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Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy» Forums » Crowdfunding

Subject: What is the responsibility of Kolossal on the Kickstarter? rss

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Robert
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There are many things that are still not clear to me on the Kickstarter, but others have done a good job asking for clarification, and Lautapelit and Kolossal have also done a good job explaining things. There is one thing that I have been wondering about that hasn't been conclusively asked/answered, afaik.

What exactly is the role of Kolossal during and after the campaign?

a. Is Kolossal "just" the marketing company?
and/or
b. Is Kolossal in charge of the entire Kickstarter, including fulfillment?
and/or
c. Is Kolossal in charge of production?
and/or
d. Is Kolossal the distributor of the English language edition in retail channels?

Kolossal has told us that their role is limited to "running the Kickstarter", that they just do the "marketing":
Kolossal wrote:
[...] I am not the developer, the publisher, the designer. Kolossal is the marketing arm for this campaign, offering the best guidance we can.
[...]
I am the marketing arm for the campaign, not the publisher of the final product.
[...]
Travis R. Chance

But on the Kickstarter Kolossal writes:
Kickstarter wrote:
Risks and challenges
While Eclipse is our sixth Kickstarter project from Kolossal Games, our team has years of experience with publishing games.
[...]
There are many steps in the process of manufacturing [...] a game [...] our team will adapt and no corners will be cut to course correct as needed.
[...]
Our greatest obstacle is simply the funding capital to manufacture such an ambitious product of the highest quality capable.
[...]

These statements seem to directly contradict. If you're not the publisher, then how does your track record as a publisher factor into mitigating risks and challenges. How does the marketing team adapt to course correct manufacturing?

It is important to realize that Kickstarter actually defines what the responsibilities of a project creator are, and it's more than just those of the marketing arm:
Kickstarter wrote:
When a project is successfully funded, the creator is responsible for completing the project and fulfilling each reward. Their fundamental obligation to backers is to finish all the work that was promised.
That doesn't just sound like the responsibilities of the marketing arm. That sounds like the responsibilities of the publisher (a combo of options a, b, and c above)

The problem is that these kind of arrangements are great when all is well, and who cares who does what as long as it gets done, right? But read up on what happens when a $500K Kickstarter does not go well:
letter from Dust Studios wrote:
Dear Babylon Kickstarter Backer,

We are heartbroken to send you this message: Battlefront refuses to pay the amount due for the so called “Wave 2” of the Babylon Kickstarter campaign and therefore Dust Studio cannot deliver the items to Battlefront for distribution.[...]"


I'm not implying there are any signs that this Kickstarter will go off the rails. In fact, I don't expect it too. I do think it is important to understand whom you're doing business with, and I am also just super curious, and I know Travis of Kolossal reads these forums and I hope he will share his knowledge with us.
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Fantastic questions, fantastic post.

RobertDD wrote:
There are many things that are still not clear to me on the Kickstarter, but others have done a good job asking for clarification, and Lautapelit and Kolossal have also done a good job explaining things. There is one thing that I have been wondering about that hasn't been conclusively asked/answered, afaik.

What exactly is the role of Kolossal during and after the campaign?

a. Is Kolossal "just" the marketing company?
and/or
b. Is Kolossal in charge of the entire Kickstarter, including fulfillment?
and/or
c. Is Kolossal in charge of production?
and/or
d. Is Kolossal the distributor of the English language edition in retail channels?

Kolossal has told us that their role is limited to "running the Kickstarter", that they just do the "marketing":
Kolossal wrote:
[...] I am not the developer, the publisher, the designer. Kolossal is the marketing arm for this campaign, offering the best guidance we can.
[...]
I am the marketing arm for the campaign, not the publisher of the final product.
[...]
Travis R. Chance

But on the Kickstarter Kolossal writes:
Kickstarter wrote:
Risks and challenges
While Eclipse is our sixth Kickstarter project from Kolossal Games, our team has years of experience with publishing games.
[...]
There are many steps in the process of manufacturing [...] a game [...] our team will adapt and no corners will be cut to course correct as needed.
[...]
Our greatest obstacle is simply the funding capital to manufacture such an ambitious product of the highest quality capable.
[...]

