The newest love of your life has got engaged to a frightful cheese-obsessed bore from the Home Counties.
Your butler could separate them in a jiffy, but he’s busy running errands for your Great-Aunt to clear his shameful gambling debts.
She could forgive the debts, but she wants the money to buy the famous artist’s new masterpiece.
And the artist would be happy to just hand the painting over, so long as you help her cover up that her best works are plagiarised.
How will this all shake out? Find out in play!
What Ho World! is a light role-playing game of hijinks and shenanigans set in the breezy upper classes of the roaring 20s. With the improvised storytelling of a roleplaying game and the pick-up-and-play nature of a card game, you can jump right into things and tell a great story together over the space of a few hours. Here's how the game works:
In What Ho, World! you take the role of one of five different character types:
- The Gadabout: A social butterfly at home in the galas and clubs of high society but utterly naive about anything else.
- The Servant: solid and dependable. They're always ready to offer sage advice, a bracing drink, or surprising skills.
- The Aged Relative: with age comes grand plans, high status, and a healthy disregard for society’s mores. Nieces, grand-nephews and servants - all pawns in their plots.
- The Highbrow: Whether they’re an artist, a priest or a scholar, they've been given a license by society to ignore social conventions, think strange thoughts and create shocking works.
- The Pillar of Society: a key figure of the establishment. Their word carries weight, and their judgement is feared by all.
Each character has their own unique abilities, relationships, and Trouble Move: your own personal plot that gives you extra resources even as it complicates your life.
Moves and Tokens
Those unique abilities come in the form of move cards. Drawing on our experience with Powered by the Apocalypse games, each card gives you a discrete, powerful ability you can use to affect the story you're all telling. Those moves you don't pick are flipped over to be your token pool. Each card can be spent as two of the four suits to unlock bonus effects on a move, at the cost of losing that token for a while. Every so often it'll be your turn to be the focus of the story, allowing you to refresh a spent token or swap out a move for one that's currently facedown. Finally, activating your Trouble Move gives you a wildcard Excellence token that can be spent as any token type.
Scenes and Goals
Structure for your story is provided by the final element of the system: scenes and goals. Each character has two goals: they may need to find a new home for an annoying dog, perhaps, or avoid a criminal conviction for an honest mistake.
As the story's focus passes around the table each player gets to frame new scenes where they try to accomplish their goals while dealing with the mounting trouble everyone else is getting them into. Every new scene can bring in new characters, new locations and twists in the tale, until someone's settled both their goals and it's time to wrap the story up.
This simple system provides an easy way to add new elements to your story and keep the plot moving, without needing a dedicated game master to control bit-part characters or manage story focus.
- Players: Best with 3-5, although it's worked with 2 with some adjustments.
- Playtime: About 1.5-2.5 hours, longer with more players than with less.
- Age range: Appropriate for ages 12 and up.
- License: All game text will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, allowing you to make your own variations based on the rules and share them for others to use.
Watch it in play:
If you'd like to check out the game in detail, you can:
- Have a look at the current draft of the rulebook.
- Download draft print-and-play card files (odd cards are faces, even cards are backs).
- Play in your browser here.
The game is almost done, but we need your help to get it finished. Card printing is an expensive business, but the more decks you buy the cheaper it gets. With your pledges, we'll be able to give What Ho, World! the best quality of cards, tuck box and components possible - not to mention making new expansions and settings for the game!
The goal of £4000 will enable us to make a 100-card deck that contains the following:
- 5 character decks, each made up of 8 cards.
- 5 sets of the five basic move cards.
- 30 asset and goal cards, reversible to be used as Excellence tokens.
- 2 location cards - the Country Manor and the London Townhouse - to get your story started.
- 3 token and scene framing reference cards.
- All wrapped up in a glossy, full-colour tuckbox.
There won't be a physical manual at the base level of funding, but every backer will get a PDF containing all the rules needed to play (and every copy of the game will contain a download link).
Here's what each level gets you:
- Ingenue (£5/~$7): The PDF of the game rules and card image files so you can print them out and play with them. As we unlock extra game content, you'll get those files too.
- Socialite (£14/~$18): The full deck of the game: all 90 cards, in a glossy tuck box, as well as all electronic versions of the game. Shipping costs are on top of that: £4 to the US, £5 to the UK, £12 to the EU and £15 to the rest of the world.
