DEADCERT - London 2015 - Detective Card Game (1-6 players)
A new breed of card game that crosses into the world of crime drama. Set in London, with 72 characters & 512 possible episodes to solve
Deadcert is a new breed of card game that crosses into the world of crime drama. Characters and events have been created to be as realistic and plausible as possible, including the use of real London locations. The detective process embedded in the game is based on U.S. criminal law, with the proof of motive, means and opportunity, being the key to identifying the murderer.
The game blends the “absolute” with the “Intuitive”. There is only one possible solution in each murderous, “episode”, with no need for a solutions book. But alongside the certainty, abductive reasoning can help identify the killer before your fellow detectives do.
The full expanded game set contains 512 possible crimes that could take place in London this year! As with the concept of, “the butterfly effect”, by choosing a victim, location and date, you determine which of the potential crimes is realised and turned into a murder mystery to be solved.
The first task is to sieve through details of the 37 suspects, of which 10 are prime suspects and one is the perpetrator. Once you have uncovered the killer, you need to gather all the evidence that implicates them and proclaim your success at a press conference – an event at which your fellow detectives are forced to congratulate you on your superior detective work!
As with crime drama, the more you play – as opposed to watch or read - the more you get to know the characters and the more you can use your intuition to predict their behaviour. With 72 characters spread across the London landscape - many associated with each other by past events – they become more like a cast in an unfolding drama rather than a simple list of names in a game.
Fortunately though, the game can be played equally as well with sleuths of varied experience and engagement. If you are the most experienced Deadcert detective, it does not mean you will win each case – there is every chance for a young casual upstart, fresh from the academy, to rain on your parade!
Storyline subjects include, anti-fracking, human trafficking, drug dealing, political embarrassments, conspiracies, MI5, CIA, celebrity scandal and city shenanigans - all mixed in with a liberal dose of, infidelity, blackmail, revenge, jealousy, greed, corruption and desperation!
The grim nature of murder and the realistic adult storylines make this game unsuitable for those under the age of 12. For those 12 or over, the darkness is sprinkled with some light relief, particularly when it comes to many of the dubious alibis offered and how you get the opportunity to snoop on your fellow detectives’ case work!
Although Deadcert is unlikely to be part of the curriculum for Police Academies, it will hopefully be well received and enjoyed by those, “in the trade.”
Whilst in Spain on a summer holiday in 2005, I hit on the idea of a detective card game with realistic evidence and multiple murders to solve! I even had its name in mind from day one.
Upon returning to the UK, I managed to contact Tom Kremer - the hero whose insight and determination brought the Rubik's Cube to the world! He advised that a product tie-in with a popular TV series would be the best start, but early investigations bore no success with, "Waking the Dead (BBC)" or "Midsomer Murders (ITV)." In truth, this was actually a blessing, as my exuberance masked the fact that it was still only a concept - I knew it could be done, but I hadn't actually worked out how yet...
It took 9 years to eventually come up with a game structure that worked mathematically and could become a practical card game that realistic characters and storylines could be mapped to. I had a few, "eureka!" moments along the way which led to dead ends rather than Deadcert, but I learnt to simply step back and try again each time.
In terms of a product tie-in for the first version of Deadcert I decided to opt for “London 2015” - after all, London is very much a global brand, and having spent the majority of my working life in London - and now living here as well - it seemed the most logical step to take.
So from last summer I have been fleshing out the characters and multiple stories that are embedded in a card game like no other. I naively thought that adding flesh to the structure would be the “simple bit” – how wrong was I! The process of developing the 72 members of the cast and their subsidiary characters, entwined in multiple storylines, has been both the toughest and yet most rewarding aspect in creating this game.
Yes, it has taken me nearly 10 years, but years well spent in developing a completely new form of detective card game, that has more in common with a DVD box set or a good crime fiction book than you may ever have thought possible…!
