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Fully cooperative tile-based exploration and resource management survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world for 1-6 players.
Fully cooperative tile-based exploration and resource management survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world for 1-6 players.
413 backers pledged $32,105 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$32,105

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Missed the Kickstarter?  You can order the game here.

Want to keep up with what's going on or ask questions? Find us on FacebookTwitter, and BoardGameGeek!

You can find links to the current rules here, or watch this video explaining basic concepts and gameplay:

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 You can watch us play through the Hive mission here, or the Activate the Machine mission here.  Other playthroughs can be found on our Youtube channel here.

As a thank you for backing us now instead of waiting for retail, all of the stretch goals we unlock will be included in your copy of the base game at no additional cost.  Aside from the Behemoth, after this print run they will no longer be part of the base game and if we do decide to re-release them later on, they will be an additional purchase.

"Unknown seems to play itself out with just the right amount of game tension and game length you’d expect for a tile game. Just a whole lot darker." Says Cardboard Republic who included us in the PAX East recap, where we made the list of his 10 favorite things there, and the resulting preview.

DJ Grandpa interviewed us for his crowdfunding podcast, DJ Grandpa's Crib.  Our interview starts around the 9 minute mark.

You are among a group of survivors, those that were smart enough to hide underground when war came to your city. While there are many people here, only a few of you have volunteered to venture out past the relative safety of your makeshift base in the tunnels. No one knows what is out there, but supplies are running out, and you need to find more if everyone is going to continue surviving. Staying alive isn’t enough though, you need to start rebuilding, or at least making things a little more secure. Your team must explore the nearby tunnels in order to keep your base camp supplied with the food and resources necessary to rebuild.

Unknown is a fully cooperative tile based exploration and survival game for 1-6 players.  Players create the game board by exploring tiles around their base, and attempt to keep the base camp stocked with food while gathering resources and performing actions to complete the mission’s objectives. The players win when they complete the mission objective and accompanying minor objective. The players lose if the base runs out of food.

A game in progress (prototype shown)
A game in progress (prototype shown)
A few of the characters and missions (prototypes shown)
A few of the characters and missions (prototypes shown)
prototype contents
prototype contents
  • 14 Characters up from 8 thanks to 6 generous backers, plus one additional only for this printing 
  • 8 Mission objectives, plus an additional 2 (and counting) only in this printing
  • 5 Minor objectives
  • 6 enemy types, including 5 custom meeple designs
  • Over 100 tiles, including 8 different types of environmental hazards
  • Over 100 meeples, cubes, discs and other wooden pieces
      Prototype Custom meeple outlines for the enemies in the base game

 What you see in the photos and videos are our current prototypes, so even though they are nice as far as prototypes go, you can certainly expect some upgrades in the production version.  Tiles will be 2mm chipboard (think Carcassonne but slightly larger) and the tile backs will be printed with a non-distracting pattern that will better fit the theme.  The art itself is complete, but the graphic design of the cards, tiles, and quick reference sheet is still being ironed out to improve clarity and feel.  We haven't shown it yet, but the box insert is also something we are focusing on, making sure that all of the parts have a home and including room for all of the expansion parts as well.

Custom wooden prototype box and early rendering of the production box insert, both with room for all of the base game and the expansion.
Custom wooden prototype box and early rendering of the production box insert, both with room for all of the base game and the expansion.

Fully cooperative.  There is no traitor and there are no points to muddy the goals. You either win as a team, or everyone starves together.  The game may be played solo or with up to 6 players, and because it is cooperative it can easily accommodate players leaving early or joining late.

Highly Varied Gameplay.  One of our main goals is to ensure that no two games play alike, so we included four separate changing facets that interact in different ways every time. First, different characters' abilities change how you play since they gain bonuses to their particular role. Second, the mission objective sets the overall goal for the game, from simply scouting the area to more complex missions like rescuing refugees or defeating bosses. Third, the minor objective not only gives a second task to complete but also an additional bonus or ability once finished that will alter how the rest of the game is played. Finally, exploring tiles means that the board lays out differently each game, but the tiles in the deck also change each time so you never know what is coming.  While all of these parts are different, we worked hard to ensure that they are all balanced so that while the gameplay changes, the overall difficulty doesn't unless you want it to.

Variable Difficulty .  Since the tile deck is built before each game by adding randomized creatures and hazards, it is easy to tune to the desired difficulty. If you want a more casual game, leave out an enemy or environmental hazard. If you want to fight more at the same overall difficulty, trade a few environmental hazards for an extra enemy.

Easy to Teach and Quick to Start . The basic concepts and actions are easy to learn and teach; a new player can be taught enough to join the game in under five minutes. In most cases all of the information you need about a tile is right on it, and if it’s not there it is on the player mats pictured below. All of the tiles are also color coded to make setup and break down quick and easy.

