It’s Not Really My Place, But…

Can I just have a quiet word about the arrival of your DreadBall sets? Good. Don’t tell Ronnie.

Mantic has been coming in for a lot of flak over the way this is being delivered, and it’s not fair to them at all.Β I was talking to Ronnie yesterday about this, and he’s more concerned with just getting the stuff out to the you guys than giving excuses. However, what you don’t know, because he’s not telling you, is that there are a number of suppliers who have let Mantic down badly with DreadBall, and any fault for a less than smooth release lies firmly with them. I won’t bore you with details, but suffice to say that the Mantic crew have been working like demons to get DreadBall to you this side of Christmas, and have had to deal with the fallout of a series of broken promises and failed deliveries from apparently reputable suppliers. Each time they have resourced and reorganised new supplies so that they can deliver to you on time – and they’re doing so! Estimated delivery on the Kickstarter page is December, and next week – the first week in December – they’re starting to ship them out.

All the issues with sequencing copies to trade and pledgers is down to the failures to supply the product as ordered. DB was supposed to arrive packed and shrinkwrapped, and instead Mantic has had to disrupt an already full-to-bursting factory with thousands of sets of components and then pack and store them all.

Not only that, but they’ve been posting frequent (sometimes daily) updates about the current status. I know that I know more of what’s going on behind the scenes than you guys, and I’ve been biting my tongue about it, but enough is enough. Mantic has had to put up with ridiculous and unprofessional idiocy Β from parts of their supply chain and they’re delivering on time despite that. Let’s cut them a little slack here.

To put this into perspective, my Sedition Wars pledge (yes I did) says that I should expect delivery in November. Well, it’s the last day of November and apparently it won’t arrive until January 😦

Mantic’s dealt with the same problems and they’re mailing out daily updates and delivering the game on time, when they said they would. Actually, they’re delivering the January Kickstart pledges ahead of time, before Christmas (instead of making more cash by selling the games to trade) because that’s the right thing to do. Pledgers will get the December and January MVPs weeks if not months before they are in the stores.

Given the circumstances it’s hard to see what more Mantic could have done.

I know you’re all just super-keen to play with your new toys. Me too. I’ve not got a proper copy yet either. But soon, my precious, very soon…

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44 Responses to It’s Not Really My Place, But…

  1. James says:

    well said that man

  2. Steve Black says:

    Given the circumstances, Mantic have excelled, as they have all the way through the KS. There’s 3 of us here in the office looking forward to getting our copies in the next fortnight, and getting a mini league going. Great work Mantic and well said Jake!

  3. Jake, while I appreciate the effort Mantic have had to put in to get the product out before Christmas, and I applaud and have supported their decision to move the January pledges forward… I am sorry but seeing the game in stores over a week before the shipping of KS pledges and in some cases maybe more is a complete facepalm moment, and a bit of a slap in the face to those who backed the game. Not everyone is going to be annoyed by it, and those who are will be annoyed to various levels. But, Mantic shipping ‘pre-release’ product or whatever they want to call it, is preferential treatment for some stores and some customers, ahead of the 2539 or whatever backers there were who backed and supported the product, many of them on blind faith. I applaud the good, but I’ll also point out the bad. Seriously walking into a store over a week before my copy even ships and seeing it sitting on shelves is a kick in the balls mate.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Yes this shouldn’t have happened and I do understand being frustrated with it. But also, yes this would not have happened if Mantic had not been forced to completely reinvent the whole process they were planning on because their suppliers failed.

      The Kickstarter pledgers are getting a load more stuff in their boxes than the tiny number of vanilla sets that have gone out to a few stores at events which were booked in advance. The wait for these extra MVPs and whatnot has been the reason for their slight delay, otherwise they would have gone out already. Can’t pack what your suppliers don’t send you.

      • John Austin says:

        But this hasn’t happened. Toys are only starting to arrive at retailers today as far as I’m aware. Our Kickstarters are in hot pursuit. There are no toys in the wild as of 10 oclock this morning. Lots of fearmongering and flapping about rumour and hearsay.

        • Sorry John but you are wrong. There was a shop on Mantics own Facebook page last week telling people to pop in and pick their copy of DreadBall up… and I saw them. They had them on the shelves.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          The huge ziggurat of DB boxes for retail in Mantic’s warehouse suggests that there can’t be that many copies actually out there. Some, sure, but not all that many. I know that there are also some online sellers who are advertising boxes which haven’t actually reached them yet. But that’s nothing new. Of course, the market leaders in this field are Amazon who are happy to offer pre-orders on books that aren’t even written…

  4. Goes to show you can please some of the people some of the time, etc.

    There were complaints that the Kickstarter programme was draining much-needed revenue from local stores that would normally be expected to reap the benefits from a big new product like Dreadball which was, instead, marketed directly to its most likely customers through KS (I emphasize: there were complaints; not from me).

