RJK's Bottle City updates
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:37 pm 
 

On April 9 I ordered a copy of Bottle City from PPP because Eric Shook personally guaranteed that he would make sure it would be shipped in a couple of days. I hope and trust to receive my copy soon.  :)

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:15 pm 
 

Ordered an LE got one. Maybe a bit late  ... but so what?

Why did I order it? Because I support old school gaming. Maybe I've missed the point here but for me it's about supporting gaming.

Maybe life's a bit slower over here in Ulster than in the US, so it may well just be me, but I got exactly what i ordered, so what if it took a bit longer.

I must be honest and say i don't get all the wingeing this thread has generated.


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:49 pm 
 

obiter wrote:I must be honest and say i don't get all the wingeing this thread has generated.


Personally, I the tardiness of item and the politics of the company don't have much impact on me.  My issue is more strictly product based.  When I order something that is $150 + $10 for shipping, I kind of expect to have it shipped to me so that it remains in new condition.  Instead, I end up with a map that isn't signed (although it is suppose to be) and a module booklet that looks like it has been through the mill a bit (with a number of minor spine creases and one more major one).  All because it was shipped in an oversized padded envelope without any cardboard or even a "Do Not Bend"  written on it.  How did your copy fair on the overseas transport?

The solution to my predicament is to send the items back to PPP along with the shipping materials that I would like it sent back in.  Ideally, I want the map shipped in a tube and the module in an envelope with cardboard. I was under the impression that this was how they were going to be shipped in the first place.  To buy these materials and pay to ship them to PPP so they can ship them back to me is probably going to run me about $25.  I'm glad they will cover the postage back to me but to be honest, I really don't want to fork over another $25 on this so I sit here with what I have and bask in the glory of knowing I helped out old school gaming.

Don't mind me though, I'm a bit pissy since someone spray painted the side of my truck last night and I'm a bit bitter today.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:22 pm 
 

I received my copy yesterday.

It was my prize for playing in "Bottle City" at Gen Con last year, so it's numbered "COMP." (Just thought I should note that now, so nobody's confused at my estate sale in 50 years.)

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:51 pm 
 

Contrarian wrote:I received my copy yesterday.

It was my prize for playing in "Bottle City" at Gen Con last year, so it's numbered "COMP." (Just thought I should note that now, so nobody's confused at my estate sale in 50 years.)


lol..............


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:37 pm 
 

Comp. SE or LE?


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:48 pm 
 

IIRC the comps were standard edition, Ian, not limiteds.


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:33 pm 
 

Maybe now it is safe to buy a Bottle City for myself?

I did not order one when they were first offered...lack of cash. Then, all of this.....

I have been monitoring this strand with some interest and a bit of sadness.  I hoped better for PPP, and now I hope they can recover.

This strand is a nice example of "honesty is always the best policy."  As I learned recently at my own job, when you are overmatched the best thing to do is admit it and ask for assistance.  

(The administration socked me with a huge case load...I tried to be a tough guy, right up until something important cracked...and I learned to admit when I cannot do it all by myself.  I think at least a part of the cracking noise I heard was my ego.)

Anyway...hope things get on track at PPP.


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:06 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Comp. SE or LE?


More hillarity.................
BTW I think your nose looks funny.


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:34 pm 
 

PPP's redesigned web site seems to be up.  

http://pied-piper-publishing.com/

The 'Announcements' page is definitely an interesting read.

Good luck guys!  :D


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:45 pm 
 

smarmy1 wrote:PPP's redesigned web site seems to be up.  

http://pied-piper-publishing.com/

The 'Announcements' page is definitely an interesting read.

Good luck guys!  :D


Is the News page more representitive of the future?   :lol:

  

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:50 pm 
 

Arrggghhh!!! Grey text on a grey background. Take pity on my poor old eyes.
Since PPP is appealing to "old school" gamers, please keep in mind that some of us don't have the eyesight to read low contrast text.   :wink:


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:09 pm 
 

smarmy1 wrote:PPP's redesigned web site seems to be up.  

http://pied-piper-publishing.com/

The 'Announcements' page is definitely an interesting read.

Good luck guys!  :D


I for one hope that PPP can get back on track.  Even with all the delays and shipping debacles, I have enjoyed reading all of the products released to date and look forward to a few more.

I just have two more words for PPP: Priority Mail

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:21 pm 
 

"PPP will no longer employ a pre-order process for new products."

