Anthromancer is a multi-faceted Project of Earth: a board game, tarot card system, full-length album, visualizer, and mystery riddle.
Anthromancer is a multi-faceted Project of Earth: a board game, tarot card system, full-length album, visualizer, and mystery riddle. Read more
About this project
- PLAY the MERCENARIUM, a beautiful game of strategy and subversion with several variants for 1 to 4 players, ages 8 and up.
- SEEK inner truth with the DRAGONFRUIT cartomancy system.
- HEAR the HYMNAL, the mysterious music of a lost world.
- UNLOCK the CODEX, and discover the hidden meaning of the Anthromancer.
We believe that words and ideas can be arranged in such a way as to trigger an understanding in those who consume them. And we believe that attempting to trigger this change in others and in ourselves is the noblest goal we can aspire to. This is the Anthromancer. Be Moved.
This box contains a new type of experience that harmonizes the enjoyment of a game, the pleasure of music, the natural curiosity of mysticism and the hunt for deeper meaning that exists within all of us. We encourage you to think outside of this box, and to view this not as a game or a system of symbols, but as a tool for creating your own experience and for expressing your own truths. We encourage you to experiment. We encourage you to ponder, to dig deeper, to share your ideas with those around you and to seek out and broaden your consciousness.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
The Anthromancer comes in a small box but is bursting with content. It's more than just a board game; it's a tool for adventure. It contains many kinds of entertainment linked together in fascinating ways. It's beautiful to look at, and was designed and illustrated by Sean Calen Blake, under the direction of Daniel Drake.
MERCENARIUM is an exotic board game of strategy and subversion for 2 to 4 players. An otherworldly combo of chess, poker, and dominoes, this game blends classical elements into something alien and alive. Players take turns placing or 'summoning' cards onto the field, then move them around strategically in an attempt to capture their opponents. Some of your cards are Mercenaries, whose allegiance can be bought by your opponents. On top of that, everyone starts the game with one Hymn (and there's fifteen in total, all with unique effects) that can be called upon to bring down powerful changes in the flow of gameplay.
MERCENARIUM CLASSIC is a more strategy-based game that omits the use of the Hymn cards. This game is simple and elegant variation of the original that allows for more precision when making strategic decisions. For 2 to 4 players.
SOLITARIUM is an explosive solitaire challenge. You deal the deck out into every space and search for matches between cards. Bigger combos earn you a bigger bonus; the object of the game is to clear the deck with the best bonus after every round. There's a lot of room to create other variations and new games with Anthromancer.
DRAGONFRUIT. In addition to games, the Anthromancer can be used to perform cartomancy, more commonly known as Tarot. Each card in the deck was designed with specific meaning intended, creating a web of symbolism that can be used to reflect truths from within the self. The board, the cards, and the dice allude to the sacred geometry of the classical elements, and the Dragonfruit system blends several layers of mysticism into an integrated whole.
HYMNAL. Included within the Anthromancer on a small USB drive, the Hymnal is a full-length concept album that blends ethereal synths, universal themes and simple, infectious beats to illustrate the meanings of the Hymns. The 13-track, 55-minute album was composed by a host of talented St. Louis artists and remixed/mastered by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. It provides a completely new dimension through which to appreciate the art, meanings, and effects of the Hymn each track represents.
THE HYMNAL PROTOCOL. In addition to the musical album, the USB drive also contains a .exe file known as the Hymnal Protocol. This program allows users to access an interactive visualizer designed by TJ Hughes of Terrifying Jellyfish. It's meant to be used with the music of the Hymnal. Each node possesses different colors, effects and functions based upon the elemental themes of the associated music.
THE RIDDLE. Contained within each component of the Anthromancer are clues and hints at something deeper, that the avid or especially observant user may stumble upon while enjoying their product. But that is all we can say for now.
EXTRAS. For generous backers who decide to pledge a little more, we have also created a limited-edition t-shirt, an Art Book (with high-res images all of Sean's illustrations, plus scans and backstory from Dan's notebook of secrets), a limited edition Hymnal Pendant (containing a jump drive so you can wear the music around and give it to people), and signed prints of your favorite cards from the deck.
WHAT IS THE ANTHROMANCER?
“Anthro,” from the Greek anthropos, means human, humanoid, or humanlike, especially with regard to sentience. “Anthro” can be found in terms such as anthropology (the study of humans) and anthropomorphism (humanization of the non-human).
The suffix “-mancy,” from the old French -mancie and the late Latin -mantia, means oracle, divination, seer, prophet, or soothsayer, and is related to the term “mania” (madness, frenzy). "Anthromancer" is divination by means of humanity.
