Board Game Kickstarter Canceled Amidst Claims of Malfeasance

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drummond13:
I'm a little confused; where did the money actually go? If the designer and the artist got absolutely none of it, and no actual product for the game (or for kickstarter backer bonuses) were ever produced, then what precisely was the money spent on?

He says he left his job to do this project, so presumably he's been using the Kickstarter money to pay his rent, buy food, etc.

In addition - if he was trying to get his business set up - he may have been racking up legal fees and other costs. Lawyers can really take you to the cleaners if you don't know what you're doing and have to keep sending forms back and forth! He could also have paid tooling costs (which can be very pricey indeed) to the company who was going to create the pewter figures (and/or any game pieces).

Grabehn:
I have one little problem with what the "he said" part, first it says "it was beyond my capabilities, maybe someone more experienced would've worked better", but then it says "we were not involved in the decision to close the project nor saw any money". So... He was in charge but he wasn't? I don't really get it.

Andy Chalk:
The guy who said the project was beyond his capabilities was Erik Chevalier, the founder of The Forking Path. The guy who said he wasn't involved with the decision and never saw any money was Keith Baker, the designer of the game. There's still some sorting out to be done but with Baker's post, it sounds like Chevalier founded the company with the intent to publish Baker's game, and then left him hanging along with everyone else.

Thought I'd quote you both in case Grabehn didn't see the response. ;)

OT: Wow. I just had a look at the Kickstarter page. Three people paid $1,000 and one person paid $2,500. I sincerly hope they're wealthy enough for that not to hurt too much.

Andy Chalk:
[snip]

It's a sad situation for all involved, and it once again drives home the point that Kickstarter is a roll of the dice. Money spent backing them should be treated like money lost, and if you can't afford to lose that money, then you should probably find something better to do with it.

Source: Kickstarter

Permalink

Seriously. What is is it with media sites and negativity about Kickstarter? Why does everyone focus on the negatives and acts as though nothing but trouble comes out of it? There's successful projects out there, people who have delivered on their promises (yes, in gaming, too) and they don't even get a mention.

Shadowrun Returns is launching right now. They even state in their video that the game is Kickstarter funded...and yet whenever anyone writes about it, it is, at best a footnote. Noone talks about how this is an example of KS delivering. Same goes for FTL. Same goes for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Think of the end result what you will, but those projects delivered on their promises and yet all I can read in the big news outlets is Double Fine here, failed project there, delays somewhere else.

And then you get a statement like the one above. Roll of the dice? There are PROVEN projects out there. It's called building trust. But all this (and other) news site seems to do is try to make KS seem as "dangerous" as possible.

P.S.: Yes, I was personally involved in a KS project. Yes, we succeeded. Yes, we delivered. So this kind of negative press is really irking me to no end.

NKRevan:
Seriously. What is is it with media sites and negativity about Kickstarter? Why does everyone focus on the negatives and acts as though nothing but trouble comes out of it? There's successful projects out there, people who have delivered on their promises (yes, in gaming, too) and they don't even get a mention.

Well said. I think Kickstarter is an excellent and revolutionary way to get new products off the ground. It is immediate start-up capital and marketing feedback for your potential product. There will be incompetence and failure and pissed-of backers. Always. But, the advantages grossly outweigh the negatives.

I will own many cool things that--when people ask me where they came from--I will respond,"Oh this. You can't get it. It was a Kickstarter." Elitest Hipster Douchebaggery!

I thought if something like this happened you got your money back, guess not.

FizzyIzze:

This reminds me of an educational special I saw on public TV. It was about entrepreneurs and the one bit of universal advice they had was "If you're going into business for yourself, make sure it's something you love so much that you'd do it for free." I ran that by my friend, who was enrolled in an MBA program at the time, and he responded with some insight of his own. "Yeah, that's because for the first two years you don't make any money," he quipped.

I watched an interview with one of the Dragons from the Canadian version of Dragon's Den. He said that if one of the entrepreneurs presents them with a business plan that includes salary for the company owners, it is rejected out of hand. The entrepreneur is required to have enough money saved up to live on while their business gets off the ground and the Dragons will not invest just so he/she can use their money on private expenses. This also means that you are way more likely to get a Dragon to invest if you already have a business up an running.

