An Announcement From Guardians Of Order

My gods, I have no idea where to begin.

Yes ... effective more-or-less immediately, Guardians Of Order has ceased operations.

First, an apology. I am terribly sorry that George Martin broke the news about our situation. That is certainly not how I wanted the information to be released, and I had thought that my frank conversation with him about A Game of Thrones-specific issues was in confidence. This is the second time now that someone other than me releases very important news about Guardians Of Order, which leaves me frantically trying to patch the holes. The polite and proper thing for me -- as President of the company -- to do would be to contact all of our creditors (which includes some great freelancers and industry associates) FIRST and explain the situation to them. I was working on that process when my efforts were derailed by one simple website post. So I am very sorry that someone else took it upon himself to release this information. It's not how I was proceeding to handle things.

But yes, the end result is the same. GoO is no longer.

This was a very sad decision that I had to make, but it wasn't really a difficult one when I took a long, hard look at the facts. The company simply accumulated too much debt, with little hope of paying it off within the next decade, and my recent plans to get the company back in shape didn't materialise. When I kept my emotions in check and simply analysed the facts of the company's financial forecast, the only course of action was very clear. There were a combination of factors that contributed to the ultimate inability of the company to maintain fiscal health (which I have outlined several times in other posts over the years) -- the extreme softening of the RPG sales market, the drastic shift in USD/CDN exchange rates, etc -- but external circumstances are not entirely to blame. Simply put, I did not have the business acumen to run the company profitably when the going got tough. I'm going to steal a John Nephew analogy for a brief explanation.

I've been driving down the gaming industry highway in my GoOmobile since 1997, with a coffee in the cup holder and a muffin on the passenger's seat. For many years of driving, the highway was a straight path with very little traffic on it. Consequently, if I swerved a little as I ate my breakfast while driving, it wasn't a big deal ... the situations on the road were very forgiving and it was easy to keep on driving. Unfortunately, when the road started getting very crowded around 2003 and started making many twists and turns, I didn't have the foresight to put down the coffee and muffin, place both hands firmly on the wheel, and pay very close attention to the road. I just kept on driving like before, assuming everything was the same. Ultimately, the GoOmobile swerved into the path of an incredibly powerful semi-truck called "Exchange Rate Fluxuation," causing a terrible wreck and writing off the vehicle.

I'm not making light of the situation, but I thought that John's analogy was a perfect fit. Running the company when things were peachy was easy, but I faltered when the going got tough. For my lack of knowledge and experience, I sincerely apologise to our many thousands of consumers and fans, our creditors and freelancers, and to my many friends who put their faith in my dream. I failed, and I'm sorry I couldn't do better.

So where does that leave things now? I don't have all the answers yet -- I was trying to line them up before making this announcement -- but here's what I can say at this time:

* BESM Third Edition is finished and ready for press. Another company will be publishing it and providing future support. It's the most elegant version of BESM and the Tri-Stat System that I have put together and am very proud of it. If you pre-ordered the book from us, more information will follow.

* Advanced d20 Magic is back from press and will be hitting stores in August. Customers who pre-ordered directly from us will be receiving their orders.

* We are still attempting to place the A Game of Thrones RPG with another company. Of course, this requires GRRM's approval and we are still working out details. AGOT is a fantastic game, and we will do our best to see it continued.

* All outstanding orders will be fulfilled. If we are unable to ship you the order for some reason, you will have the option of having a refund sent to you. We are no longer taking any orders directly from our web store.

* Our products will remain for sale as both print books and PDFs as long as the stores will carry them. We are arranging for our products to be transferred to another company. I have no information regarding their future publication.

* Our Tri-Stat/brand licenses remain in effect for as long as indicated in the contracts, and licensees may still publish products under the terms of such licenses. Obviously, the Magnum Opus imprint will cease to operate.

* Our creditors (which includes freelancers and friendly investors) will be contacted directly in the coming weeks. There is still much to do on this end, and I ask for your patience while we get things in order and communicate with you.

Some people have inquired about my personal future, so I'll be brief. I am leaving the gaming industry. I need to concentrate on recovering financially from the collapse of the company and on rebuilding the strength of my family, which unfortunately suffered over the past couple of years. I am now working as a real estate sales representative in Guelph, and find the work a refreshing change of pace. My health is great, my family is very understanding, and I look forward to what the future will hold.