#deadcertlondon2015 #certgames #getinvolved
An Ideal Kickstarter Project
If you consider the value for money, the pledges to suit most budgets, the exclusivity of the product and the various ways to “get involved”, I believe we are offering an exciting opportunity that should appeal to a large worldwide audience – an ideal mix for any Kickstarter project!
What Successful Funding will Provide
First, and foremost, it will bring a new entertaining card game format to life – from design to reality – providing an alternative fix for those hooked by crime drama, be it in film, TV or books, fiction or non-fiction. Secondly, it will enable the creation of a follow-up Deadcert game set in a location that you get to vote for!
The Ambitious Funding Total
The key reason for the high target figure is to enable a large enough production quantity so that the product could be offered with special introductory pricing. If we opted for a smaller overall target then the unit price to you would be higher. We have therefore taken the bold step to offer the best value we can on the basis that we capture the interest of enough backers! With your support and help we are confident we can achieve this.
Value for Money
Apart from the special Introductory Pricing that runs for the length of the campaign, we have also included 2 Early Bird deals that increase the savings - for those quick enough off their perch!
Choice According to Budget
I have also selected to provide two types of game set, an Expanded Game Set that includes all 480 cards - creating 512 episodes - or the Standard Game Set that holds 240 cards - generating 64 episodes.
Although not available in this project, Double Expansion Packs will be commercially available by November 2015. These can be purchased in order to upgrade a Standard game set into a full Expanded game set with all 512 episodes! Visit www.certgames.com/deadcert.htm for further details.
The initial game sets available in the project are all, "Première Editions". The labelling exists on the packaging as well as on the backs of every card. The limited quantities will not be increased and it is the only limited edition run of a Deadcert game that will be made. If the premiere editions sell out within the 30 days, unlimited regular editions will be made available – still at the great Introductory price.
A core aspect to our campaign is to maximise the advantages a Kickstarter platform has to offer, namely engagement with our backers. To that end we have maximised the value of the minimum £1 pledge to enable participation with every pledge!
As proudly denoted by our smiling ship badge, we are happy to confirm that there will be no extra custom charges on top of the shipping charge we have calculated for all deliveries throughout the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand!
Not only that, but we have done our utmost to ensure that the shipping is both as cost effective as possible and that packages are trackable for the majority of destinations.
We will be in touch with you during August to confirm your delivery details. You will also be informed when your package leaves us and when you can expect to receive it. The long distance deliveries will be processed as a priority so that everyone receives their games around the same time.
VIB Status – for just £1!
A VIB is a Very Important Backer, and we want to stress the point that every backer – no matter the size of their pledge – is very important to us, not only now, but long into what we hope will be a successful future in providing further versions of Deadcert. We have a page ready and waiting to list the names of all our VIBs on www.certgames.com/vibs.htm
“Get Involved” – for just £1!
We also wanted everyone who backs our project to have the chance to take an active part in its development. Once you have made a pledge, you will receive an email within 24 hours detailing how you can participate in the following votes.
“Get Involved” - Location Vote
All backers get the chance to vote – and ultimately determine - the location of the next version of Deadcert. Whichever location gets the most votes, will be where all the crime scenes and characters will be based for the follow up game!
To make it even more fun, the choice of locations to choose from becomes larger as various extended goals are reached. The list of locations starts at level 1 with the following six options:
But when a significant funding level is passed it starts to go global, with an extra 6 locations added to the mix. If funding exceeds £200K, the Location selection will be between 36 options!
For full details of the locations added, please refer to the Extended Goals section further on.
“Get Involved” - Suggest a TV Series
You also have the opportunity to suggest a TV show you would love to see transformed into a special version of Deadcert in the near future.
Obviously, there is no way I can promise that it will happen – the company that own the rights for the show will have a very large part in whether it materialises – but I can guarantee that I will seriously attempt to reach an agreement with the company and will keep you all informed of progress – or the lack of. If the top suggestion gets a large number of votes it will hopefully help in our quest to engage with the production company involved.
Also, please bear in mind that the special version of the game would take more time to develop than a standard version. It would not be the case of just re branding a version of the game, I would want the game to reflect the type of cases and characters that are typical of that specific TV drama.
