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Project: ELITE» Forums » General

Subject: Update and open letter from the Creator. rss

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Erick Araiza
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Not meant to be

Publicada por Artipia Games (Creator)

Hey everyone,
My name is Konstantinos Kokkinis and I own Artipia Games and I am the co-designer of Project: ELITE.
I will first like to inform everyone that from now on, any updates and comments about Project: ELITE posted by this account, will be posted directly by me.
A long time ago we started working together with Sotiris on a game we ended up calling Project: ELITE. We had great expectations of this game and everyone play-testing it, seemed to love it and so we had high hopes for it. After the design was complete came the hard part.
I knew from the start that such a production would be super expensive and that such a game could only survive within Kickstarter. Any reprints or expansion would have to go through KS as it would be impossible to otherwise cover such immense costs.
It was right there that I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Instead of trying to give the game to a big, established miniature company to publish on their own, I chose to publish it myself. I had already chosen Drawlab Entertainment to join us on this project. They would provide the miniatures for the game, and we would do the rest. Even though there were two companies involved in the game's production, only one account could be used for the Kickstarter campaign. Since I am the designer of the game and Artipia had a wider audience, we ran it through Artipia's account. I've done about 15 campaigns so far but Project: ELITE's was by far the most funded.
The deadline we had set for such a demanding production was very short but I was glad that we managed to have everything ready for Essen. Unfortunately the quality of the miniatures was very poor which resulted in an outrage which forced Drawlab to decide to remake them. A different partner for the miniatures would have done a much better job but it was too late for that anyway.
What followed was a time where I was forced to remain silent while many backers were raging over Artipia for the poor quality of the miniatures, totally ignoring the fact that someone else was supposed to provide those. This got worse because Drawlab did not make any comments or statements claiming responsibility for the quality they delivered. During those (roughly) 3 months, I received countless messages that made me wish I was dead. There was so much hate thrown my way that I'm still surprised I'm alive.
Drawlab began working on the miniatures again while the hate and outrage carried on. I was in the middle of all of this not knowing how to react. If I simply called Drawlab out on the miniature fiasco what would happen? I had 2161 backers for a campaign done under my own account, I had $254,157 pledged (from which you will be happy to know that I never-ever received a single cent) from people who simply hated my guts and I had to deliver to them a game that depended entirely on another company to complete and ship to them. To sum up, this is a situation you do not want to be in.
Many months later, with hate emails and comments coming daily the miniatures were finally redone after countless missed deadlines for reason I will never know since the information I received from Drawlab has always been limited and insufficient.
Then came the shipping period. Once more, Drawlab had to do the research for shipping the games and pay for it since, as I said, I never received a cent from this campaign. There was light at the end of the tunnel! People were getting excited even thought there were a good 1-1.5 months still left for them to receive their games. Me and Sotiris were once more excited to work on the campaign mode and develop more content for the game that had endured such a rough start.
However, once more, 1 month became 2 and so on with people slowly receiving their game but for unknown and unclear reasons there were many who still didn't receive their games. I fear I'll never know the actual reasons why this happened but it did and is still happening (if my information is correct) for about 100 of you who are still waiting for your games.
This is simply unacceptable. Unfortunately, I no control of this since it is between Drawlab, and the fulfillment company they chose to work with. What I know is the same thing the backers are told via Drawlab's customer support. That there are some issues that will should be resolved soon.
Despite all of Drawlab's mistakes and failures, there is only one person who is entirely responsible for all that has happened and that is ME. I chose them as my partners and even though they are really good guys and I'm sure their intentions were always good, they simply failed to deliver and that's on me for choosing to publish this game on my own, instead of giving it to a bigger company right from the start. You can all rest assured I paid for that mistake and will continue to do so for the years to come.
I would like to announce that as soon as the remaining copies for the game are delivered, I am officially, 100% done with this game as a publisher and a designer. Perhaps one day the game system or the game itself may once more have a future, but it is definitely not today. I apologize that I will not deliver you the campaign mode we were designing. Perhaps my co-designer, Sotiris may still have some courage left to do so. I do not.
I'm so sick and tired of all the delays and the hate and everything that has happened. I wish I could have somehow known beforehand, so I would never bring this plague of a game upon all of you.
It is not bad to admit failure and well, now that most of you have received your game, I think it is a good time to do so without making anyone afraid that they won't receive their game. For those of you who hate Artipia and/or Drawlab, please know that both companies have paid dearly for all the mistakes that were made. I hope this can at least bring you some satisfaction.
Until everyone receives their games, I will continue the discussion here in the comments area and you are welcome to share your thoughts. From good comments, to comments wishing I was dead or out of a job or anything, I would like to say thank you to all. There wasn't one comment posted that I didn't deserve. Please just understand that I've been working for about 3 years on this game. I can live without having made 1 cent from it but the hate, the frustration and the negativity it caused is something I really cannot endure any more.
I will personally do my best to have those backers still waiting for their game to receive it.
I'm really sorry for making this game and such poor decisions about it.

