matter if it's the factory, fulfillment company, postal service, etc. at fault--if backers aren't getting their games in a timely fashion YOU need to keep them informed through regular updates as well as spur on progress from whatever party is holding things up. This passing the buck and lack of communication is ridiculous.

I understand that on a practical level Drawlab is handling the shipping. But in the end it's still your project, and your finger pointing is a sign that you don't care enough about your backers to do what you need to do for things to improve, whether you mean it that way or not. Continuing to double down on such a frustrating position is why we're not happy with you.

Artipia's primary mistake (which I'm sure they greatly regret) was partnering with Drawlab rather than using Drawlab as a manufacturer. As a partner, they have no control over what Drawlab does but their reputation is linked to what Drawlab does - probably worse since Artipia is listed as the project creator. If they had used Drawlab as a manufacturer, they could have switched to a different manufacturer after they saw the original miniatures that Drawlab was proud of and Artipia would be dealing directly with their choice of shipping company.

My suspicion is Drawlab has a similar situation with the shipping company. Not that it's a partner, but somehow Drawlab has no control over what the shipping company does.

Personally, I'm still waiting for my copy. I expected to have it in plenty of time to show it off at small convention of alpha gamers on the weekend of October 22. Now, I have no expectation of when it could arrive.
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Darren
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3pod wrote:
Artipia Games has no involvement on all the delays that have occurred since the shipment was sent out during summer.

We repeatedly announced that the whole process is handled by Drawlab.

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.



Thank you.
I'm a fan of Artipia Games and have enjoyed every game you have published that I have bought (no stinkers yet). That said, both you and Drawlab have dropped the ball on communicating back to your backers on this Kickstarter.

I realize that Drawlab is at fault here with the shipping fiasco as they are in charge of it. Something is drastically wrong and nobody (either company) is saying "boo" about it which is nerve racking to any one who has yet to receive their game. Stepping back and looking at the big picture, there is no reasonable explanation as to how every North American game can be shipped to the USA for a central shipping hub and then take 2+ months to ship out to the backers in the USA and Canada - unless that didn't happen. I can see a 1 month delay for those in Western Canada due to a backlog at customs (Vancouver Office) but all of the USA should have been taken care of within 2 weeks of the start - which did not happen. Were all the games shipped together or have they been handled in small batches (as much as Drawlab could afford to send out each week)?

If Drawlab ran out of money and has had to send small shipments out a few at a time then say so. We would rather know exactly what has happened rather then this blanket of darkness labelled "technical issues" that never reveal what the issues are. You need to communicate and explain what has happened, and what you are doing to fix this if you want to right this sinking ship. If the answer is we will have to wait an additional 2 months, then we will deal with that. We won't be happy but at least we could relax a little knowing that another week going by without an email shipping notice or a large box not appearing at our front door is expected at that point. At least we would know. Right now, we are clueless, blind, cranky, and loosing faith in both your companies at an alarming rate.

One or both companies need to come clean and explain to the backers what has happened in a real update - not a posting hidden among all the other increasingly negative comments of backers that have still not received their games after 2 months of waiting. While Artipia has not had anything to do with the shipping, I'm sure they know what is happening. Enlighten us. Please.

Note: Just a hypothesis but the loudest complainers during the past 2 months have all received their games which supports the idea of small shipments being sent out rather than all of them at once.
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Duncan Idaho
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3pod wrote:

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.

Thank you.


Wow. I've been a fan of you guys since way back when among the stars first came up, and I know you're frustrated, but this is a terrible response. You're now blaming people who gave you money and haven't received a product for wronging you because they're mad about that. Your fault or no, stating that those upset you haven't delivered are wronging you is just...not going to win anyone back.
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Konstantinos Kokkinis
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MentatYP wrote:

And this hand-washing is why you're on so many of our blacklists. Artipia's name is on the project. YOU need to fight for your backers.


And what do YOU think I've been doing for the last 1.5 year?????????????????????????

You have no idea. Just that. No idea.

EDIT: I hope all remaining games (as far as I know they are about 100) get delivered so I can be done with this project once and for all.
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3pod wrote:
MentatYP wrote:

And this hand-washing is why you're on so many of our blacklists. Artipia's name is on the project. YOU need to fight for your backers.


And what do YOU think I've been doing for the last 1.5 year?????????????????????????