These statements seem to directly contradict. If you're not the publisher, then how does your track record as a publisher factor into mitigating risks and challenges. How does the marketing team adapt to course correct manufacturing?

It is important to realize that Kickstarter actually defines what the responsibilities of a project creator are, and it's more than just those of the marketing arm:
Kickstarter wrote:
When a project is successfully funded, the creator is responsible for completing the project and fulfilling each reward. Their fundamental obligation to backers is to finish all the work that was promised.
That doesn't just sound like the responsibilities of the marketing arm. That sounds like the responsibilities of the publisher (a combo of options a, b, and c above)

The problem is that these kind of arrangements are great when all is well, and who cares who does what as long as it gets done, right? But read up on what happens when a $500K Kickstarter does not go well:
letter from Dust Studios wrote:
Dear Babylon Kickstarter Backer,

We are heartbroken to send you this message: Battlefront refuses to pay the amount due for the so called “Wave 2” of the Babylon Kickstarter campaign and therefore Dust Studio cannot deliver the items to Battlefront for distribution.[...]"


I'm not implying there are any signs that this Kickstarter will go off the rails. In fact, I don't expect it too. I do think it is important to understand whom you're doing business with, and I am also just super curious, and I know Travis of Kolossal reads these forums and I hope he will share his knowledge with us.
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Patrick L
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RobertDD wrote:
Kolossal wrote:
[...] I am not the developer, the publisher, the designer. Kolossal is the marketing arm for this campaign, offering the best guidance we can.
[...]
I am the marketing arm for the campaign, not the publisher of the final product.
[...]
Travis R. Chance



When I read Travis's post, my understanding was He is the marketing arm for the campaign, not speaking for Kolossal as a whole, so Kolossal could still be whatever they got hired to be.
 
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Travis R. Chance
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Kolossal is managing the Kickstarter campaign and liaising on a few logistical aspects. We are not the publisher, not the manufacturer, or the fulfillment lead on this game whatsoever. Lautapelit.fi are the creators and make all decisions for Eclipse. We simply provide our team's expertise in running campaigns and providing insights into the process.
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Kolossal wrote:
Kolossal is managing the Kickstarter campaign and liaising on a few logistical aspects. We are not the publisher, not the manufacturer, or the fulfillment lead on this game whatsoever. Lautapelit.fi are the creators and make all decisions for Eclipse. We simply provide our team's expertise in running campaigns and providing insights into the process.


this is another great example of completely sidestepping and failing to answer an important question. the OP asked, if Kolossal is the creator of the kickstarter, as the kickstarter project page says very clearly "by Kolossal", is Kolossal responsible for delivering the product?

the answer above is taking zero responsibility with the actual delivery of the pledge.

kickstarter is not for "managers" of other people's projects. a kickstarter project is by a creator. the creator may employ managers to help manage the project. in this case, the creator is Kolossal. it does not matter that Kolossal did not actually design the game, as some publishers also kickstart projects and the ks project is run by the publisher, not the designer. Kolossal is, de facto, acting as a producer/publisher, so you should acknowledge as such and take responsibility for delivery the pledge.
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He literally said what Kolossal is doing. Managing the campaign page and marketing. They are not the fulfillment company, the publisher, or the designer. You either didn't read what he said or decided to not understand it.

He said outright what they do and do not cover.

I mean, he said...

Kolossal wrote:
We are not the publisher, not the manufacturer, or the fulfillment lead on this game whatsoever. Lautapelit.fi are the creators and make all decisions for Eclipse.

To which you replied

CardBear wrote:
In this case, the creator is Kolossal. It does not matter that Kolossal did not actually design the game [...] Kolossal is, de facto, acting as a producer/publisher.

