Funded + 6k Stretch Goal!
We've got a few hours left!
Funded! Next goal: $6,000
We reached our base goal 16 days in, and we're hoping that means we can hit some more goals before this project wraps. Next goal is $6,000, at which we're going to add a space ninja and a homicidal robot to our production schedule.
Two Standalone Products
THE GAME - CLASH
CLASH is a card game that provides an arcade fighter style experience, in high speed one-on-one combat. You take on the role of one of eight characters, in single combat against another. Some abilities everyone has, and some are unique to you. Each round, you one card to play, simultaneously against your opponent's choice. (Nobody goes first.) Unlike a conventional card game, in CLASH you hold your whole (10-card) deck in your hand -- meaning success or failure is never reduced to a matter of bad luck. Because we've removed that randomizing element, we've been able to pack a lot more nuance of control into the gameplay without making the system over-complicated to new players. You can achieve some level of mastery over a deck even within your first game. (Don't get us wrong. All of us at Duzax Studios have our favorite arcane, rules-overboard titles, and we've got nothing against them. But that isn't what we set out to make with CLASH.)
THE BOOK - IMMORTAL
The setting and characters of CLASH is based on studio founder Freya Crowe's novel IMMORTAL. You don't need to read the book for the card game to make sense. (Or vice versa.) But if you're excited about the lore, or want a way, way more detailed version of these characters' bios, that's the place to look. There's a sample chapter up on duzaxstudios.com, and the ebook is a reward you can pick. If we hit our $7,500 stretch goal, we're doing a print edition as well.
How to Play
Each player has 2 to 3 things to keep track of: Distance is a shared value: it represents how far you are from your opponent, so it's always the same number for both players. (If you're 3 units away from your opponent, they can't be 6 units away from you.) Many cards move your character forward or back, and most attacks only work if you're close enough (for melee attacks) or far enough away (for ranged attacks). (Also some attacks are explosive so you may not strictly need to be far away, but you probably want to?) Each player has their own stamina, which represents your physical will to keep fighting. Attacks reduce opponents' stamina, and the game is won by reducing your opponent's stamina to 0 before they do so to you. Many characters have attacks that use ammunition. This can mean bullets, missiles, fuel -- anything that uses up a finite resource in order to function has ammunition. Cards that require ammunition will specify how many you start with, and how much the card uses. (For example, Thrall's "Rocket Thrust" card costs 1 Rocket Fuel ammunition, which starts at 5; his "Full Throttle" card uses the same ammunition, but costs 2.)
Each round both players choose a card from their deck and place it face down,
Then flip their cards over simultaneously, and follow the instructions on their cards.
Most cards have 3 actions: pre-clash, clash, and post-clash. Usually pre- and post-clash are where movement happens, and clash is where you deal and take damage.
Then just update the relevant markers and pick your next card.
When somebody runs out of stamina they lose. If both players run out of stamina simultaneously, then the game ends in a Double KO! (and then if you’re in a tournament, or just super competitive, you can break out the tiebreaker rules to determine which of the KO’d warriors gets back up first)
The Story and Characters
Two centuries ago, the Baun Empire invaded Earth. The human natives put up a good fight, supported by their V’tu allies, but in the end the Baun triumphed. Earth now exists as a stronghold of Baun power, from which the empire launches attacks upon the few remaining unconquered systems along the galaxy’s edge. Even in the face of this seemingly unstoppable juggernaut, however, some on Earth still resist Baun hegemony.
Baun Empire: The Baun are war, and nothing else. While their enemies struggled among themselves to settle political and philosophical differences, the Baun just kept grinding away with single-minded determination and unity of purpose. The Baun excel in two fields: Ballistics and Genetics. In light of this, they tend to approach the world with the assumption that all problems can be solved through use of some combination of bigger guns and better soldiers. The Baun are hulking avatars of military efficiency. All elements of the organism that did not contribute to martial superiority--vulnerabilities, doubt, or even the capacity to experience pain--have been bio-engineered away.
On Earth, they use humans to run their factories and innovate upon their technologies. The Baun make minimal use of conquered factions’ more advanced technologies. To them, war is a simple matter of gain vs. expenditure. Trading N Baun resources (including lives) for N+1 worth of enemy resources captured is considered worthwhile. As of the era during which Clash takes place, the Baun have already conquered most of the inhabited star systems of the Milky Way galaxy.
