The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein
A game of grave robbing, monster building, and angry mobs for 2-4 players. That blaze of glory? It's your lab burning to the ground.
2 new Reward levels available to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Young Frankenstein! Frau Blucher level is an upgrade from the standard level that includes custom dice for the base game and the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte level that introduces a new system for getting previous Joe Magic games (at a HUGE value!)
WHISPERINGS DOWN IN THE VILLAGE
Jonathan Nelson of Gaming Bits had some very nice things to say about our game of mad science!
“When it comes down to it, the game is quite fun and entertaining. It has a great worker placement feel that reminds me a bit of Dark Horse. Rolling the dice and taking actions based on the dice rolls seems a bit similar. However it is different enough to be really enjoying. I really like that the players have the power to control how long the game goes through causing the villagers to rage against the monster.”
“The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein is a worker placement game of monstrous proportions. The artwork is really neat and gives that feeling of an old classic monster movie with a cartoon twist. The components are really nice and have some of the most unique pieces that I’ve ever seen [… ] It’s a game that I would recommend players give a chance to.”
Jonathan's full review can be found here.
Byron Campbell found surprising theme in this light euro:
“As a Halloween-themed game with a touch of Euro elegance, is The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein worth playing? The answer is a riotous yes.”
“It's this (player-controlled) pace that gives the game its feeling of lightness, the sense that a single lucky move will always trump a five-year plan. I'm not complaining, though; in a world where multiple mad scientists race to assemble their undead monstrosities, the idea that the one who finishes the task first would try to get the villagers riled up to raid the laboratories of his competitors...well, that's thematic as hell.”
A very in-depth look at the game before Byron reached that conclusion is over at Indiecardboard.com.
Keith McKimmy, a BoardGameGeek user and reviewer had this to say:
“The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein was a total surprise to me. I never had any expectations going in. For a gamer that tends to stick to publishers and designers he knows, I was somewhat shocked.”
His full review can be found here.
The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein is a unique worker placement game where the questionable accomplices and facilities available to you and your opponents change turn by turn. Each roll of the dice has the possibility of changing the dynamic of the game as you forge ahead with your plans while trying to interfere with the schemes of your opponents. Will you barter with the Trader for some gold, visit the Curator to calm down the villagers your opponent whipped into a frenzy, or take a trip to the Undertaker because-- well, the villagers are already mad anyways! Or maybe you’ll snag the first chance to buy some Officer cards to come along for a few rounds.
In the course of the game, you must improve upon your unconventional clinical skills with the help of your faithful ally Igor, fill your lair with hungry and horrifying creatures, collect valuable equipment for your lab, expand your facility, and lure more conspirators to aid you in your ghastly experiments. And while gold is a valuable resource for your nefarious ends, the most precious commodity around is fresh, Grade A human body parts! That’s where your friend, the Undertaker, comes in. But beware! When the villagers catch wind of your grisly business arrangements, they will be none too pleased.
In the end, when the townsfolk come bearing torches and pitchforks for the last time, will you meet your demise in a blaze of glory, having conquered life and death, or will you be just another nutjob with a lab full of spare limbs and torsos?
Outfit Your Lab
Expand Your Mad Scientist Lair
Gain New Accomplices
Build Your Monster
I have been self-producing games of high quality for many years and have successfully delivered on six previous projects. The enthusiasm of those who have played this game, however, has prompted me to shoot for a loftier goal this time. Kickstarter is a platform for me to share this labor of love and the base funding goal will allow me to have The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein professionally manufactured with high-end components and exceptional production values. That said, I and others believe in this game, and we think you’ll love it as much as we do. And if we exceed our funding goal, our stretch goals will pay for custom art for new and existing Officer cards as well as a flashier box cover, upgraded board material and card stock/finish, improved Igor and Villager pawn models, custom dice, stellar miniature-style 3D modeled versions of the interlocking monster body parts, and perhaps even an expansion for the base game!
NOTE: For more detailed information on the Joe Magic games available at certain reward levels, see this update.
