A new way to play tabletop RPGs remotely. Say goodbye to your graph paper and share an immersive adventure in minutes. Read more
This project was successfully funded on November 16, 2013.
About this project
We love tabletop role playing games. The trouble is, we moved away from our fellow adventurers. We all found employment and built families. Game nights were few and far between; we searched for a way to save them and to stay connected. Nothing we found solved our problem.
We decided to create an app to help us share more adventures with old friends; to feel like they were in the room with us, even if they were thousands of miles away.
We wanted something simple that could be used with any gaming system and wasn't confined by specific mechanics. The interface should be invisible, the maps should be beautiful, the whole experience should be easy.
So we made playsets. We hope you love it as much as we do and, with your help, we can make it a reality.
playsets will be playable on a variety of platforms:
*Any Desktop or Laptop with web access.
playsets will also be available to play cross platform, so don't worry if you prefer a laptop and your healer loves his iPad; you'll both be facing down the same dragon. All of your maps and tokens will go with you no matter what platform you ultimately use as your playsets portal.
playsets will enter a closed Beta for our supporters soon after the Kickstarter ends, around the end of November. The iPad version will be the first available for Beta testing with the web and Android versions following soon after.
The goal is to launch playsets to the public in early 2014.
Almost every game map creator we saw went with a top-down map view. Everything looked like a blueprint, every character was tops of heads and shoulders.
We wanted to create a world worthy of the stories in our imagination.
So playsets is presented in a 2D isometric view. Even though you play with it on a flat computer screen, we wanted you to feel like you're sitting down at a real table with your friends, staring at actual game pieces.
You should be able to peek through windows. Trees should be climbed or hidden behind.
The same feeling struck us with our avatars. Why were we content with staring at the top of their heads? It doesn't help us bond with our avatars, and its certainly not the most attractive way to look at anyone.
We focused on making customization quick, easy, and flexible because we believe its more important to play with your friends than your app settings.
Instead of spending hours building a forest tree by tree or dungeons tile by tile, each environment comes with several customizable elements that can be configured in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes your story needs something more specific. The inn catches on fire. The temple is boarded up and abandoned. That's where props come in.
When you get it all just right, or when the adventure is over for the night, you can save your setting and all of its tokens so its ready to go next time.
Spend less time building, more time playing.
One of the secrets we've found to enabling the "in the room" feeling is allowing for different types of real-time communication between players in addition to audio chat. If something funny happens, you don't have to interrupt the storyteller to react.
1. Emoticons, 2. Real-time movement, 3. Actions, 4. Status effects .
Anthony Maitz, The Bard of Ones and Zeroes - A student of the Midnight Academy of Tactical Games, Anthony won his freedom from the tournament pits of production design by invoking the spirits of user experience. Now he travels the earth, gathering epic ballads of product management, so that he may one day enlighten the world with the secret songs of simple design.
Bronwyn Burns, The Pixel Wizard - Raised in the subterranean kingdom of RPG's and digital adventure games, Master Burns has battled her way here, through the jungle of casual game production, to become a champion for the future of social storytelling, and making funny faces at your friends.
Alex Meyer, The Code Ninja - Formerly an accomplished alchemist (geneticist), Alex traded in his chemistry set for nun-chucks and number keys in order to infiltrate the underbelly of iOS development. Although he has mastered the art of being in multiple places at the same time, somewhere in the north, he is patiently building an army.
We've spent months of our own personal time to get us this far but we need funding to help finish playsets.
The money we raise after reward fulfillment, kickstarter and amazon fees will be used to:
- Allow the playsets team to work full time to launch the game early next year.
- Hire another artist to allow us to launch with more settings and tokens, which we believe is necessary for a successful launch.
- Hire another programmer to help us finish important features.
- Market the launch to help build awareness and a playsets community.
Cast a vote for the first playsets expansion and get a free copy of the winner! We want the community to help guide the direction of playsets, so we're going to open it to a vote. The winning theme will be the first expansion for playsets, following the public launch next year. An expansion will consist of three sets (eg. forest, town, dungeon) and 18 or more corresponding tokens. (townsfolk, objects, monsters, etc). All voters will get a free copy of the winning expansion, even if they voted for a theme that didn't win.
