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Fire and Flora: A seriously fun card game ... FOR SCIENCE! project video thumbnail
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$4,778 pledged of $23,000 goal
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By Tim Handley
$4,778 pledged of $23,000 goal
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About this project

The Buzz

Fire and Flora is endorsed by kids, parents, teachers, ecologists, parent geeks, and child geeks.

Father Geek has approved Fire and Flora for both both parent geeks, and child geeks! (review here)

The Game

Rolling hills, narrow canyons, and tall peaks. All covered with a carpet of life, constantly growing and changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Take control of this landscape, and become a player in the game of Fire and Flora, a 2-4 player card game for ages 12 and up. 

Each player starts the game with two land cards, and a small pile of coins. At the beginning of each turn, your lands produce income in the form of coins and resources. With coins, you can buy new lands and take control of the plants that are growing on those lands. You can also use your coins to buy resources. With resources, you can change landscapes. You can raise your score by improving your landscape, surprise your opponents by blocking their moves, or attack them with weeds, squirrels, and raccoons. Just beware, if things get too out of control, you can create a weedy wasteland where it is impossible for anyone to win.

For complete rules, click here. For a sampling of game cards, click here.

The Dream

In most times and most places, there's a big gap between serious and fun. Real life is serious, while games are fun. I aim to fill that gap, starting with this game: Fire and Flora.

Real-world landscapes are complex systems. Individual creatures and environments interact with their neighbors, and disturbances propagate through the system like ripples through a pond. Fire and Flora takes this complex system, and puts it on a table. Each card in the game represents a piece of a real-world system, and those pieces interact with each other, much as in a real-world landscape.

Gamers: Wouldn't you love to see Settlers of Catan on a classroom table? 

Educators: Don't you enjoy seeing your kids excited about learning, engaged in the world? 

Fire and Flora does these things. It is a simulation, an experiment, a game, and a bridge. It's serious fun. It connects pieces of a landscape into a working whole. It connects players to nature. It connects intellect with playfulness. It connects friends across a table. That's all good stuff. Right?

The Campaign

To turn this dream into reality, I need three things: a modest graphical upgrade, a trustworthy printer, and a fulfillment firm to handle sorting and shipping. All three of these things will take money. Specifically, all together, they'll require a minimum of $23K.

This means it's time to share the dream. Would you like a copy of the game, for yourself, a friend, or a family member? Would you like a t-shirt, a poster, or some shiny, special-edition, foil cards? Would you like to sponsor a card, and help choose (thematically appropriate) text and images? Would you like to help make the world a better place through play?

If the answer to any of these was "yes," then you've come to the right place. Simply pledge at the appropriate level, and together, we can make that happen.

The Rewards

First-edition Fire and Flora

A classy box with 210 cards, one custom die, 50 yellow coin counters, and a full-color rulebook. It will look like this, except even better:

Kickstarter-exclusive t-shirts:

"Three Bears" Poster:

Special-Edition Foil Cards:

Do you like fun? Do you like nerdy? What could be more fun or nerdy than a foil plant card? Well, we're in luck, because I'm going to make some, and mail them out to adventurous backers. Depending on the reward level, I'll send you either one foil card of your choice or a set of foil cards.

Now, there are two ways to print foil cards: 2D and 3D. The 2D method applies foil highlights on top of printed cards. It's medium cool, and medium expensive. The 3D method puts ink on top of diffraction-foil backgrounds, so that whole scenes have depth and sparkle. This method is super-cool, but also super expensive.

I totally want the most awesome foil cards, but you gotta walk before you can run. So we'll start with a set of two foil cards, each printed with the 2D method. As we hit the different stretch goals, I'll gradually add more cards to this set, and apply holographic upgrades to some of the cards, converting them from 2D foil to 3D foil.

Timelord

There are eight time-type cards in the resource deck. The design of these cards leaves room for a relatively large amount of flavor text, somewhere between 140 and 180 characters. Backers at this level may help to write the flavor text for one of these Time cards. The text must be somehow time-related, not blatantly offensive, and free of intellectual property restrictions. Otherwise, anything goes. You can be serious or corny, as you wish.

Landscape Architect

The game includes about fifty land cards, about forty of which are based on real-world locations within southern or central California. If you choose to back Fire and Flora at the Landscape Architect level, then you'll get the opportunity to help choose a specific location for one of these cards, and to help design the card for that location. For details on how this will work, click here.

Logo Levels

Backers who pledge at one of the Logo Levels will receive a full set of material rewards. However, at these levels, the real reward is more intangible.

To pledge at one of these levels is to directly support the idea of building a better world through play. Your support will enable me to print additional copies of Fire and Flora for distribution in physical stores, and to set a lower price point for these retail copies. Your support will also enable me to lead outreach programs at museums and camps, to invest more time into some of my other game ideas, and to otherwise advance my mission of promoting the understanding and appreciation of science, nature, and life through play. In recognition of this support, backers at this level may choose to have their name or logo in a prominent place on the Fire and Flora website, rulebook, and/or game box (details depending on the pledge level).

