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"Tak is the best sort of game: simple in its rules, complex in its strategy. Bredon beat me handily in all five games we played, but I am proud to say that he never beat me the same way twice." -Kvothe
News Flash: We've cracked the $1M mark and added two big upgrades to the campaign: An alternate Tavern-style game board on the back of the main board, and a Kickstarter-exclusive Vintas Royal Capstone. Read about them both in Update #17.
Questions? They might be answered in Update #18.
Tak is a new 2-player strategy game invented by James Ernest and Patrick Rothfuss. It was introduced in Patrick Rothfuss' book The Wise Man's Fear, Day 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicle.
Tak is a pure abstract game in the same family as chess, go, and mancala. Our goal was to design a new game with a sense of history; a beautiful game with simple rules and deep strategy. And we can't wait to share it with you!
This campaign has plenty of interesting pieces, and we aren't done adding more. This is a quick top-level list of all the items, with their add-on pricing. Below that is a quick list of the levels and what they contain.
Backer Shadowstalker did us a favor, sharing a Google Doc that lets you figure out exactly what to pledge for any assortment of goodies. Once the pledge manager opens, you'll be able to add items to your pledge, or allocate extra money you've already pledged.
All of these items are described in detail later on this page. The price is the cost to add the item to your pledge, but shipping is not included. That will be calculated in the Pledge Manager.
- Companion Book: $15
- Companion Book (E-Book): $5
- Tavern Set (44 pcs): $25
- Classic Set (62 pcs, board, box, rules): $55
- Collector Coin: $5
- Vintas Royal Capstone: $5
- Cloth Board: $9
- Arcanist's Board (Simple Wooden Board): $65
- Crazy Martin Piece Pack (44 pcs): $35
- Tak Pairs Deck: $10
- Devi's Box (Deluxe set by Wyrmwood): $475
- Devi's Board (Lid from Devi's Box): $175
All pledge levels at $5 and above give you access to the Pledge Manager. Shortly after the campaign, we will invite you to the Pledge Manager, which will allow you to give us your shipping information, and to allocate any additional funds in your pledge.
- PATRON: $5. Access to Pledge Manager (only)
- STUDENT: $15. Companion Book
- MERCENARY: $25. Tavern Set
- TROUPER: $40. Tavern Set and Companion Book
- MERCHANT: $55. Classic Set
- INNKEEPER: $65. Classic Set and Companion Book
- TINKER'S PACK: $90. Classic, Tavern, Book, and Coin
- ARCANIST'S PACK: $155. Tinker's Pack plus Arcanist's Board
- GAELET'S PACK: $250. Tinker's Pack plus Devi's Board
- DEVI'S BOX: $475. Devi's Box, a handcrafted hardwood set, Book
- MONEYLENDER'S PACK: $550. Tinker's Pack plus Devi's Box
New at $1 Million: Higher value pledge levels starting with the Merchant also include one Vintas Royal Capstone (see Update 17).
For more about add-ons, please check out the refresher in Update #15.
Tak uses a square board, which can be any size from 3x3 up to 8x8, but the most common sizes are 5x5 and 6x6 (the "Tavern" and "Classic" games).
Each player has several matching pieces, or "stones," and one special piece called the "Capstone." The Capstone can be any shape, and the other pieces should be simple, stackable pieces in a matching style.
The board starts empty, and the goal is to build a road (a connected string of your pieces) connecting opposite sides of the board.
On each turn, you will either place a piece in an empty space, or move a stack that you control. Stacks must move in a straight line, dropping pieces as they go, and possibly covering other pieces along the way.
You can play a piece upright. This piece is called a "standing stone," or "wall." It can't be part of a road, but other pieces can't stack on top of it.
The Capstone is your power piece. It can be part of a road, it can't be stacked on, and it can also flatten standing stones.
You can read the complete rules at our Tak information page. There's a short how to play video here. You can also watch Patrick and James discuss the development of the game (and watch them play it) in this video from Emerald City Comic Con.
Here are more details on the pledge levels described in the right sidebar, and the items they contain. (Note: None of the designs for art, game pieces, or boards, are final.)
Patron: If you'd just like to help out, you can contribute $5 at the Patron level. This level also grants you access to our pledge manager, where you can add individual items to your pledge. (Note: If you want the E-Book alone, which will have a retail price of $10, you can pledge at the $5 Patron level and add another $5 for the E-Book.)
