I'm Dan Ackerman, and you might (or might not) know me from the past 15 years or so reviewing tech and games at CNET, or as the author of the semi-critically acclaimed game history book 'The Tetris Effect,' or as a TV news talking head on everything from laptops to iPhones to virtual reality.
Techlandia is a game that promises to blow the lid off of a major tech industry scandal. Having spent years covering some of the biggest names in technology, I've seen things that would shock even the most jaded tech fans.
But, my lips are sealed by non-disclosure agreements and fear of late-night assassins. Instead, I will spill my secrets in a lightly fictionalized form, through the magic of tabletop gaming.
NEW BONUS: Free instant download of the deluxe QR Code token .stl file! 3D-print your own QR code tokens for use in the final game or your print-and-play demo!
DOWNLOAD: 20mm QR token.stl
Imagine an all-powerful technology company, like the ones you interact with every day. But, this tech titan is secretly a front for a Lovecraftian death cult! The Techlandia Corporation, and its twisted CEO, Dexter Ward, plan to use the launch of the highly anticipated new TX-1 smartphone to open a gateway to another plane of existence, bringing elder gods back to our realm to sow destruction.
Sounds pretty bad, right? Almost as bad as that that "top tweets" default view on Twitter.
You haven't been invited to the grand launch of the TX-1 smartphone, but you're not a tech blogger because you like following the rules (I mean, except for tabletop game rules). There's something strange going on here, and you're going to expose it all.
Techlandia is a modern dungeon crawl adventure, where 1-4 players attempt to infiltrate the high-tech corporate headquarters of the Techlandia corporation.
The objective is to gain entry to the invite-only Techlandia TX-1 smartphone unveiling being held in a subterranean auditorium under the Silicon Valley headquarters of the secretive Techlandia corporation.
You've heard of mysterious disappearances and dark doings surrounding this all-powerful multinational conglomerate. Getting a scoop on what's really going down would be a career-making move. So guess what? We're sneaking in!
- In order to do that, you must get past the security checkpoint, which will allow you access to the elevators leading down to the event level.
- In order to do that, you must present the proper QR code invitation at the security desk.
- In order to do that, you need to collect four QR code fragments, then present the correct final code at the security desk.
- In order to do that, you'll need to investigate rooms in the building for clues, discovering where the QR code fragments can be found and collecting them before anyone else.
Two other decks of cards guide your path. Each player starts with five powerful Gear cards, which must be played strategically.
Fail an investigation, or hit a bad number on the Doomsday clock, and an Encounter card will ruin your day.
In the game, a turn consists of a player taking up to two actions. A round consists of every player taking a turn, and ends with the Doomsday Clock counting down one number. A single action can include:
- Moving from one room on the board to another room directly connected to it.
- Investigating a room for clues.
- Picking up a QR code from a room.
- Fighting a Tech Cultist or other enemy.
- Reloading your Gear deck from the Press Room.
- Submitting your QR code to the security scanner.
Fight and defeat cultish Techlandia public relations employees, known as Tech Cultists, using skill-matching and Gear cards to turn the odds in your favor and earn valuable decryption codes, which will allow you to scan the QR code cards on your phone and get past security.
Fail at any of these tasks and you're likely to be arrested for trespassing. And the world might end, too. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
All the while, a Doomsday Clock ticks down between rounds, from 20 to zero, unleashing new horrors at inopportune moments.
Despite literally decades of covering video games, I'm also a long-time tabletop gamer. Much of the most creative thinking in game design is happening right now in tabletop games, and some of my inspiration comes from games like Mansions of Madness, Arkham Horror, One Deck Dungeon, and other favorites. Some Kickstarter projects I've backed recently include Altar Quest, Etherfields, and Dungeon Royale.
In designing Techlandia, I had three key goals in mind.
1. To create a game that featured some of my favorite mechanics, like a hex-tile-based map, interesting characters, fast combat, strategy, and exploration -- all in a package that would fit on a standard apartment-sized table.
2. Design a complex multi-part storyline, deeply tied to gameplay, that could be played in a 60-90-minute session. Some of us have to go to bed. (Or give up the kitchen table for dinner).
3. Do it all at a reasonable cost, because there are only so many $100-plus all-in pledges you can sneak into the joint checking account. So, Techlandia is $39, including free US shipping and discounted international shipping.
[Rule book and free demo versions]
- Read the rule book
Get a PDF of the latest version of the Techlandia rule book at BGG.
- Online Techlandia Demo: Tabletopia
Play the solo version right from your browser with this pixel-perfect online sim from Tabletopia.
- Print-and-Play Techlandia Preview
Try Techlandia on your own table with the full Print-and-Play files.
The primary forces of evil aligned against you are Techlandia's army of PR enforcers, sometimes known as Tech Cultists. They've traded robes and staffs for suits and ties, but the mission is the same -- help Dexter Ward open a portal to the Elder Dimension at any cost!
Now, if you've dealt with PR types at any length, or really any kind of corporate stooges, these evildoers will feel hauntingly familiar. There's the Old-Timer, the Grudge Keeper and many others, including my personal nemesis, the terrifying Jargon Gorgon.
- Board's Eye View
- Kickstart Gaming
- More Games Please
- Board Game Quest
- Tabletop Gaming News
- The Insatiable Gamer
- The Fandomentals
To keep it simple, there's a single physical game pledge level. Any extras will be treated as stretch goals and included for everybody.
$1 / Basic Tech Support
Support the fight against Eldritch terrors and capped data plans! Your support is greatly appreciated, and will help us bring the world of Techlandia to life.
Updated print-and-play files, including any expansions and new art. Plus .stl files for many of the 3D printed test components used in creating the game.
$39 / Techlandia Core Game
You'll receive one boxed version of the final game, including all the cards, tiles, tokens and standees, plus detailed rulebook. The Core Set components can be used for upcoming episodic content. Free shipping in the US is included, with subsidized shipping elsewhere.
$99/ Techlandia Core Game plus Prototype
In addition to the core game, you will separately receive one of a handful of high-quality prototype kits, used for reviewers and playtesting. These may include different hex tiles, different cards with different art, 3D printed minis, tokens, and props, and other prototype accessories. Each game is truly unique, but each is complete and playable. These will ship in early Fall, 2019.
Shipping note: Customs-friendly Shipping to EU, Canada, Australia. Shipping to most backers outside the US will be charged later via pledge manager, and is estimated at around $10, but subject to change.
Risks and challenges
The game is in a near-final state before the start of this campaign, including extensive prototyping and playtesting. Final manufacturing bids have been received, and all artwork is complete. As the creator/designer, I have extensive project management and operational experience, and a deep history in the games space, including authoring a critically acclaimed book on game history and an excellent reputation built over 20-plus years as a journalist for major print and online publications.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)