October 05, 2018 5 Comments

Dear WarStager,

It has taken me a long time to write you this update. I simply didn’t know how to shape and write about what I was feeling. More on this below.

So that’s my fault if this update was delayed.

First off: Things are moving along fine and the production schedule is finally in place.

“Just give us the date”

Some of you have written to tell us that we don’t communicate well, that all they want to know is a delivery date, not long updates. I can understand where they are coming from: they have backed something and they want to get it. That’s normal.

Oh crap, this update is probably even longer than usual!

I’m really sorry about that.

So yes, I could do that: Give some dates, say “I’m sorry” and move on. Yet I firmly believe that a Kickstarter project should be more than that. That we all deserve more than that.

But let’s start with the production schedule and delivery dates:

Production Schedule

Everybody is back from summer vacations and gaming conventions and we’ve finally been able to get a hold of our Chinese supplier who were much harder to reach than usual during the summer :(

After a few back and forth regarding the production schedule, we finally have a date for the start of the manufacturing process: they have an open spot for us at the end of November. Yikes! That’s late!

This means that the entire order of the printed material and plastic clips should be completed about 3 months later. Printing usually takes about a month, but the plastic clips can take up to 3 months, and they can only be done once the printed material is finished so that the clips are a perfect fit. Taking into account the Chinese New Year, it means everything should be done by the end of March.

Why not earlier? Because at this time of the year, everybody is ramping up for the holiday season AND everybody wants to avoid February and the Chinese New Year which is nearly a month-long holiday. All this means that right now, schedules are packed.

We were lucky to get this spot and it was because we’d already been in negotiations with them for quite some time.

I know it is far from ideal, I know that you deserve better than that.

And yet, at this time, there is nothing better that I can do. Once again, accept my apologies for this.

An Open Conversation

To come back to the beginning of this Update: It has taken me a long time to write you this update. I simply didn’t know what to write. So that’s my fault if this update was delayed.


And I really hate that.

Yet I knew that, behind the fact that we are late, there was something else, something important that has made Raging Heroes products what they are, but that has also caused a lot of frustration and waiting for you, and a long list of problems for us.

That’s what I wanted to talk to you about in an open conversation, as I was also trying to sort things out for myself.

A big part of this update is the result of this thinking.

An External Viewpoint

Isn’t there more to that story, to what is happening now? What are we all doing with that Kickstarter thing? Are our toys just pieces of plastic or cardboard, or are we seeking something deeper? What are we missing to communicate with you? What is missing in what we say?

Why are we late? Why have we been late on our 3 Kickstarters’ delivery?

God, you might not believe in this, but these questions keep me awake at night!

Raging Heroes keeps me and a good art of the team awake at night!

It has engulfed so much of our own life that we don’t have a lot of friends anymore because we just don’t have time to see them. I’m not telling you this to complain, this is our choice. I’m telling you this to communicate how much me and the whole Raging Heroes team are invested in what we do.

One of our team members (who works away from our office and also works for other companies) recently sent me a long message about the way he has seen Raging Heroes functioning over the years. Here are some key excerpts from his message:

“RH has grown based on KS projects. In the beginning there was only some concept art, concept art that gave us a glimpse of the bigger idea that was in your heads, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. Even with just that glimpse, people fell in love and backed the first project of an unknown company.

But you [Raging Heroes] would not stop there.

I think this is what really makes the difference. Once a campaign ends you feel like your hands are full of gold coins that slip through your fingers each second you spend on delivering something more than what was originally shown. So most people rush to production to fulfil the pledges and run the next campaign to cash as much money as they can.

But this was not the case for Raging Heroes.

Money didn’t matter to you.

In some ways Raging Heroes has always adapted the production to design, not the other way around. Even when that process would take more than 5 or 6 time than what is usually necessary to produce a miniature.

That means putting quality before profit. Or in more abstract terms, dream before reality.

This has created a lot of headaches for the company, mainly long delays and massive budget overruns that greatly reduce your profits or probably even completely eat them, but it indeed gives something unique compared to the competition.

The result of this isn’t really obvious at first glance for most of the people. It is only when you compare Raging Heroes’ miniatures side by side with other brands’ miniatures that you realise the extra work accomplished there.

I wish people could be more aware of that.”

Wow, this was a really great message to get in my mailbox!

