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A 30 minute card game for 2-5 players. Hocus is a deeply interactive strategy game of magic spells, cunning, and luck.
A 30 minute card game for 2-5 players. Hocus is a deeply interactive strategy game of magic spells, cunning, and luck.
A 30 minute card game for 2-5 players. Hocus is a deeply interactive strategy game of magic spells, cunning, and luck.
1,639 backers pledged $31,403 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Hocus: A magical card game

$31,403

1,639

If you're a retailer, reach out to me at grant@hyperbolegames.com!

"Every now and then, a game comes along that makes you take a different look at the types of games you love. My first full game of Hocus was played with my immediate family... parents, sister, biker guy... and it was a HUGE hit. I would have never suggested we play poker, but Hocus is so new and refreshing, no one wanted to stop playing." - Chevee Dodd, designer of Scallywags, Pull!, and tester for Hocus

Hocus is a card game for 2-5 players that plays in 30 minutes. The origin of the idea was: "what would poker be like with spells?" Hocus is about using your unique spells, carefully managing the cards in your hands, and scoring big when your opponents aren't watching.

Hocus is deeply interactive, as you must observe and react to the play of opponents, judge the pace of the round, and make the most of your limited turns. The game is extensively tested and has been in constant development for 18 months. It has simple mechanisms, but requires thoughtful strategy. It is a highly replayable mix of skillful play and luck.

"You may be skeptical of a game that’s based around making poker hands, but Hocus is a great new take." - Matthew Gravelyn

What's in the Box!?

Get a copy of Hocus for $15 plus the cost of shipping. Shipping is free for backers in the US and subsidized for other destinations.

Prototype cards
Prototype cards

The game's components include:

  • 101 high-quality, linen-finish cards 
  • 1 Rule Sheet 
  • 1 two-piece box

There are 60 beautifully illustrated playing cards, 24 unique and colorful Spell cards, 5 Reference cards, 2 Jokers, and 10 Score Tracking cards, all with a high quality linen finish. 

The Score Cards
The Score Cards

In addition to all of these, to thank backers for making Hocus so successful, we're also including a wooden first player token with every copy of the game purchased. 

Wooden first player token
Wooden first player token

How to Play the Game

"Played Hocus over lunch. Thinkier than I would have thought. Very cool." - Jonathan Schindler

The video above features Grant explaining how to play the Classic version of Hocus. This is the simplest place to start. The video below features Josh explaining the full version of Hocus, including Advanced Spells and Owls.

It has kinda a pokery beginning, but you can tell it has wandered very far away from Texas Hold ‘Em as an overall idea.” - Jonathan Cox of JonGetsGames

The game is played in rounds until at least one player earns enough points. At the start of each round, every player is dealt a number of cards. Each card has a Suit, a Strength, and a Point value.

The Owl Wizard cards also have special abilities. 

Prototype cards
Prototype cards

On your turn, you choose a single spell to use. Every player has three common Basic Spells. 

  • The first lets you play cards to the Community. All players share the cards in the Community. 
  • For the second, you play cards to the Community's Pot. The total Point value of the cards in the Pot are the prize for winning the Community. 
  • Finally, players can build a personal Pocket of up to 2 cards. The player who can form the best poker hand by combining the Community with their Pocket wins all points in the Pot.

There's a twist! There are multiple Communities, each with a Pot, and players can have multiple Pockets. What emerges is a unique experience where having the best hand isn't enough. The best players are those who see opportunities with their hand of cards, build a set that's just good enough to win, and stuff the Pot full of Points. 

A sampling of Spells
A sampling of Spells

There are also 8 Spell Books, each with 3 unique Spells that provide a different way to play and gain the upper hand over your opponents. With all of this, you have a rich and fascinating game that fits in your backpack and is perfect for a picnic, a lunch game, or as the opener to game night.

Rules and Print and Play

We want you to try the game for yourself!  Read the Rules here. Download the printer friendly Print and Play here, or the full color Print and Play here. You can also find the Guide here. Follow the game on Board Game Geek here

Previews, Podcasts, and More

  • We were interviewed on On Board Games. Listen Here
  • Jonathan Liu of Geek Dad wrote a preview. Read it here.
  • We were on Who, What, Why discussing Hocus's design. Listen here.
  • I Slay the Dragon wrote a thoughtful preview. Read it here.
  • Backer Brandon Wilson wrote a review after playing the PNP. Read it here
  • We were interviewed by Tom Gurganus on Go Forth and Game. Read it here
  • Grant was interviewed on the Meeple Mechanic. Read it here.
  • Joshua was interviewed on the Meeple Mechanic. Read it here
  • We were interviewed by I Slay the Dragon. Read it here.

"Hocus has gone through many, many iterations, and I feel lucky to have played so many of them. Grant and Josh worked tirelessly to arrive at this final version, and it shows. The gameplay is tight, compelling, and packed with interesting decisions." - Mike Mullins, tester and co-designer of Bottom of the 9th

"The advanced spells really make this game for me. Each set is unique and offers a different approach to gameplay. You have to balance pulling off your own combos while keeping an eye on your opponents. The theme, artwork and spells turn a familiar game into a great game." - Brian Suhre, tester and designer of Paradox

"My wife is very selective in her gaming and not what I would call a "gamer" in any sense of the word. But here we have a card game that most people will understand the fundamentals of right off the bat with the use of poker. The community building and spells add enough complexity to scratch my gaming itch while still being accessible for her. And the community building gives us a nice mechanic for competition and tension. All together, these make this game a great choice for any gaming couple, especially where the tastes vary widely." - Matthew Tate, tester and devilish Carcassonne player

"A really fun game that was easy to carry, teach to folks quickly & went over well with a wide range of ages (8-55). I loved the theme. It was fun & added some great twists to a classic game!" - Dave Gordon, tester

We have written extensively about the development of Hocus (previously Hocus Poker). You can read our articles here

Add Ons

For each Add On, simply increase your Pledge by the amount indicated and we'll obtain the details from you at the end of the campaign via the survey.