Get behind the scenes access and a desktop customization pack. + All previous tiers During the remaining development we're going to release weekly behind the scenes articles and videos about the process of making the app. Also, Bronwyn, our artist, will host a live feed of her screen while she creates artwork. In addition to behind the scenes access, you will receive a digital download of desktop backgrounds and folder icons for Mac or PC, made from actual playsets art.
Beta access for you and a friend and exclusive kickstarter tokens. + All previous tiers You will get access to the playsets private beta for you and a friend. In addition to beta access, you and your friend will get an exclusive kickstarter token pack when the app is released. A token pack consists of 6 tokens, each with 5 color variations.
Digital campaign + All previous tiers A digital download of a full campaign designed for the starting tokens and sets in the app. It will include story hooks, npc characters (with dialog trees), maps, puzzles, encounter suggestions, and several story related images. Everything you need to run a full campaign "out of the box" with playsets.
Papercraft playset + All previous tiers We still have a lot of love for paper maps. We will include a full "playset" with ground, tokens, objects, and set pieces, papercraft kit. This will be shipped to you, unassembled, and printed double-sided on cover stock using a eco-friendly printer (waterless printing and recycled paper).
Beta access (and exclusive kickstarter tokens) for you and three friends + All previous tiers The same as our $15 reward, but you get to invite three friends instead of one. (Total of 4 invites, does not stack with the $15 tier)
Status effect magnets + All previous tiers Included in the package from the previous tier, we will add a refrigerator magnet set featuring our 9 in game status effects. These will be cut with custom dies, so each magnet is the shape of the effect, allowing you to place them over photos. Our sourced printer uses waterless printing techniques and recycled magnet material.
Your likeness will be used for a background villager token in the playsets launch. + All previous tiers - Limit 30 The first 30 persons to grab this opportunity will have a villager npc crafted in their likeness. You may end up as a shopkeeper, or a blacksmith, or a ne'er-do-well, but you will be in the core playsets experience, and hence in the hands of all future playsets users.
A henchman token will be created in your likeness as part of playsets core token sets. + All previous tiers - Limit 30 The first 30 persons to enlist will have a henchman npc crafted in their likeness. You could fill the ranks of a city guard, or a brigand, or a trusty meat shield, but you will be part of the core playsets experience and fight for your life in every castle raid in the future of playsets.
An undead token will be created in your likeness as part of playsets core token sets. + All previous tiers - Limit 30 The first 30 persons to rise to this opportunity will have an undead npc crafted in their likeness. You might return as a rotting zombie, or a ghost, a vampire, or some other abomination, but you will be in the core playsets experience, and haunt playsets users for all eternity.
Skeleton key to the playsets vaults (All future expansions for life) + All previous tiers (except the $100 tier) - Limit 100 For the lucky few who are able to get a skeleton key, you will get all future expansions, tokens, any thing we add onto playsets, for free. Forever.
A noble token will be created in your likeness as part of playsets core token sets + Skeleton key to the playsets vaults (All future expansions for life) + All previous tiers (except the $100 and $125) - Limit 30 The first 30 persons to seize this opportunity will have a noble npc crafted in their likeness. You could be crowned as a beloved monarch, or an iron fisted tyrant, or some other blue blood with far too much power, but you will be in the core playsets experience forever declaring plot hooks for playsets users everywhere. As the head of a dynasty you also get a skeleton key, which will get you all future expansions, tokens, anything we add onto playsets, for free. Forever.
Networked game with playsets team + swag + All previous tiers (except the $100 tier) The playsets team will run a remote play night for you and your friends, based on your current campaign, or something totally new that we make up. We will be the game masters (for any system you'd like to play) and all of the NPCs (think radio play). Its going to be awesome. Also, we'll send whoever is playing with us playsets t-shirts, stickers, and any other swag we have lying around. This will take place after the launch of playsets early next year.
Custom setting and tokens + All previous tiers (except the $100 tier) Our artist will consult with you to design and create a setting of your own. An airship you use in your campaigns maybe? Its up to you. Bronwyn will include you in the process and show you progress as your vision comes to life. We will then run a game night as game masters (for any system you'd like) where we will include the new map. This reward will take a while to create, and will be made available when it is completed after the launch of the application. Consultation will begin during the beta period.
If the Kickstarter raises more money than requested, we plan to pour the money right back into the project, increasing the amount of FREE content available day one of our release for all players.
