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A worker placement/deck-builder board game set in a city of Nightmares. Play. Betray. Survive. Build your deck. Escape the city.
A worker placement/deck-builder board game set in a city of Nightmares. Play. Betray. Survive. Build your deck. Escape the city.
655 backers pledged $23,863 to help bring this project to life.


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A Board Game for 2-4 Players • Ages 13 & Up • 45-60 Minutes

Welcome to the city of Nightmares. Now you're Awake.

Evil Hat brings great games to the table, and we have something truly great in store for you in this Kickstarter. We’re proud to introduce Don't Turn Your Back, a game that brings together the best of everything Evil Hat can deliver.

With a unique combination of deck building and worker placement elements, and a design that creator Eric B. Vogel has called one of his best yet, it offers a fresh and exciting gameplay experience. You might recognize Eric’s work from the villainous pulp deckbuilder Zeppelin Attack. We've paired Eric's amazing design with our Mad City setting — seen in RPG form as Don't Rest Your Head and fiction as Don't Read This Book — and combined that with lush, psychedelic, dark, wonderful art from master photomanipulator George Cotronis.

The result is a gripping, darkly entertaining game, and once you've had a taste, we think you'll agree.

The Pitch

Build your deck. Survive the city.

Walk the twisted streets of the Mad City in a boardgame that fuses worker placement with deck building. Extract dreams in the City Slumbering, and use them to buy favors from Nightmares. Procure special services in the Bizarre Bazaar. Score points through skillful play in Mother When's deadly High School, and the sinister 13th District. Compete for the Wax King's favor, and the ultimate prize...escape!

In this game, set in the sinister world of the Don’t Rest Your Head roleplaying game, your opponents lurk around every corner, waiting to attack. 

Can you outsmart your friends and win the Nightmares' game? Whatever you do, Don't Turn Your Back!

How Do I Play?

Watch this video and learn —

— or, if you learn better by reading, check out our rulebook in PDF!

The Don’t Rest Your Head Universe & The Digital Nightmare Package

Don’t Rest Your Head started as an RPG — a sleek, dangerous little game in which players are superpowered insomniacs, fighting (and using) exhaustion and madness to stay alive in a reality gone wrong called the Mad City. We love the world of the game, and are thrilled that fans love it too. A few years later, we added a supplement full of madness-power expansions called Don’t Lose Your Mind. Next we decided to revisit the world in an anthology full of stories that could inspire new games, or just appeal to fans of insane little pieces of fiction. Don’t Read This Book contains stories from 13 authors edited by the delightfully strange Chuck Wendig. Ever since, we’ve wanted to take a walk on the streets of the Mad City once again, and Don’t Turn Your Back is the result of that.

For our Digital Nightmare Package, as a thank you to backers of this Kickstarter who pledge $10 or higher, we’re including electronic copies of Don’t Rest Your Head, Don’t Lose Your Mind, and Don’t Read This Book to backers at the Denizen level and higher. 

We'll release these to all current backers at $10 & higher when the project hits its funding goal (see below), and we'll send them out again after the campaign concludes to make sure we catch everyone. 

Project Goals

Between art and manufacture, our costs for this project will tally a minimum of $35,000, not including shipping. This Kickstarter campaign is about helping us cover those costs, at the least.

It's also about finding an audience for Don't Turn Your Back. Is this the sort of game you want to see from Evil Hat? Should we do more board games? Are you enjoying our further exploration of the Mad City setting of Don't Rest Your Head? The performance of this campaign helps us answer those questions. 

And finally and most importantly we want to share our love for this game with you all. Designer Eric Vogel has called this design one of his best to date, and we have to agree — the fusion of deck builder and worker placement elements has created a really unique gameplay experience, one we're excited to bring to you!

Available Add-Ons For Our Awake Backers

The Don't Rest Your Head RPG was Evil Hat's very first for-pay product, released in the early half of 2006. It went out of print in the last year or so, retiring to the digital-only pastures — but for our Kickstarter backers, we'll put it back in print so you can get a physical copy. To add a physical copy of Don't Rest Your Head to your shipment, add $15 to your pledge.

