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Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




North Carolina

yxalitis wrote:
 Gallahad wrote:
I think Mierce is in cash flow trouble. Catching up on their backlog generates next to zero new cash flow, it only costs them time and labor. From the looks of it they keep trying to sell their existing inventory at a sufficient rate to keep the business afloat on a month to month basis having long ago burned through the money from backers.

They still have sculpts/ ks rewards outstanding from two years ago? Then they have been borrowing from future demand to keep the current business running for a couple of years now from the sound of it.

I am pretty confident the majority of sales happens at initial release(KS), and they aren't selling enough of their current catalogue regularly to give them breathing room to spend time and money on things promised to backers years ago.

Yep, that's pretty much my feeling as well.

The money raised in the kickstarters was apparently not set aside solely to fund the production of those models, but use to expand the business for a perceived future growth in sales that never eventuated.
I dare say Rob was optimistic of gaining traction with Darklands, but hasn't managed to attract the volume of sales he hoped for.

So now, yes they are holding sale after sale to keep the money flowing in from a small but earnest group of fans, whilst they plug away at that still massive backlog.

Once they do eventually fulfill the kickstarters...what then?

Another big Kickstarter?


Even if Mierce did put the KS money in escrow for producing the models from the KS, they'd be producing models in 2018 with 2016 dollars which is a losing proposition. All of the early KS stuff was hand sculpted on commission, right? That alone is going to create a backlog because I doubt sculptors are going to work exclusively for Mierce, they'd take other commissions as well so there'd be chunks of time when they wouldn't be working on Mierce stuff. They can shift work around to other sculptors like Bob but that has an impact on cost as well. In any industry any company that picks up more work than they can easily handily is going to struggle with deadlines and cost overruns. Being able to use KS to fund a whole bunch of stuff for a passion project like Darklands must be very appealing for Rob and Mierce has an impressive catalog for a small company; there's what a dozen factions all with multiple units with unique sculpts and multiple large monsters as well. I don't think it was ever realistic to get all that done in the timeframe they quoted even without the occasional mess up along the way (looking at you tiny metal Norse Holumann doomed to never leave my closet of shame).

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







yxalitis wrote:


The money raised in the kickstarters was apparently not set aside solely to fund the production of those models, but use to expand the business for a perceived future growth in sales that never eventuated.
I dare say Rob was optimistic of gaining traction with Darklands, but hasn't managed to attract the volume of sales he hoped for.

So now, yes they are holding sale after sale to keep the money flowing in from a small but earnest group of fans, whilst they plug away at that still massive backlog.

Once they do eventually fulfill the kickstarters...what then?

Another big Kickstarter?


Yes, definitely!

And when/if the backlog is cleared up?

I'll have no issues whatsoever with Mierce running Kickstarters - go for it!
   
Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut





Prestor Jon wrote:
yxalitis wrote:
 Gallahad wrote:
I think Mierce is in cash flow trouble. Catching up on their backlog generates next to zero new cash flow, it only costs them time and labor. From the looks of it they keep trying to sell their existing inventory at a sufficient rate to keep the business afloat on a month to month basis having long ago burned through the money from backers.

They still have sculpts/ ks rewards outstanding from two years ago? Then they have been borrowing from future demand to keep the current business running for a couple of years now from the sound of it.

I am pretty confident the majority of sales happens at initial release(KS), and they aren't selling enough of their current catalogue regularly to give them breathing room to spend time and money on things promised to backers years ago.

Yep, that's pretty much my feeling as well.

The money raised in the kickstarters was apparently not set aside solely to fund the production of those models, but use to expand the business for a perceived future growth in sales that never eventuated.
I dare say Rob was optimistic of gaining traction with Darklands, but hasn't managed to attract the volume of sales he hoped for.

So now, yes they are holding sale after sale to keep the money flowing in from a small but earnest group of fans, whilst they plug away at that still massive backlog.

Once they do eventually fulfill the kickstarters...what then?

Another big Kickstarter?


Even if Mierce did put the KS money in escrow for producing the models from the KS, they'd be producing models in 2018 with 2016 dollars which is a losing proposition. All of the early KS stuff was hand sculpted on commission, right? That alone is going to create a backlog because I doubt sculptors are going to work exclusively for Mierce, they'd take other commissions as well so there'd be chunks of time when they wouldn't be working on Mierce stuff. They can shift work around to other sculptors like Bob but that has an impact on cost as well. In any industry any company that picks up more work than they can easily handily is going to struggle with deadlines and cost overruns. Being able to use KS to fund a whole bunch of stuff for a passion project like Darklands must be very appealing for Rob and Mierce has an impressive catalog for a small company; there's what a dozen factions all with multiple units with unique sculpts and multiple large monsters as well. I don't think it was ever realistic to get all that done in the timeframe they quoted even without the occasional mess up along the way (looking at you tiny metal Norse Holumann doomed to never leave my closet of shame).

