Broken Anvil Miniatures: Krise und Anschuldigungen
Broken Anvil Miniatures stecken in einer angeblich selbst verschuldeten Krise, die mehrere Kickstarter und die Zukunft der Firma gefährdet.
Im Zentrum dieses Artikels stehen drei Kickstarterprojekte von Broken Anvil:
- Broken Anvil Studio Paint
- Forged: A Massive Miniature Collection
- Rivenstone: A Brand New Tabletop Miniature Skirmish Game
Die Krise bei Broken Anvil hat sich anscheinend bereits seit Monaten zugespitzt, eine Zusammenfassung der aktuellen Lage bietet dieses Video von The King of Average, den wir z.B. als unregelmäßigen Gast im Vidcaster kennen:
(Disclaimer: Das Video ist in seiner Schlussfolgerung und seiner Wortwahl sehr eindeutig und harsch. Die Indizien sind dahingehend zwar in der Tat schlüssig, aber wir sprechen hier dennoch von einer sich entwickelnden SItuation und Anschuldigungen, die in der Anonymität des Internets mit kaum überprüfbarem Wahrheitsgehalt gepostet wurden.)
Einige Quellen aus dem Video wollen wir hier noch einmal direkt kopieren. Den Anfang macht der Post von DakkaDakka, den Ihr unter folgendem Link findet: Rivenstone – Broken Anvil Games
Hervorhebungen durch Brückenkopf Online
Former Broken Anvil employee here to clarify some stuff.
Obviously this is a throwaway account and you can’t trust an anonymous source, so believe me if you want or not.
There’s been some discussion about Level 52 and Broken Anvil being separate. They aren’t. They’re the same thing with the same people working on both companies projects. Level 52 is the original company that makes statues and Broken Anvil is just a DBA under a different name.
Rivenstone was successfully funded and we had every expectation of fulfilling the KS but due to the success the company grew too big and was hemorrhaging money. Same goes for the Patreon. We had like 4 sculptors working on the patreon and three engineers. They did pay decent so at the end of the day the patreon was barely breaking even. I don’t agree with the change in direction it went but that’s the decision that was made to try and save money. Due to the company losing money, Rivenstone money was diverted to other projects to try and make more money that way. That’s where Forged came in. The genius of Chris thought Forged would be a giant success (like reaper bones) and we’d have so much money that we could fulfill Rivenstone and Forged easily. That didn’t happen obviously. Forged started funding twice on Backerkit and didn’t take off as quickly as Chris hoped so he went to KS. It funded but didn’t make nearly enough to even fund it’s own production. I can tell you for a fact that absolutely nothing has been done with that product since the campaign ended, besides the STLs, but those were already made since they were all Patreon rewards already. That money is gone and spent and it is never being made.
The paints were actually super great and everyone in the office was real excited about them. They are some of the best paints I’ve ever used to be honest. I was super hopeful that these would actually be made because all of the work was done beforehand and all Chris needed to do to fulfill the KS was to email the company in China and tell them to make the product and send it to us. We had enough from the KS to make them but again, Chris used that money to delay the inevitable bankruptcy of his company so I don’t think they’re ever getting made which is a real shame.
Me and almost everyone else there was laid off in May. For months before then there had been exactly zero work done on any projects except for new ones that would bring in new money. I was told directly that Rivenstone was on the backburner and didn’t matter. Those infographics on the KS showing progress are completely made up. Some of the molds were done but they didn’t produce the minis for them. Now that everyone is gone there’s zero way to produce the minis in siocast so that’s why he’s asking backers if 3D printed minis is okay because it’s easier for him to pump out subpar 3D printed minis than properly make the minis. Super ironic considering he kept bashing PP for going to 3D printed minis. Dude’s just a giant hypocrite.
As for the acquisition, or merger, or whatever Chris wants to call it, it’s been dead for months now but he’s been talking about it like it’s in the process of happening as a way to delay. As you know PointEast was in talks to acquire Level 52. Chris would become their sales guy (like some of you saw on his Linkedin before he made his profile private) and they’d gut the company and use it for it’s contracts and business partnerships with companies to produce statues. They didn’t want Broken Anvil but Chris was pushing for them to keep it alive. PointEast is a smart company so when doing their due diligence when in talks with buying L52 they discovered all the sady business practices Chris and Hanna were up to and they saw the financials and just how much we were losing money. They backed out quick after that and I don’t blame them at all. Since then there have been two people working at the company and one of them is just part time. Chris hasn’t been in the office in weeks and Hanna has been working for family in another state. The company is dead and everyone’s money is long gone but Chris is too narcissistic to rip off the bandaid and tell everyone it’s all over. We had so much wasted talent there and it kills all of us who loved working on minis and games because we could have had something great but it was killed by leadership who don’t know the first thing about business or the minis industry. I love everyone I worked with there, besides Chris and Hanna obviously, and we are as heartbroken about it all as much as everyone else. The only solace I get from this experience is knowing that Chris and Hanna’s reputations are ruined and they’ll hopefully never be able to scam anyone in this industry and hobby again.
We hate your guts Chris.
Everyone who has ever worked for you.
Der Post ist natürlich sehr emotional geschrieben, scheint aber in der Tat von einer Person mit Insiderwissen zu stammen, was ihm eine gewisse Glaubwürdigkeit verleiht.
