Picking up the pieces…
At this point I’m pretty sure that – with a little grace - I’m not actually going to have to declare bankruptcy. My house is gone (either through short-sale or foreclosure) but I guess I wasn’t really using it anymore.
It’s interesting how entirely alien the same situation can appear from different perspectives. I have no doubt that 99.9% of the people reading this, if they have been following enough to care, are entirely convinced that this mess happened because I didn’t pay enough attention to the Kickstarter program and games company, while the 0.1% writing the update lived through the complete opposite – I saw my life’s savings go up in smoke because I let the games company trap me in a set of financial and moral commitments that meant that I couldn’t back-burner my hobby when the “Exploding Project” pressures of my real job demanded it. It doesn’t really matter anymore. You guys (and girls) – mostly – got your games. I lost my house. In any ‘rational’ handling of this situation I would have picked a different course and those facts were reversed but that’s not how I run my life, or my business.
It may take a while, but I am getting paid again and everything that was promised will (eventually) get shipped to where it’s supposed to be if we physically have the inventory anywhere in the world.
As Zombie House Evacuation Specialists, you have been assigned to rescue 10 people from a local safe house. While awaiting escape cars, you are swarmed by others trying to escape the zombies. Do you stop and help them? How long can your 10 survivors wait in the safe house?
Jeremiah Lee, the designer of Zombie in my Pocket, has a new game up on Kickstarter right now. He's self-publishing the game, and would love your support. Zombie House Blitz is a speed card game for 2-4 players.
I've not played Zombie House Blitz yet but from the video and the reviews it's looking like a classic Jeremiah game - fun, fast, easy to learn and... Zombies!!!!!
It's a great project, and really close to it's funding target - you should back it!
STATUS / NEXT STEPS
After about 6 months between consulting assignments I’m working again – meaning that I have cash coming in again to pay to finish cleaning up the kickstarter mess and get the company back into an operational state.
On the other hand, I’m not going to make the mistake –I think I’m safe calling any action that directly resulted in me losing my house as a mistake – of neglecting my core consulting business in order to fix stuff on the games side. We are going to get this stuff sorted out, but the pace is going to be set by the time and cash I have available.
Also, don’t expect BoardGameGeek updates any time soon – for some reason my girlfriend has decided that BGG is “the place where I can see the most unthankful, disrespectful, ironic, childish people on earth”. She’s wrong, of course, but I’ve promised not to come back onto BGG until I can convinced her otherwise – sorry, but it’s a condition we’ve agreed for her to be OK with me starting to push the games company again and I need to respect it.
Anyway, our immediate next steps are:
1) Getting payroll back up and running so I can get Chris and Amber back on board. I had to lay them both off at the end of October (when the cash ran out), although they’ve both been helping out unpaid since then - especially Chris who spent a week in December moving the games company out of the house so it could be sold.
2) Clearing through our open issues / email backlog. The email tracking software has been working fine so we have all the requests and questions that came in over the past couple of months - although obviously it will take some time to sort through the list.
3) Simplifying and stabilizing processes for sales + inventory management, accounting, etc. – to answer the obvious question, yes we certainly intend to reprint Glory To Rome Black Box this year, but I’m not going to be bounced into printing more games before we’ve shown that we can actually make and sell the inventory we already have.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU
If you’ve emailed a request to firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or sent a Kickstarter message on October 1st 2012or later and haven’t heard back then your request is in our email system and we’ll be working through the list and you will be hearing from us over the next few weeks – although you’re obviously welcome to email us again if you’re worried your email was lost.
If you emailed / messaged us before October 1st 2012 (or haven’t emailed us at all) then please send an email to Kickstarter@Cambridgegames.com explaining your situation and what is still missing and we’ll take care of it – I’m sure it’s going to take several more weeks to get the remaining shipping done, but once the payroll’s back up and running I’m hoping we can quickly get to responding to new incoming emails within 48 hours.
This has been a turbulent year. From the start, I expected he Kickstarter program to be challenging and even to lose one or two team members along the way but also to come out of the endeavor with a “battle-forged” team that would be able to carry the company forwards once we’d got through the process.
I guess that is – eventually - where we ended up but with a team that’s half the size of where we started.
The survivors are:
Ed Carter - Managing Director
Rob Seater – Game Development Director
Chris Sniezek - Operations Director
Amber Ying – Sales Director
In addition, two former team members are still helping out, but on a professional basis:
Christopher Rao – Rao and Pierce LLC
Cambridge Games Factory Legal Counsel
Heiko Gunther - Bureau Stabil
Creative Director for Blackbox Program
Unfortunately my brother - Wakefield Carter - is no longer part of Cambridge Games Factory and won't be part of the story going forwards.
Wake has a very different management approach and philosophy to the rest of the CGF teams which had caused conflicts (mostly with me, but also with some other team members) from the start. We tried to work through those differences but in Sept 2012 we agreed they were irreconcilable and Wake split from CGF - although he continued his licensing responsibilities through until the end of 2012
A huge amount of work went into getting the Blackbox games sent out to (almost) everyone. It was a rough ride but we learnt a lot in the process,
I want to thank every member of the team (past and present) for the effort they put in - with a huge mention to Topher for managing the main delivery process over the summer and Chris for continuing to help long after the money had run out. It's going to be a while before we're ready to run another Kickstarter but when we do it will be from a much stronger and more stable business as a platform.
And of course, thank you all for your patience and tolerance as we got these games shipped out to everyone. I'm so sorry it took so long!
Cambridge Games Factory
YES! We'd love to see your game idea