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James and Dian
I’m certainly not pretentious enough to lift up Stratagem alongside storied classics like Chess or Checkers. However, like those games, Stratagem’s simple yet deceptively complex nature makes it easy to recommend to almost anyone.This is approachable, unassuming fun. True, Stratagem doesn’t have a theme. It doesn’t need it. It’s got character. — Jason Dobson, Indie Cardboard
We liked [Stratagem] a lot, more than we thought we would. Strangely addictive, and still quite simple. — Hunter Shelburne, WeaponsgradeChannel
The game has a simple set up, easy to learn rules and it plays pretty quickly: features that make it a great family game. — Luke Turpeinen, Across the Boardgames
Stratagem at its heart is an abstract strategy game. It presents some very unique strategic decisions. With the variants, the level of random gameplay elements can be tuned to appeal to the strategy “purist.” — Andrew Lupp, Boardgaming.com
The easy to learn rules and the high player interaction made Stratagem a win in my book. I think this makes a great game for when you have 4+ players and are looking for something casual and engaging. — Tony Mastrangeli,
Board Game Quest
There’s a new board game on the way, and after spending a few weeks with it I find [Stratagem is] one of the first things I grab when friends are over. — Russell Holly, Geek.com
Light and fun, this abstract board game strikes a perfect balance of luck and strategy that all gamers will really enjoy.
Stratagem™ is a simple game perfect for family fun night, but also substantial enough to be a fun filler game mixed into a heavier game night.
Stratagem is an abstract game. Players take turns moving their pawns around the board, claiming each contiguous space they enter with hexagon tiles. Points are scored for each claimed space that survives a round and is converted to a controlled space. Action cards may be played during the game to a player’s advantage.
Prefer Skill Over Luck?
Strategy gamers may prefer a more strategic rule-set, one that relies more heavily on the player’s skill than the luck of a die roll. The rule book contains a few variant rules that put the player’s fate in their own hands.
When making a turn, a player will perform each of the following phases, in order, skipping the phases that are not applicable during the turn. For example, a player would not yet have any tiles on the game board during their first turn, so the Clear and Control phases should be skipped.
The Action Cards deck will contain 54 cards which provide special actions players can use to alter die rolls, movement and battle outcomes.
34 Standard cards are shown above with an indication of how many duplicates are in the deck
2 Blank cards for you to create your own!
18 Designer cards will be added to the deck from the CARD DESIGNER pledge level. Up to nine backers will each design one card which will be added to the deck twice. The designer cards will be distinguished by a KS stamp so they can easily be added to or removed from play.
If we do not get enough CARD DESIGNER backers, we will design the remaining cards. We already have good ideas ready to go, but we'd rather include yours!
Each player is dealt three action cards before the start of the game and will receive an additional card each time they control one of the six “action card” spaces, one of the six spaces marked "5" or the center space marked "10" during play.
On each player's turn, all players are allowed to play one card from their hand if they wish. The bottom of each card explains when during a player's turn the card may be played. For example, after a die has been rolled or during a claim phase.
Action cards are used to help or hinder any player’s game. For example, one card may add +1 to a die roll while another may send a player back to their home space.
One of Stratagem's more interesting traits is just how simple it is to understand. There are very few rules to learn and the graphic design is clean and efficient. This is why Stratagem has such a broad appeal. Stratagem also lends itself very well to "house" rules and even includes a few variant rules we think you might like.
Family Fun Night - Stratagem is a great family game because it has few rules and they are simple enough for children to understand. The game reinforces problem solving, strategic thinking, rational thinking, cooperation and probability — skills any parent would want to develop with their children.
Casual Get-togethers - Stratagem works well at a casual social event where you might have a couple of friends over for dinner and a game. It plays in about an hour and can adapt to different gaming personalities. The game has enough "luck of the roll" and "take that" gameplay to lighten the mood and keep the shoot-from-the-hip type players enjoying every minute. However, the game has enough strategic thinking that the deep thinkers in the group will feel properly challenged.
At Tabletop Café Shops - Have a board game café in your area? Stratagem would be a good fit because it's a light and casual game that can be learned or taught quickly to strangers and doesn't take too long to play.
Game Day Events - Stratagem isn't the main event type of game alpha gamers are used to investing a lot of time into learning and playing. However, Stratagem is a great filler game at these type events were a few players can get together in-between heavier game sessions and have quick fun. It might not have a theme but, when you start playing, you won't care.