There are two aspects of production for a new range, pre-production, like the artists and the sculptor's fees, and the post-production cost, i;e; the casting and molding.
A successful Kickstarters serves to use the initial funding to pay for pre-production costs, and post-production of the pledged orders.
Pre-production costs are sunk costs, i;e; they are already spent at the beginning, and amount to the greatest percentage of cost.
   
Made in us
Shrieking Traitor Sentinel Pilot




Burbank, CA

Well, assuming all the original KS money is spent, and they aren't going to run any more, or hold too many sales, what are some ideas of how the could get more money in while finishing that huge backlog of stuff?

I think slipping in a new figure into the design cue, and selling it through the store is a good start.

I think if they can really get the game up and going, and make it more accessible, and easier to play would help also. As it would get people playing and talking about the game itself more. And then hopefully new people would come in and buy all the currently sculpted stuff from the store.

I also really think they need to up their social media profile. They've done more, as of late, which is good, but they really need to extend their reach a bit more. Bringing more people to the store is going to sell more figures, so I hope they can continue to do this. I always see their figures pop up in warhammer facebook groups, and everyone Oohs and Ahhhs over how cool they are, and they always get pointed to the store, which is great. But I think they need to get out and really show their stuff off, and hopefully it will catch on. I think the whole maelstorm stigma still hangs over their heads, and makes them hesitant to get out there. But if companies like CMON can really come out and work against their terrible former company reputations, and even GW has gone from being genuinely hated, to being loved by more and more people. It's a tough road, but I think it's worth the effort.

I think there's plenty of things they've done wrong, but if there are ideas people have as to how they can improve, I think that would be interesting.


, , , , , , ,

 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







That's a very, very good idea there - Rob needs to get Mierce "out there more" - Social Media, Forums, etc.

But Rob is very, very reluctant to loosen the reigns at Mierce, and takes a hand's on approach to the extreme - as in, all other hands are off.

He should farm out the game design to whatever extent is possible for him to allow, and also figure out a way to get help for all the squishy online presence stuff.

And yeah, get that in-house metal casting up and running ASAP!

   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





I've seen their figures on some painting streams/videos/blogs recently so I wonder if Rob's wife, whos running the social media stuff, has been doing some outreach.

Wapple has had a lot of their stuff lately, but he's always liked their figures and Greenstuff World has been using Mierce stuff for some painting videos with their new lines of paint.
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

The big downside of bringing in somebody else to re-write the game is it would be another salary to pay, up front for a considerable amount of time even before a finished product could be sold

so not really an option if they are living 'hand to mouth' while trying to finish of the KS fulfilment even if Rob wanted to (and he probably doesn't want to)

 
   
Made in us
Neophyte undergoing Ritual of Detestation




Saint Paul, MN

 Alpharius wrote:
That's a very, very good idea there - Rob needs to get Mierce "out there more" - Social Media, Forums, etc.


They were being more proactive and ran that painting contest. That then ended and it went back to radio silence plus the withdraw of engagement by Rob from here as well. Wonder if the pay back on that wasnt what they hoped it would be.
   
Made in gb
Fanatic with Madcap Mushrooms







I think that most companies are probably in for a hard time since, lets face it, GW got their A game on. So even for a company that does everything right it's going to be hard.

Online needs to be more aggressive and their catalogue grows substantially each KS, I mean they generate so many new minis in such short time frame that its probably a nightmare to handle them when your team is too small and freelance.

Many things can make it hard for a company to thrive but I think that Mierce committed themselves to more than they can chew. So I would say probably planning for a steady but realistic release schedule would probably work better for them.

Simplify things like creature names no one can or will remember, create fun rulesets will for sure help to build a good fan base… as it stands people in general are confused where this is going.

   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





I think Rob's silence is more he's just really busy and probably in some stressful times working overtime and such. He's not even as active on Kickstarter chats as he use to be.

We're also forgetting about the failure of the boardgame about a year ago. Rob really didn't research what boardgamers want (tons of cheap figures) and his campaign was a bust. don't also help that he's generally more realistic on the funding amount then a lot of other companies. And that laft of funding hurt them too.

If a bunch of teams the size of Mierce can raise 1-2 million for their PVC minis game Rob could but I think that would require him to do out of his comfort zone and get the game designer, get the communications person (so rob doesn't have to do it) and so on.
   
Made in us
Prospector with Steamdrill




Ohio

They need a new webstore with convenient filters focusing on non-gibberish names. I've stopped two orders now just because of that website. I often wonder if Mierce has good "counts-as" minis for unrelated games but can't bring myself to wade through the nonsense names to check. Tags, Mierce, use tags!
   
