Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A pair of casual tabletop story games in zine form!
229 backers pledged $5,515 to help bring this project to life.

About

Sword Loser and Tool User project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$5,515

229

This campaign is to make beautiful zine versions of my well-loved story games Sword Loser and Tool User, printed all in green (for Sword Loser) and all in blue (for Tool User) with new art for each! 

Sword Loser is a game about Tyngauld, who’s as lucky as a roomful of cats and marvelous with a sword. But he just can’t seem to stop losing them!

Tool User is a game about Clougil, an acerbic goblin and celebrated genius. In her long life she’s had many strange occupations. Let’s sort through her bizarre tools!

Some examples of swords that Tyngauld might find and subsequently lose.
Some examples of swords that Tyngauld might find and subsequently lose.

“Sword Loser is a tiny game with delightful surprises and compounding rewards. There’s a natural flow that’s so easy to settle into and satisfying to wrap up. I find myself retelling old adventures and discovering new stories each time I play. It makes art and storytelling approachable and ridiculously fun.”  Steph @sourfruitjunkie 


“Sword Loser is the perfect bite-sized game. Tegu's charm is on full display, offering everyone a playful cocktail of goofy swords and goofier stories. I remember grinning the next morning finding our scribbled swords in a pile on the table; tiny artifacts of an adorable adventure.”  Kurt Refling, games reviewer at Meeple Mountain 


“I had fun with Sword Loser! It was lovely to play because sometimes you want to tell shared fantasy stories but sometimes you'd rather sit quietly and draw swords, and this can change very quickly.” Alex Roberts, creator of Star Crossed


“Sword Loser was maybe my most fun hour of 2018! And I met a bunch of new friends that way, because there’s a certain part of the soul that gets immediately revealed when someone draws a Cool Sword.” Dan Garrison, co-creator Phoenix: Dawn Command


“Sword Loser is my Best Game of 2018. …The creative aspect is something I want to see more of in this world.” Joe Greathead, avid game player


“It’s my most played game of 2018. The play is perfect.” Tim Hutchings, creator of Thousand Year Old Vampire 

These games are short (each about 20 minutes, though maybe you’ll play for an hour), the rules texts are also short (each only 12 pages including the cover) yet they pack in so, so much fun. Best for 2 to 5 players! (If you've got 6 or more, split into smaller groups to play and then regroup to swap tales together after.)

In both Sword Loser and Tool User we take turns speaking, just one of us at a time. When it’s not your turn to speak, you make little doodles on scraps of paper – fantasy swords for Sword Loser or strange tools for Tool User. When your turn comes around, you select one of those new doodley drawings and share an anecdote about how our protagonist interacts with it; how to they use it, or lose it, or find it, or break it, or whatever's appropriate.

(If you want to watch some smart and funny people on GeekSpaceTV read the rules and play both games, click here!)

Sword Loser came out of my ongoing Patreon campaign and was immediately a hit with everyone who played it. People who don’t play story games enjoy Sword Loser. People who feel uncertain about their drawing skills are generally better at Sword Loser than their “good at drawing” friends are. It’s short, which means easier to get to the table. It provides a reliably silly and sweet time. 

So I decided to create a sibling game with similar rules but a different feel. Still silly, still sweet, but focusing more on interpreting others’ doodles. A game about a person sorting through their past, a person in transition rather than locked in the same pattern. Thus was born Tool User

A few examples of tools that Clougil might have in her collection.
A few examples of tools that Clougil might have in her collection.

The Sword Loser and Tool User print zines will be 12 pages long including the cover, brown or tan paper, cover a heavier stock, saddle stapled. Sword Loser printed in green, Tool User printed in blue. That’ll look nice. Each zine will come with a map insert which acts like a game board. 

The images of the zines as shown in the picture and video are mockups and approximations. The art is still coming together too. Excited to share previews as things coalesce! 

Sword Loser and Tool User will each have lovely screen-readable PDFs as well as printer-friendly PDFs for your home printing needs. 

Since I have dozens of published small games, I’m offering a few others I’m particularly pleased with at higher tier levels. 



Three More Two-Page Games

At the $24 (for PDF) and $35 (for print) tiers you can add 3 more games to your collection. Each of these is a single double-sided sheet, lovingly laid out by yours truly. Some will feature new artwork.

Artist Simulator. A silly and poignant 3 minute larp about the pain and joy of the artistic process, played repeatedly in rounds. Involves frantic drawing. For 4-7 players. If you have more players, split into groups. 

Long Distance Tales. A game for compact epics told over the telephone. Perhaps a tragedy, perhaps uplifting, one blind choice will decide which. 2 players. Setup is done casually via text. After setup, gameplay takes 10-20 minutes.

