Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Full of Excuses and Not So Invincible

Hard to believe its been nearly a year since I last shed light on the fiasco known as the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. No, really. Here's my last post on this train wreck.

Now, let me forewarn you. I'm high on decongestants and fighting a sinus headache. I'm in no mood to be nice.

CSIO is nearly 3 years late. While not quite at the level of Far West in that category, the excuses are an embarrassment. We know all of the maps are done and have been done for ages. All we need now is to finish layout. Well, and money to print and ship.

Say what?

Just like Far West is financially bankrupt (and likely refuses to complete the PDF as there will be a demand for physical product that there is no money to either print or ship) I suspect most if not all of the $85k raised by CSIO has been long lost. Again, finishing the PDF will put demands on physical product and associated shipping costs - shipping costs that have had three years to increase. Yeah, the picture isnt pretty.

So, how about some of the excuses:

Yep, weekly updates six weeks apart. Weekly updates since the end of March have been monthly at best.

Oh, and nearly two months since the last update. I guess monthly isn't working out either.

Progress? Please! Layout isn't going at a page a day or a page a week. Maybe 2 to 3 pages a month?

But wait! Look at that! A hint of a better future!

Its an illusion though. If there were a better future we wouldn't be without an update nearly two months later. What is this in reference to? There've been rumors that Kickstarter fulfillment had been shopped to two or three of the more sizable old school publishers in the hobby. Aside from the goodwill of the backers there is little upside to such a deal for any publisher - the cost to fulfill would be on them and profits (as well as costs associated will making the Kickstarter backers whole) would rely on a retail market that is geared to 5e these days and not so much Pathfinder.

Where does that leave us? I do mean "us", as I'm in for $145 myself. I fear we are left with little hope without a "white knight" publisher coming to the rescue and I fear that the costs associated with such a rescue are cost prohibitive for most.

Not the legacy Judges Guild wished to leave us with but a legacy none the less.

Yep, I'm a fuck when I'm sick.


  1. This one really sucks. I'm a huge fan of JG and City-State of the Invincible Overlord is one of all time favorites. While I don't have much hope this will be resolved, I'm still hoping none the less.

  2. Oh yeah, I backed this too, thanks for the reminder! I'd almost forgotten...

  3. All I can say is thank you Bill Webb, otherwise I would have lost more money on this sucker. I was sincerely pumped for this, even touted on Reddit and RPG forums. *sigh*

  4. I think I started to worry on this when the first "another X pages of layout" posts started, as the numbers were always very small for the time periods listed. Especially in InDesign, as so much of it can be automated. Hell, even copy/pasting your first couple laid out pages and flowing new text into it is a simple matter, even if you need to have pictures and tables.

  5. This one really hurts. I loved the CSIO products coming up and I was really hoping to have a new iteration of it. Sad...

  6. That's a lot of money. He couldn't hire a layout guy for a couple hundred bucks out of his 85k?

    1. Maybe I need to look into that for my "once newspapers fail" next job: Kickstarter RPG Layout Services. Ohh so many seem to get hung up at the layout stage.

    2. That would work out well for you, if it weren't for the fact that "layout" is frequently a lie/delaying tactic.

  7. Money is gone. Bob is currently on hiatus taking care of his Wife's Aunt's Brother in law cousin's step sister in the hospital. His computer broke but he can't go outside due to allergies to (Air/Grass/Pavement/Leather Seats) but he's commited to putting out at least (5/10/25/50) pages per month and gives us an update once every (week/two weeks/4/6).

    All comes with an apology.

  8. It's amazing how many family medical problems these guys have. I know that things happen but how many times do they happen to the same people?

    Weddings? As an obstacle to finishing a Kickstarter?

    Internet Outages? Does that stop you from typing on your home PC? Did you have to dig a trench to install a new line?

    Thanks for keeping the light on these.