There are so many people to whom I am grateful for all their help, advice, and support over our 9-year run. Please forgive me if I forget anyone:

* my wonderful wife, Karen, for ... well ... everything
* my parents for always giving me their best wishes and telling me how proud they are of my accomplishments
* Adam Jury, who stuck with the company and with me until the end
* Jesse Scoble, for sharing so very many awesome experiences under the guise of "work"
* Jeff Mackintosh, for accepting that job offer initiated in the Columbus bar
* David Pulver, for putting BESM 2e on the map
* Ryan Dancey, for always being just a phone call away; sweet, dude
* John Zinser, for showing and mentoring me in the Hard Way
* Cindy Rice, for befriending this little guy in New York many years ago
* John and Michelle Nephew, for keen insight, support, and friendship
* Alex Fennel, for working with this fellow foreigner for several years
* Joe Saul, for always shooting straight and giving me the US perspective
* Erick Wujcik, for giving me the opportunity to carry the torch, even if I couldn't follow through
* Derek, who offered to help an old friend in need
* Andy, Todd, Jules, Lindsey, Ken, John, and Lowell for lending a helping hand
* Steve, for helping make deals happen
* The Hero Games crew, for making advertising a lot of fun
* Marcelo Figueroa, for his eternal offers of assistance
and of course
* our customers, fans, and supporters -- without whom running Guardians Of Order would have been impossible. You have my sincerest gratitude.

Hello and goodbye, as always.

Mark C. MacKinnon
President, Guardians Of Order, Inc.
Guelph, Ontario
July 31st, 2006
 

wilder

Registered User
Validated User
an email from Mark concerning GOO

i think everyone on the yahoo GOO list receive this

Mark C. MacKinnon said:
My gods, I have no idea where to begin.

Yes ... effective more-or-less immediately, Guardians Of Order has
ceased operations.

First, an apology. I am terribly sorry that George Martin broke the
news about our situation. That is certainly not how I wanted the
information to be released, and I had thought that my frank
conversation with him about A Game of Thrones-specific issues was in
confidence. This is the second time now that someone other than me
releases very important news about Guardians Of Order, which leaves
me frantically trying to patch the holes. The polite and proper thing
for me -- as President of the company -- to do would be to contact
all of our creditors (which includes some great freelancers and
industry associates) FIRST and explain the situation to them. I was
working on that process when my efforts were derailed by one simple
website post. So I am very sorry that someone else took it upon
himself to release this information. It's not how I was proceeding to
handle things.

But yes, the end result is the same. GoO is no longer.

This was a very sad decision that I had to make, but it wasn't really
a difficult one when I took a long, hard look at the facts. The
company simply accumulated too much debt, with little hope of paying
it off within the next decade, and my recent plans to get the company
back in shape didn't materialise. When I kept my emotions in check
and simply analysed the facts of the company's financial forecast,
the only course of action was very clear. There were a combination of
factors that contributed to the ultimate inability of the company to
maintain fiscal health (which I have outlined several times in other
posts over the years) -- the extreme softening of the RPG sales
market, the drastic shift in USD/CDN exchange rates, etc -- but
external circumstances are not entirely to blame. Simply put, I did
not have the business acumen to run the company profitably when the
going got tough. I'm going to steal a John Nephew analogy for a brief
explanation.

I've been driving down the gaming industry highway in my GoOmobile
since 1997, with a coffee in the cup holder and a muffin on the
passenger's seat. For many years of driving, the highway was a
straight path with very little traffic on it. Consequently, if I
swerved a little as I ate my breakfast while driving, it wasn't a big
deal ... the situations on the road were very forgiving and it was
easy to keep on driving. Unfortunately, when the road started getting
very crowded around 2003 and started making many twists and turns, I
didn't have the foresight to put down the coffee and muffin, place
both hands firmly on the wheel, and pay very close attention to the
road. I just kept on driving like before, assuming everything was the
same. Ultimately, the GoOmobile swerved into the path of an
incredibly powerful semi-truck called "Exchange Rate Fluxuation,"
causing a terrible wreck and writing off the vehicle.

I'm not making light of the situation, but I thought that John's
analogy was a perfect fit. Running the company when things were
peachy was easy, but I faltered when the going got tough. For my lack
of knowledge and experience, I sincerely apologise to our many
thousands of consumers and fans, our creditors and freelancers, and
to my many friends who put their faith in my dream. I failed, and I'm
sorry I couldn't do better.