Made in us
Courageous Questing Knight





Central Cimmeria

Yeah, their website is awful. It has definitely contributed to me starting to look through their sales and then abandoning it after trying to deal with the website.
   
Made in gb
Moustache-twirling Princeps




We'll find out soon enough eh.

There are a lot of valid criticisms of Mierce, but really the website? It's a website. It loads fine, it displays things clearly, everything is in categories and most stuff has thumbnails. Navigating it is no harder than navigating Windows or any other website not purposefully broken for the sake of tablet/mobile users.

I need to acquire plastic Skavenslaves, can you help?
I have a blog now, evidently. Featuring the Alternative Mordheim Model Megalist.

"Your society's broken, so who should we blame? Should we blame the rich, powerful people who caused it? No, lets blame the people with no power and no money and those immigrants who don't even have the vote. Yea, it must be their fething fault." - Iain M Banks
-----
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Made in gb
Fanatic with Madcap Mushrooms







 Yodhrin wrote:
There are a lot of valid criticisms of Mierce, but really the website? It's a website. It loads fine, it displays things clearly, everything is in categories and most stuff has thumbnails. Navigating it is no harder than navigating Windows or any other website not purposefully broken for the sake of tablet/mobile users.


Its valid, I mean I speak for myself here but I'm usually lost there in therms of finding a specific miniature because:

a) I don't remember the silly name they baptised the miniature I'm looking for.
b) Not familiar with factions, sub factions names.
c) I gave up many times after going through the site looking for a mini and was not able to find it.

Not a big thing but adds up.

   
Made in gb
Basecoated Black





 NAVARRO wrote:


Its valid, I mean I speak for myself here but I'm usually lost there in therms of finding a specific miniature because:

a) I don't remember the silly name they baptised the miniature I'm looking for.
b) Not familiar with factions, sub factions names.
c) I gave up many times after going through the site looking for a mini and was not able to find it.

Not a big thing but adds up.


Same thing can be said for any unfamiliar system. I even find it hard to find items on the GW website, I type in the old warhammer name and it's changed, then I have a job hunting it down under the new naming system.

If you think Mierce is hard to navigate, you should try the historical sites, most of them are archaic and some of them don't even bother with pictures.

For a small company with a very large inventory, Mierce website works well.

Check out my facebook page 
   
Made in gb
Fanatic with Madcap Mushrooms







Im from the time internet was not a thing and you had to go through a catalogue with just names and then fill the form, send it in and hope to receive something back…
Some sites are still like that! Yes, Mierce is a million times better than those thank god for that.

   
Made in us
Shrieking Traitor Sentinel Pilot




Burbank, CA

I think the idea of tags for the site is good. If you could show up and see tags like ‘dragons’, ‘trolls’, ‘wolves’, and such, that would be a start. The difficult names of the units have always been an issue with the game/website for people. I love that mierce actually tries to incorporate names using old language, but I feel the ‘main title’ of each item should be something simpler for people to more easily follow.

Having gairlom just called ‘Albainn spearmen’, and Gairmorlom as ‘Albainn veteran spearmen’, is a little bit easier for everyone (especially translation programs) to grasp.

Having ‘Chysperis, Fidron of Khthon’ listed as just ‘ Great Khthon sea serpent’, could mean the difference between sale and not sale?

I most definitely think these true names need to be part of the description of these figures, but perhaps not their forward facing name. Something like:
Great Khthon Sea Serpent -
A Fidron or (add descriptive breakdown of the word Fidron) , Chysperis is a titanic serpentine beast. Feared by sailors, and villagers alike, this massive beast is rallied by the Gorgons to wage war on the battlefields of the Darklands for the Khthones.

I’m sure better flavor text could be made, but, I think that coveys ‘what It is’ simply, while still paying homage to the mythology/history of it as well.

As many have said also, Rob likes to do as much as he can himself, which ends up meaning he has more on his plate then a normal business owner. Obviously he should delegate things out, but I think Darklands is truly his passion, and he wants to maintain as much control as possible. Whereas with some small companies, I think this is possible, Mierce not only needs to get out from under the backlog, but needs to become more assessable to people, seeing as they already have such an impressive catalog of stuff. Rob’s got to loosen the reins a bit, and let others help with certain things.


