I've been keeping an eye on how Mantic would deal with the Dreadball Kickstart campaign ever since a few of you who backed the campaign sent me emails asking what the hell was up with shops getting the product before those who had pledged on Kickstart to back it. Now I'll be honest, the majority of the complaints were from those who had backed the Kickstart campaign as part of the January release schedule. Many claimed they'd done so because the tone of the statement from Mantic was that they'd now in effect sold all their first batch to Kickstart backers and the next shipment would be in January. At the time I assumed that this would mean stores would be getting it in January too... because they'd run out of initial prints. Or that's certainly how I read it at the time. I think a lot of people who emailed me seemed to be slightly miffed at me as well as they'd pledged after reading my support for the project. However, as I had a steady stream of emails coming into me, asking if I'd heard anything about shops getting stock for the Christmas period.
So I emailed Ronnie Renton and raised your concerns. To be fair to Ronnie he responded really, really quickly and said they were desperately trying to sort the situation out with the January pledgers. So it proved to be the case, as everyone who pledged to the Dreadball kickstart campaign will be getting things sent out at the same time for which, Mantic deserve a pat on the back. Especially as I've heard rumours that the same printing factory calamity that has befallen Sedition Wars has also hit Mantic hard with Dreadball... if that is the case then Mantic deserve further plaudits for actually getting the game to us this side of Christmas. Which makes their PR own goal of shipping the game to retailers first all the more of a face-palm moment. I can understand Mantic wanting to get the product out before Christmas, I really do. But, to find out that someone who hasn't backed the campaign, hasn't been involved in supporting Mantic's endeavours can simple walk into a shop and take a copy off of the shelf over a week before they even ship my copy is a little bit galling and disappointing.
I suppose it doesn't help that certain stores have even rubbed the Kickstart backers noses in it by saying "hey if you come to us you can get it before Kickstart backers", while this is a crass sales ploy and is likely to piss some of their customers off, it's still 100% right. If you wanted Dreadball ASAP then it seems backing the Kickstart project wasn't the way to go. I'm also going to admit to being doubly annoyed because I have put so much personal effort into helping support Mantic with this game. Not only did I turn up to their first playtest group, I also ran countless games and fed back information to them and offered advice. I also worked out the insanely complex sequence of numbers on their cards, a task that took a couple of days for which I'd normally be able to charge £250 per day for, given the rates I can charge for consultancy work. I did it for free to help them and mostly Jake out... and yeah... I heavily supported their campaign on my Blog. I know a lot of you backed the campaign after I came out as being so heavily in support of it.
|Looks like I have to wait a little longer to get my hands on this.|
So if you're feeling slightly pissed about your LGS stocking a product you have already paid for and haven't even had shipped to you yet, well you're going to get an apology from me... sorry! Seriously I am sorry that a campaign I've promoted has done something that has clearly pissed so many of you off. If it makes you feel any better, despite all the obvious support and input I've shown for the product I haven't received any preferential treatment myself. Not that I'd expect it either, but I'm just letting you know I'm in the same boat too, and I'm not exactly pleased about it. This really should be a cautionary tale for Mantic, and others who run Kickstart campaigns. I know that as distributors you need to keep retail partners onside, but if that is the case then you should consider offering bulk buy options for retailers during your campaigns. You certainly shouldn't shaft your most ardent and supportive customers by shipping to them late, and no saying we get free stuff isn't good enough. Because in effect people are already playing a game we financed. It's bad customer service and we want our return. Peace out!