Back in March Phil Reed solicited the internets for money to write an OGL restatement of the classic Marvel Super Heroes system. According to the fundable.org page devoted to the project, the offer was that if Mr. Reed got $1,000 up front he would take 2 weeks to do the initial work on the project, then release a free PDF. 30 days later, after taking input on corrections and errata and such, a print-on-demand version would be made available at cost.
That was the deal. Mr. Reed got $1,130 in up-front contributions to launch the project. By his proposed timeline, I was expecting to be able to buy a new FASERIP rulebook 44 days later. It's now six months later and I can see no evidence of a forthcoming book. A file containing the basic rules of the system was made available in a fairly timely fashion, but six months have gone by since Reed got his money and he still has not come through on his promise to get us a shiny new rulebook.
In the wider gaming industry the screwiness of the distribution system and delays at the printer are often blamed for the hit-or-miss nature of announced release dates. One of the big reasons I bought into Greg Stolze's Ransom Model was because it avoided these issues altogether. You send some money directly to the designer, and gaming goodness becomes available to all. To my knowledge Mr. Reed is the second designer to use this approach. Is he going to ruin it for everyone by taking the money and flaking out on the follow through?
I don't want to suggest here that Mr. Reed was running some sort of flimflam operation. I don't think he set out on this venture with the idea that he would run off with some suckers' money. Surely the problem is that he's just gotten too busy, what with taking a dayjob at Steve Jackson Games, running Ronin Arts on the side, and uh, playing games. As a fellow gamer I don't want to hold it against the man that he spent Sunday playing some games. But come on. He put his hands on over a thousand bucks based on a promise. Maybe he could have spent last Sunday holding up his end of that bargain.
I'm not posting this blog entry to hurl insults at Mr. Reed or demand my money back. I don't feel any ill will towards the guy. But if he could finish what he started, I would really appreciate it. At this point I'm not sure whether I'll be buying that POD rulebook if it ever comes out, but I would like to see it released. That's what the folks who sent money to fundable paid for, after all. But I guess I'm a little soured on the whole project. And right now I'm not in a huge hurry to ever buy anything with Phil Reed's name or a Ronin Arts logo on it. I feel burned.