    Now the same local stores are getting copies to help them reach those who may have missed the KS for whatever reason and are enjoyed the benefits of increased footfall from those keen to get hands-on with the game before their copy arrives and Mantic is again a bad guy.

    FWIW, I think you should keep schtum on the issue, Jake. Not because you’re not right, but because if a product generates a noticeable quantity of objections (not as a result of quality, price or content, mind) then it must be generating an even more substantial volume of interest. There is, after all, no such thing as bad publicity*. But it doesn’t help to stoke the fires of indignation with justifications (however correct or well-intentioned).

    Interesting (and unrelated) there is now going to be a Relics fantasy football game called Hardbal (sic). Will we see a rash of bandwagon products following Dreadball? Will the designers be explaining why their product isn’t Dreadball, just as you felt pressed to explain why yours wasn’t Bloodbowl?

    Curiouser and curiouser…

    *This is not true.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Keep schtumm? Probably should have. But I’m fighting injustice*
      πŸ˜‰

      I’ve not heard of Hardbal, though I’ll admit to paying rather less attention to the gaming news than usual of late. Relics never really appealed to me either, which could be why I haven’t seen it, though that’s purely from a personal aesthetic POV and judging from photos not the real models. Unusual, but not really my cup of tea. Maybe I’d like them more in person.

      If there’s a rash of new games in DreadBall’s wake then I for one will be happy to see them. Always keen to see new games.

      Oh, and if they’re fantasy football games then they’ll have to explain why they’re not Blood Bowl. DreadBall isn’t anything to do with football, fantasy or otherwise πŸ˜‰

      * Got my underpants on outside my trousers, a bedsheet for a cape and everything

  5. Ludo says:

    I think we have to keep things in perspective: that “lot of flak” is in reality only a (very vocal) minority of KS backers on a few sites. First I read about this was on Frontline Gamer’s blog and then on the Meeples blog. Backed in both cases by only a handful of people.
    On the Dreadball Fanatics FB group there were alse a few guys (most likely the same ones as on the blogs) complaining. And I just came back from the KS page where there were one or two complaints.
    Everywhere else I looked: nothing! Warseer, Dakka Dakka, BolS, Beasts of war, TMP, Boardgamegeek… Not a single complaint in any forum I looked at.

  6. 1. Did I pledge to KS just to get DB before anyone else? No – I pledged (at Striker plus several options) because this was a game that excited me and I wanted to support Mantic in bringing this in as much a rounded out package as possible

    2. Am I irked that stores have apparently started selling copies of the boxed game before I have my own copy? Yes – but only out of innate human nature that creates the jealous streak, the same jealous streak I felt when I didn’t get to see The Amazing Spiderman on release in theatres and had to wait for the bluray to come out despite having tickets bought in advance.

    3. Do I see this as a personal slight against me, a backer of the KS? No – not in the slightest (see what I did there?). That some stores may be selling the game can only be a good thing – more players for nw to lose against. They have the vanilla set in their sweaty paws right this second, yes, but they don’t have Lucky Logan, Slippery Joe, signed cover art, digital rules, creating DreadBall book, name in fanzine, trophy, FF team, VM team, John Doe, The Enforcer, 2 female Corporation players, #88, Buzzcut, Acrylic counters, Season 2 digital rules, Grethzki, 2 Judwan, 2 Zz’orr, Asterian, 2 robot players AND Coach Renton coming in the following months with about 70% discount (could be wrong about the level of discount but it’s Damn high).

    It’s the jealousy streak again – but big picture logic dictates this can only be gold for the blossoming DB community. Instead of moaning about who got what when, let’s get organising some leagues.

    To some I’m over simplifying the “situation” but to me this is a non-issue and I thank Jake for A) producing a great, exciting game (along with the rest of the creative team behind DB) and B) saying what needed to be said, as far as he could say it.

    Now, who’s up for a ‘friendly’ against the SinCity Renegade?

    Cheers
    JP

  7. Anthony Caryl says:

    It’s a shame this has happened. Does it bother me for myself, no (I was planning to ‘wrap’ this for Xmas, and at striker I’m getting so many free extras the potential price difference is irrelevant)

    What does bother me is that those who stretched themselves for the basic box (and i’m sure they were stretching themselves, as the bonuses at striker were unmissable if you could afford it) or a single team, now find that they could have bought it online at a significant discount (and maybe even got it sooner).

