recent weeks, game designer Carmen Bellaire began talking online about
the Rifts® board game he has been developing under license. His planned
upcoming Kickstarter will launch it and his own company.
morning he came here, to the RRT Kickstarter comments pages, and made what he
had intended to be a post to drum up support from backers of our Robotech®
RPG Tactics™ Kickstarter project. It didn’t go well, to say the least.
awkward words might have seemed out of context and harsh. They were fueled by
comments and accusations people had been directing at him here and elsewhere
for a while now. Somehow, he thought he was helping by coming here to speak to
don’t know why Carmen Bellaire said what he said, in the way that he did. I
know he has been pushing himself much too hard, and was emotionally drained and
physically exhausted when he made those posts. That might explain some of it.
He can also be the proverbial bull in the china shop, and has a bad habit of
not choosing his words carefully. A lot of his comments and observations about
Robotech® RPG Tactics and Palladium Books were from an outsider’s perspective,
and often incorrect or not clearly presented. Carmen’s viewpoint, like many of
yours, is that of a concerned outsider looking in.
had not been around Palladium Books much the past 3-4 years, because he was
busy creating games for his own fledgling company, Rogue Heroes LLC,
which he has hopes to launch in spectacular fashion with the Rifts® Board
Game as his first release. This would be done via a Kickstarter campaign in
April, 2017. In addition to this endeavor, Carmen works a full-time, 9-5 job,
as well as doing freelance game design for Upper Deck. A lot of work for
Upper Deck. It is my understanding that the many games he has designed for that
company have yet to see release, but they have been keeping him busy and
several are in the pipeline for release. Doing board games right takes time.
I’ve learned that the hard way. Carmen is also doing work for at least two
other game companies under a veil of secrecy. He cannot speak about them or
identify the companies due to NDAs and the wishes of those companies. I’m not
even sure if I’m supposed to mention Upper Deck. I have been doing so rather
shamelessly, because I’m very proud of my friend Carmen, and I figured the
folks at Upper Deck will be okay with it coming from me.
is a passionate person who feels things deeply. He has a heart of gold and a
truly brilliant mind for games. The launch of Rogue Heroes LLC and the Rifts®
Board Game is the culmination of his lifelong dream and a five or six year
journey to make that dream a reality. He has made a lot of sacrifices, invested
a lot of money, and worked his tail off to get here. He was excited beyond
measure as he prepared to launch his Kickstarter for the game. And if it panned
out, he had big plans for the future.
and I have not talked about him “fixing” Wave Two, as he put it. We at
Palladium, and many others, believe the RRT rules are solid. That while they
could use some clarification, expansion and tweaking, they are really quite
excellent and damn fun to play. What Carmen and I have talked about is Carmen’s
hope and dream that if the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter is a big success,
he can quit his 9-5 job and dedicate himself exclusively to creating games. It
is a lifelong dream I have heard about since the first day I met Carmen 12, 15
years ago. A dream he saw finally becoming a reality. A dream he has put his
heart and soul into making come true. So no, Rogue Heroes, LLC is not a
front or shell company for Palladium Books, as some have suggested; it is 100%
terrible opening post and further discussion about Robotech® RPG Tactics™
and Wave Two on the RRT Kickstarter board was fueled by his passion and
hopes. If the Rifts® board game was a big success, and he really could quit his
9-5 job, he planned to help Palladium get RRT back on track, doing whatever he
could to help. Carmen has all kinds of ideas for advanced RRT rules, new
factions and new waves of product that we would love to see happen. But for the
moment, he was still buried with other work commitments and needed to stay
focused on the Rifts® board game and its Kickstarter.
Carmen was trying to say and why
didn’t intend to challenge, threaten or blackmail anyone for support of his
impending Rifts® board game Kickstarter. He was, in his own lame and awkward
way, trying to say that his success with it would be good for the future
of RRT, because he could be more involved and hopefully help make things happen
faster in the future. He was trying to say, please don’t undermine his Rifts®
Board Game Kickstarter, because his success would actually help RRT in the long
know this is what he meant, because he called me Friday, early afternoon, very
upset by the reaction of some people on the RRT boards. He apologized to me
over and over again for upsetting people and fueling the vitriol when all he
was trying to do was help. Help me. Help his upcoming Kickstarter. Help the
fans. Help his family. Help everyone. And doing it by creating a fun Rifts®
board game to be followed by many other games from his company, not just based
on Palladium’s I.P., but many of his own brilliant ideas.
understand why people are upset about RRT. What I cannot understand is the
absolute hate and bloodlust of some, to destroy us, when we are trying to
deliver the game they backed. Even more puzzling is attacking and destroying anyone
who is affiliated with Palladium even in the slightest way, and shouting down
and condemning others who don’t agree with their point of view.
you need to know
Bellaire has put his heart and soul, and every dime he has, into the creation of
HIS company, Rogue Heroes LLC, and HIS Rifts® board game. I say
“his” Rifts® game because while it is Palladium’s I.P., it is ALL Carmen’s
genius, money and blood, sweat and tears.
words of hate shocked and overwhelmed him.
the truth and twisting his, admittedly poorly chosen words, cut him to pieces.
