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!
“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.
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.
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.
- 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
- (28 days)