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A light hearted Lovecraftian game of urban destruction, for two to four players. By Lee Moyer, Keith Baker and Paul Komoda.
A light hearted Lovecraftian game of urban destruction, for two to four players. By Lee Moyer, Keith Baker and Paul Komoda.
1,246 backers pledged $122,874 to help bring this project to life.

Terminus

This is not an easy update to write. 

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.

I'm going to write a full post-mortem to explain every issue in greater detail but suffice to say that I never gave up and always intended to get this project printed. My intentions have always been good and I've struggled with this greatly. I've spent a large amount of time pitching investors, begging banks for loans and seeking other sources of funding to fix this. Sadly I found no takers.

As stated above Lee and Keith were not directly involved in this decision. I informed them earlier this month about the situation. Keith went out of his way to speak with his contacts at other companies to see if any could help salvage the game. We spent quite a bit of time working on possible deals and arrangements but in the end they just weren't interested in taking the risk. Keith has only ever done amazing work in getting this made and can't be blamed in any way for its downfall.

My hope now is to eventually refund everyone fully. This puts all of the financial burden directly on my shoulders. Starting with those who've pre-ordered after the Kickstarter campaign through our webstore, then I'll begin working my way through the backer list, starting with those who funded at the highest levels. 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. Every time that account has a decent amount saved into it I'll issue a payout to a portion of the backer list. I'll post updates with each payout to keep you all informed on the progress.

Again, I never set out to con anyone or to perpetrate a fraud but I did walk into a situation that was beyond my abilities and for that I'm deeply sorry. This has been a rough year, I never wanted to make it harder for anyone. There will be no more monthly updates, not that there have really been in some time, but I will post with each payout, as well as the post-mortem when it is eventually complete.

Sincerest apologies,
Erik Chevalier
erik@theforkingpath.com

Comments

    1. Skipper Harris on July 24, 2013

      Put me on the list of people definitely expecting a refund. How you managed to blow $122K and have nothing at all to show for it is beyond me. But I want my part of it back. And your backers should have priority in refunds. Our money went in first, it should be first out.

    2. Skeeter Green on July 24, 2013

      Not entirely sure why so many want to see the expense reports. Does that make a difference? Erik pissed the money away. He totally F'd up. There is no more money.

      It's certainly not going to make me feel any better to know he has the latest XBox, he has a better home computer than I do, some really cool art was commissioned that now sits in his living room, etc. I guess others may feel differently. If $110K (about what he should have gotten after KS takes their bite) went into the ozone, it doesn't matter what he has to show for it; he gave up his day job to "work" on this. That money went for mortgage payments, food, utilities, etc, just like normal, responsible, HONEST people have to pay for.

      If the funding period ended in June of last year, he got the money about July/August of last year. that means he's lived "rent free" off of us, for an entire year. And we have nothing to show for it besides his apology. I just hope his future employers are savvy enough to Google his name and see this stuff.

    3. Mason Zedaker on July 24, 2013

      Sucks...I was really looking forward to this game.

    4. AGN1964 on July 24, 2013

      What did you spend my shipping on? Surely, you saved that, so you could ship the product that you "always intended to get ... printed"?

      Like others have said, I did not agree to fund a new company.

    5. Christopher Bates on July 24, 2013

      I feel cheated. I did not back a project to start a company I backed a project to create a board game. We deserve to know what you spent the money on and what you have to show for it. You should liquidate any assets you purchased with the kick starter money and start giving refunds.

    6. Joey on July 24, 2013

      You presented this game as nearly complete with years of development over a year ago. "Moving to Portland"? "Software licenses"? WTF!? I didn't pledge my money for you to live it up. Refund or rewards exactly as promised ASAP, or legal action. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!

    7. Chris Nenzel on July 24, 2013

      My thanks to the other commenters for their opinions. After reading them I am going to fall into the camp of the folks who feel swindled by a gentleman who seems to have had more interest in starting a company with the funds we kicked in than producing the product we funded.