Konstantinos Kokkinis
Artipia Games
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Erick Araiza
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What do you think? Is it fair to destroy a company or a designer because of bad judgment on selecting a business partner, even when they are finally delivering the games?

Kill a good game that US getting very good Review's because of the mean messages the Internet alows to do?

Difficult situation and sad for new people coming to the industry when they are not ready for a big success?

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tim thorson
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I think his previous updates were always pointing the finger and saying t wasn't his problem. I tried my copy once. It was meh. Nothing noteworthy. I think had he handled his PR better things wouldn't have got so bad. I've backed about 200 projects and that was the only one where I definitely felt as a backer and someone finding his business that he could care less. And I've backed things like guardian chronicles that was a complete mess. This letter finally taking responsibility was many months too late. I even commented on the KS page. For me, actually saying he things got way messed up sorry as I am the creator versus fighting between him and drawlab. Personally I think that update gave me a little respect back for him. And my previous dealings with him and or artipia have all been great.
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Geoff ...
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Thanks Konstantinos for the heartfelt glimpse at the difficult situation you've been in. The game is great. It's a shame things turned out as they did.

Good luck.
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Mark O'Reilly
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I hope Konstantinos and the whole Artipia team emerge stronger and greater after this dark episode. They are great guys
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Paul Lodge
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I have had great service from Artipia with some of their other games.

A delay of a few months, pah, most KS projects experience this; I expect it.

Don't give up on Project Elite. It's an amazing game with so many potential expansions that I can't wait to see. It's one of Tom Vasel's all time favourite games; there can't be much higher praise than that.
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cinos
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Every person I've introduced this game too has enjoyed it immensely.

The miniatures were an issue, they fixed them and made them better. Not great, but better.

The delay was nothing in Kickstarter terms. I consider myself lucky with the games I've backed, but I've had games be delayed much much longer.

This leaves me quite disturbed to read that the creator himself is getting daily abuse because of this game. Far too easy to be cruel when you have a veil of anonymity. Those people should be ashamed.
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Evangelos Foskolos
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We are surprised -even shocked- from this update, possibly even more than the majority of the backers here and we are feeling sincerely very sorry for all the frustration created.
Timing also creates a lot of questions, but what is more important right now is to make sure that:

Bakers still waiting for their game WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE IT AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received an incomplete package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THE PARTS MISSING AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received a damaged package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE A REPLACEMENT AS PROMISED.
Bakers who partially received their rewards, WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THEIR MEGA-BOSS BUNDLE AS PROMISED.

We worked hard,-not always with success and surely not always on time. We are still working hard and gradually we are reaching the end of a long journey. This campaign of Project: Elite WILL ABSOLUTELY COME TO AN END and ALL BAKERS’ PENDING ISSUES WILL BE RESOLVED.
- The Drawlab Entertainment Team
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Gilles de Rais
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fokos wrote:
We are surprised -even shocked- from this update, possibly even more than the majority of the backers here and we are feeling sincerely very sorry for all the frustration created.
Timing also creates a lot of questions, but what is more important right now is to make sure that:

Bakers still waiting for their game WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE IT AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received an incomplete package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THE PARTS MISSING AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received a damaged package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE A REPLACEMENT AS PROMISED.
Bakers who partially received their rewards, WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THEIR MEGA-BOSS BUNDLE AS PROMISED.

We worked hard,-not always with success and surely not always on time. We are still working hard and gradually we are reaching the end of a long journey. This campaign of Project: Elite WILL ABSOLUTELY COME TO AN END and ALL BAKERS’ PENDING ISSUES WILL BE RESOLVED.
- The Drawlab Entertainment Team


Only bakers? whistle
Sorry, couldn't resist.
It's indeed sad that this fine game and it's designer got so much hate.
Good luck to both companies in the future.
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Kirk Nelson
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fokos wrote:
We are surprised -even shocked- from this update, possibly even more than the majority of the backers here and we are feeling sincerely very sorry for all the frustration created.
Timing also creates a lot of questions, but what is more important right now is to make sure that:

Bakers still waiting for their game WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE IT AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received an incomplete package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THE PARTS MISSING AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received a damaged package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE A REPLACEMENT AS PROMISED.
Bakers who partially received their rewards, WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THEIR MEGA-BOSS BUNDLE AS PROMISED.

