Thursday 13 December 2012

A Dread(ful)Ball Experience...

I must confess to being a bit jacked off...

Back in October I told you all how I'd been seduced by Mantic's shiny new Dreadball project and had been looking forward to painting up the miniatures and having some games. I was planning to paint up two of the teams and give it to Saul as a Christmas present, but it looks like that won't be happening.

Mantic collected over $700,000 from gamers who invested in the project to get it off the ground, but since collecting the money they have treated the Kickstarters pretty poorly.

First off was the decision to supply retailers before the Kickstarters. They have tried to justify this as part of building a gaming community for players by getting it into shops where the game could be played but many of the retailers they supplied don't have shops. North Star, an online retailer and wholesaler, received their sets of DreadBall on 28th November and anyone who pre-ordered from them received their copies on 3rd December. Dave Thomas (who also doesn't have a shop) even had some on his stand at Recon on 1st December...

Eventually Mantic told Kickstarters that the game was shipping to us and it arrived - first in Malaysia... then New Zealand... then Canada.... It is 141 miles from Nottingham (home of Mantic) to Bristol (home of me) but apparently it is easier to get an order 11,299 miles to the other side of the globe. 

On the DreadBall Fanatics FB page one UK Kickstarter posted he phoned Mantic today and was told that half the UK ones were sent yesterday, half are waiting to be collected today. Except other UK Kickstarters have received theirs. Cambridge last Thursday, Arbroath last Friday. So that's a bare faced lie to a customer...

I appreciate that Mantic have probably been overwhelmed by the response to DreadBall but they have seriously dropped the customer service ball and I am not a happy bunny.

In contrast Reaper's CEO emailed all the Bones KS customers when they had a problem with the paints and offered refunds for anyone not happy with the delay. Similarly Matt Sprange at Mongoose has been straight up and communicated any delays with the Judge Dredd Kickstarter items, even taking a hit on postage by shipping out partial orders to make sure we got something asap rather than waiting for everything to be in stock...


  1. I would call this poor judgement on Mantic's part, though I hope that doing so isn't missing the forest for the trees.

  2. That does sound like a pretty poor experience. There's a difference in corporate decisions (stores before individuals) and basic stupidity (the guy at Mantic.) I noticed Wyrd came in for a lot of flak lately by supplying their direct customers before retail stores.

    Not sure exactly how Kickstarter works in this situation. Do Mantic already have your cash? If so, sounds like Mantic are going after newer customers over fulfilling orders as soon as possible.

    I hope we'll read a Dreadball post from you soon!

  3. Yes, Mantic would have received the backer funds somewhere after the September 30 end of project date. The stated purpose of Kickstarter is to fund projects that otherwise would not have the resources to get completed. In this case Mantic has used Kickstarter as more of pre-ordering system to get money in hand early for a product they would have released any way.

    I think it definitely comes down to a money decision, and Mantic's official reasoning is they needed to get the product out for Christmas shoppers. So yes, that is the same as saying 'We have the backer's money, no need to service them properly when there are additional customers out there we can sell to'.

    On September 25th Mantic stated "less than 100 guaranteed pre-Christmas shipping Strikers! left" and anyone that wanted it in 2012 would have to get in now. After the project funding ended Mantic announced they would be able to produce enough to ship out all Striker! packages in December plus get copies to the retailers, but some of the items originally scheduled for first shipment would be bumped back. That tells me that it was possible for them to get the pre-cutoff Striker! backers shipped well in advance of the retailer copies that they waited on.

  4. I am a Kickstarter backer in the US and haven't yet seen my shipment. I've heard rumors that people are getting them all around the world, but I feel a little left out considering that Mantic has over $500 of my money in their pockets. It would be nice to see better service to the Kickstarter backers. I agree that Reaper has been a lot better when it comes to communicating with the Bones backers.

  5. I got out early and donated only a $1 to the project. I had been in the project for all of the fixings, but pulled out. I'm glad I did. Of the other kickstarter projects I did go in for, I am still waiting for them to cough up the rewards/stuff I purchased.

  6. That sucks and I agree is poor considering you are the people who funded the project in the first place. I haven't backed any kickstarters. It doesn't feel right to me. I keep thinking what if it falls on its arse and then I have to explain to the SWMBO what happened to the money....

  7. Mantic did say that the delay with the Striker level pledges and above was the MVPs. They shipped out orders that didnt include the MVP´s sooner than the rest so maybe that´s why people are receiving theirs earlier.I am a cheerleader pledged and am still waiting for my copy in Spain. I suppose the problem with this type of Kickstarter is the huge variety of orders, a different email would have to be sent to 4/5/6 groups.
    I am disappointed with the wait but, although retailers are receiving their copies, I am happy to wait for my MVP included game ! The inclusion of the MVP´s in my order makes it worthwhile for me !

  8. It's not a big deal to me considering the logistics involved in a huge Kickstarter like this.

    I'd almost hate to be their shoes trying to fulfill promises as well as make those who didn't KS happy (ie, retailers).

  9. Mantic had the same printing issues as sedition wars apparently, so I am impressed that Mantic has overcome the problems for a product whose campaign finished earlier and are still substantially meeting their commitments.

    In essence it seems to boil down to the delays and problems with sourcing materials meant the stuff was piling up in the small warehouse, not everything had arived, so made a call to meet pre-orders from shops (the kits contain less and all the bits were to hand) to both clear space and get moving. When the MVPs arrived everything went into full flow.

    Mantic did not feel it seemed that they could say much about suppliers, no doubt to ensure future relations with potential suppliers, so their comms were not all people wanted. They probably also made a mistake in shipping the completed boxes and should have synchronised the posting with the pledges.

    Couple of good threads on this

    From the designer (pro)

    From one of the playtestors (anti)

  10. In all fairness, unlike Reaper and Mongoose, the Dreadball KS has NO delay. It is still on course for the original December delivery.
    In earlier communication they raised our hopes for an earlier shipping date, but logistics have made that impossible. With an empty warehouse today Mantic will have delivered on their promise and done even better by adding more stuff than planned and sending out the january sets as well...

    Now where is that effing mailman???

  11. I'm going to sound really out of line here but....what's the problem exactly?
    I was told I'd be receiving my Dreadball KS (four teams, Renton, droid referee and the special big guy thingymagig) in December. It arrived yesterday.
    I'm kinda failing to see what the problem is. They said December, they delivered. What other channels they're servicing (online, brick and mortar, whatever) is personally really none of my business. I got what they promised when they promised me I'd get it.
    So sorry but I really fail to see what your pickle is about in all honesty!
    And I'm 3040 Australia, by the way....

  12. Keep the faith Brothers! I too got swept up in the Dreadball frenzy and am sure the first batch will be delivered pre Christmas as promised and I am sure it will have been worth the wait. In six months time, you will have forgotten all about it and looking forward to your Season Two goodies!

  13. Just a quick note. The people who got them in the UK last week do have MVPs so that isn't quite the case.