A free-to-play location-based mobile game created by Richard Garfield, inventor of Magic: The Gathering.
Don't delay, this is a great project and there are some pretty incredible rewards (see below).
THERE BE MONSTERS
Map Monsters is a free-to-play location-based adventure game designed by the venerable Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering, Schizoid, King of Tokyo, and many other fantastic video and analog games.
EARTH-SHAKING REWARD UPDATE (May 2nd)
More Game Credit -- At the $5 contribution level, you now get $10 in virtual game credit. At the $15 contribution level, you get $25 in virtual goods game credit. All other aspects of those reward levels remain the same.
If we reach our fundraising goal of $40,000:
MtG Artist Cards and a Cool Monsternauts Patch -- Every $15-tier donor and higher will receive a set of 8 full-color art cards with illustrations by Magic: the Gathering artist Mark Poole, inspired by Map Monsters; and an embroidered patch with the Monsternaut eyebat logo, suitable for wearing on jackets and backpacks.
Nerdcore Rising -- All backers will get 3 new MP3 music tracks by MC Frontalot and Baddd Spellah, remixing the Map Monsters soundtrack nerdcore style; and we will add those tracks to the game.
Backers-Only Game Design Workshop -- All backers at the $100 level and above will receive admission to an exclusive 4-hour workshop on game design in Seattle, led by Richard Garfield along with other well-known game designers. We've already heard from Wolfgang Baur (Kobold Quarterly and Open Design), and Mike Selinker (Lone Shark Games) that they'd be on board with this. Wolfgang and Mike will bring a limited number of free-while-supplies-last copies of their book The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design (to which Richard contributed) to the event, with additional copies available for purchase onsite if you arrived too late to get a free copy.
Expanded Game Night -- All backers at the $500 and above level will be invited to attend the game night in Seattle with Richard Garfield -- a reward previously only available at the $2,500 level and above. (Backers are still responsible for their own travel.)
Dinner with Richard Garfield -- Backers at the $2,500 and $4,000 levels will not only get to attend game night, they'll have dinner with Richard at a nice Seattle restaurant.
Custom Fantasy Map -- Each backer at the $4,000 tier will receive an 11"x17" hand-drawn fantasy poster map of their real-life neighborhood, by Lands of Ice and Fire (the setting for Game of Thrones) cartographer Jonathan Roberts in PDF format.
It is 1962. NASA scientists have just discovered the wonders of Tang. In a small office at NASA’s Ames Research Center, a young Professor Stephen Six makes a far more startling discovery - a hidden dimension sitting on top of our own. What he finds is disturbing. In this other space, monster-like creatures are running amok. What’s worse, these monsters are occasionally popping into our world, taking objects, and hoarding them in their own strange space.
Back then, it seemed relatively harmless--a sock stolen from a dryer, some spare change missing from a closet. Professor Six decided to hide his findings for fear of causing mass hysteria. For years he quietly studied the other dimension, searching for a way to cross over.
Now the monsters have grown bolder, and the thefts of animals and landmarks are too big to hide. Only you, as a member of Professor Six’s monsternauts team, can cross to the other dimension and return what was stolen!
You have the map. You have your net. Do you have what it takes to find the monsters?
In Map Monsters, you play a member of an elite monster containment unit tasked with catching the unsavory beasts and recapturing our world’s lost heirlooms. Using your Field Guide to Monsters as a reference, track your progress and unlock the mysteries of Map Monsters.
The ability to incorporate your physical location in a game has only recently been possible with convergence of GPS and mobile computing on smartphones and tablets. This new location-based mechanic opens up a whole new area of game design, which we intend to explore in Map Monsters.
- Location done right. Unlike other attempts at location-based games, our approach is to make location a secondary, not primary, mechanic. In Map Monsters, it's not necessary to travel physically, although players that do will advance in the game more quickly.
- Earth as a game board. We take raw map data from the four corners of the globe and roll a fictional world that mirrors our own.
- Virtual travel. You're not limited to what you can find in your physical location; walk your character through a virtual world teaming with new things to discover.
- Explore. You never know what you'll find in the game by checking in to new physical locations, or walking your character throughout the world.
- Scarcity. You'll find an abundance of some items in your area, but you'll have to travel further afield or trade with others from far away places to succeed.
- Build. Like to build stuff? Build mileposts, roads, goldmines, farms and more.
