"The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, a board game that raised nearly four times its funding goal on Kickstarter last year, has been canceled as the founder admits that the whole thing was "beyond his abilities."
It's the worst possible outcome for a Kickstarter: People love the idea, supporters throw truckloads of money at it and then a year down the road, it all falls apart amidst accusations of wrongdoing. That's exactly what happened to The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, a Kickstarter project that went live last May with a goal of $35,000 that ultimately raised over $122,000, but that has now plunged into oblivion."
You can read the full story at the link, but it's pretty clear that the blame for this disaster rests on Erik Chevalier. He outright lied to the project's supporters that they were kicking in to fund production of the game when, in fact, he was using the money for...well, no one is exactly sure. He's admitted using the cash to pay for his relocation to Portland, but beyond that the details of where the funds went are a mystery. One place they didn't go is to the game's creators. They licensed production of "Doom" to Chevalier's company and haven't seen one thin dime from the fund drive.
The boardgame wasn't something I was interested in, but I have to admit to having a major jones for the game pieces sculpted by Paul Komoda. He's an incredibly gifted artist and his interpretations are some of the best I've ever seen. Sadly, the master sculpts are in Chevalier's hands and he's apparently ignoring attempts to return them.
Which brings me around to answering a question I've been getting a lot lately.
What's up with the "At the Mountains of Madness" prop Kickstarter?
Put simply, it's on hold until I can be absolutely sure it will go off without a hitch.
If you were part of the Miskatonic University or Arkham Sanitarium Kickstarters you know that I take even small projects seriously. In those efforts there wasn't a lot of money on the line, but the fact remains that there was money involved. People expect something in return for their cash, and rightfully so.
As a prop collector I've learned that the failure rate for short run projects is unbelievably high. Time and again I would front money for an item only to hear a litany of excuses about why I didn't have the goods or a refund. An illness. A death in the family. A divorce. A family crisis. After a while it became obvious that the propmaking community either had the worst luck of any demographic in existence, or was infested by scam artists. In the end it didn't really matter what the reason was. I was out money and didn't have anything to show for it.
When I did my previous Kickstarter projects I vowed I would do everything in my power to not be one of those guys. I took care to budget the print runs accurately and account for the additional cost of shipping. I made sure to include everything I needed to get the packages out the door, from mailers and shipping labels to plastic baggies. When I totaled everything up I added an additional ten percent to cover any unforeseen problems. I tried to plan for everything.
And, after all that, I still took a bath on both projects.
My printer died in the middle of running off mailing labels. Ka-ching! My mailers were undersized and had to be replaced. Ka-ching! My estimate of overseas shipping costs was wildly off target. A very, very big Ka-ching. By the time all those little glitches were totaled up what were supposed to be break-even projects turned into money pits.
I haven't mentioned any of this before because it frankly didn't matter. I had an obligation to provide what I'd promised, and those complications were my problems, not the donors. Given the relatively small size of the projects I could absorb the financial hit without too much pain.
The "At the Mountains of Madness" effort is a bit different. Even with most of the design work already done it's going to require a significant investment for printing and manufacturing, not to mention the absurdly high shipping costs for a larger package of stuff. If there's a glitch anywhere in there it's likely to cost significantly more to fix than the previous projects.
That financial risk is dwarfed by a much bigger potential problem- my sketchy back. Things are looking good on that front. Under the guidance of my cruel taskmasters I've lost 45 of the 100 pounds I have to drop (Yay for me! Squats rule!), but that extra weight is still putting too much stress on an already dodgy musculature. I just can't chance taking anything major on until the odds off my back going out are minimized. Believe me, there are few things more likely to distract you from fulfilling a Kickstarter than invisible goblins plunging red hot daggers into your lower back.