About this project
Ingenuity, adventure and a sense of wonder are some of the things that makes steampunk so much more than clockwork and sepia tones.
Incredible Expeditions is more than a solid card-based strategy game that pairs fantastic storytelling with making tough decisions in the face of the bizarre and dangerous. It's a collaborative art project.
Over the past year, with the help of many talents, friends and friendly strangers, I've playtested the heck out of Incredible Expeditions and collaborated with artists of every stripe. I've reached out to create a game that is too beautiful and too engaging to stay on the shelf. Manufacturing is expensive; but with your support, Incredible Expeditions: Quest for Atlantis will make the journey to your home.
"The game is super fun. I really like the mechanics that have gone into this game... I love what the designer has done with this." -Zach Marcello of GotGameTesters.com (click link to see full review)
"Gorgeous, sometimes funny art and a lot of variable options add to the impression that this is a carefully designed, smartly realized game with depth." -gameological blog (click link to see full review)
"Incredible Expeditions is one of those games I really enjoy playing...it made us want to go home to Print & Play our own version later." -Tiffany, game journalist at PAX (click to see full game preview)
"Incredible Expeditions is an excursion into the fantastic! Having played the game several times now, each time is a completely unique experience, and it always gets heated since it comes down to the wire. This game definitely tests your cunning, foresight, ability to handle pressure, and your willingness to push the boundaries." -Daniel S. (playtester)
"One of the many great things about Incredible Expeditions is having the freedom to customize your deck with every turn. Being able to make these decisions adds a ton player choice not seen in many board games and truly affects the outcome of every encounter!" -Matthew G. (first impression of prototype at Industry Board Game Night)
Beginning at the Port City location, each Expedition Leader (player character) equips their unique ship with the Crew and Resource cards they'll need to make their way to the Drowned City of Atlantis.
As each new Location is discovered, Encounter cards are drawn to reveal challenges the Expedition Leaders must defeat using the skill of their Crew and their Resource cards at hand. Encounters that prove too harrowing will leave your crew weakened, or worse, Cursed! The expedition only moves on once a Location's Encounters have been defeated.
Race against each other to be the first to uncover the secrets of the last Location, the Drowned City of Atlantis, or band together to use your combined strength to face down Lovecraftian horrors and test your mettle against the hazards of expedition. Basic play is competitive, and single-player and cooperative play modes are in playtesting now.
Incredible Expeditions combines deck-building mechanics with exploration and resource management to create a game that ends gloriously, whether your Expedition succeeds or goes down in flames. There are no victory points here. Help or hinder other players by Acquiring and playing cards on them. Create new challenges with different Locations laid in one of a multitude of different patterns each time you play.
- 235 Bridge size playing cards (57mm x 87mm) and 25 tarot size cards with over 90 unique pieces of artwork
- 5 Cardboard player boards to hold crew and track Money, Heroism and Skullduggery used in the game
- 150 Translucent plastic tokens
- 5 custom molded art nouveau resin dice
- 5 unique plastic miniatures of the Expedition Leaders' ships
Special release! The Grand Tour Edition features the ship miniatures from the basic game, plus these premium components:
- All cards are upgraded to silver foil-faced premium cardstock (which is not only shiny, but makes the colors of the print really *pop*)
- A custom-printed, vegan-leather-bound campaign case with antiqued brass hardware
- 100 Glass tokens for Heroism and Skullduggery
- 50 Bronze Coin tokens for Money
- 3 Velvet bags
- 5 limited edition color custom molded art nouveau resin dice
- 5 Digitally-printed, upholstery-weight canvas boards (9 oz weight with a rolled hem)
Each copy of Incredible Expedition will include 5 different plastic ship miniatures, one each for the Expedition Leaders (playable characters). Three of the ship designs are below, which will be digitally rendered for 3D printing the high-fidelity acrylic "greens" for producing final molds. The result of this process is that we can produce miniatures with very high detail and can easily adapt each model until it is perfect. Each miniature will be approximately 40-45mm long.
The Collectors Editions includes components handmade by the game designer and a cadre of Seattle steampunk makers. There will be exactly 42 made. It includes the dice and ship miniatures from the regular edition of the game, plus:
- All cards are upgraded to silver foil-faced cards on premium cardstock
- Hand-finished and numbered laser-engraved wooden box with antiqued brass hardware signed by the designer and a number of the artists, models and makers who contributed to the project
- 100 Glass tokens for Heroism and Skullduggery
- 50 Bronze Coin tokens for Money
- 3 Velvet token bags
- 5 Digitally printed heavyweight canvas player boards (9 oz, upholstery canvas)
- 1 Resin hand-cast and finished art nouveau die
Add Ons are available to any pledge levels of [The Game] or higher. Please add the total amount for all Add On rewards to your total pledge. For example, if you'd like to receive the game plus the canvas boards, simply click on [The Game] pledge level and enter $75 or more for your pledge amount ($50 for [The Game] plus $25 for the canvas player boards).
...and more to come...
Risks and challenges
Developing a tabletop game is a complex process and things can go horribly wrong, up to and including kraken attack (but that's what shipping insurance is for).
Art production is about 50% complete at this point and well on track to complete on schedule. With so many talented artists (over a dozen, at last count) contributing to the project, delays in specific art elements can be covered by other artists.