, , , , , , ,

 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





The name thing is a non-issue. Infinity does the same thing as mierce, and it can be frustrating for people to find what they want in that game, but it hasn't hurt its Popularity. GW's website isn't any better if you're not familiar with their dumb names. I've searched for 10+ min for a figure on their site before because I'm not that familiar with GW's stuff. Sounds like people are just upset that Mierce organizes things for their game and for people looking for GW replacements. The audacity.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/13 19:49:33


 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I wouldn't change the names,

but putting tags like troll, wolfman, ogre etc on them so people can search the store for 'counts as' stuff would be useful for people who just want to grab something for a different game

(not sure how simple it would be to do with how the stores set up, but if it wasn't too much of a nightmare it would probably help sales)

 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





Assuming it's a SQL style of database it's pretty simple add tags/filters. That's not to say it would be quick to do as there's a decent amount of work there to add the data and change the website, but Its not complex.

I should add I don't think they use a 3rd party cart system where it would be much easier. I seam remember Rob talking about making everything himself.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/13 20:13:12


 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





The only problem with the website is the names of the individual minis, 3 times ive given up looking for the Walrus dudes as i can never remember the faction or their names!

I will say once you learn whats in the factions ie what races etc. it isnt a bad site to use.
   
Made in us
Prospector with Steamdrill




Ohio

I've personally halted orders on their site because I couldn't find the mini *I knew* they sold. If we're chatting about ways to increase sales, I wouldn't label that a non-issue. I'm assuming the majority of Mierce sales are for other game systems. If so, they should reduce shopping/purchasing friction as much as possible. Skullking's suggestions are ace.

The other issue that might've been mentioned is frequency of sales. If I know they'll do 2-for-1 sales regularly, I'm far less likely to purchase in non-sales periods. Have to be careful with handling the frequency and types of sales.
   
Made in ca
Mighty Kroxigor Ancient





California the Southern

I like the tag idea. That'd be nice to implement for people who have difficulty with the names.

At this point it's a non- issue for me as I've figured out how a lot of it works, especially for the kindreds I like.

I still hope for Darkholds to become a reality at some point.


Poorly lit photos of my ever- growing collection of completely unrelated models!

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/0/627383.page#7436324.html
Watch and listen to me ramble about these minis before ruining them with paint!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmCB2mWIxhYF8Q36d2Am_2A 
   
Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut





It's disingenuous to simply state "it's not a problem for me"
The issue isn't whether some people can nut it out, the issue is that some CAN'T, and give up in frustration.

That's a sales loss for Mierce.

There is no reason Mierce can't use a friendly name along with the ridiculously convoluted naming conventions they ahve stuck with stubbornly since the inception of Darklands.

They also use utterly STUPID names for some banebeatss...
s'hcrhro'tum-b'hoss,
s'hcrhro'tum-b'hoss,
n'nhohbr'hurt'hs

But these all have a "normal" description as well

But, hey, whatever, keep the stupid names, just add a description underneath that people can actually, you know, remember?
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






I'd have trouble distinguishing those names from toddler playing with a keyboard text. On a lighter note, trying to quick glance and pronounce them comes up with scrotum boss and no butt hurts, lol. (Assuming those are legit names and you didn't make them up...)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/01/13 22:59:48


   
Made in us
Thermo-Optical Tuareg






Nashville, TN

yxalitis wrote:
It's disingenuous to simply state "it's not a problem for me"
The issue isn't whether some people can nut it out, the issue is that some CAN'T, and give up in frustration.

That's a sales loss for Mierce.

There is no reason Mierce can't use a friendly name along with the ridiculously convoluted naming conventions they ahve stuck with stubbornly since the inception of Darklands.

They also use utterly STUPID names for some banebeatss...
s'hcrhro'tum-b'hoss,
s'hcrhro'tum-b'hoss,
n'nhohbr'hurt'hs

But these all have a "normal" description as well

But, hey, whatever, keep the stupid names, just add a description underneath that people can actually, you know, remember?


This has been a hurdle I haven't crossed on several occasions. Their website is so hard to navigate and find models I've not bought stuff at least three times. I love a lot of their stuff but never bought anything.

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Made in ca
Mighty Kroxigor Ancient





California the Southern

...I'm pretty sure those are actual names.

They're the nurgley versions of the bog beasts from the Banebeasts line if I remember correctly.

Poorly lit photos of my ever- growing collection of completely unrelated models!

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/0/627383.page#7436324.html
Watch and listen to me ramble about these minis before ruining them with paint!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmCB2mWIxhYF8Q36d2Am_2A 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

You know that clever idea we had about 'tagging' mierce stuff with more normal names so people could search for stuff for a.n.other games

well I put the idea to Rob in the comments.....

and he's already done it (and yes I tried it and it seems to work well)…… Doh!

 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







OK, now he just needs to publicize it better!

Is there anywhere on his webstore where this is mentioned?
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





looks like he's doing it via the search bar instead of a tag cloud but it does work quite well. Even weapons are searchable.
   
 
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