The front of the quick reference mat (prototype shown)
The front of the quick reference mat (prototype shown)

 Want an extra copy or some other thing we offer?  Here are the things you can add to any pledge of $55 or higher:

  • 1 extra copy of the game: $40  
  • 1 signed art book: $70 
  • Small digital art pack: $15 
  • Full digital art pack: $30 

To add any of these, just adjust your pledge for the amount indicated, plus the shipping cost in the "each other item" column of the shipping chart.

A major part of any game is the art and our artist, Boya Sun has done a fantastic job of bringing you into the world in the small space provided by tiles and cards.

 Characters

Enemies

Hazards

 Objectives and Base Tile

All of the content for the base game is ready to go, and the art is already complete.  All we need now is help to fund the initial print run of the game.  Using conservative estimates, we expect final layout to take two to three months.  After that it is 30 days of proofing with the printer, 60 days for mass production, and 30 days for shipping and customs.  This puts the expected date for fulfillment of the base game at February of 2015.  The content for the expansion is complete, as is most of the art, but it still needs a bit of balancing which we plan to complete while the base game is in production.  If the funding for the expansion is met, this puts the delivery date for that at roughly April of 2015.

 Rob and Dave Games was formed in 2013 after two years of potluck dinner and game nights.  Every Friday we would gather for dinner, put the kids to bed, and then stay up way too late playing games. After 100 or so such gatherings we came to two conclusions. First, after playing a literal wall full of different games, a large part of our fun had become figuring out how to improve the games by tweaking mechanics. Second, playing cooperative games made it much more likely that everyone involved would have a good time. Putting these two realizations together, we decided to start building a team based game from the ground up.

Rob is a long time video and board gamer and a new Daddy. He spends his days working as a computer consultant and every spare moment with his 8 month old son-while working on Unknown. When not working on the game Rob loves spending his time with his wife Lisa hiking, biking, and basically anything active. The love of games began for Rob in high school with Magic the Gathering. That transferred to board games when he started visiting the local game store to improve his decks. What started with Settlers of Catan evolved to Dominion and has now exploded to an almost unhealthy game collection. A growing family and a friendly gaming group has led to the desire for more cooperative board games; hence Rob and Dave Games. Rob and his family spend Friday night at Dave’s playing a variety of board games, and attending or hosting a Saturday game day at least once a month. Unknown is the first game he and Dave have been able to see come to life on Kickstarter, but we promise that more are brewing.

Dave is an ever busy father of two. With an active 4 year old boy and 1 year old girl Dave and his wife Terry are insuring the next gaming generation. Dave is the analytical compliment of Rob.  He enjoys the gamification of most things, and this along with a background in computers and restaurant management leads him to constantly analyze numbers and rework mechanics. Dave started gaming on computers with Tactical Armor Command on the Apple II, and has since progressed through many genres and forms of gaming.  Dave and Terry helped start this whole crazy gaming journey by inviting Rob and Lisa to their first PAX, PAX Prime, 6 years ago. Soon after that began Dave and Terry’s weekly game nights, and from that was the drive to develop a cooperative board game that everyone would want to play.

In order to reduce shipping costs for international backers, we will be shipping rewards from multiple warehouses, hopefully one close to where you are.  To calculate the shipping cost to add to your pledge just find your destination and count the items (games and art books) in your pledge level. For example, if you are in Canada and pledge at the $125 level (game + art book) you would add $15 for the game (first item) and $5 for the book for a total pledge of $145.  If you pledged at the $55 level from Italy, you would add $25 for the game for a total pledge of $80.

 Here are some of the missions and characters we have featured in past updates.  Be sure to check back often as we add more!

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

The survivors have heard reports of an immense creature wandering the tunnels.  Previous attempts to defeat it have been unsuccessful, and so the new plan is to gather some of the more volatile chemicals stored about the tunnels.  Once enough have been gathered, a concentrated attack will hopefully overpower the Behemoth.

The mission will include 5 tiles, the first 4 tiles may be gathered to gain a toxic barrel token.  The 5th will spawn the Behemoth, and players must attack him with all 4 barrels before he reaches the base and decimates the population.  The Behemoth (modified to be tough but killable) may also be added to other missions as one of the random enemy tiles.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

 The investigator excels at situational awareness, allowing her to assess the nearby area while gathering supplies.  After gathering, she may immediately explore an adjacent tile without spending an action.  The Investigator is usually best when at the fringes, and must plan well to best use her ability.  

The Captain is a master of teamwork.  His training helps him to motivate others, and pushes him to lead by example.  He gets a bonus action when starting near other survivors, and may also direct one of them to move for free each turn.  The Captain is best suited to traveling with others, and efficient coordination is necessary to make sure you make the most of his bonuses.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

 The base is mostly secure, but what lies in the rest of the tunnels is (Unknown?) a mystery.  The survivors have been tasked with exploring far enough out that we can get a better idea of where we are and what is nearby.  Once we have an area mapped out, we can more easily patrol the perimeter and hopefully secure the interior.

