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Subject: Attn: Kickstarter Hopefuls, please read rss

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Sturv Tafvherd
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Edit...
Kickstarter details:
"The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!"
funded June 6, 2012
Raised $122,874. (Goal was $35k)
Core game sold for $50,
But you get pewter minis at the $75 level.

BGG entry. The Doom That Came To Atlantic City
End edit...



I first came across it via this thread:
Kickstarter may have just had it's first big board game project implosion

And then I read the update on Kickstarter.

Quote:

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



Followed by commentary:
http://www.deadlyfredly.com/2013/07/doom-indeed/


... Edit: and yeah... Looks like monopoly for a prototype

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Adam Kazimierczak
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This project is not really a warning to aspiring publishers but to backers. The project head actually had failed previously and squandered investors' cash on a video game project, so this was just a continuation of that...umm...character flaw.

Of course publishers should have their ducks in a row before starting a Kickstarter, but this project had warning signs (Hello! Monopoly rip off game board and no reviews!!) from the beginning and it is entirely the fault of the backers for throwing their money at it.

The old PC game Lemmings comes to mind...
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I should also mention that the game designer in this case is not the publisher.

Here's a link to the game designer's entry on his blog, concerning his response to the publisher's announcement.

http://keith-baker.com/the-doom-kickstarter-my-response/

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John "Omega" Williams
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Take note that the game, aside from appearance of the board, had apparently little to do with Monopoly.

The game designers got nothing from this.

This isnt a Kickstarter example. It is a prime example of why I warn game designers to allways check the publishers history before signing anything. They are lucky they got to keep the rights to their game. Others have not been so fortunate.
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Michael Bonet
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The title of the game seems to have been foreshadowing something....
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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kaziam wrote:
This project is not really a warning to aspiring publishers but to backers. The project head actually had failed previously and squandered investors' cash on a video game project, so this was just a continuation of that...umm...character flaw.

Of course publishers should have their ducks in a row before starting a Kickstarter, but this project had warning signs (Hello! Monopoly rip off game board and no reviews!!) from the beginning and it is entirely the fault of the backers for throwing their money at it.

The old PC game Lemmings comes to mind...


Hehe. Am I showing my age by admitting I played Lemmings?

Anyway, I can't say that the backers are completely at fault. After all, it's not like the game designer, Keith Baker, is a complete n00b. He's probably got a following, and they backed the project as their show of support for the designer.

But yeah, I agree that looking into the Publisher's background would have helped. Unfortunately, I don't see much that Kickstarter provides in terms of vetting the publisher or project manager. I wish they did.


I brought this topic up to our sacred sanctum here in the Design Forums for a few reasons:

-- Omega's right: at the very least, the game designer should do research on their publisher; and this KS case is an extreme example of why.

-- Assume for the moment that the publisher, Erik, is sincere, then those who are planning to self publish thru Kickstarter will want to find out exactly how his $100k+ project managed to completely fail when the initial goal was only $35k. If nothing else, it's a nice case study of "what NOT to do." ... Assuming this isn't fraud.

-- Keith Baker's response is great. And I think other designers should read between the lines and realize the priorities Keith has. As far as I know, he didn't hire a lawyer to rake Erik over the coals and squeeze out his "designer's cut" ... Keith got a lawyer to get Erik to refund the money back to the backers. And on top of that, he's releasing a PnP version with whatever artwork they have.

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Sturv Tafvherd
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Someone found some info on Erik ... Looks like a resume. So, assuming a hopeful designer was researching a publisher and found something like this ... Can any conclusions be drawn?


HuginnGreiling wrote:
For posterity:
Quote:
Intrinsic Gray - Producer, Writer, Director - Portland, Oregon, Current
“We All Take” feature film, production on temporary hiatus.