I mean seriously; you WHAT mate?
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
He literally said what Kolossal is doing.


you're neglecting that the project is on ks, and Kolossal is the creator of the ks project. Hence, they are responsible for delivering the results of the ks. It seems they disagree, but those are the rules of kickstarter.

let me quote you the actual rules of ks, from their website:

"Kickstarter provides a funding platform for creative projects. When a creator posts a project on Kickstarter, they’re inviting other people to form a contract with them. Anyone who backs a project is accepting the creator’s offer, and forming that contract."

"When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers."

so tell me again, how Kolossal can be the creator of the ks, but not be subject to the rules of ks.

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Carl Enns
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I agree. The project is on Kickstarter therefore subject to the stipulations on Kickstarter. If Kolossal is saying something different that is suspicious to me
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Christopher Grace
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Why are we suddenly suspicious of whether they'll be able to deliver on the Kickstarter? Is it because Kolossal is invoking their "experience" in delivering on a campaign - where in actuality that's not something they're responsible for on this particular campaign? If so, do we have reason to believe Lautapelit cannot deliver? What exactly is the problem here? Genuinely curious so I know who to point my pitchfork at this time.

I think all parties involved have clearly demonstrated that they're not comfortable going outside of established plans so as not to risk exactly what the concern appears to be in this thread.
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krztoff wrote:
Why are we suddenly suspicious of whether they'll be able to deliver on the Kickstarter? Is it because Kolossal is invoking their "experience" in delivering on a campaign - where in actuality that's not something they're responsible for on this particular campaign? If so, do we have reason to believe Lautapelit cannot deliver? What exactly is the problem here? Genuinely curious so I know who to point my pitchfork at this time.

I think all parties involved have clearly demonstrated that they're not comfortable going outside of established plans so as not to risk exactly what the concern appears to be in this thread.


the problem is that Kolossal won't even acknowledge the legally binding rules they agreed upon as a creator of a kickstarter. do we want ks creators to not even be familiar with the basic rules of kickstarter? I personally don't. and I am not concerned they won't deliver, nor did I back, but it's quite important
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CardBear wrote:
krztoff wrote:
Why are we suddenly suspicious of whether they'll be able to deliver on the Kickstarter? Is it because Kolossal is invoking their "experience" in delivering on a campaign - where in actuality that's not something they're responsible for on this particular campaign? If so, do we have reason to believe Lautapelit cannot deliver? What exactly is the problem here? Genuinely curious so I know who to point my pitchfork at this time.

I think all parties involved have clearly demonstrated that they're not comfortable going outside of established plans so as not to risk exactly what the concern appears to be in this thread.


the problem is that Kolossal won't even acknowledge the legally binding rules they agreed upon as a creator of a kickstarter. do we want ks creators to not even be familiar with the basic rules of kickstarter? I personally don't. and I am not concerned they won't deliver, nor did I back, but it's quite important


Yeah. Ok dude. Figured it was something like that.
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"The new crowdfunding act does not cover rewards or donations based crowdfunding models. For example, the rewards-based model popularized by Kickstarter falls under consumer protection acts, whereas donations based crowdfunding is legal in Finland only with a special fundraising permit from the police."

https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2016/09/89795-finnish-crowd...
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Sascha Heib
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So it's Just a very dumb Setup. 'We are Just the marketing arm'... Is a very cheap Statement to get Out of the was of any arising Trouble...
 
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Johann Georg Strobl
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Even if they are state themself as only the 'marketing arm' - if you look on the Kickstarter itself there is nowhere stated that they are not in charge of production/fullfillment of the pledges.
To be honest, for people outside of BGG and only in KS the 'contract' is between Kolossal and Backers.

I don't believe there will be problems at all :-)

Nevertheless, the split of information and communication between KS and on BGG makes it hard to follow up. And according to KS rules, communication between the creator and backers have to be via KS - which they fullfill, even oftentimes there is only a link back to BGG for particular information.

 
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Wylaryzel wrote:
Even if they are state themself as only the 'marketing arm' - if you look on the Kickstarter itself there is nowhere stated that they are not in charge of production/fullfillment of the pledges.
To be honest, for people outside of BGG and only in KS the 'contract' is between Kolossal and Backers.