So where does that leave things now? I don't have all the answers yet
-- I was trying to line them up before making this announcement --
but here's what I can say at this time:

* BESM Third Edition is finished and ready for press. Another company
will be publishing it and providing future support. It's the most
elegant version of BESM and the Tri-Stat System that I have put
together and am very proud of it. If you pre-ordered the book from
us, more information will follow.

* Advanced d20 Magic is back from press and will be hitting stores in
August. Customers who pre-ordered directly from us will be receiving
their orders.

* We are still attempting to place the A Game of Thrones RPG with
another company. Of course, this requires GRRM's approval and we are
still working out details. AGOT is a fantastic game, and we will do
our best to see it continued.

* All outstanding orders will be fulfilled. If we are unable to ship
you the order for some reason, you will have the option of having a
refund sent to you. We are no longer taking any orders directly from
our web store.

* Our products will remain for sale as both print books and PDFs as
long as the stores will carry them. We are arranging for our products
to be transferred to another company. I have no information regarding
their future publication.

* Our Tri-Stat/brand licenses remain in effect for as long as
indicated in the contracts, and licensees may still publish products
under the terms of such licenses. Obviously, the Magnum Opus imprint
will cease to operate.

* Our creditors (which includes freelancers and friendly investors)
will be contacted directly in the coming weeks. There is still much
to do on this end, and I ask for your patience while we get things in
order and communicate with you.

Some people have inquired about my personal future, so I'll be brief.
I am leaving the gaming industry. I need to concentrate on recovering
financially from the collapse of the company and on rebuilding the
strength of my family, which unfortunately suffered over the past
couple of years. I am now working as a real estate sales
representative in Guelph, and find the work a refreshing change of
pace. My health is great, my family is very understanding, and I look
forward to what the future will hold.

There are so many people to whom I am grateful for all their help,
advice, and support over our 9-year run. Please forgive me if I
forget anyone:

* my wonderful wife, Karen, for ... well ... everything
* my parents for always giving me their best wishes and telling me
how proud they are of my accomplishments
* Adam Jury, who stuck with the company and with me until the end
* Jesse Scoble, for sharing so very many awesome experiences under
the guise of "work"
* Jeff Mackintosh, for accepting that job offer initiated in the
Columbus bar
* David Pulver, for putting BESM 2e on the map
* Ryan Dancey, for always being just a phone call away; sweet, dude
* John Zinser, for showing and mentoring me in the Hard Way
* Cindy Rice, for befriending this little guy in New York many years ago
* John and Michelle Nephew, for keen insight, support, and friendship
* Alex Fennel, for working with this fellow foreigner for several years
* Joe Saul, for always shooting straight and giving me the US
perspective
* Erick Wujcik, for giving me the opportunity to carry the torch,
even if I couldn't follow through
* Derek, who offered to help an old friend in need
* Andy, Todd, Jules, Lindsey, Ken, John, and Lowell for lending a
helping hand
* Steve, for helping make deals happen
* The Hero Games crew, for making advertising a lot of fun
* Marcelo Figueroa, for his eternal offers of assistance
and of course
* our customers, fans, and supporters -- without whom running
Guardians Of Order would have been impossible. You have my sincerest
gratitude.

Hello and goodbye, as always.

Mark C. MacKinnon
President, Guardians Of Order, Inc.
Guelph, Ontario
July 31st, 2006
 

The Grey Elf

is the Master!
Validated User
I can't say that I was a regular customer, but I did think Tri-Stat was an excellent system, and it's always very sad to see such a noteworthy and recognizable face leave the industry for good.

Kudos, Mark, and best of luck in the future. Hopefully we'll see you post around these parts once in awhile, and hopefully you're not leaving the hobby behind with the industry.
 

Ahnirades

Dragon in the Ampersand
Validated User
Well done for being open and frank about it. It must have been horrible watching the rumor mill go into overdrive whilst trying to resolve your difficulties ethically. I'm sorry to hear things worked out the way they did.
 

wilder

Registered User
Validated User
Re: an email from Mark concerning GOO

darn .... err how do you delete a thread?
 

cappadocius

New member
Banned
Re: an email from Mark concerning GOO

wilder said:
darn .... err how do you delete a thread?
At this point, the easiest way is to start a massive flame war filled with personal attacks and a number of suggestions of illegal activity.
 

Harrowed

Nyarlathotep's Bitch
Validated User
Re: an email from Mark concerning GOO

What he said ... just call everyone an assclown and demand to know where you can get warez.

Kidding ... post the request with the thread URL in Trouble Tickets.
 
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