I mean, I know that all of this is a realistic account of what we’ve been doing, but to see it like this, told by someone else, it was really strong! And suddenly, after reading this message, I started to see what I wanted to talk about in this update, to better understanding what I wanted to say.

Crazy Big Adventures

WarStages and TGG2 (The Toughest Girls of the Galaxy 2) were herculean projects. Maybe, from the outside, you don’t realize what we have accomplished together, you and us. Maybe we have failed to communicate that to you properly. But when you climbed on that Kickstarter ship with us, it was not to go on a little trip at sea in the sun, it was like: “let’s cross that f*#king unknown ocean and go discover f*#king America!!”.

This was fantastic because we think we have created something very unique.

Seeing the XL Cathedral fully assembled was a shock. For those of you who backed that particular version, you don’t realise yet how insanely awesome it’s going to look on your table!

And looking at the TGG2 miniatures in our glass cabinet is stunning despite the fact that we’ve only had time to assemble about half of that full range, and to date have only painted a few of them. Such an amazing amount of work for a small company like ours! That is just insane.

Our mistakes, and perhaps at time our foolishness, were also what made these projects great and unique. The craziness and the ambition of it all, the “let’s put the dream before reality” attitude means that, if you have been backing these projects, you’ve really got something that is way much more than a commercial product.

Because if it had been made with realistic commercial constraints in mind, it would just have never happened.

As we said at the beginning of this campaign, the WarStages Cathedral you’re getting will probably never be sold to the public in that form except for a super tiny small run.

The Cost of Adventure

But this has also caused much hurdle and pain. In the team and to some of our backers. And so, as exciting these projects have been, we won’t work that way again.

The truth is that it has cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars, and to a few of us, the price paid to make this adventure happen cannot even be counted in money.

So what does that means? Why all these ramblings?

Well, it means that when we read comic books or adventure novels as children, when we began playing with miniatures, with dark magicians and powerful warriors and dragons and beasts, what we have always been looking for is Adventure!

Today it is clear to me that what we are doing, what we are creating everyday is an Adventure.

A Kickstarter is a crazy big adventure.

Raging Heroes is without a doubt the biggest adventure I have ever lived. And I think it might be the same for a good part of the team.

It is not dissimilar to a trip to Mordor and back!

To be able to extract the essence of dreams and adventure and magic and then infuse it in a range of small plastic soldiers, a game box or a cardboard castle is no easy feat.

Especially if you are crazy like me and want to make it more than just a toy, but something that’s got that extra dose of magic and beauty. That’s bloody hard to do!

And that’s why thousands of backers put their trust in crazy questers like us and send us on a long trip, a perilous adventure, to grab the Magic and bring it back to them.

And what makes an adventure is not its goal but how we get there. That way can be long and treacherous. And sometimes some backers feel abandoned, betrayed, duped, because at times the adventure may looked doomed to failure or lost into Neverland.

Of course, you can always say that many Kickstarters are delivered on time and that everything goes smoothly. And you are absolutely right.
But it is true of commercially calibrated products. It doesn’t mean that they are bad products. It just means that we haven’t been creating the same kind of realistic, down-to-earth product.

What we have created, or at least tried to create, is something more than that.

Creating Something Special

What I’m telling you here is in no way an excuse about our delays. It’s not to tell you that you should not complain or be disappointed that you have to wait. No, on the contrary, I’m telling you this because I know that the fault is on me, on my willingness/desire/need to create something special, something you could not have had access to in the “normal” world where everything is about money and profitability.

What I’m trying to do here, without really knowing how to do it, is to give you something special, something that can only be gathered and experienced on the road to Adventure.

This Adventure with you as our partner is really teaching us something new, something unexpected: as imaginary world creators, game designers, artists, our goal is always to inspire you, to excite your imagination, to transport you in a world like no other. And yet, it seems obvious that somehow we are failing to share with you what makes the production of a Kickstarter such a crazy and amazing adventure.

The truth is that this is something really difficult to do, like when you’ve been on an amazing trip and most people have a hard time to get it when you share your experience, because, well, they didn’t experience it themselves.


I know for sure that our miniatures - and soon our scenery - make people react in amazing ways, I get awesome messages every day that prove it. I know that when you’ll assemble your cathedral, you’ll realise that this is not a toy, it is something more, something magical.

But somehow it is obvious that we fail to share with you the adventure and magic of what we do everyday and I’m really sorry for that. And maybe that is not possible to do, and maybe we should not even try. Because the sea is too stormy, because the monsters are too frightening, because the old sorceresses are way too ugly… and because in the end, it’s better that we only share the good part of the story.
I really don’t know.

