Boyan Radakovich Breaks His Silence, Talks Kickstarter and Pirate Den (Part 2/2)

andysmAndrew: Yesterday, we posted the first half of our interview with Boyan Radakovich.  In March of 2014, Mr. Radakovich’s company, the Gamesmith, ran a successful Kickstarter for a game called Pirate Den – a game which backers are still waiting for.  Today, over a year later, backers will finally get answers to some of their most pressing questions, such as where the Kickstarter funds are now, as well as when and how Boyan intends to fulfill his obligation to them.

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In yesterday’s post, Boyan Radakovich gave us insight into the events which surrounded his successful-yet-controversial Kickstarter campaign.  In brief recap, we closed with him talking about the challenges of getting Pirate Den picked up by a publisher who could complete the game in a timely manner, noting the added stress of having to have these negotiations after the Kickstarter was done and most people believing he had nearly $40,000 to work with and a near-finished product.

Today, we pick up where Mr. Radakovich left off – specifically talking about the reason Queen Games, which, at one point, he thought would be his publishing solution, ended up not working out.  According to him, the first contributing factor was Queen’s acquisition by Asmodee; an event which made Pirate Den, a relatively small project, difficult to fit into Queen’s new scope of business.

The second factor, says Boyan, was of a much different nature.

The following interview has been edited to make it fit within our posting format.  Again, to catch up, please read the first half of the interview here.


Boyan: So there was that. [Referring to Queen’s acquisition by Asmodee, which, Mr. Radakovich says, complicated the prospects of having them publish Pirate Den]

And then I basically got hit by a slander campaign by my own backers.

There is no way of ‘unbacking’ someone from Kickstarter. It’s basically an unmoderated forum, so people can say and do whatever they want in this forum. In fact, if someone gives you a dollar, you can’t even refuse to take it. They back you, even if you don’t want to, they now have the right to post on your forum and say whatever they want.

So I have 700 backers, roughly. Well I have 1 who is really quite out there. Who is saying things like I’ve stolen the money, I’ve gone to another country, I’ve committed fraud, I’m a thief, this kind of stuff. So that’s called slander. Normally it’s very difficult to prosecute slander, because you can’t show the effect of it. However in my case it’s actually quite clear.

The Titans campaign, I was actually supposed to be a part of that. The campaign that just finished. And these guys went on there, campaigning against me. I did the right thing, which was to back out of the project, and make sure that my friends were successful. But in reality I actually got pressured out of that campaign and I lost my percentage, my royalty for designing a game for that project which I had finished already.

So it’s difficult.  I understand that people are frustrated. I understand that the process isn’t clear and transparent and some people are just mean on the internet. I get that. I know what forums and comments look like.

You cannot moderate Kickstarter. I can’t unback someone. I would love to give you a refund. I would love to give you your $30 back or $40 back and have you go away. But what I have found in the past, these are my numbers, 60% of the people that I give refunds to continue to post, continue to email, continue to message and continue to engage in an active slander campaign, after the fact. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s actually, I think, a very serious problem, because every other site out there has a policy about forums, about comments, or users or backers or that sort of thing. But Kickstarter doesn’t.

Andrew: On the subject of Titan, Ray Wehrs [President of Calliope Games] spoke very bluntly about his support for you when he announced your decision to leave.

[In a post to the Titan Project previewers, Mr. Wehrs explained Mr. Radakovich’s decision to detach himself from the project.  Mr. Wehrs, calling him a friend, defended Boyan’s reputation as a professional.]

Boyan: Yeah. Ray’s awesome. I basically told him ‘I don’t want to damage this. This is such an awesome project and I want to be a part of it. And I want to support my friends but I know that these guys will come after you as well, because I’m involved.’

Andrew: So, I was in the Kickstarter preview for Titan. I read the comments you’re referring to and I will corroborate that at least there was definitely vocal opposition to your involvement. And it was in stark contrast to what Ray Wehrs had to say about you.

