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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is This Thing On? Far West Kickstarter Goes Silent for Over a Month (And Where is the Digital Download?)


Haven't been following the Far West Kickstarter Saga? You've missed a lot.

It was due in the hands of backers in December of 2011, so in a few days it will be over 2 years late.

But hey, we still get promises like these:

From November 11th - "Popping in to let you know that we're chugging along -- I'm looking at digital delivery occurring late next week (which is a bit more on the "ish" side of "mid-month-ish" -- several reasons for that, including the upcoming holiday, for example)...We'll go to press two weeks after we deliver the digital version to you fine folks.  "

Or the last update from November 21st - "Completing the layout is taking me longer than I'd hoped for, due to some sort of virulent plague hitting the Skarka household. We will be ready to deliver the files to the printer (and the digital copies to you) in the next few days (emphasis totally mine) though -- hopefully this weekend, definitely before the US Thanksgiving holiday next week."

So, five weeks later is just like two years later - we still aint got shit. If I had a nickel from every empty promise during the production of this Kickstarter, I'd have made my money back. As it is, much like the Myth & Magic Player's Guide, at best this will go right to the gaming shelf. I doubt it will get read, let alone get played.

And here you thought Dwimmermount was late...

26 comments:

  1. Found Amble's Map, but only a book of stories besides.

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  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME Shocked I tell you, shocked!

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  3. I'm done with kickstarter. It's just ridiculous how many of these never see completion.

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    1. Don't let this sort of thing sour you on Kickstarter entirely. Some of us strive to keep our promises.

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    2. I am with Joseph. Kickstarter is an amazing way to produce games and related accessories that would have been impossible just a few short years ago...There are many good projects and some of the most awesome people I have ever met I met as a function of interacting with other creators. I have backed many projects and had some disappointments but no more than I had buying shrink-wrapped products or buggy video games. I am biased I know but I think KS is a net positive for our hobby...z

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    3. If anything, +Joseph Bloch overperforms. You've been early with both of the books, haven't you Joseph?

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    4. Some projects are early, some are on time, a lot are late... and most of the time I can accept it, if I know why and can agree it's a good reason. Communication is key, and Skarka's fallen down here -- not only late and inconsistent message, but demonstrably false message because what he says will happen, doesn't happen.

      At work I spent years developing a relationship with my clients across government. It reached a point where I could give them bad news and they'd go "oh, okay. That sucks." but were okay with it because they could trust that I understood what was happening, knew what needed to be done to fix it (or what needed to be found out to fix it -- I've got not problem admitting ignorance, especially when I can share what I'll do to find out what I need to know), how to work around the problem, and when it should be fixed. They trusted me because they knew I was in control.

      Skarka? Not in control. Evidently there are no white blood cells in his house or something. Because he's not in control, it's very hard to trust in anything he says now -- he's demonstrated that he can't get it together.

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  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY0WxgSXdEE

    Queen was right . . . another one does bite the dust!

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  5. What's odd is how prolific Adamant Publishing was prior to this. They clearly can produce....I own a lot of their previous books. But they seem to have folded under pressure from a KS deadline and cash, I guess. Just further proof that the only way to reliably do KS is to have the product ready and use KS as a convenient pre-order tool.

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    1. That's odd, considering they could have had a few smaller projects in the works using freelancers.

      I haven't kept up with Adamant's output over the last two years, but I believe they did have a few new offerings for their Savage Worlds system Thrilling Tales line.

      They've also recently started up their Pathfinder line again, but the effort feels light-years behind what the other third party companies have been up to in the time since they stopped being active in PF.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. A few years back, Adamant went with an "every PDF, 99 cents!" model that wrecked the business. (The saga is out there on the Adamant blog, I do believe--Skarka was very upfront about it). And if I recall correctly, there was another mishap, with retailing woes (Borders going under, maybe?) and returned books that gobbled up assets.

      Adamant never recovered, and things got ugly. The Icons artist suffered the worst of it, and all the various lines seemed to change hands like dominos shortly thereafter. I'm still awaiting Warlords Of The Apocalypse from 2010, and Skarka assured me personally "it will see print next month!" before it went to another company days later...and that was over 1 year ago.

      Update: I finally asked for a refund from the new company for Warriors.... Should be arriving soon.

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    4. I read about the App Pricing crash. I even purchased a bunch of PDFs from Adamant at the time. I would not have given those products a second look otherwise, they were for d20 Modern (which I don't play), years old and I doubt huge sellers either way. Honestly he made an easy bunch of sales on things that were sitting on the digital shelf. If not for the sale, I would not have been a customer for those anyway.

