The following announcement went out Monday concerning the state of the union at Ninja Division, especially as relates to their efforts to fulfill their Super Dungeon Explore and Relic Knights 2.0 kickstarters. You can read it on the SDE kickstarter page at https://kck.st/2V2DNSN. I’m sharing this for the interest of those who may have backed one of Ninja Division’s kickstarters, but I want to be abundantly clear: Hostility is neither welcome nor productive. I’ve seen the discussions on social media and other platforms. I get that a lot of people are upset that delivery has yet to be made on the outstanding kickstarters, and frustrated that communication from Ninja Division hasn’t been as forthcoming as they may have preferred. I understand.
I also understand that while most think of it as such, kickstarter is -not- a preorder system, completion of projects is -not- guaranteed, and that decrying their shortcomings far and wide with the kind of vitriol and hatred that many have seen fit to disseminate will not help the situation in any way, and instead will most likely hinder and hamper any efforts being made to complete delivery. After discussions with the powers that be at Ninja Division, I don’t for one moment doubt that they are doing their best to deliver on their promises. I know it’s not guaranteed, and the information released in the update isn’t sunshine and roses, but I wish John and the crew every success.
Ninja Division Company Update
The purpose of this update is to provide both our fans and partners with an update on Ninja Division’s current company status, the status of our outstanding projects, and restate our commitment to the continuation of our popular brands.
It broke our hearts to let the majority of our incredible staff go at the end of 2018. Their determination in the face of company adversity and their passion for our products kept us going. We look forward to seeing what they do next. Ninja Division is currently staffed by its three owners (who are off salary) and a sales manager who continue to work towards the successful reorganization of Ninja Division and pursue Kickstarter fulfillment options.
With staff layoffs, we are unable to individually respond to all email and social media posts we receive, and our time is best spent pursuing all available options for the continuance of the brands we all love.
External Partnerships – Licensors
Ninja Division would like to request that backers from all of our outstanding projects direct your questions and inquiries to us. We understand we have not been able to maintain communications with the regularity or presence that communities and projects like this desire, and that we have limited availability while we work on solutions, but the ownership of these projects lies with us. Our outside partners are not able to service refunds, returns, or ship your product.
As part of the ongoing development process for Super Dungeon and to satisfy both company and backer expectations of quality, the Super Dungeon Kickstarter project was restructured as below:
- The 2nd Edition product which was intended to be a single boxed game with only incremental changes would need to be broken out into three distinct products: Super Dungeon Explore, Super Dungeon Arcade, Super Dungeon Pet Parade.
- The Super Dungeon Legends expansion could not meet quality expectations as an expansion and was turned into a standalone product. Requiring significant additional development.
- The smaller single expansions would all require redevelopment to be useable with the new changes to the game for the above products.
This restructuring of the project increased development time, development costs, manufacturing costs, and future shipping costs.
Super Dungeon then suffered an additional delay in March 2017 when the lead designer for Super Dungeon developed health problems which cut work availability for over six months. To soften the impact, Ninja Division hired a new lead designer in August of 2017 to help continue Super Dungeon’s development.
As of now, Super Dungeon is 95% complete and production ready, requiring only finalization and layout of the Legends core game.
The Relic Knights 2nd Edition core rules are completely developed. The 2nd Edition Starter Set has been manufactured. However, Ninja Division does not currently have the funds to finish assembly and purchase the finalized product from the manufacturer.
The 2nd Edition Rulebook and Darkspace Calamity Upgrade deck are laid out and ready for production. The Void Break sourcebook has had unit profiles written in preparation of playtesting. Fiction and art were in advanced stages before the company’s status required development to be paused. All sculpts, including non-Kickstarter Void Break units, are sculpted and ready for production with the exception of Relic Knight Zineda.
The masterclass project is highly technical, using a proprietary manufacturing technology from our manufacturing partners. Difficulties and delays in getting a quality product and re-engineering of sculpting to meet these demands delayed the initial waves of releases.