You have no idea. Just that. No idea.

You're right--I don't. Because you don't communicate! How are backers supposed to know what's going on when you don't provide timely updates and just keep saying that it's Drawlab's business to get these shipped?! Particularly in times of trouble like this you should be active and aggressive in seeking up-to-date info and sharing it with us. The radio silence is an indication that you aren't, whether that's true or not.

This is a hole you've dug for yourself. The vast majority of KS veterans are perfectly fine with delays. It's a KS fact of life. What we're not fine with is being kept in the dark. This is your project. You are responsible for communicating. You haven't. And you're surprised that people have no idea what you're doing to fix the problem when you're basically saying you can't do anything because it's Drawlab's business now?

You haven't fulfilled the project. Your work isn't through until all packages are shipped, but you're acting like your part is done and it's all up to Drawlab now. Until you completely own the fact that this is YOUR project, you'll keep alienating your backers.

Quote:
EDIT: I hope all remaining games (as far as I know they are about 100) get delivered so I can be done with this project once and for all.

"Hope" won't get it done. Get out there and engage. Don't turtle. You can still fix this for some backers by being more proactive starting now.
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Jeff Paul
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Would it help if I said everybody relax?

Probably not. It's easy to sit on the outside and say what should be done. Sure, there is probably a lot of stuff we don't see, and ....

But, as I said above, this is a lot better than many of the other projects I've backed. But, it's also worse than others.

I'm sure it's not been easy for anyone on the inside.
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Martin Gallo
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3pod wrote:
[q="MentatYP"]
And this hand-washing is why you're on so many of our blacklists. Artipia's name is on the project. YOU need to fight for your backers.


And what do YOU think I've been doing for the last 1.5 year?????????????????????????

3pod wrote:
You have no idea. Just that. No idea.
That is because you did not tell us. You are right we have no idea. All I know is that I saw a game that looks interesting, sent YOU money and have nothing to show for it except a receipt and what I have been reading online for two months from people who did receive their game. I do believe that you fought for us, truly. I do not know how you fought, but I believe you. I even thank you for your efforts.

So sorry my enthusiasm upsets you.

3pod wrote:
EDIT: I hope all remaining games (as far as I know they are about 100) get delivered so I can be done with this project once and for all.
So, no expansions? No rules questions? Well, best wishes to you.
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Mathue Faulk
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Mandor wrote:


My suspicion is Drawlab has a similar situation with the shipping company. Not that it's a partner, but somehow Drawlab has no control over what the shipping company does.


They have control over answering emails. I've sent 3 emails about missing parts over the last 7 weeks. I've had offers to purchase the game (which I likely would've taken up at this point), but I don't feel good about selling it unless those parts are in hand.

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Vangelis Bagiartakis
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Idaho11 wrote:
You're now blaming people who gave you money and haven't received a product for wronging you because they're mad about that. Your fault or no, stating that those upset you haven't delivered are wronging you is just...not going to win anyone back.


I don't believe Konstantinos meant to blame anyone. It is perfectly understandable for backers to be frustrated and to want to get what they paid for. No one is denying that, nor is he accusing them for being angry.

What is disheartening is that after all the effort he has put into this project (both design-wise and publishing-wise) the impression that many backers have of him (and Artipia) is that he doesn't care where the exact opposite is true. (Knowing him and having worked with him I can personally testify to that)

MentatYP wrote:
3pod wrote:
You have no idea. Just that. No idea.

You're right--I don't. Because you don't communicate! How are backers supposed to know what's going on when you don't provide timely updates and just keep saying that it's Drawlab's business to get these shipped?! Particularly in times of trouble like this you should be active and aggressive in seeking up-to-date info and sharing it with us. The radio silence is an indication that you aren't, whether that's true or not.

This is a hole you've dug for yourself. The vast majority of KS veterans are perfectly fine with delays. It's a KS fact of life. What we're not fine with is being kept in the dark. This is your project. You are responsible for communicating. You haven't. And you're surprised that people have no idea what you're doing to fix the problem when you're basically saying you can't do anything because it's Drawlab's business now?


Communication in a KS projects many times can result in a lose-lose scenario. If you don't say anything, people accuse you of hiding things, of not informing them, of mistreating the backers etc. On the other hand, if the news that have to be delivered are bad, people get to complain about them, they are frustrated, they accuse you of not handling things properly and so on. In general though, most people will agree that the second option is better. You are being open to your backers, upfront and in the end, no matter how much they may not like the bad news, most people understand that unfortunate things may happen.