Add-ons:

Would you like some combination of rewards that isn't directly available under one of the pledge levels on the right? No problem. Whatever it is that you'd like, we can make that happen. Here's how:

Choose a base pledge level, and pledge at that level. Then, look over the list below, and add up the total for all of the items that you'd like to have added to your rewards. Lastly, click the "manage your pledge" button at the top right, and add that total to your pledge amount (without changing your base pledge level). At the end of the campaign, when I send out the backer surveys, check the boxes to describe the add-ons that you wanted, and I'll make that happen!

  • $10: One special edition foil card of your choice
  • $17: One set of special edition foil cards
  • $25: One Fire and Flora "Backer" t-shirt, in any size
  • $30: One additional copy of Fire and Flora
  • $30: One "Three Bears" poster
  • $50: One Fire and Flora "Bold Backer" t-shirt, in any size

Stretch Goals:

The more people who sign on as backers, the better the price that we can get from manufacturers. As per-unit costs go down, I can upgrade game components, or even add new components, at no additional cost to you! The stretch goals below are a roadmap, showing the way that we can get from the respectably awesome rewards of the base project, to ludicrously awesome rewards that are possible:

Where, exactly, will your money go?

Very few people seem to post budgets around here. I'd like to change that, and start a new trend. Kickstarter is very much about openness, and the sharing of ideas. In that spirit of openness, it seems only right and proper to share my budget as well. That budget is here. Note that there are multiple tabs along the bottom of the spreadsheet. The file is read-only, but you should feel free to make a copy, and play around with the numbers yourself.

Keep up on Progress

Click the badge below to follow the campaign progress on Kicktraq. Get stats, projections, and help keep the project moving higher!

Risks and challenges

By talking and listening to those who have gone before, I've gotten a handle on the skills and process required to bring games to life. Through spreadsheets and planning, I've ensured that the project goal and the reward levels are reasonable: a fair balance between the desire to provide good value, and the need to deliver all of the rewards, as promised. Thus, the tough part won't be money or know-how. Rather, it will be time.

This fall, I'll be moving to Boulder to begin a Ph.D. program in education at the University of Colorado Boulder. My goal is to become a better agent of positive change. I aim to learn how people think and learn, use that knowledge to better connect games to thinking and learning, and become better able to promote the understanding of science, nature, and life through play.

How will I manage graduate school and Kickstarter fulfillment at the same time? With hard work, care, and a modestly extended production schedule. Where most board game projects on Kickstarter have a 2-3 month turnaround time, this project will require six months.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    PLAYFUL WARRIOR: You'll walk taller and sleep better knowing that you've contributed to something fun, positive, and unique. Also, all backers at all levels will be listed as "contributors" on the FnF game website (unless you choose to opt-out).

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    FRIENDLY BLING: One special-edition foil game card of your choice (see details under "Rewards" section), with a hand-written, personalized thank-you note, signed by myself. Sent to your address.

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    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    MAJOR BLING: One set of special-edition foil cards (see details under "Rewards" section), and a hand-written, personalized, thank-you, signed by myself. Shipped to your address.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    STYLIN': One Kickstarter-exclusive, Fire and Flora "Backer" t-shirt, in the size of your choice, shipped to your address.

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    6 backers
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    Pledge $33 or more About $33

    QUALITY FUN: One first-edition copy of Fire and Flora, shipped to your address.

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    33 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $43 or more About $43

    SPARKLY FUN: One first-edition copy of Fire AND Flora, and one foil card of your choice (see details of foil cards in "Rewards" section), shipped to your address.

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    2 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SUPER SPARKLY FUN: One first-edition copy of Fire and Flora AND one set of special-edition foil cards (see details of foil cards in "Rewards" section), shipped to your address.

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    8 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    BOLD BACKER: One first-edition copy of Fire and Flora AND one set of special-edition foil cards (see details of foil cards in "Rewards" secton) AND one "Bold Backer" t-shirt, in the size of your choice. All shipped to your address, postage paid.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    HOMESTYLE FUN: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS four customized headquarters cards. You send me four photos, and a bit of info on each. You can choose your school, your house, yo mamma's house ... it's your call. Just send me the details, then I'll put them into the cards, print the cards, and ship the whole shebang to your address.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS the opportunity to help choose the location and design for one of the Parcel cards in the final version of the game. Note that the location and photo must fit the theme of the game (see details under "Rewards" section)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    TIMELORD: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS the opportunity to help write the flavor text for one of the six Time resource cards. Text must fit within the context of the game, but otherwise can be anything, silly or serious.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    LOGO LEVEL ALPHA: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS your name or logo listed as a major sponsor at the back of the rules book. Also, immediate billing as a major sponsor in the "Contributors" section of the website.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    LOGO LEVEL GAMMA: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS your name or logo printed on the front cover of the rules book, and listed as a major sponsor in the back of the rules book. Also, immediate billing as a major sponsor in the "Contributors" section of the website.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    LOGO LEVEL OMEGA: All rewards from the "Bold Backer" level PLUS your name or logo printed on the outside of the game box, the front cover of the rules book, and listed as a major sponsor in the back of the rules book. Also, immediate top billing as a major sponsor in the "Contributors" section of the website.

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Funding period

- (30 days)