Human Rebellion: It’s not great to be human right now. The Baun have engineered an Earth that makes cogs out of all humans that have something to offer their war industry and leaves the rest to starve. Many humans are upset about this. In the two centuries since the Baun conquered humanity’s home, thousands of scattered resistance movements have come into existence throughout the occupied territories. Rebels, rioters, saboteurs, and militants have all found ways to congregate despite the harsh retaliations of their oppressors. The Baun do not abide the existence of any large subversive networks or standing armies, so smaller groups congregate at the fringes of society, with their operators divided up into small cells and making use of false names and false faces.
CLASH takes place in the tumultuous time when these scattered groups are finally united under a single banner. Nobody really knew just how many other rebels were out there until Camellia Ramsay launched her legendary attack on the Baun’s primary planetside communications relay and momentarily connected subversives all across the world. The human resistance makes use of infiltration, improvisation and sabotage to balance the scales of this highly asymmetrical conflict. At times when subterfuge alone is insufficient--when a crucial tactical juncture requires surgical application of unstoppable force--humanity turns to the Immortals: humans who’ve managed to excavate and reactivate nigh-indestructible V’tu armor left buried in the wake of the initial Baun invasion.
V'tu Remnant: The V’tu once had it all. Countless stars. Unparalleled technology. Ubiquitous luxury. Eldest among interstellar voyagers, they enjoyed prestige in their dealings with other denizens of the galaxy. Then they encountered the Baun. Perhaps, if they had responded quickly and decisively, this ancient civilization could have smothered the upstart warmongers in their crib. But the V’tu could not even conceive of such a comparatively primitive faction as a meaningful threat until far, far too late.
Throughout the war, they used other species as ablative armor. V’tu rarely took to the field themselves, preferring instead to empower others to fight their battles. The human Immortals were typical of this strategy: V’tu technology wedded to the human will to use it. Eventually, though, the Baun overwhelmed all opposition thrown into their path, killing hundreds of billions and sending the survivors into diaspora. The V’tu exist now on the fringes of Baun-controlled space, only half-remembered by those who once fought for or beside them.
Choose Your Character
In CLASH, you'll step into the power-armored shoes of a combatant from this setting. The baseline game will offer eight character selection options, with more becoming available as we hit stretch funding goals.
The first three human and Baun characters in the CLASH lineup are as follows:
- Background: A widowed engineer who turns her skills--and a recently unearthed suit of Immortal armor--against the alien empire that took everything from her.
- Affiliation: Human Rebellion
- Fighting Style: Versatile, straightforward, and capable of powerful hits.
- In her [Reckless Avenger] configuration she uses high risk/high reward tactics.
- In her [Bane of Empires] configuration she controls distance and outlasts enemies.
- Background: A human recruited by the Baun Empire to root out subversives, outfitted in specialized armor designed to outmaneuver and put down Immortals.
- Affiliation: Baun Empire
- Fighting Style: Fast, tricky, and able to chip away at slower opponents.
- In [Mysterious Executioner] configuration ne keeps the pressure up with the threat of 1-hit-KOs.
- In [Champion of Order] configuration ne can punish predictable play with guard breaks and attack-disabling counters.
- Background: A foul-mouthed tinkerer who donned the Immortal armor of a close friend who died in battle, Nikolai prefers striking from the shadows but can hold his own in a straight fight if pressed.
- Affiliation: Human Rebellion
- Fighting Style: Versatile, dirty fighter, and capable of freezing opponents solid.
- Background: Common Baun soldiers do not have names or families. The world never offered EH-05721447177 or its kin any identity beyond their use as expendable shock troops.
- Affiliation: Baun Empire
- Fighting Style: Slow, powerful both up close and at long range, and able to cover ground more quickly if given time to accelerate.
- Background: A former Baun commander reassigned to frontline combat due to excess aggression. Xechak has no greater desire than to face an Immortal in single combat.
- Affiliation: Baun Empire
- Fighting Style: Slow, long-ranged, and able to knock opponents away while charging up powerful ranged attacks.
- Background: A sadistic and cunning tyrant, absolute sovereign over the Baun Empire’s terrestrial holdings. Permanently fused into the toughest suit of armor its subjects could manufacture.
- Affiliation: Baun Empire
- Fighting Style: Mobile, close up grappler whose powerful defenses can shut down most attacks.
Budget and Timeline
About two thirds of our budget goes to the manufacture of products themselves, covering all associated fees and then getting them into your hands. The remaining third is split evenly between the production team and promotion of the project, with a slice left over to cover any unforeseen eventualities and (if things go as we hope) expand our studio to tackle even bigger, more exciting projects in the future.