In the Map mission players must explore tiles until there is a completed perimeter that is large enough to enclose a 9x9 square.  There are over 60 tiles in the deck and it only takes 34 of them to form a square that size, so what makes this a challenge?  The perimeter itself does not have to be a square, but every turn you are forced to take adds tiles to your path.  Enemies and environmental hazards will make you choose between efficient pathing and resource use.  Add in the fact that you still need to keep base supplied with food while you are exploring as quickly as possible away from base and this becomes even harder.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

To improve the conditions at base camp, the survivors have been tasked with reactivating the local power grid.  There is still power running, but the system has been shut down.  Reactivating it requires synchronized commands from three of the control consoles scattered about the tunnels.

The mission adds three console tiles to the deck and the players must explore them all on the same turn.  This means that your odds increase as the remaining deck gets smaller, but also means that you lose time throughout the game when exploring one or two consoles at a time.  This mission encourages efficiency of actions and setting up the next turn for maximum exploration opportunities.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

 Most of you made it to the camp, but there are still some people missing, and they need to be found. Some of the stragglers have family or friends here that want them found, and once the way is clear they will make their own way to base. There are more Refugees, but our camp can only support so many. We will find them and keep them safe for a time, but we will need to find another place for them to live in the long term.  

Both of these missions will utilize the Refugee tiles but require different strategies to complete. The Refugee mission is very time intensive, since the Refugees lower your AP when carried and must be carried around a good bit. This makes the players focus on keeping base stocked and planning their paths efficiently. The Stragglers mission is more about area control, making sure the Stragglers have a safe path back to base. This gives you the choice of guarding and escorting, or clearing the enemies and waiting, both of which have pros and cons.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

The survivors don't really like the idea of eating the things that grow down here in the tunnels, but when you're hungry enough food is food. We've been collecting the food that hasn't spoiled, but the rest of it has been feeding an array of plants and mushrooms. If we collect enough of them, we should be able to test out which are edible and which aren't so the civilians can sort them out when we bring them back.   

Minor Objectives provide a second task that must be completed for victory, but also give a perk once done to help you out for the rest of the game. This gives you something to split your attention and resources early game, and then a bonus later to help finish the mission. This minor objective requires players to return 5 plant tokens to base, and then test them with 2 medicine. After that, all plant tokens returned to base will turn into food. Since we don't know which are good and so gather a whole pile of them, survivors can only carry one plant token at a time. The earlier it is completed the better, and once completed can be a good deal of bonus food, but it requires that survivors rotate base-return duties instead of loading one person up. This creates interesting choices on how and when to spend the extra time and resource to complete it, and then alters the normal routine of food shipments to base.

Prototype shown
Prototype shown

Some of the survivors want to extend the fortifications around our base camp. We should be able to salvage some usable fencing from any bunkers or workshops we find and put it to good use. It may be extra work, but it should keep everyone a bit safer, and save us a bit of walking in the long run. We should also work on improving our communication options. The abandoned bunkers usually have walkie talkies laying around, we just need some spare parts to fix them up. Hopefully with a clearer signal we will be able to talk each other through tasks that aren't usually our forte.  

Extend Perimeter tasks players with gathering and using fences to increase their area of control. Once complete the fences allow trade with base and slow down approaching enemies. Layout of the fence can be used to overcome the constrictions of early-game hazards, or to fortify vulnerable points of entry. Walkie Talkies allows players to spend an action to take on the ability of a different character once completed. This allows you to choose the right ability for your situation, and can lead to impressive combos if used well.

 Want to show everyone that you backed us?  Here are a few pictures you can use as a profile picture to help spread the word.  If there is a particular piece of art that you would like to use for your badge, just let me know.

Risks and challenges

First and foremost, the game is already playable. We have spent 3 years from conception to this point creating rules and content, testing, refining, and balancing. We have completed the content, art and most of the testing for the base game, and are currently testing and balancing the expansion.

This is our first Kickstarter campaign, so we have done our best to research what can go wrong and limit these risks wherever possible. (Thanks to Stonemaier Games for some amazing Kickstarter lessons learned articles!) But this will be a learning process for us, and it’s quite possible that we will hit unforeseen bumps along the way.

For production, we have a reputable company lined up and have quotes from them to ensure that our budget is reasonable. To ease fulfillment, we will most likely be using an outside company with warehouses on multiple continents to lessen overseas shipping costs. We have also limited most of our physical rewards to the game itself so that we can concentrate on our actual goal of providing the most people with the best possible experience.

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    Your name in the flavor text of a minor objective. (John Doe thinks we can reinforce our perimeter) Also includes one copy of the Unknown base game plus the expansion (if unlocked). Includes shipping in the continental US. See shipping chart to determine cost for other destinations.

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    Your likeness in the artist's style on a refugee tile for the refugees mission, along with your first name (Refugee John) in the base game. Also includes one copy of the Unknown base game plus the expansion (if unlocked). Includes shipping in the continental US. See shipping chart to determine cost for other destinations.

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    Your likeness in the artist's style as a brand new character, along with your full name in the flavor text. This will add an additional character to every base game. Also includes one copy of the Unknown base game plus the expansion (if unlocked). Includes shipping in the continental US. See shipping chart to determine cost for other destinations.

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Funding period

- (40 days)