Robotech RPG Tactics: Update 197 Weekend, My Thoughts

If there were only two sides to an argument conflict of all kinds would be easy.

White, Black

She said, He said

Right, Wrong

Jelly, Peanut Butter

Unfortunately, rarely are there only two sides to an argument. Again, unfortunately, it is a human condition to attempt to boil any argument down to two sides. Two is a lot easier to comprehend. Having a side to defend and assail is much easier than taking the time to look at all of the sides and even easier than taking the time to understand all of the sides and even easier again, than attempting to have some compassion and understanding for those who you disagree with.

This weekend, starting Friday and potentially ongoing, a series of events unfolded and here is what I know…

Carmine Bellaire of Rogue Heroes Games wrote a poorly worded post on the Robotech RPG Tactics comments. He may have had the best of intentions, unfortunately his words were poorly chosen. Essentially, he was attempting to drum support for his impending Rifts Boardgame Kickstarter and deflect as much negative attention from disgruntled Robotech RPG Tactics backers.

  • Prior to his comments, there had been discussion of backing the Rifts Boardgame with a dollar to post comments/commentary on the negative state of the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter, to avoid anything Palladium Books in general, and be disruptive (in my opinion, a poor way to handle the situation)

What followed was, by internet standards with a few exceptions, a reasonably spirited discussion/argument. Make no mistake a lot was said, most of what was said was not well thought or well intentioned by anyone. This is a problem with internet communication where people on all sides are passionate and feel they have a stake in the discussion.

The following day or so, Kevin Siembieda president of Palladium Books posted Update 197 “A Terrible Day.” I can only hope that Kevin really does have the best interests of Carmine in mind when he wrote Update 197. Unfortunately, instead of writing a factual account of Carmine’s attempted suicide, support for Carmine, and expressing empathy and understanding for Carmine, people who are suicidal, and his target audience, he wrote an attack piece, laying the blame for Carmine’s situation at the feet of the backers.

And that is where I got involved. At first I was curious. Then I started researching. And here were are.

Remember, there are more than two sides to this and nothing is mutually exclusive.

Carmine did what he did not because of a single conversation on the internet. People who harbor suicidal thoughts harbor them for a long time and there are issues beyond the obvious and immediate. That conversation or the one on the Palladium forums or anywhere else may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but make no mistake Carmine needed assistance before then.

Kevin wrote what he wrote, not because he was truly concerned with his friend. The tone and topics of the Update speak directly to this. A friend in need is never in need of having their laundry aired in public, especially in the manner that Kevin chose.

What bothered me most, was the following…

the expectation of the tone Kevin’s update, that when there was a situation to exploit, Kevin would and did take that route.

the level of distrust of Kevin and Palladium Books has engendered, that the thought, “Kevin made it up” was seriously brought up and that is a horrible thought to have.

the complete lack of follow thru, see, on one hand I am okay with what Kevin wrote, if I thought someone or a group of someone’s had done something that led to a friend getting harmed, I too would react in an over the top manner. I would blame them. I would castigate them. I would hold them responsible. I would rant and rave without much thought.

Then…

I would think. I know I would do this, because I have been there.

Kevin should, not needs too, write another Update. He does not have to offer an apology for what he wrote. He should however, speak of his friend in better terms, stop speaking for his friend, inform the community he blamed of his friend’s condition, he should reach out to those who may also harbor similar thoughts, he should demonstrate that he is indeed concerned about his friend and not about his company. He should, in other words, do more.

What about the community? Well, I cannot speak for all internet communities and I won’t. I can say that there are people who need to dial back the vitriol, dial back the rhetoric, dial back the aggression. I understand frustration. I understand frustration leading to anger and all it takes to spark anger into a fire is a few poorly chosen. The community too, should do more.

For Carmine and others who harbor similar thoughts, I hope he recovers. I hope he moves on from this in a positive manner. I hope he has support and gets more support. I hope he reengages with the community, because while his initial words may have been poorly chosen, there is a dialog to engage in for everyone.

Finally, information…

Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-Suicide Prevention

* I have not provided links to the comments or Update 197 for my own reasons.

