Share this project


Share this project

A mythico-historical card game based on 1000 cards that weave an edutaining spell through the looking glass of time.

A mythico-historical card game based on 1000 cards that weave an edutaining spell through the looking glass of time.

A mythico-historical card game based on 1000 cards that weave an edutaining spell through the looking glass of time. Read More
pledged of $31,000 goal
seconds to go

Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on October 13, 2013.

About this project

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.


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).

To clarify:

$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.

Risks and challenges

In this work, graphic design, publishing and art are of the essence, and sometimes art and production encounter delays. The production scheme is fairly simple, consisting predominantly of card production, packaging and distribution. Products will have been tested in advance, but there is no abnormal complexity to the production or distribution processes.

I have given myself an extended time frame - 12 months - to complete the product to compensate for any contingencies. In the best case scenario, the decks and hardcover manual will be completed in 6 months and distributed within 8. The perks will be delivered as quickly as possible, and construction of the remaining decks will begin immediately as well.

There are 50 Cards in each Deck, 8 Realms and a Spirit and Society Deck for each Realm in the basic Thousand Leaves version of the game. Plus, there are 50 cards in each base Galaxy and Academy Deck and 50 in each Expansion Galaxy and Academy Decks, for a total of 1000 cards. This campaign will finance at least the first edition of the game, consisting of 500 cards, and that process will be followed by the addition of the last 4 Realms, which will be developed while the first 500 are in production. Only 4 Realms - Hellas, Egypt, China and Japan - will be completed within the first 12 months in order to use the revenues to support the development of the rest of the game. The final 4 Realms will be released within the following six months.

Experience the tranquility of A Thousand Leaves. It is a low-risk product with limitless possibilities and it is a step forward for good games.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • The two Polar Decks, Galaxy and Academy, are placed in the center of the table (the "Pole"), and each Realm uses two decks, the Society and Spirit Decks. Each player needs one Realm, and the game just needs one set of the Polar decks. You probably want about 3 Realms to host a game, and I will be putting out four Realms if my funding goal is reached, and the other four Realms immediately after with the sales revenues from the first batch (it was just the most economical way to organize production). The box set at $140 is for four realms, and I am not presently offering all eight realms as part of a package due to the production scheme and the uncertainty surrounding the final production dates for the last four realms.

    The Galaxy Deck is similar to a set of random event cards for all players. The Academy Deck specifically offers tactical strategies and technologies to all players that otherwise are not found in the Realm decks.

    Incidentally, the triangular layout of the cards creates a circular layout that fits nicely on a typical round table, and simulates a hemisphere of a globe. I am including rules for a double-hemisphere game.

    Realms may be used more than once, allowing a game to have more than four players even with only four Realms under production.

    Last updated:
  • The game is played with 1 Realm per person, and 1 pair of Polar decks in the center. 1 Realms = 1 Society + 1 Spirit Deck (2 Decks). 2 Players = 2 Realms + 1 Pair of Polar Decks, for a total of 6 Decks. 3 Players is 3 Realms + Polar Decks (8 Decks). The decks are sold in pairs, except of the $10 bonus Deck perk level that I made to interest people.

    So really for 2 Players, you need 6 Decks. The $111 tier gives you this, plus a hardcover instruction manual. The $140 tier gives you enough to play with 4 people, along with a softcover manual. Anything below $111 only gives you enough for one person.

    Last updated:


  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    One Bonus Deck of 50 beautifully illustrated and designed cards.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $24 USD

    One Couplet (2 Decks that go together): Japan, China, Hellas, Egypt, or the Two Polar Decks.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $39 USD

    The 100 Cards of the 2 Polar Decks (Galaxy and Academy) and One Realm (1 Society and 1 Spirit Deck) in a limited good deal.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $72 USD

    The Starter Package: The 2 Polar Decks and 1 Couplet (Realm) and a Colour Instruction Manual.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $111 or more About $107 USD

    6 Decks (3 Couplets) and a Hardcover Colour Manual.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $140 or more About $135 USD

    The First Box Set. 10 Decks out of the 20 of the full One Thousand Leaves. 1 Academy and 1 Galaxy Deck, the set of 4 Realms and a Colour Instruction Manual. Party of 4, anyone?

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $242 USD

    You may choose one of the pithy aphorisms or witticisms that add not only flare and culture to the game, but aspects of gameplay, and your name will be mentioned in brackets (if you like), plus a Couplet.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $725 USD

    Your Cartoonized image or photograph will be placed in a context of your choice in one of the cards, and you may choose the quote and your name and/or signature, plus 2 items of paraphernalia.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $2,899 USD

    An 8-Player World Tournament private party with the owners and Team and new unreleased Decks, plus your choice of paraphernalia, a special thanks in the credits and media and pictures in the company website.

    Oh yes, and a merciless lesson in play at the hands of the game's creator (transportation not included).

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers

Funding period

- (31 days)