Each Stretch Goal tier features a new mini-setting and several themed tokens to go along with it.
EXCLUSIVE FOR KICKSTARTER BACKERS: Each setting will also come with a Campaign, including story hooks, characters, puzzles, and story suggestion
$35,000 - The Royal Players Courtyard
Some nobles play games of thrones. Others play Chess... with life sized pieces that may or may not have a mind of their own. It’s good to be the King, but it’s better to be the Queen. She can really mess you up.
This set contains:
- A Palace Courtyard mini-setting featuring a life-sized chessboard with 2 customizable elements
- A full set of Chess tokens in 5 different colors.
$42,500 - The Dragon’s Lair
At the very top of the highest mountain in a dark and terrifying cave... there lived a fearsome dragon. We think. No one has actually returned from the uppermost caves alive. Is there gold? Maybe. Treasure? Probably. Fire? Definitely.
This set contains:
- A battle-ready dragon’s cave mini-setting with 2 customizable elements
- A very large boss Dragon token in 5 different colors.
- Mini dragon minion tokens and prop tokens.
$50,000 - The Ship
Journey the high seas in the finest ship in the fleet. What’s that off the bow? Probably just some driftwood. A tentacle? You must be seeing things, sailor...
This set includes:
- A ship sailing on the high seas with customizable backgrounds and on-deck elements
- Pirate and Sailor tokens
- A special Boss Sea Monster token set.
$57,500 - The Brawler’s Inn
The perfect place to both begin the adventure of a lifetime AND brag about your exploits at the end of a long journey. This fully functional inn features live music, troll bouncers, and nightly bar-clearing fistfights.
This set includes:
- That inn setting that’s in, like, every single game campaign you’ve ever played. Chairs, tables, a roaring fire, and a couple customizable elements.
- Surly Dwarf inkeep and equally Surly Goblin Customer Tokens.
- A Troll Bouncer Boss Token
- And More
$65,000 - ???
$72,500 - ???
We’ll reveal further tiers as the possibility of achieving them approaches. In the meantime, we’d like your suggestions for the kinds of locations you want in the comments.
Risks and challenges
"playsets." is already in alpha, the biggest factor with launching the application to the public is the amount of content, making our biggest risk delays.
Finding the right artists to help Bronwyn and training them to be able to create playsets is our largest risk for a timely launch and regular future content releases. Failure to do this effectively could push the launch date a couple months and slow down future expansions, to allow Bronwyn time to complete the content by herself.
There is a similar risk for hiring additional development help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We plan to start the Beta phase soon after the Kickstarter campaign for our backers to participate in with the goal of an early 2014 release.
playsets will launch with support for iPad, Android tablets and a Web application. We will evaluate other platforms after launch.
playsets will be FREE, and require NO subscriptions, and will be totally playable with included settings and tokens to play with.
As time goes on, we plan on selling additional settings and tokens for people looking for even more custom adventures.
We're still working on how this will work exactly with settings, we think that as long as the person telling the story owns a setting it will be available to all players for the story.
We will support uploading custom maps into playsets, which you can augment with "prop" tokens, like traps, treasure chests, fire, etc.
Eventually, we want want to allow custom artwork for settings AND tokens to be uploaded and shared with the community. It will need to be as easy of an experience as everything else with playsets before we're comfortable adding it. We don't have a timeline at the moment.
The core set is what is going to be available free on opening day. Right now, it's looking like we're going to release with the following:
3 Settings with 5 switchable set pieces and different day/night/weather effects
18 Hero tokens with 5 color variations
18 Monster Tokens with 5 color variations
3 Oversize Boss Tokens with 5 thematic Variations
18 NPCs with 5 with thematic variations
18 Props with 5 with thematic variations
The switchable set pieces are fairly substantial. Like a bridge into the town can turn into a gate or a harbor. So the one town setting can actually be like 243 different towns.
Thematic variations are different from color variations. There's one shopkeep, but the props in his hand and facial features can change. There's one campfire, but it can be raging out of control, or smoldering, or there's took cooking over it.
The amount of tokens and settings in the core set maaaaay also increase, depending on the success of our Kickstarter Campaign. Anything over the amount we ask for will almost definitely go towards adding more cool stuff to play with. Stay tuned!
Pledge $5 or more
Cast a vote for the first playsets expansion (space marines, steam punk, pirates, whatever you want).