The bigger problem rises when the bad news your bring, depend on someone else's actions. Surely there are hundreds KS projects out there (if not thousands) where some manufacturer or someone else screwed up and the project creator had to deal with the problem. So what do you do in a situation like that? You explain the situation to your backers, hoping they will understand, and you apply pressure to your partner to deliver what was promised.

Your partner gives you a date. You communicate that to your backers. However, that date passes and the partner still hasn't delivered.

You apply more pressure. He gives you another date. You communicate it to your backers. Once again though, the date passes and the partner still hasn't delivered.

If this goes on for many times, at one point even the most understanding backers will get frustrated. Not only that, but a point will be reached where they will just not believe you anymore. The worst thing however is that, since YOU are the bearer of "bad news", the frustration is aimed at you. It's much easier to get mad to the one telling you the bad news than to someone you don't see but only hear that is responsible.

At this point, most people will suggest various solutions on how to deal with this problem. The problem is that the vast majority of these "solutions" cannot be applied for numerous reasons. Ditching the unreliable partner for example will be the first thing that's suggested but that may not be an option, either due to contracts or due to the alternative being so costly that it simply is not possible.

So you are faced with a dilemma. Either you continue to play the role of the messenger and give promises that keep on getting broken, or you put the partner to the spotlight so that people can deal with him directly.

Once again though, this is a lose-lose scenario. In the first case people continue to be frustrated and they put all the blame on you (since you are the only "target" they have) while in the second one, if the problems continue, people will expect you to do something about it.

In this project, Konstantinos went with the 2nd solution. It's not that Artipia didn't care. Quite the opposite. He just felt that there was no point in continuing to announce things that were not going to happen and believed it would be best for people to deal with Drawlab directly since they were the ones giving all the dates and the estimations. To some this appears as "washing his hands off". I can tell you for sure that this wasn't the case.

There was constant pressure in the background (from Konstantinos) for things to move along as promised. If there was anything that Artipia could do to help/speed up the process, it was done. In fact, many things that Artipia had planned for the summer got postponed, to ensure that the packages were assembled and packaged as quickly as possible. Konstantinos himself oversaw the process in order to ensure there were no further delays.

When finally the games were loaded on pallets and shipped to the fulfillment centers, we all finally thought that the problems were over. The games had been made and they had been shipped. What followed was as much a surprise to Artipia as it was to you. Not only that, but Artipia has also been kept on the dark on what exactly has been happening (despite continuous inquiries). What is known is what Drawlab itself mentioned in the KS comments section: That they had agreed on the price with the fulfillment house but when they received the games they asked for more. In the end, Drawlab did pay more to see the games reach their recipients but for some reason few packages - less than 100 from what I know - have yet to be sent (which means that 95% of the campaign has been fulfilled).

Personally, I am not aware of the reason behind this latest delay and I doubt Konstantinos knows anything more (not due to lack of trying though).

So, there you have it. As you can see, the "communication" problem is not as simple as it may seem. Could/should some things have been handled differently? Probably. I don't know if I would personally take the same decisions that Konstantinos did, however I understand his reasoning. This was a lose-lose scenario (communication-wise) and either way it would be bad for the company. Had there been weekly updates it would not have changed much - in fact the frustration would probably have been higher since anything coming out of either company would no longer be believed.

The existence of this thread is actually a testament to that. When people were asking Drawlab about their games and weren't getting replies, they were complaining here and in the KS comments about the lack of communication. When Drawlab started replying and stating that there are technical difficulties, there were once again complaints about the further delays and new threads (like this one for example) were made. I don't mean to say that you shouldn't complain. I just want to point out that in cases like this, from the company's point of view, any way you handle it you lose.

Before closing I would like to point out that everything above is just my personal opinion/take and not in any way an official statement from Artipia. In fact, Konstantinos is not aware I am typing this post and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like me to get involved. In any case, I hope I gave you some insight on the other party's point of view.
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Vangelis, thank you for taking the time to write out that thoughtful response.

avyssaleos wrote:
So, there you have it. As you can see, the "communication" problem is not as simple as it may seem. Could/should some things have been handled differently? Probably. I don't know if I would personally take the same decisions that Konstantinos did, however I understand his reasoning. This was a lose-lose scenario (communication-wise) and either way it would be bad for the company. Had there been weekly updates it would not have changed much - in fact the frustration would probably have been higher since anything coming out of either company would no longer be believed.