Boyan: Right, because basically you have 7 people on the internet who hate me and that’s 1% of my population. I hate to do the math like this because it makes it sound like their point isn’t valid. I’m not saying that. I understand that they’re frustrated. I understand that they want the game. I do too, but that does not mean that you engage in slander, or libel, or harassment, or these kind of things. You just don’t cross that line.

So I’ll close it back to the original point. These people came after Queen. Now Queen has, I don’t know, like 6 employees or 12 employees or something like that. And they certainly don’t have a dedicated customer service department.  They did the best they could, but Rajive was really feeling the pressure and so he talked to me a couple weeks ago like ‘What is happening online here? Why is everyone so upset?’ I said ‘Everyone’s upset because Pirate Den is not out yet and it’s not out yet because I haven’t gone to print. And so it’s impossible for me to fill this order until I actually have a publisher. That’s why it’s important for us to finalize when we’re going to print and all this kind of stuff.’

I had to go through this process again where I felt like I was hurting my friends by being engaged with them in a business relationship. It’s like, now Queen had to put up with all this nonsense. And I felt like it’s not right for them to do that and so I told Rajive that ‘if you want to walk away from the project I’m ok with that as long as I can have another publisher… [Audio lost]… because my top priority is making sure the game comes out to the backers this year.

Queen has a game in for Spiel des Jahres now and they’re really focused on that and they have other games. The production pipeline isn’t very large, so sliding in Pirate Den isn’t as easy as you think.

We discussed it and the main thing is that Queen doesn’t think that they can get the game out this year. And my position is that the backers need to have it out this year.  I had delays. We all got busy. Life happens. But again, this is all behind after the curtain, after it’s successful. So again, not something to talk about in public. You don’t talk about contracts, in fact there’s a clause in there that says confidentiality. We’re not supposed to talk about the terms or the deal and that sort of stuff.

I actually have a new publisher who has promised to bring it out this year. It’s Crash Games. Crash Games is a small table top publisher-

Andrew: One of my favorites!

Boyan: Yeah Crash is Awesome! They make such good games.

Andrew: Crash is amazing.

[We were able to reach Patrick Nickell, founder of Crash Games via email to confirm that yes, Crash Games is indeed producing Pirate Den!]

Boyan: Yeah and from a production point of view, they kill it. Patrick’s a small company, like, it’s maybe only one or two people, but he gets it right because he has amazing relationships with these publishers.  He said ‘yeah, I want to do Pirate Den. I think it’s amazing.” and I said “we can do this, but I need it to come out this year. Is that even possible?” and he said “Yeah. I’m gonna do it!” and he basically put in his order 2 weeks ago. That’s when I talked to Patrick. He has his quote back already, last week, and has already speced it out…

So basically Crash is in production right now.  They already have the quotes in.  And what’s awesome is that Crash can make the base game the deluxe version of the game.

Andrew: No way! That’s awesome!

Boyan: Yeah, exactly, so not only is he faster but he’s better at this than I am and so the game will come with a larger box, it will have the cloth bag, it will have the acrylic gems in it already. It will have the full deck of cards, and the rules booklet, he’s working on having it translated into multiple languages so that way it can work as one international game. So not only is the game coming out, but it’s I think going to be better than if I had put it out myself.

So big props to Crash Games for that. I know it’s a bit of a rescue project, but he loves the game.

So Queen and I, good relationship, nothing’s wrong. We’re still friends. It’s just they have a Spiel des Jahres nominee, their production timeline is complicated because they’re a large publisher  and now part of Asmodee group, and Crash nimble, very aggressive, and in fact that’s part of the deal.

Andrew: So, is your arrangement with Crash Games formal at this point?  Signed contracts and all?

Boyan: The Crash games deal is executed and guarantees a delivery of Pirate Den this year.  Ink is dried, my files are transferred, and printer quotes are in.  However, nothing in production is ever final-final until the product ships.  But it’s a strong as we can make the relationship.

Andrew: That’s excellent news all around. That is really great.

