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$30,110 pledged of $95,000 goal
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By Awesome Enterprise
$30,110 pledged of $95,000 goal
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About this project

In Shuriken, players take control of 250 plastic ninja including unarmed, sword, shuriken, and master ninja. During the game the players place, move, and upgrade their ninja forces on the modular board as they attempt to learn new techniques and battle enemy ninja -- often destroying the board in the process.

The winner is the player with the most victory points when the sun rises at the end of the night.

Shuriken is being made for Kickstarter only and everything we make from this Kickstarter will not be sold through distribution, and will not be available in stores. See our Update for details.

Here what you will find inside the Shuriken board game:

  • 250 plastic ninja miniatures (28mm): 50 each of 5 colors. Each color (one for each player) has 24 Unarmed Ninja, 12 Sword Ninja, 12 Shuriken Ninja, and 2 Master Ninja
  • 12 double-sided modular gameboard tiles
  • 20 Hour of Night cards
  • 80 Mission Cards
  • 5 Clan Cards
  • 10 custom 6-sided dice, black plastic with white icons
  • 42 tracking tokens (for tracking upgrades and noting damage to board tiles)

The Ninja

Each ninja clan in Shuriken controls four types of ninja, each with its own model:

Unarmed Ninja

Unarmed ninja are the most common, and weakest ninja type. These are the ninja that can be infiltrated into the board and can be upgraded into other ninja types. They are also commonly used to absorb casualties.

Sword Ninja

Unarmed ninja can be trained into sword ninja, which are most likely to score hits in combat. A clan with a lot of sword ninja on a tile is poised to wreak havoc against anyone they attack.

Shuriken Ninja

Unarmed ninja can be trained into shuriken ninja. They aren't as strong as sword ninja, but are deadlier than unarmed and they go first in combat.

Master Ninja

Unarmed ninja can be upgraded into master ninja, but each clan can only have one master ninja on the board at a time. The master ninja attacks in all phases of combat, essentially acting as a shuriken, sword, and unarmed ninja combined.

The Clan Cards

Each player takes control of a unique clan, represented by the clan card.

Each clan has a powerful special ability unique to that clan. The clan cards also track the number of ninja that can be moved each action, and how many spaces they can move. Finally, the corner of the clan card acts as a reminder of the possible actions that can be taken on a turn.

Mission & Hour of Night Cards

Shuriken uses two decks of cards.

Hour of Night: There are 20 Hour of Night cards, from which 8 cards are randomly drawn to build the Hour of Night Deck for any given game.

The Hour of Night cards bring a unique effect to each round of the game that affects all players. The deck also acts as the timer for the game, and games can be made longer or shorter by changing the size of the Hour of Night Deck.

Mission Cards: each player has a hand of Mission Cards that represent missions that ninja clan can choose to complete to gain access to their techniques.

Techniques from missions can improve ninja movement, combat, or provide special one-time bonuses. Some techniques also provide victory points that can be cashed in at the end of the game.

Dice & Counters

Shuriken uses custom 6-sided dice to resolve combat, and the game comes with 10 of these dice. In addition the game includes counters that are used on the clan cards to track the number of ninja that can move and how far they can move. These counters are also used to track damage to the gameboard tiles.

If you want to know it all, you can download the Shuriken rules in pdf format.

Shuriken uses an action mechanic to determine what players may do on their turn. On each turn players may choose to spend their 3 actions on:

  • Bringing more ninja onto the board
  • Moving ninja
  • Upgrading unarmed ninja into a different type
  • Initiating combat against another clan

Combat is quick and simple: all of the ninja on any one gameboard tile participate — there is no counting spaces or determining who is adjacent to whom. These are ninja after all: they fly through the air, leap off walls, and throw weapons through windows. Combat is resolved by rolling one custom Shuriken die per ninja participating, and each hit represents a casualty.

Combat occurs over three phases: shuriken, sword, then unarmed -- and casualties are removed after each phase. After the three phases combat is done, even if there are still ninja standing.

The destroyable game board, with art by Cyril van der Haegen
The destroyable game board, with art by Cyril van der Haegen

The gameboard is modular and each tile has a special ability that influences the ninja on that tile. Tiles can be damaged in the course of combat, and after taking too much damage the tile is flipped over to the destroyed side, wiping out all ninja on the tile and losing its special ability... and some destroyed tiles have other, negative effects.