Student: At the $15 level, you'll receive the hardcover Tak companion book, tentatively titled Tak: A Beautiful Game. This book will be written by James Ernest and Patrick Rothfuss and illustrated by Nate Taylor. Included in the book are game rules, strategy hints, a 5x5 game board on the back cover (designed by Pete Venters, see Update 16), a description of Tak's history in Temerant, and more.
Tak is an ancient and well-traveled game, with many variations and styles of play. The companion book will touch on the game's origins, and will explain the ancestry and meaning of various types of pieces. It will contain an expanded rules section describing regional game variations, as well as strategy hints and terms for various plays and combinations.
Many of our stretch goals add more content to this book, including full rules for precursor games such as Kaen, specific rules and piece designs for various places in Temerant, and much more!
Mercenary: At the $25 level, you will receive the Tavern Set, a compact set of 44 wooden pieces, which is enough for a 5x5 game. The Tavern Set is designed for portability, and includes a drawstring bag. The Mercenary level will also include a one-page rules sheet, but no board.
Trouper: At the $40 level, you will receive both the Tavern Set and companion book. Because the book contains the rules, and has a 5x5 board on the back, this level contains everything you need to play.
The Tavern Set is based on the Tak sets you'd find in a traveler's pack. The pieces are made of white birch, stained with a natural and walnut finish. They measure approximately 20mm square and 8mm thick, with 25mm turned wood capstones. It comes with a simple drawstring bag, with enough extra room for a few coins to pay your tab.
The Tavern Set fits in a large pocket or small purse. If you back at the Mercenary level, which does not come with a board, it's easy to print or draw one. Or you can just play without a board, by marking the center space with a coin.
Merchant: At the $55 level, you'll receive the Classic Set: 62 wooden pieces, a full-sized 6x6 game board, and the complete game rules.
We called this level the "Merchant," in part, because this is exactly the version that will be offered to retail stores.
Million Dollar Update: Backers at this level and higher will also receive a Vintas Royal Capstone, which will not be available in stores, or anywhere else! See the Royal Capstone description below, and in Update 17.
Innkeeper: At the $65 level, you'll receive the Classic Set and the companion book.
The Classic Set contains a mix of two common piece shapes: the "Merchant" set (trapezoids) and the "Cane" set (flat-bottomed circles.) You can read more about these shapes in Update #9.
The board in the Classic Set will be a 10" square 6x6 "hybrid" game board, which is a unique design with diamonds and squares that can be used for any size game between 3x3 and 6x6. This board will be designed by illustrator Echo Chernik (See her early sketches in Update 16 and Update 17).
Million Dollar Update: The board will now have two sides: A florid Court-style board design on the front, and a rugged Tavern-style board on the back. Again, early information on this is in Update 17.
The board will be a single non-folding piece, an 80 pt tag (cardboard) with a full-color linen finish wrapper and art on both sides, illustrated by Echo Chernik. In other words, a very nice game board.
Tinker's Pack: At the $90 level, you'll receive everything described above: the Classic Set, the companion book, and the Tavern Set. We will also include a handsome Tak collector coin.
About the Coin: Cheapass Games makes a new collector coin with each Kickstarter campaign. They are usually round, but this coin will be a 36 mm square (approx. 42" on the diagonal). This coin is ideal as a centerpiece, allowing you to play Tak without a board!
The coin will be pierced in one corner, so you can add a jump ring and make it into a pendant or keychain. Like all our previous collector coins, this one will be made by our friends at Campaign Coins. You can add the collector coin to any pledge for $5.
Arcanist's Pack: At the $155 level, you will receive everything in the Tinker's Pack, plus the Arcanist's Board, a 10" engraved wooden board. This board is a 6x6 hybrid design (diamonds and squares), made from cherry-veneered MDF. You can read more about the Arcanist's Board in Update #6.
The Arcanist's Board is also available as an add-on for $65.
Devi's Board is the lid from Devi's Box (below). This is a deluxe double-sided Tak board, with a hybrid 6x6 design on one side, and a traditional 6x6 design on the other. Like Devi's Box, it is made by the folks at Wyrmwood, handcrafted from maple, walnut, and bloodwood.
Devi's Board is available as part of the Gaelet's Pack, which also includes everything in the Tinker's Pack, for $250. This board can also be added to any pledge for $175.
Like Devi's Box below, Devi's Board will be available only through this campaign, and will be a limited edition (though it will not be numbered). This is a board only, with no pieces or box.
Devi's Box is an heirloom-quality Tak set, handcrafted by our friends at Wyrmwood. Devi’s Box is a complete game, including board, box, and pieces for a 6x6 game. The box and pieces are made from maple and walnut, with a touch of bloodwood.
The lid is a double-sided game board (also available by itself, see Devi's Board above), with a hybrid 6x6 game board on one side, and a traditional 6x6 board on the other. The pieces are maple and bloodwood, with turned capstones. You can find more details on Devi’s Box in Update #12. There is also a short Devi's Box presentation video from Wyrmwood.
The Devi’s Box pledge level includes Devi’s Box and the Tak companion Book, for $475. You can also add Devi's box to any pledge level for the same price of $475.
The Moneylender’s Pack pledge level includes Devi’s Box, as well as everything in the Tinker’s Pack: the Tavern Set, Classic Set, companion book, and coin, for $550.
Notes: Devi’s Box will be a numbered, limited edition, available only to Kickstarter backers. It will be available as an add-on for $475, but only while supplies last. We will set the production quantity once the pledge manager has been open for one month.
Other Things: As you know, we have researched many interesting accessories for Tak during this campaign. Not all of them became reality, either because they didn't work out, or because they required additional research. The items we still want to pursue include a set of cast stone pieces, a handsome set of metal capstones, and alternate art boards by some of the finest artists in the business.
Even though we didn't get to everything in this campaign, you can be sure that Tak will be popular for a long time to come, and we will have many chances to bring you new and amazing accessories for this beautiful game.
Below is a list of some additional items that are not part of any pledge level. If you'd like to add any of these items to your pledge, you can do so by increasing your pledge amount, or you can upgrade your pledge through our pledge manager after the campaign is over.
For more details on the workings of the pledge manager, please read Update #4.
Cloth Board: This is a simple 14" bandanna, printed with a unique Tak board designed by Doctor Lucky himself, BJ Becker. Excellent for pairing with the Tavern Set or Crazy Martin. This board was introduced in Update #14 and you can add it to your pledge for $9.
The Crazy Martin Piece Pack: This item was introduced in Update #4. It's a set of 44 pieces (21 pieces and one capstone per side) matching the pieces in the Classic Set. That's enough for a 5x5 game by itself, but it's also enough to upgrade the 6x6 Classic Set into a game as large as 8x8. (Of course, you'll have to find an 8x8 board. This should not be hard) You can add the Crazy Martin Piece Pack for $35.
Tak Pairs Deck: If you like Pairs, and you like Tak, here's a fun crossover game. Pairs is a pub game with a bunch of variations and lots of different theme decks. It was Cheapass Games' first collaboration with Patrick Rothfuss. You can add this Pairs deck for $10.
The deck will be drawn by Nate Taylor, and the artwork above should be considered extremely placeholder.
Vintas Royal Capstone: At the $1 million mark, we introduced this Kickstarter-exclusive Capstone, which we will now include free in the Merchant pledge level and higher. You can also add it to any pledge (Patron and higher) for $5.
The Vintas Royal Capstone will be similar to the prototype shown above, turned from white birch but stained in a medium natural wood color, possibly cherry (final color TBD). It is a single piece (not a set of two) and it will be available only to backers of this campaign. Show your opponents that you were here at the beginning! You can read more about it in Update 17.
E-Book: You can add an electronic copy of the companion book to your pledge for $5. This e-book will eventually sell for $10, so if you want the e-book alone, you can pledge $5 for the Patron level, and add the extra $5 to get the e-book.
Note that none of these add-on prices include shipping, because that cost will depend on where you are located, and what else is in your order. If we need to collect additional shipping, we can do it through the pledge manager. For more about shipping and the pledge manager, check out Update #4.
We have made several improvements to this campaign, listed below. Some of them are Stretch Goals, while others are just improvements that we unlocked when we figured out how to do them. As a group we're calling them "Campaign Goals." As you know, we still have many great items in the works!