Carmen was never an employee of Palladium. He was a freelancer who worked off
site, like all of our freelancers. He submitted the occasional book or
contribution to a product like RRT. Carmen has never deliberately held back
from making RRT great. Carmen was not trying to blackmail you to support his
game. All he wanted to do was help, and he saw the Rift® board game as his way
to start doing that. He wanted you to understand this. That your support for
his Kickstarter – or at least not trying to undermine it – would enable him to
help you and RRT, because he would finally have the time to devote to it, if he
could quit his day job. He even shared his dream of being able to do a lot more
work on RRT, Wave Two and future RRT releases, among other things. Carmen had a
lot of big dreams and good intentions.
and shell-shocked by your heated words and promises to do everything in your
power to ruin his Kickstarter, Carmen’s dreams were shattered. And why? Because
he was friends with Kevin Siembieda and had done freelance work for Palladium
Books off and on over the years.
took your words to heart. Carmen believed you hated him. Believed you would
work to destroy everything he had spent years building for himself, his family
and for you.
a telephone call on Friday, he had told me he had never experienced this kind
of hate and venom. He was clearly reeling from it. He said it was beyond
anything he could imagine. He apologized, saying that all he wanted to do was
help. Instead he had ruined everything.
short time later, at 2:07 PM, Friday afternoon, Carmen emailed me to say
how much I have meant to him. That he was sorry he ruined everything by posting
on the RRT board and stirring up unfathomable hate. He felt there was no way to
undo the damage he had done. That he had ruined any chance for a successful
Rifts board game Kickstarter and the launch of his company. That he had let his
family down and every single person who was working so hard to make the Rifts
board game and his company a reality. “I can’t take it, man ... I am so so so
sorry. Good bye.”
tried to kill himself moments later.
is only by the grace of God that his wife, a nurse, entered the room in time,
that Carmen is alive. He is in the hospital, but in a bad way. He is a mess.
The fate of the board game, his company, his dreams ... and most importantly, his
life, are unknown. His family and all of us who know and love him are still
in shock and praying to God that he will be okay.
Friday, words on this board – cruel, vicious, condemning words – successfully
crushed a man’s hopes and dreams and sent him spiraling into despair. Those
words pushed him to the point of trying to take his own life. I would hate to
think anyone may take pride in that.
posting this, with the permission of Carmen’s family, because you need to know
that words of hate, spite, cruelty and intolerance, pushed a good man – a
husband – a father – a friend – to attempt suicide on Friday. A simple gaming
geek like every one of us, Carmen worked hard to support his family, found joy
in gaming, and dared to pour his heart into making his dream come true for the
betterment of everyone.
realize that your words and tone may hurt another person as much as a bullet to
the heart. Please, try to stop and think about what you say. Remember that
human beings are fragile creatures. Try to find compassion and support for
others, not tear them down. Try not to assume the worst or cast your
assumptions and accusations against someone who does not deserve them. Not
everyone is a bad guy. Not everyone is an enemy to be hated, attacked and
ridiculed. Words matter. Lives matter. Kindness and tolerance matter. Perhaps
more than ever before.
friend asked me if Carmen will be okay. We don’t know. Carmen will be in the
hospital for a while. We don’t know for how long. We don’t know if he will ever
be the same. We don’t know whether he’ll return to game design and try to
launch his company or the Rifts® board game in which he has invested
everything. If not, that’s a tragedy of another sort, because Carmen has so
much to offer. Before his suicide attempt, Carmen regarded game design as pure
joy and tackled it with a childlike sense of wonder. All he wanted to do was to
make games. After this, I don’t know.
afraid this is not my most eloquent post. I am still shaken. I’m scared for
him. Terrified. And saddened beyond words.
pray for Carmen’s swift recovery, emotionally and physically, and that Carmen
is able to find the strength to once again follow his dreams and dare to try to
make them come true. I want that not just for Carmen, but because he has a
treasure trove of wonderful games locked in his imagination waiting to come
out. Games that will bring joy and laughter to all of us.
hope and pray there is a happy ending coming. Our love to Carmen and his