Three years late, and months without an update: FunForge CEO expresses “frustration” that Monumental Kickstarter is still not ready to deliver

The CEO of French board game publisher FunForge has said he understands the frustration felt by thousands of Kickstarter backers of the company’s Monumental campaign, which is now more than three years beyond its expected delivery date.

More than 4,200 people pledged a combined €467,000 in 2020 for a reprint of the Matthew Dunstan-designed strategy game and a new expansion, African Empires, with expectations it would arrive by April 2021.

FunForge founder and CEO Philippe Nouhra told BoardGameWire that backers of the heavily-delayed campaign would receive an update this month, but conceded that FunForge is still not ready to deliver the game – despite production being completed in 2022 – and is “currently putting in place the solutions to achieve the deliveries.”

FunForge’s Monumental campaign was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, which caused vast delays to global manufacturing and saw freight shipping costs soar – an impossible to predict situation suffered by scores of tabletop game publishers.

FunForge has said it was hit with about $250,000 of extra costs for the campaign due to the pandemic, and committed not to pass on those costs to Kickstarter backers as some other Covid-hit projects have done.

The situation was compounded by another FunForge Kickstarter project, Namiji, which had raised almost €640,000 from over 9,400 backers, and was initially slated to be delivered in July 2020.

FunForge told backers in May 2022 that given the huge rise in post-pandemic costs it would be unable to deliver both Namiji and Monumental at the same time, and would prioritise Namiji because its campaign had funded first.

That game began a drawn-out global shipping process in March 2022, with FunForge swallowing the extra costs which it said would have seen backers having to pay an extra $20 each.

Namiji’s fulfillment looked to pave the way for copies of Monumental to begin being sent out – but those deliveries have yet to transpire.

Some Monumental backers have become increasingly frustrated with FunForge’s communications about the situation, and criticised excuses given by the company which they say go above and beyond the huge problems caused by the pandemic.

That invariably led to a sometimes hostile environment in the Kickstarter comments section, with significant amounts of abuse directed at FunForge’s communications director, who has since left the company, and FunForge itself.

The ire has extended to Monumental’s BoardGameGeek listing, with the game receiving a spate of ‘1’ reviews since February this year from backers upset they are yet to receive their copies of the game.

That review bombing has also targeted Monumental Duel, a 2-player card game version of Monumental announced by FunForge in February, which is still months away from being released.

One of Monumental Duel’s three versions currently has more than 20 ‘1’ reviews, with several of the comments accusing FunForge of fraud and referencing the Monumental Kickstarter as the reason for the low score.

Last summer FunForge’s communications director posted in the Kickstarter comments to say that shipping was being postponed so backers did not miss their packages being delivered while on their summer vacations.

Monumental on the table

Backers were told multiple times from the beginning of 2023 that fulfillment and shipping would begin ahead of the summer of that year, before an update in July announced that the shipping plan was being updated.

The last official Kickstarter update from FunForge, posted in November last year, informed backers that “the shipment for Monumental is about to begin”, saying the first wave of Europe and Asia hub shipments would start in December 2023, with the US wave set beginning in early January 2024 – but those shipments are still yet to take place.

FunForge’s communications director announced in early April that she was leaving the business, telling backers that the company would update them on the status of the Kickstarter before the end of the month. That update did not arrive. 

Some backers have also expressed their annoyance that the game was released into retail last September due to an agreement with distributor Asmodee, which FunForge said could not be delayed. Further ire was raised when the game was available at a discount over the Christmas period, costing less than Kickstarter backers paid for games they are yet to receive.

Nouhra told BoardGameWire, “What I can say about the Monumental Kickstarter is that, as for each and every KS which is late (which is to say almost all of them), a lot (way too much) fantasy is ongoing around the project.

“We are currently working on completing this project in the best realistic way as possible and we will communicate directly to our community in due time (not too far away from the current days) with the next steps and proceedings.

“What I can give you as a context and comment is that we always delivered (even late) and we will deliver again, all other comments is pure conjecture and fantasy.

“…we already addressed the questions and answers about the lateness of this project. We already explained how Covid had made every costs skyrocketing both in terms of production and shippings (not talking about the factories disruption) and how we have to handle these kind of unexpected events.

“The thing is that, truth be told, the vocal backers prefer not to believe the simple truth and go into some fantasy. This is their right but on our side we won’t invent new comments to legitimate[sic] their fantasy.

“We have bumped into a lot of difficulties handling a KS financed during the Covid events and before two wars which have totally turned things and projects upside down, this is as simple as this and if the vocal backers do not want to hear this and understand the reality of things I cannot help.

“However, this is all that is to say about this project, once again we are handling it and we will deliver. We will address all of this directly with our community.”

When BoardGameWire pointed out to Nouhra that global shipping rates had reduced massively from the Covid spike, he said, “I can understand this frustration, we are ourselves very frustrated to know that everything is produced AND in the various hub warehouses and that we were still not in position to deliver at this time in spite of what we hoped to be able to achieve as announced in our last updates.

“The thing is that the shipping cost statement is only partially true, if the cargo shipments by sea have lower down again, the last mile delivery is incredibly high and never has really drop down its cost.

“We already have lost a lot of money on this project and we are currently putting in place the solutions to achieve the deliveries… there will be an update this month indeed.”

FunForge confirmed in an update to Monumental backers in May 2022 that it would not be running any more Kickstarter campaigns.

The company had attempted to raise Kickstarter funding for Far Cry: Beyond, a co-op game based on the long-running video game series, a month earlier, but cancelled the campaign after a single day in the wake of picking up just €30,000 towards its €100,000 goal.


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