Alright. Admittedly that headline is a bit long, but it is the truth.

A little back story before we get into the meat of this article. Since 2015, Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures have launched 5 successful Kickstarters. The most successful of these campaigns was for Super Dungeon Explore: Legends. More than 6,000 backers pledged over $1.29 million dollars during the Kickstarter and who knows how much more during the pledge manager via the company’s official web store. After Super Dungeon Explore: Legends, they launched campaigns for Relic Knights 2nd Edition, Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures, Rail Raiders: Infinite, and Way of the Fighter.

To date, Rail Raiders: Infinite and Way of the Fighter have been in retail stores for more than a year while there are still backers awaiting their copies, stretch goals and more. The Starfinder miniatures have just now begun making their way to US backers, with quality control issue after quality control issue. Relic Knights 2nd Edition was supped to have been done and shipped by February 2018 but there has been only radio silence since August 2018. And, finally, Super Dungeon Explore: Legends had been shelved until Starfinder and Relic Knights had been completed.

Despite the projects’ various degrees of completion, more than $2.56 million dollars was raised by more than 17,000 backers through the Kickstarter campaigns. This does not included the undisclosed amount raised during the various pledge mangers, as there would be late backers and people who upped their pledges.

With that in mind, it brings us to the the present. As the company has been radio silent on all their Kickstarter pages (See: Ninja Division Pulling Back from Kickstarter), this had led several backers to write to their attorney generals as well as the Idaho attorney general (Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures are based out of Idaho) in regards to fraud. The response from Ninja Division/Soda Pop was finally made public: Ninja Division Response to Attorney General.

While the response is worded as such to skate over many of the pressing questions backers have had, as well as give a detailed account usage of all funds raised and not just of those during the Super Dungeon Explore: Legends Kickstarter, it does have a few interesting bits of information:

  • Under their disclosure of Initial Funding, they state that approximately $343,559 was used for “annual overhead”. This included payroll, facilities and additional overhead. This funding was to cover them for the remainder of 2015, as well as all of 2016. They then state they had to deplete the funds to cover 2017 as well.
  • Also under their disclosure of Initial Funding, they state that approximately $485,679 went to “project expenses”, including license fees and marketing.
  • Funds for the game are completely ran through, leaving a deficit of $750,000 needed to bring the project to completion.
  • While the fate of their other non-SDE IPs are not disclosed, they do mention that they are in discussion with multiple outside companies for acquisition of their studio.

There is also several bits of blame laid at the backers’ feet that we won’t go into.

In the end, ultimately, this does not bold well for anyone connected with these games. Be it a backer, designer or what have you, it looks like the curtain is slowly falling on what was once a great company and a great stable of fantastic games.

_________

For full details on the four outstanding Kickstarters and some basic stats. Way of the Fighter is not included in this break down as it backers for this are waiting on miniature add-ons. While not to be cast aside or forgotten about in the least, it is hard to gage a proper number of backers effected by this as Way of the Fighter featured the least amount of backers and most have moved on from the campaign.

Relic Knights 2nd Edition

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/relic-knights-2nd-edition/description

Originally ran on KS from Feb 27, 2017 until March 14, 2017

  • Raised $386,826 from 2,489 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via the Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship in 3 waves over an 8 month period
    • Wave 1 – Summer 2017: Base game and majority of stretch goals/add ons
    • Wave 2 – Winter 2017: Remaining stretch goals/add ons
    • Wave 3 – Feb. 2018: Void Break Expansion Rulebook/outstanding stretch goals

As of November 2018, zero of the game’s 2000+ backers have seen anything. Last real update on production was back in July 2018. Several comments made at GenCon by Soda Pop employees was that the game was to begin shipping at the end of August. Last comment made by John Cadice (owner of Ninja Division) was that they ran out of bases, and the comment was made via a Facebook Relic Knights fan page.

Rail Raiders: Infinite

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/rail-raiders-infinite/description

  • Originally ran on KS from April 6, 2016 until April 22, 2016
  • Raised $339,724 from 4,649 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via the Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship October 2016.
  • Shipping finally began in August 2017.

As of November 2018, many of the game’s backers (primarily those out of the United States) are still awaiting their games though the game has been available at retail for months. Last update was January 2018.

Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/325468910/starfinder-masterclass-miniatures/description

  • Originally ran on KS from September 27, 2017 until October 17, 207
  • Raised $457,539 from 2,294 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship May 2018
  • Shipping began in waves in May 2018, however they have switched to a new model of shipping what they have when they are done. 
    • This could be a single miniature or multiples.

As of November 2018, Wave 1 miniatures have begun making their way to US backers. These shipments have been plagued by quality control issues and broken miniatures.

Super Dungeon Explores: Legends

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/super-dungeon-explore-legends/comments

  • Originally ran on KS from October 21, 2015 until November 11, 2015
  • Raised $1,290,522 from 6,611 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funs raised via Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to Ship December 2016

As of November 2018, zero of the game’s backers have received anything. The last update of any type regarding fulfillment and shipping was back in March 2018.

$2,566,516 from 17,428 backers, or $148.80 per person.

 

Comments
  1. Dan TehChad says:

    An employee of Archon mentioned (in the Chronicle X Kickstarter comments) that management was going to meet with Ninja Division today to discuss several ND projects they were manufacturing that have been put on hold due to ND’s outstanding unpaid balances.