Boyan:  Nobody want to see how sausages are made, we just like eating them.

Andrew: Exactly.  That’s one of the crazy downsides of the Kickstarter experience is that it exposes just enough of the back end of the process for us to feel involved but not enough for us to be informed.

Boyan:  And also, in terms of expectations, it’s difficult.  If I’m a fan and if I back a project and they say ‘oh give me $40 and that’s a valid contribution.’ I think ‘Oh cool. I’m making this thing happen’, but when you actually look in your spreadsheet they need like tens of thousands of dollars to make this thing happen.

[Final round of connection issues]

Andrew: So…my main question, and it’s definitely the thing you’ve taken the most heat for, is: why not more communication? Why not more transparency from you?

Boyan: So, I do talk about this online. I talk about it on Twitter, Facebook, and in fact when I’m at conventions I see my backers personally. I talk to them, we hang out, we play the game, we do demos. I give them copies of the game.

So, why don’t I do updates all the time?  Well if the update is ‘nothing new’, that’s not useful. If the update is ‘hey I’m doing a legal thing I can’t talk about’ that’s also not useful. 10% of the people actually read these forums. They don’t care. And so you’re like ‘oh but that’s so insensitive and so arrogant. You’re such an asshole for doing this’, but if I have to cut 90% of my problem and I can do it very simply by essentially ignoring the 1% of the population, don’t you think that’s an efficient solution?

And so people are like ‘Why not once a week? Why not once a month? Why not once a day?’ Everyone has a different level. Because I can’t unback the most unreasonable people who demand instantaneous gratification for their unreasonable expectations. I can’t address it. The simplest solution is for me to say ‘Hey man, um, here’s your $40 bucks back or $80 bucks or whatever it is. Please go away.’ I’d love that. That would be amazing. Instead what happens is ‘Here’s your money’ ‘oh, I will continue to post.’

Andrew: So there is no such thing as a no harm, no foul solution?  You tried getting these folks who were vocal and negative, you gave them their refund and they still follow you around?

Boyan: Yes. I would like to communicate more and I would like to have good news, but when things are bad, is getting a litany of excuses a useful…is it useful for me to send an update every month saying ‘Well it’s not this publisher. Well, that deal I had is somewhere else’?

Or, and this is the perspective online, ‘I don’t care if you lose money. I want my game.’ Ok well, I cannot sustain this business model. I have already lost way too much money in this deal already.

In fact, Gamesmith cannot be a publisher anymore.

I have essentially funded this company out of my pocket, after the fact, the entire time. This is bleeding directly into my personal gains and like I said, I don’t take income. I paid myself $4,000 for Pirate Den because I knew if I didn’t I would receive nothing and the pain would be even greater.

If someone’s like ‘oh $4,000 that, like, you totally stole money from us. You’re a thief or whatever.’ $4,000 to do design, development, art direction, production, print buying, all the legal consultations, and pitching the game and all that kind of stuff not to mention recording and doing the photoshoots and the Kickstarter campaign itself and managing all of this terrible forum? Is it worth $4,000? It’s not. Yeah, I actually get paid more to do other things.

Andrew:  Aside from the $4,000 that you paid yourself, where is the money these days?  As you say, some folks are quick to accuse you of stealing it.  Is it still around?

Boyan: Much of the money was spent repaying the advance on game design royalty, the illustration costs, graphic design costs, marketing costs for the campaign, the video production and photoshoot, plus the creation of the premium items (treasure chests, coins, etc.). There is still money reserved for production and fulfillment costs for the final delivery to backers.

In reality, this is a labor of love. I love the game. I love the community. I want to make something awesome and I want to get it to the people, but it’s not acceptable for me to listen to these people who say ‘give it to me even if you have to lose money. Give it to me regardless of my demands, or, I need a response right now.’ I’m not going to be intimidated by these people.

Maybe that’s callous and maybe that’s arrogant, and that’s fair.  I could have been more communicative, but…it’s either you give total information and you talk through the entire process or you have to do these, like, staged releases where everything is ready.  And when legal contracts aren’t finished and correction timelines aren’t finished and products aren’t at print, it’s very difficult to give a finished, final word on anything.

