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Trapped! Can you flip the right tiles to escape the goblin kingdom? A family-game based on the classic story for 1-4 players.
Trapped! Can you flip the right tiles to escape the goblin kingdom? A family-game based on the classic story for 1-4 players.
388 backers pledged $9,199 to help bring this project to life.


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The Princess and the Goblin - A Game of Daring Escape




The Kickstarter campaign for The Princess and the Goblin: A Game of Daring Escape will be over VERY soon (or has already ended!). THANK YOU to ALL of our backers who pledged to help bring this old, but endearing story back to life as a modern board game for families!

Did you miss the campaign? 

Now that the campaign is over, we can't take any more pledges (and we won't be able to make any edits to this campaign page), but this is not the end. If you would like a copy of the game (or if you would like to add another) but missed the campaign, you can pre-order them from our website. Out of respect for those who backed during the campaign, please note the difference in price.

This is just the beginning...

  • 1. Watch for our WEEKLY Kickstarter updates to hear about every step of the process of producing the game and delivering it to backers. 
  • 2. Like the Princess and the Goblin page on Facebook (and subscribe to receive notifications) to see periodical posts about the project, behind the scenes images and interact with other Princess and the Goblin fans.
  • 3. Rate the game at Board Game Geek and upload pictures of your family playing the game.
  • 4. Email Dennis directly at or contact him through the Kickstarter system.
  • 5. Subscribe to the Bellwether Games newsletter to receive monthly updates about our efforts to get The Princess and the Goblin onto store shelves around the world, as well as to hear about other projects we're working on.





When George MacDonald wrote The Princess and the Goblin in 1872, I don't think he thought it would become a game, but I think he would be pleased that we've made one!

The 8-year-old Princess Irene in MacDonald's novel exhibits one amazingly courageous moment when she "[does] not hesitate", but decides to follow her magic thread into the heart of the goblin kingdom under the mountain...alone.  

It may sound like a foolish act, but it was based on trust. She trusted her great-grandmother who gave her the thread. Her great-grandmother told her the thread would guide her. So, she followed it.

When creating this game, we tried to keep this moment in view, both for making moments of fun and exciting tension in the game, but also to honor the vision of MacDonald's work and provide great talking points: How can you know if someone is trustworthy? Can you trust something even if you don't perfectly understand it?

We made this game so you can share it with the ones you love, and this Kickstarter campaign is how we hope to raise the money needed to have the game produced. Artwork, manufacturing, shipping and fulfillment are all expensive parts of making this game a reality, but when you pledge you bring us a little closer to making it happen.

Explore below for more information about this project. Then click on the big green "Pledge Now" button at the top of the page and choose a reward. For a $19 pledge we'll send you a copy of the game when it is produced. Thanks for being part of this campaign!



When the young Princess Irene noticed her special golden thread led straight into the goblin kingdom under the mountain, she did not hesitate, but followed it at once. There, in the dark, she discovered her friend, the miner boy Curdie, who had been trapped while searching for clues to the goblins’ evil plans. 

Now, together they must make a daring escape. Can you retrace Irene’s steps through the dark maze of caverns, using only her special golden thread as your guide? Can you discover clues to save the kingdom? Or will the goblins catch you first?

In the game, you will explore the goblin’s vast underground cave network in search of clues to their evil plans. When you think you’ve discovered enough clues to save the kingdom, flip all of the pieces of your escape path in the correct order to find your way home. You will win if you can escape the mountain and find more clues than any of your opponents, but don't get caught by the goblins!

The Princess and The Goblin is a tile-flipping game of memory and daring escape for 1-4 players ages 7+ that plays in about 10-20 minutes. 




At its core, The Princess and the Goblin is a simple memory game, but there are several other game elements that make this game unique and exciting:

1. Ticking clock: As soon as the first player escapes, the "clock" starts and the other players must escape before all the mountain exits are sealed.

2. Deception: Use your breadcrumbs creatively to remember your path while also tricking your opponents to flip the wrong tiles.

3. Long-way or short-way?: Points are awarded for finding more clues and capturing breadcrumbs, but that costs precious time. Will you push-your-luck to earn more points?

4. Hidden tile placement: There is subtle strategy in choosing where to place tiles. Every decision may make it easier or harder to obtain victory.

