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$6,713 pledged of $128,000 goal
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By Peter Olotka
$6,713 pledged of $128,000 goal
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About

Cosmic Encounter Connector Project

The Cosmic Encounter Connector Project will create apps allowing you to talk to other players and play the Cosmic Encounter board game on your digital device. Each Connector App gives you reliable voice communication and digital versions of all components in the Fantasy Flight Games board game. The first release of the Cosmic Encounter Connector will be for the iPad.

Prototype Screen - Not Final Design
Prototype Screen - Not Final Design

Our vision for the Connector App

Think of this project as building a collaboration tool for social board game players. The goal of this project isn't to build a game app in the classic sense of an online or mobile interpretation of a board game. The goal of the Cosmic Encounter Connector Project is to create an environment where you can hear other players clearly and play Cosmic Encounter.

We want to replicate the social experience and fun of playing a physical board game in a digital game environment optimized first for mobile touchscreen devices and then for desktops. This is different from a digital version of a board game focused on game mechanics and special effects. The Connector is focused on you as a player and on enhancing your experience of interacting with other players. Everybody will be able to talk to each other and have everything they need to play Cosmic Encounter, right at their fingertips. Connect, talk and play!

Free platform to start

In order to maximize the audience for the Connector, each platform app with the Basic Set of Cosmic Encounter will be free to anyone for three months after it is released. After three months, each app will be available for a one-time purchase. Using the Connector will be free. In-app content purchases, such as expansion sets, may be purchased as they become available.

It's all about social interaction and that means talking

Most mobile and online board games attempt to transform the board game experience with AIs, sound effects, animation, etc. This project is different. Our goal is to create a digital world where players control the game rather than having a game engine control them. The Cosmic Encounter Connector App will let players communicate and move game pieces, cards, tokens, etc. on the screen. A primary requirement is automatic and dependable VoIP. Players will simply talk to each other, decide how rules are interpreted, and create their own Cosmic Encounter experience.

Keeping things organized, saving and continuing games

The app’s primary function will be to keep things organized in the Connector's virtual game box and on the playing surface; keep everyone's view of the game synchronized; organize and shuffle decks of cards; help players find each other and organize and start games; and save games in progress so they can be continued later.

Players play in the same game with different devices

We also want to avoid segregating players by platform. Stretch goals aim to create a Cosmic Encounter Connector App for as many devices as possible. This will make it easier for Cosmic Encounter players to find other players and play Cosmic Encounter more often. Tablets and desktops provide excellent screen real estate for play. We've also designed ways for smartphone users to participate in the Cosmic Encounter Connector experience.

A platform for other board game Connectors

We also envision the Connector as a platform for creating other board game connectors, e.g. for our other Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) products such as Twilight Imperium Rex, Gearworld, and other social board games – whenever there is a demand to play a board game with anyone, anytime, anywhere on as many different devices as possible.

Making it easy to find and connect to players

And finally, we want to make it easy to find and connect to players on different social media networks so they can play Cosmic Encounter 24/7. Cosmic Encounter is the original game that is always different and always fun. We want Cosmic Encounter to also be the game that can be played with anyone, anytime, anywhere

Skype Guest at CosmicCon 2014
Skype Guest at CosmicCon 2014
Credit: davidbrin.com Skype Guest at CosmicCon 2014
Credit: davidbrin.com Skype Guest at CosmicCon 2014

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Kickstarter Project - First: Cosmic Encounter on iPad. 

Prototype Screen - Not Final Design
Prototype Screen - Not Final Design

Funding Goal - Cosmic Encounter Connector on iPad: $128,000 

  • iPad: All Apple iPad devices - UI and simultaneous voice conversations for 2-5 players.
  • Content: Basic Game (50 Aliens) Game versions based on FFG rules including variants.
  • New Feature: Two-player game rules defined by Future Pastimes, based on rules from the original Eon Products Cosmic Encounter.
  • New Feature: Cosmic Snaps In-game Cosmic Snaps, shared photos of players and of the game screen during play. Save a game and restart it at any time. Share Cosmic Snaps with comments via social media.
  • Special Feature: Special for Hyperspace Level and higher level Backers: After launch of the iPad Connector App, the Home Brew feature will be supported via access to special developer tools exclusively for those backers until it is released as an in-app purchase.

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Each stretch goal brings more players, devices, aliens and game features into the Cosmic Encounter Connector universe. As we release the Connector on new devices, we’ll also add new Cosmic Encounter content for all existing devices to reward as many players as possible with each new goal. Please help by continuing to share this Kickstarter with your gaming friends and family.