      That said I'll be expecting a full refund and will be willing to join a class action suit in the pursuit of said refund.

      Sorry Erik but you don't get to collect a whole bunch of money for a promised product then fail to deliver without consequences.

    8. Mighty Rabbit Studios on July 24, 2013

      Erik, I want to make it very clear that I have absolutely nothing against you as a person. You're still one of the coolest guys I've worked with, and I standby my assessment that you're a killer salesman (and the success of your fundraising efforts proves that much) - but I believe your backers have a right to know that this isn't the first time this has happened.

      Erik was a part of Joystick Labs - an independent game development incubator in Durham, NC - which formed five companies (mine included). Erik formed a company called Inari, Inc. and got $20,000 in seed funding to build a social pinball game. By the end of six months, the money was gone and there was nothing to show for it. Erik's investors for Inari got completely burned. From what we saw, most of the money went towards buying stuff on Amazon.

      I backed this project with the hopes that Joystick Labs was just a learning experience, getting a board game printed seemed substantially easier than getting a video game made. I'm guessing that was a false assumption. Thankfully, I only backed at the T-Shirt level - I'm fine writing off a $25 loss. I really feel bad for the hundreds of backers who pledged $75 or more. I really hope you can get their money back, Erik.

    9. Jeffrey on July 24, 2013

      Rip off artist, guys. Really.

    10. Jussi Myllyluoma
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      Erik Chevalier:
      "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."
      Everyone? That may in that case be with a couple of itty-bitty-but-ever-so-crucial little exceptions:
      We — the ones that gave the $122,874 that launched the company, remember? — didn't.
      Kickstarter's — the guys who's playground all that money was collected, remember? — TOS didn't.

    11. Missing avatar

      Pieter on July 24, 2013

      My first kickstarter scam, there goes $140 dollars i'll probably never see again, really angry and dissapointed

    12. Missing avatar

      JK22 on July 24, 2013

      Surprised that so many people are so understanding. Thanks to myself and 1,245 other backers this guy moved to Portland with our money. Where the #!%$ did $122,874 go?

      I'm sorry but Erik misled everyone for the past year, he lied in the updates (It's at the printer, I swear! The're super busy with other stuff but it's there I promise!) He took our money and ran. How is this not fraud? I for one will be contacting the local authorities in Portland. If enough people file complaints with the police, I guarantee Erik will start giving refunds.

      "Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. Kickstarter has crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't."

    13. Missing avatar

      Dafydd Nicklin on July 24, 2013

      I am disappointed to hear that the game has been cancelled. I was looking forward to it. Both the concept and the execution were intriguing and appealed to my love of all things Lovecraftian.

      I understand that there are always certain risks when funding such projects, chief among them the chance my money would be lost. It still stings though, and I very much want to find out what exactly happened to this project.

      In the end, I would be satisfied with receiving the pewter miniatures and the t-shirt. Those were the rewards I pledged the extra funds for, and if I can't get the game I would be happy with just that.

      A refund would be nice, but I don't expect one.

    14. Andy Simmons on July 24, 2013

      I'm not sure that words can adequately capture my disappointment. I'll wait for the full post-mortem before I will even think of making any accusations of malfeasance, but the little bit of information we have here is pretty damning.

      It's certainly true that Kickstarter is not Amazon, and as such any expectation that you are just straight up buying a product is misguided, however I have to disagree with all of the comments stating that Kickstarter is for starting companies. It isn't. The first line on the "What is Kickstarter?" page states:

      Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects

      Which is what _The Doom That Came To Atlantic City_ was. The end goal of this project should always have been to create a board game, and everything else should have been secondary. Whatever time/effort/money would have gone into creating a company, none of it should have impacted the creation of the board game. Yes, there are lots of companies that exist now because of Kickstarter, but it's because they followed the rules: they had a project successfully funded, they delivered to their backers, and when it was all said and done, they had a functional, marketable product, the sales of which could fund the new company. You would think that gamers, of all people, would acknowledge the value of investing resources in the proper places in the proper order.