The sure thing is that this project continues to teach us about ourselves and about life in ways we never expected. I hope we'll be wise enough to harvest lessons from it and be able to share the best parts of it with you.

For sure we will try our best to do that!

Even if I know that some of you don’t really care about all of this, and I perfectly understand that too.

What’s Next

The sure thing is that our next projects won’t sacrifice the artistic quality and the attention to details that have made our brand, but they will be developed with a much more “realistic” and pragmatic approach because we are just drained after nearly 6 years of crazy really tough Kickstarter adventures, and because we don’t want you to have to wait like this anymore.

The good stuff about this is that we have now developed the Raging Heroes DNA and thank to that our creative process is getting faster and faster and everything falls into place much more easily.

Now, the work on WarStages is done. We are exhausted but happy. Our part of the job on WS is done and furthermore, all our loose ends / ongoing projects like TGG 2 have by now been dealt with. We can now pass the WS files on to the manufacturer with the confidence of a job well done.

Of course we’ll tell you everything about how it is progressing.

Cathedral Prototypes Photos

As promised, here are photos of the Small Cathedral, and of the Large Cathedral. These are prototypes, which explains the white cardboard finish. If you recall, we had all the separate pieces cut to our specs to make sure that the Cathedral assembly works everywhere, and that nothing is missing.

Here’s a first photo of the Small Cathedral (more at the end of this Update):

And if you’re as crazy as we are, the Large version will bring an unprecedented dose of epicness to your gaming table (more images at the end of this update).

Scroll to the bottom of this Update for many many more photos!

Contacting the backers

As we said in the last update, about ¼ of the WarStages Bakers haven’t yet made their reward selection. This is the main reason why manufacturing has been delayed this summer. However, we cannot keep waiting anymore, so we are going to move forward anyway.

You may be astounded by the lack of response to the reminder messages we sent. However, it needs to be said that, contrary to popular belief, at least half of Kickstarter Backers seldom or never read updates, and never contact us in any way.


That being said, if you are reading this and have not yet made your selection in the Pledge Manager at http://warstages1ks.com/, please do so, otherwise we will be forced to assign you a reward selection that we will have to be a guess based on the amount you have pledged. If you have questions about the Pledge Manager, please contact us directly at RagingHeroesTeam@gmail.com.

The New PDFs

In a direct Kickstarter message, we are sending you the final wave of our Kickstarter Backer Exclusive Bonus PDF/JPEG files for DIY sets.

In it you’ll get the links to Church Pews, and a new set of floor tiles.

If the manufacturer tell us that we can cram a few more stuff in the various Cathedral kits, we plan to include a few pews as well as an additional free gift to you. But in the meantime, if you really want to dress up your cathedral with a lot of sitting space for pious followers, you’ll be able to create as many as you want with these print-at-home files.

As the floor tiles, well, if you want to make nice elegant rooms inside you Daedalus Kit, these will bring a touch of posh gothic class to ArchPapess Arthenya’s private suite ;)

The New Website

As we shared in our last update, we’ve been concentrating all our efforts on WarStages and TGG2 during the last few months. TGG2 is now completely done and there is now just a small amount of work to do on WarStages, mostly follow-up working with the manufacturer.

Also, we are now fully installed in our new location and back to our normal working pace. This means that other projects that had been put on ice for quite some time are now starting to get new attention.

The first one was a complete overhaul of our website which was really needed. The work is not completely finished but the change is already unmistakable. Our two main goals with this new version is to make your navigation easier and give you access to more content, be they background stories, painting tips, lists and more! There’s also a new side menu system that helps navigate through armies (although it does not yes appear on the mobile version, only desktop). We have also a new filtering system in the work, but its first two implementations broke other features, so it’s back to the drawing board for that one. And there are already new articles and features to help you discover our range and the TGG universe in a more fun way. You may want to check out our 10 Striking Heroines, for example. We hope you’ll like it.

That’s all for today.
All the best,

Benoit Guerville

SMALL Cathedral photos

 

LARGE Cathedral photos

 

 

 

  

 

 

 


5 Responses

Liz
Liz

October 09, 2018

Wow it’s cool seeing the prototypes all set up like that. They’re very exciting pictures, and having a solid idea of when production should happen is also very exciting!!