Now you're talking.

+++++

Actually, I must admit the site looks good (the colors might be want to be re-considered, but that's a subjective thing). I'll still keep my wait-and-see attitude in place — PPP still has a lot to prove, frankly — but I'll jettison my earlier predictions of a complete demise.

The best way to move past the Bottle City fiasco would be just to ship a reasonably priced product on time and in a friendly manner. Gamers are, overall, generally a forgiving lot.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:21 pm 
 

Wow....it reads like a playbook of what we told them they needed to do.  So not a lot of complaints here, if they stick to the plan.

Thoughts:

1.  A silent partner has made a substantial investment in PPP. The meeting between the new partner and Rob Kuntz took place on March 10th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Pfister Hotel.
From Rob: "What a vote of confidence! This long-term partnership is as grounded in our philosophy of good gaming material, and good product, as we are. PPP has put out some wonderful products to date and with this new partner we are assured to be able to move forward not only with products which we could never had produced earlier, but with a new set of goals which had only been a dream until this point. At some time our partner may choose to reveal himself, but until then let's call him the "Fiddler" who compliments the "Piper."


Grodog and others had hinted at this. Good to see it happen.  This hopefully puts Rob back on the creative side where the belongs, and makes others responsible for running the company.

2.  Eric Shook has been named VP of Pied Piper Publishing. He is currently involved with designing the new website and formulating his Starstrands© line of products to be published through PPP. Originally conceived by Steven R. Marsh, and further developed by Eric in the early 1980s, Eric has Steve's blessing to bring their initial vision to print. Eric will also be designing graphics for these projects. Find him just about everywhere that Rob Kuntz isn't. Eric has a twelve-month release plan for this line and will be working with a dedicated editor to bring them to print in a timely and reliable fashion, befitting PPP's commitment to excellence in product design.


Another good move. I had suspected as much when Eric seemed to be the one getting everything mailed the last month, and fufilling outstanding orders.  What's Starstrand? I'm interested in anything Steve had a hand in designing.

3.  PPP will be employing a separate shipper and order fulfiller to mail and track orders, assuring that RJK is not overworked and, more importantly, that orders are processed in a timely manner.
From Rob: "I bit off more than I could chew with handling PPP as a one-man-show, for certain, and with my health issues and other delays this resulted in a very bad situation for us. In order to surmount this obstacle PPP will use a shipper during peak order periods when products become available.

"The new shopping cart feature on the redesigned website will give us added functionality, as well, allowing us to track orders better. I will be using broadband internet service (yes, I conducted all business on a 56k modem for the past six years!) from now on and we will be using a part-time customer service representative (CSR) to answer queries and streamline customer relations. This will also allow me to concentrate on designing products full time and oversee the company's long term goals and operations. PPP has definitely outgrown its roots and these measures are needed to continue forward with plans we set in motion so many years ago."



Ummm, about time?  Good move also.  If I could make a couple of suggestions: Switch to priority mail (supplies are free, flat rate makes shipping easier to compute, items arrive faster), and put backing boards/stiffeners in products over $20, or offer the option to have them shipped in a priority box.  Believe me, you would be surprised how many of us will pay the extra shippping without a quibble if the item is guaranteed to arrive in unbent condition.
   A CSR was really, really needed.

4.  Due to unforeseen illnesses Rob Kuntz, President of Pied Piper Publishing, was out of action for many months and has only recently recovered. During that time outstanding orders fell behind and it was only with Eric Shook's assistance and organization that the mailings for The Original Bottle City and other books went out.
From Rob, who sent apology letters to some but not all of the existing and recent customers:

"I'd really like to thank everyone for the patience and understanding shown during my trying days. Not only was I diagnosed with single pneumonia (in one lung) but also suffered from fatigue and acute depression due to many mounting personal reasons which I have not, and will not, make public. These trying days are behind me now, notwithstanding having my vehicle stolen during that same time period. I also wish to thank John Seibel who took me to and from the post office for a time and transported me to buy groceries in the middle of a very cold and snow-laden winter.

"PPP operations are now back on track and the many changes we had planned beforehand, and which had been hinted at, are now a reality. Thanks for sticking with me and PPP through these rough times and please accept my sincerest apologies for the unexpected delays in shipping the end products."


Good for Rob.  People will forgive a hundred times over someone who apologizes for mishaps, rather than hides from them.  You'll be surprised how many out here who said they will never shop PPP again (myself included) will be accepting of an admission of responsibility, and perhaps change their minds because of it.

