About this project
Critters Below is a fast paced survival card game where 1-6 players play as Critters, trying to survive heavy bombings in an underground shelter.
Enjoy tense and fast paced, tactical gameplay as you loot the dark bunker for items and gadgets, while avoiding radiation, starvation and other lurking dangers. Cooperate with or even outsmart your friends to be among the first survivors who witness the peace above!
This is what Andy Lewis from Polyhedron Collider says about the game:
"[Critters Below] has nice graphics, simple gameplay, compact form and it’s family friendly, too. The ability to screw other players over is quite satisfying and there is a genuine tension when searching for items in the dark as you try to survive another turn..."
You play as one of the Critters hiding in the dark bunker. You take turns and do various actions underground.
You can use items such as light sources, guns, medkits, eating food etc. and you can visit Facilites: lighting up the bunker with the generator room or resting in the infirmary. It’s wise to store some items in your Pocket and put on what you can wear.
Most of these actions are exhausting and sometimes unhealthy to use so as you do actions and stuff happens to you (you get shot, you’re being bombed etc.) you get Condition Cards in your hand. There are six types, four bad and two neutral/good:
At the end of your turn, the next player randomly draws a Condition Card from your hand. If it’s a bad one, you gain Damage, if it’s Vigor or Regeneration, then either nothing happens or you can discard Damage.
When you gain a 3rd damage of any type, you’re out of the game so watch your Condition!
Each Event Card represents a round of gameplay, showing the situation outside. At the end of each round, you individually decide whether to open the bunker doors. If anyone decides to go up, you check the past Event Cards and those on the surface will be affected:
If the cards indicate heavy recent bombings, the brave ones on the surface may get hurt and are forced to go back below and close the doors. If there are no bombings, the war is over and those who just wandered above will win the game.
As the game progresses, the chance of winning increases… but you might start running out of supplies & food in the Storage.
You have to be smart and cooperate with the others in order to survive. It’s tons of fun to search for items in the bunker… even more fun if you can hide some food or guns from the others!
Here's a complete playthrough video recorded by us:
Critters Below is a language independent game with no text on the cards. In its current state, the game contains an English language rulebook, but we want to make other languages available as a digital download!
Click on your language to view the rulebook preview. Feel free to print, ask questions, make comments etc. Please note that after the campaign funds, there will be more rules testing, layout done etc.
- German (coming soon. Printed version may be available through Spieleschmiede - see the FAQ for details.)
- Brazilian Portuguese
The rules are simple and straightforward but they let you have a fun, tactical game with tricky mechanisms & features such as:
- Hidden information: cards are mostly face down in the dark bunker. If you look at something, it’s up to you to tell the others!
- Semi-cooperative gameplay: there can be multiple winners or even none. Everyone plays for their own survival, but you’ll need to cooperate. A little bit. For a while. Until you stumble upon a loaded gun...
- Health condition system: health condition cards in your hand give clues about your future. But you can never be sure about which one is going to be activated.
- Timed event system: each round, you can individually decide whether to take the risk and go to the surface or stay underground.
- Several game modes: play the classic semi-coop, try the game in solo mode, or try to survive in full co-op and the competitive last man standing game modes.
Here is what board game bloggers and vloggers think about Critters Below.
Current version reviews
Fun With Geeks complete playthrough (Hungarian)
High Voltage Magazine
Just Push Start
"Critters Below offers a unique semi-cooperative experience that is trying to kill you off left, right and centre! The thing that sets the game above others is the choice to venture outside between rounds. It can turn the game on its head, making an otherwise simple decision have drastic consequences." - read it!
"If you do like quick fire, random games, then Critters Below is certainly worth a look. I know that Polyhedron Collider’s Jon will enjoy it – random, quick fire and with backstabbing." - read it!
"...winds up really tense for such a small little game!"
"We probably played this a dozen times..." (Wow!)
Vin d'jeu (French)
" Critters Below leads us into a world with a strong and strange theme. [...] A game with a strong universe and original mechanics." - read it!
Earlier prototype reviews
Mike @ Who Dares Rolls (hilariously fun!)
"The theme and the mechanics are nicely layered together like a lovely jam sandwitch..."
"Critters Below shines with its mindblowing and fresh theme. It's a quick game that makes you permanently decide whether to keep your fellow players alive or to enjoy a glorious victory all by yourself."
Darkstone.es by Fardelejo (Spanish)
"A game in which memory and strategy are perfectly matched."
"A combination of fresh-feeling mechanics, tension, and the unknown make for a really exciting game where you never know if you’re going to be obliterated by bombs, tossed to he dogs by another player, or maybe, just maybe, make it out of this crazy war alive."
We started out as three friends taking a hobby project (the post-apocalyptic board game Saltlands) too seriously…and ended up as Antler Games, an indie game publisher.
Saltlands, our first Kickstarter project has now been fulfilled to all backers.
Critters Below is our second board game, and we are proud to present it to you! This game has been illustrated by the same artist, Bazsó Lossonczy, who was responsible for the beautiful and detailed artwork for Saltlands.
For the future, we have several awesome game ideas. Thanks for considering backing us and supporting our goal: to create engaging, innovative, stylish and most importantly, beautiful board games that are fun to play.
Risks and challenges
PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY BEFORE PLEDGING ON THIS CAMPAIGN.
We have done several steps to mitigate risks and to make sure that you will surely receive your reward. Nevertheless, please read the following details to learn more about the project's risks and challenges.
ABOUT ANTLER GAMES
Antler Games is an indie board game publisher. We are meticulous and elaborate when it comes to arranging details that make manufacturing, fulfillment and shipping possible, affordable and sensible. Antler BV (Amsterdam, Netherlands) is a subsidiary of Antler Games Kft (Budapest, Hungary), responsible for manufacturing, shipping and retail sales.
This is our second Kickstarter project. The first, Saltlands (funded in May 2016), has already been fulfilled to all backers.
We have a detailed budget with multiple scenarios, so the project's funding goal is sensible and it is definitely possible to accomplish the project from this amount of funding. We have chosen a manufacturing partner from many great offers, and have already arranged most manufacturing details, including stretch goals.
The funding goal has been carefully calculated to cover a minimum print run. Everything that has happened before the campaign is 'on us', so the funding goal mirrors our post-Kickstarter expenses: print preparations, manufacturing and shipping.
EXPECTED PROJECT TIMELINE
The following components need to be completed in order to start manufacturing after the campaign: box text, rulebook layout, 0-2 stretch goal cards, final printing sheet layout.
July 2017: Campaign ends, finishing card print files
August: Manufacturing starts
September: Assembly starts
October: Assembly finishes, shipping starts
November: Freight shipping (air freight)
December: Fulfillment shipping
The project may be delayed due to special circumstances (e.g. developing stretch goals or add-ons made available during the campaign) and external/third party delays (manufacturing or assembly taking longer than quoted, holidays, customs delays etc.). We will do our best to mitigate these, but nonetheless delays may happen.
We offer customs-free "friendly" shipping in the USA, EU (VAT zone), Australia and Canada. For Rest Of World, we ship tracked packages but we cannot be held responsible for customs inspections and fees.
We send replacements for damaged or missing items. In this case, contact us with photos at info[@]antlergames.com.
We will send out an address survey after the campaign. You will be able to change your address until a certain deadline (a few weeks before shipping). After that, we may not guarantee the address change. If we get an item returned due to e.g. an address typo or changed address, we will re-send it, but this may have additional fees.
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