A game designer who raised $123,000 to make a tabletop game is now faced with claims of fraud after announcing that, thirteen months after the project started, all the money has gone.
In May 2012, Erik Chevalier asked for $35,000 to make his tabletop game The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. The project earned nearly four times that amount, closing at $123,000. But in a Kickstarter update, Chevalier claims the project has been scrapped entirely.
"The project is over, the game is cancelled," he wrote.
"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."
The matter has been referred to the Oregon Department of Justice, which oversees fraud cases in Chevalier's home state.
"From the beginning the intention was to launch a new board game company with the Kickstarted funds," he said.
"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.
"My intentions have always been good and I've struggled with this greatly."
Chevalier now claims he wishes to personally pay back the $123,000 to all backers.
"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
"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."
Many backers did not express sympathy for Chevalier's situation, with some accusing him of committing fraud.