Manufacturing of different components for the basic game will be done by top quality factories in China, well known for their European game quality standards and reliability. Counting printed materials producers in China alone, I've received quotes from 8 different factories, at last count, to ensure we can produce Incredible Expeditions at the best quality and won't be taken by surprise by prices.
To be sure everything runs smoothly, we have budgeted for an experienced independent Quality Assurance agent to monitor the production process to minimize errors. Most of the special components for the Collectors Edition and add-ons are manufactured in America and problems can be quickly resolved. In all cases, we've put allowances for extra production time should little things go wrong (as is almost inevitable).
Though this is our first game to be produced and sold on the mass market, I've worked with the tabletop games industry for years. I've been involved in the game design and publishing process from playtest to distribution and retailing for several successful games for various Seattle area companies. They've been very supportive on this project with advice and answers to our questions on publishing a hobby game. With a degree in Apparel Manufacturing and years operating my own small clothing company, I have both knowledge and experience sourcing goods manufactured in China.
I'm happy to answer any questions regarding our production schedule, budget and shipping plans. Feel free to email me with your questions.
Last, but not least, if I should be dragged into aether by nefarious dimension-hopping game-haters, all the game production files and contacts (backed up physically and in the cloud) can be taken up by my successor.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We're currently planning on using a transshipper in Germany for all EU orders. By using a transshipper, we can pay VAT on our end based on the manufactured cost of things. If your country has customs handling fees, you may still have to pay those, but we're glad we'll be able to save our European Union backers VAT fees.
Yes! If you have sharp eyes, you may have noticed the symbols used on the prototype cards. We haven't completed the design on the symbols for Money, Heroism and Skullduggery for the final version of the game, so the mockup cards don't have them yet. In addition to symbols, I very intentionally chose colors that are distinguishable by those with the most common types of color-blindness.
When designing Incredible Expeditions, I approached the problems of variable number of players and different play modes differently from most board games. I set out from the start to design a game system that is quite modular, that can be adapted to many different play modes. The play modes for solo, competitive multiplayer and cooperative multiplayer are all specially tuned to work well.
The major way I do this is with creating the “board” layout with random Location cards and having a wide-variety of Encounters. Each Location poses a new condition to the player(s) that can change the dynamics of interaction while there. And when it came to the Encounters, while built around a tight difficulty curve, I worked a lot on giving each its own flavor through the mechanics of each card that greatly affect how a player might approach them.
A few of the cards are turning out to be more or less difficult based on the number of players, which is one reason I’m playtesting with different-sized groups and taking plenty of notes to continue tweaking game balance. I expect to be making minor tweaks to cards for a while longer to get the best balance possible across players. My husband and I often play games two-player, so that’s one area I know works especially well, and most of our playtests have been for four players so that too has seen a lot of test coverage and tweaking.
The general pace of the game also varies, depending on the group it’s played with – some folks are more cautious and it leads to a slower-paced more careful strategy game, and some groups are all about the race and they eek by, barely surviving to the end. Depending on how many gaming groups you play with, you could find that adds even more variety to the game.
For the basic competitive (or solo) game, with the recommended basic layout, the game takes roughly 1/2 hour per player, plus a little setup time to shuffle the decks, etc.
Of course, the beauty of having a modular system with the Locations is that you can easily increase or decrease the play time of the game by 25% by adding or removing a layer of Locations between Port City and Atlantis.
Incredible Expeditions can be played competitively, and what's great is that the level of conflict is entirely dependent on the game group.
You can play a competitive game in more of the Euro style, in which there is little to no direct conflict and each player focuses on their own resources to make it through the harrowing journey. Or, you can play a game full of scheming and backstabbery, it all depends on which cards you Acquire for your ship and how you play them.
There are ways you can backstab other players during their expedition, but most of them require specific Crew or Resource cards to be purchased, which takes away resources from strengthening your own ship and since you lay out the cards you Acquire face up, everyone knows what you're buying.
The ways to grief the other players include:
1. Hire a Crew onto their ship that is kind of annoying (but can be ultimately useful since they can use that Crew and they didn't have to pay for them). For example, the Assassin Bodyguard will murder the last Crew hired onto that ship... but she also has one of the highest Skullduggery skills in the game.
2. Buy a Curse to later place on another ship to partially disable a random Crew.
3. Play a card to force another player to redraw an Encounter -which is most useful when they're using a Seer to stack the Encounter deck in their favor.
4. Play a card to force another player to face an Encounter when they're not prepared to do so. This generally forces that player to decide between using up the special sauce they've been holding back or lose the random Crew that comes with leaving an Encounter undefeated.
5. There are specific Encounters that allow other players to spend tokens to increase the difficulty of that Encounter.
6. And lastly, there are certain Crew and Resource card abilities that you can play to help yourself OR hinder another player. For example, the Strange Tincture card lets you Refresh or Exhaust any one Crew... you might use it to keep your own Crew at the ready, or knock out another player's Crew at a critical moment when facing an Encounter.
The only times dice are currently used in the game is to determine which random Crew is Lost or Cursed as the result of a Location or Encounter. This generally happens only every couple turns. So if you don't mind sharing dice, you actually only need one.
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