Ghost Court is a live-action party game about spectral justice in a small claims court. It is perfectly suited for a large group, but you can play with as few as six players.
What you are about to witness is real. The participants are not actors. They are the living people and ghosts who have already either filed suit or been served a summons to appear in municipal court. Both parties in the suit have agreed to dismiss their court cases and have their disputes settled here, in our forum: Ghost Court.
Here's a video to better show you how Ghost Court works! This performance follows the example of play from the rules, Connell v Wicker from case #11. Imagine that each of these players has a card in hand and that there is an audience of others playing the courtroom. That’s Ghost Court!
Play focuses on a few players at a time, as the judge and court officers hear testimony while the rest of the players take turns as plaintiffs and defendants arguing over the petty disputes between the living and the dead.
Cases last a few minutes and are ridiculous. Will you be an over-the-top landlord, aggrieved at a scheduled haunting gone off the rails? Will you be a sad poltergeist who only wants to make a bad smell? In Ghost Court you might get to be both.
A typical game takes an hour, but you can keep playing as long as everyone is having a good time. Although litigants win and lose cases, the game itself holds winning and losing very lightly.
Ghost Court is already nearly complete—we’ve spent 18 months playtesting, refining, and editing the game. All of the artwork is finished and the cards and rules have been laid out. We’re down to the finishing touches, but we’re taking some bigger risks than usual, and we need your help to make sure it’s as high-quality as possible.
Printing a boxed game with overseas printers is new territory for us, and comes with a higher startup cost than our previous projects. Your support will allow us to print at a higher volume and work with industry pros Ad Magic to produce a high-quality game.
We’ve designed Ghost Court to be fun and accessible for everyone, and it’s our greatest hope that the game will find a broad audience. We’d love your help with that! If you like what you see, tell your friends, or maybe grab the preview files and invite them all over to play!
The standard edition of the game will include 64 (UPDATE: 96!) full-color, tarot-sized cards in a high-quality two-piece box. The deck includes role cards for each of the court officers and 20 (now 30!) cases. In addition you’ll get a full-color rulebook full of illustrations, easy-to-grasp rules, and an example of play.
The digital edition will include two full-color PDFs- one for the rules booklet and another for the cards in a print-and-cut layout.
The higher level rewards will include additional props and special extras to make your game even more fun, such as gavels, wigs, and robes. We'll be announcing more details about these goodies and adding images to this page as we go along.
GOTH COURT UPGRADE!
We've added a new supplement, GOTH COURT, as a reward for every backer!
Goth Court contains 25 brand new cases, each featuring a conflict between mundanes and the shadow-dwelling servants of a morose and lace-covered aesthetic that puts clove cigarettes and a melancholy appreciation of the collected discography of Einstürzende Neubauten before such trivial luxuries as food and human warmth.
We’ll include the digital edition of Goth Court every backer reward, as well as a printed deck of 80 Goth Court cards for every deluxe edition for the Phantasm backers!
Ghost Court was designed and written by Jason Morningstar with development by Steve Segedy. Together, we are Bully Pulpit Games, and we've been creating and publishing award-winning games such as Night Witches, The Warren, and Fiasco since 2006, and this is our fourth Kickstarter campaign.
Richard Sala created the gorgeous, full-color artwork. Richard is a three-time Eisner Award-nominated freelance illustrator who has written and drawn a number of unusual graphic novels and has provided illustrations for a variety of clients all over the world.
Brennen Reece created the layout and visual design for Ghost Court. Brennen is an essential part of the BPG team, and has helped us create a number of great games including Night Witches, The Warren, and The Skeletons. His layout tips and photography can be found at brennenreece.com.
Alex Roberts is the project manager for Ghost Court and is helping to manage the marketing for the campaign. She’s also a freelance writer, game designer, host of the Backstory podcast, and when she takes up the gavel, she makes one heck of a ghost judge!
Special Thanks to Autumn Winters and Karen Twelves for editing the game, Aubrey and Angela Webber of the Doubleclicks for the soundtrack, Kristin Firth and Shawn Roske for taking on the roles of Judge and Bailiff in the example of play video, and Banana Chan of gameandacurry.com for producing and editing the video for this campaign!
“Ghost Court is a wonderful, raucous romp! If you have an option to play it, take it!” - Laura Simpson, Little Octopus Games
"Ghost Court showcases the trademark wit and lean design we've all come to expect from Bully Pulpit. A wild, hilarious ride." - Lizzie Stark, Leaving Mundania
"Ghost Court is easily the most accessible larp I have ever played. It is the perfect game to introduce someone to roleplaying. It's so much fun you'll look for excuses to host parties just so you can play." - James D’Amato, ONE SHOT Podcast Network
"Ghost Court is a perfect entry point to live roleplaying. The deceptively simple cards allow an easy pathway into instant characterization and effortless hilarity, and the case docket provides the best insight I have yet seen into the under-explored and oft-misunderstood world of ghost law. The most fun you can have without a body." – Liz Gorinsky, editor, TOR books
"Ghost Court is the game I am most excited about right now! Like it's seriously just so good. It's such a weird idea and it is executed extremely well. It’s just what party games were missing: ghosts and the legal system!" – Angela Webber of The Doubleclicks
"I had tons of fun with Ghost Court! I enjoyed being a plaintiff, even if the court didn’t find entirely in my favor. It’s impressive how easily everyone even in such a large group could find a shared fiction in so little time..." – “McGravin”, restless Internet ghost
Thanks for reading this far and for considering helping us bring this game to life! We're very excited about this project and we hope that you are too. If you have any questions for us, please let us know!
Risks and challenges
Bully Pulpit Games has a long track record of successfully producing high-quality games. This project is modeled on our previous successful Kickstarter projects, so we know how to manage the challenges of a campaign and deliver rewards on time.
As we said above, printing a boxed game with overseas printers is new territory for us, and carries some additional risks. That’s why we’ll be working with the seasoned pros at Ad Magic to handle interactions with the printer. That said, while we don't expect any problems, there is always a slight risk that a cargo ship will be late and shipments will be delayed by a month or so.
We'll be using the same local fulfillment service as we have for all of our previous campaigns, allowing us to inspect and assemble the rewards before they are packed for shipment. Inevitably a few shipments will get lost or damaged—particularly those going overseas—but we'll be following those shipments closely and making sure backers get what they ordered!
Finally, we're committed to keeping you informed and being transparent about the process. If anything does go wrong, we'll let you know right away and tell you how we're going to fix it.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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