Ars Victor is a fast-paced, tense, two-player boardgame of tactical combat. You command a furious fighting force OF THE FUTURE against a ferocious foe. Recruit your armies. Scout out a unique map. Draw a hand of Command Cards. Deploy your Vanguard. The battle is joined!
We've received several really positive reviews, but the best one so far has to be Tox from CritsHappen:
NOTE: We sent Tox an early demo copy that didn't have the final art for the banners and suits. We've updated them since then:
After a year and a half of development, and hundreds of playtests, I'm finally ready to release Ars Victor with a high-quality, large-volume print run. But I'm just an independent designer -- I can't afford to do that by myself. So I'm asking you, the players and future players of Ars Victor, to help make the Ars Victor print run real.
To win Ars Victor, you must reduce your enemy’s Glory to zero before they do the same to you. Your success on the battlefield chips away at your enemy’s Glory. It never goes up, only down; so it’s always a tense, back-and-forth race to the bottom.
Your turn is simple: play a Command Card to activate one or more of your units. Move them across the battlefield, and try to slaughter the enemy. In the process, try to hold on to the three Capture Points in the middle of the board, and keep your Headquarters alive.
Combat is resolved in a single roll of multiple colored dice. Dice quantity and color can be affected by terrain, as well as unit Special Abilities. Simple icons on the dice show the results.
As you can see, Ars Victor isn’t just an idea on a napkin. This game has been thoroughly playtested and developed. We celebrated our soft launch with a big cash-prize tournament at Gateway 2012 last year. Over a hundred new players tried Ars Victor, and loved it. See what they have to say:
Last year's tournament was so successful, we decided to do it again -- only BIGGER -- at Gamex 2013 in Los Angeles! See below for more details.
We’ve worked hard to make it easy to learn Ars Victor. Check out the video tutorial, the full rulebook, or the quick reference. For a brief overview, check out this interview with Plus 10 To Awesome from Gamex 2013:
Watch this video tutorial, and you’ll know everything you need to play the game. It tells you how to set up the game, order and move your units, and crush your enemies beneath your furious dice rolls.
Want to know more about the game and the special abilities? Get your free PDF of the full rules and quick reference, right here:
The 1.5” square Unit Counters tell you everything you need to know about a piece. Simple icons and language-independence makes it easy for new players to understand what the units can do.
The game comes with twelve different unit types, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Each unit has a distinct role, due to different combinations of cost, survivability, lethality, and flexibility.
Straightforward rules combine with interesting special abilities to make a game rich in strategy and tactics. You can find old gameplay videos on our YouTube channel; we'll be posting more soon!
We got a lot of feedback from gamer parents who were eager to introduce Ars Victor to their young'uns. There were parents who wanted to introduce kids as young as 5 and 6 to the fun of Ars Victor. So I ducked into my secret lab and whipped up: Junior Victor!
It chops out a bunch of stuff and boils the entire game down to four units and a reduced map. It's fast, fun, and simple -- yet contains the essence of Ars Victor's command-driven system and Glory battle.
These rules have been field-tested on live children as young as five years old. So far, it's worked! FatherGeek ran Ars Victor and Junior Victor through the paces:
The younger Child Geeks excelled at the game using the slimmer rule set and some of the older Child Geeks even preferred the simpler game play. When we had finally played the game enough times using both rules, we couldn’t find one Child Geek who didn’t enjoy themselves.
Every game of Ars Victor comes with a fat boxful of components.
Every piece is double-sided, full color, and mounted. All physical components will be of the quality you'd expect from a major publisher: heavy stock, finished surfaces, counter trays, and all the fixin's. All told, you get:
- The CHAMPION Exclusive Kickstarter Piece
- 9 Double-sided Mounted Map Tiles
- 50 Double-sided Unit Counters, of 12 different types
- 12 Red, White, and Blue Attack Dice, with custom stickers
- 2 Headquarters Markers (Red & Blue)
- 24 Banners (Red & Blue)
- 2 Decks of 24 Command Cards each (Red & Blue)
- A full-color 20-page Rulebook
- Two full-color double-sided Quick Reference Sheets
- Seven Command Tokens
- A fistful of damage markers
The base game comes with enough components to run a huge variety of different armies, on millions of different possible maps. Even now, we're still finding new army builds and new strategies with just the base game.
