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Unlock the music in your head! Play a party card game about the songs you love -- or make karaoke nights a billion times better.

It's over! But it's not too late to get some Karaokards...

WE MADE IT! Thank you SO MUCH to all our wonderful backers. And now it's time for us to get on with printing up the Karaokards and sending them out...

If you found out about Karaokards after the Kickstarter closed, and you're interested in buying some, visit karaokards.com to get in touch and find out how to get a deck of your very own.

BUT WHAT IS KARAOKARDS?

Karaokards is a playful, social card game inspired by our love of music, unpredictable mischief and stupid fun times. The first version was designed to be played alongside karaoke -- partly because we wanted a good karaoke game, partly to make karaoke more interesting and more inclusive. It worked so well that we came up with a second game that you can play anywhere, with or without singing, by simply dealing out the cards to your friends.

So when you support Karaokards you're getting two different gamesKaraokards Classic to play during karaoke -- at home, on a night out or wherever and however you choose -- and Karaokards Columns to play with friends around a table (which can also involve drunken singing, but doesn't have to). Both games feel like something fresh and new to us. Both are ridiculously fun. We think both will make your life better; your friends more entertaining; perhaps even make you more attractive. We can't guarantee that. Call it a hunch.

Need some detail before you hit the pledge button? Read on!

Karaoke, when it works, is the best damned thing. It's stupid, bright, exciting and unpredictable. It's 50% nostalgia, 50% anti-reality dream-world where we're all famous and nothing counts. It brings friends and strangers closer in the pursuit of something ridiculous. It makes amazing memories.

@SimonParkin performs at Nottingham GameCity, 2012
@SimonParkin performs at Nottingham GameCity, 2012

 The problem is it doesn't work all the time, or for all the people. Why?

  • It’s intimidating. Some people don't think they can sing (it doesn't matter), they don’t know what to sing (they think they'll be judged), they worry about their performance and end up stewing over song lists in the corner of the room...
  • ... It gets boring. Go with the same group of people and you'll hear the same songs time and time again (why would anyone pick a song they haven't practiced?)...
  • ... And it's aimless, unbalanced. Divas hog the mic, the polite people get pushed down the playlist, your night starts slowly and finishes way, way too soon

Plus there’s no reason for anyone to try anything different: it’s really hard to think of a new song to sing and it’s scary to try that song in front of an audience when you find it.

You're so right. It's not a game. That doesn't matter! There are lots of good things that aren't games, like ice cream and Mean Girls and weird museums and that time we put an ACTUAL ROBOT on Mars and goodness knows people really should calm down a little bit because not everything needs to be a game, right?

But we're game designers and it struck us that the right game could fix those problems. The right game. That part's important. Karaoke videogames all score you on pitch, making the experience far more frightening and missing the point completely. That isn't karaoke. If we wanted to hear a perfect replica of a song we would listen to the song. Karaoke is about you and your performance, flaws and all. It's about friends and stupidity and fun and amazing, unforgettable moments. We wanted to create something that lets everyone experience that -- and makes more moments for the people who already do. 

And that led us to Karaokards.

It's a card game for pretty much any number of people, though we've found it works best with 4-10. The deck includes 108 cards, most of which are Clue cards. They look like this at the moment:

Some Karaokards, yesterday.
Some Karaokards, yesterday.

Every player is dealt five cards, each containing two Clues. The Clues are all little elements of a song in four different categories -- "Artist", "Song", "Genre" and "Personal". Players score points by combining those Clues, coming up with a song and then singing that song.

You still get to choose what you sing (and the prompts on the cards help you think of songs) but the Karaokards take away the pressure. No-one expects you to sing well and if you don't it doesn't matter -- you can blame the cards.

That's what changes everything. 

There are also optional Secret Mission cards, which mix up the game (and encourage people to pay attention) and a neat duetting mechanic which means people are always looking for a reason to sing with you. The game has a beginning, a middle and an end. And a winner, of course, but (secretly) that part doesn't matter so much. Like all good games it's about the journey and the memories.

If you don't have access to a karaoke system or you're not all-that interested in singing right now there's another way to play Karaokards: Karaokards Columns.

