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A deeply strategic Euro set in Victorian England that integrates specialized building tiles, servant worker placement & deck building.
A deeply strategic Euro set in Victorian England that integrates specialized building tiles, servant worker placement & deck building.
645 backers pledged $36,632 to help bring this project to life.

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Obsession: Pride, Intrigue, & Prejudice in Victorian England

$36,632

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Update 12/10, 5:15pm EST US: The campaign page (below) is now fully updated with new art. Also, Kayenta Games is announcing Flat Shipping Fees for 95% of the current pledged geographies (see the Shipping section below).

The Story

Victorian England, 1840. You are the head of a respected but financially troubled family estate; rooms are closed off to save on upkeep and heating, outside grounds have gone to seed, and the façade is in desperate need of restoration.

It is far from the glory days of the estate, but you have new hope. A significant inheritance has made possible the restoration of the grand old manor house and rehabilitation of the family's reputation in the county of Cambridge.

Obsession captures the experience of Regency and Victorian England—the beloved world of Jane Austen & Anthony Trollope—in a way that transports family and friends to that unique time and place.

Last things first: How's the gameplay?

"More than anything else, what really sets this game apart, what really makes it shine, is just how strongly integrated the theme is. It’s rare to see a Euro-style economic simulation where the theme comes alive as much as this one." —Richard Ham, Rahdo Runs Through

Final thoughts from Rahdo:

Note: Components used in the Rahdo Runs Through review and the Rulebook PDF are prototypes.

Game Quality and Mechanics

Game Quality: The mission of Kayenta Games is to fuse deep strategy (leaning towards Euro-style games), exceptional component quality, and elegant aesthetics. The prototype used in Rahdo's runthrough will be improved on all fronts. Obsession has been pre-qualified with Panda Games, and the base game will be manufactured as follows:

  • Matte + Linen Box Finish
  • 2mm High Density Mounted Cardboard for Player Boards, Game Board, and Tiles, all with Matte + Linen Finish
  • 300gsm Ivorycore Linen Embossed Card Stock for all Cards
  • Forty-Six Wooden Pawns
  • Linen Draw Bag (for Tiles)

Stretch Goals provide a very reasonable opportunity for the following upgrades:

  • Vacuum Molded Component Tray 
  • 310gsm Blackcore Card Stock, Linen Embossed

Game Mechanics: Obsession integrates and modifies several game mechanics to create a unique approach to accumulating victory points. There is Deck building of desirable English aristocracy, acquisition of country estate renovation tiles that define future actions, servant worker placement that enables favors associated with these actions, an ongoing courtship featuring in-game victory point competitions, and an accelerating accumulation of reputation (triangular number sequence). All combine to enable multiple paths to victory. Players can choose effective strategies focused on:

  • Maximizing the family's reputation (Reputation VP below)
  • Expanding the family's circle of acquaintances with a focus on prestigious guests (Gentry VP)
  • Intensive renovation of the country estate (Improvement VP)
  • Fulfilling demanding secret objectives (Objective Card VP)
  • Expanding and training the family's staff of servants (Servant VP)
  • Securing the hand of the Fairchild love interest (Courtship VP)
Sources of Victory Points (data from 36 games)
Sources of Victory Points (data from 36 games)

"There’s a lot going on, a lot of plates you have to keep spinning; lots of short-term bird-in-the-hand vs. two-in-the-long-term-bush optimization choices to make. Different things you can focus on: points for upgrading your estate, for getting more servants, for having more money, for getting more famous, for building monuments, for having only the best guests to your house. There’s so many things you can do, and the game really does build as the game goes on…you can put on massive events with huge attendees and you can score tons of resources that will just propel you forward. And, at the heart of all of it is that there's always this competition for the heart of the young, heartbroken Fairchild." —Richard Ham, Rahdo Runs Through

Stretch Goal Overview

Specific detail for each stretch goal can be found down the page under Stretch Goals.


Major Components

The Player Board representing your family is the location where servants reside, reputation is tracked, pounds are saved, and activities take place (one of the four player boards shown).

New Player Board, Family Ponsonby
New Player Board, Family Ponsonby

Improvement and Monument Tiles are the heart of Obsession gameplay. These renovations and capital improvements of the family's country estate become the setting where you can accomplish four vital strategic tasks:

  • Raise pounds (£) for future capital improvements
  • Gather guests for activities that lead to invitations being extended to new guests
  • Increase the family’s reputation among the local landed gentry with displays of elegance and style
  • Train the service staff to be more proficient at a host of actions, including service above and beyond the call, combating and spreading gossip, and gathering key intelligence.

Improvement Tiles come in four standard categories—Prestige, Estate, Essentials, and Sporting—each of which produces specialized favors. 

