Karamojo - The Most Dangerous Game
Karamojo is a historical tabletop strategy game that can be played solo, co-op, or competitive.
Karamojo - The Most Dangerous Game
Karamojo is a historical tabletop strategy game that can be played solo, co-op, or competitive.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, October 12 2018 11:56 AM UTC +00:00.
Karamojo is a tabletop strategy game that can be played solo, co-op, or competitive. In it players take the role of a turn of the nineteenth century hunter striving for fame, fortune, and (hopefully) a long life.
Use your wits to outmanoeuvre and triumph against the indomitable creatures of the natural and unnatural world. Face the physical and financial consequences of your unrealistic ambition. Live the life of the hunter, as you become the most dangerous game.
Karamojo is a strategical hunting game for 1-4 player. You control an ambitious young hunter as they earn their place at the top of the food chain. There is a massive amount of content and things going on in this game, so the following sections will be breaking down various features and mechanics.
The game plays almost like a solo role-playing game and with that there is a lot happening in Karamojo, so I'm gonna try and break down the key points as best I can.
Solo by Design
Karamojo was born out of my passion for solo tabletop games and remained a solo project for the first two years of it’s existence. It was later extended to be playable both competitively and cooperatively, but at it's core, it remains a solo game. Albeit a solo game that you can play with friends.
For the art of the game, I have drawn upon the massive wealth of wonderful public domain artwork. This was not born out of my inability to create art that could match the skill and beauty of the master, but instead a deliberate decision to bolster the thematic feel of the game. Mostly.
I particularly love animal paintings of newly discovered species, as they are so alien & unknown. This was something that I wanted to maintain in the art for the game, especially with the inclusion of mythical monsters. As a hunter in this time period, you should get the same feeling of confusion, fear, and wonder, as you hunt, capture, or just observe these strange creatures.
Using the public domain art just felt like the only right way to fully immerse the audience in this strange and wonderful time period.
All artwork on this page will be included in the game and gives an indication of the style of art chosen for it.
During a full campaign players attempt to gain fame and fortune throughout the life of their hunter. It was designed to be a lengthy solitaire experience in the same vein as many old Avalon Hill games, or countless other solitaire games out there.
The campaign can be complimented with a multiplayer element through joined hunting, but the core experience is the same. The character and the campaign are one, if you take your hunter to join a friend’s in one of there own hunts, it’ll act as a normal Expedition for them and continue their own campaign.
The Life of the Hunter
The first step you must take in Karamojo is creating your character.
As a small game unto itself, the character creation breaks down into the early years of your life, and the choices you make during those years determine your starting stats, equipment, and wealth.
Here is an example of my most recent character.
He was born to a poor dockworker, as such he never received a proper education, nor did he have any experience that would benefit hunting.
At the earliest age possible he joined the army and got stationed in Africa. This will give him a small wage, basic weaponry, and the skills to use them.
However service in the British army was a seven year commitment so at the earliest I could leave was twenty-four years of age.
Once I was out, I had a nice bit of savings to spend on equipment.
With that said, for those that do not want to go through the character creation, we have fifteen predesigned characters ready for anyone who just wants to jump into the game.
Expeditions, the Path to Fame and Fortune
In between hunts (which will we get to soon) your goal is to become rich & famous. To do this you will need to take on Expeditions.
Expeditions are scenario hunts, these can range anywhere from killing a man-eater, capturing living specimens, or transporting a civilian through a hostile environment.
The most famous hunters have even been rumoured to hunt for legendary monster that exist beyond the understanding of science.
Outside predefined Expeditions, rich players can fund their own Expeditions. You will not be paid for this obviously, but everything gained during those hunts, will be yours to keep. Maybe dogs don’t interest you and you had the ill-advised idea to capture a live Barbary Lion to try and tame.
All is possible with funded Expeditions, but not all is a good idea.
The main feature of this hunting game though, is the hunt.
Hunts play out through an asymmetrical turn-based system with the animals & events taking alternating turns, with the player interjecting at any moment to take an action.
Simply play an animal movement card and follow the instructions, continue until the hunt is resolved. Hopefully in your favour.
In the next section, I will go into detail about what makes our hunts so fun.
The core of this game is in it’s card system. Each type of animal has a unique movement deck, attributes, attack cards, & event cards that define the species personality.
This allows hunters to make broad, sweeping, generalizations about the animals, but doesn’t necessarily determine how the individual animal will act exactly.
This is the main feature of the card system. You will never know exactly what your quarry will do next, you just know what it is likely to do next.
Inertia and Momentum
In hunting, momentum is a real issue (as exampled above in The Most Dangerous Game), Bear and Boar Spears are employed entirely to combat this problem. If you have a 200kg animal charging at you at 40km/h and it finally bleeds out, you still have a 200kg ball of mass heading your way, hopefully you’ve got some distance between you.
For this reason, this game tracks inertia and momentum. When a Gorilla throws you against a tree, or a rhino charges you into a cliff face, you feel it. My character mentioned above actually died because he was slammed head first into a rock from a Tiger corpse.