Stretch Goal 1 - Android & Exp. Set: + $13,500 = $141,500

  • Android: Tablets including Amazon Kindle Fire HD/HDX eReader/Tablet.
  • New Content: Cosmic Incursion Expansion Set 1 with 20 new aliens, rewards deck, kickers, rifts, etc. UI and voice for a 6-player game.
  • Note: New Content is for iPad and Android Tablets.

Stretch Goal 2 - PCs & Macs & Exp. Set: + $12,500 = $154,000

  • Mac OS X and Windows PCs: Native Mac OS X and Native Windows PCs (including Surface tablets)
  • New Content: Cosmic Conflict Expansion Set 2 with 20 new aliens, hazard cards. UI and voice for a 7-player game.
  • Note: New Content is for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 3 - Phones, 2 player & Exp: + $9,500 = $163,500

  • Mobile Phones: iOS, Android, and Windows phones
  • New Content: Cosmic Alliance Expansion Set 3 with 20 new aliens, plus a new game variant - team rules. UI and voice for an 8-player game.
  • Note: New Content is for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 4 - Exp. Set: + $5,500 = $169,000

  • New Content: Cosmic Storm Expansion Set 4 with 25 new aliens, plus a new game variant - space stations.
  • Note: New Content is for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 5 - Exp. Set: + $5,500 = $174,500

  • New Content: Cosmic Dominion Expansion Set 5 with 30 new aliens, new reward and flare cards and special ship markers allowing more game variants.
  • Note: New Content is for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 6 - Combos & Home Brews: + $9,500 = $184,000

  • New Feature - Cosmic Combos (alien combination games): players will be able to define and replay Cosmic Combo games. Cosmic Combos are player-defined categories and aliens in games with specific Cosmic aliens - memorable games Cosmic players want to replay and record for others to play. Combo Games can be games with any of the 166 Cosmic Encounter aliens including variations of games with double and triple powers.
  • New Feature - Home Brews: Players will be able to add graphics and rules for their own home brew aliens and cards for their Cosmic Encounter Connector games.
  • Note: New Features are for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 7 - Tournaments & Scheduler:  + $17,000 = $201,000

  • New Feature: Tournaments, Game Groups, & Calendar Scheduler/Planner - Named game groups, game group scheduling and “schedule-a-game” calendar functionality integrated with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and support for SMS and social media notifications.
  • New Feature: In-game and after-game scheduling to help players define when they are available to play, find and sign up for available games on tablet devices. One-way sharing to smartphones for sending game images and comments across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, and Tumblr with support for SMS and social media notifications.

Other Stretch Goals if we go over $201,000

Stretch Goal 8 - Exp. Set

  • New Content: Expansion Set 6, Cosmic Eon (working title) with new aliens designed by old Eons (Peter and Bill).
  • Note: New Content is for all devices above.

Stretch Goal 9 - Smart TVs

  • Connector for Smart TVs: First, local, i.e. one living room only, with tablets and smartphones as the players’ controllers (and hand of cards) and a Smart TV as the shared playing surface.
  •  Living room to living room: As TVs get smarter, so will we and so will the Connector.
Credit: shutupandsitdown.com
Credit: shutupandsitdown.com

BACKER REWARDS DETAILS

Ally Level - Please Share the Cosmic Connector Kickstarter 

Thanks for supporting the Cosmic Encounter Connector. We've been told Cosmic Encounter is the best board game people have never heard of, so please share this Kickstarter on your social networks with family and friends who love games. The first game in the Connector will be Cosmic Encounter for iPad. We will support Android, Mac OS X, and Windows as stretch goals. The Cosmic Encounter Connector will have all 50 aliens plus all content from the Fantasy Flight Cosmic Encounter board game.

Each Connector app on each device will be FREE for three months after it is released. Players who don't get a free version during those free months can make a one-time purchase of any device app at the appropriate online store.

Stretch goals will provide Cosmic Expansions and other features as in-app purchases. Swap your table for a tablet and connect with long lost friends.

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Ship Level - 51 Aliens / Flares & Your Name in Credits 

You get LASER to share in all your Connector games. LASER is one of the original Cosmic Aliens and was redesigned by Cosmic fans for the Cosmic Dominion expansion set. LASER blinds opponent to part of his or her hand. Your Ship Level Status also adds your name in the app credits.

