Robotech and Gen Con, let the violence begin
Most gamers who would care about the events that recently took place at Palladium Books and Kickstarter, already know about this but some gamers are still in the dark. So lets get some background. On may 20, 2013 the Robotech Kickstarter campaign concluded as a major success. The kickstarter raised over 1.4 million dollars while its goal was only $70k. I personally invested hundreds into this kickstarter. The kickstarter promised that the product would be shipped by December 2013. Going into the kickstarter I felt that the ship dates were very optimistic and so I was not upset by the delays that slowed down production. Throughout the process Palladium Books has given numerous updates and kept all of the backers in the loop. In addition they have responded quickly to backer questions and concerns. Overall, a kickstarter that is shipping about eight months late is so commonplace that I did not even notice until many of my friends began to complain about the current state of events. So I decided to sit down and actually read the updates. The most recent update is the one that is causing all of the consternation. So here is the text of Update #149:
First, let me state that all of us at Palladium Books appreciate our Robotech® RPG Tactics™ Kickstarter backers more than words can ever express. I meant it with all my heart when I wrote that, “we could not have done this product without YOU.” I meant it when I said, “ALL of us at Palladium Books, Ninja Division, Harmony Gold USA, and every Robotech® fan who enjoys this product owes you – our Kickstarter backers – a debt of gratitude, and that you should take a bow.”
I also meant it when I said I hope you stop by the Palladium booth at Gen Con so we can shake your hand and thank you personally for making this outstanding product possible.
We completely understand being frustrated and disappointed about the long time it has taken to make and release Robotech® RPG Tactics™. You want this product so bad you can taste it. You wanted it last year! You want it now!!
If we could have made and shipped Robotech® RPG Tactics™ last Fall as we originally intended, we most certainly would have done so. I have NEVER lied about anticipated release dates. We were working with the limited knowledge and information we had at each announcement. We honestly and completely believed the release dates ourselves. We spent money advertising them because we believed them. That was our intention.
Time and time again, there have been unavoidable delays we did not anticipate.
As I have stated repeatedly, the creation of a product line such as this is new to us. There has been a lot of new territory to navigate. The learning curve has been steep. As this was a highly publicized and successful Kickstarter, that means all 5,000+ of you have been dragged along with us on that turbulent journey.
You are feeling the agony of the delays, the waiting, the unexpected problems that, normally, only we quietly endure behind the scenes ourselves.
We know how frustrated and upset you feel about everything. We feel the same, many times over. There have been many moments when we have felt like tearing our hair out and screaming to the heavens. We all deal with it as best we can.
Some people say there is no way this should have taken so long. Perhaps they could have done all of this faster and without the bumps Palladium has encountered. I don’t know. What I do know is that Palladium Books and Ninja Division could NOT. That is the simple reality. You don’t have to like that answer. I sure don’t. You don’t have to believe it, either. But it is the truth. We have worked tirelessly and diligently to get Robotech® RPG Tactics™ manufactured as fast as we could. Robotech® RPG Tactics™ has been Palladium’s top priority. We have been doing our best and have learned a lot. Wave One is coming off the production line now and will start shipping soon.
Gen Con Indy
Gen Con Indy is on the horizon. It is the largest gaming convention for this hobby in the country. I announced we are planning to bring some Robotech® RPG Tactics™ product to sell. A few hundred of six items: the main box game, four of the expansion packs (Tomahawk/Defender Destroids, Regult Battlepods, Artillery Battlepods, and Glaug Command) and the rule book. That would mean a few hundred people will get these items before most of the 5,200+ Kickstarter backers, and around the same time as the first backers are receiving theirs in the mail.
That was a tough decision for me to make. Here is how and why I made it:
● We will begin shipping Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to Kickstarter backers before we leave for Gen Con Indy.
● We will have people continuing to prep, package and ship Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to Kickstarter backers while the rest of us are at Gen Con.
● Bringing or not bringing Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to sell at Gen Con will NOT make any difference to shipping to Kickstarter backers. If we were to leave that product at our warehouse instead of taking it to Gen Con, not one single Kickstarter backer would get his or her rewards any sooner.
● Shipping to our Kickstarter backers will take what we estimate to be 3-4 weeks, maybe longer. We are NOT Amazon.com. We can’t ship what we estimate will be 7,000-9,000 packages (those add-ons and exclusives add up) in a few days, even with the upgrades we are making to our shipping system.
● Palladium is NOT shipping to distributors or to retail stores until after all the Wave One Kickstarter backer rewards have left our warehouse.
● We are not selling any Kickstarter exclusives, just the basic items listed above. Only a few hundred people will be able to buy them, as quantities will be limited.
● We have been promising for months that we would have Robotech® RPG Tactics™ product to sell at Gen Con. People have made travel plans, hotel reservations, bought tickets to Gen Con, etc., counting on it being available at Gen Con. We thought we’d have plenty of time to ship to backers before Gen Con, but the product is coming months later than we thought it would. If we could push back Gen Con, we would, but obviously we can’t.