 

Blowing Robotech RPG Tactics Smoke

I should not have been surprised at all with the end result of our attempt at a home, after all I have been listening to the same lines from Palladium Books about the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter. At least Kickstarter has the decency or smarts to remain quiet and not make things worse by…well see below from today’s (the first in 3 months) “update.”

“We apologize for the 3 months of MIA, as we have been working on multiple productions under the Palladium Books umbrella, plus contending with the process of a recovery after an accident.”

Apologize for the 3 months? What about 3 years of nothing? Well not nothing, but definitely not the whole promised package. What are these multiple productions? A good, hell a halfway decent project manager would not use such an ambiguous phrase with customers, they would detail what the “multiple productions” are and where they are in the production cycle. Right now I imagine someone at Palladium Books is using Wikipedia to read about Project Manager. The accident by the way was a broken arm of one person. Nothing that should have shut down Robotech RPG Tactics for 3 months or 3 years or even 3 days. Unless, Palladium Books is one person in which case, suck it up!

“Wave Two Rewards – This is and will remain our first and primary objective with RRT. It has been painstakingly slower than what we ever expected. As mentioned before, we are seeking to make improvements on Wave Two rewards based on your input and what we have learned with Wave One. This includes reduced part count, reduction of seams and better sprue layouts. However, there are many Wave Two figures that have to be reevaluated and quoted by various manufacturers. They have to review each figure, devise ideal part reductions and mold compositions. This process takes considerable time, and is even longer when there is already a pipeline of projects to be quoted ahead of ours.”

I call bullshit! This “first and primary objective” and “seeking to make improvements” and “reduced part count..blah, blah, blah, blah…BULLSHIT! I could have done all of this by myself faster. There are people who are self-producing the miniatures and they are not having any of the issues that Palladium Books is supposedly encountering. Thus, I call BULLSHIT! None of the above is anything one person with reliable access to Google, a good phone, paper-pen, and some uninterrupted time to couldn’t bang out in under two-weeks.

“RRT Relaunch & Support – We have received excellent suggestions, help and support from numerous RRT backers, event planners, avid wargamers, and Megaversal Ambassadors for in-depth insight, suggestions and ideas on how we can best relaunch Robotech® RPG Tactics™ and provide the support you want. And we intend to tap into many more people for their help and feedback, so keep ‘em coming. There are some wonderful plans developing on how to implement some entertaining options for organized game play, RRT community development and much more.”

Why bother? Robotech RPG Tactics is a shitte game. Not only me saying that. Lots of reviews. Plus the game play and numbers behind the game do not work. I should know, I wrote about them. And do not get me started on the quality of the writing. I have failed students who wrote better. Yet…yet, let’s say there are people out there, lots of them, who do enjoy the game for what it is and have been cheerfully chiming in with suggestions, WHAT ARE THEY? “There are some wonderful plans” is a bullshit throwaway statement used by people who don’t have anything. Seriously, if you have something “wonderful” now would be a good time to share them in the hopes of salvaging something from 5k people who originally supported the game.

“Future RRT Products & Support – This applies to all aspects of RRT, from Wave Two fulfillment and beyond. There have been noteworthy discussions as we review ancillary products, event support and organization, and what needs to follow.”

Again, why bother? Unless all of these pieces are being planned now while Palladium Books is working on Wave 2 (history has shown that this is not happening), why bother? Three years have passed with no end in sight, for the initial range of Robotech RPG Tactics. There is more than enough bad press about Palladium Books and Kickstarter to ensure that unless the license is firmly planted in someone else’s ownership, Palladium Books should never have another in-house successful Kickstarter. Don’t talk to me about Savage Worlds RIFTS, Pinnacle handled that themselves, Palladium Books was only a name.

“In the immediate months after Gen Con we expect to be focusing a large amount of our efforts on moving Robotech RPG Tactics™ and Robotech® forward. Please understand, the fulfillment of Wave Two rewards is extremely important to us and we simply want to try our very best to provide the best game pieces and gaming experience that the RRT backers deserve. We appreciate all of your support, ideas and patience, and we sincerely apologize for these delays. You’ll start to see more happening soon.”

