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Friday, 18 October 2013

Defiance Games Kickstarter

More shady dealings on Kickstarter.

So recently Defiance games had a kickstarter. Now for many reasons, I didn't back this kickstarter. Partially for the same reasons I don't back any Mierce Miniatures kickstarters, maybe it's the fact that Defiance games is notoriously late with their products and notoriously shady at the same time, what with their 'it's in stock, it's not in stock' shenanigans and so on. 

However, despite the misleading title, this really isn't about the Defiance Games kickstarter per se, rather it's more about Defiance Games. Not everyone knows this, but the person who owns and started up Defiance Games was the previous owner of Wargames Factory, Tony Reidy. 

Now back when Tony Reidy was the owner of WGF, they always had an issue with overpromising and constantly having delays on actually delivering products. But that was just the surface. They were also constantly owing their suppliers money. Now as a supplier myself, I commiserate because they do need the money to have a quicker turn around. No one likes selling product and not getting money for it. Nonetheless, things came to a head when eventually the supplier got so sick of being owed money, he ended up exchanging the amount owned to him for a majority shareholders stake in WGF. This eventually led to him owning the company and Tony Reidy calling shenanigans. Opposing sides can be found here 
and here (supplier). Of course, most people back then didn't know who to trust because again, there are two sides to the story. But over time, the new WGF kind of proved they knew what they were doing and didn't have huge delays on products. Meanwhile, Tony Reidy started up a new company called Defiance Games that proceeded to talk about how they would be even bigger and better than ever and then promptly fell on their face. Surprisingly; or not, people who ordered from Defiance games ended up facing huge issues with delays on their orders which seems to be a recurring problem for any company that Tony is involved with it seems. 

It got so bad that to DO their Kickstarter, they had to 'pretend' to get new leadership for the company so that most people would actually feel comfortable pledging for their kickstarter. 

"ATTN: Defiance Games is under new management Defiance Games is under new leadership. Gary Pelletier- who has been handling customer service and production issues for the past year - is taking over as CEO effective immediately. The new team at DFG consists of Max Martelli as Art Director, Darred Surin as Office Manager and Mark Loud as Production Manager. Our top priority is to provide our customers with quality products at the best price possible. Our first focus will be on reliable service and good communication with our customers. We encourage you to join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as well as joining our open forum at defiancegames.com. Each of us will be present and open to your comments and feedback in all of these outlets and we are looking forward to giving you all nothing short of our best. Our recent foray into Kickstarter is our way of starting fresh with a product we know you all want. We understand everyone's hesitations but assure you that we will be working night and day to make this a home run for all of you. - Gary Pelletier" 

Note that at no point do they mention what has happened to Tony. Is he still in the company? Despite being pressed several times to answer that, they never really do. My own personal opinion on it was that if Tony had been kicked out of yet another company, he would have gone on yet another spiteful internet campaign against the new owners of the company at the time. Yet, there was no news of that, so it seemed like Tony was still in and this was really just a cosmetic change to deceive people into backing the KS. Because as one person succinctly put it "Hey, pledging for something that was supposed to release in June 2012, what could possibly go wrong with that? :P"

Which seems to have worked somehow as the KS did draw 46,000USD in backing, way over the original 2,500USD initial goal amount they wanted. Sounds like a victory for Defiance games and everything seems alright doesn't it?

However, Defiance games really can't seem to resist shooting themselves in the foot. Just mere days after meeting their funding goals, we hear of more non-payment shenanigans from them. This time from the owner of Proxie models

KenofYork 16 Oct 2013 6:34 p.m. PST 
I would like to warn people that I have had an extremely unpleasant dealing with the new management. Be very careful about these guys. I am owed a lot of money and I have been informed that the new management will not pay debts owed by Tony. I have a very strong reason to believe the management shift was a shell game to make the kick starter look better. Can't prove it, but have a very strong feeling about it. 
This company has been the worst dealings I have had in my limited time as a part time, one man plastic company. I will NEVER work with them again. 
They had planned for me to make the plastic mech in the kick starter with out ever even talking to me about it. I found out I was the supplier after reading the kick starter and asking who was making it. I told them I would not be making anything for a company that owed me thousands of dollars and was making no attempt to pay. After I was paid for previous product I would be willing to look at the files and see what could be done. Well, they got a pile of money from kick starter and found someone else to make the mech. And they told me weeks ago they would be returning product, but they have not. This is NOT ok with me, but I have no choice. I would not have made the items if they had not ordered them. Still they have the items in their store, I have no money, and they are setting on almost $50,000 USD in kick starter money. 

I am very sorry if this seems to be a bad business move to spread bad news about another company, but I am angry beyond the capacity for rational thought. 

Be very careful dealing with them. 

Text can be found here

Like they say, a leopard can never change its spots and it seems like Tony is up to his usual tricks once again. One can only hope that those people who ended up pledging for the KS get what they paid for AND hopefully before 2015.