Monday, 25 November 2013

Defiance Games #2

Previously, I had posted something regarding Defiance Games latest Kickstarter and its dealings with its suppliers and how it tried to stiff them. Apparently, the mess gets worse. Yes, it can ACTUALLY get worse amazingly enough. 

So what's new? Well, not long after, apparently Defiance Games once more had a change of management. That's right, they 'coincidentally' changed management right before the Kickstarter and 'coincidentally' change management again once the KS was over. Who's the new man in charge? I'll give you a hint, his name starts with T and has the letters O, N and Y in it.

Yep. Tony's back in charge apparently. And that's not all. Apparently, there were some very disgruntled people leaving Defiance Games in the wake of all this shit going down. Disgruntled enough to write a blogpost that mysteriously went missing shortly after. Luckily enough people on the net screenshotted and saved it before it could disappear forever. Names changed to protect the guilty.

Wow, that sounds like a proper mess.  What I get from this is the money from the KS may be used to pay some backpay for employees. Whether it will be or not is uncertain. What was more helpful was the fact that rustforge; one of the creditors to whom Defiance owed money, also posted up his own timeline of events here
Days 1 - 14 We contacted Defiance to inquire about a product trade for advertising purposes. We had been searching for some 28mm hard sci-fi miniatures to use for display and advertising to help show our products scale and we thought that the DG marines might fit the bill. Initially we sought to trade them some cargo containers they could use in a similar fashion for their promotional materials. DG countered that they would actually like to carry the product as part of their Alien Suns line. After discussion, it was decided to go ahead with this plan. Their order was placed and shipped with a NET10 payment schedule.

Days 15 - 45 A second smaller order was placed this time with a net 30 pay schedule before the initial net 10 became due. When the initial net 10 came due DG stated that the initial NET10 payment wasn't possible for them to make and asked for a NET 30 on the original order citing waiting on distributor payments. As having to wait for a distributor to send payment on their own net 30, net 60, or sometimes longer schedule is not uncommon we agreed with this time frame. After the 30 days had gone by with no payment, DG stated that due to some production issues, they had not received the money that they were expected and were going to be further delayed with payment. We weren't happy, but we accepted this reason. Everyone has unexpected issues that crop up from time to time.

Days 46 - 90(ish) DG continued to be in regular communication throughout this time. They continued asserting that the production issues were causing the delays and as soon as they were paid we would be paid. They also stated that the were having discussions with possible investors that would speed up the payment timing issues. During the end of this timeframe, we began discussing possible legal actions with our attorney. We decided to hold off for a bit more time because we still felt that we weren't be lied to and that DG were just having a rough time.
Days 91(ish) - 120(ish) DG launched their kickstarter and announced the management change. We learned of the change when everyone else did via 3rd party sources. We had no prior notice of this before the first public notice on FB and the DG website. We immediately contacted the "new" management who continued with the same story of delay issues, BUT started to give us time frames of when we would get paid. These time frames came and went several times with no payment or likelihood of one. At time we began to witness a serious level of blame being thrown between the old and new management. Each claiming the other was responsible for the debts of the business, controlled access to funds for making payments, and whose responsibility it was to satisfy the debts. At this time we told the attorney to send the intent of lawsuit paperwork. Immediately after talking to our attorney, DG announced that the "new" management is no longer the management at all.

Days 121(ish - 135 Our attorney sends the intent of lawsuit paperwork to both Tony and Gary (old and new management). Gary immediately replies that he is no longer management and that he never was actually in charge and that this is Tony's issue. Tony replies that a check will be sent out shortly. Almost one week later we received a check, for full payment owed, by Tony. That check was cashed and had since cleared in full.

As of today we have had several discussions since this all started and we have determined that for the time being, DG is in too much turmoil to continue to do business with. It is just not a good idea considering all the new information that has come to light the past few weeks to continue to be associated with DG. Tony is a very likable individual. He is very pleasant to talk to and has many high hopes and ideas for his company. We hope that he can get things together so they can be brought to reality.
TL;DR. The creditors have been paid in full, when supposedly the company was too broke to continue on. One must wonder where the money came from. It's not like Defiance suddenly had a large influx of cash, say to the tune of 46,000USD....Did it? More telling is the highlighted part. So what various people; including me, were speculating was correct. Tony never left charge of the company. It's all been a one-man puppet show. Which pretty much makes this a lie
ATTN: Defiance Games is under new management 19 Sep 2013 12:00 #1
Gary Pelletier

Defiance Games is under new leadership. Gary Pelletier- who has been handling customer service and production issues for the past year - is taking over as CEO effective immediately. The new team at DFG consists of Max Martelli as Art Director, Darred Surin as Office Manager and Mark Loud as Production Manager.


- Gary Pelletier
Thanks Gary and Tony, for lying to us. On the other hand, it's not like this is a new problem. People just haven't been fully informed of the situation mostly. As Howard; an ex-Defiance employee says here

Just got pointed this way, since I heard of Darred's blog posting via one of the fictionally-named people in the story.

From contact with the people involved over the past weeks, that's the way I'd understood it as well.
I'd been involved in Wargames Factory when Tony ran it and – since he's a very likeable, plausible person and had (mostly) paid me for my work, I defended him at the time the smash-up happened with the Hong Kong-based supplier/partner. The fact that the new owner didn't pay my back wages really influenced my decision, without my realizing some of the things Tony had done to contribute to the failed partnership. Serious things, as it later turned out.

So when Tony started Defiance I was happy to write a set of rules, run demos and do some forum moderating. But it became clear that Tony was repeating all the errors that he'd blamed on the Chinese end of the business, and that his casual financial approach seemed irresponsible. So in mid 2012 I stepped away – I wasn't getting paid, investors I knew personally told me they weren't getting repaid – and I took my toys home quietly. I didn't say anything. A friend and I started a new, small company to publish rules.

In the last couple of months I've been in contact with the production team mentioned in Darred's blog – all people I believe to be good folks with the best of intentions – in order to provide contacts with some suppliers who told me by phone that they were owed considerable sums of money from many months before. Aside from confirming the wisdom of my stepping away from DG, this also indicated to the team the actual state of finances. As Darred said, their efforts to find a way of continuing to operate DG have been undermined by the founder of the company. They offered to stay and see the Kickstarter through, but are no longer willing to do so.
I'd left my Beta version of the set of Sci Fi rules (which seem to be well liked) on the DG site, but I've asked for them to be taken down. I'll revise them and offer them again under a different name at another time.
So yes, apparently not fulfilling a commitment is a 'thing' with Tony and companies he runs. Again, I'll have to reiterate my hope that people who backed this KS don't end up with nothing to show for it, or at least get their products earlier than 2015 but as more information comes out, this hope seems to be getting slimmer and slimmer.