In this version, as Classic, each player is dealt five cards and must combine their Clues to produce a song. But this time you're working with (and against) the other players. When it's your turn you add a Clue to a central column and announce a song that fits ALL the played Clues so far. Players have to justify each addition to the group (which leads to applause / heated debate) and it gets harder to play as the column grows. 

There are (optional) rules that involve singing, too; whether you enforce them depends on you, your group and the environment. This is a game that fits with your situation -- we think it takes some of the great bits from karaoke (the music, the moments, the memories) and combines them with a great improvisational card game. Above all, Columns is quick and simple to set up and ideal for times when a full-on karaoke session doesn't quite fit.

The main Karaokards deck works with any type of music and any group of of people. The Clues are designed to spark the players' imaginations, not force specific artists on the game -- so if you play with people who prefer country music you'll find they get different songs out of the same combination of Clues than a group of people who tend towards black metal would. 

But sometimes you know what sort of music you want and that's where the Karaokards Expansions come in. They add Clue cards that are specific to a certain type of music, so if your team favours a genre (or if you just want to tilt the game in a different direction) you'll want to deal these in.

Each expansion comes with a different set of rules. The Pop Pack has instructions for Solo Play -- we think this might be the first karaoke game to give a reason to karaoke alone, beyond practice. The R&B Pack has Team Play rules, allowing you to turn your karaoke session into a West-Side-Story battle. And the Rock Pack contains what we're calling Round Rules, a more involved, "gamey" set of instructions that make the game more turn-based (and encourage co-operation and collaboration between individual players).

Anywhere.

Karaokards Classic was designed around booth-style karaoke sessions. We organise ours at our preferred supplier, the magnificent Lucky Voice, who have bars (and wonderful cocktails) all over the UK. But the game is completely system agnostic and if there isn't a Lucky Voice near you it'll work just as well (albeit without those cocktails) at your local karaoke provider.

No local? Don't worry, because it also works perfectly with every karaoke home system. And if you're reading this the chances are you have SOME kind of home system, even if you don't know it. If you've got a PC or Mac you can turn that into a brilliant karaoke player with a couple of mics and Lucky Voice Online (a voucher for extended play comes with every pack of cards we send out) -- and if you don't have the technical know-how, the Lucky Voice Party Box at the Signed Artist reward tier will sort it all out for you. If you have Karaoke for Xbox 360, then it works for that as well.

The point is that Karaokards is flexible and it'll work wherever you want it to work. One (brave) demo team even tried it at an LA dive bar on a public stage, paying $1 per song. It worked there and it'll work anywhere, and even if you find somewhere it doesn't you always have Karaokards Columns to fall back on.

Because you're an amazing person. Because we're making everything better, one karaoke session at a time. But beyond your generous nature and our philanthropic heroism there are some actual, pragmatic, personal reasons.

Like card games? Us too. And what's better than a card game? Well duh, two card games. Columns is somewhere between Consequences and a playful pub argument about music -- is that REALLY her second best song? How on Earth are those lyrics metaphorical? -- and Classic is the best karaoke game of all time. Simple.

Ever enjoyed karaoke? This will make it better next time, not just for you but for the people you're with. You'll sing new songs, you'll hear new things, you'll write new memories and everyone will seem just a little bit more charming and sexier. Again, not a guarantee but a STRONG hunch. 

Want an excuse to karaoke again? (or just to throw a party)? Karaokards is the reason you've been looking for. Not just because both versions of the game are awesome but because we live in an age of austerity and you've just spent money on a game! Don't let it go to waste. 

Enjoy singing but hate the idea of "traditional" karaoke? We don't blame you. It's full of awkward moments that exclude people and that's why we made Karaokards Classic. Try it. Trust us. We are good people and you can be sure of that because only good people are allowed to claim they are good people.

Hate singing but like games? Well, that's why Karaokards Columns exists, just for you. The core Karaokards mechanic, putting together cards to make songs, is super fun. We didn't want to exclude you. SO NOW YOU OWE US. OK, you don't technically owe us, but give the game a go anyway.

(And maybe, just maybe, this could be your gateway. Because since when has karaoke been about singing? Some of our favourite performances have been shouting, grunting, howling. Pitch is definitely not the point. Participation is.)

