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Thread: Kickstarter Daydreams

  1. #1

    Default Kickstarter Daydreams

    Was just perusing the WW1 thread regarding the pending Series 1 reprint and was intrigued by the comments on balloons (as one member said "the Holy Grail").

    Given the vagueness of forthcoming answers regarding possible reprint or new release, plus the dismal track record for coming close to projected production release dates, it caused me to wonder.

    Has anyone considered proposing a Kickstarter funded project to specifically release only the balloons?

    It would entail model production, new dies, decals, printing of boxes and new rule books, hand assembly and packaging, shipping, et al....time frame from start to finish in need of clarification...but most especially COST.

    With the success of T&T from Kickstarter it seems to me this may be a method to get the "Holy Grail" back into the production queue. It would also give ARES a clear indicator of how much desire there is for the product.

    Just a daydream, but thought it worth a tumble. Thoughts anyone?

  2. #2

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    Based on Ares Kickstarter record so far for Giants and T&T, there may be a few who would be reluctant to back another Ares Kickstarter.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken at Sunrise View Post
    Based on Ares Kickstarter record so far for Giants and T&T, there may be a few who would be reluctant to back another Ares Kickstarter.
    More than a few!

  4. #4

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    I would not have thought a Kickstarter is necessary because the moulds from the Nexus models presumably still exist. The capital outlay to produce the models would surely be lass than that for the Battlestar Galactica starter.

  5. #5

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    I am super impressed by RAF's Shapeway produced balloons, I have both in my collection. If the costs could be reduced and a mass assembly/painting and support bits provided one could bypass the extinct balloons and have a far better product. I have investigated casting and vacuum forming processes already. With decent labor costs here in the states you are still looking at around $100 to do them justice. . . frankly we are spoiled with what we have, especially in the small numbers of production. You need to sell 2,000+ these days to get a decent return on investment. Even the elves are reluctant and they have scratch built 40 over the years . . .

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    My latest purchase, around $50, just a few thoughts from the Clipperdome . . .

  6. #6

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    It would seem to be rather a narrow use of a Kickstarter for an existing design. Ares has been disappointingly non-forthcoming on the balloon reprint status (par for the course), but I doubt that it would speed things up.

  7. #7

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    I'm not speaking from knowledge here so I may be wrong but it seems to me that the set up/tooling costs are only a part of the problem for Ares.

    They seem to have one large production run of a series of items and then fill the supply pipeline with this.

    That means they must have an enormous investment in stock which is taking them a long time to recover. It's very unlike the normal supply chain where product is manufactured on a regular basis and inventory is kept to a manageable level and turned over quickly and there is constant supply. We go from feast to famine because of this production model but I guess to keep product at a sellable price its maybe cheaper to invest in stock versus short run production costs.
    It would seem that Kickstarter is the obvious way for them to market the product but your customer base will only support successful launches and they don't seem to have a good record here.

  8. #8

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    I remember a thread once where the actual production numbers were mentioned of several products and I was surprised by the low numbers. Anyone still here who has a memory that far back?

  9. #9

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    Interesting that Ares' bad Kickstarter reputation is based on one run. My opinion, anyway. The Flight of the Giants was successful, to most of the supporters. There was a problem with a stretch goal that was not based on their expertise, and had to be sub-contracted out, and thundered in. So, the main product was delivered, along with a lot of stretch goals, but a single stretch goal didn't get produced (and, being out of Ares realm of expertise, will likely never get made).

    The Tripods Kickstarter campaign went very well, with the one exception of attempting to satisfy too many supporters that wanted a WWII version. That is going to bit them, like the Flight of the Giants stretch goal above. The WWII version is in their realm of expertise, but is likely to take some significant time to develop. Just a point, but as a play-tester for the original version, and getting a prototype game to play with, I've never been asked to trial the WWII verion, or any part of that stretch goal. So, is that being kept under wraps? Will I be asked to trial it, when the game balance is worked out to something usable? Is it even being looked at?

    The production problems Ares ran into with the WWI planes was a blind-side for them. How that went so wrong is unbelievable. But, with that issue, a lot of other things went sideways on Ares, nothing of which they had any control over. All of it was outside of their company. I certainly do not appreciate having to wait nearly a year for a product I paid for, but can I really blame Ares for it. I don't think so.