    I’m hoping to hear more about that soon. Between the fact that they had to dip into the Legends till in order to maintain operations in 2017, the fact that they haven’t exactly had any great successes this year, the fact that they seem unprepared to meet many of their overseas pre-order obligations, and the fact that they effectively laid off their sole customer-service-slash-makeshift-PR-guy to cut costs… It’s frankly hard to imagine that they have the funds to produce any of their other obligations right now either. If so, then they’re underwater by a lot more than $750k.

    Of course Cadice, their apparent “biz” guy has completely alienated their fanbase by repeatedly throwing his customers under the bus and at one point literally calling them “foolish” for taking him at his word.

    So you’ve got a massive deficit between assets and liabilities. You’ve got a handful of IPs, each with its own legion of understandably angry customers. I fail to see how it makes financial sense for any company to absorb Ninja Division, even if Cadice was willing to just hand it over to them and walk away. Why? Because you KNOW he’s operating under the illusion that someone should actually PAY him for it.

    • 4colorpress says:

      I had a rather lengthy follow up article written discussing Archon’s response (and the swift under the bus motion it took), as well as chronicling John Cadice’s comments on the various FaceBook posts. I had to step back, however, because it became a more heated and biased article the more I wrote. I want to keep a fair and unbiased lens focused on this situation as much as possible and right now that is not possible. I will give them until their “official” statement is released, then we’ll go from there.

      • Dan TehChad says:

        There isn’t going to be an “official” statement any time soon, that’s pretty clear. Archon said it, said they would share more after a meeting to be held within 24-48hrs of the comment, then went silent on the matter. It’s pretty clear that someone has chosen (or been told) not to share.

        As for coming across biased, it’s important to remember that if nobody can produce a more ‘fair’ assessment of it from one side’s perspective it isn’t actually an issue of bias. It means that either the one side has been totally in the wrong, or they NEED to speak up. Even the strictest of NDA agreements will still leave you room to say SOMETHING about your own products or challenges as a company. It’s not that they literally can’t tell us anything, it’s that they’re choosing not to. Hell, they chose not to tell us what was going on above, we found out because a backer finally shared the official response Cadice and crew sent back to the Attorney General.

        Cadice has made it clear that he prefers to play the victim, as his “toxic backers” rants and total inability to take responsibility for that issue have shown. If there was another side, another element that would make his team look better, he would have absolutely told/hinted/alluded to it by now. That’s absolutely his M.O. But he hasn’t, and that means there literally ISN’T another side to the story.

        Post your findings, put them in a timeline, it’s even better. I’d love to mesh them in with what I’ve found. Maybe there’s enough there that we can submit additional info for the Attorney General to take action. I have emails from employees that I’d love to fit in with a solid timeline, and if there’s enough to put something real together I’d be willing to share them.

  2. James says:

    I look forward to hearing more on this, my dealings with SPM have been less than desirable, back in February, for personal reasons, I had to request a refund on my Relic Knights pledge ($1200), they reply very quickly and politely that I could get one minus a kickstarter fee that I was very happy about, however since all correspondence was vague and has now gone completely silent. At this point I’m not holding my breathe, but Soda POP and Ninja Division will forever be on my Blacklist…

    • 4colorpress says:

      A fantastic question was posed in the KickStarter comments as to rather or not anyone would support another KickStarter for the game if that meant they could finish production. I would do so in a heartbeat provided two things were done:

      1.) Another company were to pick up the game. Jasco Games has already swooped in to save one failed KickStarter (Evil Dead 2), as did Cryptozoic (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City). I doubt a third savior will show, though.

      2.) Documented proof, iron clad, that John Candice and anyone who worked at Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures were no where near this project, any of its funds or any aspect of production.

      • Dan TehChad says:

        Evil Dead 2 will be a “new game” created by Jasco, using some of the “elements” publicly released for the early print and play… Given that the initial PnP content was a pretty direct and obvious reskin of Last Night On Earth, there’s a good chance that they’re going to try making more of an original design than just expanding on [what was basically] a demo provided by Space Goat.

        That said, ‘The Doom That Came to Atlantic City’ and ‘Evil Dead 2′ both appear to have something in common: a far lower manufacturing cost than one could realistically expect from Super Dungeon Explore. That’s a big additional problem for them to face if this ever does hit manufacturing in some way. It’s also a significant hurdle to any potential third party who might try to swoop in and rescue this from the current dumpster fire of a situation it’s in.

        The only real way around that might be to produce a version of the game that used standees instead of plastic -but even then, I’m just not sure how much of a production savings it would be, when you consider the high cost of professionally color printed materials and cardboard in modern board games. It would also GREATLY upset a number of customers who only backed/wanted the games for the pretty miniatures. Even if a third party did swoop in to make the game in a cheaper manner like this, the community response to them doing so would be tepid at best (and downright nasty at worst).

        Honestly, I don’t think we’re going to hear anything from Cadice for a while. At least not until he wins the lotto and decides to grace us with a finished product (unlikely), or he finds a buyer for the big ol’ bag of financial deficit that is Ninja Division.

      • 4colorpress says:

        As positive as I’ve been trying to been, I have to sadly agree. Between him and the PR rep for Knight Models, someone should copyright the term “Soon” and get a $0.25 every time they use it.

        By the way, I appreciate the comments! I’m glad to see someone else out there is reading this stuff and I’m not just howling to the wind.

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