Designed by Rory, aged 9, The Forest Dragon is a fun game of testing your luck and risking everything on the turn of a card. (If Kickstarter is already bamboozling you, scroll down to our "Help me!" section.)
Dare you explore the forest? It's full of things you need, and there is treasure to be found. But beware! The forest is also full of monsters!
Will you meet the Forest Dragon? Will you have a sword in your hand when you do?
Will you find a Golden Coins, a Witch Bottle, or just some Acorns?
Will you encounter an Adder Crow, the Bandit King, or a Hungry Ghost?
How far into the forest dare you go? And what even is Ghost Milk? (honestly I don't know, and I've asked)
In The Forest Dragon you will create a fantasy world from cards, and then explore it.
With amazing art from Rory and his little brother Ben, and with just a little help from their dad, games-industry veteran Jon Hodgson, The Forest Dragon is a fast and exciting game for the whole family!
You helped this fledgling games designer, Rory (age 9) print his first game.
The Forest Dragon centres around a deck of 53 cards, delivered in a handsome card tuckbox. The deck contains resources, adventure items and monsters. As well as the instructions laid out across seven cards.
In a round of the game players lay out rows of cards that make up the world they are going to explore. They take it in turns to reveal one card at a time, and follow instructions on the card: Resources are collected in your backpack. Adventure items also go in the backpack, but help with the adventure. Monsters will end your expedition, sometimes taking items you've collected! You can chose to head home at any time and bank your finds.
Or keep going, risking it all! Pushing your luck and knowing when to stop are key.
Rounds are quick to play, and you can chose how many rounds to play to make a match. At the end of each round you tally up the points on your resources, and the winner is whoever has gathered the most.
All 53 cards feature art by designer Rory, and his little brother Ben. We think they look amazing, and while I'm biased, I think it's a really attractive set of cards.
Our house is full of games. So it was no surprise when Rory, age 7 announced he wanted to be a games designer.
What was a surprise was when he told us he had already invented a game. He then proceeded to tell us all the rules from the back seat of the car. Practically in one breath. And it sounded like a game that might really work.
I'm Jon Hodgson, Rory's dad. I work in games – as the creative director for UK games company, Cubicle 7. When Rory told us the rules of his game, I really felt he was on to something special. And so we ordered some blank cards, and made a prototype.
The game worked! And it was a lot of fun.
It has simple rules, and in game-design terms it abstracts a whole bunch of processes into a series of very straight forward player interactions. It's really quite clever.
The Forest Dragon began life as a card game based in the world of a well-known block building game. I was truly impressed by how Rory managed to capture so much of the game experience in a very simple set of interactions. You head out from a base, you collect resources, you try to avoid monsters, you occasionally find cool stuff, and you get ahead if you do well. If you go too far, then things go badly for you. It was a really smart piece of design. I work with a lot of grown up designers who couldn't have captured the essentials of a game experience so neatly.
We were simply not in a position to license such a well known property, but we didn't let that stop us, so we headed in a different direction, making an adventure game in a fantasy world all our own.
My kids make up some truly wonderful stuff, and I try to record as much of it as I can. When they come up with a monster, or character, I'll write it down. And that's the collection of things you'll find in the deck of The Forest Dragon. We don't know exactly what everything you'll find in the game is - but we hope it will spark everyone's imagination!
Since making the first prototype two years ago we've played it with friends of all ages, and a bunch of games industry professionals. And everyone has had fun!
We've added a few bits here and there, and we discussed how to make it the best game it could be, revised, reworked, but to this day, the core of the game is the same as it was the day he explained it in one go.
Since then we've made several different prototypes by hand, drawing all our own pictures, colouring them in, revising the set as we learned how it worked.
Once we had a game we felt we could ask people to support we set about making the full 53 card set "in best". Rory and Ben have worked very hard to make all the pictures on the cards. They draw the images in pencil, we scan them into the computer, and Ben (Did we say he was 6?) does a brilliant job colouring them in. Then he usually goes a bit mad. So I pull them back a little bit, and lay out the cards. It's a real team effort.
Clearly this isn't really just about making a game.
I want my kids, Rory and Ben to learn about hard work, games design, probability, art, lay out, writing rules, product design, costings and all kinds of things are good to learn about. Making a game with them has been a way to show them a creative path, and how the whole world around them is someone's idea put into practice.
I really want to show the boys the reality of how a game gets made, and all the different processes involved. So far, everyone had worked very hard and learned a great deal: but next we need to put the game into production. And that's where you helped.
We came to Kickstarter to ask for your help and support and to share with you where our story went next. We had been able to do the design work, play testing, making the art, and laying out the cards. But we just didn't have the kind of money needed to print a game, nor the community of supporters needed to make a game a success.