Improvement (Renovation) Tiles (where activities are hosted)
Improvement (Renovation) Tiles (where activities are hosted)

 

Rounding Out a Side against the Locals
Rounding Out a Side against the Locals

Investments in the Service infrastructure empower the servants on staff, making them more efficient...and more effective at gathering inside information on the maneuverings of competing families.

Service Tiles (upgrades abilities of service staff)
Service Tiles (upgrades abilities of service staff)

 

A Close-Up Peek at the Expansion Service Tile, the Barn
A Close-Up Peek at the Expansion Service Tile, the Barn

Monuments represent substantial capital investment in elegant accents in and around the estate, a sure sign of a family on the rise in society.

Monument Tiles (prestigious capital improvements)
Monument Tiles (prestigious capital improvements)

 

The Most Valuable Tile in the Game
The Most Valuable Tile in the Game

Gentry cards represent both your family and the guests who will attend activities at your manor house. Wealthy, well-connected, and reputable guests visiting your estate open up opportunities for financial investment, expand your circle of prestigious acquaintances, and elevate your status in the county. 

The Ponsonby Family
The Ponsonby Family

You quickly learn, however, that some guests must be avoided! Beware of unsavory characters passing themselves off as gentlemen and ladies; show pity on the impoverished without familiarity; and at all costs, let other families stoop to the company of an American!

 

An American Heiress, a Cad, an Adventuress, and a Pauper
An American Heiress, a Cad, an Adventuress, and a Pauper

 

Beware the American Heiress
Beware the American Heiress

Cultivate proper connections of the sort that do not endanger the family's good name.

The Influential Social Elite
The Influential Social Elite

The obsession of the five families in the county of Cambridge are the Fairchild twins, Charles and Elizabeth.

The Love Interests
The Love Interests

Faithful servants are the hidden magic in Obsession. Without a large, competent, and well-trained service staff, you are doomed to defeat! Proper service topped this list of priorities for the landed gentry during the Victorian era, and this remains true in Obsession.

Underbutler, Footmen, Housekeeper, Butler, Valets, and Lady's Maids
Underbutler, Footmen, Housekeeper, Butler, Valets, and Lady's Maids

Courtship

Romance and marriage—not necessarily in that order—were a focal point of the Victorian idle rich. Forming alliances with respected families, avoiding public impropriety, marrying up where possible, and securing the future of eligible children were all part of an elaborate drama that served as the backdrop for daily life. The arrival of Charles and Elizabeth Fairchild—eligible, refined, and exceedingly wealthy—into a relatively modest corner of the county of Cambridgeshire has stirred the interest of every eager young man and lady in the area! Players will compete for the hand of Charles or Elizabeth, often relying on manipulation, gossip, and intrigue as much as amore!

In Obsession, the calculated Courtships of the era are followed closely on a two-sided Turn Track that features standard and extended play.

Turn Track (two-sided - Standard and Event-Based)
Turn Track (two-sided - Standard and Event-Based)

Solitaire

The central gameplay mechanic in Obsession is the hosting of events, which is an action that largely takes place independent of one’s competitors. As a result, Obsession naturally lends itself to solitary play. Competition in the Builders' Market and for the hand of the love interest during Courtship represent the significant areas of interaction, which are managed with Solitaire opponent cards. There are twelve cards that come with the base game; four opponents at each level of expertise: Expert, Intermediate, and Beginner. 

Solitaire Opponents—Old English Families
Solitaire Opponents—Old English Families

 

Includes one copy of the Obsession base game (all elements described above) along with all unlocked stretch goals as part of this campaign.


The Pax Britannica Reward Level features a complete game of Obsession, including all unlocked stretch goals. Please note the box contents reflect prototype art:

 

Includes the Pax Britannica reward detailed above, plus the Wessex Expansion.

The Queen Victoria Reward Level features a complete game of Obsession, a copy of the Wessex Expansion, and all unlocked stretch goals.

The base game comes with four family boards—Asquith, Cavendish, Ponsonby, and York—each of which confer a competitive advantage.

The Wessex Expansion adds a fifth family board to the mix that gives the advantage of a larger starting country estate. A player selecting the Family Wessex player board will have their choice between the Breakfast Room and Tennis Court—second level improvements—in his or her manor house at the beginning of the game.

Note that this is not an expansion for enabling five players.

This expansion also includes:

  • Color-coded reputation marker for Family Wessex
  • One additional Breakfast Room and Tennis Court (the Wessex family advantage)
  • Five additional Starter Guests
  • Five additional Casual Guests
  • Five additional Prestige Guests
  • Six new Solitaire opponents
  • Instruction sheet for Family Wessex
New Player Board, Wessex Family
New Player Board, Wessex Family

 

The Wessex Family
The Wessex Family

 

This reward level is equal to 2 Pax Britannica rewards.

Shipping can be expensive for modern tabletop board games with all the various components. Obsession weighs almost 5 pounds and features 300 high quality components. The Anthony Trollope reward level offers an 4.5% discount for two games and freezes shipping at the cost of one game. Great for friends to collaborate and save on shipping!

This reward level is equal to 2 Queen Victoria reward levels.

The Jane Austen reward level offers a 6.8% discount for two games with the Wessex Expansion and freezes shipping at the cost of one Queen Victoria package. Also great for friends to collaborate and save on shipping!


Full video runthroughs from Rahdo Runs Through.

 

Rulebook PDF

Note: Due to extensive changes in graphic design, this rulebook is being updated.

Click for PDF
Click for PDF

 

Stretch Goal Detail

The Suites Expansion has been crowdstormed and is now complete!

Front Side of the most prestigious Suite tile
Front Side of the most prestigious Suite tile

 

Back side of the Lionheart Suite tile, which reflects the extraordinary hospitality achievement
Back side of the Lionheart Suite tile, which reflects the extraordinary hospitality achievement

These three tiles each reflect a renovated bedroom for guests, from casual to the most elite. When a guest stays there, they are so enamoured of the family's hospitality that the player may double some or all of the favors. Only one guest is invited to this “Activity,” which makes it very powerful for a late game turn after a player has just exhausted his or her staff with a Grand Ball or Formal Affair. Then, when the tile is flipped, it becomes a Monument, which confers reputation each turn until the end of the game (for the top two rooms).

Shipping

Shipping costs are not included in your pledge. We will be charging  shipping through the pledge manager after the Kickstarter wraps up. Update 12/10, 5:15pm: Kayenta Games announces Flat Fees for 95% of the current pledged geographies (see below). If you are outside the stated flat fee geographies, contact the developer for a firm quote (meaning that your geography will be checked against 2017 shipping tables and a fixed shipping cost will be given that will not change in 2018).

The flat fees referenced below are for shipping any of the reward levels (Pax Britannica, Queen Victoria, Anthony Trollope, and Jane Austen), as reward levels featuring two games/expansions have fixed shipping as part of the reward. 

Kayenta Games will be shipping all games to bulk fulfillment centers in Europe and the USA at our expense to reduce customs fees and VAT where possible.

NORTH AMERICA

  • USA: $10 Flat Fee
  • Canada: $15 Flat Fee

UNITED KINGDOM and EUROPEAN UNION

  • United Kingdom: $10 Flat Fee
  • European Union: $15 Flat Fee

ROTW

  • Australia: $18 Flat Fee
  • Norway: $16 Flat Fee
  • Any other location not quoted (in bold): Contact the developer via KS message for a firm estimate.

Risks and challenges

All projects carry a certain amount of risk, but significant investment—including pre-qualification of components with the manufacturer—and exhaustive play-testing ensure Obsession is a finished product that will not be slowed down for unexpected design and production considerations.

Fulfillment partners have been selected in both the United States and the European Union that will ensure rapid delivery of the games when production concludes.

Of course, risk is never zero. There will always be unforeseen developments in manufacturing and logistics that are beyond our control. Barring natural disasters and other acts of God, we expect the thorough design re-verification to begin immediately upon conclusion of this campaign. We have erred on the side of caution with our delivery estimate and fully expect to improve on that deadline.

Refund Policy: All pledges can be refunded up to 60 days before they leave the manufacturer, without question. If a refund is requested more than 15 days after the end of this Kickstarter campaign, a return fee will be charged.

Terms & Conditions By pledging on this Kickstarter campaign, you acknowledge that the final appearance, materials and content of the any rewards offered (including any Kickstarter exclusive items) are subject to change without prior notification and may differ slightly from those presented during the course of this Kickstarter campaign.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Support Obsession!

    Includes:
    ► Email updates on the project
    ► Heartfelt thanks from the developer!

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    Pledge $44 or more About $44

    Pax Britannica (base game)

    Includes:
    ► A copy of Obsession
    ► All unlocked stretch goals
    ► Shipping charged after campaign ends (see “Shipping” section for details)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    86 backers
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    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    Queen Victoria (base game + expansion)

    Includes:
    ► A copy of Obsession
    ► A copy of the Wessex Expansion
    ► All unlocked stretch goals
    ► Shipping charged after campaign ends (see “Shipping” section for details)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    499 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $84 or more About $84

    Anthony Trollope (Pax Britannica x 2)

    Includes:
    ► Two copies of Obsession
    ► All unlocked stretch goals
    ► No charge shipping for 2nd game
    ► Shipping charged after campaign ends (see “Shipping” section for details)

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    4 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    Jane Austen (Queen Victoria x 2)

    Includes:
    ► Two copies of Obsession
    ► Two copies of the Wessex Expansion
    ► All unlocked stretch goals
    ► No charge shipping for 2nd game/expansion
    ► Shipping charged after campaign ends (see “Shipping” section for details)

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    25 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)