      Most of all, though, I'm disappointed that I will never be able to play TDTCTAC. I was really looking forward to this game, and I was really looking forward to playing it with my friends. I loved the idea of a dark, Lovecraftian twist on Monopoly. If I could get my hands on the game rules, I'd probably spend the time to put together a homemade version of the game myself. It wouldn't be nearly as cool as what this project promised, but it would be something.

      Erik, I'm not going to call you a scam artist, but I think you know that you could have handled this better, and you know that there are 1246 people who are varying degrees of bummed/furious that this didn't work out. I hope that this experience doesn't put you off of designing games, because I think you had a lot of really interesting ideas here, and I will absolutely buy a copy of TDTCTAC if you are ever able to get it made. I just won't be backing any of your future projects before there is an actual, tangible product. Fool me once, after all.

    15. Keith Byrd on July 24, 2013

      Erik, thank you for trying. I appreciate that you even posting this update. It takes some courage to see the writing on the wall and accept responsibility. There are many other kickstarters that fail that Owner just disappear. Little upset that last few updates were light and seemed more positive. Bummed that I won't be able to play the game. Good luck

    16. Lawren Taylor on July 24, 2013

      I'd like to see that post-mortem first and foremost, and despite my assumptions I'll save my vitriol till then.

    17. James Boyd on July 24, 2013

      I won't hold my breath as I await the return of my $75, but I won't pile on you either.

    18. Jeffrey on July 24, 2013

      So is it too late to ask for a chargeback?

    19. Missing avatar

      David Finn on July 24, 2013

      Just saw this.... "John Mccloy about 9 hours ago
      I emailed Erik right after getting this update about notes, rules, art, figures, and shirts. His response:

      "unfortunately part of my new agreement with the game's creator's stipulated that I return all art rights to them. This means that I can't release any images related to the game or sell any related merchandise, including even free printable versions. No pewter figures were ever produced and the t-shirts were going to be printed closer to release, which now isn't happening."

      So that's it."

      Hmmm I want to read that full post-mortem, because right now it 'feels' super scammy! No work was ever done to at least do the minis? They can't release the art we already paid for? Either forking path failed to pay the creators for thier work OR the creators created the game and a planning on reselling it elsewhere and leaving forking path holding the bag. Either way, that much money and no.NO return leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

      The good news is of about 30 projects, this was the first 1 i had that failed. Some a little behind (Orge I'm looking at you) but many of them have already fufilled. As far as Kickstarter I'm fine. but theforkingpath.com isnt making my christmas list

    20. Jeffrey on July 24, 2013

      Sweet! My first kickstarter scam! You guys rock!

    21. Joe Kontor
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      I wasn't backing the formation of a board game company. I was backing a single game! You couldn't figure out how to use $122K to find a printer? Unacceptable!

      However what's worse then the fact that I don't think I'll ever see my $75 is the fact that I can never say I haven't been ripped off by a crowdfunding project now. Between Kickstarter and Indiegogo I've backed more then 200 projects. It's always angered me when people characterize people artists on these sites as either lazy, or con-men. The people I've backed have been struggling independent talents and they don't deserve to get lumped in with the likes of you.

    22. Missing avatar

      David Finn on July 24, 2013

      It seems you might be able to salvage the situation somewhat by sending out the minis and making the board and card components avialable online via some free download portal. That way you can avoid legal trouble with the original Monopoly like theme, but the pledgers here get some return (rather than none). For some of us, we would be ok since we would have the game and the minis (albiet with extra effort on our part).

    23. Nick on July 24, 2013

      This was my first (and probably last) kickstarter investment. As others have stated, we backed a game NOT a company. Deceitful doesn't even begin to cover it.
      If we were to be offered the miniatures (even just in resin) that would be a small consolation, especially considering that this was why myself and many others gave a higher pledge. However, it sounds like even this would be an impossibility considering the total lack ridiculous level of ineptitude we have seen so far.
      I don't blame the creators/artists/etc. for abandoning this. The complete lack of respect shown to the backers is the most hurtful thing here.
      I'm genuinely disgusted.

    24. AGN1964 on July 24, 2013

      Is there enough material to send us print and play versions? Many of us have monopoly boards, houses, hotels, and various tokens, even Cthulhu miniatures. If we printed various cards, could be play this on a monopoly board?

    25. Philip Vaughan on July 24, 2013

      A break down of expenditure would be welcomed, as would statments from others involved with this project. With $122,000 pledged and having nothing to show for it, a more detailed explantion is expected. A refund would also be welcomed as but my hopes aren't high.

    26. Steve Berman on July 24, 2013

      I am not surprised by this. With every announcement of further delays and issues, I felt you were just hammering a nail in this project's coffin. And now you mention delays in paying back the pledges. This is one more concrete example that crowd-sourcing has it's ugly side. Needless to say I will want all my money returned. And I will be warning anyone about any future KS schemes.

    27. longbeach on July 24, 2013

      Who is this Erik guy anyway. Read the initial pitch page and all I see are two artists and the designer listed plus this forking path co. I was led to believe these three were all that we're involved until problems showed up

    28. John Falcon
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      I will not be like some of these delusional fools here drinking your sob story kool aid and stating "I do not want my refund" bullshit. The bottom line, you better find your way to pay back your backers or you will find yourself in more trouble than you realize.

    29. Kevin Bruckert
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      It's unfortunate this failed, although I can't help but blame your inappropriate use of funds... You quit your job and moved to Portland when you got the backer money, and yet you didn't even secure the rights to any of the art (which sounds an awful lot like you didn't pay for them up front in entirety out out the funds in a CD to save them, knowing they were already spent). You then proceeded to live on the funds for over a year... And you have nothing to show for it. If you're completely out of money and you haven't made *any* of the physical assets, then where did all the money go? Refunding the preorders on the website first is not appropriate. Fortunately, Kickstarter makes clear that we have a right to lawsuit, where we can get exact details about what your "company" owns, and is owed back to your investors. Let's just hope you keep your books in better order than your game planning, since any assets purchased with company funds are available to repay obligations.

    30. Tiffany Franzoni on July 24, 2013

      I know the risks with Kickstarter projects. Please take me off the refund list. I hope things work out with you guys. It was a great game and I loved playing the beta with Keith way back when.

    31. Missing avatar

      Mark on July 24, 2013

      It is unfortunate that this project fell through. :(
      I can understand how you could have problems with legal action manufacturing the product.

      However, with over 100K of funds and a year of time surely you must have generated some really great artwork! As a consolation, perhaps you could take some photos of your works in progress or send us some of the artwork in PDF form. These don't cost a thing, but would mean the world to the people who loyally backed your project.

      Good luck with your future endeavors.

    32. longbeach on July 24, 2013

      And from what I see Erik is just a project manager. Not the artist or the designer which you would feel sympathetic towards or feel 'they put their life' into it. This guy scammed everyone

    33. longbeach on July 24, 2013

      Let's make this clear - we weren't investing in a company people! Shut up with that and the sympathetic thoughts while ignoring the facts. He got 4 times the money asked and got to play wannabe CEO (quit his job) with our funds until it dried up and thought he could just go to a bank and refuel his megacorp. How are you enabling this deceit? He blew the money on daily personal expenses thinking he'd get it all back once the product was printed and sell more and more. His actions are NOT in the spirit of Kickstarter so please take your knee jerk sympathy somewhere where it is deserved.

    34. olothmeryl on July 24, 2013

      Somehow this update didn't surprise me that much. And like many others I feel cheated. I'm not angry though but it is disappointing for sure. I'm still uncertain about asking for a refund... I am waiting for your post-mortem to decide. Also I would like to know what could be sent to the backers among what was produced since the funding.

      Thanks for this update anyway and good luck for your future projects.

    35. Missing avatar

      andreas göransson (deleted) on July 24, 2013

      No need to refund me either, good luck with the next project and i hope you feel up for that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

    36. Eric Scheirer Stott
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      Some of would still like to play this game, even in a cheap crap paper and cardboard version. Screw the pewter figures.

      Incompetent.

    37. Atarun
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      Maybe your mistake was to utterly disregard Kickstarter rules... KS funds are meant for products, not companies. You were supposed to invest our money into the design, production and shipment of the board game you had presented. I understand your desire to start a company up, but that is not what KS is set up for and that is not what I pledged to. Also, I don't remember any of this company plan mentioned during the campaign... So while I do not think you are a crook, it seems clear to me that you cheated the rules and as far as I remember you decieved us (unless you did explain during the campaign that you intended to use our money to start a company and I missed it).

    38. Missing avatar

      Alan Stephen
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      It's kind of frustrating here to see Erik described as a crook and/or a fraud - those of us here that are Odin's Ravens backers know exactly what that's like, when somebody just takes the investment and ups and leaves - but I've got some sympathy with the people talking about the 'still on track' updates. BUT...

      Having tried to start a company myself in the past year, and having previously project managed far, far bigger budget projects, I completely understand being seduced by the desire to keep pushing on in the hope it's all going to come good despite it all crashing round you. This must be even worse when it's something you totally believe in, rather than something you're just paid to do. Facing up to the reality is crushing, and I hope Erik comes out the other side at peace with himself.

      Scratch my name off the refund list Erik. I spent my money over a year ago in the hope I would get something. I haven't had it in the intervening year when I was out of work and I needed it, and I did OK. Am I annoyed that I'm not getting anything? Yes. Do I understand? Completely.

    39. Hydee on July 24, 2013

      I do however want to thank you for coming clean and facing us. It was honorable and appreciated, let's just hope you stay true to your word, cause that's really all you have left. Is your word and dignity. I thank you again for your courage and you standing up to face us. I wish you the best of luck in whatever endeavors you set out and attempt. May your luck be ever in your favor.

    40. BORISS LARIUSHIN on July 24, 2013

      Very sad story indeed...
      I would like to have a $75 refund and 25$ added for international shipment.

    41. Hydee on July 24, 2013

      I definitely require & want my refund. This experience has been misleading and clearly not transparent or honest regarding the what/when/where/how our money has been spent. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. Kickstarter has crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. Thus you've already clearly identified you can not fulfill them, so my refund is definitely in order. I'm sorry but if things were more forth coming and honesty & respect was given to us then out comes & disappointment might be a little more forgiving, but having a smoke & mirror show for over a year with little to no information is unacceptable. And to pour salt on the wound telling us your going to credit those that pre-ordered from your website first! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Unforgiving experience and honestly puts a bad taste in my mouth for participating in other projects on Kickstarters if this is the standard and way "business" is conducted. Let's just hope refunds are given and that it helps us forget this experience.

    42. BTO
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      I would like to know what has actually been produced. I'd love to still get my two sets of pewter minis, and everything else in PDF. The full sets of cards would be nice though.

      I guess I am lucky to only have two failures and one project in serious trouble out of 100 or so projects backed.

      I would think that. It would be cheaper to finish printing everything but the box than refunding everyone's cash though.

    43. I'm Board! Games & Family Fun on July 24, 2013

      Of the over two dozen Kickstarter projects my store has funded so far, this is the first one to come out and flat-out admit they failed. Likewise, of those projects we've funded, only about one-third have actually delivered anything so far. Several are well over a year late from their original estimates. I expect this one won't be the first in which we will see zero return on investment. But we knew that risk going in. Reading various posts, it's amazing how many people simply don't understand what Kickstarter actually is, and they don't understand the real possibility that they may be tossing their money away.