Have a Suspect Named After You!
At the top end of the Pledges available, there are 10 possible chances to have one of the 64 murder suspects in, “London 2015” named after yourself!
The character will still be a work of fiction and will not be based on you in any way - the only attributes the character will share will be your name and your gender.
Early Bird Deals
As with many Kickstarter Projects, we have provided further discounted deals for those early birds out there. The number is limited so your earliness is the critical factor - not your birdiness!
These are options that enable you to purchase two copies of the game, but with the same shipping cost as for one! Ideal for getting ahead of yourself for Christmas for a change or if you would prefer to keep one safely stored away untouched.
The size of the boxes are the same for the Standard Game Set as with the Expanded Game Set, both measure approximately 22.5cm x 16cm x 7.5cm (8.9in x 6.3in x 3in). Both game sets also come complete with a 30 sheet (doubled sided) Detective Checklist pad and an Instructions Sheet.
The difference in the two sets are the number of cards.
The Standard set contains 4 Evidence packs – labelled A to D - totalling 240 cards, and is expected to weigh in at around 800g (28oz)
The Extended set contains all 8 Evidence packs – labelled A to H – totalling 480 cards, and is expected to weigh approximately 1200g (42oz)
Please note, that if you select the Standard Game Set, Double Expansion Packs will be available in November that will enable you to effectively upgrade your set to a full Expanded version in the future if you wish to – visit www.certgames.com/deadcert.htm for more details.
Each Evidence Pack contains 3 special murder “detail” cards that specify a potential Victim, Crime Scene and a Time of Death. Each of those in turn, has 19 murder “suspect” cards that provide evidence about the associated suspects based on Motive, Means and Opportunity, respectively.
Hidden within the 19 “suspect” cards are 3 “snoop” cards that can be played against your fellow detectives in order to gain cards that they may be holding close to their chest!
The design of both the front and backs of the cards play an important role in the game, as well as helping to organise and store the cards.
The illustration below shows the backs and fronts of 3 murder detail cards. The backs clearly identify the category but not the evidence pack they belong to. This helps to ensure they don't get mixed up with the suspect cards and so that a "butterfly select" can be done anonymously.
The image below illustrates how the 3 different categories of Suspect cards look like held in a hand - from both the back and front.
Although you can only see the content of the cards you have in your hand, you can clearly observe the category of card your fellow detectives hold and the category they are interested in during the game. This can play a significant part in your strategy, particularly during the end game.
The front of the cards also share many common design features to the backs, particularly in terms of category icons and colours.
The forenames of the suspects are highlighted in bold as they are all that need to be noted on you Detective Checklist – we have ensured that suspect forenames are unique so that you don’t have to worry about writing down their surnames (a practice I may suggest to the Police as a way of making their work easier!)
All the Murder Detail Cards
I have shown below all of the 24 Murder Detail cards that come complete with the Extended Game Set – from evidence pack A right through to H. By sharing these with you I hope to give you more of a sense of the game’s characters and tone, and to hopefully whet your appetite. Prior knowledge of these cards will in no way effect your enjoyment in playing the game.
The 8 faces used to depict the victims are from Lui Ferreyra's, "1000 Faces Project". You can look at more of his great work by visiting www.luiferreya.com I am still awaiting final confirmation that these will be used in the production run, but hopefully they can.
My idea at present is to use a featured artist for each Deadcert to provide each version with it's own style and to promote their work to a new audience.
The Murder Suspect Cards
Rather than show all 384 Murder Suspect cards (excluding the Snoops) I have shown 1 random card from each of the 3 categories, again to provide you with some idea as to how they work, but not giving too much away, as a fun part of first playing the game is uncovering all the fresh evidence!
I am happy though to list the names of all the 64 murder suspects – all fictitious, I hasten to add! These are the preliminary names and some are subject to change due to the more morbid of you choosing the option to have one of the suspects named after yourself!
