Posts Tagged ‘personal consumer reactions’
A bit ago, I bought into Get Bit‘s Kickstarter. I was pretty excited by this, because it’s a cute game by Dave Chalker, and watching a video of the game played/reviewed told me it’d be a fun game to play with kids (and thus a fun game to play with drunk friends). That it was published by Mayday Games was something I knew to be wary of, but I took a chance on Dave’s game.
I bought into the level where there would be an expansion shipped separately, where you got to play the shark. I was jazzed about that, because hey, SHARK.
Just in case you missed my excitement: SHARK
I got the first package that had Get Bit in it, played it a few times, and I think there’s something neat to the game. It’s a simple game to play that ends up involving reading the people at the table, which I dig. But the real gem is in the robot pieces you get to rip apart as they’re eaten. Folks know I’m bit on tactile reinforcement of the game, and that really makes this game’s theme sing. It’s pretty fun. The components are pretty decent quality as well.
So, good game. But it’s been soured by how Mayday has treated me (and many other folks) who funded this game’s production. When I got the Sharkspansion in the mail, all I got was a plastic baggie with the six cards for the game in it. No instructions, no packing slip, nothing. I emailed Mayday about the lack of instructions, and was directed to the Boardgamegeek page for it, which had this PDF.
When it loaded, I was treated to this:
Those are print registers, what you send in some cases to a printer to check tone and color levels upon printing. That that’s in a consumer PDF shows a lack of thought in their process. Not only is it an embarrassment, it’s also a frustration for the user who has to now make sure the printing settings are dead right so they don’t print it wrong, get a smaller version because this nearly 11.5×9 document scales down to printer margins, etc.
(By the way, folding it in a useful way that doesn’t crease on a line — which, on many printers means the ink fades on that line — and getting it to fit in the Get Bit box is a pain. Whee.)
Then, as I read the rules, I see this:
Shark Hand Containing:
- Right Leg
- Left Leg
- Right Arm
- Left Arm
- Head (no ties)
- Any Limb (must be tied)
6 Hunger Tokens
Great, now I discover I’m missing these Hunger Tokens. So another email to Mayday, and they guy says he’ll ship it out first thing. I appreciate that response, but I’m already soured on the experience. Their shipping is sloppy, their online resources are half-assed. What’s next?
Given the rest of the stellar production on Get Bit, I’m expecting some decent “Hunger Tokens.” I could play with pennies or bottle caps or whatever, so it’s not like I couldn’t play the game. Still, I’m looking forward to having a complete set for Get Bit, with Hunger Tokens of similar quality that continue to exude theme. Then I get this in the mail…
Six wooden cubes. Six generic, something-I-could-get-anywhere wooden cubes. That’s what I waited for, that’s what Mayday spaced on sending out to people. (Also, no packing slip.)
I get shipping fuck-ups. That happened on occasion when I was managing Indie Press Revolution, because we’re all only human. But by all accounts, nearly every shipment of the Sharkspansion was screwed up. That’s a huge vote of no confidence in their ability to fulfill, if something that sweeping happened.
Mayday has clearly communicated that if you give them money before you get product, you should expect to be crapped on. Noted. I won’t back another Mayday Kickstarter, and I’ll think twice before buying another Mayday game in the store. Now when I look at Get Bit, I don’t think “fun game,” I think “Mayday’s middle finger.” Maybe I’ll play it again. Maybe not. And while that’s a bummer to Dave, it means nothing to Mayday — they got my money.
This gets to a thing I’m starting to feel with Kickstarter projects, which I mentioned before: people who are taking the money and showing absolutely no respect to those backers. That’s always a risk with anything like this, of course, but I’m growing tired of feeling like Kickstarter is an avenue for having good will taken advantage of. Which makes me thinking about what I’ll do in the (probably eventual) event that I’ll do a Kickstarter.
P.S. As I was link-hunting for this post, I saw this on the Mayday product page for Get Bit:
It’s forgivable on its own, but with all the other places where Mayday has shown negligence, all this says to me is “understaffed place that keeps over-committing.” And that’s a dicey place to put your Kickstarter money.
 Eleminis was, for a couple months, our “drink scotch and hack a kids game” game of choice. I’ve promised to post our hacks at some point, but that would involve me remembering them.
(…okay, next to taking the money and running.)
The biggest sin I see committed is when publishers sell their backed products to the general public well before backers get their copies.
Seeing the tweets today about the new Kindle, and how people who ordered day one — the alpha consumer base — have not received theirs when peope who have ordered later are getting packages today.
Now, I know enough about dealing with fulfillment when I worked with Indie Press Revolution to know that fulfillment glitches happen pretty often. This is a big, noticeable one, but I’m not surprised. However, it does remind me of the problem I’ve seen with a number of pre-order and Kickstarter campaigns in the RPG world: after your money is taken, you’ll find it available at Gen Con before you’ve received your copy.
When you do that, you’re sending a clear message that your alpha customers are only valuable to you for their money, and not after that. Now, sometimes that’s not the intended message — when I spoke with Graham Walmsley briefly at Gen Con about Stealing Cthulhu being available for sale while my backer copies hadn’t been shipped yet. he seemed apologetic. I didn’t leave the conversation with a sting, but I will think twice now about backing something else he does.
See, backing & pre-ordering is about trust and, in this very small world, relationships. Show that you don’t value them, and see what happens. I had such a reaction at Gen Con 2010 from Luke Crane, when his Adventure Burner was on sale at the show and people had not yet received their pre-order copies. I commented on this and he blew me off, which told me not to pre-order anything of his again. I saw on Twitter that people did get their copies of Burning Wheel Gold before Gen Con, so it’s cool that he learned from his mistakes there.
Unless you have a fan base that will forgive you for your sins, don’t do this. It takes a lot of work to repair gamer/consumer trust & relationships.
This happens on accident with people who are new to publishing, because new folks always underestimate the time it takes to do, well, everything involved. If you find this happens, gracefully apologize and explain the situation. And, you know, learn from your mistakes. :)
 Or British. I’m not sure.
 There’s another lesson in how, if you have a rabid, cultish following or create books that are critical to conversations online, you can abuse expectations and people’ll keep coming back. Hell, I bought Burning Wheel Gold at Gen Con.
 Edit: Though, apparently Graham has publicly called me a troll for pointing out my consumer reactions to his Kickstarter fulfillment. That is an unfortunate display of character.