Introduces four new officer cards to the game, including the corrupt Mayor who cleans up your local reputation at the end of each Game Round provided you grease his palm a bit, the Magistrate who will confiscate an opponent's Officer Card and stolen body parts, the Tesla Coil which earns you VP whenever you command Igor to do your bidding, and the sinister Dungeon that locks up one of your main board conspirators so that no player can access them until they have paid you off in flesh or coin.
We are currently planning on using 300gsm black-core card stock with glossy finish. If we make this goal we have several options including 310gsm aqueous finish cards with linen embossing or 100% plastic cards. We will gladly take input from backers and of course will see test samples before deciding. The game has a relatively small set of cards and require little handling (since they go directly to player's tableau from purchase area), but we still want a nice feel when shuffling and drawing!
Currently, the boards we are looking at are simple, effective, and still of quality material, but possible upgrades include linen embossing, a nicely textured backing and just greater durability. We will analyze all our manufacturer's options and inform backers on the specifics when we select them.
Four brand new creatures to add to your grotesque menagerie. They will count to your overall creature set collection. However, unlike the normal lot of beasties, these unique creatures grant the owner an immediate VP gain and special ability.
The current flat Igor and Villager plastic pawns will be replaced with professionally 3D-modeled minis.
The current generic six-sided die for the Undertaker will be replaced with a laser etched or engraved die with custom iconography and text, letting the player know immediately what body parts they can claim from the pool and allowing us to remove the pip-count reference key from the game board.
The current six-sided influence dice for the action column on the game board will be replaced with laser etched or engraved dice with custom iconography, utilizing the same symbols each action is represented with on the game board. This will further allow us to tidy up the board by removing the numbers associated with each action space.
As fun as it is assembling your monster with the current flat plastic body parts, wouldn't it be so much cooler to reach for a Monster arm and see an angry curled fist and torn shirt sleeve or snap a head into place and see a flat-topped face sneering back at you? If we reach this tremendous goal, we will make that happen!
We love Demise as is, but after many playtests we have collected enough great input to see potential to expand the gameplay. While we are still considering the options, some of the more appealing ones have included Curator action randomizer tokens, a deck of Villager cards, a 5-6 player expansion, individual laboratory boards, Villager and/or Monster dice, and naturally more Officer cards.
A pricy and somewhat indulgent component upgrade, albeit a very exciting one that we saved for a last luxurious prize.
As our network of conspirators grows through backers and social media support, the cost of our game upgrade Stretch Goals will go down! The amounts we attached to each stretch goal are the figures we honestly believe appropriate, but not only do we want you to see all of those goals realized-- we also want to reward backers for being an active part of the campaign. All of the following deductions are cumulative.
Why Should You Help Bring This Monster To Life?
1. Worker Placement Goodness. As a mechanic, there has always been a certain charm to the way worker placement games start everyone out on a level playing field, allow them to make decisions that always feel vitally important, and present the player an array of strategy options all contained right on the game board for everyone to see. Demise of Dr. Frankenstein is an easy to learn and light worker placement game that we believe you’ll find possesses an elegance in design and a depth of strategy. We are fans of worker placement games that stand apart from the crowd and if you are too, we believe you'll find a flavor in our game you will enjoy. Enjoy ruining your opponent's plans with the Provost in Caylus? Manipulate the fiery temperaments of the Villagers to speed up the game and force other players' hands or calm the townsfolk down and extend the round so you can score big. Love the unpredictability of chucking dice and stolen favors in Kingsburg? We've taken that to the next level with a combined pool of dice-based options. Are you fond of the tactile construction aspects of Asara? Filling your lab with creatures and building your Monster piece-by-piece will be extremely satisfying. And if the unusual theme of nuclear weapon construction in The Manhattan Project hits a sweet spot for you, this will be your chance to delve into a cool theme too long ignored in games.
2. Exciting Competitive Play. With points to be found from multiple sources, a fever-pitch race for resources and special effects, opponent interference with the dice and space selections you make, a game of Demise will keep players guessing. Play a long game and accumulate your points each round or put yourself in position to rack up a huge boost during the final laboratory reset. There is randomness with the dice-based action options, but rolls that don’t go your way force you to think on your feet, because there is always an option to take that will turn out to be valuable down the line. And there is randomness in the Officer cards, but we worked to create a delicate balance amongst them that makes each one an enticing addition to a player’s tableau.