Strategy Gamers - When played with the luck components removed, Stratagem is a serious abstract strategy game at heart. The rule book contains several rule variants to help you remove some or all of the luck components.
When designing this game, we considered many disabilities and how we could make the game more enjoyable for a wider audience. Disabilities we were able to include were color blindness, short term memory loss, and low vision impairment. We're always interested in including more people and look to the community for feedback in this area. This is what we've included so far:
Color Blindness - each of the player colors are also accompanied with unique symbols which are easily distinguishable to all color blindness types.
Low Vision - text in the Game Manual and on the Action Cards have the highest color contrast ratio using black text on a white background in reasonable point sizes.
Short Term Memory Loss - Players do not need to remember information from turn to turn, aside from scores written to a score pad. Turn phases are shown on the board as well as included in a Quick Reference chart on the back of the manual.
200 TWITTER FOLLOWERS - UNLOCKED - Forget the paper and pencil to keep score. What is this, 1986? The game board design will be modified to include a score track along one of the edges. Each player will have a color coded 10mm cube to track their scores. This way, players will have an easier time monitoring the leader. All backers whose pledges include receiving a game will get this reward.
250 TWITTER FOLLOWERS - LOCKED - We'll create a Spanish translated manual and a French translated manual for download as a PDF on our website. We'll also include in the PDFs translations of each of the cards to print your own translated deck.
150 FACEBOOK LIKES - LOCKED - I will send a warm heartfelt handwritten postcard to each backer whose pledge level includes all stretch goals. Note: You will receive just one postcard even if your reward includes multiple copies of stretch rewards.
200 FACEBOOK LIKES - LOCKED - To Be Announced
$25,000 - LOCKED - Component upgrade To Be Announced
Want more games as gifts? - $28 each + shipping
Simply add $28 plus shipping to your pledge for each game (will include all stretch goals) that you'd like to add. Shipping in the USA is FREE; Outside the USA add $15 per additional game.
Limited Edition Stratagem Campaign Coin - $6 each
An awesome limited edition coin made by Campaign Coins to commemorate the Kickstarter campaign. The coin will contain the Stratagem logo and crest on the front and the 6th Gear Games logo on the back. Backers at any pledge level may add multiple coins to their reward for $6 each.
Coins are roughly the same size as the game's hexagon tiles
45mm width x 38mm height x 2mm thickness
Antique silver plating
3D embossing on both sides
FRONT - Stratagem logo and crest
BACK - 6th Gear Games Logo
Set of 6 Stratagem Shot Glasses - $25 + shipping
"THE GAMER" PLEDGE LEVEL OR HIGHER ONLY. What better way to play your game than with a beautiful set of 6 colored shot glasses each embellished with a full color Stratagem logo. The set of six 1.75 oz shot glasses are 2" wide by 2.25" tall and will include one each of the Stratagem player colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I'll leave it to you to think of clever "house" rules for integrating them into the game. Shipping in the USA is FREE; Outside the USA add $5 per set.
Canada: Shipping the first game is $15. Add $15 per additional game.
Everyone Else (including EU): Shipping the first game is $25. Add $15 per additional game.
6th Gear Games, Inc. is the husband and wife team of James O'Reilly and Dian Mills O'Reilly. What started off a few years ago as a simple idea of a game mechanic evolved into the fun and highly re-playable strategy game Stratagem that we have today.
James is a software engineer and currently the Director of Technology at a NYC creative services agency. Over the past two decades, James has designed and built complex web and mobile applications for Fortune 1000 companies. In that time, he has worn many hats during a product's lifecycle from concept to completion. Dian is a senior editor for an online industry magazine where she writes two monthly columns. Dian receives dozens of products each month and evaluates them on quality, features and price. She then writes unbiased reviews about a smaller subset of products that she is happy to recommend to her readers.
If this project is successfully funded, James and Dian will leverage their combined experience and see the production of Stratagem through to completion.
Risks and challenges
The board game industry is new to me and I've learned a lot over the last six months. After reading about previous campaign success and failures, industry expert advice and speaking with people who work at successful game publishers I feel confident that I'm capable of successfully seeing this through.
I have a well thought out plan for US manufacturing and solid figures on real costs from printing through fulfillment (including stretch goals and shipping outside the US). I will be using Amazon fulfillment in the USA.
However, things can go wrong. Problems can arise, such as printing or shipping delays. There could be printing errors, material defects or other unexpected issues. We will, of course, try our best to avoid these issues but will be prepared to handle any that should arise.