Don't Read This Book is a collection of short stories by some of the darkest imaginations in gaming and fiction. Edited by mad-genius Chuck Wendig and with thirteen stories by authors like Harry Connolly, Stephen Blackmoore, Greg Stolze, and C.E. Murphy, it's brimming with tales that take you deeper into the world of the Mad City. You'll even see a couple cards in the game based on creatures from these stories, like Harry Connolly's Shameful creation. To add a physical copy of Don't Read This Book to your shipment, add $15 to your pledge.

(We may be able to get some Don't Lose Your Mind copies printed up too, tho those were done with a different printer we haven't used in a while, so we'll need some time to get that sorted out. We may also have some other add-on items before it's all said & done. Stay tuned!)

You can increase your pledge (look for the "manage pledge" button over on the right, here on the Kickstarter site) by the amount indicated above, and after the campaign is over you'll have a chance to specify what you're interested in picking up in BackerKit, at the same time as you're paying for the shipping.

These books are all light weight relative to the board game itself, so we will not be charging extra per-item shipping for any of the above add-ons, no matter where you are.

Shipping Costs

Shipping costs often comprise the biggest hurdle facing a Kickstarter campaign. We're doing our best to manage these as well as we can, with the size and configuration of our current operation. International shipping in particular is ... well, a Nightmare. Brace yourself for that, if you're outside the USA!

Because shipping costs are highly variable, it's a rough ride to include them as part of the math around reward tiers for a Kickstarter campaign — and it inflates the actual project funding goals when it's included. 

So with all that in mind, for this campaign we'll be billing for the shipping costs after the campaign is over, via the BackerKit pledge management service. This charge is in addition to whatever you pledge here.

See below for our estimates of costs.

EXPECTED SHIPPING COSTS (Based on estimated 3lb package)

These estimates reflect the maximum we'll charge for shipping. We will not hit you with a surprise increase beyond these amounts; setting expectations here is key! 

These numbers were improved on February 23rd. We'll continue to work on improving them if we can. (See update #6)

In the USA: +$5. No additional charge for additional items in the same shipment.

Canada & Mexico: +$25. +$10 per additional copy beyond the first. (This is a few dollars lower than actual cost for an International Priority shipment, or right at the mark for First Class International if the package falls within the weight limits that allow that rate.)

UK: +$15. +$10 per additional copy beyond the first.

Europe: +$25. +$10 per additional copy beyond the first.

Anywhere else in the world: +$30. +$10 per additional copy beyond the first. (This is a few dollars lower than the actual cost of International Priority Mail as quoted to us. Much depends on the actual shipping weight calculations, once we can make them.) 

For international shipments, our shippers will do what they can to mark the customs forms in the most favorable, legal way, although, this is subject to human error and other constraints.

While we will do our best to figure out ways to reduce shipping costs, there's no guarantee we'll manage it — so please include these shipping estimates in your budget! Thanks!


  • Fortune Taker (Game Designer, Video Maker): Eric B Vogel
  • Dream Dealer (Artist): George Cotronis
  • Face Merchant (Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Layout Artist): Fred Hicks
  • Harvesters (Business Development & Marketing): Chris Hanrahan, Carrie Harris
  • Truant Officer (Project Manager): Sean Nittner
  • City Desk Editor (Editor): Karen Twelves
  • Wax King (Voice of the Hat): Paul Tevis
  • Clockwork Deputies (Playtesters): Ari, Alexis, Shannon Appelcline, Mulan Bartholomew, David Boyd, Amy Crook, Rob Donoghue, Michael Economy, Tim Espasandin, Dan Fernandez, Brad Goodson, Ian Hanrahan, Jos Harbinger, Fred Hicks, Carmen Ho, Holden, Jasper Peng, Joy, Jefferson Krough, Lorelei, Eric Lytle, Mak Mak, Sean Nitter, Elizabeth Ottenheimer, David O, Sam Owens, Chris Ruggerio, Jon Spinner, Eric Thornber, Karen Twelves, Jaakko Wainikkinen, and Yorick.
    The Evil Hat Productions logo is a trademark of Evil Hat Productions, LLC. The Vainglorious Games logo is a trademark of Eric B. Vogel. Don’t Turn Your Back is ©2015 by Evil Hat Productions, LLC and Eric B. Vogel. All rights reserved. 

