Way back in early 2010, a tiny little board game design company stumbled upon Kickstarter.com and thought it would be a neat way to raise some extra money to get their new game published. That company was Clever Mojo Games and the board game was Alien Frontiers. You can check out that original project to see what AF is all about...just click here.
AF raised nearly $15,000 on that first Kickstarter, but that's just a drop in the bucket these days. The first printing of 1,100 copies sold out the day after it arrived in my garage. The second printing of 3,200 copies sold out a week after it arrived at my distributor's warehouse. And we've sold through about half of the 3rd printing of 5,400 copies. Along the way, AF picked up several top slots on reviewers' "Best Games of 2010" lists and it was even selected by MTV Geek as one of their "Top 10 Games for 2010".
Last year we ran a Kickstarter campaign for an AF expansion called Factions and raised over $76,000. Check it out...Alien Frontiers still has what it takes!
Of course, being an Apple fan, an AF iOS app was always high on my list of dream projects, and I was tickled pink when a programmer emailed me with just such an offer.
It's hard to believe that nearly a year and a half has passed since Clint Herron (Hanclinto on BGG) first approached me about working on an iPad version of our Alien Frontiers board game. At the time, Clint had a lot of spare time on his hands and wanted a personal project to work on and I was eager to see AF as an iOS app. We also got AF's graphic designer, Karim Chakroun (Carthaginian on BGG), involved as art director on the project. A perfect plan and a great team!
There's a saying..."Life is what happens while we're making other plans." Clint's free time disappeared with a new day job, Karim had a lot of other projects keeping him crazy busy, and I got distracted by things like the Factions expansion to AF and the new Sunrise City board game. AF: iPad still moved forward now and then, but it was a lot slower than the warp-speeds we had been planning.
Jump forward to Origins 2012. Clint tells me that he has a block of time coming open and he'd love to put 100% of his efforts into the AF: iPad project. Great! But I'm cash strapped due to unexpected costs on the Sunrise City project and the production delays on the Factions project. So, what does any cash-strapped entrepreneur do these days when money is the only thing stopping an amazing idea? Kickstarter!!
If you watched the project video above, you have seen that the AF: iPad app is already very functional. The AI's are pretty smart and can do some amazingly complex moves. I've lost to the Beta AIs on more than one occasion. Most of the orbital facilities are fully functional and many of the alien tech cards and territory bonuses are working as well. But there's still a lot to do. The AIs need refining, the rest of the alien tech and territory bonuses need to be worked out, and the field generators need to be added. Then there's that pesky bug hunt to make sure everything is stable and reliable.
Check out this video interview Clint did with Brad from the iOS Board Games Blog on BGG.
At launch, the app will sell for $4.99 and will be able to handle pass-and-play and solo play vs. up to three AIs. Clint is cautiously optimistic that v1.0 can be ready to launch at GenCon, but these things never come in on time or under budget, so I'm not making any promises...just keeping my fingers crossed.
The rewards for backers are shown below and in the right column. They include the completed app, your name in the app credits, a PDF book of the amazing Alien Frontiers art, the original cardboard game with extra player colors, a zippered iPad sleeve, an iPad shoulder bag, a stylus, a Gelaskin iPad skin, access to pre-release app builds, and, at the highest level, a new iPad with laser-engraved art by Mark Maxwell on the back.
Your support at any level will be GREATLY appreciated.
ALIEN FRONTIERS À LA CARTE -- Add the following amounts to any pledge to add the items to your reward list...
- USA Add International Add Item Added
- +$50 +$70 Alien Frontiers Board Game
- +$25 +$35 Alien Frontiers Factions Expansion
- +$15 +$22 Alien Frontiers Upgrade Pack
- +$10 +$17 Alien Frontiers Faction Pack #1
- +$10 +$15 Alien Tech Deck Replacement
- (while supplies last)
NEW PLEDGE LEVEL -- RECRUIT -- Pledge $5 to receive your choice of a PINK or GRAY Bit Kit. Includes eight wooden colonies, six D6, and 1 Scoring Rocket, all in PINK or GRAY. Or, add $5 to any pledge to add a PINK or GRAY Bit Kit to your rewards.