It's you, the backer, who is making it possible to print this game. We want to show our thanks by rewarding you with things you won't be able to buy in the store.
We're adding several special units to the games we're sending out to our backers. Each of these counters will be uniquely styled to show its exclusive status. The reverse of the each exclusive counter will proudly display the KICKSTARTER OLD GUARD insignia.
The first exclusive unit, THE CHAMPION, is brought to us by my awesome uncle: Dan DeBaun. Thanks to his pledge at the $400 CHAMPION level, each game of Ars Victor will include this piece. I'm currently discussing different design ideas in a thread on BoardGameGeek -- come on over and let me know what you think!
Escorted by an honor guard, the Regimental Bannerman carries the irreplaceable sacred standard into battle! As carrying a giant cloth fetish on a big pole makes one a fairly conspicuous target, this tradition feeds a booming business in irreplaceable sacred standards.
THE BANNERMAN, our next exclusive unit, will be added to every backer's game when we hit certain numbers of Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and BGG Fans.
Ars Victor was inspired by a variety of science-fiction miniatures games, where you paint your army the way you want. As a special exclusive reward for our most dedicated backers, we're offering our Tribune backers their own personalized set of pieces!
All Tribunes will receive their own personalized WARLORD piece. It’s an expensive, fast, hard-hitting unit that works well as an HQ or in your vanguard. You send us any picture you like, and we’ll put that image on a piece that we send just to you!
Back us at the Tribune SILVER level, and you can also get your own personalized Command Card Deck and Banners! Send us an image to use as your overall army insignia, and choose four different banner suits. We’ll send you a custom deck with your insignia on it, and a set of twelve Banners with your fearsomely personalized suits.
Finally, the Tribune GOLD backers get the ultimate in Ars Victor personalization: an entire set of fifty pieces, with their choice of color scheme. Be the best-looking army on the table with your personal WARLORD piece, custom Army Insignia and Banner Suits, and uniquely-colored units!
You can back us at one of three levels: Centurions get the game, and all the stretch rewards. Tribunes get the game, stretch rewards, personalized pieces, and other nifty treats. Heroes of the Empire get a SPECIAL POWER that lets them decide the fate of Ars Victor!
The Centurion level is our basic reward. Back us at the Centurion level, and we'll send you Ars Victor. You'll get all the stretch goals: a PDF copy of Victor Arcana, the strategy guide; the fifty more units of twelve different types in the Second Legion; and the second set of nine new map tiles and other goodies in Fields of Blood.
Centurions can get all the different Add-Ons once they add the Centurion MINOR or Centurion PRIME upgrade.
At the Tribune level, you're getting a your own exclusive personalized Warlord piece! You upload a picture, see what it looks like, and we'll print it for you! Get a piece with your face, or your kid's face, or your dog's face, or your hamster's face.
Tribunes are also eligible for all the Add-On rewards we offer!
On top of that, your Limited Edition Ars Victor is signed and numbered. You get the fifty new units of the Second Legion and the additional map tiles from the Fields of Blood stretch rewards. Your Victor Arcana won't be a PDF, it will be a full-color printed book! At the highest stretch goal, we even put all your loot in a classy wooden box.
Tribune Silver backers get another set of personalized pieces: your own unique deck of Command Cards, and a set of unique Banners. You upload your Army Insignia and choose a color scheme, and you'll get personalized pieces you can use in the game!
Tribune Gold backers get the ultimate in customization: an additional set of the original fifty unit counters, colored to your specification! Choose a color scheme that matches your miniatures, your favorite sports team, or anything you want.
As one of six Masters At Arms, I will work with you to design, playtest, and balance a unit that you want to see. You will get co-credit in the rules for your piece. These units will be included in our Second Legion stretch goal!
Dan DeBaun backed Ars Victor at the Hero of the Empire level, giving every backer an exclusive Champion piece! See the details under EXCLUSIVES.
Reaching our funding goal is only the beginning. If we hit our stretch goals, we’ll be able to add even more to the box: engraved dice, a strategy guide, fifty new units, and a second set of map tiles!