I strongly disagree. It's not a lose-lose scenario at all. Consistent communication throughout the project builds confidence and goodwill from backers. This goodwill is the currency you can then spend when things go bad. But when communication has been spotty in previous difficult times (see the beginning of the minis uproar) that goodwill doesn't build up and you're on a tighter leash in terms of problems down the road. Not communicating during problematic times is never the solution.

This pent up and now exploded frustration is Artipia's own doing and could have been avoided with better and consistent communication.

Quote:
The existence of this thread is actually a testament to that. When people were asking Drawlab about their games and weren't getting replies, they were complaining here and in the KS comments about the lack of communication. When Drawlab started replying and stating that there are technical difficulties, there were once again complaints about the further delays and new threads (like this one for example) were made. I don't mean to say that you shouldn't complain. I just want to point out that in cases like this, from the company's point of view, any way you handle it you lose.

Sorry, but this lose-lose stance is a silly defeatist attitude. People's complaints aren't with Drawlab finally popping up. The complaints are due to the vague and unclear nature of the "update". Spell things out for good or bad, let people know exactly what's going on and where we stand, and most reasonable people will be understanding. The frustration again comes from poor communication. It's not enough to say "technical difficulties". After weeks of nothing, don't you think people deserve to know more than a vague description of problems with shipping?

At this point with communication having been as bad as it's been, you won't be able to please everybody. Some people are past their boiling point. But that doesn't mean it's time to stick your head in the sand.
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It seems like here on BGG there is a fair bit of communication, even if it is, "we don't know anything"; but, on Kickstarter there is just a Sept 30 update and a promise of a new update that never materialized. It is now Dec 1 and people unfamiliar with BGG must be exploding.those more familiar are ranting because they keep saying "tell us something that makes sense and is true" and the only truth they get is, "don't blame us it's their fault" and "technical difficulties". We are all, or mostly all, grown ups; I doubt there is anything in the world of shipping that is too technical for us to understand. That leads us to the conclusion it is "technically" an embarrassing reason and that your silence is a lesser evil than speaking of it.

Someone very elegantly said communication is a currency you spend to maintain good will. At the very least, that is a currency both groups are not spending either in the right places, nor in the right manner.

But I guess damned if you do and damned if you don't so why try right?
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3pod wrote:
Artipia Games has no involvement on all the delays that have occurred since the shipment was sent out during summer.

We repeatedly announced that the whole process is handled by Drawlab.

If you feel wronged for not having received your games yet, we feel wronged as well for being accused of a problem we are not causing.



Thank you.


You chose to go into this project with Drawlabs. Nowhere on the campaign page did it say Drawlabs was dealing with the shipping. It only states they were doing the minis in-house. It does say that the project is brought to us by Drawlabs and Artipia.

However, the only indication of shipping comes in this paragraph on the campaign page:
Quote:
Our current shipping solution DOES NOT offer tracking. From past experience we already know that the percentage of lost items is almost 0%. However, If you require tracking for your order, please contact us at support[at]artipiagames.com and let us know. Please note that you will be requested to pay additional shipping costs since your order will have to be handled separately from our group shipping solution. All orders will be shipped from Greece. If you have any concerns regarding customs and import taxes for large cost orders, please contact us at support[at]artipiagames.com and we will assist you on that.


This seems to indicate that, at the time of pledging, shipping questions were to be directed to Artipia.

However, I did not single out Artipia. And the OP actually singled out Drawlabs. Why are you not in daily contact with Drawlabs finding out what is going on with shipping? Why are you not posting the results of those daily conversations. Your name is attached to this and as such it is yours and Drawlabs reputation that is on the line. I know if it were my name I would be on this daily. You have already thrown Drawlabs under the bus for this, maybe if you acted like you cared about the people who gave you their money in trust, you wouldn't be lumped into the same boat.

You are causing this problem by your inactivity and lack of communication on this project. Do not play the innocent victim here. The only victims here are the people who trusted you with their wallets and have not received anything yet and no confidence they ever will.
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Ken Newell
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TnT! wrote:
I agree that the process has not been smooth, but "absolutely appalling?"

