Emergence Dark Ops - A Game of Balance and Betrayal (Canceled)
Form soft alliances and compete in a battle royale format against one another in this dystopic boardgame for 2-6 players.
Emergence: Dark Ops is the standalone sequel to Emergence, the tabletop game that successfully raised $93,371 last year on Kickstarter. This second creation is designed specifically to unite your gaming group and recapture the excitement of board game nights.
In Dark Ops, players compete in a Battle Royale: free-for-all format against one another. Players are tasked to retrieve data to their home base to either upgrade abilities for future use, or immediately score points and win. Each player is given a secret "target player". Limit your target to the least amount of points and score massive bonus points – enough to carry you to victory. But be aware that other players will be attempting to sabotage you as well. You won't win Emergence by keeping to yourself. Forming soft alliances and timing your betrayal will allow you to gain an advantage and control the board.
We love games with simple elements, as well as ones with complexity and depth. It was sometimes difficult to find a balance between those who wanted to play Codenames and Secret Hitler, and those who enjoyed Scythe and Puerto Rico. We wanted to create a game where new tabletoppers could stay in their lanes and enjoy a simple strategy, while allowing heavier gamers to enjoy thinking of meta-strategies and luring their opponents with hidden motives.
Dark Ops is an every operative for themselves free-for-all. Traverse the city and accumulate the most influence at the end of the game.
The Game is played over multiple rounds, split between two main phases: Action Selection and Movement.
At the start of the game, each player will choose a resource affinity (which can give you bonuses throughout the game).
Next, draw a target card to determine your secret target.
At the beginning of each round, all players simultaneously select an action. Then, traverse the arena to collect data shards (resources) for your base.
Choose whether to use them to gain influence tokens needed for victory or use them to purchase operative upgrades.
A prisoner's dilemma mechanic is used for players who wish to gain an immediate boost. Be the only one to activate Dark Ops, and gain a massive advantage. However, if two or more players select Dark Ops, those players lose their turn.
Players have access to six actions: Tile Actions and Player Actions.
Purchasing upgrades for your character as the game progresses will give you a late advantage and surprise your opponents.
Winning the game is not as simple as bringing the most data shards back to your base. The catch? Players use knowledge tokens accumulated throughout the map to secretly vote on whether the data shards successfully upload into influence.
The game ends after five rounds (five attempts at an upload).
For a more detailed understanding of the phases of the game, check out the draft rulebook below.
One of the features in Emergence: Dark Ops is the inclusion of unique operatives that can be upgraded throughout the game. All operatives have the opportunity to upgrade the same abilities except for one main ability. Players will find that different ability combinations may be better suited for certain play styles or strategies.
Here is a look at the six operatives in the game:
“It’s six years after War’s end. The day of reckoning is long past. Pushed out into fringe territory, the Human rebellion still managed to grow. Us survivors maintained a robust shadow network as we continued to gain data and knowledge while infiltrating the AI ranks. During countless missions we hid in plain sight alongside the machines - hacking their data, terminating lone agents. Slowly but surely, we made plans to mount an offensive to take back strongholds we had lost during the War. But we were outmatched.
New augmentations and unknown technology gave them the upper hand. With our operatives’ true identities now known, the network was compromised. Outpost after outpost was raided and destroyed, killing our men, taking our women and children, and systematically wiping our data stores. The resistance was crumbling. We had no choice in what soon followed. And now, our world has gone dark. The last of us are on our own.”
We designed Emergence: Dark Ops components in a way that would allow them to be used with its prequel game, Emergence. Those who own the original Emergence can take components from Dark Ops to play with up to 12 players. We will eventually have variant rules on how to speed up such a large game, but encourage owners of the first game to try it out and give us feedback. The Dark Ops components that can be used with the base game are the Player Boards and Operative Miniatures. Your copy of Emergence should already have 12 original Action Markers that can be used with Dark Ops Player Boards.
"You see how the tides can quickly change depending on the scenario. If your smart and you like strategy and thought this game is definitely for you." - Unfiltered Gamer
"I've had the game snatched away from at the last moment. It doesn't make me mad, it makes me want to set up the game again and play it." - Undead Viking
Like many board game players, we really enjoy games that have a strong theme. It’s always fun to assume the role of a primitive species vying for survival or an explorer settling new worlds – in these ways, games serve as a bit of a creative escape for our group. What we were beginning to establish with our first game, we wanted to further explore in our second game. Beyond aligning game mechanics with our theme, we thought it would be fun to further the narrative of the dystopian future in Emergence; we wanted to give interested players some lore beyond gameplay. While our first game was abstract in graphic style (and gameplay, arguably), we wanted to present something toward the other end of the spectrum.
