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A party game where players are all pharmaceutical companies creating drugs with awful side effects.
A party game where players are all pharmaceutical companies creating drugs with awful side effects.
A party game where players are all pharmaceutical companies creating drugs with awful side effects.
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1,066 backers pledged $30,130 to help bring this project to life.

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Bad Medicine: A party game about pharmaceuticals

$30,130

1,066

Thanks to the generosity of over 1,000 backers, we raised over $30,000! I am incredibly grateful to everyone who believed in my game. 

If you are reading this after the campaign has ended but before the game has come out, don't worry! You can still pre-order the game after the Kickstarter is over, for $25 plus shipping. I estimate that the game will ship sometime in September 2015. After that, you will be able to pick up Bad Medicine at just about any game store.

I can't tell you how grateful I am. Thank you everyone!

Bad Medicine is a raucous new party game of quick thinking and hilarious storytelling, from the designer of the word game Prolix and the economic strategy game Battle Merchants

In Bad Medicine, you and your opponents are huge pharmaceutical companies. Your goal is to create names and advertisements for new drugs to cure the current Malady, while downplaying any side effects that you'll never know about ahead of time.

Note: These are prototype components! Final appearance will change.
Note: These are prototype components! Final appearance will change.

Each card in the game has a little bit of a drug name, a little bit of a description, and a side effect. There will be one card dealt in the middle of the table; its side effect is the Malady to cure this round.

Note: These are prototype components! Final appearance will change.
Note: These are prototype components! Final appearance will change.

You'll formulate a drug to cure the Malady. Then you'll pitch it to the other players. Of course, your drug will have a side effect. 

If your pitch gets the most votes, then your drug's side effect will be the Malady to cure next round!

The game will come with special rules for 3-4 players and 5-8 players. I've tested both versions of the game extensively; they're equally fun and hysterical!

Want to see more? Here's a video overview from Game and a Curry:

The current cover candidate, as of February 16.
The current cover candidate, as of February 16.

Here's the rulebook to the game. If you're playing with 3 or 4 players, you'll play with the individual rules. If you're playing with 5 to 8 players, you'll play with the team rules.

Note that this version of the rulebook refers to some components, like Vote Cards, that will only be available as stretch goals. The rulebook that will ultimately ship with the game may refer to different components, based on the stretch goals we hit.

Here's an example of play.

IMPORTANT: Bad Medicine's rules are complete, but the rulebook text and layout are still subject to change!

Here's one round of a 4-player game, using individual rules.

Here's one round of a 5-player game, using team rules.

Do you want to try the game? Here's a limited print-and-play with just enough cards to take you through one full round!

Video review from Let's Level Up:

Video review from Undead Viking:

"Bad Medicine is the kind of game that can be learned in moments, played in minutes, and enjoyed for hours. In no time, our pitchmen were hilariously trying to sell the drugs that the developers had slapped together. Bad Medicine is a perfect party game - clear, simple rules, minimal fussing with components, and constantly and consistently engaging gameplay - everything you need for a raucously good time." - Gameosity

"If your party is suffering from anxiety, boredom, or constipation, then Formal Ferret 'Pharmaceuticals' brings the cure with Bad Medicine. This party game features clever drug pitches, thousands of possible naming combinations and outlandish side effects to make everyone at the table bust a gut laughing. Bad Medicine is a must-have for any game collection." - Who, What, Why

"An uproarious game of making drugs and pitching them! How you present the drugs, and getting through them with a straight face is half the fun... sadly I failed at the latter." - Gamers on Games

"It's a party game that allows you to bring your brain and have some good laughs... If you're a gamer and want to add a party game to your collection, this one will fit in." - Punching Cardboard (listen to the full review here)

"This game is great fun and I think it spans almost any type of player, from the picky miniatures gamer... to casual Munchkin gamers, to strategy gamers who are just looking for something light in between the heavy thinking games. Or you know, if you think you’re a comedian after a few mai tais." - Game and a Curry (read the full review here)

"As far as party games go, Bad Medicine definitely seems more involved. I mean that in the best way, because the same cards are used for many different purposes, which is really the best thing you can do for a card-based party game to ensure people play it for a long time. I dig the slightly morbid theme of prescribing fake medicine for various afflictions. Solid all around." - Meeple Mechanic (Score of 34, #1 Kickstarter campaign of February 15, 2015!)

