About this project
Welcome to the Knoll St School for Wayward Kittens! KSSWK is a big house where orphaned kittens are fostered until they are big enough to be adopted by their forever homes. To the humans, KSSWK is just an ordinary home where they take in kittens who need some love – but to the kittens, it's like a school where you learn to be a real cat. As a student at KSSWK, you'll go on exciting kitty adventures and learn important lessons about how to grow up into an awesome cat. Your most important lesson will be how to control your laser – a unique and powerful supernatural ability that the humans don't know about!
(Missed the campaign? Don't worry, you can still place a pre-order through Backerkit!)
Laser Kittens is a tabletop storytelling game for 3-5 players. We have created a unique gameplay system to immerse you in the world of being a tiny kitten trying to figure out the world. Each player will take on the role of one kitten, while taking turns being the Class Captain who controls the world around you (similar to a GM or DM in a more traditional roleplaying game).
At KSSWK, you'll meet the humans who are taking care of you, as well as the adult cats who live there. These adult cats are your Professors, whose job is to teach you how to be an awesome cat. They will have lessons that they want you to learn, and they will help you on your adventures like finding more canned food in the basement, or defeating the mean dog who lives here. Knoll Street School for Wayward Kittens is based on our real home, where we have fostered over a dozen litters of kittens for our local Humane Society. You can check out our Facebook page to see a bit more of what life with foster kittens is like!
We first came up with Laser Kittens at GenCon in 2014. Since then we've been playtesting it with our friends, and then with strangers at a variety of gaming conventions (including GenCon, Origins, and Metatopia). Everyone has had a great time, so we're excited to bring the game to you.
Instead of dice, this game uses two decks of standard poker cards, with the face cards removed. (You can play with any cards you happen to have, but if we hit our stretch goals – see below – we'll commission an artist to create a unique deck of Kitten Cards that you can use to play Laser Kittens or any other game.) You will have a hand of cards that you use to bid for control of the story. When you want to do something, you'll put out a secret bid, and whoever has a different idea will put out their own bid. The person with the highest bid gets to decide what happens.
In Laser Kittens, all the players have the opportunity to bid to be Class Captain for a scene. Like the Game Master in other games, the Class Captain decides what the scene is about and controls the environment and any NPCs. Everyone else can join the scene and control the actions of their character. Want your kitten to jump up into the dryer vent so she can go outside? Make a bid from your hand, and the Class Captain will bid against you to see if you make it!
Each kitten also has a laser: a unique superpower that they can use at any time. (If you've ever seen a cat's eyes mysteriously glowing, they're using their laser!) Here are some example lasers:
- Zoo Zoo Zoo: Summon other animals to your aid. For example, if you need to get back upstairs in a hurry, perhaps a flock of friendly emus could burst into the house and give you a ride!
- View View View: You can see things other cats can't – perhaps even terrifying prophetic visions of the future!
- Shoo Shoo Shoo: Get things that are bothering you to go away. You might teleport the annoying dog into the neighbors' house, or even erase a mean person from history so that he never existed!
In the game, you'll flip over a set of five cards and add them up to determine whether your laser does something awesome or just creates more problems. For example, if the kittens are being chased by evil rats, you might try to use the "two two two" laser to double the distance between you and the rats – but if your laser goes wrong, it might double the number of rats instead!
Since you're a tiny kitten, your laser will sometimes get out of control and go off unexpectedly, causing chaos and complications. But if you work at learning important lessons from your professors, you can gain more control over your laser and use it to achieve your goals.
Professor Monks, the Beecee Memorial Chair in Catology at KSSWK, offered the following words of support:
Our base funding goal will enable us to create a full-color PDF rulebook and a softcover physical version (color cover, B&W interior – our first stretch goal is to upgrade to full color printing). You can pledge to get the PDF, or the PDF and physical version.The book will be 6x9 inches and approximately 100 pages, including all the rules you need to play the game as well as background material on what it's like to foster kittens and some suggested plot hooks for an exciting game. All copies of the game also come with an audio version narrated by Cheyenne.
At the WHO WHO WHO level, we will use either you or one of your pets as the basis for an NPC, who can be used in anyone's game of Laser Kittens. At the ZOO ZOO ZOO level, we will use a photo of your cat as the basis for one of the illustrations in the rulebook. Note that if you back at one of these levels, you will have two weeks from the close of the campaign (i.e. until March 16) to submit your information. We reserve the right to move forward with production of the book if we do not get your submission on time.