    I’m sure that why this has happened is not mantics fault

    but perhaps they could have held back retail stuff until all the basic stuff had shipped, or asked the retailers not to discount until then ?

    (whatever I’m looking forward to my set & extras when it arrives, and do give Mantic a gold star for managing to dig up enough extra copies to supply the January pledges early)

  8. David Fisher says:

    Although Mantic have been very professional about behind the scenes issues they’ve had to deal with (ie. they’ve dealt with them and suffered in silence), it’s been fairly obvious that things were not shipped to them as expected. The clearest evidence for a change in plan was when we found out Mantic would be packing the boxes. This confused me for a moment or two, as when the original requests for signed rulebooks were made it was considered impossible because the boxes would ‘arrive from China built and shrink-wrapped’. Thus to accomodate those that clamoured for it, Mantic made additional books available for purchase that could be signed. Given the recent griping about the minor delays in shipping to KS backers I’m frankly surprised people that paid extra for a second signed book haven’t been complaining about that too.

    In the interest of full disclosure; Yes, I am a backer. Yes, I am deperately awaiting my new toys. Yes, I am a little put out knowing people who didn’t back may get theirs before me. No, I’m not bothered enough to gripe about it on the interwebs. No, I’m not holding Mantic at fault. No, it won’t affect further dealings with Mantic. Yes, I think Jake dropped the ball a bit with Jacks :p

  9. James says:

    Isn’t it awful!

    You craft an intelligent, witty response to something, hit send, then realise “Damn my fingers!!!”

  10. Buhallin says:

    I’ve said this other places, might as well repeat it here.

    Am I personally upset at the delay? Not especially. But I think that people who are have a right to be.

    Crowdfunding is a new phenomenon. It’s a total reversal of the standard risk assumption between company and customer. Perhaps strangely, this is why I have less sympathy for Sedition Wars backers. Backers in crowdfunding are the ones assuming the risk, so there’s really not much room to complain about the delays there.

    But this isn’t really just delays. If NOBODY had product (a’la Sedition Wars) I’d be fine with it. But I think Mantic’s handing of this has failed to live up to the extraordinary commitment backers make in accepting the business risk that would normally be theirs. I do understand the situation they’re facing, but there’s any number of things they could have done – arrange temporary storage for distributor back to clear space, go ahead and ship them with a request for an embargo date to allow the KS packs to get to people before things hit the shelves, etc. They might not have been perfect solutions, but it would have shown that Mantic respects what crowdfunding really means.

    I honestly couldn’t care less when our boxes are arriving – our proxy games are going just fine. But the fact that Mantic’s apparent views on what crowdfunding is are so divergent from mine will make me very hesitant to commit to anything they do via that source in the future.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Is that what crowdfunding is to people? Do people pledge because they accept the business risk or do they like the idea of loads of extra toys for their money? Both, probably, and the rest of the myriad reasons too.

      KS is a contract to deliver goods, just like any other contract. The company is legally bound to deliver what has been agreed. In the case of DB, Mantic are delivering their end of the contract on time.

      Why you imagine that there is “no room to complain” when someone fails to uphold their end of a contract I have no idea. If you ordered an item in a shop and then they didn’t bother delivering it would you be fine with that too?

      • Buhallin says:

        Creators are obligated to provide the product or refunds, but there’s always risk that it’ll simply fail, and backers will be left with no real recourse. It’s part of why I’ll never back a software Kickstarter – the risk is too high. Kickstarter is not buying a product, it’s buying a development effort, and that effort has the chance to fail. Whether backers realize and consider that risk does not mean it doesn’t exist.

        That’s why I think the room to complain is minimal. Delivery dates are estimates only – delays are a risk and reality of any development project, and that risk is assumed by the backers. No room to complain. Same if a creator fails completely, and has no capital to refund people. That risk exists and should be considered.

        The difference here, at least for me, is that this really isn’t anything to do with the delays in and of themselves. There were multiple options for how Mantic could choose to deal with the delays, and they went with the one that put their investors on the bottom of the list in favor of shipping to distributors and stores who had done nothing to assume that risk. Crowdfunding means different things to different people, and my view is only my own, but I think that’s hugely disrespectful.

  11. anthony says:

    Hi, thanks so much for sharing that. Im a second round of delivery Striker pledger, plus some πŸ™‚ and I was (insert swear word) super delighted with how Mantic, Ronnie and all have handled this fantastic and possibly now “Legendary” Kickstarter for DreadBal. Im blown away by it after reading your post quite frankly. Ronnie…. your a Legend… thanks!