It’s very difficult, you know…like, Kickstarter felt like I was part of a community and now this active slander campaign has officially ostracized me from it. No one cares to read the facts. No one even cares at all. They just see the numbers of all the posts and this kind of stuff. It’s hard to clear your name after this sort of thing, but whatever, you know? Years from now no one will ever remember. That’s the way the internet works.

The short of it is, Gamesmith can’t be a publisher, not because I have a bad reputation…but simply because I don’t have funds to continue to do this. And if the expectation is that I have to pay for everything in advance of doing a Kickstarter campaign and essentially going to print like a pre-order system, you know, ‘insert cash, get your game’, then I can’t do that.

So I’ve learned many lessons. I find that an expert is someone who has made every mistake in their field and I am an expert on Kickstarter now.

I think that’s my takeaway is that top line, that number that you see is like ‘oh congratulations. You’ve successfully funded!’ This number is just the beginning of all your trouble and often you don’t even get a small percentage of that number.  You get like, zero, or a negative percentage of that number.

I’m super passionate about tabletop gaming and that’s not going to change. I’m still a game designer and that’s not going to change. I’m constantly designing, I’m just going back to the old days of being pretty much a game designer and developer, helping other people’s games, instead of trying to be a publisher which is, you know, very problematic.

And…In the future, my whole policy is going to be very, very open about everything that I’m doing.


We appreciate Mr. Radakovich taking the time to speak with us so candidly about the challenges he has faced during the last fourteen months.  With Patrick Nickell of Crash Games confirming their commitment, it seems like Pirate Den is finally on the path to production and delivery, and to hopefully be enjoyed at long last by its backers.

It is clear that there were a great many factors in play which prevented Mr. Radakovich from fulfilling his obligations to his backers according to his early estimates.  As consumers (and investors), we the gaming public aren’t always in a position to know what’s behind the scenes, and we found this glimpse to be quite revealing.

However, Boyan’s backers’ most constant criticism, that of a persistent lack of communication, is one which he seems to acknowledge.  If indeed his policies going forward are geared more towards transparency and openness, we believe he will save himself (and others) much needless heartache.

Even now, there are fresh comments on the Pirate Den Kickstarter page by backers expressing frustration that Boyan chose to speak with us, rather than with them directly.  We understand that feeling, though we are just glad that we were able to share some answers to questions they have been asking for some time now.

While there are undoubtedly some (especially among his long-frustrated backers) who will either disbelieve his sentiments or dismiss them as too little, too late, it is our sincere hope is that Mr. Radakovich follows through and commits himself not just to getting Pirate Den delivered, but to opening more lines of communication.

But what are your thoughts?  If you are a backer, are you still looking forward to receiving Pirate Den?  Do any of Mr. Radakovich’s statements change your perspective?  We appreciated those of you who responded to yesterday’s interview with such even-toned and thoughtful comments; we welcome further discourse below.

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13 comments

  1. I am probably in Mr. Radakovich’s “Hater” column. I initially asked for a refund in early November (after Pirate Den was to be delivered and before his only meaningful Kickstarter update). He initially told me he would grant me a refund and then changed his tune to “I will grant refunds when the game is ready to ship.” I was one of the ones who spoke up against his involvement in Titans. I have posted negative things about him on the Kickstarter comments.

    Let me share my personal perspective. I understand where Mr. Radakovich is saying he couldn’t speak about negations with publishers. What I don’t understand is how his KS is unique among the 25 or so game-related KS projects I have backed. The vast majority of them were (or ARE) late. Backers get this. Backers get this because the project creators share status updates with them. Literally NONE of them have been under some sort NDA-gag with publishers that cause months of silence. Had I been more vigilant (Pirate Den was my 3rd Kickstarter ever), I would have researched Gamesmith’s other projects, which were also very late and which also had huge stretches of no communication through Kickstarter.