Uh huh, sure you will. Palladium Books has not focused on Robotech RPG Tactics, other than to spare fewer and fewer words saying nothing, for the past three years and after 2 Gen Cons. So why would things change now? Oh, sure there has been an influx of cash from their deal with Pinnacle (better have been), but there was 1 MILLION dollars when the Kickstarter finished. I can’t even appreciate the effort to apologize, because even in this missive from Palladium Books there are so many areas to provide details, to demonstrate that anything other than blowing smoke is happening and the author of the missive chose generalities.

Much like our house, “its going to happen,” has happened too late.

 

Semi-Annual Robotech RPG Tactics Update & Rant

Who likes long stories without an end? Raise your hands. Come on. I know someone in the room does. Yes, you over there you silly fool and let me guess you would pay to hear that long story without an end?

If you guessed that silly fool was me, then you guessed right. If you too are a silly fool I will hazard a guess that you too paid good money to Palladium Games for the abysmal Robotech RPG Tactics and you are (check all that apply)…

  • waiting patiently for the rest of your order
  • forgot about Robotech RPG Tactics
  • laughing at us silly fools because you knew better or got lucky and did not have the money to give away
  • praying for a refund
  • praying for news of Wave 2
  • praying for the death of Palladium Games
  • other (please fill in the blank)

Yes folks, its that time of the year again. That time of the year where I post information gathered by another individual who is way more dedicated to the task I am; ask why no one in the world seems to care that 1 million plus dollars was turned into plastic crap; no one in the world seems to care that customers-investors-suckers-or whatever they are called have no protection or rights on Kickstarter; and where I send out this message into the interwebs where I hope other people will see this and take heed.

Let’s start with the information gathered by another person, screen name Forar (thank you for gathering this information):

Speaking of which, let’s check on the big board!

Days since Wayne said he’d give us a full breakdown on the status of all the pieces: *308*
Days since the campaign was supposed to fully deliver: 863
Days since the campaign ended: 1,088

Days until the end of 2017: 600

Period of time since the campaign became overdue added to show some perspective on just how late things are. Not that being late is in and of itself unacceptable; that’s a more complicated matter of both the factor of how late we are (7 months taking 8 is vastly more acceptable than 7 months taking 36-48+), their lackluster communications (both in terms of frequency and substantial information), and in comparison to their own wave one time table, just to name a few points of contention.

As you can see a long time has passed since anything has happened. If this were any other business the consumers-investors-suckers-or whatever we are being called (be nice) would have gotten a refund from the company (cough, Palladium Books) eager to avoid all of the bad press, negative information, and demonstrate they really do care about their reputation and customers (most likely in that order). Alas, because this was a Kickstarter, Palladium Books is under no obligation to do anything even remotely nice and from what I can tell only has to continue to say that they are “doing stuff” to avoid any repercussions other than bad press (which they seem to care not about).

Why no one in power or with access to power or desiring to create a name for themselves (the press would love this story and all of the other stories of failed Kickstarters-seriously there is a press gold mine of failed Kickstarters where the customers-investors-suckers-or whatever we are called did not get our order, our money back, and have ZERO recourse) has taken on the issue of consumer protection and Kickstarter I do not know. I do know that I have

asked for a refund…been told “Nope, Kickstarter says we don’t have to and we won’t.”

asked for information…been told, nothing and their “Updates” are horrible. Seriously Palladium Books hire a PR person who knows how to write a press release and give information in a positive way or hell, who knows how to put words together in sentences.

asked for my protections from Kickstarter…been told, “As long as they (Palladium Books) makes a good faith effort…” What is good faith? Like the Cloud and Porn you know it when you see it but you cannot define it other than to say you saw it or in this case, some random “update” that prattles on about how awesome they are, how awesome it will be, and how they are doing awesome stuff, but because people were mean to them (read feedback and pissed off over the delays) they won’t say until they have something awesome, which they are working on.

Fuck all.

This has been your semi-regular Robotech RPG Tactics update.