It is potentially a problem, of course. There is an extra link in the production chain, and each additional link is one additional failure point.

The money from the KS will almost certainly be transferred into Kolossal's bank account. What happens then? A couple hypotheses:

1) Kolossal keeps only its share of the proceedings (say, a %), and transfers the rest to Lautapelit. Then Latuapelit runs the KS, by keeping contact with and coordinating the work of Game Trayz, the artists, the author of the short novel, production in China, shipping, washing the miniatures, and so on. Lautapelit takes on all the business risk, and takes every decision.

2) Kolossal actually takes care of all the steps of the production, coordinating everyone involved, and paying what is at this point essentially royalties to Lautapelit and Touko.

The problem with (1) is that it would be in breach of KS rules, as far as I understand, since I believe Kolossal has to run the KS.

The problem with (2) is that the game was actually developed and designed by Lautapelit and Touko, who should in theory have the last word on every creative and production decision. But can Lautapelit actually take any decisions when the entrepreneurial risk is taken on by Kolossal? Can e.g. Lautapelit decide to spend more than anticipated on the production for this or that component, when this would actually mean that Kolossal gets a cut on the proceedings of the KS?

This does not even touch on some unlikely (but far from impossible) scenarios such as "What if Kolossal / Lautapelit goes bust" under hypothesis (1) vs. hypothesis (2)?
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Kolossal wrote:
Kolossal is managing the Kickstarter campaign and liaising on a few logistical aspects. We are not the publisher, not the manufacturer, or the fulfillment lead on this game whatsoever. Lautapelit.fi are the creators and make all decisions for Eclipse. We simply provide our team's expertise in running campaigns and providing insights into the process.
Well, Travis, I think I owe you an apology, because you actually have said this over and over again, so my statement that this question had not been answered wasn't really correct. However, this does go directly against what it is that is expected from a creator on Kickstarter, by Kickstarter's rules.

After I read your statement I have done some research, and it has become clear to me now why this construction exists. It is to get around Finish law that prevents Lautapelit to run their own Kickstarter campaign, as they are a Finish company.

I think what we need is a firm commitment from Lautapelit: "We, Lautapelit, ARE taking full responsibility for delivering your Kickstarter rewards, and we take full responsibility for anything that happens on the Eclipse Kickstarter campaign." While that still skirts the Kickstarter rules on what a project creator is, I would be OK with that.
 
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RobertDD wrote:
...After I read your statement I have done some research...

...Finish law that prevents Lautapelit to run their own Kickstarter campaign,..

Would you be so kind as to share some of the sources uncovered by your research?

I am, obviously (see my previous post here), very interested in this aspect of this very particular partnership for this KS Campaign.
 
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I don’t suspect any foul play from any parties, but this is really an interesting discussion. Kolossal’s response in this thread made me revisit the KS campaign page. None of the following really makes sense anymore. Why doesn’t the risks and challenges section mention Lautapelit at all if Kolossal is, for all intents and purposes, hands off once the project funds?

Kolossal wrote:
Risks and challenges

While Eclipse is our sixth Kickstarter project from Kolossal Games, our team has years of experience with publishing games. We have an impeccable track record of successfully delivering previous Kickstarter projects to thousands of supporters in a timely fashion--if not sooner. Our commitment to building a strong, supportive community around Kolossal Games will enable us to also deliver this project on time and with the highest quality possible.

That said, there are always complexities and considerations in a project of this scope that may cause delays. There are many steps in the process of manufacturing and fulfilling a game, many of which involve partnerships. Through careful and thorough planning, common mistakes can be avoided. However, possible delays can occur from circumstances beyond our immediate control. If such an issue is encountered, our team will adapt and no corners will be cut to course correct as needed.

Our greatest obstacle is simply the funding capital to manufacture such an ambitious product of the highest quality capable. Your contribution makes this a reality!
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BitsOWood wrote:
I don’t suspect any foul play from any parties, but this is really an interesting discussion. Kolossal’s response in this thread made me revisit the KS campaign page. None of the following really makes sense anymore. Why doesn’t the risks and challenges section mention Lautapelit at all if Kolossal is, for all intents and purposes, hands off once the project funds?

