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Fantasy Fantasy Baseball» Forums » General

Subject: One of the bigger Kickstarter debacles... rss

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Sequella Deville
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There have been stories of crooks, thieves, frauds and fibbers about Kickstarter. That wasn't this Kickstarter.

However, this Kickstarter has to be one of the more inept sagas of communication buffoonery (and sadly, a little deceit thrown in) that I've encountered thus far.

Here's a pretty accurate example of the saga, in a succinct format, from a backer:

"1. Kickstarter Campaign, game ships May 2016.

2. July 3rd, first update admitting that game is late. Just a few delays, so until that point we all expected the game in May. It's already past June.

2a. July 31st. Update says literally "copies have begun to ship". Oh joy!

3. August 26th, almost a month after last update, admitting games haven't really shipped out yet. Redefined "shipping" to mean "not shipping to customers" somehow.

4. November 8th, 6 months later, expect to see shipping information coming. Your update promises such. Nope.

5. December 23rd Final units are shipping out.

6. January 15th told folks to contact them if copy hasn't arrived. Some got responses, others got nothing.

7. February 7th, another promise that copy is going out this week.

8. February 24th, the copy is processed and should be going out this week."

Shortly after the above, it was revealed that "some copies slipped through the cracks". Which meant... nobody really knows.

That said, spurious reports of copies received have been arriving. In the meantime, review copies have been received and reviews made. Further posts have been made by the team touting their next game, while post after post asks where their copy is. International, US, Canada... doesn't seem to have a consistent pattern.

They've since moved to a different crowd funding platform for their next project, while still leaving scores of backers hanging and not communicating with them.

Definitely promises were made, and not kept. That's pretty much a 'lie' still in my book. The blame was on various things at various times (Amazon, for instance).

My gut says these guys really wanted to create something, went in without enough planning and forethought, got stung by choices and circumstances, and then went into turtle mode to avoid dealing with the painful reality. Doesn't justify it, but it does hopefully at least explain it.

Nothing justifies the hundreds and hundreds of stranded "what's the status" and "where's my copy?" threads left hanging by the designers refusing to communicate. Even worse, in the middle of these requests for insight, an occasional game rules question would be posed, and answered almost simultaneously, proving that the designers weren't absent from the forums, but in fact were intentionally not answering people.

In the end, my copy arrived. Was it a decent game? Yeah, it was pretty good. Not even close to "worth the pain" level fun, but not a dud either.

There are worse Kickstarter stories, but this should be a lesson for folks who want to consider backing more titles from this team on the crowd funding sites that they ran off to while leaving Kickstarter folks in a half state.

I'm very happy with Kickstarter in general. I've backed 20 projects, and have only had one bad experience (and admittedly, a copy did finally arrive, so the experience, not the game, was bad). It's always a risk, and I wasn't going to sweat too much the loss if I never received Fantasy Fantasy Baseball. Definitely be aware that the designers don't seem to have learned or applied lessons from this, though.


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Josh Cappel
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Just a point to consider: In this case, (but not in all cases) the designers and publisher are separate entities. The game designers have literally zero to do with fulfillment, shipping and logistics-related customer service. They can't speak for the publisher nor answer for the publisher's responsibilities.
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Steve M
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Outside Lime wrote:
Just a point to consider: In this case, (but not in all cases) the designers and publisher are separate entities. The game designers have literally zero to do with fulfillment, shipping and logistics-related customer service. They can't speak for the publisher nor answer for the publisher's responsibilities.


All of that is logically fair comment Josh and I couldn't argue otherwise. But I have to say that, if I had my name attached to something, I'd sure as hell be doing all I could to ensure it was a positive experience for those that ordered/invested/played my game or used my components or admired my artwork. Heck, I do that most days in my career, taking an interest outside of 'just my remit' and look at the bigger project or associated elements - it comes down to professional pride, surely?

Yeah, it's largely out of their control and unfair for them to be linked in this way - but until I see or hear about them making some effort to sort things out or put pressure on.... they're gonna be tarred with the same brush I'm afraid. And I'd be amazed to hear a counter argument to that logic, especially in today's more professional industry.

Hope this is resolved soon for all concerned. I still really, really want to get and love this game.

 
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Judgement Dave
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I notice that the Fantasy Fantasy Football page is now up - so, as much as I usually loathe people warning against companies, I've just posted about the FFB experience on the FFF forums: Will this game ever arrive?

Let me know if you spot any errors - though hopefully it should be fine as I just spent ages going through the updates/messages to double check.

EDIT: Got the thread link wrong
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Daryl Andrews
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As one of the two designers of Fantasy Fantasy Baseball, I would like to stick up for my name. I had ZERO influence on the production and logistics of the game. Actually, I know very few freelance designers who influence production and logistics. Furthermore, I know most designers sign contracts that include clauses like we cannot speak on behalf of the publisher and it is the publisher who is responsible for all PR and communications.

Was I disappointed, confused, and frustrated during the wait? Yes. Imagine you were the designer of the game - you want the game to deliver smoothly even more then any one customer. I contacted the publisher on a weekly basis trying to add pressure and support any way I could. I put way more hours into this game then any other project I have been associated with. Just because I did that in private doesnt mean I should be attacked.

