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Game on Kickstarter Canceled After Publisher Spends All Funds
Filed under: KICKSTARTER

One theme we're hearing way too often from Kickstarter projects is one of fraud. This week, backers exploded (and rightly so) as a funded project was canceled after the fundraiser spent all of the money on NOT publishing the game.

The Forking Path company requested $35,000 to publish "The Doom That Came to Atlantic City," a board game that was virtually complete, just not published. The company raised over $122,000 on June 6, 2012, greatly surpassing their original goal. Now that it's been over a year, the board game still hasn't been published, and the owner of The Forking Path, Erik Chevalier, claims that all of the money has been spent, so there will be no game.

From his last update, Chevalier seems to have spent all of the money on starting up his company and moving said company to Portland, Oregon. No one else has seen any money, including any artists he claimed to have talked to and, sadly, the game's creators. However, even though all of the money is gone, Chevalier did try to give all of the backers some hope that he will refund everyone...eventually.

Chevalier has been reported to the Oregon Department of Justice for fraud, and as one can imagine, he has also been threatened with a series of lawsuits from backers. He of course urged everyone to not sue him, as this means all of the money he is saving to reimburse backers will go to legal fees. Somehow, at this point, I don't think the backers care about getting their money back. From the comments, many just want to make sure Chevalier isn't able to do this to another Kickstarter project or other game designers again.

One of the game creators, Keith Baker, has retrieved a list of the backers from Chevalier and will be sending each backer a copy of the game they can print themselves. It's not what the backers originally supported, but it's incredibly nice of Keith to be willing to give away any version of his game for free.

Who knows if Chevalier's claims of where the money went are true, and who knows if he really was honorable in all of his dealings regarding this board game. Maybe he really did have the best of intentions and he failed miserably. Maybe he really was out to scam everyone. Either way, I can't help but wonder if some of these independent game publishers get in over their heads with these projects due to lack of experience, knowledge, and know-how. It's also valuable lesson for future backers to accept the possibility that they may be throwing their money to the wind, and therefore donate what they're willing to lose when funding projects headed up by individuals or new companies.

I have never donated to a Kickstarter project, and this is one reason why I haven't. I know several people who have backed projects successfully with no problems, but there just hasn't been anything out there for me that's worth possibly losing money.



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10 post(s)
Reader Comments
Bubu Jul 26 2013, 10:02 am EDT
Fuck you Pwny! Obsidian, inxile, doublefine arent't trustworthy?
  film11: Given how Schafer has recently turned around, after r…
Vycka: 3.3$M isn't *that* much for a medium-to-big project.
Rafal: It's a LOT more than they asked for.
Dean_Demon Jul 26 2013, 10:19 am EDT
I've been waiting for something like this to happen for a kickstarter project for quite sometime and let's face it who thought that it would never happen? People should be very selective about who they want to invest in.
Vycka Jul 26 2013, 01:31 pm EDT
What everyone investing in a Kickstarter project needs to realize is that they're doing precisely that -- investing. Investments are almost never guaranteed to pan out. People have the right to be pissed off, of course, but to automatically assume malicious intent and threaten lawsuits might not be the best of ideas.
  Rafal: Of course it's malicious intent - the guy spent none …
antonphd Jul 26 2013, 03:30 pm EDT
This is why I don't donate to Kickstarter campaigns. Except, I did pledge $100 to Spike Lee for his kickstarter campaign. But he's a pretty sure bet.
armon Jul 26 2013, 04:06 pm EDT
Just wanted to say that Shadowrun returns is really cool. If it wasnt for kickstarter this game wouldnt of happen. So at least something cool as come from it and i wish that i had the money to give to them to keep maken more or addon to the game.
Rafal Jul 26 2013, 04:24 pm EDT
So far on Kickstarter I donated to Dreamfall Chapters, the lady who made Gabriel Knight, and Wasteland 2.
It's still a risk, but these are experienced people that have repeatedly delivered games I like.

I would never give money to a random internet person promising something I'd want.


EDIT: Also, I pirated their games when I was a kid, so I owed them anyway, hahaha.
Cheddar Jul 26 2013, 09:58 pm EDT
A charitable donation is a charitable donation, folks.

If a guaranteed return for your money is a requirement for you to donate, then *don't*.
touretul Jul 27 2013, 01:13 am EDT
what a CUNT!
ashmasters Jul 27 2013, 05:56 am EDT
serves em right for a fuckin board game. me sportin American mcgee
daver18qc Jul 28 2013, 08:46 am EDT
The only Kickstarter project i'd give money to is "War for the Overworld", the ramake of Dungeon Keeper 2 !
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