Disarm the Base
A cooperative board game about disarming war planes.
Disarm the Base
A cooperative board game about disarming war planes.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, September 13 2019 10:59 PM UTC +00:00.
* STRETCH GOAL! * If we get to £7,000 then each copy of Disarm the Base will have a little cotton bag inside to keep all the components safe and stop them rattling around.
A quick, cooperative game based on direct action. Can you break into the base, avoid the guards, and disarm the war planes? Can you get out again to tell the world?
About Disarm the Base
- Cooperative game for up to four players
- Inspired by real-life direct action by peace activists
- Suspense-driven gameplay
- Easy to pick up
- Takes 30-45 minutes to play
Welcome to the disarmament movement. Thank you for volunteering to save lives and reveal the hypocrisy of those in power.
Inside this base, planes are being armed with deadly weapons. Tomorrow morning, they will fly halfway around the world to bomb civilians. Innocent people are dying, yet the press continues to turn a blind eye. Our actions will shine a spotlight on to this hidden horror.
Tonight, we will break into the base. We will find the way through the base to the nine hangers. We will discover which hangers contain war planes. We will board and disarm the planes. And then we will report our findings and actions to the authorities and tell the world.
Tonight we will save lives. Tonight we will take direct action. Let’s disarm the base!
In this cooperative board game, you are peace activists trying to disarm planes.
You win if you do BOTH the following:
- find and disarm the planes
- get back to your point of entry to unfurl your banners
You lose if you do ANY of the following:
- run out of cards in the deck
- run out of guards
- the guard walking round the edge of the board sees you
- a guard enters a hangar while you are in the hangar
What's in the box?
- A board showing the base at night
- Wooden meeples for the players and the guards
- Cards or tiles for the hangars/planes, lights, and gates.
- A deck of cards allowing players to unlock hangars, disarm planes, or distract guards
The graphics below are not yet finalised - we‘re still working on it! The changes will be minor, such as correcting typos (do I see two North West lights?) and possibly swapping hangar 6 for hangar 9. These are the png files, as we haven't yet got samples of the board and the tiles.
Size and spec
We think we're probably going to go with a board which is 35cm (14”) square. This would mean a 19 or 20cm (8”) box. That’s smaller than some boardgames, but we are very keen not to have any wasted air inside the box!
We playtested with a board which was 45cm (18”) square, with a 25cm (10”) box. It felt too big, while a 25cm board and a 14cm (5”) box felt far too small. Getting the size right has been more difficult than we initially thought! If you have a strong opinion, please do tell us.
The cards will almost certainly be bridge size, 300gsm, probably with the usual smooth finish. The tiles and board will be standard professional quality, again with a smooth finish.
We are keen to make our game as environmentally friendly as possible. This means that the boxes will NOT be shrink-wrapped. It's probable that the cards will also NOT be wrapped in cellophane. There will NOT be a plastic insert into the box. We hope that is ok. We're looking at exactly how deep the box should be in order to perfectly fit all the components so that they won't move about.
If we get to £7,000 then each copy of Disarm the Base will have a little cotton bag inside to keep all the components safe and stop it rattling around. It will probably be this bag from Clever Baggers.
How do you play it?
Disarm the Base is a cooperative game. During each player’s turn, three things happen:
- First, the player takes four actions. These could be moves, or cards, or both.
- Second, the player takes two cards. Some cards are red "play immediately" cards, which do unfavourable things such as closing gates, placing guards in hangars, and turning on lights. Most of the cards are cards which the player takes into their hand, and which allow actions such as unlocking hangars, opening gates, turning off lights, and of course disarming planes.
- Third, a guard piece moves one space clockwise round the outside of the board.
Then play moves on to the next player.
The aim of the game is to disarm the planes. In order to do that, players need to move around the board, use a code card or a crowbar card to open hangars, enter the hangar, disarm the plane inside, use a code card or a boltcutters card to disarm the plane, leave the hangar, find the rest of the planes and finally all get out of the base back to where the banners were left! Players don’t know which hangars contain planes, and every plane is different. As they move around the board, lights come on, guards enter hangars, and one guard walks round the outside. Players need to avoid getting caught, but they also need to finish the job in time.
Here‘s a video of the game being demonstrated. (Um...could you possibly ignore the fact that the perimeter guard is forgotten on the last go?)
This game is deliberately designed to be straightforward and easy to pick up. Players can give or take cards at any point during their turn. No cards can be played out of turn. It’s perfect for people who haven’t played many board games, or for experienced gamers who want a quick filler game. Buy it to introduce your activist friends to board games! Despite the fact that the video is less than 15 minutes long, it takes around 30-45 minutes to play with four players, or 20 minutes if playing solo.