The Forking Path - Publisher and Designer, Portland, Oregon - March 2012 to Present
Launched and ran a Kickstarter campaign which raised 350% of its goal.
Publisher of Lee Moyer’s “The Doom that Came to Atlantic City”,
Licensee of Reiner Knizia’s “Arte Moderna” and “Magistrat”

Inari - Game Designer, 3/2010 to 7/2011- Durham, North Carolina & Portland, Oregon
Accepted into the inaugural session of the game company incubator Joystick Labs. Designed games mechanics, wrote documentation, managed development team.

Burst Fiction - Literary Curator, Mar. 2008 to Nov. 2009 - Portland, Oregon
Online literary magazine, among first for easy reading on mobile devices.
Featured on Businessweek's Blogspotting column as a groundbreaking site.

Independent Cinematography
“No Future” a short cyberpunk video directed by Erik Chevalier - 2013
“Tinstar” a feature directed by Amber DeCelle - 2008/2009
“The Final Debt” a short directed by Kenny Swartz - 2007

MyWorldOfSports.com - Designer and Project Manager - Santa Monica, CA, June 2007
Brought their site's core features into an interactive Second Life location with stadium games.
Built an advertising solution which tracked avatar line of sight to dynamically provide content.

Capricci Films - Virtual Environment Designer, May 2007 - Ventura, California
Designed and built a Second Life venue for showing documentaries and hosting live interviews.
"I've never found such a patient partner. Erik is at the same time very skilled and human. He takes time to listen to the wishes of his clients and he knows how to suggest the best solutions. He's very professional and honest. A perfect guy to work with.” - Camilla Gaiaschi, Project Liason

Guerrilla Productions - Production Assistant, 2003 to 2006 - Portland, Oregon
"Erik busts hump, works hard, and does what needs to be done, all the while keeping a smile on his face and a positive "solve-it" attitude.There's no describing the horrific logistical nightmares that can happen on set, in the blink of an eye, and when Erik's there I know whatever does come up will get solved." - Edward Martin 3rd, Owner & Director

Skills
- Canon EOS 5D mk II with Magic Lantern firmware, Adobe Creative Cloud, Final Cut Pro X for photo/video.
- Proficient in Windows, Mac and Debian based Linux operating systems, Wordpress, HTML, CSS, SSH, FTP,
SVN, Git, standard bug tracking systems and project management suites. Basic skills with Unity, Unreal Development Kit, Icecast Server, Processing, JavaScript, Python, Raspberry Pi, Leap Motion, Oculus Rift.
- Fountain.io, Celtx and Trelby for screenwriting and video production planning.

Earlier Experience
- CSQA Tester for Activision on Call of Duty 3 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
- Managed retail video rental store for two years while working several other jobs.
- Aircraft fueler for private terminal servicing Dreamworks, Universal, Pavarotti, Eastwood, DeNiro.
- Disaster recovery of hospital IT systems after 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake.
- Developed first corporate intranets for Southern California hospitals.
- Technical support and system building for a California high school.

“(Erik) is one of the most driven and imaginative persons I have had the pleasure to work with. He is constantly boiling with ideas and solutions. Any project lucky enough to have him involved will gain +2 to Intelligence and +3 to Charisma." - Jack Menhorn, audio designer at Inari, Inc.

Work Experience
• Producer, Writer, Director
Intrinsic Gray - Portland, OR, USA

• Publisher and Designer
The Forking Path - Portland, OR, USA

• Lead Designer
Inari, Inc. - Durham, OR

• Web Designer
Kevin Lennox - Portland, OR, USA
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John "Omega" Williams
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Unfortunately the publisher likely looked fine to the designers and it isnt until backers started digging that the red flags about a separate company started going up right and left.

This happens in the art biz too where certain artists will change names and even venues so as to not arouse suspicions from former problems. One guy we track has been through over a dozen aliases.

Though there remains the possibility that the publisher was sincere and had all intent to get the game out, but was still spending the money on a movie company, equipment, licensing deals and who knows what else when he should not have.

I'd like to hope it was a big mistake. But in all honesty. All that has been uncovered really makes it look like a scam.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Stormtower wrote:
Someone found some info on Erik ... Looks like a resume. So, assuming a hopeful designer was researching a publisher and found something like this ... Can any conclusions be drawn?