Upgrade 1: Turned wood capstones in the Tavern Set. These were originally planned as simple cubes, but at 1200 sets it was worth the extra bump to add a more traditional turned capstone to the Tavern Set. Not really a stretch goal, but an upgrade for day 2.
Stretch Goal 1: Rules for Kaen, a Tak precursor game in the companion book. Kaen is an ancient gambling game that uses many of the same pieces from Tak. This is a new game by James Ernest and Patrick Rothfuss, unlocked at 2500 backers.
New Item 1: The Crazy Martin Piece Pack. This is like a jumbo-sized Tavern Set, a 44-piece kit matching the pieces in the Classic Set, which is enough for a 5x5 game itself, or up to an 8x8 game with the pieces in the Classic Set. Unlocked at the $310k miliestone.
New Item 2: E-Book version of the Companion Book: It seemed reasonable to offer the companion book in an electronic format, so on 4/22 we introduced it as an add-on for $5.
New Item 3: The Arcanist's Board. This solid wood board was introduced on 4/25, as the cornerstone of the Arcanist's Pack, and as a separate add-on. Read about it in Update #6.
New Item 4: Tak Pairs Deck. A crossover that makes more sense than a Pairs-themed Tak board (don't tempt us), this new Pairs deck by Nate Taylor is described in Update #7. Added at 4500 backers.
Upgrade 2: We've hired Echo Chernik to design the game board! Echo is an insanely talented illustrator and we are thrilled to have her designing the board in the Classic Set.
Stretch Goal 2: Tak and the Edema Ruh. A section in the companion Book with alternate rules and piece types for the Ruh. Unlocked at 3 Achievement Points.
Stretch Goal 3: Tak in Tarbean: Customs and gambling rules from this bustling city. Unlocked at 6 Achievement Points.
Stretch Goal 4: Tak at the University. Variant piece designs, alternate rules, and a different set of gambling rules for the University players. Unlocked at 10 Achievement Points.
New Items 5 and 6: Devi's Board and Devi's Box: Introduced during Week 3, these deluxe Tak items are created by the craftsmen at Wyrmwood.
Stretch Goal 5: Tak at the Eolian. This special stretch goal brings us a new traditional Tak song, created by Molly Lewis.
New Item 7: Cloth Board. A simple 14" bandanna printed with a unique organic Tak board, introduced on May 12 as a $9 add-on.
Stretch Goal 6: Tak in Fae. Piece designs and board artwork among the Faen.
Stretch Goal 7: Tak Puzzles: A few fun tak puzzles for the companion book, created by Ira Fay.
Stretch Goal 8: Tak in Alveron's Court: More details about the games between Bredon and Kvothe.
Stretch Goal 9: Rules for Locke, another precursor game to Tak. This one isn't much like Tak at all... but we love to make games!
Stretch Goals 10 and 11: At $1M, we unlocked the twin goals of a second board design in the Classic Set, and a Kickstarter-only "Royal Vintas Capstone." Read about both in Update 17.
Stretch Goal 12: Tak in Adem. Rules and variants in Ademre, with sketches of Adem Tak boards and pieces. Unlocked at 23 Achievement Points.
Stretch Goal 13: The Board of Seven. We hoped to unlock this at 10k backers, but problems with the original plan means we can only promise it as a future product. See the details in Update 18.
Stretch Goal 14: Pat's Original Tak Rules. Before it was a real game, Pat took a stab at making Tak. These rules will be part of the companion book, unlocked at 24 points. Details in Update 18.
Stretch Goal 15: Plans for Bredon's Capstones. This is just a sketch, not a real thing yet, but we thought we'd give you a glimpse at the designs for Bredon's Capstones. Details in Update 18.
We Did It! In Update #8, we introduced a block of achievement-based stretch goals, such as posting photos of your home-made Tak set, or giving us a follow on Twitter. We unlocked the last of these goals with only a few hours to go. Here's the whole board!
0 Points (Unlocked): Unlock rules for Kaen (described in Update #2) Just a freebie to get us started.
3 Points (Unlocked): Tak and the Edema Ruh. A section in the companion book describing Ruh-specific piece designs, traditions, and board artwork.
6 Points (Unlocked): Tak in Tarbean. What do Tarbean’s impoverished but resourceful denizens use for Tak pieces? What are the knock-down, drag-out gambling rules?