Because the book is finished and the game is in such a late stage of development, we expect to be able to deliver earlier than most Kickstarters. Our current estimates allocate two months to additional revision, iteration and polishing to get you a well finished product by the end of November. Even if things run longer than expected, there's a high likelihood of delivery before Christmas.
About Duzax Studios
It started with a dormitory basement, a rickety old laptop, and snow piled half-a-dozen feet high outside. Duzax Studios now spans five states; relying on the pooled talent and insight of collaborators from a wide range of social, geographic and vocational backgrounds. (The plural in "studios" isn't an exaggeration, although it does count a number of home offices and possibly a Starbucks.) So, too, do we intend our stories to span across genres, across media, across time and space. However, we're extremely nervous about the prospect of putting that expansive vision in the hands of a major publisher -- or, as could conceivably be the case, several major publishers, working without coordination, and sometimes in competition with each other. Our stories are epic in scope, and we want them to be epic in tangible form, but not at the cost of the narrative. At Duzax Studios, cross-media projects are pursued in parallel and under the same leadership. This allows us to pursue quality and continuity even across very broad media gulfs -- as in CLASH and IMMORTAL, our flagship examples, the gulf between a science fiction novel and a card game -- and to knowingly lean into each one's strength as a space for stories. It also gives us the freedom to choose a more self-directed path of media expansion, rather than the traditional path of fiction property → major studio movie → game and toy merchandising. At Duzax Studios, we aspire towards polished innovation. The talented developers working on our games are looking to incorporate unprecedented design elements, aiming to provide exciting new systems for experienced gamers, and intuitive, accessible fun for anyone who wants to play. Our writing holds in mind uncommon perspectives and thoughtful speculation, and draws on a relationship to a game that is unusual, and has, we believe, never been done better. It takes time and effort to get things right even with traditional, established ingredients; attention to detail only becomes more important when taking less-traveled paths. But we hope both to create and inspire many such projects to follow, and we warmly invite you to join us for the ride.
Though she grew up in Louisiana, Freya met the core of her current design team at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. She’d like to thank the school, for always giving her new ways to challenge herself, and especially the lead professor of game design Ira Fay: who took her aside one day and told her that leading a design team of her own was her destiny whether she liked it or not. After college, she learned the ropes of the industry by signing on with several other teams: chief among them Growling Door Games and their legacy RPG title Chill Third Edition. She especially wants to thank Johnathan McFarland and Donovan for their enthusiastic playtesting and feedback. She’d also like to thank her parents, of course, for all their support. Her father who got her into sci-fi with his old Asimov paperbacks and her mother who drove out to deliver late night snacks to the Louisiana branch of Duzax Studios’ design team. Cathy and the other Louisianians on the team also thank Elise and Chikita from the print store for their help assembling prototypes in the early days of CLASH’s development. We’d like to give a shout out to Little Wars, the local game store where Freya got her start with competitive tabletop gaming. She gives special thanks to that one guy in the fedora (y’all know who I’m talking about) who got her hooked on Street Fighter back in high school. Without him, the very idea for CLASH would never have taken form. Another shout out to the new kid on the block, Gamers Trinity, the second local game store to adopt CLASH.
...and of course, we thank you for helping to bring this project to life with your support and enthusiasm.
Risks and challenges
We've given ourselves a window of time to deliver these products that allow for some things to go wrong, but not all of the things.
While the base game and some of the additional characters are already complete, not all of the art and design assets are finished. If those aspects wind up taking longer than we anticipate (especially if we hit a lot of our stretch goals, which include a number of bonus characters) we may not get the cards to press in time to ship for Christmas.
If it's a matter of bonus materials, we'll just ship those later when they're finished. And in any case, we'll be updating our backers about any complications that might arise in our production.
Our first Kickstarter:
This is the first Kickstarter Duzax Studios has done -- and, in fact, it's also the launch project of the studio. While most of us have been developing games for years, and some of us even have some small business managing experience, we're new to this.
We've done as much research as we can figure out how to do and have looked to other successful and unsuccessful Kickstarters for insight, and we've all backed several in the past. Even -- though we feel it would be rude to name names -- one that funded and couldn't fulfill.
So we aren't walking in blind, but we still lack those experiences that only come from doing.
All we can really promise in this regard is to communicate with our backers about any problems that emerge and not let them get us down.
It is conceivable that somebody who backs us at the reward tier that allows them to help us build a character will insist on using that reward to insert something very silly. If that happens, there is a risk that we will wind up delivering an expansion that contains at least one very silly character.
(However, we will not allow backers to use the Apotheosis tier to incorporate vulgar elements into the product, including hate speech against people or groups that exist, have existed, or might exist in reality.)
- (29 days)