Jim Jones
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Last July I backed a project on Kickstarter. It was for a cardgame called Kanzume Goddess which was being translated and produced by Japanime Games. I have still not received said card game, despite the Kickstarter having a target of September 2012. Here's a look at the timeline of this ongoing debacle.

During the Kickstarter "Estimated Delivery - September 2012"
On the 18/08 - Kickstarter ended successfully
On the 10/09 - "Delays, games will be shipped in early November"
On the 31/10 - "Oh actually we've no date as to when the game will be shipped
On the 18/12 - "You should be receiving your games at the beginning of February, as an apology we're adding two promo cards"
On the 26/11 - "Factory misprinted them, you should be getting it now in early 2013"
On the 05/02 "We plan to have everything shipped by March 6th"
On the 08/03 "Buttons have been delayed by Chinese customs, should be in by 20/03. We're shipping out 33% of orders that don’t have buttons (Oh yeah and were also shipping to retailers)" Japanime Games representative clarifies in the comments that the buttons should be in by 15/03

So at this point you could buy the game for ~$25 from sites like Cardhaus, Cardhaus in fact also have an option with the buttons and playmat

On the 14/03 Japanime game launch a new Kickstarter for Krossmaster Arena
On the 15/03 No update about the buttons
On the 20/03 No update about the buttons
On the 23/03, Some of the Kanzume Goddess pledgers comment over on the Krossmaster Arena KS about how there’s been no update (despite Krossmaster getting 7 updates between 15/03-22/03) "Coincidentally" we get an update on the Kanzume Goddess where the head of Japanime Games states that "Everything is here and in order" and "It’s going to take a week"
On the 26/03, "Should all be sent by 29/03"
On the 02/04, "Will all be sent by 05/04"
On the 08/04, "Will all be sent by 10/04"
On the 10/04 "They’re all sent bar a handful we need updated addresses for"
On the 18/04 "Well actually none of the pledges at the $40 level (~100) were sent at all. (The $40 was for the game and a set of buttons). "Oh and also we're out of buttons. So here's a playmat you didn’t want instead, they're TOTALLY shipped (via USPS) this time"

Well firstly the communication was terrible. It was barely once a month and there were stretches where for a month or two there were no meaningful updates. This may be fine if your project is running on schedule. When its months out you should be updating the backers regularly, not forcing them to "demonstrate" on your other projects pages to get a response. Now personally I never thought it would make the original September goal, so I wasn’t really annoyed when it slipped a month or two. When it slipped to 2013 I was a tad miffed, as it slipped again and again it became irritating and over the last month where we've been flat out lied to it got to the point where it was pretty irritating. But the latest update just pisses me off.

It's bad enough that the project was seven months late (it'll be around nine months late by the time most of those at the $40 level get it) when you shipped the initial batch, but then you make us wait a month and a half for the buttons which we don’t even get in the end?

What I was supposed to get out of this Kickstarter:

Kanzume Goddess
Button Set
Promo cards

Estimated Delivery Date: September 2012

What I got out of this Kickstarter:

Kanzume Goddess (with a misprinted can)
No button set
Promo cards which are printed in a different format from the other cards and worse quality because a different printer was used
Playmat - Which I didn’t pledge for, do not want and according to reports from those who have received them is folded in half in the shipping container creating an unerasable crease in it

Estimated Delivery Date: Sometime in early May assuming that there isn’t yet another update where we find out JAG have messed up again

I'm not sure if the icing on the cake is the wildly superior level of communication their new Kickstarter has (because obviously the have our money and couldn’t give less of a shit about it) or the fact that a month and a half ago I could have bought the game and THE BUTTONS from a third party retailer for less than the cost of the pledge?

I suppose in the interest of fairness I should point out that JAG has made some small attempt at restitution, they’ve offered a 25% discount voucher for their store, which is a) valid for only one month, b) doesn’t apply to shipping (and c) only brings their products down to the level 3rd party retailers sell them at anyway, though that’s not really their fault). They’ve also offered an unspecified reward for when they run a Kickstarter for Kanzume Goddesses expansion. And finally access to a VIP party at Gencon.

So to summarise, in order to make up for their mistakes they’ve offered me the option to a) spend money on their products, b) spend money backing one of their products, or c) go to a party at an event I'm not attending. Well, let me tell you sir, I can feel the love right now.