The Hidden Snoop Cards
Again, I could show all 72 Hidden Snoop Cards, but the tongue in cheek narrative is best discovered first hand when you play the game. Also, I am also working to make all the narratives unique to add as much depth to the game as possible.
The Snoop cards come with two possible actions depending on whether you are playing Multi or Single player mode.
In this section I will briefly describe how the game plays and the various modes of play, together with the “episode epilogues” that will be available! If you would like to review the full set of instructions, they will be available via a link by the end of June. As I am still working on the Single Player mode, I have decided to share the Multi Player instructions directly on this page instead.
In essence the rules are relatively straight forward and should not require constant referral during the game – phew!
But before reviewing the rules of the game, I will share the story of the testing that has taken place, the lessons learned and the final Beta testing scheduled.
This was completed in April. It proved that the mechanics of the game where sound and also fortunately highlighted various design issues that have been addressed as illustrated below.
Although the new Beta design has been implemented for all the backs, the revisions of all the fronts is still work in progress. This will be concluded by 21st June, with new Beta sets being printed for testing. I will then be in a position to upload some basic videos of the cards to illustrate the game play better.
The Alpha testing also directed attention to the Detective Checklist as it was then - now with separate area to record Prime Suspects as recognised benefit. The use of Snoop cards have also been changed so that they enhance a player's turn rather than add to the length of it.
This will run from week commencing 22nd June through to the end of July. I was originally looking at going to print by the end of July, but I thought it best to provide a window for any further enhancements, just incase, so this is why the shipping month is October rather than September.
I also want to be in a position to react to any ideas that may just come from this campaign...
On to the revised rules now.
Multi Player (Single Case) – for 2 to 6 Detectives
This is the mode of play that is more typical, and most would agree is more fun, as you get to compete against fellow detectives. Of course, you are all working as a unit to establish the killer’s identity, but wouldn’t it be so much sweeter to be the one who gets all the evidence together and explain the case at a press conference, where your colleagues are forced to applaud you in front of the cameras!
Once the Murder details have been selected to determine the case, the associated murder suspect cards are collected together and shuffled well - 57 cards in total. The elected dealer then deals 7 cards to each detective and places the remainder of the cards faced down to form the “fresh evidence” stack.
Before play begins, all the players are given time to examine their hand and record the suspect names on their Detective Checklist.
Play then begins with the detective to the left of the dealer and continues in a clockwise direction until a “press conference” is called.
At the beginning of each turn the detective has the option to play any single Snoop card they have in their possession to take a maximum of 3 cards from fellow detectives, according to the directions on the Snoop card. If you do not play a Snoop card, pick 5 new suspect cards from the “fresh evidence” stack. If you have played a Snoop, just supplement the number of cards you have gained already to bring your total to 5 also. Note the 5 names on your Checklist and then decide which of the cards you are going to discard so that you are left with 7 again. This typically ends a turn.
Discarded evidence cards are placed faced down in 3, “filed evidence” stacks according to their category. If the stacks already exist, discarded cards added must be slid underneath the stacks.
Once the cards have all been depleted in the “fresh evidence” stack, attention switches to the 3 “filed evidence” stacks that have been formed. These become your source for new evidence and you can pick your 5 new cards from the top of any combination of stacks.
If you discover a name repeated in 2 categories, you have identified a prime suspect and this should be noted on your Detective Checklist. If the name appears in all 3 categories, you have uncovered the killer!
If you have 2 cards that point to the same suspect in your actual possession, you may choose to perform a “lock down” of the evidence and place the two cards face down in front of you. You now effectively only have 5 cards in your hand to play with – or less if you perform multiple lock downs. If your hand drops to 3 or even 1 card you can only take 3 or 1 card respectively on your subsequent turns. A “lock down” protects the cards from the 8 regular snoop cards that are in play. There is however 1 special snoop card that can snatch a lock down. The choice is yours. A lock down can only be undone at the very start of a turn.
Once you have successfully gained all 3 incriminating cards in you possession you may “call a press conference” that effectively ends the game. However, this call can only be done at the very start of a turn, so you will need to spend a nervous round hoping no-one snoops your vital evidence!