Kolossal wrote:
Risks and challenges

While Eclipse is our sixth Kickstarter project from Kolossal Games, our team has years of experience with publishing games. We have an impeccable track record of successfully delivering previous Kickstarter projects to thousands of supporters in a timely fashion--if not sooner. Our commitment to building a strong, supportive community around Kolossal Games will enable us to also deliver this project on time and with the highest quality possible.

That said, there are always complexities and considerations in a project of this scope that may cause delays. There are many steps in the process of manufacturing and fulfilling a game, many of which involve partnerships. Through careful and thorough planning, common mistakes can be avoided. However, possible delays can occur from circumstances beyond our immediate control. If such an issue is encountered, our team will adapt and no corners will be cut to course correct as needed.

Our greatest obstacle is simply the funding capital to manufacture such an ambitious product of the highest quality capable. Your contribution makes this a reality!


Everyone grab their tinfoil hats. But maybe the fans of the kickstarter who can't live without an upgrade pack will be calling the Finnish police...
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luisdlc wrote:
RobertDD wrote:
...After I read your statement I have done some research...

...Finish law that prevents Lautapelit to run their own Kickstarter campaign,..

Would you be so kind as to share some of the sources uncovered by your research?

I am, obviously (see my previous post here), very interested in this aspect of this very particular partnership for this KS Campaign.

Sorry, I didn’t keep track of the pages I visited. It was your own link above, and I googled “Kickstarter” and “Finland” and found some mentions of a Kickstarter campaign that was shut down by Finnish police. I also read some posts on bgg that hinted at Finnish law playing a role in the Eclipse Kickstarter. All of it together made me convinced that this construction between Lautapelit and Kolossal exists, at least in part, to avoid the complications of Finnish law.

It may not be exactly illegal to run a Kickstarter as a Finnish company, but it seems a legal nightmare to navigate, and Im sure Lautapelit did not want to run the chance of having their $500,000 Kickstarter shut down by authorities.
 
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I'm pretty sure the whole legality thing is on the record. I'm not the most thorough participant in these forums but it's definitely been mentioned before when discussing the lore of Ship Pack 2.
 
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RobertDD wrote:
luisdlc wrote:
RobertDD wrote:
...After I read your statement I have done some research...

...Finish law that prevents Lautapelit to run their own Kickstarter campaign,..

Would you be so kind as to share some of the sources uncovered by your research?

I am, obviously (see my previous post here), very interested in this aspect of this very particular partnership for this KS Campaign.

Sorry, I didn’t keep track of the pages I visited. It was your own link above, and I googled “Kickstarter” and “Finland” and found some mentions of a Kickstarter campaign that was shut down by Finnish police. I also read some posts on bgg that hinted at Finnish law playing a role in the Eclipse Kickstarter. All of it together made me convinced that this construction between Lautapelit and Kolossal exists, at least in part, to avoid the complications of Finnish law.

It may not be exactly illegal to run a Kickstarter as a Finnish company, but it seems a legal nightmare to navigate, and Im sure Lautapelit did not want to run the chance of having their $500,000 Kickstarter shut down by authorities.

Thank you for commenting, the one shut down by the police I didn't know about, I am going to look for that one. I think you are right, it seems there's a legal way to do it but very complicated and hard.
 
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This thread's existence kind of confuses me.

Sure, when someone does research to ferret out scammers and snakes, everyone benefits (e.g. see the Overturn: Rising Sands project and the controversy there! OMG!).

