Lowtide – Update For Goblins: Alternate Realities

In July of 2013, Evertide Games and Goblins successfully Kickstarted a Goblins card game/board game called Goblins: Alternate Realities. We asked for $30,000 and received over $182,000 dollars (if you include the $5,300 received through Paypal donations). Well, when I say “we” successfully Kickstarted it, I mean you. It was done with your money and support, after all.

Since then, nothing has happened. No one has received their stretch goal rewards and no one has gotten a copy of the game. Over 2200 people generously handed over their money and so now, a lot of people are understandably, angry. So what’s going on? Well here’s everything that I know on the subject…

I haven’t heard from Richard James, the head of Evertide Games in four months. I’ve been trying to contact him any way I can, including contacting a few other people that know him. I can’t find anyone else who’s heard from him in the past three and a half months. I was starting to wonder if he’d actually died or had some horrible event happen to him. After all, I had my own er… breakdown thingy in which I mentally shut down for months, without being able to tell anyone.

I’ve known Richard for years now and I can easily say that he’s been an honest guy and a great friend. From the very beginning of G:AR, I’ve watched him put a HUGE amount of work and passion into the creation of the game. He’s helped me through a few tough times and genuinely been there for me as a friend. I have absolutely no doubt that when we started this project, his intention was for us to make the best damn game we could. It’s pretty much impossible to imagine that he’s taken the Kickstarter money and run off. It’s just not him. This is why I’ve so effortlessly trusted him with not only the Kickstarter money, but a room full of Goblins merchandise and convention banners as well.

As long as I’ve known Richard, Evertide has always been a small but great company. However the number of employees at that company has been recently shrinking and I’m not sure if anyone other than Richard is currently left. Combine this with the moment that I noticed that he’s been on Facebook as recently as a week ago, I knew that the thing I’ve been increasingly stressing over for months, was probably true. He may have taken off. With the money.

Now bear in mind that I may be wrong. Maybe something horrible and out of his control HAS happened to him. Maybe he IS dead and someone keeps hacking his Facebook to upload new profile pictures. Or maybe he’s been franticly emailing me and it’s going into my spam folder…

which is glitched to auto erase everything instantly…

and my phone has him accidentally blocked…

and he forgot his Twitter password…

and his Skype password…

and his Skype is glitching to show him sometimes online and sometimes offline…

and the Evertide website has a coding error where messages don’t get to him…

and Kickstarter is broken and can’t be updated…

and the people I talked to have amnesia… and… and… well shit.

Yesterday, one of the people I talked to, said that in his last email 3.5 months ago, he mentioned wanting to hand off all of Evertide’s publishing projects to someone else and go in another direction. This was the first I’d heard of that particular plan. This was when I started hyperventilating.

So what happens now?

Well first off, I haven’t been wronged here, you have. By my project. Yes, Evertide and Goblins were business partners, but the decision was mine to work with them and the money came from Goblins fans, not Evertide fans. You funded the project because you trusted me and my abilities to bring you the game without any serious problems. The responsibility for this is mine. The obligation to repair this as much as I can is on me.

Obviously I can’t offer you what you really deserve, which are refunds. So here’s what I’m going to do…

Danielle and I have talked it over and we’re going to finish the game. I have a prototype of G:AR, and I have already started to tighten the rules up and work on art for some more cards I think the game needs. I don’t have all of the G:AR graphics, but I have a lot. When it’s playtested and ready, our plan is to publish it through an AMAZING print on demand system our online publisher Drivethru has. They create really high quality stuff and they do card games, etc. They’re a dependable and well respected company that I’ve been working with for about seven years now. Those interested in purchasing the game would be able to do so through them.

There are still the people who’ve funded the Kickstarter, though. Many have been promised a copy of the game when it’s finished. So Danielle and I will be purchasing copies of the game ourselves and getting them to you. It’s important to note that although the game won’t look exactly the same as advertised, it’ll still be the G:AR we’ve been talking about, maintaining the same feel and flow it’s always had. It really is a fantastic and addicting game. When I first got the prototype, I played it for most of a day and as soon as I woke up the next morning, I was itching to jump in and play it again. The whole point of the game has always been to create a story as the characters adventure to level up, collect gear and complete quests.

Big Ears goes toe to toe with Kore and steals one of his crossbows which he later uses to save Fumbles from Kin, who wants to kill him because he won’t stop annoying her with his unceasing antics. Each game represents an alternate reality of the Goblins universe, so characters can end up exactly like they are in the comic or entirely different, depending on how you decide to play them.

Now, to those backers who’ve been promised extra rewards beyond the game itself, we’re going to do the best we can to create a list of item for item replacement rewards and get those out to you. These rewards will be pretty humble and in many cases, won’t equal what you were promised, but we’ll do everything we can to come up with rewards that you’ll genuinely be happy to receive.