You Again. A near-instantaneous game about crossing paths with a ‘you’ from an alternate reality, and offering this other ‘you’ a little help. One of those simple games which stays with you and maybe changes your life. 



Plus Five Micro-Zines

At the $65 tier you can add a further 5 games for a total of 10 games (plus character sheets and a supplement). These 5 are micro-zines (cut and folded to be a mere 1/8th of a page! So tiny!), old stock that I recently discovered in storage. They haven’t been available online for a couple of years, and come in print only, not PDF. 

Anna, The Miller’s Daughter. A map-making story game to help 1-2 players tell a simple, pastoral storybook tale about Anna. These tales occasionally include her mother, who is the town miller. 

Slammin’. A game about flighty, self-obsessed, over-indulged douche bags hooking up with one another night after night at a bar where they hang out. 3-5 players, 1-2 hours. A deep cut Apocalypse World hack from before they were cool. 

Tower of Hats. A glacial minimalist mindbender of a role playing game. Skeletons. Coins. Pretend to be someone pretending to be someone pretending to be someone…

Temper. A personal forging game, overlaid on the solitaire player’s day-to-day life, to help them move past destructive anger. Small rewards. Mindfulness. 

SUPERHERO. A silly, casual, anecdote sharing game. Great for 2 players late at night or 6 players in a loud bar. Using prompts from the book, everyone speaks in first person as our not-particularly-superhero-like gun-toting protagonist, Superhero. It's very silly. 

The Slammin Token Master’s Guide. Contains two micro-essays, a mini poster, and a totally off-the-rails new setting for Slammin’.

Slammin’ Character Sheets. Comes with 8 playbooks, but all the playbooks are The Hipster and they’re all literally identical. Pfff. Hipsters. 



Limited Tiers

The limited tiers are each unique. Each limited tier contains all the zines and pdfs, but they don’t contain other limited rewards. If you’d like more than one limited reward, please get in touch directly and we’ll see what we can do. 

Your Sword on a Sword Loser Cover. Limited! Receive a one-of-a-kind copy of the Sword Loser zine, featuring your very own sword in Tyngauld’s hands! You provide a doodle or description of a sword (or you could invite me to in you stead), and Sword Loser artist Marina Valentina draws your sword as an ink outline in her own style. We digitally place it in Tyngauld’s hands. You receive two copies of the book, both printed in dark green, one regular copy in addition to your one-of-a-kind custom artifact. 

Your Sword as a Game-Ready “Giant” Sword Painting. Limited! Receive an original hand painted piece of art based on your doodle or description of a sword (or you could invite me to create one, if you prefer). Sword Loser artist Marina Valentina works in a variety of mediums, here she’ll choose some paints and get to work interpreting your doodle or description into a 5”x7” painting, which, while frame-ready, will also tuck nicely into a copy of Sword Loser. The paintings linked from her bio below are what happens when Marina spends months on an individual painting working with oils; this is a whole other sword game. Will she work in watercolors? Acrylics? She’ll match the medium to your doodle as inspiration strikes. You’ll also receive a cute little certificate showing that your painting, though “giant” by the game’s standards, counts as a doodle while playing Sword Loser.

I’m Jackson Tegu. I’m terrible with swords and my tools are bland, but I make short powerful games and have been doing so for years. I made the Monsterhearts Second Skins, Kaleidoscope, Morning, Danksgiving, Baba Zubi’s Missing Pet, and dozens and dozens of others. Find some of my favorite releases at photographsoflightning.com and a constant barrage of new games at patreon.com/jacksontegu

Slingin' graphite and ink for this project is Marina Valentina, a fine artist and animator. Her organic flowing lines and playful use of perspective are a great match for Tyngauld and Clougil, and her character design work has made them each so relatable. See her other work at marinavalentina.com

Acting in the video we've got Jackson and Madison and Amanda, with set magic by Amanda and Gavin and Alyssa, and props/costumes by Alyssa and Eric. Thanks for such a fun afternoon!

Want more than one of something? Get yourself some add-ons? Here’s how to arrange that:

1. After pledging, click the "Manage Your Pledge" button on the top right of the campaign.

2. Increase your pledge by the total cost of the add-ons (see table below).

3. After the campaign you'll use our checkout system to confirm which items you selected. 


~ Add-On Costs ~

  • PDFs of Sword Loser: $6
  • PDFs of Tool User: $6
  • Sword Loser print zine: $10
  • Tool User print zine: $10
  • PDFs of 3 two-page games: $12
  • set of 3 two-page games in print: $15
  • set of 5 micro-zines, a supplement/mini-poster, 8 character sheets: $30

For example, if you pledge at the $20 level to get zines of both Sword Loser and Tool User, you can add 2 more zines by clicking the "Manage Your Pledge" button and increasing your pledge by $20 to a total of $40.

