So, it looks like I can finally tell you about the app.
The app! There's gonna be one!
A while back, we partnered up with Hidden Achievement to create the Deck of Fate Mobile Edition app, an accessory for our popular RPG system, Fate Core. We were so satisfied with the results that we asked them if they'd be interested in doing a multi-platform ad-app-tation of the card game. They were! So we've been working them through the contract negotiation process behind the scenes while this Kickstarter shot off all its fireworks in the very loud foreground of things. :)
So! Things are finally far enough along that we can now announce the app, and properly identify it as the big final monetary stretch goal for the Circle of Aspiration.
The app is already going to get made — it's just a matter of time, really — and we'd love to give you all a chance to get involved. So at $450,000 we'll be able to provide a starter budget to Hidden Achievement to take care of some of the up-front costs that kicking off a project like this entails. As a thank you, when we hit that goal, everyone on this Kickstarter will have another benefit coming their way — free unlocks of Kickstarter variants and expansions on the app once it gets released to the world. So all the stuff you've already unlocked here, will be unlocked there too!
Why not give the app away free?
Well, there's a problem with that — several of the platforms we want to see this released on simply don't provide a way to give copies of an app away for free. The option just isn't there. Plus, as we've said, they're making the app anyway, and some of the budget beyond what we're covering here depends on the app getting, y'know, bought. :) We felt our best remaining option was to get you all the extra stuff that's likely to be available as in-app purchases, for free. And at $450k, we will!
Who is Hidden Achievement?
You want blurb? We gots a blurb!
Twelve years ago, reformed evil genius Tess Snider abandoned a life of space robots and surveillance drones to make videogames. (Jim Butcher trivia note! Tess was part of that big circle of folks from AmberMUSH that includes Jim, Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue, Lydia Leong, C.E. Murphy, and others, from back in their college years.) Seventeen years ago, Jason Maltzen gave up his rock-and-roll lifestyle to work on Ultima games at Origin Systems. Together, they fight crime! Wait, no, actually, they founded a small independent game company in Austin, TX, called Hidden Achievement.
In the five years since then, they have worked behind-the-scenes on such great games as Card Hunter and the Banner Saga. Recently, they worked with Evil Hat to bring The Deck of Fate to phones and tablets. They are committed to providing a DFCO experience that is faithful to the tabletop edition, while still adapting to the unique (and sometimes vexing!) needs of desktop and mobile platforms.
Did You Say Multi-Platform?
Yep! We're looking at Steam, iOS, Android, and more. Details will get refined as the process moves further along. The project is still young, so there's only so much I can answer for you about this part of it right now. :)
Yeah, you're telling me. I was dyin' trying not to share that one with y'all. Thankfully, I got better. Sort of like Ghost Story, but uh... a lot more ordinary and without the thing, you know what I'm talking about, the thiiiiing.
Anyway! That's it for today's update, what with the prior update being the other half that was supposed to be joined with this one. :)
So let's all join hands, incant a few dark phrases, and make our final days of this campaign a big, zombie-T-rex-sized event. Cue up your One-Woman Rave and get this party started!
And of course — thanks as always for your support!
Amazing! When we launched the Circle of Gratitude we thought it might end up lasting us to the end of the campaign. We are very happy to be proven wrong!
The Circle of Gratitude Has Ended, But Our Gratitude Is Endless
Here's what you done done:
Knocked $10 off shipping for everyone (domestic shipping on this Kickstarter is now FREE)
Unlocked tons of digital art
.... plus 3 variant Red-Court-Infected Susan cards for her deck, which will be shipped free with every backer copy of the game.
... plus 2 variant cards for Harry's deck. (Also included free)
... plus a full playable Ra, Sun God for Hire deck. (Also included free)
... plus a full playable Mouse, Foo Dog deck. (Also included free)
... plus a preview chapter of PEACE TALKS to be posted as soon as this Kickstarter ends (Jim needs to get us the revised version)
... Not to mention all the Essentials you took care of first, extending the art budget and funding multiple expansions for the game!
So What's Next?
After the Circle of Gratitude.
You already got two!
Drop Dead, Fred
Wow! Blast from the past. That was a fun movie.
Oh! Ohhhhhh. Oh. Hm.
I mean, I suppose I could tell you about—
I know that sound!
