After our recent Kickstarter campaigns, we felt that it was time to give a report to our stakeholders. It is meant for you: backers, gamers, partners, and friends in gaming.
Through our many projects, we have learned much, but most importantly, we listened to you, even when we did not always respond right away. We heard the criticism and feedback, even when it was harsh, and it hurt. We have taken the time to process all of this, and now we would like to introduce you to the new Kolossal Games.
#A small team of board game enthusiasts
Since its creation in 2017, Kolossal Games has been a small team with a deep desire to create great games. As the team behind such landmark games as Western Legends and Mezo, Kolossal Games strives to publish innovative designs by adhering to the philosophy that gameplay matters. Kolossal Games seeks to make complex gameplay accessible to everyone through its use of beautiful presentation, bold design, and approachable rules.
#Humans who made mistakes
During the creation process, we were driven by excitement and overwhelmed by our desire to make new games available quickly, causing us to make mistakes. We focused too much on gameplay, story, and universe at the expense of production, quality control, and communication. At times we were too ambitious, demonstrating misplaced pride. This is something we deeply regret.
WHAT WE LEARNED AND WHAT WE CHANGED
After seeing your comments on older and more recent Kickstarter campaigns, and taking them to heart, we thought the time was right to talk about where we have failed, what we have learned, and to reintroduce ourselves as we implement needed changes. This is because the Kolossal that started almost 3 years ago now is very different from the one that we are today.
#About game design & quality
In our effort to bring great games to life, our primary focus has been on the game itself: gameplay, artwork, and mechanics. Due to this, we sometimes failed at also making sure our games were the best products. As a result, we were not always as careful during production and quality control part of the process as needed, even when the games were our own designs. In our enthusiasm, we were paying too much attention to the next game we wanted to make, and not enough attention to the current game.
For example, these issues occurred with All Manor of Evil. Several mistakes were made during its production and quality control because we were not thorough enough once the game design was finished. We did not double-check each other, and simple, obvious errors were missed. The Solo and 2-player modes were promised, but not included in the rulebook, because we made the poor decision to make these rules digital-only. Gem colors were mixed up, and an extra card was forgotten during the print run, due to poor communication between team members. Eventually, we found a solution for each of these issues, but in some cases, it took a long time, and we are very sorry for having let down the people who supported us most.
Every failure and mistake led to more and more changes in our quality control process and responsiveness when a problem was detected. This improvement in responsiveness is why we delayed the fulfillment of Mezo. The first backers to receive the game detected an issue about missing punch board items. We moved quickly to hold the delivery process long enough to get new punchboards printed and flown directly to all of our fulfillment hubs, as games were already on the boats when we found out. We made sure to correct the problem as quickly as possible, but there was a significant delay with delivery to ensure our backers would receive complete games.
> New process
Our quality control process now involves not only the entire team, but we have also brought in friends and colleagues to get even more eyes on each project. As a result, every game now goes through an extensive internal and external review process every step of the way.
- We involve more team members and friends in the review of the final version of the game. Some, who have never seen the game before, are given access to the final files (components, rules…) to have fresh eyes search for what we may have missed. This is just one of the more helpful tests.
- We have also started publicly sharing some files in advance of printing. For example, the PnP and final rules for Totemic were shared in January 2020, less than 2 months after the campaign ended. Almanac: The Dragon Road backers were also given access to the rules within 2 months of the campaign ending. This has been immensely helpful, and we are grateful to all of you who have helped us by reviewing these files.
These steps, and others, were applied to Omen: Heir to the Dunes, and we are continuing to strive to improve with each new project. We are exploring even more ways to refine this part of our process, and our methods will continue to expand and evolve moving forward.
#Customer service MADE FOR YOU
For our first few games, we handled after-sales services and other backer requests as they came in through direct contact: messages on social media, messages sent to a global email address, and every other method used by our backers to contact us. It led to quite a messy backlog of requests as the number of games in our catalog grew. Simply put, it was unsustainable.
> New process
We eventually got helpful advice from our publisher friends:
- We opened a ticketing system that has allowed us to measure the magnitude of the task.