Shipping will be charged through our checkout system at the time of fulfillment. 

~Shipping Estimates~

  • Sword Loser zine: $3.50 domestic / $5 international + VAT
  • Both zines: $3.50 domestic / $5 international + VAT
  • Both zines + 3 two-page games: $3.50 domestic / $5 international + VAT
  • Both zines + 3 two-page games + 5 micro-zines: $3.50 domestic / $5-8 Canada / $8-10 international + VAT

~International VAT Tax~

All orders will be shipped from Olympia, Washington, USA, and may be subject to import taxes by your local postal authority.

Risks and challenges

Big ol’ mar on my Kickstarter track record: I’m still in the process of delivering rewards for a previous Kickstarter from years ago, one with lots of new material and essays and new scenarios and so on. The timelines and workloads of these two projects shouldn’t interfere with one another much, but if it’s a concern for you, I understand! You can see my updates for completing the remaining material from the Monsterhearts Second Skins Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1571708637/monsterhearts-second-skins/updates

What else? Depression ain’t fun, and it’s totally in my life. It messes with my other deadlines and it might mess with these ones too. At least I’ve got better coping mechanisms than I used to.

I’ve got family members with changing health needs. If certain things shift a certain way, my responsibilities for caretaking them will shift as well, which might push back delivery for this project.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $6 or more About $6

    PDFs of Sword Loser

    Sword Loser in PDF form! A high quality screen version and a printer-friendly version.

    Includes:
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    15 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Sword Loser (print & pdf)

    Print copy of Sword Loser! Also includes pdfs as above.

    Includes:
    • Sword Loser (print)
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    17 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    PDFs of Sword Loser and Tool User

    Sword Loser and Tool User in PDF form! High quality versions to read on the screen, as well as printer-friendly versions.

    Includes:
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    • PDFs of Tool User
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    37 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Sword Loser and Tool User (print & pdf)

    Print and pdf versions of both Sword Loser and Tool User.

    Includes:
    • Sword Loser (print)
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    • Tool User (print)
    • PDFs of Tool User
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    87 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $24 or more About $24

    PDFs of five games

    Sword Loser, Tool User, plus three 2-page games from Jackson's backlog of strange larps and story games.

    Includes:
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    • PDFs of Tool User
    • PDFs of Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    14 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Five games in print (& PDF)

    Sword Loser and Tool User as print zines, and then Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again, as double-sided pages, all in print. Also PDFs of everything as above. Woo! That's five games!

    Includes:
    • Sword Loser (print)
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    • Tool User (print)
    • PDFs of Tool User
    • Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again (print)
    • PDFs of Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    25 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Ten games in print (Five in PDF)

    Sword Loser, Tool User, the 3 two-page games, and a collection of 5 old-stock microzines I made yeeeears ago but which are still hilarious and poignant today. PDFs of everything from the above rewards, but the old-stock zines are print only. Why? I don't know, why do I make any of the choices I make. >sigh< But the games are good, so let's cut me some slack about the poor business decisions

    Includes:
    • Sword Loser (print)
    • PDFs of Sword Loser
    • Tool User (print)
    • PDFs of Tool User
    • Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again (print)
    • PDFs of Artist Simulator, Long Distance Tales, and You Again
    • Anna, The Miller's Daughter microzine (print)
    • Slammin' microzine (print)
    • Tower of Hats microzine (print)
    • Temper microzine (print)
    • SUPERHERO microzine (print)
    • Slammin Token Master's Guide / mini-poster (print)
    • 8x Slammin' tiny lil character sheets (print)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    28 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $255 or more About $255

    Your Sword on a Sword Loser Cover

    Includes everything else except other limited tiers.

    You provide a doodle or a description of a beloved sword or invite me to make one for you, and Sword Loser artist Marina Valentina re-draws an interpretation of it in her own style. Then we do a little photoshop magic and suddenly you’ve got a custom one-of-a-kind Sword Loser cover with Tyngauld holding YOUR SWORD above his head!

    (So yeah, you’ll get two copies of Sword Loser out of this!)

    Includes:
    • (Limited) Custom Sword Loser Cover
    • All the print zines and PDFs from this Kickstarter woo woo
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $355 or more About $355

    Your Sword as a Game-Ready “Giant” Sword

    Includes everything else except other limited tiers.

    You provide a doodle or a description of a beloved sword or invite me to make one for you, and Sword Loser artist Marina Valentina paints her artist’s rendition of it. You receive YOUR SWORD as a 5” x 7” original piece of full-color art, along with an official certificate to show this piece of art, though it’s “giant,” is to be accepted as a doodle in games of Sword Loser.

    Includes:
    • (Limited) Custom Game-Ready “Giant” Sword Painting
    • All the print zines and PDFs from this Kickstarter woo woo
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (28 days)