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Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Early Access

Free Roll Machined Gamers Dice Turns Out to Be Kickstarter Scam

kickstarterdicescamFolks know I’m not the biggest proponent of Kickstarter, although I have become friendlier to the crowd funding platform as time has passed, because I’m still somewhat leery about the vast number of gaming related projects which are streaming onto the site; I’ll have a featured article this weekend about my thoughts on Ks and if it truly is “destroying the gaming hobby” as some folks say and my thoughts might surprise a lot of longtime listeners and visitors. But until then here’s yet another project which turned out to be a scam, although this is the first gaming related item I’m aware of which was a blatant ripoff.

Here we have Free Roll Machined Gamers Dice which was looking for a funding goal of $1,500 and had already achieved 168 backers and $5,401 dollars prior to the powers that be at Kickstarter pulling the plug. The project promised dice “perfect for playing board games or for practicing your rolling skills.” Now I’ll be the first to step up to the plate and say I have no idea whatsoever as to what might constitute die rolling skills and I’ve played quite a bit of Craps in casinos in my time. Plus, when I’m gaming I’m not overly anal about the dice I’m rolling. As long as there aren’t huge chunks nicked out of them or pocked with dings and dents on the edges, I’m all good. In fact my special Twilight Struggle dice I picked up at Gen Con a few years back aren’t synced as to what shows on the U.S. and Soviet sides; one one die the six is the symbol and the other it’s on the one. I’m sure that would drive some people nuts but for me they’re simply dice and I just get a kick out of them having the emblems. Regardless, I know some folks take their dice very seriously while I don’t.

So we have this company, SPIEL Designs run by Michael Singletary, and he launches a KS project for these machine tooled precision dice. Once again not something I’d be excited about but I know people like their custom dice and I’m cool with that but certainly not something I’d post a news piece about. And then suddenly, a backer of the FRMGD project points out the photos being used in the funding drive are actually of a set of dice, made in China, which are available to purchase in bulk for $2 – $4 for a set of five dice with carrying case. The project’s lowest funding level to receive any dice was $10 and to get your hands on five with a carrying case (engraved no less…) was $30. Talk about trying to line your pockets by taking advantage of the immensely loyal Kickstarter community! Or in more plain words, how’s that for a big “F*&$ You!” to the people who take great pride in trying to bring someone’s dream to reality?

That’s just low!

I can’t believe my beloved #50, Hall of Fame linebacker from my hometown Chicago Bears – and former coach of the San Francisco 49ers – would be brought to such a lowly state as to scam people on Kisckstarter; it must have been soap poisoning! Of course, I kid because this Mike Singletary is certainly not the famed player and coach and all kidding aside, this is serious business. Not only does the project violate Kickstarter policy, it’s also illegal and Mr. Singletary will quite possibly be dealing with the FCC before his public attempt to pawn off someone else’s copyrighted product is all said and done.

You may be reading this as thinking to yourself, “Well Jeff… Aren’t you kind of doing the same thing by selling PDF downloads of the old Heritage Knights and Magick rules? You don’t own the copyright. You aren’t Heritage. How can you be busting someone’s chops for doing the same thing you’re doing?”

To that I have to reply that I’ve contacted the folks who, to my knowledge, are the only owners of any currently existing products which were originally released by Heritage and was given a green light to make the rules available to the public. I’m also not reselling something anyone can pop over to Amazon and order right here and right now since the rules have been out of print since 1980 and can only be had on the secondary market – at a huge mark up from the original retail price. Plus, during the bankruptcy proceedings with Heritage Knights and Magick wasn’t even part of the equation as the company, liquidators and buyers assigned absolutely no value to the rules so they weren’t even offered up.

I’m not going to make this post about making K&M available again as it really isn’t the gist of the post but I look to be as transparent as I possibly can with the operations of TGG and, truth be told, those handful of monthly sales of K&M every month are what’s keeping the lights on here at The Gaming Gang. That said, if someone emailed me tomorrow with a cease and desist while offering proof they owned the rights I’d stop lock, stock and barrel. I’d also send them all relevant sales information on the copies which were sold and write out a check for every penny I’ve brought in for the rules as I didn’t re-release the rules to get rich but to share something I have a great love for and is a huge source of wonderful memories of playing games with friends who are now scattered across the country. Or, in other words, I’m not out to screw my fellow gamers.

As with all things when I’m speaking my mind, I’ve completely digressed from the original topic of conversation… Yeah, that’s why this is more of an op-ed than a news piece.

For those out there who back Kickstarter projects this precision dice tool (yes, I’m talking about Mr. Singletary) is probably only one of the first jackasses who are going to take to Kickstarter to swindle hard earned cash out the well meaning backers; I’m telling you folks, we are going to see some spectacular fiascoes in the next six to twelve months and this is only one of the first to have a light shined upon it. You may want to take a peek at the Kickstarter project page, before it’s dead and buried, because it’s in interesting look at watching someone get called to the carpet and dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole…

Jeff McAleer

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4 Comments

  1. You are so right,following the comment thread on the kickstarter page from beginning to end is monumentally entertaining. Seriously what kind of idiot tries something that is so blatantly a scam. The sad part of course is that he got over $5 Grand until he was shut down. Literally he was a high tech snake oil salesman

    Caveat Emptor

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  2. This seems to be the next kickstarter project heading for a crash and burn

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/941553/what-does-this-mean-for-up-front

    You are right again boss!

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    • Isn’t it funny how Jeff has been mocked on other forums because of his opinions on topics like this and in the end he’s usually pretty much on the money?

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  3. Hes trying to scam again, same story as the Dice, this time with Aquaponics, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/965545654/aqua-mini-capsule-eco-friendly-plant-growing-fish and the comments http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/965545654/aqua-mini-capsule-eco-friendly-plant-growing-fish/comments and the project cancelled again by Michael.

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