It's the lawyer alert!
Turns out the update I had planned for this past Tuesday contains stuff that I'm not in the clear to share yet. So — really, honestly, truly, it is not me teasing y'all this time — I'm gonna have to leave the $450k stretch goal we have ahead of us a mystery until the ink dries on the associated contract.
That said, I can share with you the stuff that's around that goal.
What's Up With All The Backer Counts On The Circle?
Ah! Ah, yes. That's the other part of this circle.
Besides the mystery $450k goal that I really want to share with you but can't.
I suppose I could tell you about those.
Sorry, sorry! I draw things out because I love. Also because I'm sustained by your tears of agony. White Court represen—
Hey, put that blasting rod down. I'm getting to it!
This is the point in the campaign where we've really hit all of our financial goals for the game, so we thought it would be fun to pivot over to some backer-count-based stretch goals (and, yes — you've already hit at least one of them!). As the main part of this, we're partnering with gaming-audio genius Wes Otis from Plate Mail Games.
Under the Plate Mail Games banner, Wes has created a variety of gaming-friendly ambient audio loops that have been backed here on Kickstarter, and are up for sale on DriveThruRPG. If you've ever wanted to play your tabletop game against the audio backdrop of a medieval tavern, a raging space battle, or the dark streets of a haunted town, Wes is your guy. Here's the Official Blurb:
Wes Otis started Plate Mail Games in 2013 with the goal of bring professional audio to tabletop games. After working in Hollywood for companies such as Warner Bros. and Disney as a sound designer, he decided he wanted to take his experience in audio and mix it with his love of all things gaming. To date, Plate Mail Games created over 500 tracks covering all genres. Each track is made to help set a mood without interfering with the story or game play.
So for this Kickstarter, we're asking Wes to create a series of Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game inspired ambient audio tracks that you can have on in the background while you play the game. Starting at 6000 backers (happening REAL SOON) you'll unlock 1 track, and we'll add another track to our order for every 500 additional backers we get past that point, potentially going all the way up to 11,500 backers and 12 total tracks.
I've backed several of Plate Mail's gaming audio Kickstarters in the past, and Wes always delivers professional, layered sound that really ups my game at game night. I'm super excited to work with him to develop some new urban fantasy oriented tracks as an additional thank-you for our backers!
So, while the Circle of Gratitude might be complete, but we're still aspiring to thank you in other ways too. Some of which we can share. Some of which... well, I'm really hoping it's all resolved early next week. :) Speaking of which...
How Bout That Circle of Gratitude?
Just imagine if we'd launched the Kickstarter with everything in the first two Circles factored in, with an initial funding target of $375k.
Folks would've said we were deep into warlock territory.
So thank you all, so much, for staying with us, for keeping the faith through all the stretch goals we broke that $375k down into. Doing things the way we did them, in the order we did them, has made this a stronger campaign than it might've been otherwise, and that means we've got our feet firmly planted for a strong launch for this game in 2017.
That is just incredibly valuable, and might just be the key event that kicks Evil Hat — as a company and game publisher — to the next level, just as our Fate Core Kickstarter did just a few years ago.
So, as the Circle of Gratitude completes its final arc, I'm sending you a gigantic round of thank-yous from all of us at Evil Hat. There's more to come, for sure — but you've already made possible (and even expanded) the dreams we had when we pressed "launch" just a few weeks back.
Wow! We're just past the halfway point in this campaign, with as much time ahead of us as we've got behind us, and SO MUCH has happened since my update late last week. Let's have a look:
You unlocked a free Ra, Sun God for Hire crossover character deck for every backer copy shipped for this KS. (I joined the Sentinels of the Multiverse digital app-makers, Handelabra, to play Sentinels online last night as a celebration of this — and their own Kickstarter — and the video will go up on their YouTube channel later today. Check it out!)
You unlocked Murphy's digital art
You unlocked Michael's digital art
You pushed the shipping discount up to $8
Not to mention our stretch goals are getting closer still: you're a little over $20k to the free-with-each-backer-copy-of-the-game MOUSE hero deck, and under $40k to unlocking the PEACE TALKS chapter one preview at the end of the campaign. Crazy stuff. I was sure those goals were going to last us longer, but noooo, you just keep on racing towards the finish line like you've gone and hopped on the back of Karrin's bike.