Sadly, I think expectations and communication was poor on the Baseball Campaign. I wish in hindsight the game was promised to take 12-24 months. The Crowdfunding campaign was a learning experience for CSE Games. They delivered a good product but sadly it took them 14 months because of many different factors.

Crowdfunding ended Dec 2015
(14 months)
Game delivered Feb 2017

The campaign promised 2 more games in the series. Why would CSE Games not start advertising and getting the next campaign ready? They waited before running another crowd funding campaign. Now FFB game has delivered, it is time for CSE Games to get the next game FFF ready. They are a very small publisher and need crowdfunding help to make their games.
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Judgement Dave
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Oh it's okay Daryl - I've never thought it was your fault and I hope I've never put anything that suggests I think you and JR have designed anything other than a great game.

Certainly from my side I've worked on creative projects enough to know that they're really the designers/creators non-biological offspring and it's far more frustrating than anyone who has never done it would believe to see the publishing/PR midwife make such a hash of things! We all want our babies to succeed.

beloveserve wrote:
They delivered a good product but sadly it took them 14 months because of many different factors.

Crowdfunding ended Dec 2015
(14 months)
Game delivered Feb 2017

The campaign promised 2 more games in the series. Why would CSE Games not start advertising and getting the next campaign ready? They waited before running another crowd funding campaign. Now FFB game has delivered, it is time for CSE Games to get the next game FFF ready. They are a very small publisher and need crowdfunding help to make their games.

But you may misunderstand. CSE has not delivered to several backers and appears incommunicado.

As I said to them on the 15th March (by KS message) from BGG threads and KS comments it appears very possible that no backers outside North America have received the game. And, yes, there are backers in the US/Canada still waiting.

Delays and mishaps happen in any business - it's how they're handled that counts. The mix of very poor communication (from CSE) and not delivering are really bad.

Actually, scratch that - the poor communication makes it inexcusable. It only takes a few minutes to post a message/update saying what's happening, or even just a 'we know there are still issues for some people, let us know if you're one of them and we'll get back to you in the next week'.

But even when we message them, put comments on their FaceBook site and comments in the FFB KS, we hear nothing back from them. That's truly terrible customer service (from CSE).
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Daryl Andrews
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At this time I am under the impression all KS backers (clarification - preorders after the KS are I believe still in process) have their copies of FFB in possession or in the mail with tracking. If anyone is still waiting please private message me and I would be happy to look into your claim.

On behalf of the designers of Fantasy Fantasy baseball, JR & I are very sorry for the frustration from major lack of communication and significant delays. Im thankful CSE Games has decided to learn from this and their commitment to do better in the future. Im also very excited to announce Fantasy Fantasy Football will be coming to Kickstarter Soon. We tried to launch on IGG, & give a different platform a chance. It did not work out for us. We wish anyone who uses IGG the best of luck. But we are returning to Kickstarter. We hope the game will fund on Kickstarter. Jr & I are very excited about the design of #FantasyFantasyFootball
 
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Judgement Dave
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Since I've been critical of my experience, I'll reply:

beloveserve wrote:
At this time I am under the impression all KS backers (clarification - preorders after the KS are I believe still in process) have their copies of FFB in possession or in the mail with tracking. If anyone is still waiting please private message me and I would be happy to look into your claim.

I do know that mine is currently in transit, with tracking, and left Detroit last night.

Quote:

On behalf of the designers of Fantasy Fantasy baseball, JR & I are very sorry for the frustration from major lack of communication and significant delays. Im thankful CSE Games has decided to learn from this and their commitment to do better in the future.

I fully believe all of this. I've had some communication with Daryl and the folks at CSE and I'm optimistic that future campaigns from CSE will be run better. Problems/setbacks may still happen with any project, but I believe the communication will be better & I think it's highly possible that tracking will be used (at least internationally).

Quote:
Im also very excited to announce Fantasy Fantasy Football will be coming to Kickstarter Soon. We tried to launch on IGG, & give a different platform a chance. It did not work out for us. We wish anyone who uses IGG the best of luck. But we are returning to Kickstarter. We hope the game will fund on Kickstarter. Jr & I are very excited about the design of #FantasyFantasyFootball

While it's usually a good idea to have competition in any sector, such as crowdfunding sites, AFAIK KS really is the main one for English-language games.
Even good propositions/games with unknown/unpublicised kick-starters can do okay as the mass of games on KS attracts people looking for games - who can stumble onto little-known games through the categories/friends/staff picks etc
I occasionally look at games on IGG, but it always appears a much smaller selection of games, so I don't go there regularly. I'm not saying that most people are like me in this respect, but I dare say I'm not alone in this.
 
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Steve M
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FYI - my copy has arrived here in the UK safe and sound. And, sadly, with a few quid extra for an unforeseen customs charge. But hey - it's here and it looks just a good as I'd hoped to be honest.

Will give it a bash over the long weekend. Hope everyone else gets their copies soon after all this time too.
 
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