Additional Copies: US backers may add additional copies for $13 apiece. You do not pay additional shipping! The game will likely MSRP for $18 (plus shipping if purchased online), so we think this is a great deal!

Custom Box and Tokens: We love the work of Daft Concepts and consulted to see if they had ideas for adding a hand-crafted touch to Hocus. We're offering a box that holds all 99 cards (sleeved), the rules, and 45 custom wooden tokens for keeping score.

Tokens are approximately the size of Quarters
Tokens are approximately the size of Quarters

Add $30 to your Pledge for the Custom Box and Tokens. This is available for US backers only.

If you have questions about any of the Add Ons, do not hesitate to Contact Me!

Why Back Now?

"Hocus combines all the strategy of Poker with a fantasy flair. The spells aspect really opens up an entirely new level of strategy. The artwork is awesome! I will definitely be backing Hocus." - Eric Batchelder, tester

Hocus has been tested hundreds of times locally and with over a dozen blind test groups in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It's been at multiple UnPubs/Protospiel events, BGG Con, and more.

We're positive this is a great game and a wonderful value for our backers. Here is why you should back now instead of waiting.

Grant and Josh testing
Grant and Josh testing

Discount: We're giving Kickstarter backers a discount off MSRP. We know you're taking a risk with us. Therefore, we want to give you a great deal.

Money Back Guarantee: If you decide you don't like Hocus within 1 month of receiving it, you can return it and receive a full pledge refund, which includes shipping. Try the game at least twice to learn it and see the fun. If it's not for you, send it back.

Get it First: Kickstarter backers will receive their copies of Hocus before others. 

You're helping us get our start. We need to know if Hocus is viable. Furthermore, in order to prove ourselves and get into distribution and onto retail shelves, we need to demonstrate there is demand. You can be instrumental in that. 

What Things Cost

Publishing a card game, even one as simple as Hocus, is expensive. Below is a chart that breaks down our costs, approximately, against the notion of just hitting our funding level.  

Gaining additional backers and selling additional copies helps us further offset our fixed costs, like manufacturing and art, and greatly increases our chances of getting into distribution. That is where we hope to earn additional revenue to make this entire project viable in the long run.

About the Team

Joshua Buergel is a 20 year veteran of software development based in Seattle, Washington. He is a lifelong gamer with a collection of over 3000 games, with his 3 children and wife in there somewhere. Josh's previous works include development for GMT, notably Unhappy King Charles! and a personal design, Foresight.

Adam McIver is our dynamic and well-bearded graphic design guru based in Cincinnati, Ohio. There's a good chance you've seen his work from The Cre8tive Dept, or played one of his games (like Coin Age). Check out his incredible portfolio or read our interview with him here.

Grant Rodiek is a 10 year video game industry veteran based in San Francisco, California, where he lives with his corgi and fiance, Beth. Grant's previous table top works include the Parent's Choice Award winning Farmageddon and another title to be published by Portal Games in 2016. 

Tiffany Turrill is a Berkeley, California, based illustrator with over 8 years of experience with clients like Fantasy Flight Games, Electronic Arts, and us!  Check out her incredible portfolio or read our interview with her here

Risks and challenges

Delay Management: Delays are common in producing physical goods overseas. To eliminate all delays within our control, all art, graphic design, and file preparation will be finished before the conclusion of this campaign. We're 90% there already! Hocus will be ready to go to the printer the day this campaign ends.

Manufacturing Partner: To ensure the highest quality product and to aid us in our efforts as new publishers, we're working with Panda Manufacturing. Panda is known for remarkable quality and project management. We have been preparing Hocus with them for a year now, and they have been phenomenal partners.

Reserve Funds: Unexpected costs can and will arise. We specifically chose Hocus as our first project because it is a small, low cost, low risk product that is fun! We have set aside more than ample funds to cover any unexpected costs.

No Stretch Goals: We've been watching and supporting Kickstarters for years. One common cause for many problems and delays are Stretch Goals. By skipping Stretch Goals, we can stabilize our costs, better manage delays, and maintain focus on making our initial offering the best offering. The cards have a high quality linen finish, we support 5 players, there are 8 different Spell Books, and a rule sheet. We could have made them Stretch Goals, but we decided to make them the default offering.

Shipping: To ensure the game arrives safely from China, we're sparing no expense to utilize the simplest method of shipping. Fewer hand offs means fewer opportunities for mistakes.

Finally, we will act transparently and thoughtfully. If we make a mistake, we'll do our best to correct it as quickly as possible. We want this to be a great experience for every backer.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    We appreciate your support! Please download the free Print and Play files while you're here!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    This level grants access to a full color, high resolution Print and Play file of Hocus. This was added due to backer feedback.

    The files are available immediately upon backing and are available to all backers who pledge $5 or more!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    1 copy of Hocus. Backer pays Shipping.

    USA: Free Shipping
    Canada: $7
    Rest of World: $12

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    3 Copies of Hocus shipped anywhere in the world. This pledge level is intended for International Backers who want to save a little bit with a group order.

    Shipping is included at this backer level.

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Funding period

- (29 days)