Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bit of a thing with Cthulhu Mythos, I really like it all. So in April last year, when I came across a Kickstarter for Mythos game, called The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! (Doom for short) involving some really awesome miniature statues based roughly around a Monopoly board, I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, at the time, I could not afford to pledge for it, as I really wanted it for the statues (which would have been in pewter as well). After a recent update from Erik Chevalier, the owner of The Forking Path, the company that were producing Doom, it has been revealed that the game, in its entirety has been canceled.
I’ve read two posts from Erik Chevalier on Kickstarter, a post from Keith Baker (one of the main designers, along with Lee Moyer) and various comments from those KS backers. The sole responsibility of this has been taken on by Erik Chevalier, he made the decision to close down the project, with no input from the designers on this decision. From Keith Baker’s response to this news, he has stated some information that he was given was misleading, he believed the project, while having some hiccups, was proceeding forward.
In Erik’s first post, he states that the project is over and gives a little explanation of the whole state of affairs, he goes on to say that it is all his sole responsibility and a brief outline on what he plans to do from this point onwards regarding the KS backers and refunding them. He explains that a full post-mortem is forthcoming, conveying in detail all the details of the situation.
His second post, while not the aforementioned post-mortem, is a clarification of the previous post, giving more light onto what he has already said. A lot of things are cleared up, such as all the rights of all material going back to their respective owners, the state of the miniature statues and the details on the promises of refunds. Erik does promise refunds to all the backers and those who pre-ordered the game after the Kickstarter had ended, but has set no schedule on when these will occur. The Kickstarter Terms of Service are pretty exact regarding projects, essentially boiling down to “promised reward or refund”, but when this project was funded, the ToS did not state that. But Erik states that he will be sticking to these newer ToS rather than the older one. He also addresses the fact that several people have taken legal action against him due to the failure of this Kickstarter, and he actions regarding this.
Keith Baker, in his post, has said that he and Lee Moyer are working to supply all the backers with a Print and Play version of the game, because all those rights have returned to those two designers, so at least something should be coming out for it. This will not, of course, include the miniature statues, which will go back to Paul Komoda.
None of this is any fault of Kickstarter. There is an inherent amount of risk involved in Kickstarter, as is with anything when you commit money to something that is not yet complete, but the changes to the Kickstarter ToS that came about mid 2012 have removed a large amount of that risk. As self proclaimed by Erik Chevalier, this came about by a number of mistakes and inexperience. Doom looked really cool, had good ideas, art and the miniature statues looked really good, and it is unfortunate that this has come to pass.