Catalyst Game Labs Financial Issues as a Teachable Moment

Catalyst Game Labs announced today that a recent audit revealed some financial irregularities, specifically some missing funds. The Catalyst press release indicates one of the owners caused the issue and is working with the company to rectify the situation.

This is certainly newsworthy and I will be asking Catalyst about the future of the company at GTS next week, but that is not the point of this post. I think the response of the game community and some game bloggers in particular is worth exploring.

As far as I can tell, the initial release of information regarding CGLs financial situation appeared in a forum on the dumpshock site. The poster makes some dire and dramatic statements about the future of the company and the licenses it holds for various games, Shadowrun being the most famous.

First, reading through the forum thread indicates to me that I need to define this term:


willing to believe or trust too readily, esp. without proper or adequate evidence; gullible. (per

While a few voices in the wilderness voiced skepticism, far too many of the responses took the post at face value and either condemned the company, its officers or offered ideas for fund-raisers to save Catalyst.

Based on zero evidence. No links, no documents, nothing. A bit sad really.

The credulity of the forum posters aside, I would like to draw your attention to a post on the “Wild Die” gaming blog.

UPDATE: The original version of the “Wild Die” post is no longer available. The link above leads to a much less…controversial introductory paragraph. Never fear, here is a screen shot of the original version, culled from my RSS reader.

Wild Die Catalyst Financial Problems Original Introduction

I find it amusing the post is now dated 3-17-2010 18:21, exactly 10 minutes after I published this post. What an interesting coincidence.

“Daedalus” blithely posted the original forum post in its entirety without a hint of skepticism or critical thinking. No suggestion that the information was anything other than what it was at the time: unsubstantiated rumor. “Wild Die” also wins the “Unsubstantiated Smear of the Year” award by adding the word “embezzlement” to his post and associating it with the person’s name from the original post. ( I will not re-print the name here. I have no urge to add more Google keyword-power to defame an innocent person. Yes, innocent. Being guilty of embezzlement  requires due process and a trial. Welcome to America.) I am not a lawyer, but calling someone an embezzler without a conviction sounds like a solid case for libel to me.

Some of you may remember that I uncovered the attempt to take over Gencon during its bankruptcy proceedings and posted about it on this blog. I posted because I had the legal filings to prove it. Source your information or do not post it, especially when dealing with someone’s reputation and potentially their livelihood.

Contrast the “Wild Die”  post with the one from the “Purple Pawn” blog.

The Purple Pawn writer defines the information as “rumor and speculation.” The author then goes on to provide what reliable information they do have, with sources. Finally, he actually sent an email to Catalyst for their comment on the issue. When the CGL press release came out, it was added to the post.

Game blogs like do not matter in the greater scheme of things. No one lives or dies based on a game blog’s posts. That said, we do have a responsibility to wield our pens with some professionalism and thought. My promise to you is that if I post something “serious” on the site, like the CGL financial problem or the Gencon bankruptcy, I will source my information. I will never post something I believe to be true, only what I can prove is true.

Purple Pawn clearly understands this simple axiom. Wild Die  needs to learn it.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.