2015 and the state of things

 

ronnie

Ronnie here. Sorry I have been a little quiet – but it has been a little crazy around here for the past….well the past 5 months probably! For the last week I have been down in the warehouse sending out webstore orders to make sure they arrive for Christmas and trying to help with missing orders.

As you can imagine with Kings of War going crazy, and then the second biggest Kickstarter we’ve ever done to ship things have been a little hectic. Actually they haven’t been quite good enough. We’ve tried hard, and in many case backers and fans are very happy – with the games, the service and the products overall. However, in too many cases we have fallen short of the standards I want Mantic to stand for. In almost every case that has had nothing to do with the quality of the product or the game play, but in fact it has been with our inability to get the right items to the right people at the right time.

Ok – the case for the defense…

Just to let you have an insight into what has been going on, we have shipped 4 times more Kings of War rulebooks in the last 4 months than in the whole 3 years of the first print run – in fact nearly as many copies of Uncharted Empires have been sent out in 3 weeks as the KoW 1st edition!

Uncharted-Empires-Cover

We have shipped over 12,000 parcels in the last 6 months (compared with 3000 in the first 6 months), and changing pace by almost 400% is quite hard. The Dungeon Saga Kickstarter was another monster with a huge amount of choice to modify your pledge- meaning every single pledge was unique. Although we got the core components built there was still a huge amount of individualization – and that always increases the error rate.

That said we knew much of what was coming and we should have been better organized! Every member of team Mantic has worked incredibly hard these past 3 months, and I cannot fault anyone for their effort. However, the standards we’ve achieved in the last 3 months have fallen short of those we aspire to.

So where are we up to?

The customer service team and the warehouse are currently busy shipping out the Kings of War 2 Kickstarter and dealing with the aftermath of the Dungeon Saga Kickstarter.

Dungeon Saga Kickstarter Shipping

All of the pledge levels for Dungeon Saga have been sent out. If you haven’t received yours yet, there will only be three reasons why:

* It has been returned to us.

* It is lost in the post

* The pledge manager was not properly completed.

If you need to get in touch regarding a missing Dungeon Saga pledge please contact us via the Dungeon Saga Kickstarter Messages.

Dungeon Saga Missing/Damaged Items and To Follow items

We are experiencing an unprecedented number of orders, returns and missing items forms. If you are missing items, or have any mis-packs or damaged items, in your Dungeon Saga order, please complete the missing items for here.

Missing items takes specialist staff who understand every component for the products they are dealing with. It’s not a quick or easy job but over the next 3-4 weeks the team will be dedicated to packing and shipping all the missing item orders, so please bear with us as it will be 4-6 weeks before you receive your bits. We’re sorry for the delay and thank for your patience. This also applies to any follow on items.

Kings of War 2 Kickstarter dispatch

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The Kings of War Wave 2 Kickstarter dispatch continues at a phenomenal rate, and we expect to complete shipping the packages next week.

If you need to get in touch regarding Kings of War 2 Kickstarter please contact us via the Kings of War 2 Kickstarter Messages.

Remember – if you have submitted a message or missing items form, we will get them sorted, just please bear with us during this busy period

Moving Forward

To make sure we are better able to meet the challenges ahead – because I hope next year will be another one of huge growth for Mantic – I have also been strengthening the team.

In order to make sure we maintain the high standards of customer service we have offered in the past I am delighted to announce the following positions have been successfully filled.

Customer Experience Manager

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Zak is responsible for making sure that everyone has a great experience whenever they encounter Mantic Games. While his first task is to get customer services back up to scratch, his long term role is to make sure we can recruit and maintain new gamers through demo games, pathfinders and other offline community support.

Production Supervisor

Alex's 'cheerful' face.

Alex will make sure we have the right stock in the right place in the right amount, and continue to manage the Kickstarter dispatch. A very difficult task when you consider our growth and broad product range and so many suppliers.
Dispatch Supervisor

The Evil Spaniard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alberto will make sure every customer – be they trade or webstore – gets their order quickly and accurately.

Online Manager

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Chris can now concentrate on Mantic online so ensuring our website, Facebook, twitter and other new and clever internet things are up-to-date, useful and fun.

Chief Operation Officer (Of whom I could not source a working photo)

cleese-at-ocean-desk

Matt’s responsibility is now to get Mantic ready for the growth ahead so it is delivered it with the highest levels of customer service.

 

Mantic, with fantastic support from the community, has done a great job, through hard work and persistence, getting to where it is now. Over the next few years we must ensure Mantic has detailed plans, processes and systems (especially IT) that support the business. We must do this – all the while continuing to make fantastic, fun games, supported with great value for money and high quality miniatures and components if we want to be the hobby company that our supporters can be proud of. I am sorry for too many of you that we have been below our normal standards these past 6 weeks – but we will get back to those standards in early 2016 – and then move past them!

Best wishes – have a wonderful holidays and incredible 2016. Oh, and watch out for some teasers of what 2016 might bring…it’s gonna blow your mind!