Want something to knit a group of people together? Maybe a group of old friends, new colleagues or fractious cellmates? We don't have any science backing the psychological benefits of this game but we're pretty sure it makes everyone love each other. Who will have the first Karaokards baby? Someone will, that much is certain. 

Getting festive in December? Our shipping schedule depends on how this Kickstarter goes but we're going to try our hardest to deliver for Christmas. It's going to be tight and we cannot guarantee it right now but in lieu of that a) we'll be sure to make the PDFs available in time, so you'll always have access to a version, and b) All backers will get an exclusive Karaokards IOU card to print out and gift if it looks like we're going to miss the seasonal deadline. Karaokards makes the perfect Christmas present. If you don't celebrate Christmas that's fine too because there is never a wrong time to give someone a present, particularly one that makes someone so happy their face might shatter from smiling so hard.

Hate good things and nice times? We've got nothing for you. Sorry :(

tl;dr: We've made a new exciting card game, we need your support to make it real and, by giving us some money, you get a brilliant reason to party with your friends. Help us?

... And you did. So we've created some Encore Rewards -- stretch goals that allow us to include some cool things we couldn't for our original target. Here we go...

Presenting: the 21+ Expansion Pack!  

So, Karaokards is for everyone. We've worked hard to ensure it works wherever you are, whatever type of music you like, whoever you're hanging out with. But we're also aware it's a brilliant drinking game and there are plenty of cards we've cut from the main deck to make it family friendly.  

If we reach £8000, we'll be able to print a new Expansion Pack - a set of cards to shuffle into your Karaokards deck when there aren't any children present. And we'll be able to do that for free and send it to EVERY backer who's pledged £21 or more. Yes, that's right, it's a 21+ expansion for our £21+ backers! You guys are so lucky the legal drinking age isn't 150.

Fingers crossed...

Testimonials:

"I finally understand the reason why so much space in my brain is taken up by obscure song lyrics and random facts about pop music - for impressing my peers at Karaokards!" -- @Rio_Garcia

"I love karaoke so much and this is such a great way to play it. Karaokards challenges bores like me to stray away from my usual songs, and allows people who are shy or don't love singing to blame it all on the cards. And finally I can win at karaoke!" -- @Scanters

"Now us Karaoke queens can stop alienating -- i mean, INTIMIDATING our friends, so that they will all finally want to sing with us" -- @leighalexander

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The game is finished, the rules are written and, short of tweaks based on the final round of playtests, we're ready to go. We're seeking money for printing costs and to pay our brilliant designer. I'm not sure there are many risks, honestly. I suppose it's possible we could lose everything in a fire, though that would mean Google's storage servers had burned to the ground and I suspect we'd all be worrying about bigger things at that point. I might get hit on the back of the head and forget I've done any of this? That'd be awkward, but you've got my contact details. Maybe our brilliant designer will turn out to be a confidence trickster with a dark heart? Maybe the cards, when arrayed in a particular sequence during printing, will open up a wormhole to the Otherworld through which unimaginable horrors will travel and consume us all. Sorry if that happens but otherwise I think we'll be OK.

FAQ

  • We're not allowed to edit the rewards so some of the descriptions are missing things we've added since the project went live. Largely it's the case that every tier adds something to the previous one -- for clarity, here's a list of what each tier means in terms of rewards:

    £1: Website mention, emailed backer updates AND NOTHING ELSE OK?

    £6: PDFs of the game

    £12: PDFs, Karaokards Deck and Lucky Voice voucher [Early backer price]

    £15: PDFs, Karaokards Deck and Lucky Voice voucher

    £20: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher and one Expansion Pack

    --- Everyone below this point gets an invite to the SECRET LAUNCH PARTY ---

    £25: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher and all three Expansions

    £30: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions and a Unique (numbered, handwritten) Clue Card

    £35: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions, a Unique Card and access to our dev group with prototypes

    £50: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions, a Unique Card, prototype access and your own fanfic story

    £60: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions, a Unique Card, prototype access, your own fanfic story and a Lucky Voice Party Box

    £100: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions, a Unique Card, prototype access, your own fanfic story and your own custom Expansion Pack

    £300: PDFs, Karaokards Deck, Lucky Voice voucher, all three Expansions, a Unique Card, prototype access, your own fanfic story, your own custom Expansion Pack and a Karaokards session run for you at a location of your choosing. Also a hug? At this point we're basically lost in your eyes.