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Planet Level - 54 Aliens / Flares & 1 Kicker & Backer Badge

You get 2 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens to share in all your Connector games: GREENHORN, power of Ignorance, makes convenient mistakes; MIRAGE, power of Delusion, changes number of ships involved in an encounter. Plus as a SPECIAL BONUS you also get the unique CosmicCon Alien the DEMON, power to Possess; it possesses others' hands. Plus you get 1 KICKER (x0). Your Planet Level Status gives you an in-game Backer Badge that shows everyone in your Connector games that you backed the Cosmic Encounter Connector! 

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Colony Level - 57 Aliens / Flares & 3 Kickers & VIP Game

You get 3 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens to share in all your Connector games: the LIZARD, power to Transmogrify, metamorphoses after winning; PICKPOCKET, power to Lift, lifts cards from other players; WHIRLIGIG, power to Swirl, mixes two hands.
Plus you get two more KICKERS (2 x2 kickers). Your Colony Level Status invites you to watch VIP Cosmic Encounter Connector games featuring Cosmic designers and other gamer celebrities on Twitch.

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Warp Level - 61 Aliens / Flares & 5 Kickers & Beta Access

You get 4 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens to share in all your Connector games: ALCHEMIST, power of Transmutation, converts cards by type; BRIDE, power to Marry, marries other players; MUCKRAKER, power to Slander, gets allies thrown out; QUARTERMASTER, power to Supply, delivers rewards. Plus you get two more KICKERS (Duplicity x2 and x3). Your Warp Level Status gives you access to BETA play testing. Get early access to the app on different platforms, as we hit our stretch goals, and help our team by beta testing and providing feedback.

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Hyper Level - 66 Aliens / Flares & 7 Kickers & Home Brews

You get 5 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens to share in all your Connector games: ANGLER, power to Fish, fishes for cards; LOVE, power of Joy, makes the cosmos go round; USURPER, power to Accroach, makes allies play encounter cards; YIN-YANG, power of Balance, allies with both sides. Plus you get 2 more KICKERS (Self Destruct x1 and Jamming Signal x2). Hyperspace Level Status lets you add your own home brew aliens and cards for use in your Cosmic Connector games with any player. After launch,the Home Brew feature will be an Alpha feature for Hyperspace Level backers until it is released for in-app purchase.

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Parallel Level - 72 Aliens / Flares & 9 Kickers & Alpha Access

You get 6 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens to share in all your Connector games: ACE, Power to Triumph, wins with one colony; ARISTOCRAT, power of Privilege, picks hand and draws extra flares; DOPPELGANGER, power to Haunt, borrows cards to play; JUDGE, power of Fiat, assigns extra win/loss terms; MESMER, power of Mass Hypnosis, can change own artifacts; REACTOR, power of Radiation, makes aliens super. Plus you get 2 more KICKERS (Give War a Chance x4 and Reverse Polarity x1). Your Parallel Universe Level Status gives you elite Alpha Access and will bring you in on early testing and design reviews. Give our team early feedback. Not for the faint of heart!

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Project Budget

Cosmic Encounter Connector Project Budget
Cosmic Encounter Connector Project Budget

Five Reasons Behind the Cost of the Cosmic Encounter Connector

1. Future Pastimes is obligated to pay 7% of the funds that are raised for the Cosmic Encounter Connector Project as a licensing fee.

 2. Early design must account for later Connector stretch goal features: more players, more content, different games.

3. Seamless VoIP - the heart of the Connector will require time and testing.

4. Due to Cosmic’s small audience compared to many games, this project requires one server integrating all devices.

5. All apps are free for the first three months after they are launched. This means your donations are subsidizing non-donating players who get the app for free. This will broaden the player base, but it diminishes initial app purchase revenue. And it will take time to have functional in-app purchases.

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Cosmic Encounter History 

Warming up for the Tournament at CosmicCon 2014
Warming up for the Tournament at CosmicCon 2014

Cosmic Encounter was first designed in 1972 and published in 1977 by Eon Products. In the more than four decades since that time, the game has won scores of awards including being inducted into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997. Cosmic Encounter was named Number One in Tom Vasel’s Dice Tower Best 100 All Time Game Rankings in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

 "Cosmic Encounter is one of the greatest games ever designed..." ~ Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

"This has been Number One for five years in a row now..." - Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

Rab Florence Declares Cosmic "A stone cold ten." 

Everything  you need to know about Cosmic Encounter: more than 80 YouTube videos

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Future Pastimes

We are Peter Olotka, Bill Eberle and Greg Olotka. Peter and Bill are two of the designers of the original Cosmic Encounter game. Greg is Peter’s son who has been involved with the game since he was about ten years old. 