5. "Goblins!": Goblins can be used to attack or trap the other players, and you may find your table shouting "goblins!" at every possible chance.

6. Solo and advanced rules: For a different way to play, try the solo or advanced rules.   

We mailed prototypes of this game to over two dozen different groups around the country (and to three other countries) to see how they and their families enjoyed the game, to see how accessible it was to different ages, and to make sure the rules were easy to understand. Here are some of the things they said:


  • "I played the game at Geekway to the West this past weekend and enjoyed it. It’s a quick playing game that is perfect for families with children aged about seven and older. Kids will love the goblins, feel heroic in helping the princess find her way home, and will quite possibly do a better job of remembering where tiles are located than you." - Dave Banks (Geek Dad)
  • "We have been playing and love the game!! We love the goblins - we're always shocked when we get them!" - Toni Steres
  • "I like the strategy of the game - and beating my sisters!" - Luke (age 7)
  • "A great little matching game that is quick enough to play several times in a row but deeper than the typical match-2 games you see from this genre. Over all it's a huge thumbs up from the Nerdettes." (Dad Vs The Nerdettes)
  • "The Goblin and the Princess is an easy to grasp, fun to play, and hard to beat adventure! It's one part Memory, one part bedtime story, and one part dungeon crawler!" - Kevin Delp (Tantrum House)
  • "Four [years old] is probably too young for the game [...], but he likes the goblins and the story line. He turned over the goblins on purpose sometimes because he thought it was hilarious." - Leah Hopkins
  • "It was a fun mix of memory and push-your-luck. Trying to keep track of the cards you've looked at is a tricky but rewarding memory puzzle, even with the breadcrumbs. Then deciding the best time to build your path versus finding more tiles to increase your points is a key decision." - Michael Tunnison
  • "Easy to pick up and play, learn [and] teach. Fun strategy to try and use your bits to mark cards and trick others" - Curtis Baughman
  • The Kentucky Bored Gamer also completed this review.

For every goal we reach, we'll add the unlocked bonus features to every copy of the game! 



If you live in the United States, shipping is FREE! For all other locations, shipping will be added when you make your pledge.

For our friends in the European Union (EU), imported products are sometimes charged a tax when they enter the EU. This tax must be paid by the individual importing the good. Fortunately, less-expensive products are often exempt from this tax because they don't meet a minimum threshold. For example, in two previous projects (which you can see here and here) we shipped games valued at $16 or less to about 400 different EU addresses. Exactly two people reported they had to pay an extra tax and we offered to reimburse both of them. 

Unfortunately, if we ship The Princess and the Goblin to you in the EU we can't guarantee you won't have to pay tax when it enters your country, however, you might consider using this Import Duty and Taxes Calculator to determine if additional taxes are likely for you. We will be importing the games into the United States before sending them out to backers.

We've closely analyzed the amount of time it took us to complete the game-making process for our two previous game projects. The following timeline is based on that analysis:


It's really easy to get more from your pledge. When you click "pledge now!" you will have the option to type any $ amount you like. When you ADD any of the $ amounts listed below, we'll also send you the game we created below that corresponds to the amount you pledged. (For example, if you live in the US and pledge $37 ($19 for Princess and the Goblin + $18 for Antidote) we'll ship you Antidote and then Princess and the Goblin once its produced.) At the end of the campaign, we'll send out a survey to double-check which extra games you selected.







Here are a few things backers from our previous two campaigns said:

  • JD S: I have to say you're campaign has been the most updated forthcoming and responsive campaign I have ever had the pleasure of funding. For that I want to personally say thank you! I look forward to displaying Antidote with my other board games.
  • Tanner M: Just to let you know I am extremely satisfied with the end product! All components of this game are amazing! I can't believe a Kickstarter produced such amazing quality work!
  • Dominic: I definitely want to thank you for your constant updates and excellent communication through the entire project. Not many Kickstarter projects do this (and it certainly provides a much nicer experience).
  • Joe C: My game just arrived in Australia. It looks awesome. Very good quality game. Can't wait to play it. Congrats on a great campaign and producing an excellent game :)

Game Design & Campaign Manager: Dennis Hoyle

Art and Graphics: Jovial Graphics

Cover Illustration: Courtney Godbey

Special Thanks to The Princess and the Goblin Playtesters: Lawrence, Ray and Kat Gaydos, Sara Hoyle, Craig, Dave, and Nick Bartelsmeyer, Zach Soucier, Graydon Hendershott, Chad Osborn and family, Brian Suhre and family, Ben Chamness, Lauryn Livengood, Jared and Karly Gagnon, Toni Steres and family, Michael Tunison and family, Leah Hopkins and family, Larry Rittman and family, Robbie Vermandel, Kevin Delp and family, Ed Baraf, Daniel Risse, Ben and Lilly Simpson, Curtis Baughman and family

I've run two successful Kickstarter campaigns all the way through to completion. Take a look at Antidote or Swamped to see each. 