NKRevan:
Shadowrun Returns is launching right now. They even state in their video that the game is Kickstarter funded...and yet whenever anyone writes about it, it is, at best a footnote. Noone talks about how this is an example of KS delivering. Same goes for FTL. Same goes for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Think of the end result what you will, but those projects delivered on their promises and yet all I can read in the big news outlets is Double Fine here, failed project there, delays somewhere else.

And then you get a statement like the one above. Roll of the dice? There are PROVEN projects out there. It's called building trust. But all this (and other) news site seems to do is try to make KS seem as "dangerous" as possible.

Are you serious? We cover all kinds of Kickstarters here. We covered Shadowrun Returns, we covered Torment: Tides of Numenera, we covered Wasteland 2, we covered Project Eternity, we covered Elite Dangerous, Laika Believes, Star Citizen, Void Destroyer, Satellite Reign, Grim Dawn, Armikrog, The Kingsport Cases, Among the Sleep, A Small Favor, Road Redemption... the list goes on and on. Hell, we covered the Kickstarter for Detroit's Robocop statue.

If we were down on Kickstarters, I really don't think we'd be pointing so many of them out to our readers. But we also have a responsibility to remind people that they're not carved in stone: that things happens, projects fail and your money may just disappear in a swirl. I don't consider that focusing on the negative, I consider it basic responsibility. And this (no disrespect intended):

hutchy27:
I thought if something like this happened you got your money back, guess not.

indicates that there are still a lot of people out there who don't appreciate the risks involved, which in my eyes just emphasizes the need to leaven the "hey, this Kickstarter looks really cool" with "hey, this Kickstarter could swallow your money and disappear."

MetalMagpie:

Grabehn:
snip

Andy Chalk:
snip

Thought I'd quote you both in case Grabehn didn't see the response. ;)

OT: Wow. I just had a look at the Kickstarter page. Three people paid $1,000 and one person paid $2,500. I sincerly hope they're wealthy enough for that not to hurt too much.

Thank you both, got really lost while reading this piece for some reason.

Andy Chalk:

NKRevan:
Shadowrun Returns is launching right now. They even state in their video that the game is Kickstarter funded...and yet whenever anyone writes about it, it is, at best a footnote. Noone talks about how this is an example of KS delivering. Same goes for FTL. Same goes for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Think of the end result what you will, but those projects delivered on their promises and yet all I can read in the big news outlets is Double Fine here, failed project there, delays somewhere else.

And then you get a statement like the one above. Roll of the dice? There are PROVEN projects out there. It's called building trust. But all this (and other) news site seems to do is try to make KS seem as "dangerous" as possible.

Are you serious? We cover all kinds of Kickstarters here. We covered Shadowrun Returns, we covered Torment: Tides of Numenera, we covered Wasteland 2, we covered Project Eternity, we covered Elite Dangerous, Laika Believes, Star Citizen, Void Destroyer, Satellite Reign, Grim Dawn, Armikrog, The Kingsport Cases, Among the Sleep, A Small Favor, Road Redemption... the list goes on and on. Hell, we covered the Kickstarter for Detroit's Robocop statue.

If we were down on Kickstarters, I really don't think we'd be pointing so many of them out to our readers. But we also have a responsibility to remind people that they're not carved in stone: that things happens, projects fail and your money may just disappear in a swirl. I don't consider that focusing on the negative, I consider it basic responsibility. And this (no disrespect intended):

hutchy27:
I thought if something like this happened you got your money back, guess not.

indicates that there are still a lot of people out there who don't appreciate the risks involved, which in my eyes just emphasizes the need to leaven the "hey, this Kickstarter looks really cool" with "hey, this Kickstarter could swallow your money and disappear."

I didn't say you don't cover Kickstarter, I said you have an emphasis on the negative, and I remain with that point. It's not the coverage itself I take issue with, it's the wording. You are good writers and you know exactly how to phrase things in order to make them appear favorable or unfavorable.

The thing I took most issue with is your last statement in that article. You didn't say something bad "could" happen. You basically said it's sheer luck and people should go into KS with the mentality of throwing money away, rather than spending it on something they think deserves it. And in the majority of coverage all over the world, this sentiment is mirrored (not singling you guys out, just writing here).

The fact that a lot of people also write that nothing good has ever come out of KS (just browse some comments on KS related games/threads) seems to indicate to me that BOTH points need reinforcement. Not just the negative as you suggested.

hutchy27:
I thought if something like this happened you got your money back, guess not.

