Saturday, October 7, 2017

Shieldwolf Miniatures: War is Coming: Warmaidens & Dragonbreds Kickstarter Cancellation

Shieldwolf Miniatures: An explanation is deserved -along with our gratitude for your pledged support (once again) Angelos here, still recovering from the flu that put down my entire team. I apologize for the delay but I prefered posting this myself. I will try to be as detailed as possible to make up for that. Let's commence. How this project started

If any of you have followed us in the past, you'll know that in our previous project we funded a complete army of Shieldmaidens which albeit some unforeseen issues we had to overcome was delivered with only a minor delay. On top of that we proved wrong all the foul languages who attempted to stain the company (when it was priorly cancelled allegedly due to a low-ball funding target); the project relaunched with exactly the same funding target and delivered as promised.To place a cherry on top of the creation we believe that the plastic kit is perhaps the best HIPS fantasy kit for army wargaming ever to come out of a Kickstarter (also judging by the aftersales), but that's up to you to decide as opinions will always vary, fair enough *smile*

Succeeding the army was the Warmaidens kit, who are the less disciplined but more jumpy/lethal/furious/lunatic faction. We have posted background on those multiple times as they are a unique invention of ours and we know of nothing similar worldwide in the market. I like investing in know-how as it is a chance to provide more to our customer base and this kit would have given us the opportunity to demonstrate how we can implement (much) more dynamic poses than what we have done so far. While we would have loved to have these funded to complement the Shieldmaidens we opted it was not the most requested item and it should not pitch the next project. The polls and surveys - We created two different polls (one on Kickstarter and one on FaceBook) and sent a survey to a number of random people who have supported us in the past via retail purchases. The question was "which fantasy army do you prefer, Talliareum (paladins) or Krumvaal (barbarians)?" to which all three showed the barbarians clearly leading in the confrontation.

What now seems to have been a mistake, is that we worked on the project with the numbers we had in hand without realizing that something may change in the meanwhile. All those who know me will testify I am very particular/peculiar/you name it with numbers. If numbers don't add up, I don't expect the Heavens to provide a solution, I need something concrete. Now I haven't got the results here with me, but trust me when I tell you that the numbers we had collected were crystal clear on what would have made the project succeed. That, along with our involvement with HeroQuest(TM) which froze for good after one of the owners decided not to licence the IP, didn't really give us much time to re-evaluate any changes. The boardgame cancellation had simply eaten up time (and some trivial expenses, but I treasure time more) so I just found myself with a sum that no longer was going into boardgaming. I decided to invest it on the science fiction market instead. Which is in hindsight what made numbers change without anyone here being aware of it, me primarily as the final decisions go through me.

The project launches - The project commenced very nicely. It funded fairly fast and if you have seen our video or followed any of our dedicated forum threads on various channels, you'd have known this was planned as our BIG project. Four different fantasy armies (Wolf Wardens, Sisters of Talliareum, Warmaidens & Dragon Wardens) and three different sci-fi armies (Sisters of Wolves, Sisters of Faith and Sisters of Dragons) along with ultimate stretch goals for the tooling of the vehicles and Aracnomaidens/Aracnowraths in HIPS. After which, the project ended.

Now, to the juice... What you could not possibly have known is the number of people who messaged us mainly here on Kickstarter (but also on our FaceBook page) stating they were interested on the Sisters of Faith alone and that's the only reason they had pledged. Which to us meant that the number we were seeing was probably a false one and not rappresentative of what the pledges were actually for! Yeah, big alarm bell on the horizon. Also important, after a few days of the project having launched (and funded) we received an email apparently from a company that believed that in some way we violated their IP rights. I write "apparently" because we trust this to be a false email for reasons I'll get back to later. I called up Dimitrios (no, not the person whose usually communicating with you guys, my lawyer whose firm is behind us) and he said he doubted this was a legitimate email because while it had some legal terms, it didn't look to him like something that would be sent from a company of that size. Regardless, he forwarded all documentation from O.B.I (Οργανισμός Βιομηχανικής Ιδιοκτησίας) which is in Marousi,Athens and stands for Organism of Industrial Property, plus all documents from EUIPO we had collected (that's the European Patent Office for EU protection and is located in Spain). The email was a "no-reply" and perhaps wasn't delivered.