We create the universe. Anthromancer Box Art Anthromancer Box Art The Anthromancer is an experience packed with symbolism. It contains the hand-designed components necessary to play the board games of Mercenarium and Solitarium, to perform Dragonfruit cartomancy readings, and to listen to the full-length concept album known as the Hymnal. It also hides a riddle for the most eager of players to unlock the deeper symbolism, meaning, and emotional significance hidden within the other elements.
The Anthromancer comes in a small box that is light and thin enough to fit in nearly any backpack, laptop bag, or purse. It contains a striking folding board, a deck of 71 beautifully illustrated cards, 3 unique dice and a 50+ page Codex that will outline how to play games and perform cartomancy readings with the included components. It also contains a small USB flash drive which contains a full-length concept album and a mysterious .exe file that hints at the deeper meanings of the project.
We expect to retail this product for $35 US. We want you to be able to walk into a games store with two $20 bills, and walk out with our product and a little pocket change.
We are very nearly finished with the under-the-hood development of the product itself. The album has been completely recorded and fully mastered by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. The art assets are crafted and finalized, with the exception of some minor style edits, thanks to the tireless and beautiful work of Sean Calen Blake. The hidden computer program component is being put together by TJ Hughes of Terrifying Jellyfish and is over halfway complete, and we expect it to be finished by the time the Kickstarter concludes. His visuals are being included in a series of music videos that are being released to promote this crowdfunding campaign, directed by Ben Vogelsang of Idea Machine Productions.
The hidden components of the riddle have been composed and delivered by DJs Never Ending Story, and they sound fabulous. We have a working prototype of the board and cards that has been showcased to several groups of testers. Early feedback has been very positive for both the board game and cartomancy readings, and we are ready to move forward with mass production. In other words, we’re ready. If you’re ready to be a part of the Anthromancer, pledge now and you’ll soon be enjoying this one-of-a-kind experience.
A STATEMENT FROM THE DIRECTOR
This project started out as an impulse: just a simple, childlike desire to make a card battle game with me and my friends. As time went on, problems arose, and the impulse at the beginning started to warp and change. I never abandoned it; I just kept trying to find ways around the new problems, ways to pivot, redesign, and incorporate elements I know and love into this weird thing. I tried not to impose any restrictions on my creativity. As it grew and changed, and as it seemed to call for the involvement of other artists and creators, I had the blessing of running a successful pancake art company (Dancakes) with my best friend, Hank Gustafson, and I had the resources I needed to enlist these people. I decided that I had to convince Hank that the enterprise was worth it, or that I wouldn’t move forward at all. This turned out to be quite the boon. It forced me to think tangibly, realistically, like an entrepreneur. I never lost sight of the fact that, eventually, all these crazy ideas would need to be condensed into something palatable for the average person. The geometry and symbolism incorporated in the Anthromancer is a direct manifestation of the things that I find most fascinating about the world. There is beauty everywhere around us; clear indications of deeper order and meaning. We must simply choose to notice it. After three years of development, that game I envisioned so long ago has turned into a multimedia ensemble. What was originally designed as a “card battle” game has turned into an elaborate combination of card game, concept album, and mystical divination tool, altogether entertainment unlike anything you have ever seen. It is an amalgamation of the incredible talents of a bevy of fantastically talented St. Louisans. The gorgeous art and the exotic designs have moved me in ways I’ve never thought possible, and I am proud to have reached the point where we can share our crazy ideas with the world. I hope this project will move you, too. Thank you.
SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS
We expect to spend roughly $30k on the board game itself, $10k on other backer rewards, and $10k paying our artists. Our artists have been paid up front, and the funding amount dedicated to them will be used for our reimbursement. We very strongly believe in profit sharing, and all of our artists, designers, and staff that have contributed to the art, the music, the design, and other developmental components of the Anthromancer will be receiving a royalty in perpetuity (forever!). We believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that our business model should reflect our desire to help those who have helped us. All of the artists involved in this project are St. Louis natives, with the small exception of two of the performers hired to appear in promotional music videos. We believe strongly in representing your hometown, and hope to make our neighbors and friends proud with the success of this project.
YOUR PLEDGE, YOUR REWARD
When this campaign concludes, we anticipate earliest deliveries of this product to our backers sometime in February of 2018. Digital components will be available much sooner than that, and everyone who backs this project at the $10 tier or above will have access to the music and the print-and-play edition of the product, as well as the digital codex, allowing you to enjoy the Anthromancer while you wait for your physical copy to arrive.
THANK YOU TIER ($1) Thank you for supporting the Anthromancer! We can't do it alone, and every little bit helps.
AIR TIER ($10) Get access to the digital compenents of the Anthromancer in its entirety. This includes print-and-play files, the entire album, and the Hymnal Protocol .exe file. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of September 2017.
VOID TIER ($20) Get the limited edition T-shirt and sticker to show the world that you helped make Anthromancer a reality. AIR TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018.