● Gen Con Indy is critical to a successful product launch in the Fall. Having a major game like Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to show, demo and sell is HUGE. It creates buzz, attracts media attention, and is vital to the upcoming big, full scale retail push this Fall. We NEED to do this for the good of the product line. And there is so much more we want to release: more mecha, aircraft and combat vehicles, additional eras of Robotech® and their mecha, and so much more. Isn’t this what we all want?
Though I feared making product available to even just a few hundred gamers at Gen Con, I believe the vast majority of you, our backers, will understand why this is a necessity and be okay with it.
Here’s why. The entire purpose of a Kickstarter is to help fund a product that you, yourself, would love to see made and brought to market. It’s about more than getting cool swag before anyone else. It is about funding something YOU want and believe in. To make a shared dream into reality. That’s why it’s called crowdfunding.
Together, we are making the game we have always wanted. And for other people than just ourselves to enjoy. Making and bringing Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to market is the whole point of the Kickstarter, and having it available at Gen Con is a critical part of that effort.
You, our Kickstarter backers, are still getting special rewards for your funding, including those same retail products at below retail prices, plus Kickstarter exclusives that nobody else will ever get, and add-ons that won’t hit retail stores for some time to come. We would only be letting a few hundred people buy (at full retail price) a few items at Gen Con.
I believe we are all working toward the same goal and that most of our Kickstarter backers understand how important Gen Con Indy really is. That our backers might not be thrilled we’re selling a small selection of Robotech® RPG Tactics™ items at Gen Con Indy – but would understand the importance of doing so, and be okay with that. After all, only a few hundred people will join the ELITE Kickstarter backers in getting the product before it hits store shelves. And none of them are getting the goodies and exclusives going to our backers.
Maybe I’m wrong. I’m very sorry if our Gen Con announcement upset, angered or made you feel unappreciated in any way.
You are important to us.
We do respect and appreciate you.
So we are asking for YOUR permission.
We humbly ask, may we please sell some Robotech® RPG Tactics™ at Gen Con Indy? It’s only a few hundred of six items: the main box game, four of the expansion packs (Tomahawk/Defender Destroids, Regult Battlepods, Artillery Battlepods, and Glaug Command) and the rule book.
Post your “Yes” or “No” in the comments on this Update by Monday, July 21st. Please try to restrict your comments on this Update to “yes” or “no” votes, so that we can count them more accurately. There are plenty of other places to discuss your opinions about this voting process, the lateness of the rewards, or anything else.
If the majority of you say “no,” we will NOT bring Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to Gen Con Indy, except for the purpose of display and demos.
I implore you to say “yes.” Please give us your permission. We believe it would be disastrous not to have the small selection of items I’ve listed available for sale. Not having them will hurt the launch of Robotech® RPG Tactics™ and Palladium Books.
Please make your voices heard. If you are totally opposed to us selling Robotech® RPG Tactics™ at Gen Con, tell us. Do NOT sit back and be silent. Spread the word that we want every backer to make their voices heard.
Anyone who does NOT respond by July 21st, we will consider to be a “yes.”
Some may say that it is not fair to count non-responses as “yes” votes. After all, it may well be that more than half of the 5,000+ Kickstarter backers won’t respond at all. But that would say something, too: That the majority of backers aren’t that worried or upset about this. If you are, please let us know. We need to know. All the more reason you need to spread the word and make sure every backer reads this Update and makes their opinion known.
But we sincerely want your clear permission, so if it is okay with you, please vote “yes.”
How to vote. Since this really only impacts the Robotech® RPG Tactics™ Kickstarter backers, only you get a say. That means we need YOU to reply via comments on this Update, where only you backers can post.
- Please vote once.
- Keep it simple. All you need to say is “Yes.” or “No.” If you have more to say, please put it after your “yes” or “no” vote, but please keep it to a minimum to make counting the votes easier.
- Robotech® RPG Tactics™ Kickstarter backers only.
DEADLINE: July 21, 2014. We need your response by July 21, 2014, so we can adjust our travel plans accordingly. If we’re not bringing Robotech® RPG Tactics™, we need a smaller truck, fewer people at the booth, fewer hotel rooms, some of our volunteers will need to cancel their travel plans, etc. PLEASE vote pronto. Thank you.
I don’t know what else to say. I am very sorry for the long delays despite our best efforts. I apologize for any anguish our plan to sell Robotech® RPG Tactics™ product at Gen Con may have caused you.
All we have ever wanted is to create a great Robotech® battle game and figures that Robotech fans like ourselves would love. I think you’ll find Robotech® RPG Tactics™ to be that product. It is an honor and a privilege to be in a position to bring you that game line. And we have plans for much more. Getting that great game into your hands has been a challenge. We are almost there. Please vote how you think is best. Thank so very much for your support.
With sincere appreciation,
Publisher and Fan Boy
That was a hard read. For one it was way too long and lost my attention early on but I forced myself to stay the course. I then delved into several hundred of the nearly 1900 comments. Here is a sampling of them:
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