We really hope to have this game ready by Christmas. Actually, we hope to have all the pieces printed and delivered to us by 31 October, because some of them will be coming from outside the UK and we have no idea what impact Brexit is likely to have. We hope that we'll spend a bit more time refining the rules and then post out the game to you in time for Christmas (if you live in the UK - it may take longer if you live elsewhere in the world).
However, we’re also trying to be realistic here, and it’s possible that our timescales are too short, especially if there’s a No Deal Brexit and the components we are buying from abroad are stuck in border queues. Because of that, we’ve put “February 2020” as the date on most of the rewards. If it’s not ready in time for Christmas then we’ll create a nice printable letter that you could wrap up instead of the actual game...
There are two main things we need to finish before we can start printing the parts. One is the artwork. We've uploaded some drafts above, but there's still work to be done! We'll be refining these right up until our printing deadline. The other main thing is playtesting - we know that the game works and is fun, but we are still playtesting it to see if there are any small improvements we can make.
If you have suggestions, please email email@example.com.
The other stuff
We've offered some other things as part of the “swag”. The badges will feature these four images.
The bag will have the logo as below on a plain natural cotton bag with a gusset and long handles. It’s likely to be on a bag like the one below - please imagine the two images as one!
Prices and shipping
The game is priced at £29. That’s not much more than it will cost to make, because it is unfortunately rather difficult to get game boards and boxes printed in the UK. We have a variety of quotes from Germany, the US, and China for non-card components. (Cards can be printed in the UK.)
One of the key factors in deciding on £29 as the price was the fact that shipping is expensive. We don’t have a warehouse, and we will be shipping games individually from the UK. The prices we’ve put on our rewards are the prices Royal Mail charges. We know that these are high shipping charges for people living outside of the UK. So although we can’t offer lower shipping charges, we have made sure that the game remains below £30. And we’ve also included the option of buying two games, because we’ve measured and we are certain two will fit in Royal Mail’s definition of a small parcel!
The inspiration for this game
Disarm the Base is loosely based on a number of real conflicts and some real activists. In reality, the activists are usually stopped by guards before getting near to one of the planes. The subsequent trials of the activists last weeks, and they are able to explain how the strength of their principles compelled them to take action. They are supported by many people during their trials, who raise awareness and funding. Their actions are often discussed in the media, and can change the public narrative around weapons of mass destruction.
Obviously this is a game. The board does not show a real base. The narrative is hypothetical, loosely based on several different conflicts and instances of governments arming warplanes. Dissent Games supports a legal right to peaceful protest and upholds the process of establishing the boundaries of protest through a court of law.
Furthermore, in this game the players cannot interact directly with the guards. The damage they can cause to the buildings or planes is minimal - a crowbar to enter the hanger or boltcutters to disarm the weapons only if you don’t have the correct code card. There are no explosives, no guns. The game does not promote violence in any form.
Who are we?
We're Dissent Games, and this is our first game! We're a company limited by guarantee rather than by shares, and we will be doing campaigning as well as creating games. If by any amazing chance we do make any profit (frankly quite unlikely) then it would go either to other games or to related campaign work, which in this case is disarmament.
The game concept and mechanics are by Jessica Metheringham. Jess was previously responsible for political engagement for Quakers in Britain, and left in May 2019 to create this game, look after two very small children, and think about other interesting projects. Jess is also the one writing the blog.
Jess owns around 50 games (small collection, but very very small house) and is probably most fond of classics such as Pandemic and Ticket to Ride. Other notable favourites are Alhambra, Colt Express (so much fun!), Caverna, Lost Cities, and 7 Wonders: Duel...although recently she was playing Villagers and Terraforming Mars. This is her first game on Kickstarter. Think of her as an experienced project manager trying her hand in a new field.
The illustrations are by Mark Bijak. He's not done this before either! He has many other exciting things at https://markbijak.com.
Risks and challenges
As mentioned above, Brexit is a risk. However, we think it will have a minimal impact on us, not least because we intend to buy all the pieces we need from overseas by 31 October. If you are buying this game from outside the UK, yes, there may be a delay in receiving your game. We may not be able to deliver to outside of the UK before Christmas. For these reasons, we have put the reward date as February 2020, with the hopeful expectation that we manage December 2019.
This is our first game. Frankly, we are learning all the time, and while everything is going to plan, we are aware that Kickstarter is littered with the remnants of failed games. There is obviously a risk that this game won’t happen, but we think that’s a very small risk. We have quotes from various different companies to produce the components, the artwork is nearly there, the spreadsheets contain various different plans for different scenarios - we're really working hard to make this happen and we are confident it will happen. There is a slightly bigger (but still pretty small) risk that it might take a bit longer to happen. After all, we are new at all this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter