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Seven Sons: a Strategy Board/Card Game that is all about set-piece battles in a fantasy Asian setting. Who will take power? is it You?
Seven Sons: a Strategy Board/Card Game that is all about set-piece battles in a fantasy Asian setting. Who will take power? is it You?
18 backers pledged $2,011 to help bring this project to life.

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Hello!  Do you love the joyous feel of a hard won victory? Or the desperation of a glorious last stand?

Seven Sons is all about these feelings: Set-piece battles in a fictional medieval Asia.

Victory, or a final stand?
Victory, or a final stand?

 The story is thus: A great Emperor has died, and his seven offspring are now vying for power. You and your opponents (or allies?) take on the role these sons/daughters, and, eventually, one of you becomes supreme, while the others fall into ruin. Will you be the one to be crowned Emperor? You'll have to play to find out. 

The basic battle mechanics are fairly simple: move your units, roll dice, use abilities. But it is how these three interact on the battlefield, as well as the overall campaign that makes Seven Sons interesting. 

A successful, though risky raid...
A successful, though risky raid...

THE SITUATION

Seven Sons has been in development for the last two years, with almost no budget. Essentially we've been designing and play testing for free. But now that the game is balanced, designed and ready, we must pay an artist and manufacturer to complete our work. The art you see is our artist's sample: she made us three cards to show off to you and help us decide whether we want to see more. We are quite pleased with her work, and we hope you are too! In addition to self-funding and help from outside sources like school grants (explained below in "risks and challenges") we need $2,000 from you to complete the transaction and complete our game!

STORY

The Emperor, whose true name is never to be spoken, has recently died of unknown causes. A body was never found, only blood. Soon after, a mist enveloped the land, and mysterious weapons appeared from within. Those who took hold of these weapons became instant heroes, a transformation that was both miraculous and terrifying. With their newfound power, these heroes could have easily taken over, but for some unforeseen reason did not. Instead a massive civil war erupted between the Emperor's offspring, with the heroes often serving one side or the other. The rest is for you to discover, and decide...

GAMEPLAY

There are several ways to play Seven Sons. One could:

  • Draft up a quick battle (1-2 vs 1-2), using the Points drafting system
  • Begin an epic campaign (2-7 players), with the ultimate goal of world domination.
  • Play the Story Campaign (2-7 players), with much more events and lore, but a few more restrictions as well. (This Mode comes in the Story Campaign expansion, listed in certain reward tiers)
  • Embark upon a War of Annihilation (2 players), fighting battle after battle in quick succession, until your opponent has been crushed in the dust.

In addition to this, there are Basic (easy to learn!) vs Advanced rules (much more fun!), as well as several optional rule additions, such as:

  • Dragon Valor: Make your weak units capable of heroic stands against a better foe!
  • Dragon Chaos: Remove all dice control from the game, anything could happen!

The battle system focuses on the interaction between the different effects present on the board. For instance:

A Lady Samurai unit charges in and attacks a Trained Spearman unit (both shown above). One of the more unique additions to Seven Son's is that units are "partially obscured" until you engage them at close range. What this means is that the Lady Samurai player knew that the unit was a Trained level unit (with 3 HP and average stats) but did not know that it was a Spearman (with the Bladeline ability). The Bladeline ability means that the Lady Samurai automatically took one damage when they attacked, leaving them at a perilous 1 HP. However, the Lady Samurai have the Shock ability, meaning that the Trained Spearmen cannot roll dice against her this turn, which leaves the samurai safe, for now. Additionally, this has the effect of meaning that the Trained Spearmen cannot defend either (attack and defense rolls can both deal and receive damage). The Lady Samurai now rolls 4 Dice (her attack roll) and gets 2 Hits, one Defend, and one Dragon (which can be used as either a Hit or  Defend). The Player chooses to use the Dragon result as a hit, and deals 3 unblocked damage to the Trained Spearman, destroying the unit.

What's most interesting is that with each rule set, that fight could have gone differently, or indeed with a different roll. 

  • In Dragon Valor the Dragon result would have been ignored due to dice superiority, leaving the Spearmen alive.
  • Dragon Chaos would have forced a reroll of the Dragon die, leaving everything up to chance.
  • Advanced rules would have meant that the Lady Samurai could have charged from further away (i.e. several turns earlier) at the cost of dice rolled, possibly altering events in multiple ways.

This brings us to the dice: 

3 Red, 2 Blue, and 1 Green Side per die.
3 Red, 2 Blue, and 1 Green Side per die.

The distribution of results is designed to prevent games from dragging out due to every blow being blocked.

Advanced mode features terrain and special movement rules, as well as some line of sight rules additions.

To wrap the game play discussion up, here are some quotes from our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/7sonsgame

"Seven Sons is a strategy game first, and as such, you will have an 8x8 space board (similar to chess) to play on (this board will feature terrain art).

Battles will take place between multiple units per team.

A team can consist of one or several players.

Players take turns with actions. You can generally do 2 actions per turn: moving, and attacking with one unit. When two pieces meet, battle is joined. This consists of both involved players rolling dice equal to their attack or defense stats as appropriate. (Dice shown below)

Red results deal damage, blue blocks damage, and green lets you choose either red or blue. There are 3 Red faces, 2 Blue faces, and 1 Green face.

After damage is dealt, the turn passes on.

