Things look fragile for the Kickstarter campaign for Epic Dice: Tower Defense
On June 2, the studio updated their Kickstarter page with a substantial update. After apologizing for the radio silence (almost 2 years since the last Kickstarter update), developer Potluck Games has revealed completed versions of Epic Dungeons: Tower Defense and that they were ready to be shipped. Golden Bell Games, who joined the project years later to help Potluck Games after partnering with them on another project, first explained the reasoning behind the silence. In addition to the fact that the team members were in upper grades, they said Kickstarter interferes with their ability to communicate with backers. To quote:
“Kickstarter has continually interfered in tort with our agreement to provide our funders with the best possible support and has done nothing but try to stop us from growing our brand, but they allow companies like CMON to raise millions of dollars with multiple unrealized campaigns and always launch new ones. Their behavior is unacceptable and has been the main reason for our inability to properly communicate and engage with our community. “
Golden Bell Games has continued to clarify its positions as producers of the game. is highlighted in two videos they linked in the Kickstarter update where they mentioned that their involvement was only to find a manufacturing partner. One of the videos even shows the full sets stored in one of their own garages. However, they explained how multiple issues arose during production, citing everything from contracts with various factories expiring due to bankruptcy and delays caused by communication failure.
Sam Coates of Potluck Games corroborated these logistical headaches and also confessed to some unfortunate issues. According to him, the Kickstarter actually lacked $ 20,000 to complete the project. Coates was more than willing to take personal debt to complete the game, it was in 2016 when the Kickstarter ended. However, due to the mentioned factory delays as well as physical health complications and divorce, Coates did not have enough personal capital to complete production. This led to the game being over but withheld by the production factories until payments were made. Enter Golden Bell Games which handles logistical issues and helps with additional funding. They claimed it was just to help Coates finish his game; they don’t make any money from their involvement. Since the game was originally scheduled for release in Q3 2018, there is some credibility to the issues that are occurring on the manufacturing side.
But all of these complications led to unwanted news for donors. Since Coates was unable to cover the game’s finish and shipping, despite the Kickstarter campaign claiming otherwise, backers will have to pay an additional fee. If you live in the United States, you will need to pay an additional $ 40. If you are an international funder, you will need to pay $ 65.
Dungeon dice expansion also delayed
Unfortunately, these logistics and manufacturing issues resulted in issues with another project. An extension to Dungeon dice, entitled The lost king, had to deal with delays and problems. It is important to note that Potluck Games is developing this game with Golden Bell taking care of the release. While Coates insisted the expansion is still in testing, Golden Bell mentioned that it would take at least a year or so before the expansion was completed.
Given the unforeseen circumstances that struck Epic dice, it goes without saying that similar problems affect this Dungeon dice expansion.
History of the Golden Bell Games
On paper, it seems like messy but understandable complications. Why would Kickstarter be so stupid with a studio like Golden Bell Games? Moreover, why are funders and gamers furious at these developments. Sadly, both have reason to be suspicious of Golden Bell Games as they have a notorious history in producing tabletop games. The bulk of these projects involved a board game called Uninterrupted, and it reads like a case study in poor communication, mismanagement and production headaches. Copies of the game were available in retail stores long before backers received their rewards and charged additional shipping costs. Golden Bell even threatened to sue one of its own backers.
It’s not an outlier either. Golden Bell Games was the subject of three lawsuits in 2019 for fraud and defamation. They were even the subject of an episode of The People’s Court concerning the contract concluded for an independent game entitled The recipe game. In fact, Golden Bell attempted to sue the show itself for entering a guilty verdict against them in the episode that aired. All of these pursuits consistently characterize the company as using highly predatory contracts and exhibiting childish, passive-aggressive behavior. No matter how much they wish to present themselves as victims of red tape or forgetfulness, this kind of behavior is more the norm than the exception.
Regardless of Golden Bell’s good intentions regarding this production, their background in table game development cannot help but cause unease and mistrust among Kickstarter contributors. While there is merit to what happened in this particular project, it still shows how a reputation, good or bad, can follow you wherever you go.