We also have some awesome stretch goals planned out, if we pass our funding goal:
$5500: We will print the physical book in full color.
$6500: We will create a special deck of Kitten Cards. Kitten Cards are a standard deck of 54 playing cards, with kitten-themed art and cat-based suits (such as toe beans and string balls). You'll be able to add to your pledge to get two decks of Kitten Cards for playing Laser Kittens, or any game that requires a standard poker deck.
$9000: We will commission Bex Veverka from Chili Con Yarne to create a limited edition set of Laser Kitten plushies, with real lasers!
Laser Kittens is the first Kickstarter project from Glittercats Fine Amusements, a game design studio based out of Pittsburgh and Cleveland. We have raised over a dozen litters of foster kittens for our local humane society, so we thought their kitty adventures would be the perfect subject for a game. We've put together a staff of talented writers, artists, and editors to bring you an awesome game.
Stentor Danielson: Design, writing, and layout
Stentor is a geography professor, map-maker, and kitten wrangler. They are also The Worst because they have not given the kitties any wet foods since this morning!
Cheyenne Wall-Grimes: Design and writing
Cheyenne has the heart of a kitten, the mind of a kitten, and the pizzaz of a kitten. She is an experienced roleplayer and cat snuggler, as well as a host on Indie+.
Cynthia Lee: Illustration
Cynthia is a cartoonist, avid gamer, and blanket fort fan. Kittens make her sneeze, but their soft kitten fur and adorable kitten purrs doesn't stop her from petting them.
Colleen Riley: Editing
Colleen E. Riley is a freelance editor, writer, artist, and immigration paralegal. Her other RPG projects include Unknown Armies 3, Technoir, Wushu: Blackbelt Edition, Samsara, and Feng Shui 2. She serves four (mostly) benevolent feline overlords in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Find her on Twitter @wordbunny.
To be more transparent about where your money is going, here is a breakdown of what we're spending it on. This budget assumes we just barely meet our base funding goal, and that we have 150 backers getting physical books. (150 backers getting books plus 100 more getting the pdf would more than make our goal!)
Printing, $867: We have a quote from 360 Digital to print the books at a good rate. We plan to print some extras beyond Kickstarter fulfillment to sell at conventions. If we hit our first stretch goal of color printing the price per book will go up -- but the more books we print, the bigger the bulk printing discount we can get.
Shipping, $750: Laser Kittens is a smallish book and should ship easily through the US Postal Service. Note that Kickstarter will ask you to add a shipping fee when you check out (e.g. a person in the US backing at the Pew Pew Pew level would pay $20 for the book plus $5 domestic shipping).
Art, $1500: We have already paid Cynthia Lee for a few awesome pieces of art, but making the book look incredible – and incorporating your cat into the art if you back at a higher pledge level – will take some more.
Editing, $600: We want to make Laser Kittens a pleasure to read, so we're getting Colleen Riley to go over our writing with a fine-tooth comb.
Kickstarter Fees, $450: Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of all money raised, and the payment processing services take another 3-5%.
Contingency, $333: With all the above fees accounted for, we still have a buffer just in case there's an unexpected expense.
(Why no budget for writing and layout? Because Cheyenne and Stentor have the expertise to do those aspects of the project ourselves.)
Risks and challenges
The primary risk on a project like this is the prospect of unforeseen delays. The mechanics for Laser Kittens have been written up and thoroughly playtested, and much of the text for the book is already finished. What remains to be done is the following (deadlines are planned, not guaranteed, but we will keep backers informed of any changes):
1. Finish writing the text of the book (Deadline: March 5)
2. Get the remaining pieces of art done (Deadline: March 31)
3. Editing the text (Deadline: March 31)
4. Book layout (Deadline: April 30)
5. Printing (Expected by June 15)
6. Shipping (Expected by July 15)
At any of those stages, it is possible that something could hold us up. We will do everything we can to keep Laser Kittens on schedule.
Laser Kittens is the first Kickstarter from Glittercats Fine Amusements. Stentor and Cheyenne are both members of the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN), a coalition of independent tabletop game publishers. We will be able to draw on the expertise of many of the more experienced members of the IGDN to make this project successful.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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