Five Reasons For Building the Cosmic Encounter Connector

  • To use the digital gaming space for more than blowing the brains out of digital opponents.

  • To fix the lack of real social interaction in current digital board game conversions.

  • Cosmic Encounter is about talking – cajoling, reminding, laughing, wailing, arguing, and agreeing. We want to deliver VoIP combined with a simple touch interface for playing the complete Cosmic Encounter board game. And possibly other games in the future.

  • Cosmic fans often form bonds with fellow players, bonds that become frayed by distance and time. The Connector will reconnect them.

  • We love Cosmic. The game has been a big part of our lives for four decades. Cosmic Encounter has never provided a living for any of its designers. Nor do we expect the Connector to provide any of us with a living. We want to build the Connector for Cosmic fans.

Five Reasons to Trust Us

  • When we dreamed up Cosmic Encounter in 1972 it predated most of today’s gaming world and defined a new way to design card and board games that would be different every time you played them.

  • As design professionals (making that non-cosmic living) individually and collectively, we have created, contributed to, suggested and designed scores of unique, quirky, off beat projects: Courtside Live for the NBA, Design Your Own Car for Ford, A Racing Game for IBM’s EPCOT Pavilion, 20 interactive Science Exhibits for the National Science Center, WeatherQuest for MOSI in Tampa, NBA’s Fan Voice, Isaac Asimov’s Robots, Frank Herbert’s DUNE, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover, Ellery Queen’s Murder She Wrote and Agatha Christie’s Behind the Screen, several Star Trek games, and Good To Grow for the National Association of Children’s Museums, as well as some routine applications like the online Wellness Database Application for State of Maine employees.

  • We have often been asked to take over someone else's gasping project and we have always exceeded expectations. We are flat-out very good at designing social interaction experiences. We want the Cosmic Connector to top them all, and we hope the Connector sets a standard for all who follow.

  • But the most important reason for you to trust us ... is that we trust you. Who else turns over their pride and joy, their life’s work, their baby, their legacy to a collection of crazed gamers and says: “Have your way with it. Bend it. Break it. See if it bounces. See if it floats.” We did that. And you designed the most recent Cosmic expansion set, Cosmic Dominion.

  • We would like the Cosmic Connector to be a gift to you as the latest chapter in our legacy of games and interactive entertainment experiences.

Please donate, pass us along to friends, then sit back, relax and enjoy the game!

~ Future Pastimes

Development Tool

Xamarin: Mobile App Development & App Creation Software

  • Xamarin makes 100% of the iOS and Android APIs available through native bindings. Xamarin developers share between 60 and 100% of their source code across platforms.
  • Xamarin has complete API coverage and deep code-sharing capabilities across iOS, Android and Windows apps, for a total of 2.6 billion devices you can reach in C#. Anything you can do in Objective-C and Java can be done in C# with Xamarin.
  • Xamarin is compiled to a native binary, not interpreted. It can build apps that run fast on any device.
  • On Android, Xamarin ships a fully functional implementation of the .NET.
  • Xamarin runs C# code on iOS using Mono, a fully functional implementation of the .NET runtime.
  • Xamarin's native bindings provide a complete one-to-one mapping of 100% of the native APIs on each target platform.

Development Team

Future Pastimes is teaming up with Apsis Labs to create the Cosmic Encounter Connector.

Future Pastimes is creative consultant Peter Olotka and database and application designer, developer and creative consultant Bill Eberle, who have worked on Cosmic Encounter projects since 1972; and social media strategist and digital artist, Greg Olotka, who was the lead producer for Cosmic Encounter Online.

Apsis Labs is Noah Calloway, who was a software development engineer at Amazon.com for 4 years focused on a wide range of devices and software including Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, the first Kindle Fire, and Amazon Games Studios games; and Wyatt Kirby, web designer/developer and software engineer who helped create LeadRocket.

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Special Thanks

  • Raven Zachary - app advisor
  • Steve Staton - videographer
  • Dagney Ernest - voice of the Siren
  • CosmicCon Attendees - creative critiques

Cosmic Encounter is a registered trademark of Eon Products, Inc.

Twilight Imperium Rex, and Gearworld are trademarks of Fantasy Flight Games

Property Rights - Eon Products, Inc. holds the rights to Cosmic Encounter. Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), is the publisher of the current Cosmic Encounter board game under license from Eon Products.

Future Pastimes, LLC (FP) has the rights for all electronic implementations of Cosmic Encounter. Future Pastimes is the group responsible for the Cosmic Encounter Connector design. Cosmic Encounter Connector, Inc. is the company formed to administer and run the Cosmic Encounter Connector business.

