Thursday, April 1, 2010

Adiken's miniatures and the fall of a gaming company

At last month's gaming auction, I picked up a bag of loose fantasy figures—mostly orc-lookin' dudes and some adventurers. I just finished painting five of the orcs above (although in my campaign, they'll be hobgoblins, because I never cared for the Asian-themed old-school hobgoblins, and these guys seem vicious, and I already have enough orc figures).

Anyway, these miniatures were marked "Adiken 2003" on the bottom. I wasn't familiar with the company, and that seemed odd given that they were produced just 7 years ago. It's hard for a gaming company to rise and fall in the age of the Internet and not have anyone know about it. Upon cursory examination, all that existed about Adiken was a cryptic Wikipedia stub.

So I did a little digging—and found a fascinating account of the frenetic rise and fall of the company, as chronicled by Paul DeStefano, a member of the Board Game Geek online community. Paul was a freelancer who landed what sounded like the job of a lifetime working for Adiken a few years ago. The company had massive financial backing, a team of talent, and the mechanical capabilities to make the game (a dungeon crawl board game called Nin-Gonost, which those minis are for) into a big hit.

Paul wrote:
[T]hey are so floored by the work I have done that they give me complete creative control of the project. Whatever I want, I get.

Stories I write get painted into beautiful paintings by famous D&D artist Jeff Easley. I swear I am brought to tears.
Shortly thereafter, it all fell apart. The company's financier lost his father, and it appears he also lost his will to head up the company. Paul was left with crates of miniatures sitting in his garage, but no finished product to sell them for.

It was a riveting, tragic account of the company's short life. As someone who's done work for RPG companies—and has gotten paid promptly—I was heartbroken to read that Paul was apparently never paid for his work on Nin-Gonost.

Anyway. I thought this was a really fascinating bit of reading that ties into the new miniatures I just finished painting up. Perhaps Paul will take some heart in knowing that Adiken's miniatures will once again stalk the dim halls of my dungeons.

1 comment:

Paul DeStefano said...

Yeah, there's a cult of die hard fanatics out there. The game will linger on.

Thanks for taking the interest to look in to it.