I figured I would give you a heads up on the next big project I am working on for our publishing/gaming company Wicked Clever (which by the way has a brand new website!) Now, this is in addition to the next Gandersnitch book I am still writing, the kids book I am still revising, the research on a book about my grandfather (a WWII bomber pilot who was shot down over Germany and spent the rest of the war in a concentration camp), doing the dad stuff, and attempting to wrangle some distribution deals to grow our company to the next level…
But I wanted to give folks a heads up before the inevitable groans of “Not again!”, because yes, we are going to be launching a new kickstarter.
And here is why:
Last year, for Con on the Cob (a quirky little family friendly gaming con in Ohio) I decided to figure out what sort of game Gandersnitch should run. I spent a good bit of time thinking about it (at least a full afternoon) and bounced my ideas off the brain of my good friend Dave. When I broke roleplaying games down in the the mind of a goblin, this is what I came up with.
- Dice – You must have dice. In fact, you must have ALL THE DICE!
- Random Charts – Everybody loves rolling on random charts! (Actually, nobody does. Or somebody out there must like it, but I hated writing a bunch of random charts, so this idea was eventually scrapped)
- Character Sheets – Which of course led to the idea that you must also have characters.
- Crazy People – In so much that the general outside impression of role-playing is that people must either be summoning demons or crazy enough to believe what they are doing is real.
Role playing games are actually nothing more than community storytelling with rules that help add an element of cohesiveness to the story and simulate risk. Nobody I have ever played with actually believes any of the stories we tell, or the characters we create, are actually real. And nobody I know (at least nobody except my ex-girlfriend from college), has ever used such games to summon dark forces from the world beyond. She was a demon all on her own, so technically, that might just count.
Anyhow, I set about creating a game. A game Gandersnitch would run. A silly little game about lunatics that think they have superpowers and go off on top secret missions to save the world! (Or steal the deed to the moon from a terminator style Donald Trump at Disneyland…)
A game that uses all the dice I own, which is a friggen lot of dice! (Enough to fill a storm-trooper head candy bucket from Halloween.)
At this point, those of you who have ever played a rpg are going “Whoa now! You can’t play with ALL of your dice! Each system uses specific dice. So which system are you using?”
To which I reply: “Oh you of little faith! This is a game made by a professional goblin! We do in fact use all the dice, the character sheets, and anything on the table! That is the system, my own insane system!”
Actually the system is quite simple. When you want to do something dangerous or crazy in the game, you draw a card from the challenge deck and have to do what is says on the card. If you manage to do this (usually it involves rolling some dice but not always) then whatever you were trying to do succeeds and the story moves on. If you don’t manage to do what the card says, you fail and a card is drawn from the “Deck of Very Bad Things!” to determine what happens instead.
Easy. Fun. And no rules to memorize!
Now, most rpgs involve a great deal of time, preparation, and commitment… Not so with this one! The setup for the game (character & adventure generation) takes less that ten minutes and you can play a complete game in under 2 hours! You don’t have to do any prep work at all to play this game! You don’t even have to decide before hand that you are going to play it! You just sit down and go…
Now, if I am going to be totally honest here, I figured this would be a one time gimmick I ran as Gandersnitch at Con on the Cob. It was going to be another “bit” so to speak. But the more I worked on it, the more I realized there was actually a playable game here. Not only a playable game, but a fun one at that! And as if to prove my point, that very first group at Con on the Cob had a total blast playing it!
So I worked on it some more, off and on through the winter. I worked up some snazzy professional quality cards (instead of post it notes in protective sleeves) and gave it another go at Origins at the beginning of the summer. I ran the game four time, for a total of almost 30 people…
And they all had a great time! I had people come back to play a second time. I had people ask to buy it so they could run it at other conventions. I had to turn away folks that had heard how much fun it was, simply because there were no more chairs at our assigned table. And my last group even told me it was the perfect way to end an amazing weekend!
So I have this game now. It is a good game. A game that uses gobs of dice, and cards, and simple rules… and oh crap, I can’t print this thing! It would be way too expensive! So how do I make it available to people that want it?
Thank goodness for the internet!
We are now working on turning the game into a fully realized pdf professional qaulity pdf. Then people can buy it online, download it, print out the rules, cut out the cards, gather up their dice and have a blast! No printing, boxing, or shipping on our end! (at least not at first…)
Now we get to the kickstarter part. You see, when I have run this game at conventions, the rules did not need any art. They did not need any formatting. Nobody but me saw the rule book…
That won’t fly for folks to buy. The game has to have art! And we are picky about such things. I could hand my kids fingerpaints and matches and tell them to have at it! (And believe me, the thought has crossed my mind), but I think maybe we should actually hire an real life artist to at least do the cover for the game. I have the artist! I insist on paying him! But we have to raise the funds to do that second thing…
Thus the kickstarter. But this one is easy. We are setting the pledge level at $1 (hey, it worked for potato salad guy!)
One dollar gets you the full pdf of the game to download, print, and play once the fundraising period is over. (Note: The game will be $5 after the kickstarter is over! That is a HUGE discount for our backers.) Our aim is to raise enough money to pay the artist for his work without dipping into funds allocated to other things… like heat and water. And frankly, to build a bigger audience for our little tiny gaming company. The more people that play and love our $1 game, the better!
Only $1? For a game that so many people have had fun playing? Sign me up! Take my money! Where is the link?
Not so fast, my most enthusiastic friend. (His name is Ray by the way, and he is awesome!) I still have to figure out how to print the physical cards if some folks don’t want to cut out their own. I have to figure out if we can have an add on of funky strange dice so that people don’t have to do like I have done and steal the dice from my really old games. I have to take the time to actually make a video and stuff. And we do kinda have this big event called Gencon next week.
So the kickstarter will launch on August 30th 2016!
Mark your calendars! Adjust your budgets! Take a bath! Cancel all your dates! Be ready to spread the word on August 30th!
Oh, and someone poke the artists and tell him to get to work…
Here is the flier I will be handing out at Gencon. You all get to see it first!