Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Update: Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Poke the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Poke You!

So, last night I posted about the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. It was a much nicer, more reasoned, less emotional post than the one I had initially written. I awake this morning and there is a "Backers Only" update waiting in my email. I loath "Backers Only" updates. As it is my understanding that Bob II is not a backer and doesn't get to read the "Backers Only" updates, I will now share it here - along with some comments and questions.

January '18 Update

Hello all. This has been a hard update to get to. Not because of the matter of the update, but day-to-day life getting in the way. (for the last 4 months Bob III didn't have 15 minutes free to update you) The new job I took starting in October was very demanding with lots of overtime. The money was good, but the work-life balance wasn't great. They weren't willing to work with me for time off for my new-born daughter or for caring for my wife's grandmother. My wife's grandmother has advanced Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and moved in with us just after Christmas. I'm no longer working there as-of January, which means I will have more time to work on this and family matters. (no longer employed, Bob III will need to find money from somewhere...)

This project is still being worked on. (but obviously not much over the last 4 months) I'm still having so many issues with tables and stat-blocks that we are going to present what we have to a couple other companies to see if they're interested in taking over. (they aren't) The last company alluded to in September's update was unable to take this project on. (quite simply Bob III took over layout so he could pay himself to do layout and does not know how to do layout. But for a company to "White Knight" they'll need to pony up cash not just to finish up layout but to cover printing of the book and maps. Its a losing proposition)

Now to answer a few questions that keep popping up:

Was this an official Judges Guild Kickstarter? Yes. (now THIS is clarity. I've heard this argued that it is and it isn't. So, in the end, Judges Guild is the one holding the bag of mostly empty toys. Or is it? Was this licensed and "official" or run by Judges Guild "Official"?)

Is this still being worked on? Yes. (how much progress was made over the last 4 months? how much work has to be done by a "White Knight" to get this out the door?)

Is this project out of money? No. The project is over-budget, but not out of money. (right. so, all the monies raised - aside from paying for miniature molds and +Rob Conley for his maps - they were paid, right? - the rest of the monies are still there. If they weren't paid and there are still funds in the pot, why weren't they paid? So, just how much "over budget" is the project?) 

Where did the money go? A statement regarding what money was spent and what is left was made back on February 13, 2015. This is why work for the rest of the maps were suspended; it would mean not having the funds to complete the book. (now, I'm confused - this was 3 years ago - why hasn't the book been completed if the monies were there? The two statements don't parse well with each other)

here's the relevant piece from nearly 3 years ago:
Campaign Map Progress: 
For those that don't know, the first 10 maps have been released electronically. We have the first 5 or so in print. We've had to halt progress on the maps until February because not enough people bought into the Miniatures (we lost about $16k on those) (THIS! Don't mix minis with your RPG Kickstarter). We didn't realize this until it was too late due to waiting for all enough of the survey responses to come in. We're still waiting on some final number crunching to give the go-ahead to continue the Campaign Maps.
Have efforts been made to put money back into this project to get the project back on track? Yes.  Bob II has used money received from Goodman Games's JG Kickstarters to pay Christina and Rob for a couple of more maps to be made. Bob III has paid for product to be printed that was being consigned by Blackblade Publishing at various conventions; the proceeds of which went back into the project.

And thus ends our update. Actually, it ends rather abruptly. No real mention of how close this endless book will take to complete (reminds me of Far West) Really, there is little substance to this update


  1. I find it funny that people continually use the "too busy with life" excuse to explain away why work isn't getting done. I'm a one man show, working a real job 50+ hours a week, with kids and grandkids, and I still manage to bust out work each week without issue. It comes down to prioritizing what little free time you have to complete what you've promised. At worst, I can spend one hour every other day writing 1,000 words and have a 10k-15k book done in less than a month. It's not hard if you just focus, stop complaining and start doing.

    1. To be fair, Thom, your work ethic is amazing (unsolicited plug). I wish i had your focus and drive. Shiny items distract me far too often...

  2. Judge's Guild has 0 accountability on this project and can't even put out an update with substance. I guarantee we will get monthly Ken Whitless posts of "It's coming slowly, but it's coming" just to prove that Judge's Guild does not default on this project and then we can go after them for fraud.

  3. Oh and Judge's Guild has been kicking people off their various Facebook groups for posting questions and demanding answers in regards to this kickstarter debacle. They are trying to silence their critics and make this project 'vanish'.

    Shame on Judge's Guild.

    1. Admittedly I mostly joined to complain, though... ;-)

  4. I'll be posting about my thoughts and frustrations with this Kickstarter after work.

    1. Here are my thoughts and actually getting an answer to a request for a refund.


  5. I don't particularly care for when 'developers' explain away their poor work ethic, or are so romanticized with doing it all themselves, not knowing when to hand over the reigns to someone who will bring it to fruition.

    With Zweihander Grim & Perilous RPG, I was as first-time writer. I didn't know shit. I had a newborn baby, a change in career, a wife and another side gig. The entire book was written, and was going through editing by the time I brought it to Kickstarter. The only challenge I ran up against was getting a good proof. My first two proofs were mediocre quality, but the third was a charm. I delivered the PDF out the gate once the 30 days were up, with the fully illustrated PDF not long after that. The print version was in backer's hands one year later.

    I think the challenge creators are running up against is that they believe their name and credentials will help carry the weight. But the bottom line is that it doesn't. You're still beholden to deliver. And if you can't, sack up and hand over the project to someone who will.

  6. Someone posted a nice form letter/template to email JG for a refund. I wonder how many folks use it.

    1. That was taken from my article, that I shared in the comments above. I posted what was in my letter.

      The person who posted that ignored the response I received.

  7. It should be noted that the financial summary posted on 13 Feb 2015 overstates the amount paid to Mick Leach for miniatures production by $3000. Refer to the KS comments from 10-12 Mar 2016.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition