This is a game of history, drama and mystery made from 1000 unique Cards, each inspired by special parts of history. It may be played by 2 people, although the game is ideally played with 4-6 participants. The title evokes the oldest known Japanese poetry anthology, Ten Thousand Leaves, which transferred many oral poetry traditions to paper for the first time in the 8th Century. A Thousand Leaves is also a translation of “Chiba”, a region in Japan.
The game blends ancient works of art with poetry and aphorisms taken from the literature of 8 ancient Eurasian cultures and creates a masterpiece from their pieces. A Thousand Leaves is constructed with a knowledge of educational games (edutainment) and pedagogy, although the game is meant to be a work of art, not science. It inspires the imagination even as it searches the soul and satisfies a hunger for novelty and excitement.
This revolutionary card game combines a 4-deck concept with 8 ancient Realms – Hellas, Egypt, Elam, China, Japan, Sumer, Rome, and Indus – to create a rich, mythological, and continuously evolving story based on ancient cultures. The cards bring to life hundreds of ancient characters from around the world that engage in rhetorical debates at legendary courts or re-live battlefield combats over famous countrysides of the past. Sprawling, complex, and delightfully intriguing, A Thousand Leaves is intended to expand the minds of players from ages 10 onward.
THE REALMS AND THEIR SYMBOLS
Ankh: “The Key of Life”, the symbol of the Nile and eternal life.
Bull: A revered symbol of fertility, power and wealth around the Mediterranean, Ziggurats were adorned with copper Horns atop their walls. The Bull was both the great beneficiary and offering in sacrifices, representing the cycle of life.
Cuneiform Sun: The Sumerian symbol for Heaven or God.
Labrys: The secret of the Labyrinthos, or place where the Labrys was kept. The Double Labrys, or Double Axe, was the chief symbol of spiritual power in Minoan Greece and was found not only throughout pre-historic Greece but across the Aegean as well.
Laurel Wreath: The symbol of Roman achievement and civic grace.
Tomoe: A symbol of spiritual power, in this case representing the 5 elements and their 5 sub-elements, or the study of the blending of the palette of spiritual feelings.
Two-Headed Snake: Snakes were powerful emissaries of medicine in the ancient world, and in many traditions represented reincarnation and symbolic rebirth.
Yinyang: A symbol of the dance of elements, the laws of nature, change, balance, and the Tao.
It is a game that allows players to mix and match strategies, adapting to opponents and exploring the alchemy of personality. There are several Victory conditions, including diplomacy, philosophical dominance, subterfuge, military conquest, honour, and completing your Library and Gallery. The game contains many innovations not seen in other games, including a mischievous Diplomatic matrix that allows theft, bluffing, spying, bidding, secret negotiations and sabotage.
The rules of A Thousand Leaves allow it to be played fast or slow and allow cards to be recombined endlessly while eliminating excessive "housekeeping" (managing piles of cards). It is never the same game twice, and it will help you learn and enjoy history, art and literature in a way that feels nothing like school. It also features new art by local Canadian artists (Megan Furesz, e.g.). The rulebook is being produced through Friesen Press and will be available for review online when designs are available during the campaign, although it will not be available in print for 4-6 months.
A standard game will take between 1-2 hours to play, like most board games, straddling the line between role-playing, adventure, story and simple card game. Every card is unique, containing references to art, culture and hundreds of famous quotes. A Thousand Leaves may be played in a variety of styles, allowing the novice to develop easily, using quicker, simpler strategies, or allowing players to brood endlessly over complex battle strategies if that is their preference.
Every Player is a Leader of one of the 8 Realms. The game takes place in Turns, each of which consists of 4 PHASES: Diplomatic, Military, Society and Spirit. In each Phase, each player may take one free Action (“Phase Action”). Armies may traverse the globe or Priests build Temples, units turn against their masters or debates alter the fate of nations.
BATTLE: The game features a delightful representation of ancient warfare, complete with a Center, Left and Right and real battlefield strategies. Each player takes an action through pieces (Face Cards) on an imaginary board, alternating until all pieces have taken at least one action before the next turn begins.
Most of the Perks allow you to purchase the basic Decks of the game necessary for one Player to set the game up. The game manual will be available online for free in black and white, and in colour through the printed versions (hardcover/softcover). The price of the game includes elaborate deck designs as well as the cost of publication of the manual, which is extensively designed an equally ornate in concept and the product of many years of research. Furthermore, there are history lessons that accompany many of the abilities in the game (for example, the Flanks Refused maneuver was notably used by Cyrus the Great. The description in the book will discuss the historical concept).
$10 - You get one "Bonus" Deck, which will be an Expansion Galaxy or Academy Deck. This is not sufficient to play the game by itself, but will enhance the game greatly, giving you more options, or will give you a basic sense of the game so that you can determine how much more you need!
$25 - These two Decks, making one Realm, are enough to allow you to show up at a party as long as someone else has the two Polar Decks (Galaxy and Academy). All Players may draw from the same two center Decks, regardless of how many Players there are. Or, you can buy the two Polar Decks.
$40 - The two Polar Decks and one Realm allow you to be ready to play or host a game for other enthusiasts.
$75 - Same as $40, but with a full colour softcover instruction manual. The manual, as stated above, will also be available online free of charge, but not in colour! And it's not as much fun. Plus, there will be bonus material in the printed versions.
$111 - Allows you to buy a complete layout for two Players, or 3 Realms to supplement your other items. Plus a Hardcover manual.
$140 - All the elements needed for 4 Players. Softcover Manual.
This project has so far been limited by its access to art, publication and graphic design. The layout design is complete and prototypes have already been tested, although further testing is still required to finalize the design after the art is complete. Most likely the work will require another 250 pieces of art in order to complete the portrait of the past. This can cost in the neighbourhood of $20,000, depending on funding and other variables. $50,000 would provide an appropriate quantum leap in illustration, although a standard corporate game of this nature would easily cost $1-2 million to produce. Much of the ancient art used belongs to the public domain, which is beneficial both to the soul and to the pocket book.
This campaign seeks as its floor $31,000. Of course, who would not
encourage enthusiastic donors to continue donating to such a worthy cause? The funds will all be
applied to the following budget.
$31,000 – Artwork, perks, the Polar Decks (Academy and Galaxy Decks, 50 Cards apiece) and 4 Realms, minimal promotion and legalities. Sufficient to
complete the project.
$48,000 – Further legal expenses, graphic design, testing and development editing to improve the script and aesthetic value.
$69,000 – 6 Realm Decks. More depth in artwork, editing and marketing, and mobile app software development.
$145,000 – All 8 Realm Decks. Enhanced marketing and design of other products like tabletop maps and overtures towards conversion to electronic versions of the game.
$310,000 – Translation into German, Japanese, French and Russian for starters,
and a broader campaign. Production of related products to broaden the appeal and prolong the wonder of gameplay.
$1,000,000 and up - This would entail a complete re-design from the look of the cards to the materials to be used in production. Novelty plastic cards, alternate decks, maps, handheld software and contributions from famous artists, for example.
Who is this guy?
Stephen J. Morris is a versatile writer, researcher, artist and programmer. His passion is ancient history and its relevance to our world of today.