Not so much a scam as a poor decision / ineptitude on the part of the project creator.
Cyan promised European backers that the physical items would be shipped from inside Europe. Initial inspection of the postal label shows a Swedish postmark and return address (which meets the “shipped from within Europe” promise), but a sending address and country of origin both in the USA (which does not).
Unsurprisingly, the various European postal services took one look at the individual parcels and said, “that’s from outside Europe, we’ll rake in some tax on that,” even though the postmark and return address could not be any more obviously Swedish even to the untrained eye.
From https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1252280491/myst-25th-anniversary-collection/posts/2331455 – “Shipping news
After the boat ride – between 4 to 6 weeks at sea (depending on destinations) – the Myst 25 rewards will be transported to Blackbox’s fulfillment centers for final processing.
Centers in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States will get their shipments. Then Blackbox will check, process, and pack the rewards for final shipping to your homes.”
From https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1252280491/myst-25th-anniversary-collection/description – “To help insure our shipping is as high quality and as low cost as possible, we have partnered with Blackbox who has globally positioned facilities to help minimize customs fees and VAT.”
Many backers all across Europe are complaining that their local postal services have been demanding payment of import fees for something which should have attracted no import fee due to being shipped from… inside Europe.
Evidently something went wrong, but Cyan has yet to respond to the criticisms, so we don’t yet know what happened. However, given the scale of the project and the number of backers, there is a lot of money at stake in aggregate. Cyan is sending out multiple parcels to each backer to fulfil the pledges, and each individual parcel could easily be subject to import fees.
15 euros for one parcel might not be a huge amount for one person, but multiplied by both the number of parcels and the number of European backers…? It’s no wonder that the backers are complaining vocally. It’s a bit of a slap in the face to be asked to pay potentially almost an extra 50%, depending on pledge level and fees charged by the various countries’ tax agencies.