I back a fair amount of stuff on Kickstarter and this is by far the singular worst experience I've had with it.
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Magic Pink
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I can't really feel bad about someone not getting such a ridiculously objectifying game as Kanzume Goddess. If anything they did you a favour by not giving it to you.

But for the delay, no, every KS I've backed gets delayed. I'm fine with it. Things happen. It sucks and you're right to get miffed about it but it most likely isn't Japanime's fault.

The communication level actually seems pretty ok. Not great but an update a month is more then some of my backed projects do.

The complaint about the price at retail: no, sorry, you don't get to complain about that. You don't back stuff on KS to get the best deal. You back stuff to help it get released. If you DO want the best deal then by all means stay away from Kickstarter.

The button thing, tho. That is straight up bullshit. Everything's sent, everything's sent, whoops I guess almost nothing was and now we're out? They should have handed you cash back for that, no exceptions. It was nice I guess that they offered you some recompense but it absolutely was not what it should have been. That's horribly unprofessional. Hopefully, tho, they've learned something from the mistakes in that project.

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Jim Jones
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First, if I pay money to get a product I'm not being "done a favour" when I dont receive it, no matter the nature of the product.

Second, "Everyone does it" is no defence for not being able to accurately timetable when your product will be complete. Its also no defence against continually giving new ETA's which fail to be met.

Third, The communication level was pretty far from ok, it was an average of once a month not actually once a month, and out of those a number of them were meaningless "Heres some card art" stuff. Again, just because other people do it worse doesnt make it better

Fourth, I get to complain about whatever I wish. But the point of listing the retail options was the fact I could have bought it there EARLIER, the cheaper was just icing on the cake (because as you say retail will nearly always be cheaper than KS)

Lastly, to be honest they seem to be handling their new KS much better. Which is little consolation to those of us who got screwed on their "training" one. It's unfortunate, they put out products I like so I'd like to support them, but too often in this hobby we excuse publishers poor behaviour by continuing to buy their products.
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Derry Salewski
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They offered refunds during the (admittedly long, terrible, annoying if I cared about the game very much) campaign.

So like . . . I dunno. You could see what was happening.

It's annoying if they're selling it cheaper.

I just wanted the playmats. Mine came fine, btw.
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Jim Jones
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scifiantihero wrote:
They offered refunds during the (admittedly long, terrible, annoying if I cared about the game very much) campaign.

So like . . . I dunno. You could see what was happening.

It's annoying if they're selling it cheaper.

I just wanted the playmats. Mine came fine, btw.


Good to hear not all the playmats were packaged poorly
 
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Derry Salewski
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Uthred wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
They offered refunds during the (admittedly long, terrible, annoying if I cared about the game very much) campaign.

So like . . . I dunno. You could see what was happening.

It's annoying if they're selling it cheaper.

I just wanted the playmats. Mine came fine, btw.


Good to hear not all the playmats were packaged poorly


I'd be much more mad had mine been ruined!
 
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Kristoff Bergenholm
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Uthred wrote:


So at this point you could buy the game for ~$25 from sites like Cardhaus, Cardhaus in fact also have an option with the buttons and playmat



Mine was actually shipped in a Cardhaus box; were they handling distribution by chance?
 
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Derry Salewski
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Magentawolf wrote:
Uthred wrote:


So at this point you could buy the game for ~$25 from sites like Cardhaus, Cardhaus in fact also have an option with the buttons and playmat



Mine was actually shipped in a Cardhaus box; were they handling distribution by chance?


Pretty sure the companies are very closely related.
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Daniel Chen
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They used to share office space and employees.

Also, according to the e-mail I just received, they didn't run out, the buttons just "can't be found"(oh great).

I've been a defender of Cardhaus, Coffeehaus, Japanime over the years. I used to have pretty good rapport with a couple of their employees. I'm done.


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Daniel Chen
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Now I'm going to call shenanigans. They send out this update e-mail that they realized it wasn't sent out late last night or this morning.

However, the game was waiting on my doorstep when I got home. There's no way they same-day'd it from Washington to Wisconsin.