    It’s understandable that he harbors resentment towards those of us who have been vocal about his shortcomings as a game publisher. But I find his persecution complex galling. The over-all tone of this interview has been that Mr. Radakovich is the one who has been wronged. That none of this is his fault. That his rational that, because 700 games wasn’t a feasible production number, somehow 5,000 units was the logical number. I have been part of so many other small one or two-man Kickstarters that struggled but managed to produce their game and kept most backers happy in the process.

    While I appreciate Gameosity publishing this interview, I find it unreasonable that most meaningful information about this project in 7 months comes here rather than on the platform Mr. Radakovich used to raise the money to build his game. I have little expectations that he will make good on his promise of more transparency moving forward. We backers heard this in April of 2014, in November and now today.

  2. I first backed this game because it looked great with a theme my family loves including female pirates that did not need to be rescued. I even backed the deluxe version since having an author involved was just plain neat. The Risks and Challenges section made me feel that Mr. Radakovich had a strong plan with a game that was ready to go to production.

    I was excited. I got others involved. I talked this game up to friends and my local gaming store. Some even backed Pirate Den. I regret getting them involved.

    Although I did not agree with his belief that using Kickstarter for communication was a waste of his time, I accepted it. Any news was better than no news. I restarted my Twitter account just to make sure I missed no updates about the project as he suggested. I tweeted him twice. Once to ask for an update and the second time to see if the survey went out after my e-mail went down. I have never received a response. My handle is duncanid if you wish to verify. I also follow his Facebook page.

    I was one of the backers who when sent a survey from Calliope Games about Titans expressed concern about Mr. Radakovich’s involvement in the campaign. I do not believe that my concerns could be considered slander since they were based on my experiences with Pirate Den. I suggested that Calliope Games look at the Kickstarter in order to make an informed decision. I did state that I would not personally back another project that Mr. Radakovich was involved in because of his actions during Pirate Den. I also stated that I was unlikely to back Titans since I felt there was not enough information about each of the games to convince to back the Kickstarter. If this is slanderous behavior, I apologize. I was asked my opinion and I gave it in a polite manner.

    Overall, I find most of the discussion on the Pirate Den Kickstarter page to be respectful and considerate. Since information about the game is not collected in one place, backers post things when they are found. Frustration has been expressed. To check my behavior on Kickstarter, my name is Deb C. If you check Twitter, Mr. Radakovich has also shown his frustration at backers in negative ways.

    Some have posted about requesting a refund, but to this date have not received one. I do not know who his haters are that he has given refunds to but still choose to post negative comments about him, but I wonder the validity of that statement.

    Do I still want the game? Maybe. If I was offered a refund or the game today, I would have to think very hard on it. The process has colored my opinion of the game. No matter how good it is, it will be hard to judge the game on its own merit.

    Do I believe anything will change? Highly doubtful. On November 15, 2014, an update was sent out that sounds very familiar to the news about Crash Games. Queen Games loved Pirate Den and everything was set to go for an April release. Six months later, we were told it wasn’t going to happen.

    I try to base my opinions about businesses and people by their actions and not just what they tell me. I have been told and shown that my support of his dream only granted me the right to give him my money. Beyond that any information to provided to me was either a gift or something I found through a treasure hunt in social media. If Mr. Radakovich wishes the respect of his backers, he should consider show them some.

  3. As one of Mr Radakovitch’s “vocal backers” – quickly rebranded “haters” – let me join my views to those posted above. Just bear with me as English is not my mother tongue.