    (It's also worth noting that you can add more Karaokards decks to your reward tier by adding £12 onto your donation. IT'S THE PERFECT GIFT FOR EVERYONE, FOREVER.)

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    *THE CURIOUS OBSERVER* /// Every Karaokards backer gets thanked on our website. If you've ever wanted to see your name on the internet (and don't want anything else) this is the reward for you.

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    *THE BUSKER* /// Receive PDFs of the Karaokards cards and rules to print at home. And, of course, our eternal gratitude.

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    *THE FIRST BACKING SINGERS* /// Be the first to back Karaokards! Receive a Karaokards deck -- 108 beautiful cards! -- shipped to your home address, the game PDFs, an extended voucher for Lucky Voice's amazing online system and a LIFETIME of karaoke card-game fun.

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    *THE BACKING SINGER* /// Join the party. Receive one 108-card deck of Karaokards shipped to your home address, alongside the PDFs, an extended voucher for to Lucky Voice's amazing online system and a LIFETIME of karaoke card-game fun. Want more Karaokards sets to use as gifts (or just to hoard)? Add £12 to your pledge for each additional pack (up to a a maximum of £75, or six packs) and we'll do the rest.

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    *THE BREAKOUT ARTIST* /// Receive all the rewards in *THE BACKING SINGER* tier and one 18-card Expansion Pack of your choice: Pop, Rock or R&B. Each Expansion Pack adds a completely new set of rules AND weights the game towards your chosen genre!

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    *THE SEASONED PERFORMER* /// Receive all of the rewards in the *BACKING SINGER* pack and all THREE expansion packs, giving you 54 new cards, three additional ways to play and letting you theme your deck to match your mood!

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    *THE COMEBACK PERFORMER* /// A second chance at the big time. Receive all of the rewards in the *BACKING SINGER* pack and all THREE expansion packs, giving you 54 new cards, three additional ways to play and letting you theme your deck to match your mood!

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    *THE UNIQUE TALENT* /// Change your game! Receive all the rewards in THE COMEBACK PERFORMER pack and one Unique Clue Card, numbered, handwritten and customised just for you. What's on the card? We'll ask for your favourite song... and then let Fate decide. (To be clear: we are Fate.)

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    *THE INDUSTRY INSIDER* /// The INDUSTRY rewards are the *only* rewards which will get you PDFs to the expansions as well as any other expansions we produce over the next year. Receive everything at the *BACKING SINGER* reward level AND access to the Karaokards dev forum, including all our materials and prototypes. The instant the Kickstarter finishes you'll be able print-and-play our proof-of-concept print-at-home pack (as seen in the video). You'll also get the chance to influence where we'll take the game next -- a classic hip-hop pack? A One Direction pack? You (help) decide!

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    *THE CULT ICON* /// We're so grateful for your contribution and we're going to prove it the only way we know how: with fan-fiction. In your package (which includes everything in the *UNIQUE TALENT* pack and the *INDUSTRY INSIDER* perks) will be a sealed envelope containing a 200-400 word story based around you (or a friend) and the artist and song you nominate. Frame it, gift it, keep it beneath your pillow and pretend the artist wrote it for you. We're not judging; your backing means we love *you* a little too much, as well.

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    *THE SIGNED ARTIST* /// You will receive everything at the *BACKING SINGER* rewards level and a Lucky Voice Party Box -- a brilliant piece of hardware that plugs straight into a computer and lets you run your own Karaokards night at home.

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    *THE DEMANDING DIVA* /// As well as everything at the *BACKING SINGER* reward level we'll work with you to produce your own, exclusive expansion pack based around your favourite genre, artist, era or pretty much anything you want.

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    *THE AFTERSHOW PARTIER* The Karaokards team will head to a location of your choosing and run the game for you -- and leave behind a custom pack of cards we've prepared just for your event. Maybe it's your company's Christmas party? Maybe you just want to look at us in your basement for a few hours? Whatever, you'll need to add transport costs to and from London (and potentially a hotel if you want the party to go on really late).

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