Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 14, 2012.

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Cheapass Games returns with "Unexploded Cow," a fast-paced card game about mad cows searching for unexploded bombs.

Update: Watch the 40k Thank-You video here:

James Ernest and Paul Peterson shot a silly little thank-you video for the moment when we crossed the 40k line. Let's make sure they have to do another one for 50k!

Update: Watch the new How-to-Play video here:

James, Julie, Carol, and Nora play Unexploded Cow and show you how it's done! It's no substitute for a complete rulebook, but it gives a good sense of the flow of the game.

Cheapass Games Returns.

Europe. Summer. 1997. You and your so-called friends have discovered two problems with a common solution: mad cows in England, and unexploded bombs in France. In Unexploded Cow, you will round up mad cows, march them through the French countryside, and make a buck blowing them up.

Cheapass Games hasn't printed anything in about 5 years. Our head honcho, James Ernest, got distracted by other things. (You can read more about that here.) Now it's time to return this company to life, with a deluxe reprint of one of our best selling games, Unexploded Cow.

Unexploded Cow is a quirky, lightweight card game about using mad cows from England to clear unexploded bombs in France. It was designed by James Ernest and Paul Peterson, and was first published in black and white in 2001. You can learn more about the game by downloading the rules at http://cheapass.com/freegames/uxcow. (Note: Some rules are still changing.)

Cheapass Games are usually in a cheaper format, but we decided this game deserved the full-color treatment. A perfect set of money (100, 200, and 500 bills) is hard to come by, and dice are cheap. So we decided to go ahead and include all the parts, just like the grown-up game companies do.

This deluxe edition of Unexploded Cow will help Cheapass bounce back from years of doing nothing. So, by investing in this game, you're also helping us reboot the company, reprint some classics, and make brand new games.

Sounds like fun? Please help us out! Read through the pledge levels and find one that's right for you. For $25 or more, you'll get a copy of the game, and any amount helps us get Cheapass Games back on its feet.

Just Added: Unexploded Cow Button Men

If you like Button Men, you can now get a full set of the yet-to-be-created Unexploded Cow Button Men expansion (six new characters with a yet-to-be created special die type) by adding $15 to any pledge in this campaign. We have also created a new $15 pledge level that includes just the Button Men and a copy of the Unexploded Cow PDF.  

The six characters in this set will be available at retail, but backers will also receive two rares, Thaddeus and Buckley, the two cow buttons we made in conjunction with Impact Miniatures. 

New Custom Die:

For our final week, we've decided to add a few cool items, for those of you who would like to pledge a little more. The first item is a custom cow die, which can be added for $2 to any pledge where we are already shipping something. (Sorry, PDF-only backers can't get it). 

The die isn't made, but if you ignore the design and the color, it will look just like this.

More about Sponsoring a Cow

Cow sponsorships are going fast! More than half of the individual cows in the game are already spoken for, and of course this pledge level can't be extended or repeated. So if you're on the fence about sponsoring a cow, grab the bull by the horns and throw your hat in the ring. Or something like that.

Here's what the "Sponsor a Cow" package gets you:

  • A listing on the Cow Sponsors page at www.cheapass.com, and in the game rulebook
  • A high-quality printout of your cow artwork, suitable for framing, along with a certificate of sponsorship and an extra copy of your card from the game (in case you want to frame them together)
  • Consulting privileges on the naming of the cow. The cows, by and large, will have names that sound good on British soldiers in WWI. Work with us, and together we will name your cow
  • A copy of the game (As with other levels, if you're outside the US, please add $15 to cover international shipping, or $10 for Canada or Mexico)

Many of these levels are already sold out. Act quickly if there is a cow you really want. For more details on the cow list, or on the game rules in general, you can download a PDF of the current edition of Unexploded Cow, at http://cheapass.com/freegames/uxcow. Note that rules about specific cows might change (the in-game dollar values, mostly) during our final round of playtesting, so the summaries in the Rewards column might be slightly off.

