Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures Partnership

Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures Partnership

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Three flaming skeletons with mouths open wide attacking a 4-armed, bipedal alien with grey skin and an angular face and dark pits for eyes. The alien's upper left arm is wielding some sort of yellow energy bolt. The silhouette of another adventurer looking on in horror can be seen in the foreground.

We have some really good news to share about the Starfinder Masterclass miniatures Kickstarter! Paizo is pleased to announce that Archon Studio will be taking over the license to produce Starfinder Masterclass miniatures, formerly produced by Ninja Division. As part of the agreement, Archon will fulfill backer rewards from the Starfinder Masterclass Kickstarter.

About Archon Studio: With their Unicast technology, Archon Studio has published several board games with miniatures, including League of Ancient Defenders, Vanguard of War, and Chronicle X. Recently, Archon Studio advanced its technology to hard plastic, which resulted in even more highly detailed miniatures.

Archon Studio also recently moved into the production of tabletop terrain with Rampart Wargaming. In August this year, its second tabletop terrain project, Dungeons & Lasers, is being launched on Kickstarter.

There are a few areas we want to highlight:

Archon Studio will be producing plastic miniatures instead of resin. They will also be starting over with Kickstarter fulfillment; this means that backers who have already received resin miniatures from Ninja Division will receive those minis again from Archon, this time in plastic.

Archon Studio plans to ship Kickstarter rewards in waves. Approximately every 6 months, the pledge rewards produced during the previous 6 months will be shipped to backers free of charge. Additionally, any time a Kickstarter backer purchases any Starfinder mini from Archon Studio—whether that’s a new mini or a duplicate of a Kickstarter mini—they will also ship any released Kickstarter miniatures due to that backer for no additional charge. Details of which minis are shipping when, and how to purchase other miniatures, will be posted on the Kickstarter page.

Archon Studio will be fulfilling backers in Europe, and Ninja Division will be shipping to the rest of the world. Paizo does not have specific answers to fulfillment questions: if you’re a backer with a question about your order, you’ll need to post the question to the Starfinder Masterclass Kickstarter page.

Thanks for all of your patience as we worked with Ninja Division and Archon to get this done. We’re looking forward to some epic minis!

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Tags: Licensed Products Miniatures Starfinder
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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Sabirwolf wrote:
I'm really excited to see that Archon is taking over (thought I'm a bit confused, since I thought Archon was already the ones actually doing the minis - Ninja Division being prone to outsourcing rather than actual producing)

Generally speaking, in the hobby gaming industry, there are publishers, and there are manufacturers. For example, Paizo is the publisher for our RPG products—we are responsible for every aspect of our products except for actually printing them; we contract book printers to manufacture the printed books under our direction.

Under the previous license, Ninja Division was the publisher for the Masterclass line—they were responsible for deciding what to make, how to make it, how to price it, where to sell it, and so on (with our input and approval as the licensor). They created the sculpts and then contracted Archon and other manufacturers to actually produce them. (Archon did not produce the prepainted minis, and I believe they produced only some of the unpainted resins.)

Under the new license, Archon is the publisher, and they are now responsible for making all of the decisions Ninja Division made before. But because they are also a manufacturer, they can produce finished product entirely by themselves.


Okay.

Respectfully, can someone please break out the finger puppets and graphs for me? I feel like I must be missing something here.

Archon is making the minis now (they always were?) Got that.
Backers in the EU are being fulfilled by Archon, got that.
Backers everywhere else are being fulfilled by ND. ....?

...How is it anyone (not in the EU) will be receiving anything?

Isn't the whole fundamental problem here is that ND has no money?

Assuming Archon pays to ship the products to Idaho, (it is my impression) ND still has no money to ship product out with.

Can someone clear this up for me?


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The can got kicked down the road a while, unless you live in the EU

Grand Lodge

ForeverQueen wrote:

Okay.

Respectfully, can someone please break out the finger puppets and graphs for me? I feel like I must be missing something here.

Archon is making the minis now (they always were?) Got that.
Backers in the EU are being fulfilled by Archon, got that.
Backers everywhere else are being fulfilled by ND. ....?