Einige Punkte des Posts decken sich außerdem mit dem relativ kurz danach (vermutlich als Reaktion) veröffentlichten Post auf Kickstarter:
Hervorhebungen durch Brückenkopf Online
26. August 2023
To our community of backers–
I want to take some time to address some of the ongoing issues we are experiencing at BAM HQ in depth, specifically to clarify the timeline of what’s happened in the last four months in particular. Understandably, there is a lot of speculation floating around and it’s time to directly address it in order to clear the air.
First and foremost, myself and my partner Hanna(she is currently working remote) are still working at BAM along with a few core members of our team, doing everything we can to right the ship after several major blows to the company since we announced the merger and the layoffs that were supposed to be temporary. Unfortunately, despite a long period of negotiation and due diligence, the company that we were transferring ownership to pulled out of the deal at the 11th hour, leaving our team and projects in difficult circumstances.
Here’s the breakdown of how the merger began and then fell apart:
As we have shared previously in updates, we were in the process of being acquired by another company with whom we had been in talks with since January of this year. Within the first few weeks of due diligence, we had provided all of Level52 and BAM’s books in detail, bluntly illustrating the challenges we were facing, offering our company for $0 in exchange for the support to complete our projects and keep our team.
The prospective owners were ultimately very excited by the high quality of our team’s work, and understood the long term potential of what the BAM team had built. The significant short-term challenges we presented to them were not out of the norm for small businesses in their experience, and were not a deterring factor. They made an initial offer for a proposed budget in May, a stipulation of which was that I joined their company as a bridge between the businesses and make room for members of our existing team to move into senior operational positions at BAM. I was tasked with helping to make sales for our soon-to-be ownership in order to expand the budget for keeping BAM’s full staff. This also required that I bring our ODM client base to the new company as part of this effort. We complied as a good faith sign of our commitment to this developing arrangement.
As time progressed, the soon-to-be ownership assured our team that we were on track to complete the merger within 90 days. Due to the transitional circumstances, we found ourselves without a formal budget from the incoming ownership and without the revenue from our client work. We made every effort to preserve our staff who we firmly believed were the strength of our organization, but payroll and benefits drained our account quickly without our ODM revenue to rely on. We held on as long as we could, believing that the soon-to-be ownership shared our view of our staff’s importance.
However, we were ultimately forced to furlough our staff in an effort to keep the business solvent, restructure as part of the merger, and get it over the finish line. It was our only option to preserve the business and create the best possible chance for our team to return.
Then, in July, the merger that we had carefully planned with new ownership fell apart, not because of anything our team did or didn’t do, but because the prospective ownership experienced a dramatic downturn in their own business over the course of negotiations–unbeknownst to our team–that forced a reversal just 30 days before the merger was supposed to close. My position was eliminated soon after in an effort to reduce their overhead expenditures and preserve their own operations, and ties were fully severed, leaving us cut adrift.
Ultimately, despite our best efforts to preserve what my team and I had built together, we suddenly found ourselves in a worse position than we started in due to the complicated nature of the early merging process.
What is happening now:
We have spent the last few weeks exhausting every avenue of how to brute force a way forward for our company and preserve the work our team members invested with BAM for the last three years. The deep appreciation and respect we feel for those who worked with us both past and present, as well as the moral imperative to deliver the projects we asked our community to support us in creating is a powerful motivating force for myself and my partner. We have let many people down in this situation, and we are working hard to do our best to fix it.
While we wish we had more we could freely share with our community, we are obligated not to disclose much information at this time. Once we have more concrete information to share, we will. However, please know that I am still here working with the core team to continue production on Rivenstone to the best of our ability, despite the challenges that we face. We will share the images of our latest progress in another update on the Rivenstone page shortly.
At this time, we have put production on pause for both Forged and Broken Anvil Studio Paint while we work on Rivenstone and regroup. This means the ETA for Broken Anvil Studio Paint will likely be pushed to the beginning of 2024. Forged would likely land in the middle of 2024 to the end of 2024. We cannot offer refunds at this time as our budget to continue forward progress is very tight and the refund windows for all of our projects have passed.
My team and I are not going anywhere, not as long as we have the chance to push these projects over the finish line. We just won’t be able to deliver on the timeline we had estimated when we had the promised resources to plan around or all of our teammates to help. We are just grateful that there’s still some life left in this team despite the hits we’ve taken.
To those of you who have shared your encouragement and kindness with us: you truly have no idea how much your words mean to myself and my team in such a difficult time. We keep you in mind when the days are tough and we feel a little hopeless.
To those of you who are angry with us: we fully accept your anger, and we just hope with more hard work on our part, we can prove you wrong about us. We are doing everything we can to come through for you in the end.
Ein relevanter Faktor dieses Updates ist der Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung, etwas das The King of Average ebenfalls deutlich herausstellt: Die Firmenübernahme (hier von einem Merger, also einer Fusion zu sprechen ist Schönfärberei, es hätte sich eindeutig um eine Übernahme, also eine Acquisition gehandelt, noch dazu um eine, bei der ein Kaufpreis von 0$ geplant war) ist im Juli gescheitert. Das Update auf Kickstarter erfolgte erst einen Monat später – anscheinend erzwungen durch den Post auf DakkaDakka. Dies wirft ein extrem schlechtes Licht auf Broken Anvil.
Wir werden die Situation weiter beobachten, müssen an dieser Stelle aber definitiv eine Warnung gegenüber Broken Anvil aussprechen. Late Pledges oder Preorders für ihre Kickstarterprodukte scheinen aktuell eine extreme Risikoinvestition mit hohem Ausfallrisiko zu sein.
Link: The King of Average
Link: Dakka Dakka