This ties in well with the action point system we have chosen for this game, Stability. Instead of being able to move on at the start of each turn, or having a select number of actions available, you can do what you want, when you want. Provided you can remain standing.
If you creep through the forest you will remain fairly stable and able to reload your gun whilst doing it, and maybe even fire off a shot, but if you are rushing through the forest and then try to also reload your gun you will likely fall over and lose your turn.
This creates a really dramatic atmosphere to the game. Do you sprint as far as you can from the animal, knowing that any dodge would be more like jumping out of the way onto your stomach, or do you move a bit slower so you can be prepared for next turn?
The Art of Tracking
Tracking has been designated to two main features.
The first feature of tracking is the hunt’s set up, this is to represent the long range tracking that takes place hours before the hunt. As the hunting grounds are created a skilled tracker can influence the placement of obstacles. The idea behind this feature is a tracker should be able to use their skill to somewhat decide when and where they will take the animal down.
The second feature of tracking is to aid the placement of the animal. Representing similar ideas as before, this takes place during the opening moves of the hunt.
When the hunter take their place at the edge of the playing area, the animal remains invisible to them until they locate it with tracking or the animals locates them. For skilled trackers this means being able to locate unsuspecting animals right where you want them, and for unskilled trackers this means finding themselves ambushed more often then not.
Escalation of Tension
This is hunting, not warfare and no hunt starts in a fight to the death, so on every movement card there are three actions, one for each temperament.
During the hunt, animals will move through these 3 phases depending on their species and traits.
While some animals will straight up try and murder you, particularly in the case of carnivores, many will simple try to frighten you off unless you insist on a fight.
The first stage is simply, unnoticed. The animal has not noticed you and will continue acting as though they are alone. This stage will usually only be reached by skilled trackers.
The second stage is threatened. At this point the animal has noticed you but is not yet combative. They may be positioning themselves for an attack, harmlessly threatening you, or in some species this may trigger a flight response. Some of the more dangerous animals will move through this stage quite quickly, so use caution.
The third and final stage is antagonistic, the animal now sees you as an enemy and has decided to stand it’s ground. The only option for you here is to retreat or win. Even at this stage some animals will be unwilling to kill you, and instead will maim, wound, and attack you until you retreat or die of blood loss.
Creature Personality and Variation
Animals are also given traits for that individual, so that every animal feels and play differently. No two animals should feel the same, even if they are the same species.
Now when you have three wolves chasing you down, you aren’t just fighting off three wolves, you are fighting off three different animals.
This does not only effect wild animals but also tamed animals, so best keep traits in mind when buying or taming your companions
Ailments and Pyrrhic Victories
Getting the kill does not always mean you’ve won where it matters. During a hunt you can suffer campaign altering injuries, a deep scratch to the face could lose you an eye, a bad enough broken bone could lose the entire limb, a bad non-life altering injury alone could still land you out of action for a few months.
To add to the misery, as you age you will start to face the side-effects of a failing body, eventually culminating in your natural death.
At no point are you forced to retire however. If you think your aging, blinded hunter can succeed with hearing and experience alone, you are free to continue your career.
Here are some of my favourite examples.
King of the Animal Kingdom
Almost the very first time I introduced this game to a child, they asked a very simple question when seeing a particular animal card. “Can I be a Saber-Toothed Tiger?” Hunters no longer interested him, who wants to be a man with a gun when you can be a Saber-Tooth Tiger.
So we made it work. Using a similar system to our taming one, and not unlike a card game, we created a game system in which you draw 3 (or more or less depending on the intelligence of the animal) movement cards and can play them as you wish. This retains the animals natural movements and intelligence but allows the human to influence control.
Ever since then the system for playing as an animal has existed.
Duel of the Tricksters
Now that animal control exist, how about we make like Tricksters and fight as shape shifting gods. This was an idea shared between a friend and myself.
In this mode you and your competitor have a point allowance that can be used to design 1 to 3 animals (with traits) that you can shape shift into and fight to the death with. For an extra challenge limit the types to one of each animal subset i.e. regular animals, extinct animals, and supernatural monsters.
This rule also has some advice on adding shape-shifting to your campaign if that's what your into.
Betting on Blood
Now blood sports are obviously wrong. But, hypothetically, me and my buddy have money burning a hole in our pockets, what are we meant to do.
In this mode we randomly generate animals and bet our hunters substantial wealth on the outcomes.
Due to the mechanics of the game this mode is pretty damn fun to watch when you have a bet on the line. The animals hunt each other like they would anything else, and the inertia and momentum rules keeps things lively.
For a really fun experience add the challenge of needing to capture an animal for the arena. Finding a Bunyip, would cost a fortune, catching one alive would be more then ill-advised, but losing this bet, nothing could be worse.
As the core elements of the game are all but complete, the money earned from the Kickstarter will be used to fund printing the game, along with improving the overall design and style of the game's art, with the help of professional artists/designers.
The main reason for using Kickstarter over alternative funding sources is that it gives me the ability to reach out to those that are interested in this game before we are actually published, which is something a bank loan for example, couldn't do. I like the idea of being able to share my ideas and plans with a community of like minded gamers that can help shape this game into the best it can be.