However, in this case, Laultapelit is the ORIGINAL publisher of the first edition of eclipse. They have also published this extensive catalogue:

Eclipse - 2nd Dawn for the Galaxy
Astro Drive (2018)
Silk Road (2018)
Hokkaido (2018)
Invasion - Free State (2018)
Bottle Imp (2017)
Byzanz (2017)
Gold Fever (2017)
Space Freaks (2017)
Honshu (2016)
Dungeon Rush (2016)
Dokmus (2016)
Flamme Rouge (2016)
Perfect Alibi (2015)
M.U.L.E. The Board Game (2015)
Nations - The Dice Game (2014)
Nations (2013)
Eclipse (2011)
Hornet (2010)
Dokmus: Return of Erefel (2017)
Eclipse: Shadow of the Rift (2015)
Eclipse: Ship Pack One (2013)
Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients (2012)
Eclipse: Black Hole (2015) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Nebula (2014) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Pulsar (2012) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Supernova (2011) (mini expansion)
Flamme Rouge: Peloton (2017)

Nations: Dynasties (2015)
Nations - The Dice Game: Unrest (2017)

So, there's almost NO chance they won't deliver. Like I said, I get why digging around can be of benefit to the whole community. But in this case, I think your sleuthing efforts might be wasted time(?)
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mrsuitcase wrote:
This thread's existence kind of confuses me.

Sure, when someone does research to ferret out scammers and snakes, everyone benefits (e.g. see the Overturn: Rising Sands project and the controversy there! OMG!).

[...]

So, there's almost NO chance they won't deliver. Like I said, I get why digging around can be of benefit to the whole community. But in this case, I think your sleuthing efforts might be wasted time(?)


No one is accusing anyone of scamming. Well no one is accusing anyone of anything really. There might be knowable and unknowable unknowns, however. I have listed a couple above, see here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/29587033#29587033

In addition, there's the potential legal complications associated with a breach of contract with KS (if indeed there is one). Payments frozen (e.g. by KS / PayPal)? Finnish fines for trying to work around the Finnish laws?

Or let's assume that there is some kind of gentleman's agreement between Kolossal and Lautapelit over the use of the funds from the KS. What if conflicts arise because of a lack of clarity about who has the last word on X Y Z?

The truth is we don't know. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about. Probably everything will go as planned. But there are always risk factors associated with crowdfunding, and this is a risk factor that is difficult to assess, given the limited amount of information we have at our disposal.
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mrsuitcase wrote:
This thread's existence kind of confuses me.

Sure, when someone does research to ferret out scammers and snakes, everyone benefits (e.g. see the Overturn: Rising Sands project and the controversy there! OMG!).

However, in this case, Laultapelit is the ORIGINAL publisher of the first edition of eclipse. They have also published this extensive catalogue:

Eclipse - 2nd Dawn for the Galaxy
Astro Drive (2018)
Silk Road (2018)
Hokkaido (2018)
Invasion - Free State (2018)
Bottle Imp (2017)
Byzanz (2017)
Gold Fever (2017)
Space Freaks (2017)
Honshu (2016)
Dungeon Rush (2016)
Dokmus (2016)
Flamme Rouge (2016)
Perfect Alibi (2015)
M.U.L.E. The Board Game (2015)
Nations - The Dice Game (2014)
Nations (2013)
Eclipse (2011)
Hornet (2010)
Dokmus: Return of Erefel (2017)
Eclipse: Shadow of the Rift (2015)
Eclipse: Ship Pack One (2013)
Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients (2012)
Eclipse: Black Hole (2015) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Nebula (2014) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Pulsar (2012) (mini expansion)
Eclipse: Supernova (2011) (mini expansion)
Flamme Rouge: Peloton (2017)

Nations: Dynasties (2015)
Nations - The Dice Game: Unrest (2017)

So, there's almost NO chance they won't deliver. Like I said, I get why digging around can be of benefit to the whole community. But in this case, I think your sleuthing efforts might be wasted time(?)
You do realize that Lautapelit does not run the Kickstarter, right?

Lautapelit does not get your money, and they do not owe you a game. Kolossal gets all your money, and they have said repeatedly that they have no intention of delivering a game to you. If you don’t see something wrong with that, at least on a conceptual level, then I don’t know what to tell you...

And to state again: I do not accuse anyone of ill intentions, or suspect foul play, or even think that it is at all likely for this to go wrong. Right now, I am backing at the highest level with all add-ons.
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