 

 

Robotech RPG Tactics: New Year, New Smoke, Mirrors, & Dreams

Allow me to pull a Palladium Books and cut-n-paste some of my last Robotech RPG Tactics post. If they don’t care enough to write about their own product line, then neither do I care enough to write a completely new intro to what seems to be the same song, to the same dance, for a new year. However, unlike Palladium Books, I will quote myself, because without the quotes I could be accused of plagiarizing myself and with the quotes I will also be taking on another trait of a Palladium Books spam email/adsheet “update,” making myself sound more important to…well myself…than I actually am. 🙂

“I can honestly say that I hate writing about Robotech RPG Tactics or should I say, I hate writing about the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter, Kickstarter, and Palladium Books complete and utter lack of progress.” -Nate Richmond, Robotech RPG Tactics: End of the Year Update

I’ll let the numbers, regularly updated, by a backer with the screen name of Forar (thank you for keeping this bit of bookkeeping) do the talking. Just make sure to add 3 days to these numbers because that has been how many days have passed since Forar updated them:

  • Days since Wayne said he’d give us a full breakdown on the status of all the pieces: **182**
    Days since the last substantial Wave 2 info: 312
    Days since the campaign ended: 962
  • Days until the end of Q2 2016: 176 (current “ideal”)
    Days until Gencon 2016: 209
    Days until the end of 2016: 360
  • Give or take a few hours, we’ve literally hit the half year mark since Wayne was supposed to bring us up to speed on the status of the project. 10.5 months since we saw substantial progress on Wave 2. A month(ish) out from a full thousand days since the campaign ticked over (queue some dudes chiming in that they’ll happily wait another thousand because PB are so dreamy). Less than half a year from the alleged target, and just under 7 months from the obvious reason that this is the target.

Funny thing was I had no intention of writing about this debacle (at all this year), but two things happened. One, someone posted a link to all of the Robotech RPG Tactics posts (thank you). Two, I opened up my weekly spam email/ad sheet from Palladium Books and read this…

2016 Robotech® RPG Tactics. We renewed the Robotech® license and look forward to getting RRT Wave Two into your hands and onto store shelves. I’ll offer up more info and details in an update in the next few weeks. More Robotech® sourcebooks are in the pipeline, too.” -Palladium Books, Weekly Update 2016-01-08

I’m not sure what to think, because after 965 days, only 176ish backers have received their completed order of Robotech RPG Tactics. There are backers who have ordered only a single miniature, who have NOT gotten their order filled. Not one single governmental agency seems to have taken in an interest in this, which is interesting to me because there are a lot more people filing complaints with the BBB, Michigan and other states Attorney Generals, and FTC…or should I be accurate and say, there are more people saying that they have done this. The only thing I can say accurately, is that Palladium Books BBB rating has, as of two days ago, taken a hit. Not that seems to mean anything.

I would think or maybe hope, that if Palladium Books, 1.4 million dollars, and the complete lack of transparency was not interesting to some up and comming lawyer (thinking your standard Grisham novel), that taking on Kickstarter would be. After all we 5,000+ national and international backers/investors/consumers/generally screwed people cannot be the only people who have run into this problem.

What problem? A company with a successfully backed project that has failed to provide said project in a timey fashion nor provided clear, transparent communication about the lack of progress. Kickstarter the company that should be on the side of the backers, is remaining out of the fray with some reasonably clever Terms of Service. So, if no one is interested in some piddly ass company out of Michigan, Kickstarter should be of interest because they got their cut of the money and are doing nothing for 5,000+ backers.

Of course, in my world (I know I dream), someone with some power to make things happen, would take an interest in both. Money or product would be delivered to backers and most of all backers for ALL Kickstarter projects would get some mother fucking consumer protection rights!

I know, I dream.

End of The Year Robotech RPG Tactics Update

I can honestly say that I hate writing about Robotech RPG Tactics or should I say, I hate writing about the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter, Kickstarter, and Palladium Books complete and utter lack of progress.