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Successful Kickstarters and company growth are never a bad thing… and some growing pains are of course impossible to avoid. I hope you guys and gals can continue to meet and exceed expectations as you do fill an important place in the gaming community. I would prefer to see you ‘slow down’ and catch up and put in place all the framework that you need to go forward instead of this somewhat headlong and reckless charge ahead that appears to be affecting many of your supporters… I think a lot of negative feedback has been generated out of proportion to the success that you have achieved… but I think that the customer service and shipping issues have been the basis for that … people (especially on the web) will find things to complain about when they are frustrated and certainly we (as a web and gaming community as well as just humans in general) don’t tend to say “congrats” and “thank you” as much as we perhaps should… so, Congrats on the growth! Thank you for all the gaming materials you have provided!! and looking forward to 2016 and beyond!

  2. Sound great, good update, and I wish all you guys at mantic a merry Christmas

    • You have renewed my painting, collecting and wargaming ! All power to you in 2016 and very many thanks.

  3. Well you guys have about 9 months to get your stuff together as the warpath kickstarter while having half the backers is probably 3 or 4 times more complicated in picking with essentially no base pledge and everything being customized outside the rulebook/counter pack.

  4. This was my first Mantic product ever. But not my first Kickstater. (I was a late backer for this, didn’t catch it until it was over)
    Was it late? Yes.
    Do I mind? Not at all.

    I work in the video game industry so I understand firsthand how design, technical, art, systems and other changes can really add or take away estimated time. And I use the word estimated strongly here. When you set out on a project and start figuring out milestones and dates for them, you are just blocking stuff out. The more often you’ve done this the better you get at it, but at first they are really rough guesses. As work begins you start to get a feel for how something that seemed so simple in theory is much more complex to develop and test. So I understand what you guys go through and I know you’ll get better at it. Our company (Obsidian Entertainment) also did a hugely successful Kickstarter a while back. The amount of growth and content that a successful project like that can dump in your laps is awesome, humbling and terrifying.

    Those people who back you share your vision. (a small percentage are looking for after market profits on exclusives or just to get it first :P) They believe in your product and have taken a leap of faith that you can deliver what was promised and usually more. It’s amazing that this is something that companies can do to connect with fans and customers in a way they couldn’t previous. Many customers are getting details on how a product goes from an idea to retail-ready that they never knew about previously. And as a company you are getting direct feedback from your most hardcore fans. Learning to take it all in and not just the loudest few is an acquired skill. 🙂

    All that being said I can feel for what you guys are going through. I got my Dungeon Saga in the mail a few weeks back and we love it. There were a few missing and broken miniatures. Also some rules clarifications we had to look up, but overall after a few play sessions we love it and cannot wait to dive into the expansions and support future products Mantic has planned for it.

    I do have a few small complaints. The Adventures Companion seems disorganized. It is like a second or third layout after the rough draft. This feels like time was an issue and it was rushed off to be done in time with other components. It is also obvious this is the first time you guys have done something like this. 🙂 There is some great stuff in that book and the potential is there. With some google-fu and some interpretation one can figure out what to do. With a bit more work (editing, layout proof reading and testing) and some more content you could have quite a unique product out in the market that adds value to your customers and takes advantage of an exciting and growing line of miniatures you guys have. Please if you guys want help or advice with this feel free to contact me: [email protected]
    I’m working on the Digital Version of Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card Game but I do have free time here and there. 😉

    The second and other easily corrected complaint is value. Again while I understand how the mechanics of something can change, you also have to change to keep up with it. The core game at the Kickstarter level and Retail level packs an amazing amount of value. You did a good job nailing this. So far it also seems like the expansions at the retail level will also offer this great value as well. However the lack of book boxes (which is a genius move by the way, these look good sitting on my shelf and my work buddies are in love with them as well) included for the expansions at the Kickstarter level is a bit disappointing. While I understand the layout and art for these were probably nowhere near ready judging by your estimated release dates for the later expansions, still just getting another copy of the Kickstarter exclusive box or retail box per expansion would have been awesome. It also appears the retail version of the Adventures Companion includes a book box as well. It’s a risk we take as early adapters and not waiting for retail release. However offering backers more book boxes was a great move (wish I could also pick up some more things I missed. Please let me give you more money!) However the value is not there at all for those boxes. They are $20 apiece and should probably be closer to $10 (keep in mind at this level generating good will from your customer base is far more important that generating a little extra profit) and at that price point you’d probably sell more and end up making more in the end.

    However large those paragraphs are and the rest of this message is, we do really love this game. I adore it enough to take the time to drop this message to you guys. It’s great as it and the potential is there for it to become a classic. It easily replaces HeroQuest for my family and friends and could potentially replace Warhammer quest, especially with your expansive miniature line to back it up with more content. The Uncharted Dungeon and AI overlord are great ideas especially tied together, but they need some love and clarification. Again I have some ideas on this and if you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to help.

    HeroQuest was my gateway game into this great hobby and I hope that Dungeon Saga will one day be the gateway game for my son. I have great memories playing and painting HeroQuest with my family and friends and I hope to share those experiences and build new memories with my son with Dungeon Saga.