+$500 - Community Additions
For each additional $500 we will add another item, expedition, or trait (or it's human counterparts).
This is a chance for the community to have their own say. Once funding is complete I will send out a guide to all backers on how to construct your own hypothetical item, expedition, or traits (i.e. stats needed, fluff text, etc). Any suggestions will be posted to the community and polled upon.
+$1,000 - Community Creatures
This is the same as the above tier but with creatures. This includes a bestiary page, unique animal events, movement cards, tokens, and various other tools needed to create a complete creature.
A good idea for this section could be if there is a local legend in your area that you don't think an Australian would have known about, or maybe just an animal you really love.
As the game already has a substantial bestiary, I will eliminate all doubles as to not waste the chance for an extra monster, likewise with the above stretch goal.
$7,500 - Auxiliary Items for Auxiliary Rules
This stretch goal will add cards, tokens, and various other items that could aid players when playing with some of the auxiliary rule sets. By no means are they required, but like the rules themselves, they'd be a fun addition. These additions may also add value to those creating their own homebrew'd rules.
$10,000 - Expanded Rulebook
While the rule book already has a gallery section for art used in the game, on reaching this tier we will expand it. This will include biographies for some of the reoccurring artist and more detailed descriptions for the art.
In addition this will also add more information into the bestiaries, and items (such historical usages, invention, discovery, or just interesting facts).
$15,000 - Companion App
The game will be released with a free companion app, with the focus on easing set up for quick games, recording hunters for long multi-session campaigns, and saving the information for surviving (read:escaped) creatures for vengeance or pride reasons.
What's included in the box.
Full coloured rulebook. Included is a gallery section for information on all art used in the game.
42 Animal Decks
These include movement cards, damage decks, event cards, various token, and face cards. There are 42 unique creatures. Pack animals like wolves are counted as one for this list, but enough is provided to have multiple wolves in a single hunt.
Subject to change for additional animals added via stretch goals and reward tiers.
65 Expedition Cards/Expedition Rulebook
At the moment, Expeditions are in cards but I’m thinking about switching them into a separate rulebook that’ll allow for more information and fluff per Expedition. Whatever format I ultimately decide on, there will be 65 unique expeditions.
100 Trait, Proficiency, and Mastery Cards
Trait cards are used to make each animal unique. I wrote a bit about it above, so if you want to know more, check there.
Proficiency and Mastery cards are similar but for hunters. These are abilities that your hunter has, whether it's knowledge like 'Exquisite Surgeon' or physical attributes like 'Spring-Heeled'.
52 Item Cards
Guns, spears, tourniquet, amputation kits, telescopes, compasses, etc. All items are based off real historical items used at the time.
30 Event Cards
These do not include the species events, but are campaign and hunt events.
2D Trees, swamps, rocks, cliff faces, etc.
To create random and unique play areas, or to be used tactically as a skilled tracker.
4 Reusable Animal Sheets
Used during hunts to keep track of blood, exhaustion, traits, and movement cards. Each comes with a corresponding token to be placed on the battlefield so you can keep track of each animal separately.
We use blank animal sheets (rather than giving each animal a preexisting card) so that any modification from traits can be easily referred to, rather than needing to mentally add the modified stats each time. These sheets are card (not paper), and are reusable for future games.
4 Campaign/Hunter Sheets
As above, but for hunters.
1 Turn Flowchart
Flowcharts are easily the best way to play complicated boardgames, both for people learning for the first time, and players returning.
1 Marksman Kit
Used for optional marksman rules. It has a ruler, a (cardboard) compass, and target sheets.
The optional rules are for a less role-playing style shooting mechanic and a more skill-based one. Using wind, animal facing, and a good eye, this allows you to take some really satisfying shots, or some really awful ones. The ruler included is used for normal play as well.
We offer worldwide shipping, and to make it easier for all of us, shipping has been included in the price.
So, no additional shipping cost required.
Errant Games is the direct result of countless years spent playing tabletop games instead of socialising, studying, or generally being a valuable member of society.
In my adult life now, I am a web dev, studying historian, and aspiring author. Errant Games was less of an attempt to break into the tabletop industry and more wanting to bring my passion projects to other people.
I've been designing games ever since I started playing Avalon Hill games when I was a teenager, just as a natural progression of home-brewing my own rules and such. And of the countless that I've brainstormed and created, I think I have two really good ones. And I would love to see them in the hands of other people.
Karamojo is the first of those games.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk that I see is with shipping and production. I’ve never organised anything on this scale before and there is always a worry when doing something new. I’ve read and talked to a lot of people, who have been in this position before and have managed it successfully, so with their guidance I believe I can overcome this hurdle.
As far as actual game production goes, it has existed and been worked on for 5 years now, so I have no worries with the game design. The rule book will be my main project before production starts. Everyone who has played it has been with me, and I’ve been able to explain everything in person. Creating an easy to read rulebook for those who have absolutely no idea how it works will take some time, especially for a game this dense, but as I will be sending advance PDF copies to my backers before production starts I will be able to nip any problem in the bud.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter