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Author Topic: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter  (Read 2307 times)

Offline zifnab0

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Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« on: January 18, 2013, 02:55:36 PM »
Here's the link.

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We're holding this Kickstarter project to able to create the QuickStarter rules (see what we did there?) and the first Starter Sets for Darklands, to enable all of our fans to be a part of its growth from a few nice miniatures to a full-blown wargame.

The Starter Sets outlined here are either sculpted or ready to be sculpted - we just need a hand from here to bring them to market, and with our proven track record of producing stunning resin miniatures we know we can deliver on time and without hassle.

We appreciate all of those people who have supported us in the past and, indeed, all of you that will support us in this Kickstarter. Without you, neither Darklands nor Mierce Miniatures would exist! Everyone who backs us in this Kickstarter will have their name mentioned in the QuickStarter rulebook, with a message of thanks!

There's two major pledges to go for - the Infantry Starter Set (60, approximately $100) or the Monstrous Infantry Starter Set (80, approximately $125) - but there's eight different variants of them so there's plenty of choice.

For those who recall, Mierce Miniatures was spun off from Maelstrom Games late last year.  They are run by some (all?) of the same people.  This guy seems skeptical.  I'm skeptical as well.

From a skeptical angle:
The company has a pretty shady past.
The amount of money they're asking for is pretty low.
They're not asking for money to make miniatures - most of the ones available are already sculpted.

From a non-skeptical angle:
Pretty decent deals (30% off)
The models are fan-damn-tastic.
The models are already sculpted and are available commercially.
I'm not aware of any complaints about availability from Mierce.

I get the impression that this is intended as a way to generate sales and interest in the product.  Creating a game (starter packs &c.) seems a secondary consideration.

I'm considering throwing some money at them (Fomoraic Sronax + Terror of Fortriu) simply because they're beautiful miniatures and I've been interested in getting them for a while.  If I do buy in, I also plan to use my credit card because that gives me a certain level of protection.

Offline Darknight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 04:32:30 PM »
Question : Is there any real level of protection with a Kickstarter? Aren't you just giving your money to a group to develop something, as an investment rather than a purchase? An investment can go sour - that is kinda the difference between it and a purchase. Isn't Kickstarter designed to get investments, rather than purchases?

I realize this Kickstarter is offering models which are already made and commercially available, but does that actually change the nature of Kickstarter; which is crowd-funding for investment rather than purchase?

If (for example) White Knight did exactly this with his nice Ren Dwarfs and said "Hey, these are already made - but I am just getting some interest and sales here; pledge X and you get Y" I would jump on it like Lance Armstrong on dope (topical!) because White Knight is a gentleman and a schollar and known for being a totally legit guy.

This scenario? I am skeptical, because the Kickstarter seems to give them a level of protection which runs "You made an investment and it has gone sour - sorry, them's the risks of an investment."

If they were honest, they would be either selling existing models or generating investment for new ones.

If they are genuinely "selling" existing models through Kickstarter for a lower price I think they would have no objection to someone calling them and saying "I would like to purchase the models you have available in your store at the price the Kickstarter offers them at - here is a credit card and this is a formal, contractual transaction."
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Offline Finlay

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 04:45:22 PM »
60 for a small rulebook and 11 models? Do not want.
Co-incidentally, Mansfield is one of the most horrid places ever.

From reading that link, I wouldn't have anything to do with them
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 04:47:39 PM by Finlay »
I don't care about the rules.

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Offline zifnab0

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 04:58:17 PM »
Question : Is there any real level of protection with a Kickstarter? Aren't you just giving your money to a group to develop something, as an investment rather than a purchase? An investment can go sour - that is kinda the difference between it and a purchase. Isn't Kickstarter designed to get investments, rather than purchases?
Kickstarter facilitates an agreement between you and the project creator - you agree to give them money and they agree to give you the reward.  I don't think that it is an Article 3 UCC sale, but there is a contractual obligation to satisfy the reward (see the Kickstarter TOS).  I think (although I'm not certain) that is sufficient for credit card protection.

If they are genuinely "selling" existing models through Kickstarter for a lower price I think they would have no objection to someone calling them and saying "I would like to purchase the models you have available in your store at the price the Kickstarter offers them at - here is a credit card and this is a formal, contractual transaction."
This is a good point.  I wonder how they would respond.

It might be a good idea to include a pretext as well, like "I don't want to wait until April for the miniatures."

Offline oak_prince

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 05:34:26 PM »
Mierce sent me a replacement horn for my Ckaarakk model pretty quickly after I emailed them. And this was after Maelstrom died.

I definitely have my eye on a unit of those minotaurs...
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Offline Darknight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 05:37:33 PM »
Question : Is there any real level of protection with a Kickstarter? Aren't you just giving your money to a group to develop something, as an investment rather than a purchase? An investment can go sour - that is kinda the difference between it and a purchase. Isn't Kickstarter designed to get investments, rather than purchases?
Kickstarter facilitates an agreement between you and the project creator - you agree to give them money and they agree to give you the reward.

But surely that is ONLY if they are able to get it up and running? If they have a kickstarter to raise money to sculpt a new line of miniatures and sell them, you are NOT guaranteed it, surely? Certainly not if they don't meet the funding goal (e.g. they say they need $10K and the $100 level is a unit of unicorn giggles; if they only raise $5K you do NOT get your unicorn giggles).

I would be totally suspect of anyone trying to sell something which already exists through Kickstarter - it ain't what the thing is intended for.
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Offline Darknight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2013, 05:42:48 PM »
Here is the Kickstarter FAQ http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter%20basics?ref=nav

I am not finding much comfort in there . . .

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Who is responsible for completing a project as promised?
 

It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

Quote

Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?
 

Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.
 


Can Kickstarter refund the money if a project is unable to fulfill?
 

No. Kickstarter doesn't issue refunds as transactions are between backers and creators, and creators receive all funds (after fees) soon after their campaign ends. Creators have the ability to refund backers through Amazon Payments (for US projects) and Kickstarter (for UK projects).

So, project creators are required to deliver on a promise of unicorn giggles, but Kickstarter does not guarantee. There is some information about recourse - but Kickstarter cannot make refunds. The refunds would have to come from the creator . . . who are Mierce, who are / were Maelstrom, about whom I am certain I remember things-that-were-not-good on the issues of delivery and refunds which are the two issues of greatest and gravest importance here.

I do not get a warm fuzzy. I am glad I bought the single Mierce model I wanted a while ago (and, for the record, it is lovely).
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Offline Timbor

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2013, 08:20:05 PM »
I was discussing this on LAF...  Sadly, in today's world of faceless commerce people are more concerned with the product than the people behind it.  If they like the way it looks and are confident it will arrive, they will buy it.  I know lots of people swore to never buy Wargames Factory stuff after that whole fiasco, and yet they still seem to be doing ok (yes, I know, most people shun them for the low quality, but theirs is a quantity-over-quality philosophy).

I just hope the kickstarter delivers its promises for the sake of any ignorant supporters who do not know the history.  For those who know and take their chances... well lets hope they don't get burned.

I for one will not be taking part.  Not only because it is Rob Lane's company (former owner of Maelstrom) but also because the models are expensive and the amount of details on them means hours and hours to paint.  Sure I am a miniholic, but if I am collecting whole armies, I want to be able to conceivably imagine painting a whole army... ain't gonna happen when it takes 4 hours per miniature.  :blush:
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Offline Darknight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 09:31:52 PM »
I think it is also a question of WHEN you come into the thing - I buy Wargames Factory because I found them AFTER the previous owner debacle (I am not even sure what happened). I have no ethical ax to grind with Wargames Factory because they never screwed me over or anyone I knew, and - really - it is not the current guys who did it (so far as I know).

The ethical issue with Mierce is different - it is not a question of "screw those guys!" from my perspective, but rather "You ain't gonna get nothing." I mean, they have a track record of taking cash and giving nowt - and that is when they are NOT protected by the "this is an investment! Trolorlorloololololooo!" defence.
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Offline Timbor

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 09:41:20 PM »
I think I figured it out.  The primary funder of Mierce Miniatures was Maelstrom Games (since he allegedly funneled money from MG to fund MM instead of using said money to pay distributors or deliver product).  Now that Maelstrom is defunct, he needs a new influx of cash to fund more overly-detailed miniatures with too many syllables in their names.  Hence the Kickstarter.

I win.


And yes, DK, you do have a point - the WF gong show was more of a hostile takeover of management rather than stealing from the customers.  It also seems like WF are perhaps more reliable now under the new management - I haven't heard much in the ways of extended release dates and unfulfilled preorders like I did with the original management.  Now when looking at Defiance Games, founded by the original founder of WF, we see a similar pattern...
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Offline Padre

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 09:55:44 PM »
The pirate goblins I paid for on Indiegogo (same sort of thing as Kickstarter) are now 3 months overdue, and the guy who was to make and supply them, who showed lovely pictures all the way through the process, has dropped off the map, sort of. There's a big debate amongst the contributors (over $5000 put in) whether the guy is ill or whatever. Sadly he does still show up as active on forums, he just ain't posting. Frustrating.

This was my first experience of this sort of thing. Lovely idea, but maybe the reality doesn't live up to expectations.
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Offline zifnab0

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2013, 10:12:42 PM »
The ethical issue with Mierce is different - it is not a question of "screw those guys!" from my perspective, but rather "You ain't gonna get nothing." I mean, they have a track record of taking cash and giving nowt
As I pointed out in the Maelstrom thread - I got almost everything I ordered from them at an incredible deal during their liquidation sale and I was happy with the result.

Mierce even picked up all of the orders from the Maelstrom sale of their product and has delivered on them.

So like you and WGF; I never got screwed over, nor did anyone I know.  I have no ethical axe to grind.

Offline Timbor

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2013, 11:49:12 PM »
The pirate goblins I paid for on Indiegogo (same sort of thing as Kickstarter) are now 3 months overdue, and the guy who was to make and supply them, who showed lovely pictures all the way through the process, has dropped off the map, sort of. There's a big debate amongst the contributors (over $5000 put in) whether the guy is ill or whatever. Sadly he does still show up as active on forums, he just ain't posting. Frustrating.

This was my first experience of this sort of thing. Lovely idea, but maybe the reality doesn't live up to expectations.

I backed the same project on indiegogo.  I still have good faith that the minis will arrive.  Hopefully.  If not, at least I only spent $50... not the close to $150 I would have lost to the Maelstrom if not for paypal refunding me.

The ethical issue with Mierce is different - it is not a question of "screw those guys!" from my perspective, but rather "You ain't gonna get nothing." I mean, they have a track record of taking cash and giving nowt
As I pointed out in the Maelstrom thread - I got almost everything I ordered from them at an incredible deal during their liquidation sale and I was happy with the result.

Mierce even picked up all of the orders from the Maelstrom sale of their product and has delivered on them.

So like you and WGF; I never got screwed over, nor did anyone I know.  I have no ethical axe to grind.

I put in 2 orders from Maelstrom in their final death-throes sales.  One showed up with no problems, the other, an order full of GB SAGA stuff, never did.  That's the one I got refunded.  It's funny how their website, which seemed to be chronically out of stock of SAGA items for months, all of a sudden had decent stock of almost everything about a month or two before they went under.  Midaski and I both put in large orders, and neither of us saw a thing (from what I can tell from Midaski's posts).  TBH I would speculate that they claimed they had the stock when they in fact did not but I have no proof otherwise.  Just seems odd that an order from the UK and from overseas was never filled, even with one month's time and listed items in stock.

I would say that in theory Maelstrom wanted to fulfill all of the orders, but either through stubbornness or ignorance (hopefully not malice) they chose to take orders they could not fulfill.  Mierce miniatures fulfilling your order makes sense if it was Mr. Lane's perogative to use MG to launch his miniatures line - that is what he wanted to succeed, so he would do what is needed to save face.  Regardless, I think its poor business ethic and refuse to buy from him on that principal.

It is similar to mine and many other people's attempts to not shop at stores like WalMart due to their support of sweatshops and a history of human rights violations.  They never wronged me, but I disagree with the way they do business.  To support them would be hypocritical. 

Perhaps if Mierce Miniatures had put in a few year's worth of good business practices with prompt customer service and delivery I would change my mind and perhaps even support them, but so soon after the crash-and-burn of Maelstrom Games is just in bad taste IMO.  To each his own, however, as there are at least 160 people who agree with you on the KS zif  :biggriin:
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Offline Finlay

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2013, 12:44:57 AM »
He basically stole from his mg customers to set up and develop mm.

I don't care about the rules.

Pass the machete.

Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2013, 03:12:51 AM »
So if they have the facilities everything is already in production, why Kickstarter? My understanding of KS is that it's a good way for new, unfunded businesses to get off the ground based on the merits of their product, plan and sales pitch. Instead it seems to have now become just an outlet for pre-orders from established businesses.

Most of which I can't be bothered with, to be honest. I want to buy X & Y miniatures. Sell them to me. In a nice online or B&M store. I don't want some convoluted plan involving levels of sponsorship, release schedules, limited exclusive deals, etc. Just take my money and give me your product and stop turning it into an algebra textbook story problem.

Offline Timbor

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 04:44:31 AM »
Technically they are using the KS to launch the rules for their own wargame, and to fund the production and sculpting of more miniatures (presumably because they aren't getting enough money coming in to the company anymore since they can no longer funnel assets from Maelstrom Games  :engel:).  I think what you describe was the initial intention of Kickstarter, but it has evolved to include much more than that - for good or ill.  It is good for kickstarter, as they take a cut of the funding.  Not quite as good for the little guy, as they cannot offer as many freebies since their business is non-existant.

I still think that the little guys still get a good use out of kickstarter in general though - more exposure, and little cost.  If they could not get the funds from a bank or private investor, they should not think of kickstarter as a magic pill to make their game successful.  I probably would not have gotten involved in DeepWars if not for the kickstarter they ran recently.  Theirs is a pretty small company, but they still have managed to get some good use out of the platform.

But yeah, the original intent of Kickstarter is not that true anymore.  It is what it is.  I can see that perhaps in a year or two it will become less successful as it loses it's novelty and more and more projects fail to deliver for whatever reasons...
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Offline White Knight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2013, 05:22:55 PM »
If (for example) White Knight did exactly this with his nice Ren Dwarfs and said "Hey, these are already made - but I am just getting some interest and sales here; pledge X and you get Y" I would jump on it like Lance Armstrong on dope (topical!) because White Knight is a gentleman and a schollar and known for being a totally legit guy.

Hmmm... maybe I should think about this sort of thing for one of the two new renaissance themed fantasy subranges I plan to release this year.  :engel:

Offline Darknight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2013, 06:11:15 PM »
That would be the original KS thing though, surely? You would be generating revenue to fund the manufacture, NOT using KS to sell?

In any case, your reputation preceeds you - and that's a big fracking deal.
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Offline Timbor

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2013, 12:44:54 AM »
Indeed, though wouldn't you have to register as an actual business if you wanted to run a KS campaign?
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Offline Padre

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2013, 09:47:32 AM »
Turns out the gobbo pirate indiegogo guy has been in hospital for three weeks. He was late, yes, but this made him very late and worryingly quiet. I feel bad now.
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Offline White Knight

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2013, 10:00:13 AM »
Yeah well, I'm not really going to do a kickstarter as I want to keep things manageable, it's not about selling loads and making money.

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Re: Mierce Miniatures Kickstarter
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2013, 11:07:49 AM »
Yeah well, I'm not really going to do a kickstarter as I want to keep things manageable, it's about giving away loads and making friends.

Fixed that for you.

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You mean they will be using Ouija boards instead of Tarot cards for their business plans from now on?