Hello dear readers. It’s been a long time with only a Gribblin to keep you so I thought I’d turn up and bring you all a warning about a company that some of you may be familiar with or may not be.
The company in question (no surprise I know as it’s in the title) is Games and Gears. I own a set of their Ichiban Pro brushes that I backed the Kickstarter for and I have to say they are excellent products and I enjoy using them. However, my next experience with them has been far from acceptable let alone good.
In late 2013 Games and Gears started up a Kickstarter for their “next generation battle boards” a 6′ x 4′ set of boards that you could get for a very reasonable price. As they were offering a 10mm scale Dropzone Commander board I leapt on board and pledged for a set, with the May 2014 delivery date being barely 6 months away this seemed like a great project to back and would get me some nice boards to share with friends for our games of DzC, a bit more stable than the card tiles we used from the cityscape set at the moment. So, I bit the bullet, sent off my money and even added to that by pledging for some dice trays and model trays to enhance the board and keep things tidy.
All was going well, people were excited about the boards and then China had a flood. Now, this isn’t really an issue, folks are understanding and these things happen. However, what happened thereafter has been a tale of misery and woe that any company could do well to learn from as G&G have just run their reputation into the ground among those who have backed and supported them.
Originally we were told that only some of the boards were damaged and things would carry on with a few boards being delayed slightly. This was quickly then changed that all the boards would be scrapped and remade and G&G were sticking with the company that had been flooded as a gesture of good will. I’ve got no problem with that either. What people did take issue with was the fact that this is pretty much the only information that was given until December 2014. Every single update mentioned that the flood had taken place, but that the boards we were getting are awesome and we’d be excited to get them in our hands. We were also updated that in December all the boards were in the UK for QC testing.
We delayed this Friday update hoping to get all the answers prior posting this. We will get the info next week.
– Once cleared customs on the the road to our warehouses. In Jan 2015 final QC checks, insuring each board has arrived safely as well with trays. Recount of the 50000+ clips. Pretty much final preparations before we release these to you and that we have insured you get top quality. If anything Ichiban Kickstarter has shown us the slow process we take to insure every step is done properly pays off with great customer satisfaction.
Still on track:
-Dropzone Commander Battle Boards (10mm) Expected to be ship from Shenzhen port end of this coming week. Worst case beginning of the week after but it finally bound to get out of China :)!!
– Anima Wars Still Projected to be Shipped out on the 22nd.
– Anima Paint Job to be finished today. We going to allow one more working day which will be Monday just to be sure it is all completed. Then QC check and pack.
– Hellscape 5th final paint job still under way.
We were told that the QC testing involved them unpacking and checking every single board and then repacking it. Rather exhaustive and people were just asking when we could expect to see the boards if they were all in the UK?
We received updates saying that the Hawk Urban Wars (the boards that had been received by G&G and were undergoing QC in that December update quoted above) would be shipped to backers by April 15th. No-one received their boards by this date.
– Hawk Urban War Battle Board: Are turning up. Please allow till the 15th of April for your gears to get to you. When you do get them please post pictures of them and share them with us.
What if I don’t get my Hawk Wargames Urban War battle board by then?
Don’t panic. Some will slip past the delivery times as have done with our other kickstarters, or missed deliveries. Just pm us and give us a few days to sort it and get it back to you as we have to locate it, most times it is just on it’s way.
When did these boards start arriving? Last month! People in Hong Kong and then Australia were the first to start receiving their boards, odd considering the boards were supposedly in the UK after having been held up in customs….
Unsurprisingly the backers of the Kickstarter asked questions of G&G as to where all these delays were coming from? All people wanted was honest answers. We even got a response from the head of the company saying that they’d messed up and would do better. So, what happened after that? Well, they actually cut off any and all communications with the backers.
Unless you PM them asking only about tracking numbers for packages or saying you’d got your boards you’d not get a response. We now have updates saying that the people that were responding to the comments no longer have the time to do so. Any questions that have been asked on their Facebook page have vanished as soon as they’ve appeared, leaving only positive things to be shown.
We still have no idea about when (or if) any of the other boards are going to be delivered because no-one is talking to those that put their money in to allow G&G to actually manufacture them. The backers have been fed the same recycled soundbites over and over again and all the community has asked for is a proper explanation of what is going on and where this project is. This is greeted by stone cold silence from the company.
People showed patience at the start, But over a year since the delivery date should have been (we know Kickstarters overrun but at least there is normally some communication and not out right lies from the people involved) and a lot of people are getting upset about things. G&G have even made accusations against some of their backers that they are determined to harm G&G by being slanderous about G&G. It’s untrue, all that has happened is that G&G have been called out for lying. They give one date and then change it. The boards were sold as “base painted” they are not, they are plain grey plastic, not the “two coats of grey” that we have been told. This has been confirmed by every single person that has received their boards.
The carry case that was supposed to be included has been cut from the final deliverable, this is apparently due to the weight of the boards and the expense of shipping. To keep the Kickstarter in the black, things that were promised to the backers have been cut, so we’re no longer getting everything we were told that we would be. We are basically getting a set of bare plastic boards with a few painted areas on them. For the £62 I pledged I’m not going to complain too hard about that, but if I was buying the £140 retail set I’d not be happy about what you get for the money.
I’m still waiting for my Dropzone boards, I have no idea when they are going to get here and G&G will not speak to anyone about that. So, we’re over a year late, a year in which everything that we have been told is happening, and every date we have been given has more or less been shot down and passed. Yes, some people finally have their boards, but they’re all saying that what they’ve got wasn’t what they were expecting. And, while the boards are OK, they’re certainly not the standard that the Kickstarter seemed to promise.
I’ve backed many Kickstarters by now and none of them have been this poorly managed. Completely cutting off communication with your customers is never a good thing to do, especially in as close a community as the wargaming fraternity.
So folks, if you fancy yourselves some “next generation battle boards” you’re better off buying the GW ones, yes you’ve got to paint those, but you get someone to carry them in, can get them easily enough and you’re going to put as much work into those as you can do for these ones that are just plain grey plastic too.
I’m really disappointed in G&G and the way they’ve handled this. Being honest with their customers would have stopped a lot of the vitriol. People can accept when things go wrong, what they don’t accept is misinformation, lies and being accused of slandering the company that is seemingly doing everything it can to cover up and ignore what’s going on.