    If you look a it from a distance, you see very clearly that this mess has all been a self-fulfilling profecy : after a campaign filled with animation and posts from Bo, let’s say « up to standard », it has all been radio silence, leading into questions, then worries, then measured attacks. The single goal of these being to make the creator react, and respond. We now learn that because of the challenges, he decided to keep silent. And as a consequence everyone got even more upset and made more noise.
    Simple conclusion : Bo had it coming, did not care, saw it getting hotter, and backed away. Who is then to blame ?
    Because – put aside the dirty words, which as far as I know only Bo wrote somewhere – what did this community of backers (and I counted above 25 active backers exchanging worries on KS, not 7 !) do during all that time ? They were looking for answers, lifesigns, anything that could shed some light on the situation. How ? First you ask politely, then you ask with insistance. Then some just back off and quit. Others, I among them, just start building a strategy to get attention : repeated tweets, repeated posts, anything. Not even aggressive : give us some news, any news. Then you move up, and start asking around, to the designers on the project, to the announced publisher. When this delivers nothing, and you blow the 1 year anniversary candle and feel deep in your heart that nothing is even close to production, you push it.
    And yes, I pushed it – because I care. I asked Queen Games straight to take a position for or against Bo, as he had on 2 occasions pointed out to them as the bottleneck. And guess what, they responded. Queen’s CEO told us that there was NO CONTRACT, NO DEAL. Black on white, not on thin air.
    And when you read the interview, it seems very clear that THIS WAS THE TRIGGER. Maybe it is arrogance, but I believe that challenging Queen Games, having them respond, has put the issue in Bo’s face and he suddenly had to do something about it. Else we would still have been there in December 2015. Maybe…

    Are you a victim Mr Radakovich ? Was this slander ? Was this a personal campaign to take you down ? No way, there is not even the start of a case.
    Did you dig your own grave ? I think so. And what’s even worse, is that you keep digging : there are so many evidences of that in this pathetic interview. (Well done to Gameosity, but they got framed and seduced, doing your PR work for you, your KS update for you, for free)
    Half of this interview is about KS being a corrupted system where you now can only pre-order instead of sustaining dreams ? B***S*** ! You said exactly the same in !! November 2013 !! here : http://www.happymittengames.com/15/ And I quote Bo at 46:40 of the podcast : « …KS is a great platform that connects fans and creators… the issue is nowadays that KS has really turned into a pre-order model… in board games it’s like “I give you money, where is my product?”… so my recommendation to game designers is don’t even go to KS until the game is done…” ». So you knew, because you had failed already on Camden, so you had to make it better and would be taking no risk. Which is what you said on the RISK part of your project Pirate Den.

    On top of this, so many of Bo’s statements have been proven wrong, and promises not upheld, that we can no longer trust the guy. He would be communicating regularly : nothing. He would be updating on Twitter : hardly anything. The game was as good as ready : no way. The game was going to be produced by Queen in April 2014 : missed. A survey would be sent in the week : still waiting a month later.

    I tend to believe there are clear symptoms of paranoia in Bo’s behaviour and statements. Nobody wanted him down, none of us ever asked for the game by tomorrow. And why is that ? Precisely the opposite of what the interview says : because we know what’s going on behind, because we back many others and they fail, but they tell us what s*** they are in, so we have been there before.

    Let me repeat again : you have shown no respect at all for your backers, and your interview (again the guys running it are not my target) is another terrible evidence of that. You light up a counterfire against the very people who invested in you : that’s just unfair ! After explaining elsewhere that your KS backers are just a tiny proportion of your ecosystem, reason why they don’t deserve updates on KS, but need to go to Twitter, you now try to explain that because some of them are making noise, you decided to stay quiet, and that they ruined your reputation ? Come on !

    And I could keep going for hours.

    No, I don’t believe we are going to hear more from Bo than we have. No, I don’t believe backers will get their full « reward » by the end of 2015. No, I don’t believe any more in anything Mr Radakovich says. And no, I am not a hater : I simply fight for what I believe is right. And 40.000 dollars tell me that this fight is right, because you have not demonstrated yet the announced commitment to your game and to your backers. Keep your promises, and I will be your best friend.

  4. As a backer of Pirate Den, I have mixed feelings reading this. Some of it sounds hopeful (new publisher), but there seems to be a real lack of empathy from Bo Radakovitch about the view from the other side.