  12. pewc says:

    I think if people had known this they would not have complained to be honest. I certainly would not have and neither would Neil on M&M I suspect. Until I knew this I was very annoyed (I have toys to play with already but it was the ‘principle’.
    If I had known this crap had happened then it all makes sense as the KS stuff should have been well out the way by now for the retailers to get theirs before the xmas rush. If they had to source and pack boxes which should have been done (presuming it was another fall out from the chinese printer who ran off with all the money) then I would have been standing up applauding them, not moaning about having t put off my planned tournament.
    So thanks Jake – wish you’d done it sooner πŸ™‚

    Rich J

  13. Dennis says:

    When we get our ks packages does not really matter.
    The insult is the shipping lie in update #95
    a simple update would have fixed the problem the lie created

  14. James K says:

    As a Striker + a whole lot of extras backer, I am entirely content with Mantic’s performance to date. They are on track to deliver the first shipment in December, as they originally promised, and they’re even delivering more models than they originally said they would. This was my first Kickstarter project, and I am very pleased with how it is turning out so far.

  15. Ben says:

    There’s a sense of entitlement that a minority of people assume when they back a crowdfund project. I first encountered it with Zombicide where at the end of the campaign CMoN said they’d built a month’s wriggle-room into their September shipping estimate and the plan was to have them all shipped by August. As it turned out, some got shipped in August, some in September. Along the way CMoN went to GenCon and took some copies to sell. Did everyone have their product shipped by the shipping estimate? Yes they did. Did CMoN say that all Kickstarter backers would receive their copies before anyone else? No they did not. Did some people take it as a personal insult akin to CMoN coming around to their house and defecating through their letterbox? Yes they did.

    Soda Pop Miniatures have recently experienced it themselves at the culmination of their Relic Knight’s Kickstarter. They’re a three-man company who all have day jobs and run SPM in their spare time. They ran a Kickstarter to launch a new minis game with six factions and multiple minis for each all essentially from scratch (there were metal minis already available but everything was getting resculpted for a switch to plastic production). They didn’t even receive the money from Kickstarter until a few weeks after the campaign ended and gave a May 2013 shipping date yet a minority of backers were and still are of the opinion that in running the Kickstarter, SPM obligated themselves to send an immediate constant stream of sculpts and progress updates from the moment the campaign ended.

    Likewise with Dreadball. I don’t care that Mantic have had supplier issues because as far as I’m concerned I was told I’d receive my copy of the game in January and it’s going to be shipped to me next week. I was not told that by backing the Kickstarter I would receive a copy before the game went on general sale so Mantic have broken no obligation that they made to me.

    I’m hopeful (and perhaps a bit naive) that as people become more Kickstarter-savy that issues like this will become less of a problem. As people realise that backing a project does not make them entitled to things they were never promised, that shipping dates are estimates and that by getting extra stuff above the basic game can mean that they have to wait a little longer to get it then those who do choose to back a project will accept it and those for whom this is an intolerable slight upon their person can wait and just buy the game without the bells and whistles when it hits the shelves.

  16. Pingback: Dreadball & Mantic – An apology is in order | Meeples & Miniatures

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  18. orcsbain says:

    Well thats a fine how do you do!

    I can understand why Ronnie didnt go puplic with this himself.

    Personaly I’m not bothered,Im still getting my stuff, with extras bwhen they said I would, but the winging has irked me to the point of making a post on another blog.

    What I cant understand is THEY ARE JUST TOYS, ok so sombody else has a box before youboo hoo! deal with it, they dont have half of what you are getting and have paid full price (or at least in some cases not as much as the excellent discount as you got on the KS).

    There are kids on the planet who dont have access to decent food or water, let alone toys anywhere as cool as these, or they deal with the real possibility of being shot or blown up on a daily basis. Somehow arguing that “some person has a box of toys for a pretend sports game before me” dosent seem as important.

    Its all a matter of perspective.

    Cheers Jake oh and buy Ronnie a beer for me!

    ttfn

  19. Doug says:

    This is what the cool kids call a ‘First world problem’. Oh the huge-manatee….

  20. Dave Yeeles says:

    Something to bear in mind is that we don’t know what commitments Mantic have made to the retailers. If the retailers feel done over they might just decide it’s not worth stocking any Mantic products so it’s important that they keep them on side as it were.

    I think Mantic have done a great job considering what seems to have happened. Neil over at Meeples and Miniatures has also published an apology for his comments which is nice to see.

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