Any units that have rolled for damage in this way are considered engaged with each other until one of the engaged units moves. Engaged units may roll for damage as a free action every turn. As an alternative, a player may choose to move his unit away, or simply do nothing. Moving away opens you up to vengeance strikes. Engaged Units cannot be targeted by ranged fire.

Ranged fire is a useful way of sniping off or weakening opponents."

"A ranged unit will fall into one of two categories: Artillery, or Archery. An Artillery unit uses a one time shot of ammunition, and is generally more powerful, and cheaper. An Archery unit will be able to fire every time the unit is active, instead of just once per match.

For the most part, range is unrestricted, but on "negative ability" changes that. Direct Fire mean that your unit must have line of sight to fire on an opponent.

Additionally, there is something to take into account, known as Unit Sparsity. Unit Sparsity is a measure of how densely the unit is packed into their location. The less health (current total) that a unit has, the less dense, and thus the harder to hit. (ranged ability number (1-4) minus (4 minus current health of unit) equals number of dice rolled). An ability, Explosives, negates the scarcity calculation.

This is all important because Higher Tier units often have much less HP (and thus are harder to hit, yet more vulnerable to hits) than lower tier units, who have high HP at the cost of stats."

REWARDS

We have some goodies here for you. Firstly, we wanted to help out our international supporters, but shipping was a big problem. So we designed easy to ship packages, like the portable version of the game. The portable version is literally everything you need to play  Seven Sons' Draft or Annihilation modes. You simply substitute the missing tokens with something from home.

Additionally, the portable version is cheaper, so if you want to get the game but don't have the money, it's a great set of reward tiers to pick!

The Basic Starter set is designed to support 2 players, but you could also get the the 7 player set for massive campaigns, alliances, and battles!

Alternatively, you could choose one of the add-ons below:

IMPORTANT- ADD-ONS

For any order with shipping:

Add $10, Get the Promo Pack! Featuring special unit additions: 2 Special level units, a Mythic Rare Level Unit, and 4 of a Special Peasant unit. Includes tokens and cards.

Add $20, get extra tokens and cards, enough to support 2 more players!

Add $20, get the story campaign expansion!

THANKS

We really appreciate your help, and hope you will enjoy Seven Sons as much as we have!

Risks and challenges

This is where we lay down the hard facts:
Our project members are all either in college or just graduated. This means that there is a (small) possibility there will be delays to the game due to school. The reason this is not likely is because this game is also a capstone project. Because of this, not only are we beholden to you to deliver the product by December, we must deliver the product to the school before that time. This also means we can devote time during school to this project without fear, because it's part of school.

The school (grant mentioned above) has funded us the $1,000 we were hoping for, so that is not an issue.

Additionally, the manufacturer may not come through. "https://www.thegamecrafter.com/ " is our planned manufacturer. This will be updated if the situation changes. It is important to realize that the manufacture of the game, while reasonably close, is still a few months away. If something seems wrong, we have time to find someone else.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Peasant Swordsman Tier- A special thank you email will be sent to you, with a Seven Sons Wallpaper image, designed by our artist.
    NOTE: included in all other tiers

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    Champion Tier- Don't care for a game, but still want to help? How about a Digital Artbook?
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    Arrow Rocketeer Tier- [Early Bird] A special portable edition of the game (Cards, Dice, and Basic Rulebook included), PLUS all previous tiers.
    NOTE: Not included in higher Tiers

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    Peasant Spearman Tier- A special portable edition of the game (Cards, Dice and Basic Rulebook included), PLUS all previous tiers.
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    Dragon Cannoneer Tier- [Early Bird] The full starter set of Seven Sons, (Includes Cards, Dice, Tokens, Basic and Advanced Rules, Maps, etc.) PLUS Champion Tier.

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    General Tier- A Digital Artbook,
    PLUS an Illustrated Short Story set in the Seven Sons universe.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Trained Swordsman Tier- The full starter set of Seven Sons, (Includes Cards, Dice, Tokens, Basic and Advanced Rules, Maps, etc.) PLUS Champion Tier.

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    Trained Spearman Tier- The full Starter set, PLUS the Story Campaign Expansion, AND Champion Tier.

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    Samurai Archer Tier- [Early Bird] The Full Starter Set, expanded to support 7 players, PLUS General Tier.

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    Hero Tier- General Tier PLUS our artist will work with you to create an original Seven Sons themed Digital Art piece.

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    Samurai Swordsman Tier- The Full Starter Set, expanded to support 7 players, PLUS General Tier.

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Samurai Dual Swordsman Tier- [For International Backers] Peasant Spearman Tier, expanded for 7 players PLUS Maps, Advanced Rules, Tokens etc. PLUS General Tier. All you miss is the box!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Samurai Cavalry Tier- The opportunity to work with us on designing one of the 4 minor "sons' in the Seven Sons story arc (Does not have to be a guy!). Includes Samurai Swordsman Tier PLUS the Story Campaign Expansion, and General Tier

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    Monk Tier- Help us design one of the villains in Seven Son's story arc. Heroes around the world will fight your creation! (Includes Samurai Swordsman Tier PLUS the Story Campaign Expansion, PLUS Hero Tier!)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Ninja Tier- Help us design the next expansion to the game! Includes Samurai Swordsman Tier PLUS the Story Campaign Expansion, PLUS Hero Tier!

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Funding period

- (40 days)