The following story is either about a serial con artist or an aspiring entrepreneur who unexpectedly had his life cut short by disease. It is up to the reader to decide which storyline they prefer.
Disclaimer: This article discusses a person who may have passed away. While the veracity of these claims have not been verified, we ask our readers to give the benefit of the doubt and exercise respect when commenting. It should also be noted that aspects of this story may be incomplete or subject to change in light of new information.
Last year, we wrote about an individual named Devin Miner and his Kickstarter TCG known as Final Redemption. Similar to many other Kickstarter projects, the initial prospects of Final Redemption looked quite compelling. It was later discovered that Miner and his team were using generic media assets for many aspects of the game. This prompted a massive backlash among supporters as it was now unclear how much of the game’s design was original.
Shortly after this information was revealed, Miner pulled the plug on the campaign citing conflict between members of the team. The campaign had not yet been finalized so all of the backers were instantly refunded. No harm, no foul.
The Early Days of Maelstrom
Once the dust settled from Final Redemption, Miner started a new project known as Maelstrom. It’s unclear how much of the community was aware of Miner’s previous venture but the project had no problem drumming up more than $500,000 over the next few months.
During this period, things seemed quite peaceful and most people agree that legitimate development efforts were being made. Miner was frequently engaged with the community and shared product roadmaps, new artwork, and optimistic plans for the future of the game. A wide variety of samples and promotional items were also produced and distributed which suggests Miner was working with legitimate printers and manufacturers.
Unexpected Health Issues
Suddenly, the Maelstrom community received a surprise: Miner was suffering from kidney disease and did not have much time left to live. While most people were supportive of Miner’s issues, a sizable portion of the community grew suspicious and skeptical. Miner insisted that this diagnosis would not impede the development of the game and other members of the team would take over if necessary.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Miner has commented on his health. He has made passing remarks before about his issues with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and kidney disease. It should be noted that the chronology of these comments are consistent with the progression of the alleged disease.
Despite this, development continued mostly on schedule and the overall trajectory of Maelstrom was still looking good. Miner even made an appearance at the Dallas-Fort Worth Collect-A-Con. Attendees reported Miner to be in good health and reported the Maelstrom booth to be quite impressive. A huge number of merchandise was brought and distributed: demo decks, event-specific promos, prints, shirts, and more.
Miner’s Sudden Disappearance
On July 14th, members of the Maelstrom moderator team dropped an absolute bombshell of an announcement. Due to ongoing problems with the Kickstarter campaign (chargebacks & disputes), the account had been locked and an undisclosed amount of the funds were not accessible. Furthermore, Devin was in the end stages of his kidney disease and had suddenly disappeared — presumably to die peacefully in nature. It was also revealed that the Kickstarter would not be finished and supporters of the campaign would not be refunded.
What happened next was nothing short of a complete disaster. The Maelstrom community erupted in anger and disbelief claiming that Devin is a con artist and a liar. Virtually no one believed the story being pedaled by Miner or his team of moderators. The next few days were filled with extreme unrest. During this time, several people who were once close to Miner came forward and shared their opinions about the situation.
History Of Poor Funds Management
One of the most common complaints among those who have worked with Miner is his continued mismanagement of project funds. It was later revealed that the real reason Final Redemption had ended was due to Miner’s refusal of any sort of financial transparency. Miner insisted on withdrawing the funds to a personal bank account which other members of the team had objected to.
Bizarre Claims & Life Events
Miner had a history of sharing of strange information with the Discord. For example, he revealed in a private channel that he had been raped back in August. While this is certainly a horrific thought, it seems that most were skeptical of this claim.
To make things even worse,
Miner had claimed to be with a friend who we now know was one of the moderators. However, this moderator denies having been there which suggests Miner was lying.
REVISION: As of July 19th, it is unclear who was actually with Devin Miner on that evening. There are conflicting reports about whether or not a certain moderator was present.
Back in August, Miner shared a similar story on Facebook.
Who Is Devin Miner? Is He Even Real?
As more people came forward, the story grew progressively more bizarre. It seems that everyone had a unique experience to share when it came to their interactions with Miner. Some claim that Miner was an orphan who was adopted into a Native American family. Some claim that Miner has an extensive history of custody issues with his children. Others claim that Miner does not have children at all.
Some members of the community have made efforts to get in touch with Miner’s family but these efforts seem largely futile. Many aspects of the story are still unknown and it is quite difficult to separate fact from fiction.
What We Know
- It’s likely that his name really is Devin A. Miner
- It’s likely that he really is missing (Case Number 50-22-10638 in Washington County, OR)
- It’s likely that he was paid out the entirety of the Kickstarter funds ($508,000~)
What We Don’t Know
- We don’t know the legitimacy of his medical issues
- We don’t know how much money remains
- We don’t know if anyone else is involved
One of the more pressing questions is why Miner opted to not leave the company in the hands of someone else. Assuming he did suffer from an acute medical crisis, why wouldn’t he simply allow other members of the team to complete the project? Why would he run off into the wilderness while maintaining sole ownership of the company and all of its’ assets?
To make things even more interesting, Miner’s company was concurrently working on several other games as well. Back in April, Miner Games LLC had acquired Bushido CCG which also maintained a sizable team of followers and developers. It’s unclear what connection (if any) these people had to Miner.
Why This Story Is So Weird
While many people are quick to call this a ‘rug pull’, I can not help but wonder why someone would devote so much time and energy into something they did not intend on finishing. The cards were real. The booster packs were real. The artwork was real. Devin Miner was real. It just doesn’t make sense.
On one hand, it’s possible that Miner was plagued by a lack of financial literacy and ended up in a situation where he could not afford to finish the project. As we have seen with games like Xeko TCG, people far more competent than Miner have just as easily lost control of crowdfunded projects. Perhaps Miner’s personal spending got out-of-hand which resulted in him not being able to complete production. It was stated by at least one moderator that Miner had “upgraded his residence” which would lend credence to this theory.
On the other hand, Miner almost certainly understands the implications of his disappearance. He left behind friends. He left behind family. It’s likely that investigations and criminal charges will soon follow. This truly seems like an act of desperation and not one of premeditated thievery.
Initially, I did not want to write this story. It feels weird to write and speculate about someone who is either dead or at the least is suffering from extreme distress. Nonetheless, I hold the opinion that Miner decidedly stole money from his supporters. He could have made an effort to salvage what was left of the funds. He could have made an effort to salvage the company. Instead, he disappeared into the night and left behind a wake of destruction.
More than $500,000 had been taken from a total of 800 people. Miner also maintained at least one Patreon profile which peaked at a monthly revenue of $5,000. The total amount of money involved will likely never be known. Miner’s actions have also resulted in significant collateral damage to those who were involved with the project. Because Miner is missing, many of the moderators are unfairly receiving the brunt of the community’s anger and vitriol.
While the full details of this story likely require a Netflix documentary to understand, speculating any further is beyond the scope of this article. If you’re interested in learning more about this story, I implore you to join the Maelstrom Discord and review the chat history yourself. Like any good mystery, the evidence seems to raise more questions than it answers. As of right now, no obituary for Devin Miner has been located. It’s possible that we will never know what really happened to Devin Miner.
Author’s Note: Many aspects of this story are still developing. Information in this article could be wrong or misrepresented. If you have any objections to the information in this article, or if there is anything you would like to add, please leave your comments below.
July 19th Update #1: The following screenshot is the latest information we have on the situation
July 19th Update #2: The following screenshot is the latest information we have on Devin Miner
July 23rd Update: Devin has been found by detectives and is apparently alive and well.
Author’s Note: The individual in the screenshots above, known as PFM, was allegedly an assistant to Devin who would help with shipping and fulfillment. He was previously identified as a moderator of the Discord server which is apparently incorrect. Although, his current roles do in fact place him as a member of Maelstrom Staff and the support team