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A deck of lavishly-designed playing cards concealing a carefully woven tapestry of mysterious codes, ciphers, and story.
A deck of lavishly-designed playing cards concealing a carefully woven tapestry of mysterious codes, ciphers, and story.
1,237 backers pledged $33,504 to help bring this project to life.
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Carte Rouge — A Puzzle in 52 Parts

$33,504

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What is Carte Rouge? 

Nearly two years in the making, Carte Rouge has been a labor of love that we are exceedingly excited to be bringing to Kickstarter at long last. Every aspect of this lavish 54-card deck — from the design of the pips to the shading on the court cards —has been meticulously crafted to create a wholly original and intricate Enigma overflowing with story, puzzles, and splendor.

Fan...and Flip!
Fan...and Flip!

Carte Rouge showcases a venerable facade that, under inspection, reveals subtle nuances and variations. Throughout the deck there is a consistent color palette which each suit plays with in a slightly different fashion. The jokers extrapolate upon the shades of red and black inherent in traditional cards, standing out against the brighter jewel tones that make up the rest of the deck. Touches of metallic gold and silver adorn the inverse, faces, and aces, lending elegance and luxury.

A Sampling of Cards from a Prototype Deck
A Sampling of Cards from a Prototype Deck

The deck will arrive packed in a sideways style tuck-box and decorated in lavish gold foil (as can be seen on projects here and here, for reference). This tuck variety lends a more antiquated appearance, as well as being overall better suited to the aesthetic of the deck. We're still working out the final details on that design, but will certainly post images as soon as it comes together.  

Early Sketches of Tuck Design
Early Sketches of Tuck Design
The Most Recent Iteration of The Inverse

How Do You Play Carte Rouge? 

Carte Rouge is set in the real world and many of the puzzles will require you to research languages, history, science, geography, and other disciplines in order to solve them. No special knowledge is required whatsoever; however, you will want to have your wits, along with paper, a writing utensil, and an internet-connected device. These will prove invaluable as you research into various topics and threads you come across throughout the course of the game. 

With well more than 24 distinct puzzles, Carte Rouge is recommended for 1-5 players (although larger groups are feasible) and has a total play time of 12-20 hours. 

Court Cards from a Prototype Deck
Court Cards from a Prototype Deck

If you'd like to get a taste of the style of puzzle you can expect in this (or any of our games) then check out our Facebook page. We post a new puzzle every Friday and often use these weekly puzzles to test out new styles and concepts we're playing with.  While the difficulty in Carte Rouge will be higher than our weekly puzzles, these will give you a good idea of the types and styles of challenges you can expect to encounter. 

A Beauteous Bridge Shuffle
A Beauteous Bridge Shuffle

Production and Timeline

Production: We will be printing with the Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC), which is part of the Conjuring Arts Research Center in New York City. They specialize in highly artistic decks of cards, with a focus on superb quality and exacting attention to detail. (To see some examples of their work, click here.) The Carte Rouge deck will include a variety of high-caliber design features including:

  •  Classic Finish card stock
  •  Pantone spot colors
  •  Pantone Metallics spot colors
  •  Sideways styled tuck box
  •  Hot foil detailing on the tuck box
  •  Internal printing on the tuck box
  •  And maybe more, stay tuned, there are still details being finalized!
Click for a High-Resolution Version!
Click for a High-Resolution Version!

Timeline: Unlike our previous games which we were able to produce concurrently with the Kickstarter campaign for a quick finish, Carte Rouge has a much larger scope that requires more time to complete. That said, even as we launch the campaign we are 99% prepared to send print-ready files off to EPCC to begin production. With a little extra time built in to account for TUBI (The Unforeseen But Inevitable) we are confident that we will be able to deliver on the following timeline:

  •  August 20-September 10: The campaign runs. And in the meantime, we finalize artwork, tuck box design and prepare files for EPCC. 
  •  September 17: Kickstarter funds process. This takes a week as Kickstarter runs all the credit cards and takes their share. However, once this is finalized we will have a pretty good idea of our production needs.
  •  September 30: We place our order. There's a little TUBI time built in here, and we may well order early, but we've allowed two weeks specifically to deal with any issues that may arise with the files being sent to EPCC and giving us time to resolve them. 
  •  October 1-21: Pledge Manager is open. Barring any unforeseen issues, we will be running our PM via Gamefound. (Note: All of our previous games will be available to add to your pledge in the PM to save on shipping.)
  •   November - December : Production. With our order being placed at the end of September, about a month later we should have physical proofs in hand. Having run multiple test prints, we're feeling confident it should look quite lovely! Once we've approved the physical proofs, the final print run can begin.
  •  January 1, 2020: Product arrival. Getting over a thousand decks of cards shipped overseas takes some time and upon arrival there is customs processing. With all of that in consideration we anticipate receiving the cards around the turn of the year.
  •   January 21, 2020: Fulfillment begins. Again, there's a bit of TUBI time here as well, but once we have the cards here in hand we can begin fulfillment! This should mean that everyone receives their rewards by sometime in February.