Something's not right - either really bad incompetence or straight out deception in the communication.
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Nick Meenachan
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Magic Pink wrote:
I can't really feel bad about someone not getting such a ridiculously objectifying game as Kanzume Goddess. If anything they did you a favour by not giving it to you.


But...you participated in the contest to win a copy of Kingdom Death. Which I would argue takes objectifying women (and men) and cranks it to 11. Were you going to burn the game in effigy if you won?

Of course, I backed Kingdom Death and pre-ordered Kanzume Goddess, so I'm perfectly okay with the art. I pick my battles; I want people in real life to not have to put up with objectification (unless they like it) or any other kind of abuse. In fiction? I'm secure enough in how I treat people in real life that I'm not going to be swayed into thinking men and women are just meat for sexual gratification because a game has suggestive artwork.

EDIT: I don't feel so strongly about this that I want to get into a big war over it, especially since I know there are people who are very sensitive - with good reason - about these things. I just don't like when people are judged because of the fictional games/books/anime/manga/etc. that they play.
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Kelly Overholser
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Well, might as well toss in my 2 cents here...

First off, while I understand and agree with the people refusing to back another JAG project (at least until they prove they can handle it right), I'm going to disagree with those refusing to buy any of their merchandise period because of this. Yes, they screwed up bad, and for that they deserve a lot of flak, but they are bringing games over to the US (and other countries) that stand a slim chance of seeing a version over here otherwise, and - if you like the games themselves - that deserves some recognition, at least. Blame them for bad customer service with kickstarter preorders, but once the game hits retail, I suggest focusing on how good the game itself is, rather than the company's business practices.

Now that that's out of the way, time to fling some mud at them...

I admit, I bought the game on a whim while at GenCon (using my phone to order it on Kickstarter), and never looked at the estimated date. So the constant delays didn't bother me at all. Neither did the eventual lower pricing on the online stores; I know that anything I buy off Kickstarter is going to be normal retail and that online retailers sell at a significantly lower markup, but I try to buy all my games from my FLGS at normal retail anyway.

However, the lack of communication has been a severe problem. Even if the delay didn't affect me, it was still a 6-month delay for a game with a 3-month prediction; that's horrible planning no matter how you look at it. What makes it worse, however, is that we got hardly any information on why the game was being held up; only a few snippets of news here and there. Things did improve on the communication front after Erica joined, but not quite enough it seems.

Just before the game came out is where I lost most of my acceptance, however. First, the buttons being held up by customs. I won't blame them for that at all; it's very hard to predict what will and won't get stopped by customs. However, what I can't forgive is them selling the game to distributors before they were able to send out the majority of packages. There is no excuse for them to sell the game to people who didn't back it before sending it to people who did.

Then, constant delays in the estimated time the shipments would be sent out. Again, JAG failed here pretty bad, because at this point it should be easy to get a good estimate of when things will be done.

And finally, the big thing... telling us that everything's been shipped when there's still over a hundred incomplete orders. This, I can think of no excuse for. There is no reason to announce all the shipments being finished when there's so many left incomplete.

Now, on to the missing buttons. This, I'm going to hold off until they clarify what's going on, as it sounds like they might be giving playmats instead of buttons, or they might be giving playmats now and buttons later. If it's the latter, I'm going to say good job, despite the problems they took initiative to send out the incomplete package with a fairly decent apology item (the playmat). If they plan on having the playmat replace the buttons however, that's... well, I'll say it's bad, but I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say it's understandable too. See, when the buttons are missing, they could have asked everyone if they wanted a playmat instead, if they wanted a $5 refund and the game with no buttons, or a full refund. However, the game's already been massively delayed at this point, and sending out a mass email and waiting for a reply would only make the delay even longer, so I understand that they'd want to send out the game with apology item as soon as possible, and let people send it back if they're unsatisfied, since that gets it into people's hands much faster. Unfortunate, yes, but given the options they had, I think it's the best course of action.

Now, after all of that, I think I"m going to say I won't be backing another JAG kickstarter until they can show they've learned and improved from this. Luckily, Kromaster is the next game they're working on, and it's one that I have no interest in, so I'm not missing anything by passively observing how it goes. If it goes well, I might be willing to back something else that I do want. If not, then I'm perfectly fine waiting for the next game to come to my local store before picking it up.
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Sethala wrote:

Just before the game came out is where I lost most of my acceptance, however.


