Mantic Games had given us a really good Kickstarter experience that raised (I think) far more than they had dared to hope for : $728,985 (Just over £455K) to be precise.
2,539 people have invested in the game. We have seen pictures of upcoming sculpts. We have received a PDF copy of the rulebook, so that the keen ones amongst us could create our own pitches and play games with proxy figures…
We have seen pictures of the games arriving at the Mantic Warehouse. We have seen pictures of guys frantically packing stuff.
…and Mantic go and drop the ball…BIG TIME.
Updates have started appearing on UK Distributor websites in the last couple of days: A Twitter update from North Star:
The website of Wayland Games:
They both show one thing – Dreadball is with UK Distributors and is available to buy, even at a substantial discount from some places. Other people who pre-ordered their copies are getting them on Monday…
…and yet the people who backed the Kickstarter in the first place continue to wait for their own copies…
OK, Mantic have been putting out several notes in the last week or so saying that distributors may get their stock before Kickstarter backers, and that part of the reason for this was due to having to pack the extra figures, counters and other goodies shipping in the first wave that Kickstarter backers ordered. They also stated that they would be shipping to the rest of the world before the UK, in order to meet the Royal Mail overseas Christmas shipping dates.
However, the simple fact of the matter is this. Any Fred Bloggs who currently knows nothing about Dreadball could walk into Wayland Games this weekend and purchase a copy of Dreadball, plus extra teams, off the shelf, take them home and have them fully painted and playing before the end of the week. Meanwhile, those of us who invested in the project (some of us fairly heavily) will still be waiting for our game to be delivered.
Anyone who pre-ordered the game from Northstar could be playing on Monday night, whilst the investors in the game, those that effectively pre-ordered the game at least two months earlier, do not yet have their copy.
You may argue that the Kickstarter backers already have a return on their investment – those people who invested in packages will be getting free miniatures, second and third season teams and other figures at big discounts, plus free shipping.
All true. However, how many businesses would survive if their shareholders and investors were the last to see the benefits of their investment? If they were last in the queue when it came to dividend payout?
2,589 paid an average of $278 each at the end of September (plus many have paid out more in subsequent pre-purchases) which enabled this game to be made. They put a major investment into the bank account of Mantic Games. And yet, these same people now find themselves at the end of the queue once the product comes to market.
In my opinion, this is simply wrong, and perhaps a major mis-step by Mantic Games. It shows a lack of appreciation for those people who invested in them. OK, it may be a sensible business decision – you do not have stock lying in the warehouse when it could be earning you money – but that decision will, I’m sure, have other consequences.
Mantic claimed that the main reason that they went with Kickstarter in the first place was to create a ready-made community for Dreadball, and I think they succeeded in doing that. What they may have now done is succeeded in seriously annoying a major part of that same community. In a niche hobby market, can you really afford to do that?
I think the opinion in the DB community is divided over this. Some don’t care, some ask is it worth getting hot under the collar over a week or so delay, others say that at least Mantic pre-warned us this would happen. I believe there are many who may also feel as I do: annoyed, even angry.
It’s not about the delay, it’s not about the warning that this would happen. It’s simply a matter of principle. Those people who invested in the company, who gave the company the means to go forward with this endeavour should be given preferential treatment. We are not ‘just another customer’.
Dreadball really is a great game, and I’ve invested heavily in it – and I will be receiving goods well into next year as season two and three releases come out. Will what has happened stop me playing Dreadball? No, it won’t.
However, it will affect any future purchases I make with Mantic Games. They already have my money for Dreadball, I can’t do anything about that. I was considering looking at some of their other boardgames and maybe even Warpath or Kings of War…
…Sorry Mantic, but I won’t be spending any more of my money with you. If this is how you treat your investors, them I for one will no longer be investing in your company.