    1. You make a good point, it seems that a successfully-funded Kickstarter is frequently the harbinger of a long string of illness, disease and other family disasters for those who launched it.

  9. I was so stoked to see a revamped edition of CSIO when I backed this, now feeling sorer and wiser. I'd really like to see something of value com out of it, so we could say "at least we got X", but digital map files alone aren't going to unshaft me. In future I'm only backing stuff that just looking for finishing touches and production costs.

  10. I'm in for $250. I don't expect to see this, ever.

    After this and a recent Queen Games fiasco I'm done with Kickstarters. I'll be happy to buy actual product after it is produced.

  11. I'm only in for $60, so it's not so much of a pinch for me, but I still think it's a pity that it's been plagued by so many delays, as this was something of a callback to my childhood.

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  13. Looks like Bob III has just had another baby - congratulations are no doubt in order, and he probably has his hands full - but his personal issues, including all those mentioned in previous updates, are irrelevant. This is an official Judges Guild Kickstarter, as advertised and as more recently confirmed in a comment on their Facebook page on 10 March 2016:

    "… we never said that the Kickstarter was done "independently". Bob II only stated that Bob III was the project manager for it. It is an official Judges Guild Kickstarter".

    People signed up on the basis that the project would be completed by a reputable organisation they trusted, not an individual. Whether or not that individual is doing the right thing by Kickstarter backers - or the right thing by Judges Guild itself - is something for Judges Guild to address and fix.

    More recently (22 September 2017), Bob II stated on the Facebook page that "The manager of the Kickstarter in question is responsible for the moneys collected and the progress of the project. He was the only person to ever have access to those funds". Well, it's the Judges Guild company's responsibility to do something about it - sue and/or fire the manager, let him enjoy his paternity leave and find a replacement, fund it from Judges Guild money, or declare bankruptcy if that is not possible.

    It is of no comfort to the backers that things might be a little awkward around the table if this topic comes up at the Bledsaw clan Christmas dinner.

    The lack of communication by both the "Kickstarter manager" and Judges Guild in relation to this project can only be called cowardly.

    The reputational damage to the once-good Judges Guild name is showing in the reviews on the Judges Guild Facebook page, and no doubt there will be more.

  14. Thank you.

    Yes, this is a travesty. The worst thing is how it was claimed to be an official Judges Guild Kickstarter by Bob Bledsaw II, so people relied on the JG brand to pledge; now he says naw it's just his son BB3's personal project.

  15. This whole debacle has depleted any remaining faith I held in the JG brand.

  16. Sounds like outright fraud to me. And I'm still annoyed that KS hides behind legal disclaimers - at the very least they should ban this individual from any more kickstarters.

    1. Might make more sense to stop blowing your money on stupid hippy scam-ass business models.
      Buy shit when it gets published, or pay someone to make it yourself. There is a reason that professional managers and capitalists exist, normal people are incapable of managing their free time well enough to go to the fucking gym, you expect them to run a business? LOL

  17. This is only half as bad as Ernie's debacle.

  18. The fact is that most 'creative' types are borderline mentally retarded. Artists need professionals - editors, for one thing, but someone controlling the purse-strings and threatening their ability to pay the rent - to get shit done. Absent that they will fuck around, indulge themselves in fart-smelling and blow everything they get on hookers. This isn't a special facet of kickstarter, just a perfect example of why stupid hippy business models fail 99% of the time.

    Who are the people that deliver on-time, reliably, and with a quality product at Kickstarter? Professional gaming companies. Because they're not a bunch of fucking autistic man-children, they have real jobs and know how to make projections on the feasibility and costs of projects.

    How many of these Kickstarters began without anyone sitting down and doing a spreadsheet? How many of these Kickstarters began by people who couldn't do accounting to save their lives?

    Never trust 'creative' people who haven't shown an ability to be independently motivated and fiscally responsible. I trust Greg Stafford and Pete Nash, rando wanna-be Grognardpreneurs on Google can fuck off.


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