      As for other Pathfinder third party publishers, they do make regular use of App Pricing, but not for books the length Adamant was offering for $0.99, $1.99, or whatever the sale price was.

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  6. It's funny how he says he doesn't have time to give updates because he'd rather be getting work done.

    I can't imagine how little time he's devoting to the project if he thinks giving updates would significantly slow him down. Would a 1 paragraph update take up all of his work time for a day? For a week?

    Glad I didn't get involved in this (Only have one ridiculously late kickstarter I'm waiting for)

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    1. Well, and then add that he continues to participate in social media (sometimes heavily) and claims that doesn't take any time.

      He just says what he wants to say and does what he wants to do.

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    2. I suspect he may well have lost interest.

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  7. A lot of great stuff has come from Kickstarter, it's always late, I haven't gotten anything on time.

    I'm disappointed that I haven't gotten my Far West, yes, though I'm glad I only did the PDF level, so I'm not out that much.

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    1. Kevin Crawford was way, way early with _Spears of the Dawn_. Joseph Bloch was some kind of early with his last two. _PURGE: Sins of Science_ was really aggressive with the core sets (starting printing before the end of the KS, technically, because they made by a comfortable margin -- I remember seeing pictures of pallets of cards a couple days before the end of the KS). Shame they got arrested for public drunkenness or something a couple months later, it's delayed the rest of it...

      I've had quite a few come in more or less on time, and some come in varying degrees of early. The ones that run really long tend to stand out.

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    2. My Bestiary was five months early, and the Players Manual was three months ahead of schedule. :-)

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    3. Sorry, almost always late...at least the ones I've backed.

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  8. I think he's too busy day-dreaming about Star Trek,

    http://gmskarka.com/2013/12/30/trek-nerdery-an-imaginary-series-proposal/

    but don't worry, he's also working on a updated edition of ePublishing 101, which includes such gems as,

    "step-by-step advice on topics ranging from creating professional product (how to avoid looking like an amateur, from pre-production, through writing, and into post-production), to marketing (building relationships, having conversations with your readers, etc.), to building what they refer to as “product funnels”(intellectual properties that lead customers from one purchase to the next in a natural progression)."

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  9. For the past 18 months, I've been dealing with some pretty crippling depression, an artist who I had to fire (after he was already paid for his work), a cancer relapse scare, and a bunch of other things.

    As far as why it's "gone silent for over a month"? Bullshit. I have been regularly responding to comments on the site (before today, my last response was on the 23rd). As I said then, family obligations for the holidays had my priority -- which only a socially-dysfunctional sociopath would find something to criticize.

    But hey, feel free to keep fucking complaining. It's folks like you that make me love my job.

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    1. With the number of Kickstarters I've supported, I don't have time to rwad the comments of all of them.

      Your last update (over 5 weeks ago) indicated the PDF was imminent - obviously, it wasn't.

      2 years late on a project that was supposedly damn near ready to go multiple times? Yeah, that draws notice.

      I am by far not the only one irked but the small setback of 2 years, and while I feel for all you've gone through (especially the Big C), I feel like I've heard much of this before from others with similarly late projects.

      Don't put the blame or the anger on those that put money in your pockets over 2 years ago for a project soon to be over 2 years late. If they hadn't believed in your project, they never would have supported it.



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    2. It wasn't a pre-order. You were funding a process, and sometimes, processes take longer than expected. That's reality. There's a reason you might hear "much of this before from others with late projects" -- because shit happens.

      I'm not placing blame, nor am I ungrateful for the support in the project, but angry? At people who show no understanding when shit gets difficult, and think that raking me over the coals publicly is acceptable? Yeah, I would say that's a pretty reasonable reaction to that kind of thing.

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    3. Never said it was a preorder. But the numerous "Next Month!" or "Next Week!" release dates have been stringing folks along for what seems like forever.

      2 years past you intended release date? From an established publisher (which you are)? You can't claim incompetence like Mike did.

      You took in nearly $50,000 in August of 2011 for a project that is over 2 years late and have faced less flack over that than James Mal did for Dwimmermount's infamous floundering.

      When you hit certain thresholds on Kickstarter, folks expect something of a return. When folks support your project, there is an implied obligation to ensure things remain on track.

      Folks entrusted you with $50k and have waited over 2 years to see a return on that investment. Some investments fail. If we wait for it to fail without speaking up, we fail ourselves.

      Life is difficult. Work is difficult. We get that.

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    4. How dare you be upset with a project that is two years late, artists don't have set schedules, they have a "process" they must complete. Now he'll be another year late cause you hurt his feelings. You bourgeois pig!

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