The people have spoken! And they said: GIVE US ENGRAVED DICE, YOU PLONKER.
We worked out the details with the factory, and figured out how to upgrade the dice in EVERY GAME. This stretch goal actually comes in two steps:
At $17k, we are able to upgrade the dice in every game to PRINTED dice. While these aren't much more durable than the stickered dice, at least you don't have to fiddle with little stickers.
We hit the jackpot at $23k -- everyone now gets ENGRAVED dice! That's right, all TWELVE red, blue, and white dice are beautiful, resilient, engraved dice. These dice will last a million battles; you'll grind down all your opponents to dust long before you grind down these suckers.
At $39k, we're adding the Victor Arcana strategy guide to the mix! This full-color book will add at least 40 pages of tactics, new scenarios, and variants. At higher stretch goals, we'll be able to expand the book with even more content.
The Second Legion gets added to every game when we hit our second stretch goal. This includes FIFTY unit counters, and TWELVE entirely new unit types. The Victor Arcana will also be expanded with content for the new units.
With Early Mobilization, we'll be adding single copies of each Second Legion units to the base game. These will end up replacing 6 of the 50 original counters. When we hit the Second Legion stretch goal, you'll get all 50 base unit counters and the 50 new unit counters!
Each game gets the Fields of Blood stretch reward when we hit our third goal. That's another set of nine double-sided map tiles, with new art representing a new environment. Backers will tell me what kind of environment we want: desert? swamp? arctic? urban?
TRIBUNE SPECIAL REWARD: Protect your investment from the riff-raff! We give each Tribune backer a classy wooden case, to protect your Ars Victor from the depredations of roving barbarian hordes.
Lots of backers have asked us about add-ons, so we've tried to oblige you! Any TRIBUNE backer can partake in any of these options, at the listed price.
If you're a CENTURION, don't despair! You can still partake in these add-ons, but you have to add a small premium:
[$5] CENTURION MINOR: If you're only getting one of either the Engraved Dice or T-Shirt, add this to your pledge.
[$10] CENTURION PRIME: Add this if you're getting anything else, or multiple items.
To get these Add-Ons, simply add the correct amount to your backer level, and note that you want one of these extras:
Finally! Get a beautiful set of TWELVE high-quality engraved dice, These dice are engraved in the USA, and will last through millions of rolls without becoming worn.
This dice Add-On is an exclusive Kickstarter reward, commemorating your participation in this heroic victory. They are different than the engraved dice that come as a stretch reward.
The set includes:
- 4x BLUE dice with three hit faces and one push face
- 4x RED dice with a hit, a weak hit, and a push face
- 4x WHITE dice with a weak hit and a push face
You get these dice in addition to the regular dice in the game. CENTURIONS, please also include the MINOR upgrade.
If you get this Add-On, you'll receive the Second Legion expansion, even if we don't make our stretch goal. That's fifty more pieces, of a dozen new unit types! See the Second Legion Stretch Goal above. CENTURIONS, please add the PRIME upgrade.
If we make our Second Legion stretch goal, backers who selected this reward beforehand will receive a second copy of the game!
This Add-On guarantees you'll receive the Fields of Blood expansion. That's nine, double-sided map tiles with a new theme and interesting additional terrain types. CENTURIONS, please add the PRIME upgrade.
If we make our Fields of Blood stretch goal, backers who selected this beforehand receive TWO extra copies of the game.
Ars Victor is a ton of fun as a timed game. All of our Grand Championship Finals matches are played on a clock, and veteran players love the extra edge it adds to the game. Each player gets 30 minutes on the clock; if you run out before the game ends, you lose!
With this add-on, you get an Ars Victor-themed game clock! Emblazoned with the Ars Victor logo, and other helpful information on the sides. Punctuate the end of your turn (and your opponent's doom) with the crack of a slapped game clock. CENTURIONS can get this with the PRIME upgrade.
Display your noble accomplishment for the world to see! Wear it proudly as you stride into the tournament, striking fear in your enemies! The Ars Victor T-Shirt is guaranteed* to grant you victory in battle, fame and fortune, and romantic success with members of whatever gender and species you prefer. CENTURIONS, please add the MINOR upgrade.