- We now have bi-weekly checks on outstanding support tickets and allocate resources as needed.
It has taken several months, but we have finally come to the point where most issues are answered within a week and often solved right afterward or as soon as possible.
#Less is more
This part is simple… we have had too many projects running concurrently. This has caused delays in games waiting to be delivered, having too many games in the making, and too many ongoing campaigns. Yes, we have delivered every one of our games, but the pace has been such that we kept running towards the next project, without taking the time to support the games we just delivered or give them the attention they deserve.
> New process
We have decided to change our pace, meaning fewer projects coming to Kickstarter and more attention given to those that do. We have reorganized our team to devote more time to each past and future game. In practice, after 3 projects in the first quarter of 2020, we’ll be waiting until the second half of the year to launch Western Legends: Blood Money, the final expansion to our hit game, Western Legends.
INTRODUCTION TO A NEW BLUE GORILLA
Now, we would like to introduce you to a whole new blue gorilla, full of hope, trust, and excited by new prospects for tomorrow!
All of our Kickstarter projects and successfully delivered games have been exciting adventures. We have struggled and we have grown, with as many lessons learned as solutions found. Most importantly, we have listened to you, and have heard the deserved criticism and feedback.
#We are delivering
We have already delivered 12 games, and will soon deliver our 13th and 14th. On average, excluding Eclipse, we delivered games 10 months after a Kickstarter campaign. We want to do better. See chart below
#We have new and exciting projects coming soon
In 2020, we have several games in our pipeline that we cannot wait to show you!
- The next and last expansion of our first game, Western Legends, will launch on Kickstarter in the middle of the year!
- An incredibly tense and fun battle royale game. May the odds, and the audience, be ever in your favor!
- A highly tactical card game set in a futuristic world, from the creators of Terrors of London!
- Another lovely entry in the Papillon family will be blooming soon!
There are so many projects that we are excited about, but this year we will only have a few more. We want to make sure they are as ready as they can be when we put them on Kickstarter and just the way they need to be when delivered to our backers.
It is you, our stakeholders, who will be the only judges of our progress. If you are not yet convinced, please keep watching what we do, and telling us what to improve. This is a win for us all, as we want nothing more than to get better at what we do and make the best games for you that we possibly can. Step by step, hopefully, we can regain your trust.
Now the stage is set, and we cannot wait to show you what we have learned from the past and what we can do in the future!
CHART OF DELIVERED PROJECTS
*C to F : Campaign to Fulfillment (months)
|#||Campaign||C to F*||Launch Month||Promised Fulfillment||Actual 95% Fulfillment||Actual Vs Promise|
|1||Western Legends||11||January 2018||August 2018||December 2018||Late 4 Months|
|2||Kami Sama||10||February 2018||October 2018||December 2018||Late 2 Months|
|3||Imperius||9||March 2018||September 2018||December 2018||Late 1 Month|
|4||Omen Saga||8||May 2018||October 2018||March 2019||Late 5 Months|
|5||Combo Fighter||9||June 2018||December 2018||March 2019||Late 3 Months|
|6||Terrors of London||12||July 2018||February 2019||July 2019||Late 5 Months|
|7||All Manor of Evil||11||October 2018||July 2019||September 2019||Late 2 Months|
|8||Mezo||14||October 2018||June 2019||December 2019||Late 7 Months|
|9||Ante Up||10||January 2019||November 2019||November 2019||ON TIME !|
|10||The Culture Collection||9||February 2019||November 2019||November 2019||ON TIME !|
|11||Consumption||11||February 2019||January 2020||January 2020||ON TIME !|
|12||Papillon||6||June 2019||February 2020||December 2019||Early 2 Months|
|Campaign to Fulfillment
(C to F) performance table
|Actual Vs Promised
|Ideal: 6 months or less
Great: 7-9 months
Acceptable: 10-11 months
Bad: 12-15 months
Unacceptable: 16+ months
Great: ON TIME !
Acceptable: 1-3 months late
Bad: 3-6 months late
Unacceptable: 7+ months late