- Social. Trade with your friends, use their roads, collaborate to fight monsters.
- Available platforms. Available on iPhone and iPad initially; we plan to work on porting the game to Android subsequently.
BodSix, creators of Map Monsters is led by the creative efforts of the ever talented Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering and supported by a crackerjack team of game developers and artists with experiences at Amazon, Apple, Pixar, and Wizards of the Coast.
Can we make a game for $40K? No way. Fortunately, we've already invested over 12-months and several thousands of hours into this project and have completed the game engine, art assets, and core game mechanics. The remaining money gets us to the finish line.
We've bootstrapped our way to this point and we need your help to continue our efforts and launch. Kickstarter helps us complete our vision and share the fruits of our labor with you.
USE OF FUNDS
All funds will be devoted to completing development of the project. The first $40K in contributions will allow us to complete our social game elements, add additional content to make the world we're creating truly epic in scale and variety, and add great secondary mechanics and polish (hidden treasure chests anyone?). Additional contributions will be used to add even more content and add to the richness of Map Monsters.
Contributions beyond $100K will be put toward porting the game to Android devices and begin to add localized content and language support to international audiences.
In return for your generosity, we promise is a fun-filled world to explore with exciting game play, oh yeah and some cool rewards...
MORE FROM RICHARD GARFIELD
Here's a more in-depth interview with Richard Garfield talking about Location Based Games and Map Monsters.
It seems clever to use exploration as the main mode of the game, and gathering new allies can be cool. But is this merely a game for completionists?
No! It's designed so that you can collect sub-sets rather easily. More importantly, you build up a network that you can easily compare with your friends, and at the same time your network is valuable to both your completist and non-completist friends.
The monsters all have different feels and gameplay associated with capturing them. Some make your session shorter, some burn out your equipment, some are tricky to find, etc. The player will have to develop different tactics to deal with each optimally.
The description claims that gameplay options based on geography is a secondary issue, and that the game is playable without the travel aspect. Which is good, but if it is secondary, why put it in at all?
Map Monsters allows the player a blend of traveling or not traveling. A major idea of the game is that travel helps a lot, and it gives really cool benefits, but it's not something that needs to be undertaken on a regular basis. If you never leave your home at all, the game would probably not be your best choice for fun. If you travel and check in at different places occasionally, but mostly play from one location, the game works extremely well. If you purposefully travel and check in a ton, you'll do a little better at the game than most.
It's made to mirror an average person's life: you're not going to travel around a lot, and never just for the game. If you travel some, the game will give you nice rewards.
Most proxy battle players are generally JRPG players or stat crunchers. Can a player out-math the game, or will several hours of grinding overcome most issues?
We'd be lying if we said you can't grind to overcome issues--that's always in there as a back-up route. But intelligence, friends, and luck play important roles in your advancement.
The 'story' of Map Monsters is more an ever-richening setting. We intend to add constantly to the world both in terms of the monsters and the collectibles. The collections of objects are going to get more interesting--quirky and puzzly perhaps. The cool thing is that the game state will be a mixture of what you do in the game, and what you do in real life. You'll be able to look back over time and see all the places you've been and all the places your friends have been. That will factor into gameplay in a fun way.
The idea of exploration to contain escaped monsters sounds like a fun idea. But once they are contained, the game would either end abruptly, or continue forever with no end in sight. Which usually translates to: why bother playing?
There will be geography- and time-based sub-goals, such as gathering individual item sets, that can be completed. There is also a plan for 'mega-invasions' where you will have specific bosses to take down and get special badges for doing so. Your friends will be very helpful for those events, which are all special and time-based.
The key game element which makes this cool is that different regions spawn different monsters. For example, in Seattle there might be a lot of slime monsters, and Fire monsters might be rare. In Phoenix this might be reversed. That means if you find a fire monster spawning ground in Seattle it is a valuable discovery and you want to share that location with your friends. The most important items you buy are things which extend your range, for example, roads and airlines. Traps are also interesting - if I rarely make it out to my parents house, for example, I can set a trap up there and collect when I do visit - or have a friend down there collect for me.
The combat is simple - each monster has behaviors that make it a different challenge to catch, for example, slime monsters leave a trail you want to avoid. But this isn't a game about combat, so the combat isn't complex or time consuming. There will be exceptions - there will be boss monsters that are tougher, and mega monsters that require friends to help take down.