In response to some of the questions about how to maintain satisfaction that were posed in this letter:

Firstly, not I nor my husband has ever received a single email from you that I didn’t initiate. He late-pledged a month after the original kickstarter with his email, and I used my email to sign up for the Warstages newsletter. Again, neither of us has received a single email announcing that an update had been posted, or with the PDFs being sent to people, or the letters to the backers that have been mentioned in some updates, or most importantly, notification that the pledge manager was open. Not a whisper. If I didn’t come here weekly to check for news, I would have no idea where the project was standing. Dollars to donuts that’s why you have so many backers that haven’t responded to the pledge manager yet – because they don’t even know it opened.

Secondly, if you want to treat the kickstarter process like a grand adventure, then take us with you! You’ve got a great idea for an addon, and you sketched it out. Great! Show us. Tell us. You want to tweak this little thing over here, and that’s going to take a week to design, great! Show us a picture. This kind of clips is tearing the cardboard and you need to redesign, fine. Tell us about the problem, show us a picture, tell us some of your preliminary fix ideas. A weekly update with “We did X this week” even if it’s bad news, is at least sharing the ‘adventure’ with us, and it establishes a reliability that recognizes what we feel is your responsibility to your backers. Your updates when they come out have been exciting and interesting and the reason I keep coming here looking even when I don’t actually expect a new one to be posted. I love seeing what you’ve been up to! To the contrary, if you say “Pledge Manager will open next week and we need everyone to make their selections by the end of the month” and then we don’t hear anything from you for another two months, past the original deadline to have your pledge manager selections made, we’re going to worry. If you consistently tell us “we’ll have an update in 3-4 days” and then we don’t hear anything for a month, you make yourselves liars, and we lose trust. People wonder what else you haven’t told the truth on, and they’ll nitpick everything because they expect to find something. That lost trust makes people start suspecting a failure in the project, and again, when you stay silent, it amplifies. You ask how best to communicate… do it openly, honestly, and often, and I think you’ll find a lot more people sharing the ride with you rather than feeling like it’s you against us.

Looking forward greatly to future updates, and of course the final product when it arrives.

Richard Steinfeler
Richard Steinfeler

October 09, 2018

‘No, on the contrary, I’m telling you this because I know that the fault is on me, on my willingness/desire/need to create something special, something you could not have had access to in the “normal” world where everything is about money and profitability.’

- and it is this speciality, this desire and the willingness of you to get the dreams into reality what caused me to back all three KS.

Truth be told, after the first KS I knew what awaited me for the second KS. I didn’t expect any change for the third because I read your updates and so I know your struggles (or at least those you are telling us^^). It is the third KS but you are working with a “new” material and new Partners. Delays were to be expected. And you had a hell of a year until now!
Maybe many aren’t reading your updates or just skip to the part important for them. But we, who are reading the whole update, feel with you, take the journey with you. I hope to speak for the whole bunch if I say: thank you.
Not only for the excellent and stunning miniatures you are doing. Not for the extra free things you are giving us. But also to make us a part of this adventure in a scale … in a truly astonishing scale.

Like I said, I knew I would be waiting for the stuff. That’s not the important Thing because I don’t calculate with it. It will be a true present if it Comes unexpected ;)
But they journey is the true goal. To see you chasing your dreams and trying to bring those dreams to us, letting us join at the adventure and look over your shoulder. Thanks a lot.

At the end there is just one question I want wo ask: did you receive my parcel from Austria with the sweets I sent you? At least I hope it arrived yet XD"

Greetings,
Richard

Corey Wilke
Corey Wilke

October 07, 2018

Just wanted to give some positive support. Quality takes time and I’m happy to wait based on your quality track record.

Sam
Sam

October 07, 2018

Merci pour votre travail, je n’ai pas été déçu des 2 premiers kickstarter, bien au contraire une qualité exeptionnel en a résulté.
Continuer comme cela, d’autre société ont parfois du retard et en plus la qualité et le sav sont loin d’etre au rendez vous….
Encore merci et j’attends avec impatience de pouvoir monter ce petit bijoux….

Sam

Erik Elenström
Erik Elenström

October 05, 2018

You have my full support.

Even if the delay is long the result is unmatched by anything on the market.

I have supported TGG2/WS and bought miniatures from TGG1 and they are super cool with an extreme high quality.

So I don’t mind waiting : )

Love
//
Erik

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Subscribe