Why We Need Your Help

Printing games is expensive, as you might expect. Short press runs are impossible. So, we are trying to raise enough money to finance a reasonable press run of Unexploded Cow, with a unit cost that lets us sell the game into hobby retail. Most of what we produce will end up in retail stores, aside from those copies that we "pre-sell" via Kickstarter.

Starting a company from scratch can be daunting, and even though Cheapass Games was once a strong presence in the hobby market, we need a boost to get things started again. So even if you don't contribute to our Kickstarter campaign, we still need your help. Ask for Cheapass Games at your local game store, and let them know we're back on the scene. Tell your friends about this Kickstarter campaign. Soon, with your help, the unique Cheapass brand of quirky, lightweight, and inexpensive games will be back in stores around the world.

Stretch Goals (Updated 9/6)

The more we raise with this campaign, the better we can make this game. We are still negotiating with our printers to get the best price on some of the components below, but your support will make them all possible. 

Stretch Goal 1: Full Color Rulebook (Yes!) Our basic goal of $10k lets us print the bare minimum "deluxe" version of Unexploded Cow. Color isn't absolutely necessary for the rulebook. But it's always nice. Now that we have reached 15k, we can afford to make the rulebook look better with full-color printing and glossy paper.

Stretch Goal 2: Better Artwork (Yes!) We have budgeted the minimum amount of art from Cheyenne, a talented and busy human. Now, with a larger art budget, we can have more detail in the backgrounds, more polish on the figures, and more variety in the poses and uniforms. Thanks for helping us cross the "Better Artwork" threshold!

Stretch Goal 3: More Cow Art. We made it! Now we have even more in our art budget, so Cheyenne can add even more art. At this level, all the cows will get their own individual pieces of art (four different "Sturdy Cows," for example, rather than just one).

Stretch Goal 4: Printing in the USA. Most tabletop game manufacturers produce their goods overseas, because it’s cheaper in short runs. But if we reach this level of funding, we can afford to print a larger press run, and make Unexploded Cow in the USA. Honestly, it's only a few percentage points different, but we would really rather print at home if we can afford it.

Stretch Goal 5: Tokens for Money. Paper money is cheaper than tokens, but tokens (that is, little cardboard poker chips) would make the money easier to handle, and make the game easier to play. If we reach this goal, we will be able to afford tokens, instead of paper money, in the finished game.

Stretch Goal 6: Our Next Game is Funded! Cheapass Games will soon be making new, original games in its familiar low-cost format. These games will likely retail for $10 to $12, and will contain the cheapest possible components (and not all the generic pieces you need). If we reach $60k with this Kickstarter campaign, then our next cheap game will be funded, and we'll also be able to add new pledge levels that allow you to get a copy of that game.

Stretch Goal 7: Our 3rd Game is Funded! Just like at $60k, the $80k stretch goal means we have enough to print TWO new low-cost titles. We'll add pledge levels for players who want to get both games. And we will be able to print two great new Cheapass Games without going back to Kickstarter. 

Stretch Goal 8: Who Knows? It seems unlikely that we'll reach 100k, but if we get close to that number, we'll think of something dramatically cool to add here.

Keep Checking Back!

As this campaign develops, keep checking back for previews of art, new and interesting promotions, stretch goals, and news about the game. And thanks again for supporting Unexploded Cow!

Video Credits

  • Unexploded Cow was designed by James Ernest and Paul Peterson
  • Original art by Mike O'Connor, new art by Cheyenne Wright
  • In front of the camera: James Ernest, Jeff Dial, Kris Ferderer, Nora, Rusty Cole, Nathan Clarenburg, Cheyenne Wright, Paul Peterson, Julie Haehn
  • Behind the camera: James Ernest, Carol Monahan, Rick Fish
  • Music by Jewelbeat.com

FAQ

  • The current rating for Unexploded Cow is 3-6 players, 30 minutes. However, we're also enjoying the game with 2 players, and we will probably include that number in the final rating. 7 or 8 players can participate, but the game as shipped won't have quite enough starting money. Augment large bills with other markers, or start each player with less money, and you'll be fine.