*: does not apply to shirts used on the planet Earth.
Centurions and Tribunes can add an extra game to their reward. This includes the DELUXE DICE, SECOND LEGION and FIELDS OF BLOOD stretch rewards. We can even email you a second PDF of the VICTOR ARCANA if you really want. :)
Do you have another "special someone" whose face you want to see on the battlefield? Tribunes can get a second WARLORD piece, with a separate photo.
I confess, I have an addiction to sci-fi miniatures. Do you have your own lovingly-painted army of tiny fighting men? Get them the frequent exercise they need on the Ars Victor Double-Wide:
The Double-Wide upgrade is a special premium upgrade that we're able to offer through our print-on-demand vendor. It consists of a fat stack of heavy mounted boards and a bunch of stand-up pieces. It's got all the extras you need to play Ars Victor with the miniatures you already have:
NINE HUGE "Double-Wide" double-sided full color map tiles. Each map tile is 14" wide and 10" deep; individual hexes are roughly 3". You can easily fit a squad of four 40mm bases in a hex. WARNING: You need a big table for this!
SIX "Double-Wide" Capture points, to fit your extra-large map tiles.
TWENTY FOUR stand-up banners with plastic bases, used to designate the unit's suit. These are used instead of the banner pieces. When combined with the base game, the Ars Victor Double-Wide upgrade lets you enjoy the fast-paced, tense play of Ars Victor with the best miniatures in the world: the ones you already own.
This item requires special shipping no matter who we send it to; Centurions and Tribunes can both get this add-on.
DOUBLE-WIDE FIELDS OF BLOOD!
Yes, you can get the Fields of Blood maptiles in Double Wide form! Just add another $99.
"That is the beauty of the Glory system. Spend too much and you cannot afford too many loses. Spend too little and your opponent will take a strangle hold on the capture points and win the battle of attrition. The game is already on before the first step onto the battlefield and that is not even the best part."
"Here is a game that provides a lot of depth of play, complete freedom to strategize, and more tactics than you can throw a grenade at. But best of all, Ars Victor is a game that can be played by anyone."
"Gamer Geeks, Parent Geeks, and Child Geeks all found something they liked about your game. This automatically awards your game the Father Geek Seal of Approval, a special approval we only give to those games that were found to be fun, challenging, and playable by a diverse group of players."
The Dice Tower
Tom Vasel gave us a preview where he goes over the game, and then talks about some of the interesting strategy, at the end.
“It's like Carbon Fiber for airplanes.”
“It's a cross between Warhammer 40k and Command & Colors: Ancients. Two games I like a lot.”
- David Gerson, Champion, Gateway 2012 Ars Victor Tournament
“You gotta get out and try this game. Go check it out on BoardGameGeek, get on the forums, learn about it... and when this thing comes out on Kickstarter, Kickstarter it."
- Shawn Hendrix, Friday Night Dice
“In sum, designer Stephen DeBaun brilliantly converts mundane pregame setup and budgeting into tense choices... Ars Victor is slightly more complex than Memoir '44 yet vastly more deep.”
- Sebastian Sohn, playthisthing.com
I think Ars Victor is a ton of fun to play, and I want everyone to have a chance to play it. Even if you don't back this project, you can still play Ars Victor. Just download the free Print-and-Play from our website.
If you're adventurous, you can even play Ars Victor with VASSAL, a free program. It doesn't enforce the rules, but it gives you "virtual pieces" that you can use to play with.
If you like what you see, back our project and get Ars Victor!
We've wrapped up the Spring Tournament -- read the updates for more info!
Fast games, tons of replayability, and deep strategy make Ars Victor ideal for competetive play. We're building a healthy competitive culture around the game.
Here were the mini-tournaments we ran over the first three weeks of the Kickstarter campaign. First place winners got a demo Ars Victor game, a full pass to Gamex 2013, and pre-qualified for the $500 cash finals.
The Gameology tournament was a blast! The players all had a great time. Here's some footage from the event:
Thanks again, Kevin, for hosting us!
We ran a bunch of tables at Friday Night Dice and had a bunch more happy players. Video coming soon!