...How is it anyone (not in the EU) will be receiving anything?

Isn't the whole fundamental problem here is that ND has no money?

Assuming Archon pays to ship the products to Idaho, (it is my impression) ND still has no money to ship product out with.

Can someone clear this up for me?

It might have to do with taxes, tariffs and additional handling fees. If the product gets sent from the EU directly from Archon to the customer every customer might have to pay extra for taxes, tariffs and handling over the consumer price. By having (semi-finished) product shipped to a company inside the US, the taxes and tariffs are over the manufacturer price and there is only a single customs handling fee.


ForeverQueen wrote:


Assuming Archon pays to ship the products to Idaho, (it is my impression) ND still has no money to ship product out with.

Can someone clear this up for me?

It probably involves lawyers. I'd guess that if the owners of Ninja Division don't want a court battle they can't win, they will have to find the money. They already collected the shipping fees from backers. Yes, we all know they blew the money on... something. Hopefully they will find themselves up against some fairly high level duel class Lawyer/Assassins if they don't find a way to ship the minis they're responsible for. I'll be shocked if they manage to pull it off. Let's all hope they manage it. I still want some space goblins and aliens with antennas on their heads.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Frankly, as an Australian, for duties etc it doesn't matter where the figures come from. However, if what I understand is correct, I will order some Starfinder minis from the Archon Website every couple of months and get my fulfilment that way. Might be more expensive overall, but I don't have any stress about it being fulfilled (hopefully)

Liberty's Edge

Hopeful that this works out. It would be nice to get these minis. Hopefully that will inspire me to play Starfinder which has had a bad taste in my mouth after the ND fiasco.


I have to wonder if there's a way to model how much the ND kickstarter hurt the brand?

There's plenty of anecdotal evidence on the boards, but that's actually a very small sample size. Each DM/GM that didn't take it up possibly influenced their group of 4-8 players to not pick it up as well, but that's almost impossible to quantify.

Perhaps if you tracked sales figures from before the kickstarter, through the campaign, and then afterwards. You could note sales rates in a given period after key revelations and compare them to the original pathfinder or the new 2e data.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
kadance wrote:
I have to wonder if there's a way to model how much the ND kickstarter hurt the brand?

Not much I would guess since it is number 2 for sales for spring 2019.

https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/43732/top-5-roleplaying-games-spring -2019


I'm curious, how is this going to work financially for Archon? How do they make money from this?

Ninja Division has no money so can't be contributing anything to pay Archon for all new plastic minis for this can they?

Archon supposedly were never paid for the original resin figures, threatened to destroy the remaining figures, which from a post above may have been misleading as to how many remaining there really were, so they are already in the hole financially.

I would think any and all production costs, molding costs, material cost, design cost, shipping costs etc. for kickstarter backers will be at a loss.

I see they are making a few new figures over and above the Kickstarter ones and will sell those retail, as well as overproducing the kickstarter figures for retail, which now will compete against the prepainted lines.

Are they anticipating making enough off retail sales to cover the expense of the minis for backers as well as the money they've already lost?

What happens if they can't cover that much expense and lost money? Do they just stop half way through?

Also, it was mentioned Archon will be designing the figures, will this mean changes to already sculpted figures, or strictly for the new figures?


Outside of the above concerns, I really, really hope this works and I am grateful to Paizo for making the effort on backers behalf to recover from Ninja's dastardly, though not unexpected, sneak attack.

You would have been within your rights legally to go with a "Sorry, not our problem, talk to Ninja".

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Summersnow wrote:
Also, it was mentioned Archon will be designing the figures, will this mean changes to already sculpted figures, or strictly for the new figures?

For the Kickstarter figures, they're starting with Ninja Division's work. Switching from plastic to resin may necessitate some changes in some sculpts, but I wouldn't expect radical changes.

(Regarding your other questions, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss another company's finances. All I can say is that if they didn't think the numbers made sense, they wouldn't have done the deal.)


Vic Wertz wrote:
(...All I can say is that if they didn't think the numbers made sense, they wouldn't have done the deal.)