That's where I started getting mad as well. The delays (or mismanagement at a feasible release date) were slightly depressing as half a year is a long time to be off by, but I took it in stride knowing that'd I'd get my game eventually. Even sending the game to 1/3 of the backers instead of doing a split shipment I can understand, personally at this long of a delay I'd say the company should take the monetary hit and split ship, but oh well. But you're right, having the game be out for over a month before a good number of people who paid to make the game is insane.

I believe in one of the updates, Eric or Erica said this was a big mistake, yet why they didn't try to rectify this by recalling the retail shipments or stop selling the game on their website. Their response was to offer the 3 "fun things", which practically are useless; other than the unknown bonus for backing the KG expansion. I still claim that it should be given to the KG backers for free after this fiasco (as it is the only worthwhile thing I can think of that will apply to every single backer), but I know that it's financially unrealistic.

Also don't forget that it took them 8 days to realize that ~100 orders hadn't shipped yet and I bet the only reason they realized at all is because backers started complaining. I still haven't received my game, and I wasn't in the group that they said were not shipped yet.

Another comment on the buttons, a couple of the backers said that they saw them on sale online at some retailers, though when I checked I only said the "deluxe edition" as sold out. If they were being sold though, how could there have been a ~100 deficit. You'd think backers would get priority (which we know isn't the case for the base game) and you think an item like that would be great to hand out at cons or the like so you'd want to have a couple of dozen spares. *Sigh*

While I don't Erica to be on every moment of the day trying to appease us, I do expect if she's the only one handling this project to check once every day or two, especially after announcing another bomb. Also, we want clarification as to the playmat "upgrade." And some have been waiting for a response from her email for over a week now.

But I do need to disagree about something. For example, if the basic playmat went out of stock and people got a "free upgrade" to the KS exclusive one instead without being asked. I'd say that's pretty annoying but still somewhat understandable. But to use a different object as a replacement doesn't make sense to me. Since its such a different item to some it's a downgrade, and to have to deal with the hassle of return shipping for a refund is rather annoying. I'd rather be asked, even if it took longer. At this point 2-3 extra days due to me being asked what I would like to be done instead of being told what being done to me is one less headache I'd rather have. Again, personal opinion if this is just to tide people over, then that's fine. If its a replacement that's bull. They should finally step up to their responsibility, order more buttons, and just split ship to those that need it.
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Kelly Overholser
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FALCN120 wrote:
But I do need to disagree about something. For example, if the basic playmat went out of stock and people got a "free upgrade" to the KS exclusive one instead without being asked. I'd say that's pretty annoying but still somewhat understandable. But to use a different object as a replacement doesn't make sense to me. Since its such a different item to some it's a downgrade, and to have to deal with the hassle of return shipping for a refund is rather annoying. I'd rather be asked, even if it took longer. At this point 2-3 extra days due to me being asked what I would like to be done instead of being told what being done to me is one less headache I'd rather have. Again, personal opinion if this is just to tide people over, then that's fine. If its a replacement that's bull. They should finally step up to their responsibility, order more buttons, and just split ship to those that need it.


I'm calling it an "upgrade" because it's a significant cost difference ($20 for the playmat vs $5 for the buttons), but you're right.

Although I'd like to pose a question to you. Suppose you're in the same situation; you have a large number of pledges that are already significantly late, and you need to send them out and try to appease everyone, what would you do with those circumstances?
 
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Daniel Chen
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Sethala wrote:
what would you do with those circumstances?


Refund the difference or the entire backing money. With some honesty and humility. Not shifting the blame on former employees or the "warehouse".

It's like a shell game - Japanime, Cardhaus, Coffeehaus, Warehouse, werehaus - it's easy to blame it on another "company" when in actuality it's the same owner, same core employees.
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Sethala wrote:
Although I'd like to pose a question to you. Suppose you're in the same situation; you have a large number of pledges that are already significantly late, and you need to send them out and try to appease everyone, what would you do with those circumstances?


I'm not considering it an upgrade for two reasons, 1) some people already ordered the playmat, now they're getting two. 2) others don't want a (creased) playmat and instead really wanted the buttons.

