Monday, August 29, 2016

What Did You Do in the Last 5 Years? Because Completing Far West was NOT an Accomplishment for Gareth

Five years is a hell of a long time. My 5th wedding anniversary sneaks up on November 5th. I went from 5 years away from retirement TO retirement. I missed 1 day of posting here at The Tavern in those 5 years.

Far West funded 5 years and 4 days ago. We still don't have it.

Strangely, Gareth seem to not get notifications from Kickstarter when he gets messages, so requests for refunds get ignored:

So, not years more. A year? Possibly. Months? That's a given.

Far West. A study in how NOT to successfully complete a funded Kickstarter and keeping idiots in suspense for 5 years. Yes, I'm one of those idiots...

At least Mike Nystul stopped the illusion that he was working on anything.


  1. I think he's still working on it. I honestly believe that HE honestly believed, every one of those times he has said so, that it would be out within a week or two. (Why set up an expectation that specific, that you know won't be met, when you could just stay silent?) For whatever reason, he is terrible at making and holding to those estimates, but I think there is a mostly complete Far West in existence (heck, we have at least half of it already) and that he continues to strive to finish it. I mean, surely Skarka has suffered more from this debacle than any of us -- we're out luxury money and a game that has long since soured in our mouths at worst, while he has tanked his entire reputation and that of his dream project. Why would he keep that up if he weren't really trying to finish it?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Skarka can't possibly have issued all these statements in good faith. Some of them were demonstrable falsehoods, even according to his own words.

      Skarka claimed as far back as 2012 (and more than once in the years following) that the book was ready to go to the printers. If the book was ready for the printers in 2012, it was necessarily written, laid out, and had all the art it needed in 2012; how else could they have possibly printed it? So then riddle me this: if the book was written, laid out, and had all the art it needed in 2012, WHY was Skarka still doing art in 2014 (if not more recently), writing in 2015 (if not more recently), and (by his own admission) still doing layout at this very moment in 2016?

      The answer - the only possible answer - is that he outright LIED about the readiness of the book in 2012 (and several times after). If the book had really ever been printer-ready, he wouldn't NEED to still be doing these tasks. And if he lied about the book being printer-ready - repeatedly - then why believe ANY of the other things he says?

  2. I believe anything is done on this.

  3. Never ask for money until the project is done. That seems to be the lesson.

    1. That's my plan. I won't launch my KS until both books are done in draft form, with a prelim (no art, or public domain art) PDF layout. So the only risk is that you get a game that has no improvements over the existing manuscript.

  4. Well, when I click on Skarka's name on rpgnow.com I get a list that includes 13 projects completed between 2012 and the present, so he has been productive, just not in a "Far West" kinda way. http://www.rpgnow.com/browse.php?x=0&y=0&author=Gareth-Michael%20Skarka

  5. Kickstarter needs to set up a reputation system (assuming they don't already) that deals with the completion of projects. If you have a stellar reputation you can set up two more projects at the same time, if not you are stuck with one until that one is fulfilled.

    Perhaps they should have a fish or cut bait deadline as well in which if you aren't done everyone gets their money-back (since the money is probably gone such a non-payment would kill the reputation so they can't set up any further projects at all).

  6. Is there actually a way out of this sort of failed business venture? To raise hands and say all the money has been spent, this well is dry, sorry there ain't going to be no game. Is there something that forces him to go through this humiliating parade?

    1. Practically speaking Skarka could just repudiate the Kickstarter and decline refunds. The backers would have the normal legal recourse in that case, but it's unlikely it would be worth their time to sue him. It would destroy his reputation, but I think that ship has sailed (and struck a reef, caught on fire, and sunk).

      Regardless, he COULD complete the pdf and distribute it to backers at no real financial cost to himself. I'm fairly sure I know why backers don't have print copies (he's most likely out of money) - the real mystery is why Skarka doesn't simply throw the rest of the damn pdf version together and just GIVE it to them. It's preposterous to say a piddling little RPG book has been in layout for over three years. Particular since he claimed, in the 01/09/14 update:

      "Just a quick note to let you know what's up: At this point, it's crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s, doing final passes on the index, catching any remaining "page XX"s, and making sure that no backer portraits have been left out.

      "Beyond that, it's fiddly, boring stuff like double-checking (and adjusting, if necessary) CMYK ink coverage so that we don't have production problems, and setting up the necessaries for secure digital delivery to you, and other production-and-fulfillment stuff which I won't bore you with.

      "At this point, I'm hoping to turn this over to you at some point this weekend, but -- given that there are other folks I need to coordinate with on some of this -- it may be Monday or Tuesday at the latest."

      Taking what was said at face value, and ignoring several even earlier dates when Far West was supposed to be within days of release, it sounds like layout was done over two and a half years ago at the very latest. How else could Skarka have honestly expected to release the product within four or five days? So WHERE is that version that was complete except for a few typos and adjusting the ink coverage? How did Skarka go from there to doing more art, writing, and a two-year-plus layout job? Who knows? All I do know, based on past performance, is that Skarka most likely won't "bore you" with a forthright explanation.

  7. I backed Nystul's infinite Dungeon ... more than four years ago ... *sigh* :-(


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