NEW PLEDGE LEVEL -- BUDDY SYSTEM -- Pledge $10 to receive BOTH the PINK and GRAY Bit Kits. Includes sixteen wooden colonies (8 Pink & 8 Gray), twelve D6 (6 Pink & 6 Gray), and 2 Scoring Rockets (1 Pink & 1 Gray). Or, add $10 to any pledge to add BOTH the PINK and GRAY Bit Kits to your rewards.
NEW PLEDGE LEVEL -- LIEUTENANT J.G. OF THE SPACE CORPS -- Alien Frontiers App for iPad & your name in the game credits as a Space Corps LT J.G.. Plus the PDF book "The Art of Alien Frontiers". Plus the FACTIONS board game expansion and the Pink and Gray Bit Kits. USA Shipping Included. Add $10 for Worldwide Shipping.
Reaching our funding goal of $15,000 will be a wonderful success, but many backers and potential backers also want to know what's possible at higher funding benchmarks. As with the launch date, I don't want to make any promises I can't keep , so I'll just give you a peek at what's possible.
At $30,000 we'll be able to start work on v2.0 which will include a special interface design to make AF for iPad into an iOS Universal app that you can play on iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches. Think how amazing it will be when all of the iPhone and iPod Touch users know that they can play AF on their iOS devices too! We could get some REALLY FANTASTIC funding, then.
I'm not going to set any other specific stretch goals right now, but things we would love to include if funding permits are...
- European Language Support
- Retina Display Support
- Game Customization Options
- Game Center Integration
- New Alien Tech Cards
- Full Game Expansions
There are lots of enhancements we could make to Alien Frontiers for iPad with overfunding dollars and I sincerely hope we get the chance to explore the possibilities.
The Alien Frontiers board game has been wildly successful here in the US and we are pleased to say that our European partner, LocWorks in Poland, is running a fund raising campaign for Alien Frontiers: Aurora on the European crowd funding site Ulule.com.
LocWorks is generously providing the pink and gray game bits you'll receive in the CAPTAIN OF THE SPACE CORPS pledge level. Please, click the banner below and take a look at what LocWorks is doing. I mean really! Squeezing eight languages into one box deserves some AF Love!
This is the first iOS project I've placed on Kickstarter, so I have no idea what to expect. Will it crash and burn? Will it squeak in just over the goal? Will it soar to the heights of "Double Fine Adventure"? Call your iPad friends and get them to back our project. Tell your iPhone and iPod Touch buddies that with enough overfunding they can get in on the gaming and goodies, too. Tweet our project link to everyone you know. It's in your hands now, so thanks in advance for your help.
Jump over to the AF: Aurora project on http://Ulule.com
By backing Aurora at the Resource Cache level (15€ plus 6€ for USA shipping) you get our iPad app that we're funding here, a set of space crane cards in a bunch of European languages, the pink and gray bits, and 50 card sleeves.
We have asked Apple for a means to bestow the rewards without direct cost to us and are awaiting their reply. They have done this before for at least one other Kickstarted app, so we are hopeful.
It might also be possible to just purchase X number of promo codes at a fee equal to Apple's 30% sales commission. This would be a simple transaction that seems like it would be a no-brainer for them.
If both of these ideas are declined, we do have a backup plan that will work regardless of what Apple says. We would just gift the apps to each backer through the purchase button options at the app store. This will cost us $4.99 per app, but we'll recover 70% of that from Apple as our royalties. A bit messy from a bookkeeping perspective, but definitely doable.
Clint has been coding the app in the native iOS language so, at present, an Android version is not in the cards. Of course, with enough over-funding, who can say what's possible. :-)
At present, the interface is designed for the larger screen space available on the iPad but we DEFINITELY want to make the app Universal for all iOS devices. Again, it's just a question of funding. If we get enough beyond the initial goal then we'll be able to develop more features...like Universality.
The Alien Frontiers for iPad app will work on any Apple iPad running iOS 5.0 or higher.
Version 1.0 of the app will not include any Factions components. It is our plan to add Factions in a future version if we get sufficient funding to buy more of Clint's time.
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