Only if the designer could link the fact that the publisher made the movies with the funds taken from the KS game. And didnt pay the designers for that and didnt even produce a product, and now claims the money is spent and refunds will take time?

Before this I am not sure Erick had as much of that data up on his site and alot of it is now erased. Which makes the whole thing look even more suspicious.

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Christopher Markham
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I have no idea how to comment on this, other than to say that I am truly sorry for the game's designers. It seems like their decade long aspiration was quashed through no (or minimal) fault of their own, and that's fairly heartbreaking.
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Sam Mercer
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Thanks Sturv, I will get a lot out of this, especially for what AtomPunk will become.

Cheers
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Here's another interesting case:

Legal Censorship? Where did the entry for Orbit: Rocket Race 5000 go?

Facts are kinda fuzzy ... Probably because the lawyer(s) are making people delete info from the web.

From what little I understand:
-- designer commissions art from artist.
-- designer runs a Kickstarter campaign
-- campaign is successful, game is published
-- artist is paid with copies of the game
-- artist disagrees with payment method
-- license to use the art is revoked by artist
-- and now the artist is claiming that no one can sell the game that has his art on it, because the license is revoked.


End lessons seems to be:

-- make sure you have a signed contract

-- pay your artist
-- don't pay him with games



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John A. White
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Quote:
We’ve been working on this game for over a decade. In 2011 we had it ready to go to the printer with Z-Man Games


And it was roll-n-move monopoly? Did you get the font face just right?
NOTE to self: Spend the rest of my life making monopoly boards.

I wonder if Zev remembers this game board.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Stormtower wrote:
Here's another interesting case:

Legal Censorship? Where did the entry for Orbit: Rocket Race 5000 go?

Facts are kinda fuzzy ... Probably because the lawyer(s) are making people delete info from the web.

From what little I understand:
-- designer commissions art from artist.
-- designer runs a Kickstarter campaign
-- campaign is successful, game is published
-- artist is paid with copies of the game
-- artist disagrees with payment method
-- license to use the art is revoked by artist
-- and now the artist is claiming that no one can sell the game that has his art on it, because the license is revoked.


End lessons seems to be:

-- make sure you have a signed contract

-- pay your artist
-- don't pay him with games





SJG and/or Atlas tried that stunt way back.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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aVoidGames wrote:
Quote:
We’ve been working on this game for over a decade. In 2011 we had it ready to go to the printer with Z-Man Games


And it was roll-n-move monopoly? Did you get the font face just right?
NOTE to self: Spend the rest of my life making monopoly boards.

I wonder if Zev remembers this game board.


You fail reading the notes... forever. angry

It was not a monopoly clone aside from the board. (Which looks way way too much like a monopoly board. No one got the joke apparently.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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All joking aside, I went to a new local game store that opened up just this month in a pretty high-end-ish mall. Anyone familiar with the Calendar Club or Go! Games is probably familiar with this franchise. Usually, they only take a seasonal slot in the malls between November and January. So it's rather unusual to see one in July.

I'm used to seeing them have, maybe one of of 6 of their shelves devoted to board games. This past January, the entire front half of their seasonal-slot store was filled with board games ... Real board games. I picked up my 2nd LotR LCG box then. And I could have grabbed Lords of Waterdeep, or the Game of Thrones board game (non-LCG) if wasn't already pushing the game budget.

So when I saw them setting up in a new (maybe permanent) slot, I took a peek.

Guess what!?

Yeah, an entire shelf, ceiling to floor, of Monopoly, in every theme you can imagine. And then there was a much narrower shelf for Strategy games ... Which were just various flavors of Risk and Axis&Allies.

Oh ... And the obligatory Settlers of Catan game.

You'd think they'd at least carry LotR or Game of Thrones again.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Dang, even Target is better than that now.
Makes me sad, Go! the Game Store is largely responsible for me getting into modern gaming, as I bought Carcassonne at one of the seasonal kiosks.
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