These campaigns have provided some valuable perspective on some of the risks and challenges of running a project like this one. Some of the lessons I've learned are listed below:

  • Low funding level: We made a significant financial investment in the art and design of this game. If we fund at a low level, we will be taking a financial hit, but we believe so strongly in this game that we are committed to producing it even at a loss to us.  
  • Check and double-check your work: Board games come with a lot of important pieces and components. Before sending the games to print we will check and double-check every piece of art and every component to make sure its right. We are NOT okay with producing a game that is missing pieces or has graphic or typographic errors. 
  • Get started early: The overall timeline for producing a game is long. That's why we commissioned the bulk of the artwork before the campaign and have already begun working with manufacturers to plan production. 
  • Manufacturing risks: We'll be producing a printed sample of the game before sending it to final production. This way we can test all the physical components to make sure they are durable and of a quality that makes us proud. 
  • Logistical risks: For our first campaign we lost about 3 weeks because port workers in the US were on strike. Ouch! "Force Majeur" risks like this are possible, despite our best efforts to plan. That is why we've calculated a conservative timeline based on data from previous projects.
  • Fulfillment risks: We plan to use a trusted fulfillment partner to get you your rewards but we are aware the postal system can be still be unreliable. Anytime hundreds (or thousands) of packages are sent out en masse there is the potential for some to be lost and/or damaged. We are committed to working with any backers who fail to receive what they expected to receive. You take a risk on us, so it is just good practice to return the favor.
  • VAT taxes: Some countries charge VAT tax on imported goods. We've tried to lower this risk by pricing the game below $20 and providing you a link that can help you determine if you are at risk of being charged this.
  • Finished product & money-back guarantee: Finally, there is a risk that for some reason, you may not be happy with the finished work. If this is you, you can return your pledge within 4 weeks of receiving it for a full-refund of your pledged amount.

We know you're taking a risk when you back a Kickstarter project. That's why we're offering a money back guarantee. After receiving your copy of The Princess and the Goblin, if you decide it didn't meet your expectations, you can return it within 4 weeks for a full refund of your pledged amount.

Help reawaken this old story for a new generation. Click here to go back to the top of the page and click the green "Pledge Now" button to get started!


Risks and challenges

This section is rightfully obligatory on Kickstarter. Since I've provided copious detail regarding the risks and challenges of this project two sections above under the header: "Risks and Challenges," I've left the area below blank.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ


  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    All project updates, and immediate access to the print and play (featuring the prototype artwork), which you can print, cut and play today.

    Plus, Dennis will write, recite, and record a nonsense rhyme that includes your name "in verse" to thank you...and to annoy the goblins.

    Estimated delivery
    59 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    ONE - The Princess and the Goblin: We'll ship you ONE copy of the game, including any "bonus goals" reached in the project description.

    US - FREE
    Canada - $5
    Worldwide - $8

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    274 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    TWO - The Princess and the Goblin: We'll ship you TWO copies of the game, including any "bonus goals" reached in the project description.

    US - FREE
    Canada - $9
    Worldwide - $14

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    33 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    PREMIUM BACKER - For backers who want to contribute a little extra to help make this game a reality.

    We'll ship you TWO copies of the game, including any "bonus goals" reached in the project description.

    AND, Dennis will sign a tile from the game, write you a personal note and mail both to you as a special "thank you!"

    AND Your name will be listed in the rule book as a "Premium Backer".

    Free worldwide

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    Limited 11 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    SIX - The Princess and the Goblin: We'll ship you SIX copies of the game, including any "bonus goals" reached in the project description.

    US - FREE
    Canada - $28
    Worldwide - $42

    Estimated delivery
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    4 backers
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Funding period

- (21 days)