Well as I said, I'd ask the customers what they wanted, try to figure out how ~100 buttons went missing, and see if it was possible to get more. Heck, it's been almost a week since we've heard any sort of information. Based on what they said my goods should have shipped two weeks ago, as I'm not in the $40 level, but still nothing. And it's been 6 days since I sent an email asking for tracking information without response. We know nothing, and the vocal minority keeps asking for information but receive nothing.
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Wesley Steeves
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Yeah, this was, by far, the worst kickstarter experience of which I've been a part and I will not work with this company on any crowd funding project again unless they show some serious reforms.

I'm honestly quite accepting of delays (I'm a backer of Ogre Deluxe). This project had very unrealistic goals for the release of the game, and it was obvious to most people who backed it. The major issues (as outlined earlier) were communication (or lack of it), apparent deceit, retail getting access to the game AND the bonuses before kickstarter orders were fullfilled, and the wonderful "upgrade" where they just sent out a playmat instead of the buttons without consulting the backers. (Yes, I'd have rathered more delays than have them substitute something I ordered with something of their choosing.)

There was little to no communication for a very long time, the backers were left hanging, and this was even after we had found out retail had access to the game. Even beyond that point, while communication had improved, we'd be left with with an update that raised even more questions and no one really answering them for a week at a time. Each update was eventually superseded by the next saying "whoops, that really didn't happen, we still haven't shipped things".

The "upgrade" was actually a substitution. How much the company sells the mats for is entirely irrelevant if you have absolutely no use for it (Yes, I'm aware you could argue extreme differences here, but that's not the case). Erica hasn't outright stated the buttons won't come, but it was very much implied that they are in the wind and won't be shipped to the backers. I suspect they'll tack them onto the next kickstarter for the expansion - it's one of their big "we're sorry" ideas. "Here, we screwed up, but if you give us more money, we'll throw in something else at discount just for you!" Thanks, but no thanks.

Most everything was summed up nicely in the OP, so I won't rant any longer. I did return my package unopened though, I don't care what was inside, this company has very poor business practices and doesn't deserve my money.

Just beware of this company for crowd funding projects, if you have to get one of their games, do as Kelly suggests and just get it from your FLGS.
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Clwe
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Magic Pink wrote:
I can't really feel bad about someone not getting such a ridiculously objectifying game as Kanzume Goddess. If anything they did you a favour by not giving it to you.

But for the delay, no, every KS I've backed gets delayed. I'm fine with it. Things happen. It sucks and you're right to get miffed about it but it most likely isn't Japanime's fault.



For a moment I thought you were talking to a crack addict there with that first paragraph -_-

Anyway, I can't comment on this particular one (didn't back it), but I've backed quite a lot of other games on kickstarter in the past, and some do arrive on time. The Puzzle Strike expansion/3rd edition came within the month estimated...and backers were informed when the games were shipped out, too (you'd be amazed at how many don't do this). There was also Shattered Timelines (A Sentinels of the Multiverse expansion), which came a whole two months early. Very impressive!

These are more exceptions than the norm, though. I've typically had to wait for a month (or two) beyond the estimated period, for delays in production or similar. Japanime games is clearly taking liberties with this KS though, regardless of how much bad luck they might have had at their end. an 8 month delay is never acceptable.
 
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Clwe wrote:
[q="Magic Pink"] Japanime games is clearly taking liberties with this KS though, regardless of how much bad luck they might have had at their end. an 8 month delay is never acceptable.


While the delay was annoying, it wasn't the main thing to cause so much anger. I don't think we'd all be so angry if it was just delayed. The kicker was non-kickstarter backers receiving the game before 2/3 of the backers (~March 8th). And on top of that all of the (for lack of a better term) lying, that took place regarding the shipping of the rest of the orders. Some backers still don't have their games when they should have had them since April 10th.

Heck, a retailer posted a couple of days ago saying that they wanted a return because they still hadn't received the game to sell, despite their competitors selling the game for almost two months already. Plus the fiasco where they messed up by losing 150+ of their promo button sets, which was the reason that we had to wait extra time. (We still haven't received a confirmation on if those backers will ever get their button set or not, and that's been known for almost a month now).
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I did not received the game and they doon't answer me via email or kickstarter. I just want a refund of my pledge and forget this company exists.
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