Risks and challenges

Evil Hat is an experienced game publisher. We've produced multiple printed roleplaying games in a variety of physical formats, as well as a board game and multiple sets of dice over the past nine-plus years. This game is our second board game after Race to Adventure, as well as our second card game after Zeppelin Attack. We are applying our lessons from both those projects (as well as other experiences) here.

We will manufacture Don't Turn Your Back with the same folks who made Zeppelin Attack, so the business relationship is already firmly established and positive, and we've learned plenty about what we need to do from our prior board and card games.

Evil Hat's experience puts us in a fine position to take on the risks and challenges that arise—as with any project, experience tells us a few problems and bugaboos *will* arise.

Here's what we can anticipate as potential problems.

DISTANCE: The games will be manufactured in China. This can always introduce complications, particularly when it comes time to ship them in bulk. Delays could happen simply because everything is happening far away from us.

SCHEDULE: China has a different rhythm for holidays and other calendar events than we do. Occasionally our schedules won't align with theirs; that can add a week here, a week there.

MANUFACTURE: Problems can happen during the manufacturing process. Prototypes don't turn out like you'd expect. Materials thought to be readily available might take longer to procure. File revisions might require a second round of prototyping. Safety testing might take longer than projected. These issues, too, can create delays.

SHIPPING: Packages get lost. We'll work with you to send replacements. Our shipper may take longer than expected. We won't put the game on sale until they've shipped out all backer copies. Shipping costs can end up higher than expected. We'll absorb the overage.

FINANCES: Thanks to the success of the Dresden Files RPG and Fate Core, Evil Hat is — for the game industry — a perhaps atypically solvent game company. We've already spent thousands on getting Don't Turn Your Back to this point, and our bank account continues to look plenty healthy. If an unexpected cost arises, we've got the cushion to take the hit.

If YOU can think of a risk or challenge we haven't mentioned here, please write in and ask. We love to answer questions, and we do our best to provide an unparalleled customer service experience whenever possible.

We intend to impress you.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00


    Sign up for project updates! We'll also give you access to a digital preview of Don't Turn Your Back while the campaign is still live — see update #1, linked in the banner right under the video on the main page. (We won't call the preview "print and play" because this game is very ink-intensive!)

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    59 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10


    Show your support for us making this game! As thanks, we'll put together a Digital Nightmare Package for you, with PDF copies of the fiction anthology, roleplaying game, and maybe a little more as the campaign progresses.

    We'll also give you access to a digital preview of Don't Turn Your Back, while the campaign is still live — see update #1, linked in the banner right under the video on the main page. (We won't call the preview "print and play" because this game is very ink-intensive!)

    Estimated delivery
    65 backers
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40


    Get one physical copy of the board game, plus everything a Denizen gets, shipped to you.

    Shipping will be billed separately after the campaign is over, via the Backerkit pledge manager website.

    This separate, additional shipping charge will vary based on where you are in the world. See "EXPECTED SHIPPING COSTS" on the front page of the project for our projected rates.

    If you wish to add more copies to your shipment, simply add $40 to your pledge for each additional copy.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    516 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80


    Get $80 credit towards picking up Don't Turn Your Back at our standard retailer rate (click the "Contact Me" link near our logo at the top of the page to inquire for details).

    This reward ships to US addresses only, and shipping is included. You'll be asked after the campaign is over to verify that you are in fact a brick and mortar games retailer.

    To support your local customers, we're completely fine with you extending the Denizen level benefits to those who preorder the game through you instead of this campaign!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    11 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)