We proceeded in the next days assessing the new situation and no longer thinking of the email, when a second email arrived. Again Dimitrios sent the same response and again no reply. Thinking it was a hoax, we proceeded in sending an email to the company itself to ask for clarifications. There too, we had no reply. In the meanwhile, we witnessed a drag and ultimately a stall in the project itself. The value for money according to us is always good to start with and we will only add as many "freebies/bonuses" as logistics allow us. Current state of funding didn't allow absolutely anything else to be placed atop, so we were basicaly at a stand still. 

Numbers no longer add up - There are two reasons for which I decided to pull the plug. - First and main reason, it is my responsability to ensure nobody loses a single dime when participating in a project I put MY name underneath it. If for some reason the emails were indeed legitimate (because, again, we have every reason to believe those were never legitimate emails and the company allegedly associated with that is in reality not involved at all!), we would end up in court. Fine, let's go to court, we respect everyone else's IP rights as much as we demand that they respect ours. But... having tied up the finances of the company in the cofunding of the project, making no profit out of this at all -which theoretically could be used elsewhere- and never expecting precedent earnings to guarantee future ones in the coming future (I never expect that, or at least I never base anything on that logic, it simply doesn't hold water), I might find myself however all of the sudden not able to finance the actual procedures.

On top of that, the sums that EUIPO charges in order for us to have the papers in hand. They (EUIPO) are not illogical, but the amounts certainly add up when all of the sudden your finaces become tight. To give you some numbers (I did say that I would try to be as thorough as possible) a single miniature costs 350 euros for a single state and can go up to 850 euros for European coverage with all the paperwork and other expenses, and then we had sprues that are more complex, double that since there would have probably been two different ones and then multiply by two as there was fantasy and science fiction versions. After nine (9) items, from ten (10) till fifty (50) they provide a discount, and after one hundred (100) even more, but that was never going to happen anyway, I'm just mentioning some things you might find interesting. Anyway, back to the situation, one must remember that what we have done is all Work in Progress, there's no way we could have deposited something officially at the Office in Spain since the slightest change alters the whole process. Not to talk of the sprues that take months to materialize. It is after all what crowdfunding is meant to be about. So all this would have needed to potentially take place.

Numbers suddenly don't add up. I don't "play" when numbers don't add up, especially when I have other people's hard earned money and trust deposited in my hands. Nor am I ever allowed to spend it on absolutely anything else it wasn't destined for. It is my responsability to know that all this is going to work 100% and when things don't look good stop the game before someone gets injured as a matter of speaking. I stopped the game and -just like the Shieldmaidens- I would do so again. It is the right thing to do. Second reason is that the project was set up wrong. I assume full responsability for that. People, well, we all have the tendency to ask for the sky and the stars and the galaxy and if possible literraly everything else our mind can visualize, but what we were seeing here was not irrational. It simply showed that what the project was providing was not meeting most of the backers expectations. I write backers and not referring to people "on the fence" or near the bench or whoever hadn't actively placed a single buck in the project's funding, for obvious reasons. When you get that many messages, you simply can't ignore them all unless funding somehow keeps augmenting (which wasn't happening). We structured based on a result that is no longer valid. That is my fault as I was the one who gave the green light to work this way.

One more lesson for me (and my team I guess) is that we are trying to please too many people, we add more and the result is everybody gets less. Final saying, where do we go from here The project will relaunch with only a single faction: Talliareum (paladins). One fantasy and one sci-fi. Theoretically we can start in a few days, we already have all the legwork done. I will however wait, not only because my entire team (me included) are down with the flu, but also because I would like to implement changes to some of the models according to feedback we received in this project. We will inform when ready if you are following us here on Kickstarter, FaceBook page or our Newsletter. Aracnomaidens/Aracnowraths will be created by Shieldwolf and made directly available via retail. Any future earnings will be deposited in favor of the Wolf Wardens/Sisters of Wolves, either to be made directly available via retail or diminuish any funding target these may require to cover their costs. Final paragraph. A big thank you to everyone whom one way or another stands by our side. In a country currently undergoing economic oppression, you allow Shieldwolf Miniatures staff to maintain a prosperous vision and normality. Gratitude. Dottore Angelos Margaritis (Shieldwolf Miniatures CEO)

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