We worked hard,-not always with success and surely not always on time. We are still working hard and gradually we are reaching the end of a long journey. This campaign of Project: Elite WILL ABSOLUTELY COME TO AN END and ALL BAKERS’ PENDING ISSUES WILL BE RESOLVED.
- The Drawlab Entertainment Team


I'm sorry but this means nothing given your inability to even finish shipping the games. Finish what you started and then you can make your lofty promises.
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Jared
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It's pretty sick that people think they are entitled to verbal harass someone because they paid for a product and are frustrated with the outcome.

Sorry your plastic toys didn't come out the way you wanted and that your board game has arrived late but how is it ok to act like that to another human being? If anyone here sent one of those messages, get some serious help!
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Will
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Of course the promise means a lot! Do not let TROLLS discourage you. You will always find angry people that thinks they own the internet. Luckily for the rest of us they don´t, they simply shout lowder but that is simply because they are fewer in number by FAR!
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Paul Lodge
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I love the minis, & there's so many of them. They're tough; they need to be as you're constantly throwing them all over the place. For me, the production standards are great, & the whole package is such good value for money.

This could become a Grail game if there's going to be no more of it.
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House of Cards
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That was a lengthy statement that really just said...

It's not my fault.
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Martin Gallo
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fokos wrote:
We are surprised -even shocked- from this update, possibly even more than the majority of the backers here and we are feeling sincerely very sorry for all the frustration created.
Timing also creates a lot of questions, but what is more important right now is to make sure that:

Bakers still waiting for their game WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE IT AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received an incomplete package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THE PARTS MISSING AS PROMISED.
Bakers that received a damaged package WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE A REPLACEMENT AS PROMISED.
Bakers who partially received their rewards, WILL ABSOLUTELY RECEIVE THEIR MEGA-BOSS BUNDLE AS PROMISED.

We worked hard,-not always with success and surely not always on time. We are still working hard and gradually we are reaching the end of a long journey. This campaign of Project: Elite WILL ABSOLUTELY COME TO AN END and ALL BAKERS’ PENDING ISSUES WILL BE RESOLVED.
- The Drawlab Entertainment Team
This would have been good to hear a few months ago. My frustration has been. mostly, because of the lack of understanding at what was (or was not) happening.

Entitlement? People who feel abandoned tend to get upset about it. When stated deadlines are not met and there is NO communication about why there was a delay (we are over a month now without any word) people tend to get upset. It is not a question of entitlement it is a situation of understandable reaction.

I asked what was happening and if I could help - I have paid extra to have things shipped to me when a KS campaign went bad (three times now??). I was brushed off with answers like "not our fault" or "technical problems" or just plain old no response. I AM entitled to an opinion, just as everyone is entitled to an opinion. It is what we do about and with that opinion that matters. Some people were frustrated and vented. I, to the best of my recollection, have never "hated", only been frustrated and experienced growing skepticism.

By he way, I STILL appreciate the fact that Drawlab redid the minis, that I thought were fine for a boardgame.
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Anthony Rubbo
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My frustration comes from Drawlab refusing to answer my emails over the past 6 months.
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Arthur Peterson
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This is a great game. Fantastically produced.
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Spencer Palmer
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I'm sorry to hear the game won't be produced anymore. I recently discovered this game, and wish I had known about it sooner so I could have participated in the Kickstarter.

If anyone wants to sell their copy, will you please message me? Thanks!
 
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Thomas -
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It would be a terrible outcome if this game goes away. It is one of the best games I have ever played!

Add my vote to the ones that urge you to continue developing things in this branch.
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Jesse Black
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Thanks for the heartfelt message! That's frustrating to hear that some people would treat you with such disrespect and hate over a board game. It's absolutely absurd how some people have acted. I'd go further to say they need to grow up and stop acting like children. When you don't get your way, your not entitled to throw out treating others like respect. Realizing doing that is part of growing up... I digress. The situation was certainly a difficult one, but it seems as though the bumps are almost over. Hang in there Konstantinos! Don't give it up! This game looks like one of the most fun games I've ever seen. I'd love to support any future that this game has, and I'm certain there's many many more people like me. They love your company. They love the games that you've produced and always look forward to Artipia's next release. This decision is up to you and you alone, but I'd love to encourage you to not throw out the window all of the hard work you've put into Project Elite and to endure and pursue your passion in developing and designing great games. Great games just like project elite!

