Project image
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CA$ 1,541
pledged of CA$ 40,000pledged of CA$ 40,000 goal
30
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 15 2015 2:16 AM UTC +00:00
CA$ 1,541
pledged of CA$ 40,000pledged of CA$ 40,000 goal
30
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 15 2015 2:16 AM UTC +00:00

About

Artificer: Background

I love board games, and deck building games are a particular favourite of mine. But while I enjoy deck builders, there are some game elements that I find lacking, and others that I find overly common. Many times, this type of game simply places too much emphasis on chance and not enough on strategy.

So I decided to design a new deck building game that incorporated some unique elements to offer more choices, more variety, and more strategy. Some of these elements are the need for specific crystals to buy things (instead of just a lot of money), the option to buy ingredients in addition to cards, and the ability to remove cards from your deck by using ingredients to make artifacts which have ongoing special abilities.

The result is Artificer. I created the first iteration of this game nearly two years ago and have been developing it ever since. I have spent countless hours play testing and balancing the game, its mechanics, and its cards. I wanted to make sure the game was fun, diverse (many different ability combinations), balanced (no one strategy always wins), and had great replay value.

I am proud to say that at this moment, Artificer is ready for print and is slated to be published by Panda Game Manufacturing. You will not be backing a work in progress, but a finished product! I now present it on Kickstarter in hopes of raising the money I need to actually publish it.

What's In the Box?

Each copy of the game will contain:

  • 250 Recipe Cards (8x 30 recipes, 10 starting recipes)
  • 110 Crystal Cards (60x red, 25x blue, and 25x purple)
  • 21 Title Cards (16x unique titles, 5x starting titles)
  • 90 Ingredient Cubes (15 each of 6 types)
  • 35 Tabbed, Labeled Dividers (for easy sorting)
  • Colour Instruction Booklet

A Different Kind of Campaign

After looking at many different campaigns on Kickstarter, I've seen a lot of things I don't like. Overly confusing pages full of potential perks and dozens of limited reward levels make it hard to know exactly what you're going to end up with. And I know I'm not alone in my feelings on this. I don't want any confusion, so for my campaign, I'm subscribing to the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

Rewards: 3 reward levels, 2 of which get you copies of the game (at a reduced price). Because the game is what you ultimately want if you're backing me, right? No special treatment, no exclusives. If you want better stuff in the game, help me reach my stretch goals.

Stretch Goals: No teasers. No late campaign surprises. Everyone benefits. Stretch goals are laid out up front below. These are things I would like to have in the base game, but cannot afford at my base funding goal. (Except for the last one. That one's a simple motivator to help me get the word out!)

How to play: I'm including a short gameplay video below. Head over to the Artificer Facebook page for the full length video with detailed card explanations! (Note: The demo cards used in these videos are of lower print quality than the final cards will be.)

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 Card Art!

Occasionally during the course of the campaign, I will post card art below. If you watch the videos above and on my Facebook page, you can see even more. First up is the part of the cards you'll see the most of during the game: the back!

Artificer Card Art: The Bigger Story

I've received some feedback on the Artificer card art lately and so I decided it might be a good idea to comment on my card art and on the greater topic of game art in general.

You should know first off that the recipe art was intentionally done the way it is. Why? Because it's supposed to look like it was done by medieval scholars at desks by candlelight, and because I wanted it to look unique, to stand out when compared to other card based games. I was always aware that this art style might not appeal to some, but I also hoped it would appeal to others who are tired of the same art style in every card game they play.

With that in mind, I posed one art focused question to everyone I played Artificer with over the past year and a half: Do you like the recipe art, and if not, does it detract from the game? A couple of people didn't particularly like the art, but they also said that once they got into the game, they didn't even notice it. They were more focused on the actual game elements on the cards such as costs, prestige, and card type. The majority of people I spoke to liked the art. They liked that it was different from other card games they'd played.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people will like Artificer's art, some won't. But if you don't like the art, I have two questions: 1) Is the art bad just because you don't like it personally? 2) Do you not like it because you think it should look more like the art on other games you've played? I've found that, generally speaking, modern gamers have a preconceived notion of what game art "should" look like (largely influenced by one long-running CCG in particular), and if a game's art doesn't look like that, the art is "bad." This has created a culture of pulp art in which most games, especially those produced in North America, appear to model their art from the same template, partly because game companies know many people will automatically buy their games if they look like other games those people like, and partly out of fear that anything different won’t sell. But I wanted to be different.

Let me give an example of a game that successfully broke the card art mold. One of my inspirations for the Artificer art is the game Dixit. Dixit revolves entirely around its card art, yet its art looks extremely unpolished compared to other games, some would say "bad." That didn't stop it from being a fun game that sold thousands of copies and won the 2010 Spiel des Jahres.

Flashy visuals can work to draw in gamers who go for the art style template they're used to, but standardized art is no indication of a quality game. If you're an avid gamer like me (and especially if you've backed games on Kickstarter before), you know that there are some very good games with art that many would consider mediocre, and there are some very bad games with some of the flashiest art you'll ever see. Art doesn't make a game good or bad, and many people who enjoy a game will have many different opinions on its art.

So I opted to go with a unique art approach as opposed to a flashier, more commonplace style. I think it makes Artificer stand out from other games, while also drawing you into another time and place where simple recipes on parchment scrolls can be bought and made into artifacts in the dark halls of the Artificer's Guild. But it's ultimately the game play that makes Artificer fun, and everyone who's played the game, even those who don't particularly like the art, wants to play it more. Fun just doesn't translate visually.

As a backer on Kickstarter, you are being asked to judge a book (or in this case, a game) by its cover, a virtually impossible task. So I made the videos to show you as much of the game behind the cover as I can. I hope you'll at least take a few minutes to watch the game play video. Then decide if the game looks fun to you. If it does, back me. You won't be disappointed.

Risks and challenges

As I mentioned, this is a completed game, and my publisher is already lined up, so there is no risk that this project will not see completion.

The only possible issues would be delays in manufacturing or shipping. Panda Game Manufacturing has a very good track record in this regard, and I plan to use Amazon.com to fulfill rewards. Both of these are very reputable companies so I don't foresee any major setbacks.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $8

    BASIC BACKER - My heartfelt gratitude for backing my project (and backer updates, of course)!

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    Pledge CA$ 39 or more About $29

    GET THE GAME - One copy of Artificer sent to your door! MSRP will be between $50 and $60, and shipping costs are low, so this is a pretty sweet deal!

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    Pledge CA$ 69 or more About $52

    GET TWO GAMES - Two copies of Artificer sent to your door! Shipping costs are only slightly higher than the previous reward, so this is an even sweeter deal!

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    Pledge CA$ 309 or more About $233

    GAME STORE SPECIAL - Ten copies of Artificer sent to your door! Available only for game store owners in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.

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Funding period

- (30 days)