I’ll let the numbers regularly updated by a backer with the screen name of Forar (thank you for keeping this bit of bookkeeping) do the talking. Just make sure to add 5 days to these numbers because that has been how many days have passed since Forar updated them:

  • Days since the last update: 63 (the longest period of time between updates yet by several days now)
  • Days since Wayne said he’d give us a full breakdown on the status of all the pieces: **152**
  • Days since the last substantial Wave 2 info: 283
  • Days since the campaign ended: 933
  • Days until the end of Q2 2016: 205 (current “ideal”)
  • Days until Gencon 2016: 238
  • Days until the end of 2016: 389

In other words, nothing has happened. The backers continue to vent, complain, speculate, and talk about this Kickstarter and others, but have yet to do much else. There is, as there always is, people who do file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and those who inform anyone who asks the other agencies that they can file complaints with (FTC and Attorney Generals), but as far as I know, no legal action has been taken.

Kickstarter has not done anything about this Kickstarter, at least not in a public way. I can tell you that I am done with Kickstarter, because if I as a backer/investor/consumer do not have any protections against…well extremely long delays, lies, and complete lack of communication from a company, why should I spend my money? I shouldn’t. Backers/Investors/Consumers or whatever we are called should have MORE protections and support than the people/companies making Kickstarter Campaigns. Despite the “risk” for a Kickstarter Campaign, it is the backer/investor/consumer who is assuming the risk-I give someone my money and I have no ability through Kickstarter to take action to ensure that I get my product or a refund. That is a lot of risk on my part.

And what has Palladium Books done or had to say on the subject? This is the last “update,” titled a Quick Note From Kevin:

“Hi, everyone. I just wanted to let you know you are far from forgotten. Things are moving on Robotech® RPG Tactics™ Wave Two, as we explore a number of different possibilities. For a variety of business reasons we cannot yet discuss or reveal exactly what we are looking into and considering. For one, if some of the things we are exploring don’t pan out, we don’t want you to be disappointed. And it seems like every little while, the things we are considering doing get changed for one reason or another.

I can tell you, we want to make sure the rest of the Kickstarter items and future Robotech® RPG Tactics™ product are something special and the best they can be, especially after the long delays in getting Wave Two into your hands. We are examining many different possibilities, but until we nail down the final details, we can’t say much yet. We’ll try to provide some more insight on this next week. But we are exploring many things we know you will enjoy. This includes a number of ideas for the relaunch of Robotech® RPG Tactics™ next year when Wave Two comes out.”

Smoke and mirrors. This has been written numerous times before by Palladium Books. Take note that the “plan” is to relaunch a game that never got a launch. I wish I had something concrete to write about, but nobody is doing anything other than write about what they “are going to do” be that legal action of one sort or another or relaunch a bad game if and when they figure out what they are going to do fufill their obligation from 938 days ago. Meanwhile, Kickstarter laughs all the way to the bank.

Robotech RPG Tactics: Is No Update An Update?

I give up.

Palladium Books is remaining quiet. Sure, you could say the same two sentences which boil down to, “We are doing stuff, but can’t or won’t tell you what stuff we are or may be doing because you, the consumer, will read way more into what poorly constructed self-aggrandizing sentence I wrote and be mean to us. However, we are or may be doing stuff and we love the game as much as you do. P.S. this is totally not our fault and we could show you where it is not our fault, but see previous sentence as to why we don’t,” is them saying something…but it’s not.

I have zero respect for Palladium Books and their treatment of the backers or lack of treatment. I get it Kickstarter allows a company or person to do pretty much whatever they want once the Kickstarter is funded, there is no oversight. I get it that no oversight organization from the Better Business Bureau to Attorney General has any interest in this. Why should they, there is no money or fame to be had from chasing down yet another company that may or may not have doing something. So with no oversight and nobody caring and a “stop picking on us mentality” why should Palladium Books do anything for the backers?

Wayne Smith never did show the timeline of production. Not even another, “I’m working on it.” I am pretty sure that if something like did exist it is gone now, due to unforeseen issues that Palladium Books is having with manufacturers. What issues? Well, there is talk…rumor more like it…that Palladium Books is trying to reduce the part count for the remaining figures. Why bother at this point?

Whatever, is what I have to say to the whole mess.

What has Palladium Books done beyond nothing concrete on the missing figures? Well they printed “demo rules” with paper figures and finally got around to fixing the blast rules. Except that the fix is just as convoluted as the problem. When will someone over there learn how to write rules?