Jackson Sauthoff took home the $400 grand prize from our three-day extravaganza at Gamex 2013.
I grabbed a bunch of video and will post some soon.
If our Kickstarter project is successful, I have a lot planned for Ars Victor.
I want to develop dozens of different units, covering every different sci-fi theme imaginable. I want to get the community involved in testing, imagining, and balancing new unit designs. I want to make it easy for players to print and use new units, and offer affordable expansions.
With all the of the high-quality components we're getting, I think we can price the Ars Victor base game at a $59.99 retail price. That's comparable to similar non-miniatures games like Small World and Twilight Struggle. We'll probably price the unit and map tile expansions in the $20-25 range.
And I already have plans for an Ars Victor follow-up: an expanded game that focuses on armored fighting vehicles and combined arms operations. I want to make tank-on-tank action as fast and furious as the base game, but with extra rules to handle the differences in mechanized warfare.
Developing and publishing Ars Victor has been a long, hard road, and I want to thank everyone who has made it possible.
First, I want to thank Alyson Warner, my partner and the love of my life. Not only has she worked her butt off doing everything from graphic design to shipping to accounting, but she has been the most amazing inspiration I could ask for. This would not have been possible without her.
Next, thanks to my parents and family: I am what you made me. 'Nuff said.
And of course, thank you Mike Bott, for believing that I can do this, and for everything you've done to make this dream real.
Finally, thanks to all the people who participated in playtest after playtest, tuning and honing Ars Victor to be what it is today. You will forever be honored on our web site. I couldn't have done this without you!
And thank YOU -- yes, YOU. I hope you enjoy Ars Victor as much as I do!
Risks and challenges
I've delivered a game before -- I am the designer of Smashball, the free-to-play game on Steam. However, Ars Victor is the first board game I've ever published.
Delivering a physical board game has a lot of challenges that aren't part of delivering software. To make sure I could do it, I funded the initial development and first "beta" print run out-of-pocket. This was a great learning experience. While it wasn't stress-free, it was certainly less stressful than it would have been with Other People's Money. Having now managed two tiny print runs, I feel more confident in tackling a bigger one.
Because this is a new experience for me, I'm trying to do as much work as possible up front. I've already selected a vendor, and have completed the quoting process. I'm sharing my experiences on the Ars Victor blog, and getting a lot of good advice from friends and fans alike.
Despite all my precautions, the fact remains that this is a new experience for me. To try to head off any serious mistakes, I'm going to blog as much as possible about what I'm doing, and the challenges I run into. I've already had some great tips and feedback from my existing fans, and I hope that my Kickstarter backers can provide the same help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes! If we make our stretch goals, every game we ship will come with the Second Legion and Fields of Blood rewards.
No! We're still replacing some of the original demo art. Currently, the cards, banners, and map tiles still have to be replaced. We will post more updates as the campaign progresses.
The basic unit mix has the theme I call "Empire of Man": the generic far-flung human empire, with its professional forces augmented by local garrisons and barbarian auxiliaries. It's the analog to any number of sci-fi empires: the Empire from Star Wars; the Imperium from Warhammer 40k, the Confederation of Firefly -- the list is virtually endless. Is it good? Is it evil? Who knows: it's human, faceless, and big.
We intend to add units for every sci-fi trope. What about an ancient, caste-based alien culture like the Minbari of Babylon 5 and the Eldar of Warhammer 40k? A horde of nasty buglike critters like those in Starship Troopers and Aliens? Coming soon!
No! They're in addition to the regular pieces! So a Tribune Gold will receive a personalized Warlord, an entire set of fifty personalized pieces, a dozen personalized banners, a personalized deck, PLUS all the pieces that come in the regular game.
Anything that *isnt* a unit will be absolutely exclusive. All the exclusive rewards will be branded with something that identifies you as a heroic supporter of our savage and bloody Kickstarter campaign.
Exclusive unit counters will have similar markings, identifying them as trophies of the campaign.
Because Ars Victor is a competitive and tournament-friendly game, I think it is important to make sure players all have access to the same pieces. This is *not* a CCG! If we make our goal, we will eventually release alternate units with the same stats for general use. But we will never re-print the Kickstarter Exclusive pieces.
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