Friday, November 14, 2014
Kickstarter - Center Stage Miniatures - Tome of Horrors Complete - 28mm Heroic Scale Miniatures - Looks Like Backers Are Royally F@cked
I've been lucky (or unlucky enough) to have some inside info from multiple sources about the clusterfuck that is Center Stage Miniatures and their various Kickstarters. Regretfully, I can't reveal sources or actual numbers (such is the price one pays to actually know such guarded info) but I can draw conclusions that are based on such info:
First - backers are fucked. I think that part is obvious, but let me tell you, they are royally fucked (and don't expect a courtesy reach around either.) At least the backers of the various Nystul Kickstarters have an outside chance of getting relevant PDFs at some unknown point in the future. If you're a backer and haven't received product yet, accept your losses and move on. I doubt Matt of Center Stage spent the funds on hookers and blow, but at this point he couldn't do so even if he wanted.
Second - much like Nystul (and the less infamous but totally dead Quantum RPG by Joshua Frost) this appears to be the situation where the monies raised by the first Kickstarter were not enough to fulfill the Kickstarter, so a new Kickstarter was needed to provide funds for the first, and then a newer Kickstarter was needed to fill the funding gaps of that one. It's like a Ponzi scheme of sorts. Actually, no, it probably was run much like a Ponzi scheme.
Third - hiding behind Center Stage LLC is not going to shield Matt "CSM" from the outstanding debt if he is the whole of the LLC.
Fourth - the debt may actually exceed the funds raised by all four Center Stage Miniatures Kickstarters. How the fuck it ever came to that is beyond me. And that's without throwing a Dwarf Con instead of actually putting it towards the project in question. Expecting Frog God to return their advance would be pointless. It wouldn't achieve anything in moving the projects forward, as it would barely be a drop in the bucket. As for licensing the project to yet another party, I expect the creditors would want to get paid first.
Fifth - this could be a case of success being the root of all evil. Center Stage's 1st Kickstarter asked for a grand and made over $66k. Did it over promise and under budget for it's rewards? Stretch goal are a dangerous beast when you are offering additional physical product at no increase in price. I've seen other Kickstarters succeed and still need the creator to dig into their pocket to actually fulfill their promises as stretch goal costs ate into all of the profit.
Sixth - save your money on potential lawsuits. It would be throwing good money after bad. There is no money to be had. Hell, it's more likely that Myth & Magic will suddenly start shipping.
It's a sad state overall, and one of the reasons I get very leery when a project creator starts a 2nd Kickstarter before the first is fulfilled. It seems like Center Stage has out Nystuled Nystul himself. At this point, I can't foresee any good outcome.