Rules should be easy to read and easy to understand. Bullet points and numbering work best to indicate an order of things. Bold and underline for emphasis, not as a style choice and for the love of whatever deity you pray to learn how to write for the modern era. What does that mean? Short sentences to the point. Yeah, yeah don’t point to my sentences, I am not writing for a pay check.

So what do I have for you? Nothing. The same nothing that Palladium Books has for the backers. They, meaning Palladium Books, seem fine with that. I could write down all of the speculation and there is a lot of it, but why bother.

So I give up. Not like my box of overly complex figures and convoluted rules has moved from the bottom of the “not gonna play pile.” I have other things to do and things that are a lot more fun.

Robotech RPG Tactics, Resource Post (Updated II)

Boy do I wish I could say I had some news to share on the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter. But I do not. A week has passed since my email request for information. A week in the modern business environment is too long. Several days have passed since my Facebook Messenger request to Wayne Smith. Yesterday, on the Facebook Group, Robotech Tactics “Uncensored,” I posted another request for an interview with Wayne Smith or anyone connected with the Kickstarter/Game. I am going to keep trying until the following happens:

  1. I get an interview (consensus is that an interview with anyone is unlikely)
  2. Factual information on Wave 2 is released (consensus on this is also unlikely)

To that end, while reading and researching, Wayne Smith took time to post a reply or two to posters in the group, the original post with his comments and my first request for an interview, disappeared overnight, he indicated that he was working on an update on Wave 2. The update has yet to appear.

The conversation about actions to take continues with plenty of links to go around. Here are some of the more interesting and useful ones for those inclined (some are repeats from previous posts):

Kickstarter Terms of Use:

New

Old

Contact Palladium Books:

There is a link on the Kickstarter page as well, see link below. To date, I can factually say that I have not received a response to the Kickstarter, the email address below, Facebook Messenger, or Facebook.

Palladium Books contact us page

For Those Looking To Follow Along:

Keep in mind that these are forums and pages where the conversation ranges far and wide. However, for those willing to take the time, you can find information, and gauge backer dissatisfaction, among other things.

Palladium Robotech RPG Tactics Forum

Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter Page

DakkaDakka Robotech RPG Tactics Forum

RPG.net Robotech RPG Tactics Forum

Organizations and Articles:

These organizations and articles have been culled from various forum posts and my own research. Each of these has a role in filing a complaint and attempting to gather information. Use them at your discretion.

FTC

FTC, “Don’t Let Crowd Funding Be Your “Doom””

Michigan Attorney General, home state for Palladium Games

Better Business Bureau

Washington States Sues Kickstarter Campaign

Geekwire version of above article

Palladium Books Wiki page (interesting read especially the “crisis of treachery” and take on RRT) *new*

Above all else, if you are a backer and are attempting to get information, contact Palladium Books, or take action make sure that you do your own research. The topic is large and contentious with people on both sides throwing around information that may sound legitimate or factual, but is actually speculation and rumor.

The links above are those that I have been too, read through, looked into, and feel reasonably confident are useful-even if you have to wade through forum fights from time to time. If and when there is an Update or action in one direction or another, I will write on that.

Update:

Within hours of this post going live an Update was posted to the Kickstarter. Read it first. Despite looking long, there is little factual information. What is factual information? Information that is backed up with evidence or proof. Saying that something is done or in progress is not the same thing as providing evidence. The box art or renders of models is nice, but that does not constitute proof that anything has been done.

There is plenty for me to talk about in the update, but the thing that stood out most, even more than the blame game, woe is me tone, lack of professionalism, and the desperate need for Palladium Books to hire a project manager and public relations professional, was the statement that the onus for the survival and success of the game falls on us.

As has been pointed out in many places, Palladium Books is doing little to promote Robotech RPG Tactics and little more to engender good will amongst the gamer community or the Robotech community. Thus, putting the onus for the game on the backs of the community is bothersome. A way to say, “If the game dies, we didn’t do it, you did.” In a way, they would be right, we did not play the game for whatever reason, but the game is theirs to promote, a representation of their company, and ultimately they make the money from the game, so shouldn’t they be the ones doing more to promote the game?