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Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Doom that REALLY came to Atlantic City

Note: Author did not back this
Slowly it seems like that cracks are appearing in the basic premise of Kickstarting stuff and expecting to receive it. People are of course familiar with Double Fine's recent debacle where their KSed project; Broken Age, asked for 400k and got 3.3 million and ended up not having enough money to finish the product. Less familiar is the tale of the Doom that came to Atlantic City that just announced it would be cancelled a year after it had been successfully funded.

Like Broken Age, The Doom got much more than it initially asked for; with an initial goal of 35,000 and hitting 120,000+ in the end. Seems like it should have been a successful kickstarter right? Apparently not.

Things started going wrong when it missed the initial shipment date of Nov 2012 (So Relic Knight backers, don't fret. We're hardly the MOST delayed project). The project creator started posting monthly updates that were mostly assuring backers that there were setbacks but things were moving along. Apparently before this recent update, nobody even knew there was anything wrong with the project. Not even the game designer and artist. 

So what happened here? 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. As the creator puts it, he spent the money in a lot of ways that ultimately resulted in no product. Needless to say, he phrased it in a much nicer way. 

Ultimately, a lot of people are unhappy about this turn of events. Mostly because nobody pledged so he could start a company with the funds and THEN produce the boardgame. The funds were solely for the purpose of creating the boardgame and then if they had any profits, to start a company. Also, people questioned why he needed to move to Portland to produce this boardgame, or what software licenses he needed to produce a board game or how much it would have cost someone to make a simple rulebook. Also, backers were apparently told that the game was at the printers and now they're told that there's basically nothing. So th real question is "Where did that money go during that one year he had the cash?"

Ultimately, no one really knows except the creator himself but he hasn't come forth on that issue. Supposedly, he'll write a full explanation of what happened but don't hold your breath on it. Supposedly, he'll also refund people who want it but again, don't hold your breath. 

Sadly, this isn't the first time that KS creators have ended up failing the people who believed in them and it probably won't be the last. Part of the issue is the fact that KS itself does not police its own projects very well, preferring to let the community do the policing. But what happens if the community isn't that savvy? Sometimes it works out; as in the case of Kobe Red but again, it was really the community who managed to sniff out something was fishy with the KS and point it out to KS who managed to cancel the project a mere 2 hours before it finished and stop the scammers from receiving a full 120k in funding. Other times, it lets scammy millionaire mothers get away with 20k to 'support' their childrens education. 

So in the end, what does this really mean? Apparently KS is the wild west of the internet and pretty much the hipster version of craigslist where it's pretty much buyer beware. Because no one is going to help you at all. Especially if you're not a US backer. Sure, sometimes it feels good to buy into someone's dreams but when it all comes crashing down, it can hurt so much.