You can see a sample game in action in our first gameplay video:

Modular & Customizable

The modular nature of the gameboard and the timer mechanic of the Hour of Night deck makes Shuriken a very customizable game.

You can change the length of the game by adding or removing Hour of Night cards, and you can change the level of interaction by removing board tiles (and, in fact, games with fewer players use fewer tiles).

This design also lends itself very well to scenarios, with unique board configurations, variant rules, team play, and special victory conditions.

Playtested

Shuriken has been thoroughly playtested in-house with various groups, and was sent out for blind playtesting to volunteers from BoardGameGeek. In addition to helping us refine and improve the game and the rules, we received fantastic reviews from our blind playtest groups -- here's what some of them had to say:

"On the surface there is a game with a great theme and artwork that appeals to me. The game is easy to teach and simple to play. That said, when you actually look in depth and play the game you see that the game has intricate interactions. This is sort of like the game Go where the rules are quick and easy but the game is by no means simple or easy. There is a lot in Shuriken when you examine the game."

"Shuriken is a streamlined game with a theme that makes it intuitive to grasp what is going on.The list of actions available is clear and concise, and took no time for my group to pick up. And the action on the board brought onlookers around throughout our gameplay. Seeing minis flying across the board, and then destroying the map as they went, was very cinematic, and we spent quite a bit of time laughing and making ninja-related jokes."

For more opinions:

Canadian Shipping Note: For shipping to Canada, just add $30 to the level you want to pledge. Canadian orders do not need to use the International shipping checkbox.

We have tried to keep the Shuriken rewards directly related to the game itself, and we think we have some sweet options for gamers who love their games:

Shuriken: the obvious key reward level gets you a copy of the Shuriken board game, which we think will have a SRP of $80 US. The game ships free to the US, and overseas you gotta pay the difference in shipping (which is a lot).

Bag o' Ninja is a bag of 100 (black) plastic ninja. This will contain ninja of all four sculpts (unarmed, sword, shuriken, and master) in the same proportions as the game (thus you'll get lots of unarmed, and very few masters).

We are working on a scenario for Shuriken that incorporates the Bag o' Ninja with the existing black ninja in the game to pit 150 ninja against the combined efforts of the four other players.

Extra Dice: Shuriken comes with 10 custom dice, which are plenty sufficient to play the game. But as all gamers know, you can always use more dice. The extra dice will let you park 10 dice on each side of the table, and you won't have to pass the dice from player to player when large numbers of ninja are fighting each other.

Shuriken Dice Bag: this is a custom leather dice bag with the kanji for "Shuriken" hot foil stamped into the leather. It looks and feels awesome. This dice bag can easily hold your shuriken dice and/or damage counters.

Alternatively, higher reward levels allow you to get a full set of these bags, and you can use them to store each players' ninja. The reward level for one dice bag will get the Shuriken kanji in red; the reward level for all 5 will have the kanji stamped in a different color for each color of ninja.

Shuriken 6-Packs: these reward levels do not offer any addition discount on the game, but allow international gamers to team up to save money on shipping (shipping overseas is crazy expensive -- see the FAQ). This is the best way to get the game internationally: team up with 5 friends and pay radically less shipping each.

We have a bunch of awesome stretch goals lined up for Shuriken, and we're slowly revealing them.

Temple of the Oni Scenario Pack: Stretch Goal Achieved! We are adding the new tile, Temple of the Oni, and we're making 3 Hour of Night cards exclusive to Kickstarter backers. Any backer level that receives the base game now gets these stretch goal rewards!

The Temple of the Oni scenario allows players to use the Bag o' Ninja from the backer rewards to pit four players against the powerful Oni-corrupted ninja clan of 150 black ninja!

Emperor of the Mountain Scenario Pack: Stretch Goal Achieved! We are now adding a new scenario, with the new tile, Mount Fuji, and we're making 3 more Hour of Night cards exclusive to Kickstarter backers. Any backer level that receives the base game now gets these stretch goal rewards.

The Emperor of the Mountain scenario puts Mount Fuji in the center of the board, an ancient and powerful tile that grants additional victory points each round to the Clan with the most ninja on the tile, creating a game-changing central battleplain in additional to all the other elements of Shuriken.

Additional Stretch Goals will be revealed as we get closer to funding.

The Shuriken Kickstarter is being run by Awesome Enterprise, which also runs the Awesome Dice store. The Kickstarter is being managed directly by Awesome Enterprise co-founder Brian Wood, who is writing these words.

