Remember back in the early part of this decade when crowdfunding was red-hot and could do no wrong? Back then it was common for some of the high-profile funding efforts to raise a million or more in cash. Then the bloom started fading from the rose when stories of broken promises, late (or nonexistent) deliveries, and shoddy finished products began spreading. As some unfortunate entrepreneurs discovered, just being able to raise the money isn’t enough to guarantee you can make a successful product.
In 2013 roleplaying game makers Palladium Books, most famous for their Rifts RPG and various products based on Robotech, launched their own Kickstarter for their next product: Robotech RPG Tactics, an expansive tabletop miniatures game. The campaign raised nearly 1 and a half MILLION dollars — enough to guarantee people would get what they paid for, right?
That’s also what Palladium thought, but delays and unexpected complications resulted in their burning through the crowdfunded capital before they could blink. They partnered with a company called Ninja Division to make the miniatures, but it turned out the models they had made were incompatible with the manufacturing process, resulting in a loss of $35,000, plus the cost of doing them over again.
Though the boxed game and the basic set were eventually delivered, Palladium ran out of cash before they could make the more expansive set of figures that people who donated large amounts of money were owed. This week the president of Palladium had to take the microphone and sheepishly admit that those who pledged the higher tiers would NEVER get their figures.
If it was just a matter of scrounging together the money, it could have happened eventually…..but after 30 years of partnership, Harmony Gold is yanking away the Robotech license from Palladium, so they soon won’t be able to make the figures even if they had the cash to. As for why they’re losing the license, the prez wouldn’t say — he mentioned “non-disclosure agreements” preventing him from getting too specific.
The best Palladium can do at this point is offer the remaining backers stock from the existing Robotech RPG Tactics product that was produced. But the president says there may not even be enough of THAT for everyone!