Things seemed to have been smooth sailing for the pairing of Jeff Martin and Stefan Pokorny after the successful second Kickstarter project concluded for Dwarven Forge, a detailed miniature terrain set for building dungeons. However, on August 21st, Stefan commented that Jeff Martin was stepping away from Dwarven Forge. Soon after, he requested on the Dwarven Forge forums that folks not mention Martin again. This happened rather suddenly and left a lot of consumers with questions.
Not long after the departure of the two parties, Martin, who has maintained a real-life dungeon experience for gamers called True Dungeon annually at Gen Con, announced his own line of miniature terrain. Previews of his project, called UpWorks, popped up regularly on social media and gave gamers a peek at what they could expect from Martin’s own venture into the tabletop terrain marketplace. Sounds good, right?
Many Dwarven Forge backers expressed great displeasure with this situation. Some were upset because of not having received fulfillment of their pledges from the second Kickstarter, and felt that the action of leaving and starting his own terrain project was distasteful. Others have questions on what actually happened between Jeff and Stefan, wondering about the ethical implications of leaving a terrain company to turn around and create another. Arguments and negativity broke out not only on the Dwarven Forge forums, but also on the UpWorks Kickstarter page, which just launched on September 30th.
To put these conflicts among consumers to rest and hopefully ease the minds and tension that was quickly growing, Stefan and Jeff made a shared statement last night on the Dwarven Forge Facebook page.
Dear fans of miniature terrain,
As many of you have heard, Jeff Martin has left Dwarven Forge to embark on his own. While the split was not amicable and passions have been high we think it best for all parties to move on and just concentrate on doing what we all love to do, make awesome terrain. It does not benefit the hobby as a whole for us to war against each other…we call a truce….
To that end, we wish to post a joint statement:
Jeff wishes to apologize for any website issues his sudden departure may have caused Stefan and DF.
Stefan wants to apologize personally to Jeff and to his family for the pain that they must be feeling when reading hurtful things posted on the internet. Things have gotten out of hand regarding Jeff”s character. Jeff and I have made amends. For 10 years we worked well together and prefer to remember those good times. Let our products speak for themselves, you, the gamers can benefit now from different styles of terrain, please let’s all just focus on what we love, miniature terrain!
Stefan Pokorny and Jeff Martin
A post containing the same joint statement, and a few more comments, was posted by Martin on the True Dungeon Facebook page. Fans seem to be responding to this statement positively, though there are sure to be some that are still skeptical.
Our opinion? While it does seem strange that Martin departed quickly from Dwarven Forge to this new project, everyone in life leaves jobs for various reasons. We don’t know the whole story, but we have faith that the project was handed over to trustworthy folks at Dwarven Forge. Having met Martin personally, I don’t believe he would’ve up and left without leaving things in proper order, and wouldn’t leave things hanging as many seem to believe. But as I said, we don’t have the whole story. However, if Jeff and Stefan have made amends as stated in their status update yesterday evening, then the situation should be left be.
Ultimately, gamers will get a selection as to what company they’d prefer to invest in based on their terrain needs. Many folks have expressed that they intend to own both lines. I say the more terrain, the merrier. My honest opinion is that if you have strong feelings about the situation, then just simply choose to not support or participate in UpWorks. The project has already been funded by those who like what they see, and ultimately, that is what makes a successful Kickstarter : seeing a product you like and getting behind it. We wish the best of luck to Jeff Martin in his new venture, and the same to Stefan Pokorny as Dwarven Forge continues to fulfill pledges.
WEIGH IN – We want to know what you think. Are you a Dwarven Forge backer? Maybe you’ve not yet received your product, or you’re excited to own both lines? Still skeptical about the whole situation? Please share your thoughts, we’d love to hear them.