    Dealing with Chinese factories, you have to make it worth their while to do a production run. I have no idea what numbers that takes, but I suspect it is a big amount. Ares probably sinks a fair bit of capital into a run, and then has to sell enough product to finance the next run. If a run doesn't sell (or parts of the run turn out to be peg queens), Ares doesn't have capital to do another run. And the supply languishes. I have no idea how much the delays are costing Ares, but having to foot the bill to fly people to China to deal with factories that just won't provide decent product must have been a hardship that can only impact that limited capital to support Wings of Glory.

    So. Balloons in a Kickstarter? I don't think that Ares believes there is enough interest for a Kickstarter, nor do they have loose capital to put into a set that will have a very limited appeal, considering the niche market. From personal experience, I was buying Balloon Buster sets in a game store in 2012, that were collecting dust on their shelves. I also cleaned out a store of Wings of War WWII planes and booster packs in 2014, that were taking up shelf space, and they hadn't sold a single plane in two years. This included Spitfires and Me.109s.

    For all the interest on this forum for Wings of Glory, and for all the planes we keep saying we want, Ares is doing its best to get stuff done. It is a Small (7 staff) company, with everything contracted out and assembled on arrival. Really, almost everything is out of their hands, when they run into companies that don't deliver in accordance with their contracted obligations.

    I'm a Taurus. Patience is one of my traits. And with this game, I desperately need it.
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  10. #10

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    I agree, but it's such a fantastic game(s) . . . a really great people linger here and connect in very strange ways.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken at Sunrise View Post
    Based on Ares Kickstarter record so far for Giants and T&T, there may be a few who would be reluctant to back another Ares Kickstarter.
    What was the issue with the Giants Kickstarter? I participated and it turned out fantastic. What is the crux of the complaints?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken at Sunrise View Post
    Based on Ares Kickstarter record so far for Giants and T&T, there may be a few who would be reluctant to back another Ares Kickstarter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lohengrin View Post
    What was the issue with the Giants Kickstarter? I participated and it turned out fantastic. What is the crux of the complaints?
    The below is all my opinon and experience. I didn't get into the Giants Kickstarter, so only peripherally aware of the issues with it. Everything else has been gleaned by observation, not communication with Ares.

    The Flight of the Giants Kickstarter was about getting the hugh planes of WWI produced. That happened. Of the stretch goals, one was an 'app', for solo gaming, IIRC (or not), that Ares couldn't get done. I'm not totally up on what went wrong, but Ares is fairly adamantly not going to deliver on that stretch goal. They seem to have walked away from it. There are supporters who are very dissatisfied with this decision, and very vocal about it. From Ares point of view, the campaign was 100% successful, in that the giants were produced.

    More Info:
    Flight of the Giants: Kickstarter.com - Wings of Glory: Giants of the Sky
    WWII App: iTunes app - WW2 Wings of Glory Toolkit

    For Tripods...
    Many people on the Forum were not happy that Ares seemed to divert their exceedingly limited production capability to a fringe off-shoot game. Really, and I agree mostly, anything that diverts capability from the core game delays and limits critical elements of Wings of Glory. There are so many early and mid-war planes yet to see the light of day. Also, the WWII series 4 release (Pacific Theatre) was put on, what appears to be, indefinite hold, as Ares focused attention on a game that really didn't appeal to the historical players.

    In conjunction with Tripods, Ares scheduled a re-release of the classic Series One planes, tying them into stretch goals and starter packages with the Tripods. Then, things when sideways, and compounded in ways that dumbfounded me. I have no idea why there would have been a problem with planes that Ares had been putting out for years, but for whatever reason, the factory in China was producing garbage. This put everything on hold, and distracted Ares from a lot of other things they wanted to get done.

    Not only the Tripods got put on hold. There were plans to put out Balloons, and other things, but that very limited staff was now juggling issues that just wouldn't go away, and that lead to other issues that shouldn't really have been issues. Packaging, printing stock, et al...

    I am certain that some of the smoldering in the background is caused by Ares suddenly announcing the Battlestar Galactica line, and getting it to market within six months? This production speed beggars the imagination for those experienced with Wings of Glory over the years. Especially those who have waited for five years to not see WWII Pacific Theatre planes that were already in CAD prototype, awaiting production samples.