In return for reading about our adventures in card game design, and for a selection of rewards including the final game itself, you joined us on our quest to bring Rory's game, The Forest Dragon, to life.
Rory had and still has big plans. He's very focused on expansions and extra card sets, and through the campaign with your help we've unlocked loads! The game has come to life!
To help build towards our goal we had some great Add Ons. These were extra things you could pledge for. Most of them were be unlocked as we cleared our Stretch Goal milestones.
Add Ons list
(Prices include shipping, and we'll check what you've added in our survey at the end of the campaign)
Draw Your Own Adventure Cards - add £11
Quest Givers Expansion - add £3
Fire Realm Expansion - add £3
Poo Cave Expansion - add £3
Ro-Bo Realm Expansion - add £3
Dogs and Stuff Expansion - add £3
Expansion Box with all 5 expansions - add £17
Faerie Mischief Expansion AND Star Gazer Expansion - add £10
Many of our fans are friends and family who don't know much about Kickstarter. Thanks for making it this far! We love you!
Kickstarter is a website that allows project creators with an idea to pitch that idea to the audience of the Internet. There's usually a product at the heart of a Kickstarter campaign. In this case it's Rory's game.
If people like the idea they can pledge money to the project. If enough money is pledged in order to meet the campaign's funding goal by the end of the campaign - in our case at in December - the money is collected by Kickstarter, they take a cut, and the rest is passed on to the creator. And the project is made a reality.
To encourage and thank supporters, or "backers" as they are known, the project creator can offer a range of rewards. These usually comprise items of increasing value that will be sent to backers who pledge the appropriate amount, if the campaign is successful.
Another encouragement to spread the word and convince others to join in, are stretch goals. These are milestones which unlock extra rewards. Sometimes they allow backers to buy something new, by upping their pledge. Other times they add something into existing rewards for free. In our campaign we're also going to try to spotlight some of the things we've decided to ask to help Rory in his journey to becoming a more experienced games designer.
To pledge to our campaign you need to hit the Pledge button. You'll sign up to an account, decide how much you'd like to pledge, select what kind of reward you'd like - you can chose to just give to the campaign out of kindness, or you can get on board the fun by selecting what you'd like to receive for your support. We'd love you to have a copy of the game.
You throw in whatever you like above the basic pledge levels - there aren't fixed amounts you have to give.
You'll provide some payment details and, if enough people chose to support us, at the end of the campaign your card will be charged. The project creators get in touch a short time after that to collect any additional information they might need.
Following a Kickstarter campaign is a lot of fun. A community of supporters is created, who can all share their excitement and support in the comments section, as well as ask questions or make requests of the project. You'll also receive updates throughout the campaign either here or by email.
For our campaign we've played it very safe - the whole of the base game is done. With children helping to make the core reward we needed to know they'd be able to finish the project. And they have. We just need money for printing and shipping it to you.
Stretch goals are each unlocked as we reach their milestone in our funding level.
£1000 FUNDED Unlocked! Thank you!
£2000 - BLANK CARD SET - Unlocked! Wow! Thank you!
£3000 - QUEST GIVER EXPANSION 1 - unlocked! Holy cola!
£4000 - The Fire Dragon Realm - Unlocked! Woo hoo!
£5000 - The Poo Cave Expansion - Unlocked! Amazing!
£6000 - The Ro-Bo Realm Expansion
£7000 - Dogs and Stuff Expansion and box for all previous expansions - unlocked!
Plus our top tier backers Andy and Richard allowed everyone to buy a copy of their special expansions!
Draw Your Own Adventure - UNLOCKEDThis is an additional set of 50 cards that are blank on one side (apart from the attractive parchment texture) and have the Forest Dragon back. That means you can draw your own cards. We're so excited at how many other designers young and old have been inspired by our game. And we want to share the ability to make your own expansions right away!
If you would like a set of these cards please up your pledge by £11, which will also cover shipping of this reward. We'll ask you what you've pledged for at the end of the campaign with our survey.
The Quest Giver Expansion - UNLOCKED
This 12 card expansion provides 12 brand new cards that you can add to your pledge. With characters like (everso slightly sleazy) Squirrel Prince who will give you bonus points for collecting acorns and nuts, The (wildly enthusiastic looking) Smith who offers bonus points for bringing him Star Iron and Horseshoes, and the friendly but grubby Charcoal Burner who just wants a big pile of Sticks, this expansion adds to the fun! Also included is the Campfire Card, which lets players trade what they have in their backpacks!
To get this additional set of cards, add £3 to your pledge. This includes shipping. Or manage you pledge to one of the new levels that includes the Expansion Box.