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  • Yes. Sorry, we can't edit the text in the reward levels, but our friends in Canada and Mexico can, indeed, catch a break on international shipping. If you are shipping one game to Canada or Mexico, add $10 instead of $15. For two games, add $15 instead of $20.

    Last updated:
  • You can go back into your pledge ("manage your pledge") and adjust the amount. We'll send you a survey when the product is ready to ship, and you can let us know what the extra $2 was for.

    Last updated:
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    35 backers

    Show your support! All our backers will be listed as "Unexploded Contributors" at cheapass.com, will have access to backers-only updates, and will earn our heartfelt gratitude.

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    Print and Play: Backers at this level will receive a PDF of the new game, similar to the free PDF of Unexploded Cow that is online right now, but with the new art.

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    Unexploded Cow Button Men: Backers at this level will receive the new set of Button Men based on Unexploded Cow (6 characters) plus the two rares Thaddeus and Buckley, as well as the Unexploded Cow PDF. (You can also get the Button Men set by adding $15 to any other pledge.)

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    A Copy of the Game: Backers at the $25 level will receive a copy of the game, postage paid. International customers, please add $15 for shipping.

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    Game and PDF: If you feel like giving us an extra little boost, for $30 you will receive a copy of the game, as well as the print-and-play PDF. (All levels above this one also include the PDF.) International customers, please add $15 for shipping.

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    Two Games: For $50 you will receive a 2-pack of the game as well as the PDF. International customers, please add $20 for shipping.

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    A Personal Thank-You from Paul: At this level, you will receive a copy of the game, plus a personalized webcam thank-you video from co-designer Paul Peterson.

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    A Personal Thank-You from James: at this level, you will receive a copy of the game, plus a personalized webcam thank-you video from designer James Ernest.

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    Sponsor a Decent Cow: Decent Cows are basic cows. They earn 200 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Sloppy Cow: Sloppy Cows are bad cows. They cost an extra 200 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    18 backers

    Retailer Kit: Backers at this level will receive a case of the game (10 copies) for selling in your retail shop or giving away to all your friends. International orders please add $50 for shipping.

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    Sponsor a Skinny Cow: Skinny Cows are bad cows. They cost an extra 300 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Sturdy Cow: Sturdy Cows are basic cows. They earn 400 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Strong Cow: Strong Cows are basic cows. They earn 500 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Troubled Cow: Troubled Cows are bad cows. They cost an extra 400 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Mad Bomber: Mad Bombers are specialists. They earn 100 when they explode, and also hand a new bomb to both of their neighbors. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a PFC: PFC's are specialists. They earn 400 when they explode, and they can steal a bomb from another cow in the same field. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Mechanic: Mechanics are specialists. They earn 400 when they explode, but they can opt not to explode and earn 200 instead. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Spy: Spies are specialists. They earn 400 when they explode, and they always belong to whoever played them, no matter where they go. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    Sponsor a Fat Cow: Fat Cows are basic cows. They earn 700 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    Sponsor a General: Generals are specialists. They earn 500 when they explode, but they can opt to pass their bomb to another cow in the same field. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    Sponsor a Proud Cow: Proud Cows are basic cows. They earn 800 when they explode. Details for cow sponsoring are listed on the left.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Pre-Release Party: Backers at this level will receive an invitation to our exclusive Seattle pre-release party for yourself and one guest, plus a goodie package of secret yumminess. And a copy of the game, of course.

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    Customized Game: Backers at this level will receive ten copies of a unique version of the game, where they choose the names of all 42 cows and all 12 cities. Package includes 10 copies of the game plus 10 copies of the custom deck.

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    Email Consultation from Paul: Co-Designer Paul Peterson will consult on your original game design, lending his many years of expertise for as many as 10 hours, via email.

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    Email Consultation from James: Designer James Ernest will consult on your original game design, lending his many years of expertise for as many as 10 hours, via email.

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Funding period

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