      Remember kids, Kickstarter is not a preorder system and it's not a store. It's a method to invest in companies. Companies that are hoping you will seed their expenses, so they can then go off and try to be a success. That is why you are offered "rewards" instead of "products." And like all investments, there is the risk that your investment will be lost.

      A successful KS project is not one that meets its funding goals, it's one that is able to turn that investment into a real product and earn a real profit. Think of how many "real world" companies with a huge investment capital never make it. They didn't succeed when they got funded. The money only let them start trying. Kickstarter is the same.

      I funded this project at a "retailer" level. And despite the company "earning" a lot more than they thought they needed, the project failed. The principal mentions in his post that he hopes to pay pledgers back, and you can certainly ascertain a genuine desire to do so. But he is not obligated. At all. He is not legally bound to deliver any product or pay anyone back. Those who funded his project were investing in a company that failed. It happens every day. Will I see my investment returned? I hope so, but I assume I won't. That's the risk I took.

      That being said, the greatest risk often lies in those fledgling companies with the neatest ideas. Unfortunately, an idea is all they have. They often don't do the work to make sure their estimates (in both money and time) are sound. They don't think about the cost of every aspect (usually shipping is the culprit), or they over promise on rewards that drag the whole project down, or (heaven forbid) they guesstimate.

      A huge number of Kickstarter projects have just launched, conveniently just in time for GenCon. If you're going to GenCon this year, you will likely be amazed at how many booths will be nothing more than the front end of a KS project, trying to sell you something that doesn't exist yet, and maybe never will.

      This flood of KS projects is starting to mirror the d20 System boom and bust from a few years back. I personally predict that, despite the (few) high-profile successes, the vastly larger number of failures (and for KS projects the failures are the projects that get funded and deliver a sub-par product or nothing at all) are going to drag the entire system down and create a general feeling of untrustworthiness in the entire process.

      Caveat emptor.

    44. Antifnity
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      What a damn shame. Undecided on the refund. I'd be interested in 'paying it forward' if you've got other games in the works. This clearly wasn't a failure of game design.

    45. longbeach on July 24, 2013

      @ John M. That return email you got shows some serious fault. How can anyone here read what you just got and not demand a refund? It looks like the artists themselves didn't even see a dime. This guy is a crook. We should be able to print out a version as long as the artists got paid so if they weren't why? What the hell happened besides theft?

    46. Missing avatar

      Steve on July 24, 2013

      Wow. To think I skipped the Cthulhu Wars KS because I was already $100 in the hole for Mythos sculpts. Voting "yes" on the refund.

    47. Don Riddle on July 24, 2013

      well that sucks.
      for everybody, but especially Erik. i'm sorry, man. a dream deferred. i have sympathy, i do. however... i WILL expect a full refund, if he's able. there's a principle involved which i expect to be held to, and which i hold others to. and, lately, kickstarter projects have been dropping like flies, pleading "woe is me, i spent your money already. are you sure you want it back?" if we as a community continue to let this happen, well, duh, it will happen more and more often. people should start a KS project with a better idea of what they're really offering and what they're getting themselves into. i think between these project failures and the proliferation of corporate presales, kickstarter could ultimately fail. it's up to us as a community to demand fairness, honesty and commitment to keep it strong and independent. (and now everybody starts calling me names...)

    48. Jussi Myllyluoma
      Superbacker
      on July 24, 2013

      What did Chaosium say?
      I mean, with their ... slight precedent in Mythos-related gaming, I ~presume~ they were the first you checked with when it stood clear that your own attempt at realising this game was going up the creek?

    49. Brandon Fix on July 24, 2013

      This is Kickstarter. I pledge funds knowing full well that a project may not pan out for any number of reasons. Add me to the list of peeps not needing a refund.