Shuriken was created by Jon Cazares and Brian Wood, with board art by Cyril van der Haegen.

Jon Cazares is probably best known in gaming circles for his running of the GenCon Cthulhu Masters tournament and the Novos Ordo Seclorum tournament. Jon is a lifelong gamer and lover of all games, and whose Heroscape boards are works of art.

Brian Wood, known in some circles as Frostheim from Warcraft Hunters Union, worked as the Director of Sales & Marketing for Fantasy Flight Games in the early part of the century, and later ran Hyperion Games, publisher of the Dilbert board game.

Brian is very familiar with the production process of big box board games, and has handled all stages of board game production, including working with printers and delivering high-quality finished products. Brian will be in charge of seeing Shuriken through the production process and getting the finished game into the hands of backers.

Shuriken is an expensive game to make, as you've probably noticed from our funding goal. We want to be as transparent as possible about these estimated costs:

  • $9,500 - Amazon/Kickstarter cut
  • $10,000 - Tooling & setup for dice, miniatures, pressforms
  • $40,000 - Actual printing costs of the board game for a minimum print run of 1,500 games (the fewest we can print)
  • $5,000 - Shipping the game to us from China
  • $11,500 - Estimated cost to ship the game & rewards to backers
  • $4,500 - Finishing artwork for the game
  • $10,000 - Cost to create backer rewards. The bulk of this is the Bag o' Ninja, though the extra dice are surprisingly expensive too
  • $4,500 - Padding: in case we estimate backers wrong, we don't want to have to go out of pocket (for example, more international backers means we get to our goal more quickly, but a huge chunk of that money we have to pay out for the crazy international shipping rates). We wanted 5% padding, and this is a tad under.

But how do other big box board games manage to print their games for so much less? Here's the secret: they don't.

Most big box board game Kickstarters that you see these days actually already have the money to print the game, and are just using Kickstarter to raise a little extra money to boost their print runs to enjoy economies of scale (so their per unit costs get lower). They could not actually come close to printing the game and shipping it to you for their funding goals.

We do not have this advantage: we've paid the money in art, design, and advertising to get the game to this point, but we have to rely on the gamer Kickstarter community to raise the funds to actually print the game.

Again, we're big on transparency, so feel free to ask if you have questions. And we will continue to be transparent about the process as we move forward. If you ever wanted to know the gritty bits about board game production, now is your chance!

We believe that Kickstarter is a place where big box games can get made that otherwise would have no chance of doing so. And we hope that you'll think Shuriken is a game worth playing.

Please, if you have any questions about the game or the manufacturing or the Kickstarter: feel free to ask us.

You can download the rules to check them out in detail and if you want an impartial opinion of Shuriken you can head to the BoardGameGeek forums and ask some of the playtesters what they think of the game.

If you want to support Shuriken, please tell your friends about this Kickstarter: tweet, post on Facebook, share on your blog! Follow us on Facebook for more updates. And let your friends know that by backing at just $1 they can get all the updates about the game progress.

And thank you -- if for nothing else than simply for reading all the way to the end of this giant Kickstarter story!

Risks and challenges

Because the game, graphic design, sculpts, and a good chunk of the art is complete, the largest risk is production delays. Actual production of Shuriken is likely to cross over Chinese New Year (though we're going to try to squeeze in before then), which is why we pushed the completion date back to March.

The final art for the rest of the board tiles also needs to be completed, and while we're working with the same fantastic artist who did the initial board tiles, artwork is always a potential source of delays.

Fortunately we have experience in producing high-quality board games and we have padded our completion date to allow for some reasonable delays -- including Chinese New Year.

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    Thanks! Now you can stalk us like a Ninja!

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    Bag o' Ninja: 100 black plastic ninja.

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    Shuriken Board Game: the complete game along with any stretch goal components.

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    Bag o' Ninja + Shuriken Board Game. Have the ability to play the game with the 150 black ninja scenario!

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    Extra 10 Shuriken Dice + Shuriken Board Game + Bag o' Ninja. Extra dice means less having to pass the dice around.

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    Custom leather Shuriken dice bag + Game + Bag o' Ninja + extra dice. Red foil stamped Shuriken kanji on black leather dice bag.

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    5 custom leather Shuriken dice bags + Game + Bag o' Ninja + extra dice. Differently colored foil stamps lets you store each team's ninja in its own leather bag.

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Funding period

- (45 days)