Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2013.

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Enter the world of the classic tale in this game inspired by an ingenious scam.

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If you're here for the first time, welcome! Take your time visiting the Kickstarter page to check out Emperor's New Clothes. Be sure to click the Updates link, where you'll meet the artists working on the project and read designer diary entries.

  • "Anything that challenges my imagination and encourages creativity is going to score big points for me." - Jason Tagmire, Fruitless Pursuits
  • "Though the pieces might make you think it’s a ruse…it’s actually far from it." -- Cathe Post, GeekMom
  • This gets a big thumbs-up from me, too. Often games with this many mechanisms don’t do any of them particularly well, but they’ve managed to combine everything into a nearly perfect whole. Emperor’s New Clothes should be seen to be believed. -- Firestone, TheologyOfGames
  • Keith Baker's "Six Questions: Jonathan Liu"
  • "I think it’s hilarious and I have to applaud them for bringing the narrative of the game to life in such a clever way." --DMBigfoot, The Inlay
  • "the naked brilliance of the design is undeniably thought-provoking." -- Matt Blum of GeekDad
  • "There are many Kickstarter projects that seem too good to be true, and that’s mostly because they are–but we spend money on them anyway." -- Byron Campell of NerdSpan
  • "I give it three thumbs up (I borrowed one from my wife). This is truly a gem." -- Edd Allard, on boardgamegeek.com
  • "I find the project highly transparent, especially with the availability of the print and play version, which both allows you to check that you can see ROOS and to make sure that the game is to your liking." -- Greg, 3DTotal Games
  • "I must admit however that this campaign is probably the most unusual I’ve ever seen." -- Dad's Gaming Addiction
  • We reached our primary funding goal on March 7th. Thank You All!

Check back often and keep an eye on Emperor's New Clothes.

Hello! I'm Jonathan Liu, and I'd like to introduce you to my first Kickstarter game, Emperor's New Clothes.

I've been reviewing board games and writing about Kickstarter on GeekDad.com for a while now, and I've been fascinated with the way that Kickstarter has changed the board game industry, for better or worse. I'm constantly writing about best practices in running a campaign, but it's easy to talk when I haven't actually done anything. So this is my way of diving into an actual Kickstarter campaign to see how accurate my observations really are.

In case you've never used Kickstarter before and you're wondering what this is all about, here's my short explanation of Kickstarter in under 3 minutes.

One of the things I love most about board games is how they immerse you in a story—when a game's mechanics mesh with the theme, you feel transported. Instead of drawing cards or rolling dice, you become a hero on a quest, or a monster stalking tasty heroes. That's what I'm striving for in my game: that moment when your imagination takes over and you're not just playing the game, but in the game.

When I was thinking about a game idea, the classic story of The Emperor's New Clothes came to mind. It's a familiar tale that still has relevance in today's world of Ponzi schemes and fake girlfriends and Internet scams. 

I imagined the players taking on the roles of characters from the story, scheming to outwit the others or, if they've been duped, trying to salvage a few scraps of dignity.

I've borrowed a lot of mechanics from my own favorite games, and in my opinion they blend together really well. Chances are, whatever type of game you like to play, I've included something of that sort in Emperor's New Clothes. Well, except for zombies. Yet.

If I've learned anything about Kickstarter it's that you should never underestimate how much work it is and how much help you're going to need to pull it off. The fine folks at Game Salute will be running the campaign and in charge of fulfillment. Fortunately, you don't need to rely on my expertise in getting this game printed and shipped. I've written about enough Kickstarter projects to know that I'm not interested in filling up my living room with boxes.

On top of that, I've enlisted some great artists for the project. I'm an artist myself, but I didn't think it would be feasible to run a Kickstarter campaign and create all the artwork without delaying the delivery of the finished game. I'm really excited to be working with all of these amazing folks: for some, this is their first board game project, and I can't wait for you to see the results! Check out our growing list of artists down below.