    From my point of view, the Tripods Kickstarter appears to be a blend of many issues, and may have been an attempt on Ares part to change the method of plane production to allow them to produce single planes, rather than sets of four (FYI: All series plane production in the past has been for four different planes produced in a single mold. If any single plane was desired, all four had to be produced. So, if there was a plane that was not selling, or worse, two of the four, Ares was sitting on a lot of stock, with no way to get capital for another run.). I have no inside info on this, but if so, should this have worked out properly, then Ares could have been in a position to put out resupplies of single airplane types in the future. I could see Ares holding out for this for any future release, including the WWII Series 4 planes.

    Perhaps technical difficulties are getting in the way of that plan? I am very hopeful that this is what is going on, and that Ares does sort it out. If this is what is going on, and Ares does sort it out, Wings of Glory plane production could be very different in the future, and we could see individual plane types being restocked as needed, with unpopular planes being produced occassionally.

    Should Ares be pilloried for the above? Perhaps for the Giants app, but if they were embarking on a new means of aircraft production, or even just at the mercy of a factory in China, I am willing to give them a bit of mercy. Would I get into a Kickstarter campaign again? It really depends on what that was.

    For Tripods, as a Game Demo Host at conventions, I have seen the attraction of non-historical gamers seriously spike on seeing the models on the table. History doesn't attract droves of new players. Sci-Fi and big props (like a near-full-scale Zeppelin or a 1/200 scale aircraft carrier) will bring many people to the table, if only to ask questions. And from my point of view, getting people to try the game will draw more players into it, and if that means reeling them in by a subtrifuge or Sci-Fi wrapper, I'm 100% behind it.

    So, the next Kickstarter should be Pacific Theatre 1/200 scale aircraft carriers for the USN and the IJN, along with the simultaneous release of the Pacific Theatre Starter Set (Wildcats and Zeros).
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGuy59 View Post
    ... I have no inside info on this, but if so, should this have worked out properly, then Ares could have been in a position to put out resupplies of single airplane types in the future. I could see Ares holding out for this for any future release, including the WWII Series 4 planes.
    That would definitely be worth the wait.
    Apart from needing the Dr.1 to fit the Triplanes part of the title, Ares would have been far better off producing SE.5as, Fokker D.VIIs, and the Balloon Buster Camel and SPAD and forgoing the DVa (which is readily available in the Dual Pack) I believe they would have had much more interest in T&T had they done that.

    As for the WWII expansion, I think the Tripods should be upgraded to more 'modern' looking ones than the ones used for WWI.
    I think that whole concept should have been added later instead of trying to cram everything into one package.

    The delay doesn't bother me. If it's anything like the Giants, I won't get to try it out for quite a while anyway.
    Kinda like my WGS collection. 226 planes and only a couple of small Battle of Britain solo trials about a year ago.
    But I will order the new bombers as soon as Keith lists 'em ....

  14. #14

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    Hmmm ive gone off Kickstarters (anyone who plays Heroes of Normandie will definitely know what im on about). Im not an expert on it by any means but my feeling is that the concept is now broken because too many established companies are using it as a standard project manager and swamping the kickstarter manufacturing capacity. It should really only be being used by fledgling companies who dont have the capital and reputation to risk self funding their own projects. This causes the long delays and sometimes even loss of pledge money.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumptonian View Post
    That would definitely be worth the wait.
    Apart from needing the Dr.1 to fit the Triplanes part of the title, Ares would have been far better off producing SE.5as, Fokker D.VIIs, and the Balloon Buster Camel and SPAD and forgoing the DVa (which is readily available in the Dual Pack) I believe they would have had much more interest in T&T had they done that.

    As for the WWII expansion, I think the Tripods should be upgraded to more 'modern' looking ones than the ones used for WWI.
    I think that whole concept should have been added later instead of trying to cram everything into one package.

    The delay doesn't bother me. If it's anything like the Giants, I won't get to try it out for quite a while anyway.
    Kinda like my WGS collection. 226 planes and only a couple of small Battle of Britain solo trials about a year ago.
    But I will order the new bombers as soon as Keith lists 'em ....
    Pete, I am afraid that my speculation about separate molds may not be what went wrong. Being that they are releasing the same four planes as Series One, it might be just a factory change. Or not. There are the Nieuport 16s, and they appear to be separate from any other production.

    Then, we see the Battlestar Galactica line of models, and the quality that is being put into them. It is astounding the quality and detail on them, when you compare it with what is coming out for Wings of Glory (and here I refer to the Crappycanes, with decals that are 20% too small for the models).

