I am a fan of both solo and deck building board games. I also, like many people, had a childhood obsession with dinosaurs. Apex Theropod, a dinosaur-themed deck building game designed by Herschel Hoffmeyer, was an obvious buy for me. But I bought the game from CoolStuffInc a while back and was never a Kickstarter backer. I'm really glad I did it that way. What has happened to Hoffmeyer is a classic Kickstarter disaster that we are always risking when we back games on the site.
Apparently Hoffmeyer, who took on a HUGE project by handling all aspects of this game on his own (art, game design, printing, shipping, all of it) has struggled to finish what he started. Rather than post an official Kickstarter update, however, he put this statement in the campaign comments thread on October 13:
Thanks Scott for putting out that info, much appreciated (I know you love to put your skills to good use). One thing to note though is I'm closing the company Die-Hard Games and everything will be ran from my own personal bank account. The company has gone bankrupt after what ShipNaked and WinGo pulled on me. I was waiting to bring this up for awhile now but I quoted $15K (during the campaign's run) to cover fulfillment then got hit with a $35K paycheck later down the road (after huge delays from them, remember in November, trying to get the boat to set sail. I kept quiet on it then.). I would highly suggest no one to do business with them. See below for WinGo. Manufacturing alone was over $60K. These payments have already been filed in my taxes last year so they're on record.
As you can see, the future of Apex Theropod is very much in doubt. Hoffmeyer has claimed that he will be contacting all of his remaining backers individually to fulfill their orders, and will be doing so from his personal bank account. He's been getting a ton of flak from backers who want official project updates rather than hard-to-find comments in the comment thread, and frankly, I understand their complaint. Hoffmeyer wants to minimize customer anger and messages flowing into his inbox, but his backers do have a right to real updates on the project they opened their wallets to support.
I hope everyone ends up happy, but this is pretty rough. It's not the sort of thing that would deter me from ever using Kickstarter again. In fact, I backed Godforsaken Scavengers this week. But it does make me think about how much money I'm willing to gamble on a game "company" that isn't a sure thing.
For continuing updates on the status of Apex Theropod, see the Kickstarter comment thread.