- Industrialist (£30/~$39.21): Everything you get with the Socialite level. In addition, you can contribute an asset or goal to the deck: if the extra Asset/Goal card stretch goal is met you'll contribute one of those, and if not your submission will replace one of the game's pre-existing Assets or Goals. In addition, you'll get a shout-out in the game's manual. Shipping costs: £4 to the US, £5 to the UK, £12 to the EU and £15 to the rest of the world.
- Magnate (£45/~$59): The retailer tier: 5 decks for the price of 3, and the same shipping costs as Socialite.
- Patron (£50/~$65.35): Everything you get with the Socialite level. In addition, we will work with you to make a new move card for one of the character decks, and send you a signed copy of it. Finally, you'll get thanked in the game's manual. These move cards will be available to purchase as a set after the Kickstarter.
- Gentry (£120/~$156): The gorgeous deluxe version of the game: tarot deck-sized, gilt-edged, and luxurious. Also comes with one normal deck, and all electronic versions of the game. Finally, you'll get particular thanks in the game's manual. Shipping is £5 to the UK, £12 to Europe, £15 to the US and £20 to the rest of the world.
If you want extras above and beyond what you get from your pledge level, simply add the following to your pledge:
- £10: Extra deck of What Ho, World! Must have already backed at a tier that includes shipping.
- £12: Deck of the alternate setting. Wizards Aren't Gentlemen brings you powerful sorcerers, bound demon servants, and the magical investigators trying to keep the peace. 90 cards, including 5 character decks, new assets and goals, and new locations. Fully compatible with the What Ho, World! base game. Must have already backed at a tier that includes shipping.
- £2: A discount code to get The Adventurer character deck and the backer-made character moves in physical from, with printing and shipping paid at that time (costing ~£2.50).
If we go over our funding goal, the excess will go towards unlocking the following improvements:
£4500: The Adventurer - Met!
We'll make a sixth character deck! The Adventurer lives a life of daring and excitement, and is always preparing for their next expedition - much to the relief of others who tire of their uncouth behaviour. Part Indiana Jones, part Lord Flashheart. 8 cards including two character illustrations. All backers will get a free PDF/print and play copy of this deck and can pledge extra to get a copy printed and shipped at-cost.
£5000: Alternate Setting - Met!
We'll begin work on our first alternate setting for What Ho, World! based on the works of other authors from the time period.
Wizards Aren't Gentlemen: Inspired by Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance, this version of the game will bring you all-powerful sorcerers empowered by ancient words, the demons and spirits they bind to serve them, and the brave-hearted mortals who get involved in their plots.
All backers will get a free PDF/print and play copy of this when it's done, and can pledge extra to get a copy printed and shipped at-cost.
£5500: Deck Upgrade - Met!
Economies of scale mean we can improve the quality of the decks! This level will add 10 extra Asset and Goal cards and 10 extra locations, for a deck size of 120.
£6250: Alternate Setting gets Full Art - Met!
In the same manner as the standard What Ho, World! the alternate setting unlocked at £5000 will get its own distinctive character deck art and card layout.
£6750: Second Alternate Setting - Met!
At this level of funding, we'll make the second alternate setting - The Butler on the Threshold - and give every backer digital and print-and-play files of it for free, as well as a discount on the print-on-demand version when it becomes available.
The Butler on the Threshold: Drawing on the books of H.P. Lovecraft, we will present a fog-swathed New England where dreadful things stir in the shadows, squamous tendrils reach from the oceans, and wealthy ingenues receive cryptic summons back to their ancestral home...
Risks and challenges
Printing and Shipping: Even the most experienced Kickstarters can run into issues with international printing and shipping, and as relative novices we're aware of the risks. That's why we've made plans for multiple levels of interest in this project, and partnered with DriveThruCards, PrintNinja and Shipwire to handle the printing and fulfilment process at whatever volume of sales we end up reaching. We're in regular communication with representatives from these companies and will be ready to respond to any issues that arise.
Playtesting: While the game has gone through local playtesting it's likely that once the game is in your hands you'll have your own ideas for how it can be improved. That's why we've budgeted time for revisions in the estimated delivery dates, and even once we've delivered we'll give you an at-cost version of the game if it ends up changing significantly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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