P.S. I just went and liked you guys on Facebook! Thanks for all that you do!
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deekerston schweddy
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Not trolling. Not "hating". These are simply the facts folks:

Drawlab is primarily responsible for distributing this game. Artipia's name is also on the game. Drawlab and Artipia find it very difficult to communicate via Kickstarter, via email, or anywhere else.

Drawlab is currently running and trying to fulfill no less than 5 Kickstarters at the same time. Some recent comments from backers on each:

Legendary Metal Coins for Gaming: estimated delivery July, 2015 - last update = 2/21/16 - "When do we get our chests?" "Where are our chests?" "By the way, where is the promised September update on the Chests ?" From Drawlab "We are terribly sorry for the chests. One fisfortune after the other happens, since we had another machine bread down on them and still their production is not finished.
As mentioned before we are offering refunds to everyone who did not receive their chests. If you choose to wait for it, we estimate to ship them after Essen Spiel." Essen Spiel was two months ago...Still no chests.


Legendary Metal Coins Season Two: estimated delivery Aug. 2016 - last update = 9/19/16 - "Sent another email today. Let's see if anyone is happy to assist me this time. Third time's the charm right?"
"Anyone still screwed over and hasn't received their coins? I paid for 4 sets at $75 and haven't heard or seen a thing."
"I also have not received any of my coins. I've reached out several times with zero response. This is a wretched way to run a business. Shame on you Drawlab for treating your backers this way"
"I am still missing 1 coin set. I have made a several attempts to contact this company. I guess customer service is a thing of the past. Too bad."
No responses to many of these concerns by Drawlab....


Legendary Dice Throwers - estimated delivery Jan. 2017 - last update Oct. 3, 2016.
"I sent you a message some days ago and would have thought to get an answer some time :-D"
From Drawlab on 11/17/16 - "Everything goes according to the plan!
We will post an update featuring images shortly. There is also a chance to be even faster than expected " It is now 12/06/16, stil no promised update.


Mystic Scrolls - estimated delivery Apr. 2017 - last update 10/09/16 (funded on 10/14/16) - 2 updates total on this project.
"Are there going to be any updates? It's been close to 2 months without any." No answer from Drawlab.


Same old Drawlab, too many irons in the fire, in way over their heads, no communication. Someday folks will realize what these people are all about. Words (sometimes) but very little action. I truly hope folks get the products they have paid for. Artipia you are STILL reponsible as well, despite what you have said...



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Chris Poulsen
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I love this game! Well worth the wait! Konstantinos Kokkinis, if you read this, thank you again and again for this awesome game
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Dustin Rhoades
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Konstantinos i think you'd be a fool to abandon this game now! Make sure everyone gets their stuff then do a 1.5 version KS again or take to a bigger publisher and work a deal for a reprint. There are lots of people that like the game, myself among them. If you went to a reputable publisher I'm sure you'd be surprised by the support you'd get. "Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength." Be strong.
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Joseph LaClair
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I have been watching this game hoping it would come to retail. I remember all the complaints about the mini's from the get go. Wonder how much sooner this game would have been in people's hands if that had never happened. I remember thinking they looked fine.

I don't blame the guy for wanting out. After three years of negativity and hate, I'd be wanting out too. I think putting up with it for three years shows a type of strength.

For those of you who have gotten your game, congratulations. All reports are it was worth the wait and you have a game that will soon be worth much more than you paid for it.

This is a game that was high on my wish list and it looks like I'll never see it. I really hope another publisher grabs it.
 
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Kirk Nelson
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I will agree that the level of hate is both shocking and uncalled for. Death threats? It is a game!

But part of the blame is on him as Artipia made way too many mistakes in this campaign and did little to nothing to rectify them. I find that the main issue here is with backers' frustration. Drawlab clearly is incompetent but Artipia knows better and if their president can't figure out how to salvage the mess than I fear I have little confidence in their company as well. I hope that he has learned the valuable lessons this project had to offer and if he still wants to call it quits that that's his prerogative. I wish him better luck (and much less hate!) in his future endeavors.
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