    As backers of the project, we have a vested monetary interest in Pirate Den. Pirate Den was funded on the Kickstarter website. One thing that many backers (including myself) have asked is that updates should be done first and foremost on Kickstarter. Bo may prefer Twitter, but Pirate Den was not funded on Twitter. There’s an old adage: “go where the customers are”. Well, the customers/investors of Pirate Den are on Kickstarter, they aren’t on Twitter (and, to be fair, they also aren’t on Gameosity, either).

    Still, this is the most information that we as backers have received regarding the status of Pirate Den, so I do appreciate Gameosity for getting Bo “on the record”.

    However, I do remain rather skeptical regarding actual fulfillment. Bo needs to regain his backers trust, and the first way to do that is he needs to engage with his backers, and he needs to do so at the Kickstarter website.

  5. I love Crash Games. I’ve backed two of their projects on Kickstarter (one delivered late, but with transparency on the delays, the other expected to be delivered this month), and wouldn’t hesitate to back others in the future. Their quality is superb, Patrick’s enthusiasm for games is evident, and his consideration for his supporters’ satisfaction is never in question. I think they’re an excellent choice for publisher.

    That being said… Frankly, I don’t expect Bo to provide better communication or show any regard for our concerns. This interview clearly makes it sound like he views us as his enemy – petty consumers demanding goods, rather than people who believed in his idea and became concerned about its status when nothing was happening. Despite the fact that I am excited to hear Crash Games’ name, it feels like a slap in the face that this information could not have been delivered to backers directly from Bo. I think Pirate Den looks great, and I still am eager to try it. He has talent as a designer, I won’t deny that, but as a project manager he has *a lot* of ground to make up before I would even *consider* pledging to another project where he has any role beyond designing or promotion.

  6. Hi another vocal backer here. Firstly, thanks for feeding me more info on this project than I’ve received in over a year – it would have had to have been in the form of literally hundreds of tweets (but if you search in the hashtags for Pirate Den you’ll only find a handful).

    Stakeholder Management 101 – keep even the “low-influence/high interest” stakeholders informed. Once upon a time that’s all we would have been. Nowadays, thanks to the power of social media, we seem to be able to promote ourselves to “high-influence/ high interest” stakeholders if we’re frustrated enough. Did you know that United Airlines broke someone’s guitar? Lost them $180m of stock value! That’s social media for you.

    In this situation have I used social media to damage someone because I hate them? No! I’m simply a stakeholder who has not been informed, yet alone satisfied trying to ask for, cajole and eventually provoke a response.

    Decades of business experience and backing plenty of KS means I know the meaning of ‘late’… “S#!t Happens”… I get it. Have I been pi$$ed off enough about someone who “got their Math wrong” (BR, Update Nov 2014) after selling his project to me sat on the TableTop set in front of the logo; isn’t that ‘endorsement’?.TT are therefore fair game to me to voice my frustration at/through. BGG pages on Pirate Den and BR? … fair game. New KS projects including him? … fair game.

    Had he told us 25% of what’s revealed here I might have been informed and satisfied enough to sit back and wait, like the 10 other projects I’ve backed that are currently overdue. In many projects sometimes the comments trail needs a little nudge to get a response – any response is usually good enough. Not in this case.

    Being told it’s “my fault” and I should have known? Sorry, but any remaining respect for him as an individual just departed my soul.

  7. I’m a backer and I agree wholeheartedly with all the previous comments. I feel disrespected by BR as a backer, and earnest communication with us would have solved that from the get-go.

  8. I afraid there are plenty of very late projects on kickstarter where project creators regular communicate “nothing new, next expected change is X in Y months.” and you don’t see hate from backers. I find these excuses for not communicating to be a joke honestly.

  9. I am a backer and I find it funny that I have to go and search on my own for an update on the game, since Bo lost his job and has had no communication with his backers about the project.

    I have a life outside of kickstarter, I’m sure Bo does too. I understand life gets in the way, but not trying to communicate directly with your backers to explain the situation will do you no favors.