The Fire Dragon Realm Expansion - UNLOCKED
This 10 card expansion provides a set of brand new cards that you can add to your pledge. If you turn over the Fire Portal you can chose to head into the Realm of the Fire Dragon. 9 of the cards have the special Fire Realm card back, and are laid out as a separate "realm" for you to explore. There's a magical sword waiting to be found, but the Forest dragon's Brother, The Fire Dragon is also lurking there! You'll face flames, collect valuable lava rocks and rare metal ores in your journey into THE FIRE REALM!
To get this additional set of cards, add £3 to your pledge. This includes shipping. Or manage you pledge to one of the new levels that includes the Expansion Box.
The Poo Cave Expansion - UNLOCKED!
Entirely the work of Ben aged 6, the Poo Cave is frankly disgusting. Head through the dubiously named "Poo Portal", collect "Poo Nuts", but watch out for the very angry Poo King and his Poo Knights! Add £3 to your pledge to claim your set of 10 Poo Cave cards. Or manage you pledge to one of the new levels that includes the Expansion Box.
The Ro-Bo Realm Expansion - Unlocked!
Enter the ruined Realm of the robots, and face the dread Corruptor, who has ruined everything! Will you find the Ancient Plasma Cannon and defeat him for a huge bonus 10 points? Or will you simply be driven off by one of the many broken Corrupted Robots who haunt this realm?
To get this set add £3 to your pledge. Or manage you pledge to one of the new levels that includes the Expansion Box.
Dogs and Things Expansion PLUS all expansions together in a box! Unlocked!
We've decided to strike a blow for simplicity, and not only release the Dogs and Things Expansion that adds faithful dog companions, one-use Adventuring items, the lovely Happy Memories card and the dreadful, yet oddly educational, "Cliff" card, we'll also offering ALL 5 expansions so far unlocked in a box of their own to go with the core game!
You can now choose a pledge level that includes the box, simplifying your adds ons to a nice clean single pledge, or else you can add on £17 to get the Expansion Box added to your pledge. Wow!
The Faerie Mischief Expansion and The Stargazer Expansion
These two expansions were unlocked by the kind generosity of our top tier backers, Richard and Andy. They've agreed to let everyone have a copy if they would like one.
The Faerie Mischief Expansion adds a dollop of wonderful chaos to your games, as the faeries mess with everyone's game! The Star Gazer Expansion on the other hand is a lot more measured, and allows anyone who finds the Star Gazer to become his or her pupil, and follow their strictures to win extra rewards!
To get these two expansions simply add £10 to your pledge. Or manage you pledge to one of the new levels that includes the Expansion Box.
If you did choose to back us, thank you! Your help and support has been incredible, and we've achieved so much more than we thought we could!
Huge love and thanks to our good friends who have helped us get this far:
Young Hemingway is a brilliant singer song writer, based in Canterbury, Kent. Adam has been amazing in helping us with the music. Isn't it amazing? Please do check out his work: https://www.facebook.com/pg/adamholymoses/
and his record label: http://www.rocketsoundsrecords.co.uk
Jared is an internet whizkid and professional troublemaker, who has helped us with our website domain name. We can't do any of that stuff, so thank you Jared!
Thanks to Isaac who has helped us playtest the most recent version, and Euan and Daniel who played the earliest.
A couple of people have cheerlead (cheer leadered? Cheer leaderised?) us all the way - Dom and Francesco. Thank you, friends. Both a huge help and inspiration.
Everyone who's liked, commented and shared our Facebook Page - we really really couldn't have got this far without you.
Lastly thank you to the boy's beautiful mum, Nina. Who has put up with us doing zero chores while we made the game. Sorry! We love you! xox
Risks and challenges
I've helped run kickstarters through my day job, so have a firm grasp on the challenge ahead.
We're keeping things very simple. We have our basic game product planned and costed. Everything for the base set is already completed at a digital level. There's no risk there - it will be ready to start printing at the end of the campaign. We're a bit worried about shipping - the price of moving stuff around the world can change a LOT in a short time. We hope we've done our sums right.
The game is being printed in the US, so shipping the basic stuff there will be relatively low cost. And we will have a big batch sent to us in the UK to send on much more cheaply to UK and Europe.
We'll be using a print on demand service to provide the final games, which will begin as soon as the campaign ends, and any funds we manage to raise clear. If we raise a lot of money, and it is a lot that's needed, we may decide to take the plunge on a full "proper" print run. This adds a whole other level of complexity, time, and to some degree worry. We hope we get there, but we're also very cautious about it. We hope you can be patient with us if we end up in that place.
Our stretch goals are variations on sets of cards, and we're extremely cautious about going beyond that. We want to deliver in a timely fashion, using processes we understand, even if that means a lower final figure. Mum is helping by knitting some wonderful hats. But we're not going to do any other merchandise. If you really want a Forest Dragon T shirt or mug we have a RedBubble store. We'll give details in an update.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)