At the press conference, please feel free to share in your detective triumph and explain - and even expand on - the story behind the heinous crime to the imaginary press. Feel free to take pleasure in the reluctant praise from your fellow detectives.
Multi Player (Career Mode) – for 2 to 48 Detectives!
Yes, you read that right, with the Expanded set you can play a version that could involve 48 Detectives – ideal for those of you prone to a Murder Mystery evening perhaps?
In “Career Mode” all the evidence packs are used. With the Expanded Game Set this means setting up to 8 murder cases to be solved! Up to 6 Detectives can either solve the cases in sequence or if you have a large group, 48 people could split into teams of 6 and work on the different cases simultaneously before swapping them. A simple point scoring system is added to this mode of play, but apart from that it plays just like the Single Case mode previously described.
Single Player (Single Case & Career Mode)
I am still fine tuning this mode of play at the moment, but as a daily addict to Solitaire, I am very keen to create an enjoyable single player mode. In basic terms it will have a lot in common with the Multi Player mode, with 7 cards, 5 card draws, lock downs etc.
As with Solitaire, there will be some deals that will be insolvable, and the ratio of those need to be similar to Solitaire. I will keep you updated on progress and will ensure it is ready before we go to print at the end of July.
We have been very clear in our objective to create a traditional card game that is not reliant on any technology. That is what we have done. But we are also very aware of the added value technology can bring to the game as an episode epilogue.
This summer, in time for October, I will be working on a new website feature for www.certgames.com that will enable VID’s – Very Important Detectives – to logon and get the official background story behind a case once solved. The format is presently set to be by text and audio and will extend the story and the characters within the murder case, to round off the episode.
If funding goes really well, we will be able to invest more funding in this area and so one of our Extended Goals is to provide short video stories as an alternative format. With 512 stories to write and record this aspect will take up a considerable resource, but we believe it can be an important addition to the game experience.
This is an area that I hope to be revisiting in order to update the red/locked banners to green/activated ones!
If you manage to activate ALL the goals above, I guess I'll need to come up with some more!
As the next 30 days unfold, I will be doing my utmost to respond to questions that come to me via Kickstarter or other social media feeds in a timely and coherent fashion – I hope!
I will also be completing the design conversion of all the suspect cards to the new design that came from feedback from Alpha testing. This I hope to finish by the end of June and have a video posted in the update section showing off the Beta cards.
Single Play mode and the final draft of the instructions should also be complete by the end of June.
If time allows – and I have no real idea how hectic the campaign will become – I will progress our options of making the game available in a couple of selective stores from October/November.
No rest for the wicked.
The remainder of July & August will be focused on modifications to the game for up to 10 suspects that need to be renamed, as well as final design proofs of the packaging and the designs for all 480 cards, with it going into print in August.
In August I will be progressing work on the Episode Epilogues for the web site and contacting backers regarding shipping arrangements.
As September starts I hope to begin work on the new version of Deadcert – based wherever you tell me. In early October we should take delivery of the game sets from the manufacturer, and depending on the success of the campaign, are likely to spend a week or two packaging the items and labelling them for shipment worldwide!
This campaign – providing it is successful – is just the start of my relationship with my VIBs! Any comments, suggestions are all gratefully received and I will endeavour to also book time out to get involved in conversations via our social media forums long into the future.
Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to read about Deadcert – it would be great to welcome you as a VIB!
Risks and challenges
Having been involved in risk management in my former career, I have kept the risks to a bare minimum. The manufacturing process is being carried out by a specialist card games company based just outside London, and having chosen to package the cards in a sturdy custom made box, the cards will be well protected and presented giving the game the high quality look and feel it deserves.
The funding goal is high to guarantee that we can ship the products successfully, and the delivery date generous enough so that we do not have to impersonate headless chickens in order to meet it!
I will also be keeping you all in the loop in terms of weekly progress reports - I will be so excited about the whole process I will be sure to share my excitement with all of you who make it possible! :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)