10 Points (Unlocked): Tak at the University. Variant piece designs, alternate rules, and a different set of gambling rules for the University players.
12 Points (Unlocked): Tak at the Eolian: The Ballad of Tak, a traditional story of a traveler's strange method of play, created by the incomparable Molly Lewis!
14 Points (Unlocked): Tak in Fae. A section in the companion book detailing Faen Tak variations, including illustrations of Faen Tak sets and alternate board art.
16 Points (Unlocked): Tak Puzzles! Four (or more) original puzzles for Tak enthusiasts, created for the companion book by master gamecrafter Ira Fay.
18 Points (Unlocked): Tak in Alveron's Court: More details about the games between Bredon and Kvothe
21 Points (Unlocked): Unlock the rules for Locke, another precursor game in the history of Tak.
23 Points (Unlocked): Tak in Adem. Rules and variants in Ademre, with sketches of Adem Tak boards and pieces.
24 Points (Unlocked): Pat's Rules for Tak. A section in the companion book detailing Pat's original (not so great) rules for Tak.
25 Points (Unlocked): Sketches for Bredon's Capstones. A sketch of Bredon's Capstones, designed by Nate Taylor.
Details on the last three unlocks are in Update 18.
Special kudos to Mira Chaplin, who unlocked of our first secret Achievement, "Play Tak on the Great Wall of China."
Our other secret achievement goes to Steph Kelly, who sent us an adorable photo of tortoises playing Tak.
Want to learn more? Here are some further resources for learning about Tak.
Patrick Rothfuss' Home Page: Are you new to the Kingkiller Chronicle and all things Rothfuss? Learn all about the man and his work here.
James Ernest's Tumblr Blog: Get an inside look at the Tak design process and learn about James' many other projects
The Tak Info Page at Cheapass.com: Read more about the game, download the beta rules, and even print your own game board.
James and Patrick at ECCC: In case you missed the link above, you really should watch these two characters talk about their game. This is the full video from their panel at Emerald City Comic Con.
The reviews are in, and Tak is proving to be a hit! Belos is just a smattering of what's being said about the game. Also, check out our video from Tabletop Day!
"Tak has a very unique character which isn’t a surprise because it was made by Goddamned genius James Ernest." —Tycho, Penny Arcade
"Intriguing." —Dale Yu, The Opinionated Gamers
"Good for a family event, or board game night or anywhere... many thumbs up." -Andrew and Jess, Gameosity
"Why didn't people play this 1,000 years ago? ...clever gameplay and a fantasy come to life." —Jeff Provine, Blogcritics
"I really enjoy it... I’ve only had Tak on my table for a few days, but it’s already become a bit of an obsession." —Dave Banks, GeekDad
"Tak somehow lives up to its fictional origin as a timeless, ancient game of effortless elegance and deep strategy. It’s instantly engaging and only becomes more engrossing as you begin to grasp its depths." —Tom Harrison, Gaming Trend
"Tak is one of those abstract games that manages a lot of challenging play in a very uncomplicated package." —David Miller, Purple Pawn
"This is an artistic representation of what Rothfuss had in mind when he imagined Tak in his novel, and if you're a fan of the series, I can't imagine a better piece of memorabilia to own." —Mick Joest, GameTyrant
"I’ll admit it. I’m in love with the idea of a game like Tak being “our” game. A game that everyone at GenCon knows and plays. A game that is always nearby because everyone has a travel set of pieces in their bag or jacket. It’s that idea that got me to look at Tak, but it’s the simple-yet-cutthroat gameplay that keeps me logged into playtak and has me eager to acquire a physical set." —Rafael Cordero, Ding and Dent
"Tak evolves as the players take their turns. A single move can have enough impact to be felt for several rounds. And yet, a player is not fully aware of how their move influences the game until later. Again, the game evolves, opens, and changes organically, responding to each new piece in surprising ways." —Cyrus Kirby, Father Geek
Risks and challenges
Cheapass Games has created and fulfilled eight Kickstarter campaigns to date, so as a general rule we know what we are doing. However, we are working with new suppliers on Tak because of the many unusual types of components this campaign requires. So, there is always a risk that one of these suppliers will be late or even prove to be unacceptable.
For the most part, the components in the core products are well-understood and we have decent bids from all those suppliers. And of course the game design is finished, so once the campaign closes we can immediately start the printing process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)