So that's all super exciting... and there's something else you did that really blew us away: you pushed the backer count up past 5000!
That's a seriously big deal.
Aside from providing funding, a Kickstarter also assesses demand for an upcoming game, and gives us vital data to make sure we're printing enough games to meet that demand. Without this Kickstarter, not only would we have produced a game with less varied art (thank you again for addressing that!) we would have also played it safe (if we printed the game at all) and shot for the minimum quantity with the manufacturer.
That minimum quantity is 5000 copies. So y'all've beaten that minimum handily. And when we see this kind of demand inside of a campaign, we know we can aim higher to meet the demand that follows — thanks to your help, we'll be printing thousands more copies than we could have otherwise. As a practical guarantee of a strong launch, especially when backed with the great word of mouth our print & players and demoers have been giving us, it's an incredibly exciting number to see. Thank you all!
Yes! Saturday I finished up my trip to Austin, Texas with a couple solid hours of demos at the magnificent Dragon's Lair. The experience remains consistent: big smiles, confident backers, and new recruits for the campaign. I'm so happy to get out there and demo this game!
I'm back in Maryland now, but not for long. This weekend I fly to California, and that means I'll have a chance to visit the freshly-opened Endgame Cafe in Oaklandattached to the simply amazing Endgame Oakland gamestore. You can find me there 1pm-4pm this Saturday, May 7th demoing DFCO and talking Evil Hat. I'm sure I'll be there more than just that slot for general conversation and admiring Endgame's many fine features, too.
Meanwhile in Davie, Florida, this Thursday night, May 5th, at 7pm, our legal counsel and fellow DFCO fan Justin Jacobson will be demoing DFCO at the Adventure Game Store.
Justin and I both have the expansion drafts (with placeholder art) so if you're curious to give those a test drive, make sure to come on by!
Our Featured Add-Onseses: More By Vogel
While I've been making a grand old noisy time here on the Kickstarter and all around social media, I don't want that getting in the way of recognizing the super-vital role designer Eric Vogel has played in this process. (In a later update, we'll share Eric's prototype history of the game — what a long strange trip etc — for those of you who like digging into the guts of how this game came to be.)
Eric is an absolute pleasure to work with, and uses his varied career background to support his designs at every step of the way. Did you know he's the guy who did the music and video for the campaign? plus the learn-to-play video? How about the fact that he uses his experience as a clinical psychologist and psychology professor to ensure that the game upholds and incentivizes true cooperation and teamwork? Just an amazing guy.
Whenever Eric brings us a prototype, he's already iterated heavily, making sure he's putting his best foot forward, and he rolls with all the curveballs we toss back at him. It's a strong partnership, and one we're keen to continue. It's also not the first time he's teamed up with us, and that brings me to today's featured add-ons!
Previously Eric has designed two deck-building games for us, each breaking the paradigm of your typical deck-builder. Whether you add on for them with your pledge here, or run to your favorite game store to pick up a copy, they're well worth your time!
Don't Turn Your Back, priced at $40, is a hybrid game — part deck builder, part worker placement, part area control — set in the phantasmagoric dreamworld of the Mad City, where Nightmares walk the streets and a good night's sleep can get you killed. Can you survive the politics and favor-trading of this dark dreamworld to escape the city? Perhaps — but only if you play at the Wax King's game better than your friends do. When looking to put the Mad City behind you, make sure you don't turn your back. You can learn more at Evil Hat's website, here, including a video tutorial.
Zeppelin Attack, priced at $20, breaks the deck-building mold in a different way. No huge piles of cards! The game is a lean, mean, pulp-villains-colliding-in-airships atomic machine, and it plays fast, just the way we like it. Deploy your zeppelins, order your minions, and defeat your rivals in your bid to conquer the skies. And, yep, we've got a video tutorial for this one too. Check it out!
Rest assured, Eric Vogel will continue to be a designer to watch.
Not sure how to add something onto your pledge? Never fear — it's one of the questions we've covered in the project FAQ. Make sure to check that out.
And that's it for today! Thanks as always for your support, and we look forward to you hitting those final Circle of Gratitude goals in the coming days — the Mouse deck we have in testing is looking to be a big old dogpile of fun. Onward!