3. Breaking the “hidden laws of nature”. Games of this sort tend to fall into the land of dry theming. There’s no farming or city-building here though. So while this is still fundamentally a Euro style game, the actions your choices represent resonate the sci-fi/horror theme in a lighthearted fashion. Harvest body parts instead of crops! As for the rest of our fellow gamers, here's your chance to play a game of re-animated corpses that aren't flesh-eating zombies. We think fans of the iconic Monster and his maker will also enjoy getting a chance to step into the good doctor’s shoes and bring about their own horrible downfall!
Gameplay: The Gory Details
Each turn the rolling player rolls the 8 Influence Dice (6 in a two player game) and puts them on the corresponding spaces of the Action Track. Then the rolling player gets dibs on choosing and taking an action from those available and everyone else follows suit around the table. These actions are:
- Activate Igor - Move Igor up or down a level on the Clinician Grid if you wish and then move 1 cube of yours already either board to a new legal space, gaining its effect.
- Visit the Undertaker - Roll the Undertaker Die for body parts.
- Visit the Trader - Gain 1 Gold.
- Perform Clinical Research - Place a cube on the Clinician Grid on a legal space based on Igor's position.
- Purchase Officer Cards
- Visit the Curator - Place a cube on one of the special Curator actions on the Victory Point Board. Most of these actions break game rules or offer improved versions of other actions. A Curator space cannot be occupied by more than 1 cube.
When all players have taken an action, starting with the last player around the table, actions are again selected from the remaining dice going counter-clockwise around the table. Thus, the rolling player gets prime choice of all options for their first action but is severely limited for their second action and while the fourth person in a four player game may not get the ideal options on their go, they have the opportunity to take two potentially powerful moves in quick succession.
This continues, the rolling player changing each Table Round as players set themselves up for Victory Points during the scoring phase by getting cubes on the Clinician Grid, building monsters, collecting Creature cards, or getting bonus points from other Officer cards.
Each Table Round that ends with a player having visited the Undertaker or built a Monster enrages the Villagers and when they reach the end of the Rage Track, everyone’s lab gets burnt to the ground. At this point players score, remove their cubes from the game boards, and if they’ve hoarded too much gold or body parts the excess will be confiscated.
Then it all begins again and the players start fresh with a new lab (their Officer Cards stay in play for them). When the final player receives the First Player marker, the game resets for the last time and when the Villagers come for you in that round, you will meet your demise and the game ends with final scoring! Hopefully, you will go down in history as the most notorious monster-making mad scientist of all time!
Wait-- So Who Is Joe Magic?
Mark Hanny, aka Joe Magic, has been designing, building, and selling games since 1990. The first game, The Personality Game, was designed and distributed in small numbers thorough out the US selling about 300 copies. At that time the Joe Magic Games was abbreviated as JMG, Inc. The name Joe Magic is one of the more favorable nicknames given from friends at college. It’s one that stuck and the same friends still call him that today. Mark grew up in Utah and Idaho, attended BYU Idaho, and Idaho State University. He currently works full time at KIFI Television in Idaho Falls as a marketing consultant. Mark currently lives in Idaho Falls with his wife, Michelle. They have 6 children, 3 are married and all but one are grown and living on their own. Over the last 20 some odd years, Mark has designed dozens of games. Some can be seen on board game geek and some are available at discountgamesinc.com. And like all designers, some have been buried to spare all mankind and will never to see the light of day again. Kickstarter has been a tremendous help in raising funding to improve game components. Projects have allowed the purchasing of equipment, tray inserts, and other machines to build more playable and aesthetically pleasing games.
Special thanks to Ray Bonilla for bringing this game to life!
Risks and challenges
There are risks with any project. The production may be delayed by suppliers, printing errors or packaging challenges.
As this is our first time using an overseas manufacturer and aiming for such a high unit count, despite the great amount of research we have done and discussion we have had, we are well aware of the type of mishaps that can happen over the course of a Kickstarter.
That said, so far, Joe Magic Games has delivered 100% of all rewards in the past and we have every intention of keeping that sterling record regardless of our new collaborations and challenges. You can see past projects we have delivered on under the name "Mark Hanny."Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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