A Kickstarter project raised $120,000 to develop a board game, but the creator used all the money, cancelled the project and left the backers in the dust.
Turns out you can get royally screwed by crowdfunding the wrong project. It’s something we’re all aware of, but we rarely see it happen. Eric Chevalier wanted to make a nerdy board game themed after H.P. Lovecraft’s works of horror. The game, which has the tag-line “A light hearted Lovecraftian game of urban destruction, for two to four players.” centered around being one of the “Great Old Ones”, beings of incredible power, of which the most famous is probably Cthulhu.
“Awesome. Let’s throw money at it.” That’s what a lot of board-gaming geeks thought when they began flooding Chevalier’s project with funding, surpassing the $35,000 goal and eventually reaching $122,874. That’s a big budget for a board game and perhaps it could all have been put to use to launch and distribute a really cool project. However, Chevalier hasn’t been very good with managing his funds. To put it bluntly: It’s gone, and backers probably won’t be getting a refund any time soon. He recently posted an update on the project saying as much:
The short version: The project is over, the game is canceled.
After much deliberation I’ve had to make this decision. I’ve informed Keith and Lee and neither at all happy with this situation. Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications. No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person.
From the beginning the intention was to launch a new board game company with the Kickstarted funds, with The Doom that Came to Atlantic City as only our first of hopefully many projects. Everyone involved agreed on this. Since then rifts have formed and every error compounded the growing frustration, causing only more issues. After paying to form the company, for the miniature statues, moving back to Portland, getting software licenses and hiring artists to do things like rule book design and art conforming the money was approaching a point of no return. We had to print at that point or never. Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards for a variety of reasons.
In case that was too long to read, let me pull out a few highlights: First, the funds are gone and while he lists a few reasons, he hasn’t itemized them so there’s no real way of knowing or checking. Secondly, one of the expenses he lists is “moving back to Portland”, which has raised the eyebrows of quite a few backers. Frankly, its difficult to understand why project funds should be used to help Chevalier move.
Cthulhu would be most displeased at this turn of events.
On the topic of refunds, Chevalier says this:
Unfortunately I can’t give any type of schedule for the repayment as I left my job to do this project and must find work again. I’ll create a separate bank account to place anything beyond my basic costs of living.
This probably means he’s not going to be paying anything back at all, if he can get away with it. Kickstarter is already considering a lawsuit.