FFG and FP have a contract enabling access to and the use of all the current FFG Cosmic Encounter board game content art and text for the Cosmic Encounter Connector project. FFG and FP are explicitly NOT in any joint venture with respect to the Cosmic Encounter Connector. Apsis Labs in Seattle, WA is the developer for The Cosmic Encounter Connector.

Risks and challenges

1. Small Audience - we need to get a critical mass of players: Cosmic Encounter's audience is smaller than that of many competitive games, so we want to help our players find other players. Our plan is to let everyone regardless of device, play in the same games. We will also vigorously promote the Connector on Cosmic social networks (see www.ceconnector.com).

2. Free Apps - we lose early revenue sources: We are giving up early revenue to offer the Connector as a FREE app for three months after it's released in each App Store. The reward is getting more players. The risk, of course, is no early revenue.

3. Budget - the project looks more expensive than other games: This project is unlike any we have seen. We are aiming to make it possible for players to play the Cosmic Encounter board game not only on multiple digital platforms, but also with players on different devices, all in the same game. And we're giving it away for the first 3 months.

When you see small public budgets for games on Kickstarter, there often is more money funding the project than meets the eye. We have no behind-the-scenes money for this project. Fantasy Flight Games is neither a partner in nor funding this effort. Future Pastimes is doing this project. It's 100% ours. And yours.

4. VoIP - if it's not exceptional, the project will not succeed: Internet VoIP has improved immensely, but it still has its challenges. We need to create reliable VoIP and a smooth re-entry protocol for players who drop out of a game or out of the voice connection.

5. UI - while, not a slam dunk, it has to account for a lot of special cases: The user interface will have to let you play Cosmic Encounter with a minimum of interference, a maximum of flexibility and a rational dose of organization. Our plan is to have screen real estate adjust to the number of players and to each device.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    ALLY LEVEL: Thanks for your support. We've been told that Cosmic Encounter is the best board game people have never heard of. Please share this Connector Kickstarter on your social networks with family and friends who love games. The first game in the Connector will be Cosmic Encounter for IPAD. We will support Android, Mac OS X and Windows as stretch goals. Our design plan is to also support Connector versions of other board games. STATUS A: Thanks

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    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    LET’S GET IT DONE! If you’ve read the other pledge levels and can’t find the right match, come back to this one. Back us for $2 or more, and KS message us with your ideas to make this project a success. We always answer.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    All above +
    SHIP LEVEL: 51 Aliens - You unlock 1 Cosmic Dominion Alien, the LASER, power to Blind.
    STATUS B: Name in Credits at the Cosmic Encounter Connector website as a Connector backer.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All above +
    PLANET LEVEL: 54 Aliens - You unlock 2 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens, GREENHORN, power of Ignorance & MIRAGE, power of Delusion. Plus as a bonus you unlock the only CosmicCon alien, the DEMON, power to Possess & 1 KICKER (x0). STATUS C: Backer Badge

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All above + COLONY LEVEL: 57 Aliens - You unlock 3 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens, LIZARD, power to Transmogrify; PICKPOCKET, power to Lift; WHIRLIGIG, power to Swirl
    & 2 more KICKERS (2 x2 kickers). STATUS D: Watch VIP Game on Twitch

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All above + WARP LEVEL: 61 Aliens - You unlock 4 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens, ALCHEMIST; power of Transmutation; BRIDE, power to Marry, MUCKRAKER power to Slander; QUARTERMASTER, power to Supply & 2 more KICKERS (Duplicity x2 and x3). STATUS E: Beta Access for playtesting.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All above + HYPERSPACE LEVEL: 66 Aliens - You unlock 5 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens, ANGLER, power to Fish; LOVE, power of Joy; TOURIST, power to Sightsee; USURPER, power to Accroach; YIN-YANG, power of Balance & 2 more KICKERS (Self Destruct x1 and Jamming Signal x2). STATUS: F Home Brews - make your own content.

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

    All above + PARALLEL UNIVERSE LEVEL: 72 Aliens - You unlock 6 more Cosmic Dominion Aliens, ACE, Power to Triumph; ARISTOCRAT, power of Privilege; DOPPELGANGER, power to Haunt; JUDGE, power of Fiat; MESMER, power of Mass Hypnosis; REACTOR, power of Radiation & 2 more KICKERS (Give War a Chance x4 and Reverse Polarity x1). STATUS G: Alpha Access

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Funding period

- (30 days)