Not even close.

They've sent semi regular updates. They remade all the aliens (sure, some are still not the best molds, but many are very nice, and all are table-worthy). And the game play is a lot of fun.

You want to use the absolutely appalling description, they've got to work a lot harder. Like absconding to Australia with the kickstarter cash. Selling MANY games to consumers and making Kickstarter backers wait for wave II. Delivering crappy miniatures and saying suck it...

Just disappearing.

Sure the process with Project:Elite has been bumpy. But I, for one, believe they've tried hard to make this right. It's taken longer than I would have liked. And the fact I do have a copy of the game may help temper my thoughts, but I've always felt that the game would arrive. Unlike some other projects...


There has been anything but regular updates. This is clearly the definition of "irregular".

Many people have not received their products yet and as such there is no difference to them that Artipia and Drawlabs haven't taken off with their funds. I have 0 faith I'm ever going to receive this game. There has been nothing to show me that I should believe. Communication is so poor from both Artipia and Drawlabs, no one knows what is going on.

I have other Kickstarters that are much much later than this one, but the difference has been continuous and regular communication. I'm not worried about these ones as the creators are regularly answering questions and providing updates.

This one has had 0 communication and the only response, occasionally, is that "it's not my fault". We get it. Drawlabs is doing the shipping. But as the partner of Drawlabs, what is Artipia doing so Drawlabs doesn't drag them down with them. All I've seen from Artipia is a washing of their hands. They got their cut of the money and now don't care what happens next. Talk to Drawlabs.
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LFITQ wrote:
This one has had 0 communication and the only response, occasionally, is that "it's not my fault". We get it. Drawlabs is doing the shipping. But as the partner of Drawlabs, what is Artipia doing so Drawlabs doesn't drag them down with them. All I've seen from Artipia is a washing of their hands. They got their cut of the money and now don't care what happens next. Talk to Drawlabs.


avyssaleos wrote:
When finally the games were loaded on pallets and shipped to the fulfillment centers, we all finally thought that the problems were over. The games had been made and they had been shipped. What followed was as much a surprise to Artipia as it was to you. Not only that, but Artipia has also been kept on the dark on what exactly has been happening (despite continuous inquiries). What is known is what Drawlab itself mentioned in the KS comments section: That they had agreed on the price with the fulfillment house but when they received the games they asked for more. In the end, Drawlab did pay more to see the games reach their recipients but for some reason few packages - less than 100 from what I know - have yet to be sent (which means that 95% of the campaign has been fulfilled).

Personally, I am not aware of the reason behind this latest delay and I doubt Konstantinos knows anything more (not due to lack of trying though).


Ken,

From Vangelis's post, Artipia has tried talking to Drawlab and they've gotten the same response as we backers have received (though myself and others haven't received responses yet). And while Vangelis doesn't specifically say it, it can be inferred they are still trying to get answers from Drawlab.

So now what do you suggest? Keep in mind that you are dealing with the complexities of a partnership rather than Artipia hiring Drawlab to do manufacturing and shipping.
 
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Ken Newell
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How about communicating their attempts to get this resolved? How about instead of throwing their hands up in the air they let us know what they have done to get this rectified. How about instead of keeping radio silence, they actually communicated with their financial backers?

They seem quick to wash their hands from it and let their backers suffer in the fog of frustration. If they were worried about their reputation they instead could be communicating their attempts to get their chosen partner to fix the problems.

The current situation and distaste could have been avoided with simple communication - at least for Artipia.

But as you say, this is a partnership and much like 2 students working on the same school project where one did part of the work and the other dropped the ball on getting their part done, both students share the same grade. It's a lesson learned in grade school that I would expect businesses to know.
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steven smolders
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Stop crying already..... I got a game on Friday (privateer) that was Successfully funded on Dec 21 2013 and got 48 udates since then... where the last 10 where this year. From dec 2015 till March 2016 there where no updates.

And you Guy's are complaining about this game that clearly has been made and you still know that you will get it.

Get over it already !!!!
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Konstantinos Kokkinis
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I would like to thank you for posting here. Your comments were the boost I needed for what is going to follow.

I will shortly post a KS update and invite everyone to participate in a final discussion about this game.
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