You may remember, back in Episode 104 of the podcast, I spoke with Alyssa Faden about the Torn Armor Kickstarter campaign.
The project was to produce a new tabletop miniatures game. It was successfully funded, with 561 backers pledging a total of $67,742. Everything seemed to be going well, although the project had experienced some delays.
Yesterday (January 22nd, 2014) Alyssa posted the following update on the Kickstarter project page:
This is not an easy update to send out, but I have always been open, honest and transparent with you all and recently the Torn World team has had to have some very unpleasant conversations regarding “Torn Armor.”
We have hit a major obstacle here – which I will detail below – and it is only fair to be open and clear on the parties involved. I will simply layout the facts as they have occurred and you can form your own conclusions. What I will say is that ultimately you put your faith and trust in me to ensure that this project was delivered, and in that I have failed you. So while the Torn Armor team has hit unforeseen circumstances and been subjected to unprofessional behavior and broken promises, ultimately I am responsible and please direct your frustrations squarely towards me. ..
…And herein lies the problem: Defiance have not been able to produce the miniatures, but they are also unable to return the funds. And the funds are somewhat substantial.
Currently, we are reviewing all legal options, but I have very little faith that we will simply get this money back.
Torn Armor is effectively dead in the water. ..
…In a nutshell we have been screwed by our supplier and are now not able to fulfill this Kickstarter project. We are discussing all options at the moment, but do consider the miniatures portion of this project dead…”
The full update can be found here
Essentially the problem is that following a cost increase of 30% with their suppliers in China, Torn Armor looked for another supplier to source their miniatures, and following a recommendation from one of the project backers, entered into an agreement with Defiance Games.
Now, anyone who has kept half an eye on the hobby news in the past couple of years may be aware that Defiance Games has had something of a turbulent and chequered history, and has (I think it’s fair to say) something of a negative image/reputation.
As several people have already pointed out in the Kickstarter update comments, the decision to use Defiance Games as their supplier is perhaps a questionable one, and maybe the team at Torn should have done their homework better. However, it doesn’t excuse the reported failure of Defiance Games to not only be unable to fulfil the agreement they have made, but also not to be able to return the funds – especially when they are posting positive progress on their own Kickstarter project
This is obviously a crippling blow to the Torn Armor team, and it’s a great shame to see the project come to grief due to the actions of Defiance Games. This sentence from Torn Armor’s update is perhaps most telling:
I formally asked for our money back less the approved and agreed charges and after a weekend of badgering they told me on Monday that “We do not have the available cash on hand to return these funds at this time” and “We are gearing up here for our own releases to get new product to market and improve our cash flow.”
It’s not to difficult to start to put 2 and 2 together at this point, and the result does not look pretty.
Given all the past history, and this latest set of allegations, would you continue to support a business like Defiance Games?
EDIT: Defiance Games have now posted an open letter to Torn Armor on their FB page in response to Torn Armor’s KS Update:
“An open letter to Alyssa Faden of Torn Armor.
Did you really have to take so little responsibility and say that WE failed? After a nice paragraph in which you say you should take the blame, you write a long text blaming us. Wrong.
Basically, your figures were not produced because the digital files you provided do not work. Yet you try to shift responsibility for that to Defiance. Def…iance DID NOT create the digital files. It was never our responsibility to do that. You should admit that, but you do not.
This is your project — the only person responsible for the fact that Defiance never received workable files is ultimately you, Alyssa. The buck stops with you when it comes to Torn.
After the original files proved unworkable, the vendor you hired to fix them did not provide results which could be manufactured (Did you really want us to try and make a 20 mm resin figure in 5 parts???). Nothing that happened at Defiance, the ‘changing of the guard’ or the ‘turbulent times’ changes that.
You claim to have patience. Well, you are now choosing (it is a choice on your part) to close your project. Ultimately, this might still be a fixable problem. We have suggested possible solutions. You have decided not to do that. That is your decision and your responsibility. Do not blame anyone else for it.
I am really disappointed in you.
It looks like this war of words could be set to run for a while…