    Thanks to the Mantic team for a wonderful game! I hope to see great things in the future. Take care and Happy Holidays!
    David

    P.S. Communication is the 100% most important component during these projects. Complete transparency isn’t necessary but engaging you customer base and talking about issues or concerns they may have goes a long way to alleviating online angst and anxiety. This blog is the perfect way to address this and it sounds like you guys are on the right track!

  5. There is a giant shitstorm on the KS page and on BGG and you talk about almost all are satisfied. Are you kidding me?

  6. Hi Ronnie, I appreciate this blog post but I am still waiting for an update on my Dungeon Saga Kickstarter pledge.

    I sent an email 3 days ago. Will I get a response or confirmation that any part of my order will be shipped? Is 3 days acceptable? How long should a customer wait for a reply?

    In the last Blog post I asked for assistance which was 6 days ago and I’m yet to hear anything. Is this ok?

    • I think 3 day is acceptable, and maybe even a week and at this time a year two weeks, and if you read the blog you will see Mantic is swamped so they will get to your mail in time, is having to wait 3 days for a reply good service, no, but it is not unacceptable

      I do hope you get all you stuff, I my self is missing a few model, but I am sure I will get them, at some point

  7. Nice to make an update on current affairs and stuff, but, i qoute from the mantic facebook (this is not in reply to my order unfortunately):

    ” I’m really sorry that your order has not yet been dispatched, but the web team (different people to those shipping the Kickstarter) are currently sending hundreds of parcels out as quickly as possible”

    And then here it says:
    “The customer service team and the warehouse are currently busy shipping out the Kings of War 2 Kickstarter and dealing with the aftermath of the Dungeon Saga Kickstarter”

    I’m getting the feeling that too many employees are being redirected to those kickstarter parcels and not enough at the rest of the company.

    Now if you can’t send out a parcel within 25 days(especially when everything is in stock) because you are doing kickstarters, you are doing it wrong. The fact that two kickstarters are being handled at the same time as a christmass rush, just means trouble.

    I won’t lie,i’m seriously pissed about this situation. I ordered because of the black friday sale, because my order included a deadzone incursion book. Reading this, if you knew that amount of work was coming up, why even throw a sale?

    Hope someone reads this and maybe i can have my stuff before the end of the year, but not keeping my hopes up

  8. Not quite 100% accurate. My Dungeon Saga pledge was never shipped as I have come to learn. It was paid for but apparently Chris dropped the ball back in February.
    I am hoping Mantic will make this right but seeing the issues I had with Dreadball and Deadzone (still unresolved as of today) I am really, well not mincing words anymore I am just annoyed and completely frustrated with Mantic.

  9. Love you guys. Up to my ears playing Kings, Dungeon Saga and testing Deadzone…keep your chins up you’ve revitalised the gaming community.

  10. Your are my favourite company regarding the Tabletop Hobby! I love your games and rulesets so much! Can’t wait to get my pledged Warpath stuff into my hands! Also iam very curious for the new game , which you are developing in the shadows, behind the curtains :)!

    Wish u all the best and Merry Xmas + a Happy new year!
    Keep up the good work :)!

  11. Nice to get an update like this.

    I really wish for a longer playtest period for Deadzone. The changes just made public in 1.4 are good, but the game is still nowhere near finished.

    Lots more games needed for balancing and making the campaign system as deep as it needs to be.

  12. As a guy with loads of receiving experience and even as head receiver at a major book store chain, I totally sympathize with your situation. Crazy custom invoices, shipping problems, loyal employees worked to the bone, over crowded receiving areas, and the holiday crunch where each day blurs into the next are the price of success. I am glad to hear about your growing pains as well as supporting your business. Try to enjoy the holidays when you get a break, and try not to take the work home at the end of the day.

  13. Well, I get to explain to my twelve-year-old son why he isn’t getting his present on Christmas, even though Dad ordered a week before the cut off date! How much fun does that sound?!?!?!?

  14. Think this is all great. Just thinking, will there ever be a Mantic facility in the US, because let’s be honest we can’t get a job for you short of becoming an EU citizen. I know because I’ve tried.

  15. I hope everything you’ve written is true, and that Mantic are indeed working to solve these problems, as honestly as a recently-new (and NOT Kickstarter sourced) customer i’ve been very disappointed with the service.

    At this point I have no idea when i’ll receive my stuff, and this blog post has done nothing to inform me. Yet you have my cash. No forums, no updates, no replies from customer services after almost three weeks.

  16. Merry Christmas mantic games, I have ordered the dungeon companion before Christmas and, of course, it did not arrive, I phoned up to find out what the delay was and to report that the blog was down, the guy on the phone did not mention that you had sold out, if he had, I would have understood, only to find out two days later that by blog that you had sold out. If you at mantic tell the truth to customers we will understand, we may not like it but we will understand but to lie about things it only annoys the customer and that gives you a bad name. Please get your guys to tell the truth. All the very best for the future.

  17. Can a moderator check why my posts are being flagged for moderation? 🙁

  18. Dungeon Saga was bungled Brett’s badly. Check out the comments section of you have no clue as to what happened. Disgraceful. You guys better hop on that lest your already tarnished image fall further.

    I’m glad I got it via retail instead of Kickstarter!

  19. That is very inspiring and exciting. Hooray!!

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