And, double plus bonus, get a free copy of whichever expansion wins!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
Stalk our artist, be impatient.
Get behind the scenes access to the creation of playsets, including a live feed of Bronwyn's screen as she works. (*She* doesn't think this is creepy.)
Also, you can pretend you already have playsets with our super neat desktop customization pack. (Neatness not guaranteed)
+ All previous tier rewardsEstimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
You and your BFF, and tokens
Beta Access to Playsets for you and a friend. And, both of you get a Kickstarter exclusive token pack in game. + All previous tier rewards.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
Telling stories is hard...
We know you've had the perfect campaign kicking around in the back of your mind for years now. But writing it out and planning puzzles and setting up encounters and... UGH all of a sudden you're living your life in some black and white infomercial. What's an aspiring genius game master to do? Cheat of course! Use our Emmy nominated, video game writing friend Tim's genius campaign. They'll laugh at his/your dialog, be perplexed by his/your crafty puzzles, marvel at his/your hand-drawn maps, and never suspect a thing. (if you play remotely, and don't tell them, and they didn't see this.) + All previous tier rewards.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
That's right, we're going to take our unique digital experience and give it to you in paper; with all the flaws we're trying to fix. Sure it'll take scissors or an exacto. But, it'll give you that analog crafty smugness that's hard to get from anything other than papercraft. Shipped. + All previous tier rewardsEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $30 or more
You and your BFF and two other folks, and tokens
Beta Access (and exclusive Kickstarter tokens) for you and three of your closest friends or enemies. + All previous tier rewards (total of four beta invites)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $45 or more
Status effect magnet set.
The safest way to poison and daze your friends, family, pets or realtor is on your fridge (take them down before they come over). + All previous tier rewards.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
30 backers All gone!
Get in the game!
Ever wanted to be a villager in medieval times? Neither did we, but for $100 we will immortalize you as a shopkeeper, street sweeper or some other ne'er-do-well npc in the playsets core token set. Sure, you may be a villain, or a member of countless love triangles, but you'll be immortalized forever in isometric, and the iPads of every playseter (playsetee?).Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or more
15 backers Limited (15 left of 30)
Get in the action!
Ever thought of enlisting as a henchman for the local evil mastermind? Then playsets wants you! Help defend your oppressive overlord and his mountains of gold. For $100 we will immortalize you as a city guard, a brigand or some other meat shield npc in the playsets core token set. Watch out for those adventurers hacking their way through your coworkers, and remember that even though one shot may kill you, you will live on forever in the hands of every playsets user.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
6 backers Limited (24 left of 30)
Get in your grave!
Just because you were slain in battle doesn’t mean you can’t join the party. For $100 we will immortalize you as a rotting zombie, a ghost, or some other pulse-free abomination in the playsets core token set. You may haunt the same six squares of forest for all eternity, or scratch aimlessly at the window, hoping for a taste of that gooey adventurer filling, but your token will never die (again) and will be available to all playsets users.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $125 or more
77 backers Limited (23 left of 100)
The, 1 of 100, Skeleton Key to the playsets vaults, aka all future expansions for life. (Shiny!) + All previous tier rewards (except the $100 tier)Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $175 or more
30 backers All gone!
Keys to the kingdom
Every kingdom needs a ruler, why shouldn’t it be you? For $175 you can reign forever as the inspiration for one of our core noble tokens, AND become master of a skeleton key to the playsets vaults, aka all future expansions for life. Control everything the sunlight touches as the beloved monarch or the iron fisted tyrant, confident that any newly discovered realm will quickly fall under your power.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)
Digital Friends for a night
We're not saying you don't have friends, but would it hurt to have three more? Let us run a game night for you and your *real* friends, and you can all have a completely unique and intimate session with a bunch of strangers thousands of miles away (thousands of miles not guaranteed). AND we'll swag you out (t-shirts, stickers, etc) + All previous tier rewards (except the $100 tier)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
World Builder / Megalomaniac
Voting, democracy, that's fun and all, but sometimes you need it *your* way. That's why you'll consult with our artist (Bronwyn, she has a name sheesh) and work together to unleash your vision upon the world. Building and testing environments takes time, so you'll basically be a member of the family during the process. It will be fun, or terrifying; either way it will be yours. + All previous tier rewards (except the $100 tier)Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)