And, as always, we reserve the right to do our best to get Carte Rouge shipped to you sooner than promised. We can't guarantee anything, but trust us, we're almost as excited to send you your decks as you are to receive them!

Some Production Samples from EPCC
Some Production Samples from EPCC

Shipping Info:

Like our previous campaign, we intend to partner with Spiral Galaxy in the UK for our European fulfillment. That said, with the ever-looming specter of Brexit hanging over the entire industry, there is a possibility that they will no longer be an option for shipping by the time we reach fulfillment. If that occurs, we will be looking for a replacement but run the risk of delaying fulfillment to that part of the world or, alternately, fulfilling in a not-so-EU-friendly manner from our headquarters (i.e., living rooms) here in the United States. We'll be sure to keep you in the loop as that situation develops and we get closer to fulfillment.

Assuming all goes according to plan, our shipping breaks down simply:

  •  United States: Free shipping.
  •  Rest of the World: $7 shipping for a single deck, $10 for two.

We sincerely wish we could offer free shipping to everyone, but unfortunately the logistics of international delivery simply don't allow for that, even for such a modestly-sized item. However, we want to do our best, so please know that even with these shipping charges we are subsidizing all international orders by at least 50% and often more depending on the destination. We always do our best to make it so you can get our games at a reasonable price, regardless of where you reside.

As always, additions to your order in Gamefound after the campaign ends will alter your shipping costs, but not by much. You can see a breakdown of some common order sizes below.

Some Common Orders & Their Pricing
Some Common Orders & Their Pricing

Reviews:

A fantastic feature from Jack Eddy of The Cardboard Herald

(He also did this interview with Khiara, the lead designer of Carte Rouge!)

A stellar segment from Daniel Robison of Plumpy Thimble

A lovely little tidbit from The Brawling Brothers

A splendid special from Tom Heath of Slicker Drips

Stretch Goals..?

So, you may have noted that we haven't discussed stretch goals. The truth of the matter is, we don't have any this time around. From the get-go, we wanted Carte Rouge to be a luxurious artifact — something exceedingly satisfying to play with and display. Throughout the design process we repeatedly considered various aspects of the deck as stretch goals only to ultimately add them to the plans regardless. 

Simply Magical
Simply Magical

Since the deck has been designed with excellence in mind, we didn't want to make foil for the tuck or metallic finishing on the cards a separate goal--those and more are all part of the product regardless of whether we fund by 10 or 10,000 dollars over goal!

Jokers from a Prototype Deck
Jokers from a Prototype Deck

Who is The Enigma Emporium?

The Enigma Emporium is just a couple of people with a love for board games, escape rooms, and puzzles of all sorts, along with a history of making them both for pleasure and profession. The Enigma Emporium was born of our desire to share that love and help make puzzling a stellar hobby for all involved!  

Khiara & Logan - Summer 2019
Khiara & Logan - Summer 2019

The Enigma Emporium was the result of long conversations about puzzle games, subscription boxes, and our own likes and dislikes regarding what we'd played and, ultimately, what we would like to do differently.

Our two primary goals are to provide as immersive and aesthetic an experience as possible and offer as low a financial barrier to entry as possible. Carte Rouge is a direct result of design with those goals in mind, and we hope that you'll enjoy playing it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Thanks for looking!
Thanks for looking!

Risks and challenges

With artwork 90% complete and the rest of the edits well underway, the biggest challenges remaining are production and fulfillment. We are prepared to begin the printing process with EPCC as soon as we have funds in hand. That process is estimated to take 2-3 months from start to finish, including shipping the cards here to us in the US so we can ship them out to you. With funds reaching us around early October, that means that production should be wrapping up around the end of this year. Once cards get to us, we'll get them sent out to you!

That said, there are talks of increased tariffs on a variety of imported goods, including playing cards. This has been accounted for in our funding goal, however that situation may end up adversely affecting customs processing times.

The other potential concern, particularly for our European backers, is the Brexit situation.
Our EU friendly fulfillment partner (Spiral Galaxy) is based in the UK, therefore if Brexit passes that may mean a slight change to shipping occurrences. Spiral Galaxy has contingency plans in place for a variety of situations, so we aren't overly concerned and will be sure to keep you all in the loop as that develops.

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Funding period

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