P.S. We just noticed our Dystopian Universe RPG partners over at Indie Boards & Cards are running a KSer for a LOVELY edition of Coup. Take a look at that gorgeous art!
I figured I could go out of town for a week, safe and secure that the last update would cover me until I get back. But noooo, look at you guys go! I'd better write another update. Which I am. Uh, doing. Anyway!
In this update I'll:
Look at our progress (and how close we're getting to that preview chapter of Peace Talks)
Announce the identity of the MYSTERY DECK at 9-stars
Take a look at this update's featured add-on
Talk about my demoing in Austin so far
Progress! You has it!
With every star you folks unlock we get ever closer to the big, ultimate, ten-star PEACE TALKS chapter preview from the next Dresden Files novel! It's less than $100k away at this point and, folks, I know that sounds like a lot ... but it's so doable, seeing how far you've gotten us already. We're only ten days into this 30-day campaign. And everybody who backs this project wins when that one unlocks, from our digital backers all the way up!
Speaking of which, let's take a look at what you've gotten done while I've been out of town—you've:
Unlocked two variant Harry Dresden cards for every backer copy of the game. Dress Harry in a Cheesy Vampire Costume, and tilt your ear to listen to the Whispers of Lasciel!
Unlocked three variant Susan Rodriguez cards for every backer copy of the game. Infect her deck, making her attacks more potent & riskier!
Unlocked a bunch of new digital art for the art folder available via Update #1
Knocked $5 off of everyone's shipping rate!
That's over $40k of progress since I last posted... and I've only been away for a few days! This is nuts in the best possible way.
And this progress means the remaining goals of the Circle of Gratitude are drawing tantalizingly close:
Just a few thousand bucks to get to Murphy's art
Just a little over $30k (less than you've done in a handful of days) to get to the Sentinels of the Multiverse crossover deck for Ra, Sun God for Hire (featuring a Staff of Ra card that never leaves your hand until you want it to, a talent that intensifies the burn for injured Foes, and a stunt that lets you claim an Attack card from an ally's discard so you can imbue it with fire)
Just a little over $50k to get to Michael's art
Less than $75k to get to a new playable Dresden Files character deck REVEALED BELOW (yes, I'm making you wait; I learned from watching Jim!)
Less than $93k to get to the preview of Dresden Files #16, PEACE TALKS
... plus increased shipping discounts at every step of the way!
The numbers might seem big, but the numbers y'all have already brought to bear are bigger. Everything here is well within reach ... and yes, there is a third circle if you clear all of these with time to spare.
Bring the fuego, people!
So, demoing in Austin has gone great! This weeken—
Oh! Right, that wasn't what was next. Let's look at this update's featured add-on. Today I want to ta—
Hm? Oh, the mystery deck? I suppose I could talk about that next.
Yeah. I could do that. Now, you think?
Wow, great impression of our mystery character! How'd you guess?
That's right — our nine-star "Mystery Deck" is everyone's favorite foo dog and wizard's best friend, the mighty MOUSE.
When unlocked, this free-to-our-backers playable hero deck brings some serious support to your efforts to beat the challenges of any deck. His Foo Dog Talent helps his allies cycle their hands, trading out less worthy cards to try to draw better ones. His Warning Bark Stunt refreshes a friend's already-used Stunt. And his balanced, potent deck includes a few tricks that can help unstick the stickiest of situations on the board. (Plus, Mister will make a guest appearance too.)
We can't wait to make this happen for you!
Our Featured Add-On
We've been getting a ton of new backer traffic as the project rolls on, and many of you have also upgraded your pledges from the $39 to $69 level to get all three expansions. That's fantastic! But you may be wondering how current backers can do more to help us reach our goals.
Starting with this update I'm going to talk about one of our potential add-ons beyond the expansions you've funded — you absolutely don't need to up your pledge to cover these items, but if you're motivated to push for that goal and you don't mind waiting for the items to ship when the game ships, these add-ons from our existing catalog can level up your impending package from fuego to pyrofuego.
You're already getting 8 dice in your copy of DFCO, but some groups may want to have more to scatter around the table so nobody's having to reach too far to grab what they need when the cards call for a roll. Or maybe you're also an RPG fan and you want to accessorize for our line of Fate RPGs, including the Dresden Files RPG.
No matter the reason, we've got Fate Dice in all sorts of colors and materials to suit your style! Each package contains 12 dice. For the Dresden Files fan, we have the Dresden Files Winter Knight set, priced at $18, and featuring some fiery orange, silver-on-blue, and icy iridescent dice. It's a very satisfying set, designed specifically to suit our favorite wizard.
But we have a number of other sets priced at $15 each, including...
Our newest set, Frost Dice, which have this great matte-frosted translucence to them, for the Winter Lady in all of us;
The Vampire Dice set, dark and rich, black and purple and red
Our super-popular Core Dice and Antiquity Dice sets
Eldritch Dice with glow-in-the-dark symbols on swirling green dice that any Outsider would approve of
Valentine Dice for the Thomas or Justine in your life
We do our best to craft our sets of Fate Dice with a strong sense of theme and style. Check them out, and if you like what you see, just increase your pledge by the amount indicated now, and after the campaign's over make your selection in BackerKit for the set(s) you desire. You can never have enough dice!
Austin: Wednesday & Tomorrow
This past Wednesday I got a chance to demo at Wonko's here in Austin (my wife is at a tech conference; while that's happening, I've been getting some game biz done). It went REALLY well. I'm so happy to have seen many of you there, including other out-of-towners who, as it turns out, were here for — yep — the same tech conference.
Lots of happy faces resulted that evening, as well as a chance for people to check out some of our expansion content for the game. At its peak, we had 5 simultaneous demos going, 20+ players, more waiting in the wings. It was a great time!
There's still another chance to catch me before I leave town, if you're in the area. This Saturday I'll be at the mighty Dragon's Lair here in Austin, as a part of International Tabletop Day. I'd expect the store to be super-busy, and I only have two hours to demo from 4pm-6pm, so demo opportunities may be a bit tight.
But I'll also be on hand as early as 2pm, and probably won't leave until we get close to 8pm, in case you'd like to talk in person about DFCO, Evil Hat, Fate, or really, anything. I promise I'll only run my mouth a little bit nonstop if you get me started.
Plus, while supplies last, the store should have a few copies of a promo card for one of DFCO designer Eric Vogel's other games, Don't Turn Your Back (a super innovative combo if deck building and worker placement — seriously, Eric, stop using up all the fantastic board game ideas, leave some for the rest of us).
Both Dragon's Lair and Wonko's have really impressed me. You've got some great stores in the area (I wish my schedule could've accommodated me visiting more of them—they all sound so good) and I'm super pleased to be a part of bringing folks into the stores to play the game and lend a little financial support to these local businesses. Brick & mortar stores are the backbone of the hobby.
And that's it for today's update. (Thanks for sticking with me. I had a lot to say!) You all have done so much for us, for this project, for this game already ... I can't wait to see where the next ten days take us. Thank you, so much!
BACKERS! Weekends are supposed to be soft, underperforming days in a Kickstarter campaign! Instead, you pledged over 30,000 additional dollars over the weekend! You should sit and think about what you've done, backers! Are you proud of yourself?!
... You frakking well should be!
Amazing! As of this writing we've knocked a few bucks off of shipping for everyone, with more digital art unlocks close at hand, and new exclusives approaching for our backers. We aren't even done with our first week yet (that's at midnight tonight). This is a golden time—we're enjoying the hell out of it!
So. This is a long update, but I don't want to make you read a bunch of stuff unless you feel you must, so here's the short version of what I'm gonna get into below.
I'm demoing DFCO in Austin, Texas this week! Come see me at Wonko's on Wednesday evening and Dragon's Lair on Saturday afternoon.
Eric Vogel has been testing the swap-in cards for Susan's deck — our five-star stretch goal — and early signs are promising.
We're revealing somestones and adding new stones too to the Circle of Gratitude!
★★★★ NEW STONE! Vary Harry, Verily: Two swap-in cards for Harry's deck when we reach our four-star stretch goal: Whispers of Lasciel and Cheesy Costume! (We've added a second new stone for a Dresden Files character deck to the circle as well, but we're keeping which character a mystery for now until we're satisfied with the play-testing.)
★★★★★★★ STONE REVEALED! World's Fieriest: Sentinels of the Multiverse Hero RA crosses over and goes full urban fantasy with an exclusive playable Hero deck for DFCO, designed by me (Fred Hicks) with Eric Vogel's supervision, when we reach our seven-star stretch. For those times when one fire-slinging mystical badass isn't enough!
★★★★★★★★★★ STONE REVEALED! When we reach our final ten-star stretch in the Circle of Gratitude, you'll unlock an exclusive benefit for backers, delivered when the campaign ends in mid-May: an early preview of the first chapter of Peace Talks — the next novel of the Dresden Files!
Got your attention? Well, read on, then!
I'm going to be visiting Austin (Texas) later this week as part of an anniversary trip with my wife! But while I'm there I'm going to have a couple opportunities to demo the game.
Wednesday evening, I'll be at Wonko's Toys & Games in Austin as part of their board game night. I'll have four or so prototypes with me, so I should be able to run multiple simultaneous demos without much trouble, assuming there are tables enough for the action.
Saturday afternoon, I'll be at Dragon's Lair Austin for International Tabletop Day. I'll be there from 2pm to 7:30pm or so, with my demo window scheduled for 4pm-6pm. As with any ITTD it's gonna be a busy time, but 2 hours is still a nice window to get several games played.
Hope to see our Austin-based backers at one of these! I love demoing this game and I extra love seeing people get hooked. And you will be! It's a consistent response to actually getting the cards on the table. But don't take my word for it.
Next, let's talk a bit more about what's in the Circle of Gratitude — and reveal a few new stones while we're at it.
Eric is hard at work making sure the variant cards for Susan's deck test well. It's looking pretty solid, based on initial findings:
But that's not all...
New Stone! Two Swap-Ins for Harry's Deck at Four Stars!
We're adding a couple new stones to the Circle.
First up, at FOUR stars, we'll provide two variant swap-in cards for Harry's deck with each backer copy of DFCO (including copies for our retailer backers) :
Whispers of Lasciel - Park the Blue Beetle on a side-street and pick up this new Overcome card that also lets Harry discard a card to draw a card. Are you willing to risk a silver price to for a chance to improve your (burnt?) hand?
Cheesy Costume - Swap out Harry's shield bracelet (Riffletum!) for a Take Advantage featuring new custom art from Tyler Walpole — Harry donning the cheesy vampire costume he wore to the Red Court Masquerade! (Implementation pending some testing.)
Seven-Star Stone Revealed! WORLD'S FIERIEST: A Sun God From the Multiverse Crosses Over!
Sometimes, even with a fire-throwing wizard in your squad, you still don't have enough fire to burn all the monsters down. So we put out a call to our friends at Greater Than Games, publishers of the Sentinels of the Multiverse cooperative card game.
Personally I'm a huge fan of Sentinels, from the gameplay to the packaging. In fact I took some cues from their package design when I was figuring out how we'd want to do our own, with deck dividers and space aplenty for expansions. Plus their company's run by some of the friendliest folks in the business! It seemed only natural that we should team up at some point.
And now we will, with the seven-star stone! When funded, I will personally (with Eric Vogel's supervision) design a playable hero deck for the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game based on an urban fantasy version of the Sentinels of the Multiverse fire-throwing hero Ra.
When funded, we'll ship one of these decks with every backer copy (true for retailer-backers too)! No added charge (this is not an add-on, it's a thank-you).
FINAL Ten-Star Stone Revealed! James Gets His Wish!
So, early in the campaign (wait—it's still early; um, EARLIER), we got this comment.
James — and the rest of you — you're on! We figured it wouldn't hurt to ask Jim if this was possible and, well...
When the campaign reaches its tenth star at $375k, unlocking the final stone, you'll unlock a new exclusive benefit.
Right after the campaign ends in mid-May, in a special, backers-only post, we'll post the first chapter of the next Dresden Files novel, Peace Talks. (THANK YOU, JIM!!!)
And with that, that's it for today.
And man, what a doozy of a day ... weekend ... week ... campaign we're having! Thank you so much for carrying us so far in such a small amount of time. We can't wait to see more of these goals, so we can continue to say THANK YOU in bigger, better, brighter, burning-er ways. (Plus steadily reduced shipping rates.)
So let's shoot for the stars, folks! I'll see you next in Austin, or when I return from my trip next week. (Ah, who's kidding who here—probably also online all throughout the week, because I can't quit you!)