These difficulties and delays, in part with stretched company finances, led to us to pause manufacturing to find a solution to meet the financial obligation to release more miniatures. To date, Ninja Division has manufactured and delivered over 28,000 miniatures to backers but has a great many more to complete. All sculpts are fully re-engineered and ready for production.
Way of the Fighter
All game specific products for Way of the Fighter have been fulfilled. Only models, which are not required for gameplay, are outstanding. Production of all non-Super Dungeon crossover miniatures is 50% complete. All remaining sculpts are complete and ready for production.
The Cost Overrun chart below illustrates the revenue collected by Ninja Division through crowdsourced funding, the costs Ninja Division has spent to date, and the total costs required for completion of the entire project through to delivery.
Spend by Project
Below is break down of how funds were spent towards the creation of each project over the course of its current development lifecycle.
Total Fees: Includes fees charged by Kickstarter and the merchant account processor.
Project Development: This includes staff and contractor costs for art, sculpting, writing, graphic design, etc.
Overhead Payroll: Includes payroll for management, marketing, sales, and operations staff.
Overhead Expenses: Includes facilities leasing, marketing costs, office supplies, etc.
Royalties: Royalties paid to licensors and/or developers.
Production: Includes tooling and production costs for KS rewards.
Fulfillment: Includes freight shipping and order handling.
Questions and Answers
Over the past months, we have received many questions and want to provide answers to the most common ones we hear that were not addressed above.
Q: What is the relationship between Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division Publishing?
Soda Pop Miniatures is an IP Holding Company that owns the Super Dungeon, Relic Knights, and Takoashi University brands. Soda Pop granted Ninja Division Publishing license rights to develop and publish tabletop games for these brands and use its mark in relation to relevant marketing and social outreach.
Q: Why did you start new Kickstarters before completing outstanding projects?
As studio personnel became free they needed to be moved to new projects. At the time, while projects had been delayed development was still moving at a satisfactory pace and current budgets and projections showed that the new projects were achievable.
Q: Why did you publish other games before completing outstanding projects?
Ninja Division’s portfolio is a mix of internally developed crowdsourced products, internally developed self-funded products, and published 3rd party products in order to have a robust catalog to keep the company moving forward and growing. Development on these products starts months or years ahead of release and by independent teams, thus they were in development prior to and alongside crowdsourced products. Games that had been in development were released as planned.
Q: Is Ninja Division bankrupt/out of business?
No. Ninja Division continues to operate and pursue all available avenues to continue all our brands and provide backers with their rewards.
Q: Will I receive my rewards?
We have not given up. Every day we work towards the goal of delivering backers rewards and the revitalization of the brands and products we have spent a decade creating.
Q: Is there anything backers can do to help?
We respect and thank the fans and hopeful backers who have stepped into the gaps of communication, kept an open mind and worked with us to tamp out wild speculation and overly negative and inappropriate threats and hostility. We are all in the same place as you, eager to see a solution, and eager to find a way forward.
Continue to play! We have provided access to PDF and digital content for players to play games using your existing collections from some of our key Kickstarters. A healthy understanding of our current rules, some in-house gaming, and a little time with your clubs and game stores goes a long way to foster interest and support while we work to get things moving.
Despite our current difficulties, Ninja Division continues to doggedly pursue any and all avenues we can to get products to backers and bring new products to market featuring the brands our customers love. To that end, we are currently working under consultation to reorganize Ninja Division in order to better position it for success and secure investment.
As we proceed with our reorganization we have had partners and fans with operational, business, and financial acumen help us tremendously. If you have a professional skill set and passion in those areas, we would encourage you to reach out as we are working across various stages of consultation to repair components of our operation. As a bicameral entity, our business has sometimes been separated from our creative skill sets, and this realization makes us not too proud to seek professional assistance to ensure a stable and positive growth into the future.
Once we have concrete information regarding the company, new production, and fulfillment we will post another update. We thank you for taking the time to read through this lengthy announcement, as well as your continued patience.
Go Ninja Go!