About this project
The world isn’t in danger. There’s no war between good and evil. There's just you, an aspiring alchemist, eager to achieve fame and glory. Too bad your rival's lab is in the way.
Lab Mayhem is a strategy card game that began with a single question: shouldn’t a game feel fun EVERY TURN? Useless draws, resource screw, and cheap “gotcha” moments — we don’t think they’re fun or necessary.
Lab Mayhem has over 250 unique cards, and each can be played three different ways. We’ve done away with dedicated resource cards, made the discard pile an active part of the game, and made it easy to develop your own strategies.
It’s all wrapped up with top-tier artwork, done in a painted cartoon style. Original art, flavor text, and card names all build an exotic world that ranges from silly to serious.
And since over-costed secondary card markets make games less accessible, we’re selling ALL the cards in one box. No booster packs, no fifty dollar cards. You’re welcome, wallets.
(Download our print-n-play demo and use those cards to follow along with our video!)
If you’re an experienced card game player, parts of Lab Mayhem will feel familiar and others will be totally new. The good news is, ANYONE can learn! Just read the full rules or watch the How To Play video. Here are some highlights:
Your deck of 44 cards is your laboratory. Make it using as many of the six disciplines of alchemy as you like. 3-discipline decks are common!
To win, reduce your opponent’s lab to zero cards, then destroy all the rooms they’ve made during the game.
Play cards as…
Rooms. These special spots inside your lab determine your resource growth and options, strengthen your endgame, and can hide traps.
Reagents. Found in the stripe at the bottom of each card, reagents pay for your other cards or grant special effects. You can activate reagents by placing them in a room from your scrap heap (discard pile) or your hand.
Recipes. Every card is a recipe waiting to be assembled. Play a card from your hand by paying its assembly cost. There are four different kinds of recipe:
- Servants are minions who defend your lab or attack your opponent.
- Nexuses are places of power whose effects last as long as they're in play.
- Transmutations modify the statistics and abilities of servants — friend OR foe!
- Spellbombs are single-use alchemical concoctions that go to the scrap heap when played.
Lab Mayhem is designed for both constructed and draft formats. We've put in over 1000 hours of playtesting, and, since releasing our rules-complete early edition, we've hosted dozens of competitive tournaments, demonstrating our game's sound balance.
The full game
Each box of Laboratory Mayhem contains everything you need to play the game. Multiple boxes allow you to build more powerful decks, draft with friends, and explore more options.
- All 252 cards, with full-color original art
- Two quick-play decks, designed for new alchemists to learn the game
- 50 semi-translucent chits (red, green, yellow) to keep track of damage and counters.
- A rules guide, card layout diagram, and deck-building tips.
- The box itself is gorgeous, made of sturdy cardboard with full-color, full-bleed artwork in a glossy finish.
Kickstarter-exclusive 11x17 poster
For Kickstarter backers only, we’ve designed a poster featuring Mercurial Sentinel by Margo Sikes. Printed in a glossy finish on thick paperstock. Just add $15 to your pledge at any tier to receive the poster on top of your other backer rewards. Posters ship free!
Be sure to check out our other tiers, including a chance to have yourself or a friend featured as alchemists (or experiments!) on card art.
STRETCH GOAL #1: TOKEN CARDS
If we hit this stretch goal, every box of Lab Mayhem will include servant token cards that bring cosmids, meatlings, golems, and sparks to life with full art, stats, and flavor text! They'll also come with a new card back to help them stand out from the cards in your decks. Exact number of token cards TBD, but it'll definitely be substantial.
All of us on the Lab Mayhem team believe all workers should be treated fairly — it’s even in our formal partnership agreement. This means that everyone who contributes to the game becomes a partial owner of the game itself. This is proportional to the time put in, and applies equally to everyone no matter their role.
We take every step possible to ensure that our partnerships are ethical, including with Kamings, our manufacturer.
Now that you know how we think, meet the team:
Michael Pruess, Founder, Dir. of Development and Business: Developer for Card Hunter and lead for its expansion Acquisitions Inc, on which he collaborated with Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins (Tycho). When not making games, he’s fighting capitalism.
Andrew Lin, Dir. of Development: Broadcaster for livestreams, Andrew brings a breadth of games knowledge from both board and digital. He’s also learned a lot about teaching players of all ages as a table tennis coach.
David Pruess, Dir. of Design: Chess International Master, David brings a colossal understanding and appreciation of strategy and tactics. By day he is a teacher.
Gregory Schram, Dir. of Creative and Business: A professional ad writer, Greg feeds himself by creating characters and worlds that are concise, punchy, and funny. His experience with formal creative environments means he knows how to herd the art cats.
Myles Schaller, Dir. of Creative and Design: A connoisseur and creator of expansive, detailed worlds and their inhabitants. Has played all the games you’ve never heard of. Learned how to get a point across by working as a writer for WikiHow.
Artists: Alejandro Arévalo | Alex Tiama | Cale Ajioka | Caprice Hong | Dot Lee | Fajar Kurniawan | Jessica Dobson | Jordan Murphy | Margo Sikes | Michelle Lam | Mike Morromeo | Osipova Svetlana | Sandra Haro | Spencer Bowen | Steven Celiceo | Svetlana Raitina (Misori) | Tran Hoang | Uroš Jovanović
Laboratory Mayhem is rules-complete. It’s been thoroughly stress-tested, with three years of design work, over a thousand hours of playtesting, and tournaments with professional gamers trying to break it.
All that’s left is to do a proper manufacturing run (allowing us to offer the product at the reasonable price you see here) and to illustrate the bulk of the card art.
That’s it. We’re taking every measure to not be a cautionary Kickstarter tale. We’ve already got a proof product from Kamings, our manufacturer, and have priced our product around their quote. We have a dozen artists fully on board with the project and our compensation model, with more on the way. And we’ve factored in a fiscal buffer zone to account for any turbulence along the way, as well as Kickstarter's fees.
Thanks for checking out Laboratory Mayhem. We can’t wait to play with you!
Risks and challenges
We believe we've cleared most of our hurdles, but here are the potential pitfalls we can imagine:
ARTISTS: At this moment, we don't have all our art yet - and while we have artists lined up to do the work once we're funded, it's possible that something could come up and we'd need to find one or more additional artists to finish the project, which could delay, but not jeopardize, delivery.
MANUFACTURER: We've picked our manufacturer, Kamings, and have a backup, but it's theoretically possible that both could fall through. If this happens, we'd try to find a manufacturer with similar costs. If we can't, we'll cancel the project so Kickstarter refunds your money.
OTHER: Barring horrific disease seizing our entire partnership, this should be a pretty low-risk endeavor. We look forward to sharing our mayhem with you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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