5. They say when it rains it pours; and that every cloud has a silver lining. Rob Kuntz will be joining his fiancée and wife-to-be in Florida at the end of April! PPP will move operations and relaunch its new website in tandem with the move. More news to follow on this wonderful tryst!
From Rob: "A match made in heaven, for sure. Couldn't be happier, and considering that I was in the dumps only months earlier! How's that for karma! Photos to follow from Glenda and myself, and I also look forward to living only 90 minutes away from Dave Arneson. Happy days!"


I think this is a very good move. Why anyone beyond the age of....oh hell, why ANYONE would want to put up with winters in Wisconsin is beyond me, particularly if they are of a certain age.  No more snow in 6 foot drifts....no more below zero temps.....

6.  PPP will no longer employ a pre-order process for new products. We wish to thank all sponsors of Cairn of the Skelton King, Tower of Blood, The Original Living Room, and The Original Bottle City who helped get PPP onto its feet. Pre-orders kept the company going, but the time has arrived for PPP to stand on our own two feet. This will assure customers that new products are available when ordered, and will allow PPP to streamline the stocking and restocking of books through our new and more-efficient cataloging and fulfillment system.


Self explanatory....time to move on from that model.

Not to mention the news that apparantly PPP is working out deals with people who were previously owed money (like Jason Braun).  

I have to say I am very impressed by all the moves made and suggestions that were acted upon from here and other disgruntled venues.  Now, from here, the most important part remains: releasing product, on time, that is compelling and of interest to old school gamers.  

I said awhile back that I just didn't see how PPP could ever again exist because of the hard feelings that were engendered due to the Bottle City debacle.  There will be those that still choose never to do business with PPP and Rob, no matter how complete the makeover.  I'm going on record as saying these announcements are a very, very good first step....if only for the reason that apparantly the suggestions given here seem to have been acted upon.  Listening to the target audience of a niche product is essential, and this seems to have taken place.  Good luck to the New PPP, we will be watching very closely to see how things turn out!

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:34 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I think this is a very good move. Why anyone beyond the age of....oh hell, why ANYONE would want to put up with winters in Wisconsin is beyond me, particularly if they are of a certain age.  No more snow in 6 foot drifts....no more below zero temps.....


Must defend the state where I live :D And I even moved back here from Florida (d12 years there).  Yes snow sucks to shovel, and yes this was past winter was the worst one on record, but I'll be damned if I ever move south again to the heat, hurricanes, humidity.
Not to mention one of the greats, Gygax lived and died here.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:38 pm 
 

Plaag wrote:
Must defend the state where I live :D And I even moved back here from Florida (d12 years there).  Yes snow sucks to shovel, and yes this was past winter was the worst one on record, but I'll be damned if I ever move south again to the heat, hurricanes, humidity.
Not to mention one of the greats, Gygax lived and died here.

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CRAZY MAN!!!!  

It's been 70 degrees here the past two weeks....and my garden has been planted since March, I've even got snow peas and green beans already...and my cherry tomatos are almost ready. Ah, I think I'll sit on the back porch tonight in my shorts and look at all my flowers blooming....screw the snow!!!

(Uh, don't bother me during the 100 degree summer, I'll be huddling inside around the AC to avoid heat stroke.....)

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:46 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
CRAZY MAN!!!!  

It's been 70 degrees here the past two weeks....and my garden has been planted since March, I've even got snow peas and green beans already...and my cherry tomatos are almost ready. Ah, I think I'll sit on the back porch tonight in my shorts and look at all my flowers blooming....screw the snow!!!

(Uh, don't bother me during the 100 degree summer, I'll be huddling inside around the AC to avoid heat stroke.....)

Mike B.


Its 73 degrees right now :) oh and enjoy your energy bill this summer, and the gas guzzling your car will do with the AC on it as well. Well unless you are going to use those vegetables to make a vegetable oil your car can run on.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:20 pm 
 

Screw Texas, Wisconsin, AND Florida... So. Cal. where it's 72+/-, sunny, and not humid over 350 days a year.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:26 pm 
 

Busman wrote:Screw Texas, Wisconsin, AND Florida... So. Cal. where it's 72+/-, sunny, and not humid over 350 days a year.


I'd move there, but I don't have a million and a half bucks for a 2 room one bathroom house!  8O

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