Successful Kickstarter Super Dungeon Explore: Legends is now $750,000 in debt two years past its shipping date, with no sign it will ever be shipped to backers.
Kickstarter has been a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are plenty of games that would never exist without the ability to crowdfund. On the other hand, some companies have used Kickstarter as a way of getting a ton of cash and then skipping town.
It’s looking increasingly like Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division, makers of the successful Super Dungeon Explore board game, are falling into the latter camp.
If you’ve never heard of Super Dungeon Explore, it’s a board game that came out in 2011 that takes its inspiration from old-school hack-and-slash tabletop RPGs with a little JRPG flare. Players take on the role of some predefined classes, such as Paladin, Druid, or Rogue, who then tumble down a dungeon on a quest for loot, killing various monsters along the way.
The whole thing is done in an adorable “chibi” art style, including the paintable miniatures. Some people have gotten really into their little boardgames and it’s become a favorite for those looking to kill an afternoon.
In 2015, Ninja Division and Soda Pop Miniatures (who are essentially owned by the same people, so we’re going to just say “Ninja Division” going forward) started a Kickstarter campaign to make the second edition of Super Dungeon Explore, along with an expansion that eventually became Super Dungeon Legends.
After accumulating nearly $1.3 million in backing, Ninja Division posted an expected delivery date of December 2016. People eagerly awaited their next edition board game. Now it’s two years past the delivery date and people are understandably a little frustrated.
One Kickstarter backer named Zach got so frustrated he went to the Washington Auditor General to demand an explanation from the company. Normally a notoriously quiet company, Ninja Division actually responded with the reason for the delay, and it’s not looking good for backers.
Despite the fact the company raised way more than their initial crowdfunding goal, Ninja Division reports they’re now $750,000 in the hole and can’t finish the project. They’ve provided a general account of their finances, which has led many angry backers to accuse the company of using their wildly successful Super Dungeon Legends campaign to pay for past failures.
There may be some truth to that. A 2017 Reddit post notes that Ninja Division skipped sending backers of another project (Rail Riders Infinite) their games in favor of making greater profits on retail. Combined with the official response to the Washington AG, and this is a company in dire financial straits.
Without a new investor or a manufacturer agreeing to work for free, it seems almost certain the company will go bankrupt before Super Dungeon Legends ever gets shipped.