One of the cool advantages of writing for GeekDad is the chance to find out about new companies and technology, but it's not often that I actually get to be directly involved. I discovered Wysiayg Press when I first started working on Emperor's New Clothes, and their new technology seemed perfectly tailored for my game.

Here's Mac Barnett of Wysiayg Press to tell you a little bit more about Regulated Operator Optical Screening. I'm sure you'll be as impressed by the result as I was when I first laid eyes on my prototype.

I've backed too many Kickstarter board games just based on the idea even though the rules were still in development, the art was incomplete, or the components hadn't yet been finalized. Often that's turned out just fine and I enjoyed the finished product. But at other times, I've experienced a bit of buyer's remorse, knowing that I overpaid for a game I probably would have passed over in a game store.

Because of that, I'm making this commitment: in this section, you'll be able to download the most current rulebook, plus a print-and-play so that you can try the game out yourself. Obviously, we know you don't have the same ROOS capabilities as Wysiayg Press, but we've found a way to approximate it in a PDF file that will have similar results for most people.

Please note these key differences between the print-and-play and the final game: The print-and-play will include cut-out tokens for the resources, but in the actual game they will be wooden bits instead. You will also need to substitute your own six-sided dice, preferably of a few different colors. (See the print-and-play file for more details on these substitutions.) Also, since the game does include cards and tokens, the file will require many sheets of paper and a good deal of cutting. Depending on the paper you use, you may find it helpful to sleeve the cards to make them easier to shuffle.

I want to ensure that every backer of this project can see exactly what they're getting for their money, and if that means some people will simply play the free version rather than choosing to pledge to this campaign, so be it. I'd much rather have lost a few potential backers than having a disappointed backer down the road after the game has been delivered. This way, you can have full confidence in the project before you pledge.

Click here for the rulebook.

Click here for the print and play files.

I teach a lot of games, so I forget that not everyone is as comfortable reading a rulebook and walking new players through a game. For those of you using the print and play, I thought I'd provide this walk-through for those who would like an easy way to teach Emperor's New Clothes to their friends. 

For Emperor's New Clothes, the easiest way to get started is to watch the game play video shown below. That should give you a good idea of what the game looks like when it's set up and it provides a sample round of play.

Click here for the print and play tutorial.

Thanks for taking a look at Emperor's New Clothes! I hope you enjoy it. What you see here on the site is still a pre-production version and final components and art may change slightly, but I think we're about 85% done with art and design. I know that you're eager to see a "How To Play" video, so here it is.

There are some other components I would love to add if we get enough funding, but it's a solid game even as it is now. I'm proud of the work I've done on Emperor's New Clothes and I hope you'll consider backing the project.

Jonathan H. Liu, March 2013

Jonathan spoke with many artists while designing Emperor's New Clothes. Most of them, like John Kovalic of Dork Tower and Munchkin fame, took to the idea immediately and were excited about providing artwork for the project. In order to ensure a card design that is easy to read, with a clean layout and intuitive icons, we worked closely with Darrell Louder, the designer of Compounded: Better Gaming Through Chemistry. As you can see by the pictures above, we have a great team of artists and designers on board to ensure that Emperor's New Clothes looks just the way you'd imagine it. 

While some of the artists are old hands at board game art, some have never worked on a board game before now; you'll be surprised at how harmonious the whole turned out to be. We'll be introducing each of the artists over the course of the campaign, so be sure to check back or follow the updates! 

When art and mechanics and theme come together like they do in Emperor's New Clothes, you'll see a whole new dimension in gaming. 

Here's the list of artists we've revealed so far. Click on their names to read the update about each artist!

**Note: while the game design and art and layout are about 85% done, actual components, images, and presentation may vary slightly when the game is released.

  • "Anything that challenges my imagination and encourages creativity is going to score big points for me." - Jason Tagmire, Fruitless Pursuits
  • "Though the pieces might make you think it’s a ruse…it’s actually far from it." -- Cathe Post, GeekMom
  • This gets a big thumbs-up from me, too. Often games with this many mechanisms don’t do any of them particularly well, but they’ve managed to combine everything into a nearly perfect whole. Emperor’s New Clothes should be seen to be believed. -- Firestone, TheologyOfGames
  • Keith Baker's "Six Questions: Jonathan Liu" 
  • "I think it’s hilarious and I have to applaud them for bringing the narrative of the game to life in such a clever way." --DMBigfoot, The Inlay
  • "I can safely say, it's unlike anything I have ever seen before." -- Jason Tagmire, Fruitless Pursuits
  • "I’m not going to support imaginary projects. But this project will give me something tangible–in fact, I look forward to using these components for prototypes." -- Jamey Stegmaier, Stonemaier Games
  • "I must admit however that this campaign is probably the most unusual I’ve ever seen." -- Dad's Gaming Addiction
  • "I find the project highly transparent, especially with the availability of the print and play version, which both allows you to check that you can see ROOS and to make sure that the game is to your liking." -- Greg, 3DTotal Games
  • "I give it three thumbs up (I borrowed one from my wife). This is truly a gem." -- Edd Allard, on boardgamegeek.com
  • "the naked brilliance of the design is undeniably thought-provoking." -- Matt Blum of GeekDad 
  • "There are many Kickstarter projects that seem too good to be true, and that’s mostly because they are–but we spend money on them anyway." -- Byron Campell of NerdSpan

Have you seen Emperor's New Clothes mentioned somewhere on the web, on video, on a podcast? Please send us the link.

  • 4 Wooden Discs
  • 30 Wooden Cubes
  • 1 Wooden Pawn
  • 1 4” Small Board
  • 36 Cards
  • 4 6-Sided Dice
  • All in a Nice Box
  • 6 Wooden Discs
  • 45 Wooden Cubes
  • 1 Wooden Pawn
  • 1 18” 4-Fold Board
  • 54 Cards + Tuckbox
  • 6 6-Sided Dice
  • All in a Better Box
  • 8 Wooden Discs
  • 75 Wooden Cubes
  • 4 Wooden Pawn
  • 1 18” 4-Fold Board
  • 16 Square Tiles
  • 8 4" Square Mats
  • 108 Cards + 2 Tuckboxes
  • 8 6-Sided Dice 
  • 1 8-Sided Die
  • 1 12-Sided Die
  • 1 20-Sided Die
  • 30-Second Sand Timer
  • All in an Really Great Box
  • Autographed 8-Player Game plus have dinner with designer, Jonathan Liu at GenCon 2013 and play Emperor’s New Clothes with Jonathan and his other Kickstarter dinner guests. This offer does not include travel, lodging, or admission to GenCon.

    Autographed 8-Player Game plus have one of the role cards in Emperor’s New Clothes named after you! Name choice must be approved by the designer.

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    Click the blue [Manage Your Pledge] button on the upper right corner of the project page to adjust your pledge. Just add the T-Shirt price to your existing pledge amount and click the indicated button to reauthorize the payment through your Amazon Payments account. After the project ends, we'll send you a survey to get your shirt size and any other needed information.

    If we are lucky enough to inspire hundreds of backers to support Emperor's New Clothes we may be able to surpass our original goal.

    The more backers we attract, the more stretch goals we can achieve, so please, share the Kickstarter link for Emperor's New Clothes with all of your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and any other blog or social network you're on.

    Thanks to partnerships we have arranged in key locations around the globe, we are able to offer greatly reduced shipping costs to most international destinations.

    Backers in Canada, Mexico, EU, UK, and Australia need to add only a small amount to their pledges to cover International Shipping.

    Backers in the USA receive Free Shipping.

    Backers in any other area, please add the shipping fees noted in the pledge levels.

    We are pleased to offer access to our game designers and creative team for podcast, blog, newspaper, or television interviews. Team members can also be present for conventions and event appearances with a timely invitation and appropriate travel and lodging expense allowances. Please contact David MacKenzie at Springboard@GameSalute.com to discuss any of these media support opportunities.

    Projects that are tracked from the very beginning have more accurate data than the ones that start tracking later in a project's life, Day-1 Project tracking can help assure your backers that you're on track to reach your goal throughout the life of your project.

    As somebody who has backed many Kickstarter projects, I know the importance of being involved in the Kickstarter community before you launch your own project—it helps you understand the potential pitfalls that can occur when you run a campaign. Showing that you've followed a project from fundraising to delivery offers your backers confidence that you've been through this process as a backer, that you'll understand their concerns and frustrations at missed delivery dates and unkept promises.

    To that end, I'm establishing a new program I'm calling Kicking Back. With Kicking Back, a project creator pledges to have already pledged 5% of their expected profits to other Kickstarter campaigns before they even launch their own. You may, of course, commit even more than 5% if you wish.

    As proof of my commitment to Kicking Back, here's a photo of some of the crowd-funded board game projects I've received over the past few years. (Note that this photo doesn't include all of the non-board game projects I've backed.) Rest assured that if Emperor's New Clothes reaches its funding level, I am committed to Kicking Back with a portion of my profits.

    -- Jonathan H. Liu

    Game Design and Development: Jonathan Liu

    Art Direction: Jonathan Liu

    Associated Artists: John Kovalic, Barry McWilliams, Jake Parker, Meg Hunt, Harold, Ray Friesen, Vera Brosgol, John Green, Tom Angleberger, Nina Matsumoto, Bob Boyle, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Daniel Lieske, Adam Rex, Chuck Gamble, Laura Lee Guiledge, Avery Monsen, Lee Moyer, Gene Yang, and several more to be announced during the project.

    Graphic Design: Cody Jones, Darrell Louder, Heiko Günther

    Executive Producer: Dan Yarrington

    Videographer: Roger J. Porter

    ​Video Editing: Adam Sager

    Voice Artist: Michael Fox

    Composer: Erwin Schulhoff

    Design Studio: Hoke's Games

    Publisher: Game Salute

    Playtesting: Jonathan Hager, Raven Zachary, Benjamin Corliss, Kai Nesbit, Curtis Chen, DeeAnn Sole, Cathé Post, Tim Ohlson, Chris Wright, Erik Wecks, Jenny Williams, Anton Olsen, Michael Harrison

    We will update the project FAQ below as you send in your questions.

    Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

    Emperor's New Clothes is an experimental product. As noted in the "Eye of the Beholder" section above, the game incorporates unconventional printing techniques and will appear blank to both non-gamers and a small subset of gamers. There is a risk that a backer will receive what appears to them to be a box of blank components. Accordingly, we advise all backers to watch the videos, look at the print-and-play, and follow the updates to ensure that they are able to see the ROOS before pledging.

    FAQ

    Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

    Ask a question
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      HOKE'S ON YOU - Get in on the Hoke's Games parade with an "Emperor's New Clothes" decal. Free worldwide shipping.

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      THE EMPEROR - Limited Early Bird Level - One copy of the deluxe 8-Player expanded version of Emperor's New Clothes. Free USA shipping. Add $15 for shipping to Canada, UK, EU, and Australia. Add $30 everywhere else.

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      THE EMPEROR - Unlimited - One copy of the deluxe 8-Player expanded version of Emperor's New Clothes. Free USA shipping. Add $15 for shipping to Canada, UK, EU, and Australia. Add $30 everywhere else.

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      THE EMPEROR'S PARADE - Very Limited - Join Jonathan Liu for a fun-filled dinner at GENCON2013 and play Emperor's New Clothes with Jonathan and the other dinner guests. Plus you'll get your very own copy of the deluxe 8-Player expanded version of Emperor's New Clothes and Jonathan will autograph it for you on-the-spot!

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      THE NARCISSIST - Very Limited - Have one of the role cards in the game named after you. Plus you'll receive one autographed copy of the deluxe 8-Player expanded version of Emperor's New Clothes. Free worldwide shipping.

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