I'm not saying things won't work out just fine--and I really hope they do for everyone's sake--but let's be real here, a lot of companies do things without fully analyzing, fully understanding, or fully intending to commit to the plan. That same line of thought was applied ND, and we know how that story worked out.


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Starfinder Superscriber

Reading comments about Archon on this makes me think of the Doom that came to Atlantic City; the original publisher took the money and ran (basically) but another company stepped up, picked up the game and sent it to the kickstarters at no cost to those of us who kickstarted it. The only thing that Cryptozoic Entertainment got from fulfilling the kickstarter was a lot of people thinking highly of Cryptozoic Entertainment. Archon may simply be in the same state here.

adding: I have no horse in this race, but I do like seeing people happy.

Paizo Employee Licensing Manager

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Burro-crat wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
(...All I can say is that if they didn't think the numbers made sense, they wouldn't have done the deal.)
I'm not saying things won't work out just fine--and I really hope they do for everyone's sake--but let's be real here, a lot of companies do things without fully analyzing, fully understanding, or fully intending to commit to the plan. That same line of thought was applied ND, and we know how that story worked out.

"Inattention to detail" is not a description that I would use to describe the people that I have met from Archon. I understand what you are saying, but based only on my personal interactions with the people at Archon I don't think it applies in this case.

I got to see a bunch of their stuff for Wolfenstein The Board Game at GenCon, and it looks pretty amazing. If the Starfinder minis come out looking anywhere near as good, I think you'll all be very happy.


Glenn Elliott wrote:
Burro-crat wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
(...All I can say is that if they didn't think the numbers made sense, they wouldn't have done the deal.)
I'm not saying things won't work out just fine--and I really hope they do for everyone's sake--but let's be real here, a lot of companies do things without fully analyzing, fully understanding, or fully intending to commit to the plan. That same line of thought was applied ND, and we know how that story worked out.

"Inattention to detail" is not a description that I would use to describe the people that I have met from Archon. I understand what you are saying, but based only on my personal interactions with the people at Archon I don't think it applies in this case.

I got to see a bunch of their stuff for Wolfenstein The Board Game at GenCon, and it looks pretty amazing. If the Starfinder minis come out looking anywhere near as good, I think you'll all be very happy.

That's good to hear! Fingers crossed (oh, so so crossed)!


Deadline 1 is in a week, 2 if we assume Gen Con doesn't count. I'll know what I should expect going forward at that point.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I had January down as the first deadline, based on this:

Quote:
Archon Studio plans to ship Kickstarter rewards in waves. Approximately every 6 months, the pledge rewards produced during the previous 6 months will be shipped to backers free of charge.

But haven’t been paying much attention elsewhere. Is there a proper expected timeline, somewhere?


KS Announcement wrote:
Each month, Archon Studio plans to produce 4 or 5 of the minis announced during the Kickstarter plus 1 brand-new mini. These minis will be available for sale in your favorite local game store, on paizo.com, and direct from archon-studio.com.

Archon Studio should be presenting...something. In the near future.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ah, I missed that. Cheers.


got my popcorn ready for the part where Ninja Division is responsible for all shipping outside Europe...

Paizo Employee Licensing Manager

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technarken wrote:
Deadline 1 is in a week, 2 if we assume Gen Con doesn't count. I'll know what I should expect going forward at that point.

There is no deadline in 1 week. Not sure what you're talking about.

Steve Geddes wrote:
Is there a proper expected timeline, somewhere?

Archon Studio is getting production set up for Starfinder, but they haven't announced a timeline or production schedule yet. The only announcement that's been made so far is what we included in the blog post.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks. I hope they do make an effort in this regard. The history of poor communication in this project isn't their fault but it is part of the project that they've taken on.


You probably should be more clear with these things when you're taking the helm on a project characterized by evasive vagueness.

I latched on to the concrete numbers given to me by you and assumed what was said was what was meant because you weren't ND. I just don't want to be strung along anymore. 20+ months is a long wait for the first tangible return on a $400 leisure purchase, I hope you can appreciate that.

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