Thanks to the success of our first campaign, Emergence, we had the opportunity and budget to commission with some very talented artists on Dark Ops. It also helps that our good friend and writer, JJ Sheppard, happens to have an interest in the dystopic sci-fi our game took place in. Tano and Francesco were great additions to the creative side of the project, and offered their skills and insight on the world we were trying to build. To us, the world of Emergence lies somewhere between Blade Runner and Mad Max. Tano especially brought the characters and environment to life with his unique style.
For those interested in the story of the characters and the artwork behind the final product, we are hoping to release both an artbook as well as publish the Emergence: Post Human backstory. We’re also hoping to continue to expand the narrative of Emergence with expansions and new games to come. For more info on our artist check out Tano here and Francesco here. Also thanks to Beeple for allowing us to use his hex-intro video - he has a ton of other amazing work here.
This isn't our first rodeo when it comes to the mass shipping of board games - last year we successfully delivered 2600+ sets of Emergence to our backers reliably and cost-effectively and were even able to do so internationally (that's right, we're EU friendly!), check out our blog post on it: https://www.emergenceboardgame.com/blog/2016/9/1/post-1-the-wonderful-world-of-shipping
For Dark Ops we are, once again, shipping games to fulfillment centers in US, Canada, Australia and Europe to reduce customs fees & VAT and to keep shipping prices low. Each backer will be provided with a subsidized shipping cost. If you back Emergence Dark Ops, we are able to provide FREE Shipping for backers located within the US ($10 EU, AU, and CA). We are able to provide FREE Shipping to all backers (US, EU, AU, and CA) of our Combo Pack, which includes both one copy of the original Emergence, and one copy of Emergence Dark Ops.
We will ensure that there is NO additional VAT or custom fees so you can receive your game hassle free and with no unexpected costs.
Our team loves gathering at friendly local game stores and we want to support your business. If you are a retailer, we are happy to offer you copies of Emergence that include all stretch goals.
To help your store succeed and be the go-to place, we will limit initial distribution of Emergence to one local game store per city and one online retailer per country. We will make sure that you receive the game three months before we release regular retail games into distribution. The latter will happen at least three months after the initial release. If you're a retailer, please email us at email@example.com.
Emergence Team was founded by a group of friends that shared a love of board games, and set out on an endeavor to create a game we could all have fun with together.
Our frustration with our own board game nights was trying to find a game that wasn’t overwhelming for new players, yet in-depth enough for savvy veterans to enjoy. Emergence: Dark Ops was created to minimize downtime, and maximize and leverage teamwork so players of all skill levels can enjoy a satisfying victory. It’s a game simple enough for the gateway gamer who can't get enough of games like Codenames, Catan, or Secret Hitler, yet complex in strategy for those who love heavy euros, 4x, and dungeon crawlers. It’s the perfect game to kick off your epic night.
Designing Emergence: Dark Ops has been such a great project for our group of friends as it gave us the opportunity to spend the last few months designing, playtesting, and redesigning this game. We are excited to showcase our second creation devised to unite your gaming group, and recapture the excitement of board game nights. Our goal this time around was to design a game that anyone can enjoy. We believe gamers of all skill levels and levels of interests should be able to learn and enjoy a game. We think we've created a compelling enough one that you'll be excited to whip out at your next board game night.
Some challenges we encountered were designing a game that expanded upon the original narrative we created, with this post-apocalyptic sci-fi world of Emergence, without being too similar to the original. We want you to see Dark Ops as a sequel. Another unique challenge was finding a good balance of designing a game that has interesting complexities without being too difficult to understand or learn. We think you'll find this game to be the perfect marriage of exciting and intuitive. We had a great time designing it and we hope you and your friends have a great time playing it.
Well, if you'd made it this far, surely, you'll want to spread the word about our campaign on social media. So why not do it with some special avatars? Choose your favorite character below and check out the links above - we'd greatly appreciate it!
Risks and challenges
While we have gained a ton of experience fulfilling our first game, Emergence, we realize we have set strong a precedence for on-time delivery and great customer service. Thanks to the continued help and advice from members of the tabletop community and developers alike, we are confident we will be able to deliver Dark Ops in a timely, satisfying way.
We hope to maintain our responsiveness and will continue to communicate with 100% transparency - not only so our backers have confidence their product will be delivered, but so creators alike have a resource to guide them in the launch of their own games.
In terms of Digital Projection: We will soon be ordering final prototypes of our game to quality check components. We are confident that our artwork will be handed over to the manufacturer with no delays as we are working with the same manufacturer we did our first game.
In terms of Manufacturing:
In terms of Shipping: We are sending bulk shipments to various distribution centers to reduce VAT and custom costs. We are working with some industry proven leaders to get Emergence delivered to your doorstep.
In terms of Refunds: If for any reason, up to 30 days after campaign end, you need a refund, we are happy to give you a full refund no questions asked. As active backers ourselves, we understand life happens!
Our dedicated team is absolutely committed to tackling this challenge, and will work with our utmost effort and care on delivering on our promise. That, after all, is our greatest priority.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)