EARTH TIER [EARLY BIRD I] ($25) Thank you for being an early contributor! Your faith in us and our product is invaluable, and we deeply appreciate your support! Get the retail edition of the Anthromancer before the rest of the world! AIR TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018. Limited to 100 backers.
EARTH TIER [EARLY BIRD II] ($30) Thank you for being an early contributor! Your faith in us and our product is invaluable, and we deeply appreciate your support! Get the retail edition of the Anthromancer before the rest of the world! AIR TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018. Limited to 200 backers.
EARTH TIER ($35) Get the retail edition of the Anthromancer before the rest of the world! This includes the board, the cards, the special dice, the 50+ page codex and the USB drive with the digital album and hymnal protocol, all house in a beautiful box that looks great on a shelf or coffee table. Also includes early access to the digital assets, so you can familiarize yourself with the games while you wait for your product to arrive. AIR TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018.
WATER TIER ($50) Get the Anthromancer, all of its contents, access to digital assets, and a limited edition T-shirt and sticker. EARTH TIER and VOID TIER are included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018.
FIRE TIER ($80) Get all the components of the lower tiers, plus a gorgeous art book (with Sean's illustrations and scans from Dan's notebooks), a beautiful Fool and Fox USB pendant, and a signed, numbered print of your favorite card from the deck. WATER TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018.
AETHER TIER [DRAGONFRUIT] ($500) Learn your past, present, and future as Dan Drake, director of the Anthromancer, spices up your party or event with 3 hours of Dragonfruit tarot card reading. Airfare and travel expenses are not included in the pledge amount, and may incur additional cost depending on your location. FIRE TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of June 2018. Limited to 10 backers.
AETHER TIER [MERCENARIUM] ($1,200) You and up to 9 friends have will have a great time as Dan Drake and Hank Gustafson will read your fortunes and play/teach all game types of Mercenarium for 3 hours. As a party favor, each of your friends will go home with their very own boxed copy of Anthromancer. Airfare and travel expenses are not included in the pledge amount, and may incur additional cost depending on your location. FIRE TIER (x1) and EARTH TIER (x9) are included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of June 2018. Limited to 10 backers.
AETHER TIER [HYMNAL] ($7,500) Experience the music of The Anthromancer with a live performance of the Hymnal in concert by Dan Drake and his band at your home, business, or school! A rider contract is required. Airfare and travel expenses are not included in the pledge amount, and may incur additional cost depending on your location. FIRE TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of June 2018. Limited to 3 backers.
COSMOS TIER ($10,000) Get your hands on the original, one-of-a-kind Anthromancer notebook, handwritten by project creator Dan Drake throughout the development of the Anthromancer. A veritable Mentaculus of sacred geometry and alien mathematics, or merely the scrawling of a madman? You decide. FIRE TIER is included within this tier. You can expect to receive your rewards for this tier by the end of February 2018. Limited to 1 backer.
AWARDS FOR THE ANTHROMANCER
Anthromancer was named one of the PixelPop Select at the PixelPop Festival 2017.
"Congratulations! Based on several criteria including game design, aesthetic polish, event presentation, attendee feedback, and originality, our jury at PixelPop Festival 2017 selected Anthromancer as among the show’s most noteworthy projects exhibited."
Risks and challenges
There's no two ways about it: the Anthromancer is like nothing attempted before. It contains an atypically high amount of parts and assets, and though the project staff are all professionals in their respective fields, bringing their talents together and cramming it all into one box can feel like a bit of a moon shot.
Though we've spent several months talking with manufacturers from many different industries to make sure everything is feasible, there are still things that can go wrong. We've completed as many aspects of the project in advance to limit the number of potential contingencies, including recording and mastering the Hymnal album in full, as well as programming the Protocol visualizer. We have working prototypes of the Mercenarium board game and Dragonfruit tarot system, and have worked closely with playtesters. The artwork for these aspects has been finalized and is ready to print.
What isn't done yet? We don't yet have Mercenarium or Hymnal USB drives manufactured, as this will require the generous pledges of our backers. We also are still working on sourcing some backer rewards, such as art books and t-shirts.
What if tooling and manufacturing takes longer than expected? We will closely monitor the progress of manufacturing, but some delays cannot be anticipated. We will continuously update our backers on both progress and unexpected delays that may occur.
What if we run over budget? We have already sourced detailed quotes for the vast majority of our products to prevent this from happening. Additionally, a buffer has been baked into both our funding goal and our pledge levels. If we have to spend a few extra dollars, rest assured it will come out of our margins, not the quality of your rewards.
What if we do not meet our funding goal? We are prepared to bring as much of the Anthromancer to market as possible in as close a form to our current vision as possible, even if we do not meet our funding goal. You will not be charged any amount of money if our funding goal is not met.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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