Kickstarter says in its guidelines for project creators that they should provide refunds if the project isn't going to happen after all. But Kickstarter itself won't refund your money, so if the project creator doesn't have any money left (or disappears without a trace) then you're out of luck.

It's worth remembering that Kickstarter takes 10% of the money raised as its fee and does not return this money if the project fails. So even if a project creator spent none of the Kickstarter money they received, they would still end up having to use some of their own money to provide full refunds for everyone.

Kickstarter has pointed out on a number of occasions that the vast majority of projects on its site are successful. (Otherwise people wouldn't keep using it!) And it least one failed project has promised to provide refunds as per the guidelines.

NKRevan:
The thing I took most issue with is your last statement in that article. You didn't say something bad "could" happen. You basically said it's sheer luck and people should go into KS with the mentality of throwing money away, rather than spending it on something they think deserves it. And in the majority of coverage all over the world, this sentiment is mirrored (not singling you guys out, just writing here).

The trouble that we're faced with (and I suppose this is true of every site) is that if we're going to implicitly endorse something, then I think we have to explicitly make note of the risks at the same time. I'd feel terrible if someone came back on me a year down the road and said, "Hey, you told me think Kickstarter was really cool so I put a pile of money into it, but now the guy disappeared and I'm SOL," and I think it'd reflect poorly on us as a site if we didn't throw out an occasional "buyer beware" when we talk about them.

That said, I love Kickstarter. I've backed four projects and will almost certainly back more. I think it's a great system that's opened up a lot of doors for indie developers. So, you know, for everyone reading this - Kickstarter's great! Just exercise a little discretion and all will (hopefully) be well. :)

Personally, I've never been convinced of the kickstarter model. Any organization capable of raising significant funds ought to have access to them through more traditional avenues. Those that can't raise such funds are unproven. They sell nothing but smoke and snake oil often with nothing tangible to point that would convince me a donation would ever see the product made. The reality is that the entire model is just gambling of a different sort. The more legitimate form of the same - proper investment, at least offers a more significant cut in the end that simply seeing a product made with, in some cases, an example delivered to my door.

To put it simply, the model asks me to assume fiscal risk in exchange for a potential product that I might enjoy. The traditional model on the other hand does not require any risk on my part; access to information regarding the quality of any such product is absolute and complete.

NKRevan:

And then you get a statement like the one above. Roll of the dice? There are PROVEN projects out there. It's called building trust. But all this (and other) news site seems to do is try to make KS seem as "dangerous" as possible.

This strikes me as remarkably naive. In the simplest sense, just because one project lead by one team can do a project does not mean a different project with a different team can pull off another. More than that, just because a particular team has proven they can pull off a project once doesn't mean they can do it again. Major development studios collapse all the time and they're stuffed with professionals who have proven they have what it takes to deliver a title. A thousand things can foil a complex project - only some of those are reasonably within any person's ability to control. Markets could shift, technical hurdles can drain a budget, audience tastes could change.

To put it another way, when a company like Blizzard, which effectively has limitless resources, has put a major title on eternal hiatus, it should be clear that any team on any project can run into a problem they can't overcome.

1337mokro:
A freeloading asshole that saw money and dipped his greasy fingers DEEP into the money jar and took whatever stuck to it and spent it on blowjobs, booze and bling. He basically stiffed the two guys that made the game for him and ran with their work all the while promising he'd pay them next week.

Of course I am interpreting this the worst way possible but I can't really see it going any other way when basically 2/3rd's of the supposed team working on this come out and say "We didn't know shit about the way he pissed the money away."

I think we can safely call this the first official Kickstarter bomb.

There have been others, some even featured here, and some of these others have graciously "attempted" to refund money. I think kickstarter is a paradise of schemes, I think anyone funding a project on that site is entitled to nothing, I think this will not dissuade anyone from ever funding another kickstarter, not out of some sense of being big enough to not allow one bad apple to spoil the bunch, but because people that are willing to piss cash away in an environment like this and call it "investing" will never understand the value of their own money, or the virtue of insight.

Before that site became what it is I used to think people were by and large wiser spenders but I know better now; never go to the circus expecting wisdom from clowns. Better to just view the hijinks and be amused if hijinks are there for viewing.

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