  10. I have to agree about the lack of communication. “I’m doing a legal thing I can’t talk about” IS useful – keeping your investors in the loop is useful.

    I can point to two campaigns that had huge delays – Redshirts and Two Rooms And A Boom. Redshirts got a C&D from CBS Television, and it took a lot of lawyering before it was all ironed out. Two Rooms had production issues almost all the way down the line – everything from art delays to “reformatting to make it look awesome” to manufacturing issues (because cards that can be seen through just won’t work in a HIDDEN ROLE game). However, the backers were kept informed of what was going on…or at least as much that could be talked about. When you disappear for seven months, people are going to wonder what happened. Heck, even an update of “I’m also on Facebook and sometimes post news there” would have been nice (that DID happen, but that was after the seven month silence).

    Having said all that, I’m still looking forward to the game. I just hope that if there are further delays, Boyan has learned that communication is never “useless”.

  11. I agree wholeheartedly with the other commenters. This is the most information I’ve had about this project in months. I’ve backed several other board and video games that are behind schedule, but backers (or investors, if you prefer) are kept well informed through regular updates ON KICKSTARTER. I have always been baffled at Boyan’s insistence that he cannot provide regular updates via the platform that funded his dream. I have even gotten “No news now, next update on X in Y months” updates on other projects. Have I been disappointed? Yes. But the communication has been OPEN and HONEST and REGULAR, which keeps me interested and engaged, and even rooting for the creator as they navigate the treacherous waters of international production and shipping.

    I doubt I will fund anything else by Boyan in the future, because he has not done a good job of engaging me as someone invested in his success. I am still looking forward to Pirate’s Den – I loved the concept and art, then and now.

  12. I am not a backer of this project but came across this article while looking up info regarding the “other controversy” regarding Boyan. I have only backed a few kickstarters that actually met their goal but so far they have ALL delivered on their promises. His excuses in this article seem weird to me. Stating that when you back a project, you are not ordering from a shop… True but you are still responsible to deliver your product. Then you say you only got funded for about 700 units when you need to print thousands. Then you promised results you knew you couldn’t deliver. The campaign wasn’t to fund development and if you find a publisher THEN you get a game. The project promised that if you the backer do x then y will happen. The backer community met the goals for the project. If by the terms he set up in the campaign, it would be impossible to deliver as promised, that is squarely on Mr Radakovich.

    Basically it seems like the backers were used merely as carrots to dangle in front of publishers to show the game had sales potential rather than as a capitol to physically produce the game. With his experience actually publishing a couple games, how could he set up this campaign this way knowing full well that it wouldn’t be enough to succeed? If you know it will cost a certain amount for the project to succeed in the real world, then set your goal for that not a fraction of that cost. Maybe I don’t understand kickstarter fully but this makes no sense to me.

    ————————————-

    For the sake of argument here is what Kickstarter has to say about the creators responsibility:

    What should creators do if they’re having problems completing their project?

    If problems come up, creators are expected to post a project update explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is crucial. Most backers support projects because they want to see something happen and they’d like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding.

    It’s not uncommon for things to take longer than expected. Sometimes the execution of the project proves more difficult than the creator had anticipated. If a creator is making a good faith effort to complete their project and is transparent about it, backers should do their best to be patient and understanding while demanding continued accountability from the creator.

    If the problems are severe enough that the creator can’t fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps should include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers. For more information, see Section 4 of our Terms of Use.

    What is a creator obligated to do once their project is funded?

    When a project is successfully funded, the creator is responsible for completing the project and fulfilling each reward. Their fundamental obligation to backers is to finish all the work that was promised. Once a creator has done so, they’ve fulfilled their obligation to their backers. At the same time, backers must understand that Kickstarter is not a store. When you back a project, you’re helping to create something new — not ordering something that already exists. There’s a chance something could happen that prevents the creator from being able to finish the project as promised. If a creator is absolutely unable to complete the project and fulfill rewards, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to a satisfying conclusion for their backers. For more information, see Section 4 of our Terms of Use.

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