I’m also working on a modest way for people to maybe play G:AR online. There’s a fantastic new piece of genius, called Tabletop Simulator that’s available on Steam. As soon as my new computer arrives in a couple days (if you haven’t heard through my Twitter, my computer died and I had to order a new one, thus the Goblins comic delay) I’ll be buying a copy and taking a look at how it works. From what I can tell, it looks perfect for getting G:AR to you online, but I’m not sure yet. Even if it isn’t right for G:AR, you should check it out, it looks AWESOME! You can rage and flip the table during the game! WHY IS THIS ONLY JUST NOW A THING IN ONLINE GAMES?! I’ve also approached a small video game company and I’ll be pestering a few more, as well. I’m not sure it’s entirely realistic to hope for a company to create some kind of online game based off of G:AR, given the circumstances, but it doesn’t hurt to tap on a few shoulders and ask.

There are a lot of copies of G:AR and other rewards to be given out, which means it’ll cost a pretty hefty sum. So between finishing the game and covering costs, this is going to take awhile, especially since I am still working on speeding up the Goblins updates. But I’ll keep you posted and get things to you as fast as possible.

We are of course looking into the smartest things to do, regarding legal action. While I’ll be communicative and open about all G:AR details, I’ll be pretty much keeping any legal details (if there are any), private.

I want to sincerely apologise to everyone. To all the Kickstarter backers, the people who helped to spread the word, the people who offered various forms of support, those who trusted me… all of you. I’m so incredibly sorry. I clearly made some bad and naive decisions that resulted in costing thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ll be personally addressing every genuine question or concern from every backer (contact info at the end of this blog).

Note the word “genuine”. Two days ago, I got an email from a backer who (for some reason) asked me what I’d name my tauntaun if I had one. Those are the kinds of questions I probably won’t be answering. But if your mailing address has changed or you want to know about a reward you were expecting, I’m all about hearing what you have to say and answering anything I can.

Those of you who are angry, have absolutely every right to be and I can’t blame you for it. However if you send me hatemail, I won’t be reading it. If you really need it though, there’s a place online that is dedicated to loudly and ecclesiastically hating me. It brings people together in an odd and fascinating way. A little bit of Googlefu will get ya there. See if you can spot which Thunt-hater is me.

Finally, I’ll use my held action this round to AOO some questions before they get asked…

“Why did you take this long to reach this conclusion and make this announcement? Four months is a long time.”

This sounds so ‘excusey’, but I’ve been going through a weird, breakdown kinda thing (words like “weird” and “kinda”, downplay the whole thing and make it seem more quirky and less like a disorder). Four months ago, I was just starting to see my psychiatrist and trying to figure out which meds worked for me and which didn’t. I was filled with so much anxiety, I couldn’t open my email or answer the phone. Doing business of any kind tasted like panic. Facing concepts like losing $200,000 of money that didn’t belong to me, was way out of my abilities.

“Are you ever going to do another Kickstarter?”

I can’t see how it’d be at all possible. I’ve got an unlaunched Patreon account that’s been waiting in the wings for months now. I didn’t want to launch it, have a bunch of people chip in some cash and then make this announcement right afterwards. So while the Patreon has become a necessity I will be turning to, I need everyone to know all about the results of the Kickstarter before they decide if they want to be a part of that.

“So are you going to be making updates on the Kickstarter page?”

I can’t. Officially, it’s not my Kickstarter. I had to donate two bucks just to be able to read the updates, since at the time, only backers could see them. 🙂 I’ll post any big news here in this blog and mention the smaller snippets of news on my Twitter.

“So do you know how long the release of the game will take?”

Not really. I will keep you up to date on how it’s going, though.

“I’ve got an idea for a reward you could give to the backers that they’d love and it would be fairly inexpensive for you. Can I tell you about it?”

Sure, if it’s a genuinely good idea, I’d be grateful. Keep in mind though, that getting 6,000 “Um… what about (thing)? Or let’s see…. Oh! What about (another thing)?” would really slow down my responses to backers, but if you really have a great idea, I’d love to hear it. Thank you!

“How long will it take you to respond to Backer questions and how many questions can they ask you?”

I have very little idea how long it’ll take, I’ll mention if the questions are piling up and if there’s a longer wait, though. And backers can ask as many questions as they like. They’ve been screwed over. They deserve answers, followed by results.

“You don’t use a held action to perform an AOO. AOOs are granted situationally and held actions are an entirely different thing that players have to establish beforehand. Why did you do that?”

Good eye.

“How will you know who’s a backer and who isn’t?”

We have the backer list.

“How can backers ask you questions?”

My email fills up faster than I can keep up, so it’s really not a great way to contact me anymore. I’ll probably create an email just for this Lowtide situation but until then, Twitter is actually a really good way to contact me. I can scan through it really fast, so I am guaranteed to read everything you tweet @ me and can respond quickly. So for now… Twitter is the best place.

So there it is. As of now, Evertide is no longer involved with the Kickstarter or G:AR and I’m taking on all efforts and responsibilities. Also, last week marked the contractual deadline for the release of the game. Which means that every aspect of G:AR, even the parts designed and created by Evertide, became legally mine.

(And her name would be Tauny The Tauntaun.)

-Thunt