    We will just have to wait and see what comes. There are so many things in the queue, and Ares isn't talking about any of it, until the Tripods mess is sorted out, and in stores.
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  16. #16

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    Hi OldGuy59, thanks for your assessment of the Kickstarters. Yes, I can see how the failure to deliver a promised Stretch Goal is disappointing, but it is a Stretch Goal and these things can be problematic if development snags are encountered. Not justifying it, but it's not necessarily a case of overreaching by Ares, either.

    On T&T I share your disappointment too that our WOG historical game was adulterated with Sci-Fi, and for that reason had not participated until late in the KS process for that reason. But the inclusion of some [possibly] exclusive KS aircraft models convinced me to support Ares for the good of the WOG product line. One thing with Kickstarter campaigns is that they are not product orders, no matter how much they are presented as such. Delays are often inherent in the process and people demanding timely delivery are bound to be disappointed. Now failure to deliver, ever, is a big problem. But these Kickstarters are designed to spur development and there's an inherent risk since, as my father used to say, "there's many a slip twixt cup and lip."

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by strontiumdog View Post
    Hmmm ive gone off Kickstarters (anyone who plays Heroes of Normandie will definitely know what im on about). Im not an expert on it by any means but my feeling is that the concept is now broken because too many established companies are using it as a standard project manager and swamping the kickstarter manufacturing capacity. It should really only be being used by fledgling companies who dont have the capital and reputation to risk self funding their own projects. This causes the long delays and sometimes even loss of pledge money.
    Heroes of Normandie!
    There is a story to bring tears to one's eyes.

    Have you received your game yet, Dan?
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  18. #18

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    It is quite interesting hearing the troubles that Ares has had, and reading many of the threads about disgruntled long time supporters reminds me of one of my other hobbies. Back in the late 1990s, Porsche was on the verge of bankruptcy. Their cars were complicated, poorly built and niche. The die-hards were buying 911s and 944s, but that market was only so big. Porsche then took a giant financial leap and decided to build the Cayenne. That car saved the company, and it, along with the Macan is now by far and away, by orders of magnitude, the most successful line Porsche offers. However, still to this day those same die-hards complain about the SUVs as diluting the Porsche name etc... Now how does this have anything to do with WOG??? Ares is a small niche company. Personally I see the shiny, flashy Sci-Fi offerings from T&T and BSG to be the potential Cayenne for Ares. Recognizable brand names such as Battlestar could go quite a long way to shove an influx of cash towards other Ares lines such as WOG. I understand that T&T and Battlestar has pulled valuable resources away from allowing them to reprint models and bring new releases in a timely manner. I agree 100%. I, as a fan of the Pacific Theater am particularly miffed by the fact that we still haven't had a release from Ares with Wildcats and Zekes. However, hopefully this is all part of their long game.

    The Cayenne has allowed Porsche to squirrel money away for the projects that they really want to make: ie the 911 and true sports cars. Hopefully these Sci-Fi offerings can do the same thing for Wings of Glory. My $.02

  19. #19

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    Adulterated with “Sci-Fi”? Hmmm, well, considering H.G. Wells contribution to miniatures gaming, I tend to think of it more as an appropriate homage that you can choose not to bother with if it ain’t your cup of tea.

    My question about future kickstarters to Ares would be, was this all par for the course, or just a confluence of bad breaks that you don’t anticipate happening again. Was the time frame as originally conceived over-optimistic, and would you factor in at least some delays in the future for a more realistic assessment? Now, I would bet it was a “perfect scenario” assessment with at least some wiggle room, because I have no doubt they really wanted it on the shelves by October (because that’s just the way retail works), but it was never going to be out in July, or whatever the target date was, it would be better to tell people a more realistic date up front. My two coppers worth.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGuy59 View Post
    Heroes of Normandie!
    There is a story to bring tears to one's eyes.

    Have you received your game yet, Dan?
    If you mean Heroes of Stalingrad kickstarter, its been delayed about a year now. Thankfully i have 99% of all other modules etc for the Heroes of Normandie. It was a terrible shock when Devil Pig 'fessed up about their financial situation. Referring to my comments on the Kickstarter system , they shouldnt have done that with Stalingard anyway - they must have known the players would lap it up if they released it.

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    I dont think Ares have a choice as regards the T & T and BG releases. The sad fact is that historical games are on the decline due to the change in demographic. The trend is for fantasy, sci-fi or weird ww2. If its not those its vampires/werewolves/zombies or steampunk. The bottom line is that companies have to go where the money is. Its a bit depressing tbh.



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