Sunday, March 4, 2018

Crisis of Robotreachery! Palladium Abandons Robotech

Apologies for the tongue in cheek title but it seemed appropriate given the penchant for the dramatic displayed by Palladium Books in the pastcompany in question (see below for an explanation).  Palladium Books has finally thrown in the towel on their Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter with less than 30 days left in their license for the property.  After raising over $1.4 million USD in 2013 and claiming for years that the game was fine despite delays, they now claim that after producing only roughly half the rewards (more by model count, less by individual sculpt count) that they ran out of money years ago and can't produce the remaining rewards nor refund customers.  

As a backer, I've covered this project and even come out with my VERMILION SQUADRON house rules for it (link here).  I've avoided criticizing it too harshly here in the past as the project was by the barest definition "ongoing" but Palladium has officially abdicated their substantial remaining contractual obligations after 5 years (four of which had *ZERO* rewards fulfilled).  The initial wave of miniatures were unfortuantely very poorly designed with upwards of 20 parts of a 40mm scale figure with seemingly unnecessary splits including 3 part heads and 4 part legs that somehow still result in a lack of real poseability. There was a little hope mid 2017 with the announcement that a "project manager" was hired for the company and specifically for the project but his biweekly updates soon turned into useless filler that ignored the real issues of the campaign in favor of answering questions no one asked as well as posting a single typo ridden minor rules supplement using uncredited pilfered creative commons art. 

It's long been speculated that the company used backer funds that were supposed to be reserved for the production of wave 2 to instead purchase most if not all of the thousands of retail copies of the game.  Prior to the crowdfunding, Palladium was in dire financial straights after a years earlier embezzlement by an employee (which they named the "Crisis of Treachery" and which was the inspiration for this blog post title parody) and were frequently unable to reprint books from their catalog for years at a time.  One of the stated goals of the crowdfunding in interviews was to allow Palladium to be on stable financial footing and they magically were able to suddenly reprint titles after the crowdfunding as well as finish their prior crowdfunded RPG books that were a year overdue.  Now they claim that they also have no money yet they're sitting on thousands of retail boxes that they seemingly couldn't afford either.  Their pricing breakdown for the production and development costs certainly do nothing to dissuade that theory either as the per unit cost to produce the boxes would put them at a loss if the funds only account for the backer copies they were supposed to pay for.

While Palladium is offering a trade program of sorts for your remaining credit, the relative values are increadibly skewed in their favor.  The remaining outstanding Wave 2 rewards in the base pledge according to their add on math come to over $200 yet they're offering roughly $30 in trade for existing items.  Additionally, backers must pay for shipping depite it being included in the original crowdfunding as well (and Palladium apparently having a reputation for charging exhorbitant shipping costs as well traditionally).  To say that many backers are disappointed would be an understatement.  After years of misleading backers, Palladium waited until just a few weeks before their license expired to finally come clean as to the supposed real state of the project and to offer a pittance of credit for product backers already have that they themselves would contractually be required to destroy in a few weeks.  Other than cases of outright fraud, I can't think of a gaming related crowdfunding project that started out so promising and was mismanaged so badly.  Palladium truly deserves the permanent hit to their already lackluster reputation that they'll inevitably get for how they've treated their most loyal customers since 2013.


  1. And I will add, that while I understand the decision to make the Wave One Macross models to 1/300th scale, in the bigger scheme of things that was clearly the wrong decision if, not the if is important, if you are planning on making models of the mecha from all three shows, because the primary character mechas from Masters and New Generation were smaller.

    As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  2. They were significantly smaller but that would only be an issue if they kept exactly the same scale. Back when Palladium floated the idea of changing the scale three years ago for "future" era miniatures (obviously a smoke screen as they now claim they had ZERO money at the time), I was fine with a sliding scale for each era as long as the miniatures were still noticeably smaller when they needed to be. It could be 6mm for the large macross stuff, 10mm for the other era mechs and battloids, and 15mm for the infantry. No matter what scale they choose, the vast size differences would be an issue if everything was exactly to the same scale. YMMV but as long as the infantry sized stuff is noticeably smaller than any small mech at a glance which is in turn noticeably smaller than large mechs at arm's length, I'm fine with it. I made up this quick cut and paste graphic a long time ago to illustrate my point.

  3. Looking at some sites, the Southren Cross mecha seem to my eye to be about the size of Gears, which is a good thing; but bad also, because now we will never have Gear sized Southern Cross mecha.

  4. I never thought about that but, yeah, they are about gear sized with some things larger and others smaller. They did have some cool designs in each era and I agree it's sad that we'll never see them in wargaming scale.