"I was fortunate enough to have Gil’s table next to ours during Unpub 5 and got a chance to play it couple of times over the course of the weekend. It was not only a blast to play, but also listening to other’s play it over the course of the weekend was just as hysterical. If you and your group of friends think they are quick with their wits, have a little BSing power in them, and enjoy a party game with lots of laughter, than be sure to check out Bad Medicine on Kickstarter right now." - Kick the Box from February 16, Troll in the Corner (read the full review here)

"Side effects include: split sides, uncontrollable smiles, feeling clever, and an appreciation for a party game done right." - Chris Kreuter, Epigo

"Bad Medicine is a very inventive party game where it isn't just the grossest answer that wins." - Doug Levandowski, Gothic Doctor

"From making up drug names straight through to defending side effects like why having an extra pinkie finger is beneficial, Bad Medicine is 100% Good Fun. It's a must-have party game for both gamers and non-gamers. Highly prescribed!" - Bonnie Neubauer

“Bad Medicine is good fun!” - Jeff Ridpath

Working art for back cover. Subject to change.
Working art for back cover. Subject to change.
  • First, it's hilarious. Watching players have to make things up every round in response to something unexpected is really, really funny, and it stays funny the whole game.
  • Second, it's creative without being intimidating. You're not just filling in blanks; you're coming up with a tiny story about your pharmaceutical drug. It's something anyone can do, but it feels great to just make stuff up.
  • Third, it's interesting and replayable. Each card has three things on it: a bit of a drug name, a bit of a description, and a side effect. But you can only choose one thing from each card. So every drug you come up with will be a little bit different!
  • Fourth, your pledge will make a difference! I'm an experienced game designer, with two published titles under my belt already. But this game is the first one I'm publishing on my own. This project literally can't happen without your pledge; and the stretch goals we hit will determine what goes into the game box!

 $1 USD or more: Heartfelt gratitude!

The next time our paths happen to cross, I will give you a fist bump, a handshake, or a hug. Whichever you prefer. Thank you for supporting my dream!

$5 USD or more: Full print-and-play!

A print-and-play copy of the game containing all the cards that will be in the final version of the game.

Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" reward.

$25 USD or more: Single backer!

One copy of Bad Medicine (list price $29.95 USD), shipped anywhere in the world!

Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

SHIPPING COSTS: 
US: Free! 
UK: $5 USD 
Canada: $5 USD
EU: $7 USD 
Rest of the world: $11 USD

$45 USD or more: Multi-backer!

Three (3) copies of Bad Medicine (list price $29.95 USD each), shipped anywhere in the world!

Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

SHIPPING COSTS: 
US: $3 USD 
UK: $12 USD 
Canada: $7 USD
EU: $25 USD 
Rest of the world: $39 USD

 $60 USD or more: Name a bit of a drug!

One copy of Bad Medicine (list price $29.95 USD), shipped anywhere in the world! Plus, you get to choose the name of ONE Drug Card!

Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

(Fine print: This will be a one- or two-syllable fragment of a drug name. You must submit the name fragment by March 31. Formal Ferret Games will do everything we can to work with you if we don't think your submission fits with the game, but we reserve the right to reject submissions that we feel won't fit the game.)

SHIPPING COSTS: 
US: Free! 
UK: $5 USD 
Canada: $5 USD 
EU: $7 USD 
Rest of the world: $11 USD

$100 USD or more: Provide a side effect!

One copy of Bad Medicine (list price $29.95 USD), shipped anywhere in the world! Plus, you get to come up with a side effect on one of the cards!

(Fine print: You must submit the side effect by March 31. Formal Ferret Games will do everything we can to work with you if we don't think your submission fits with the game, but we reserve the right to reject submissions that we feel won't fit the game.)

Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

SHIPPING COSTS: 
US: Free! 
UK: $5 USD 
Canada: $5 USD 
EU: $7 USD 
Rest of the world: $11 USD

$150 USD or more: Multi-backer + name a bit of a drug + provide a side effect!

MULTI-BACKER + NAME A BIT OF A DRUG + PROVIDE A SIDE EFFECT: Three (3) copies of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world... Plus, you get to choose the name of ONE Drug Card... Plus, you get to come up with a side effect on one of the cards... Plus, you get half off shipping!

(Fine print: The drug name will be a one- or two-syllable fragment of a drug name. You must submit both the side effect and the name of the drug by March 31. Formal Ferret Games will do everything we can to work with you if we don't think your submissions fit with the game, but we reserve the right to reject submissions that we feel won't fit the game.)

Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

SHIPPING COSTS: 
US: Free! 
UK: $6 USD 
Canada: $3 USD 
EU: $12 USD 
Rest of the world: $20 USD

At the start, the game will consist of 120 cards (110 Drug Cards, 8 Quick Reference Cards, 1 Surgeon General Card, 1 Malady Card). All cards will be bridge-sized (3.5 inches tall by 2.25 inches wide). The game will come in a tuck box about 5 inches by 7 inches by 1 inch (dimensions are estimates).

Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.
Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.

That's good! But we can get better...

$11,000 USD - 2-piece box - UNLOCKED!
Personally, I'm not a fan of tuck boxes. I would love to upgrade to a better container, and this is the lowest possible goal where I can realistically do that. So when we hit $11,000, the game will come in a nice, thick 2-piece box!

$12,500 USD - Full-color Print-and-play with Vote Cards! - UNLOCKED!
The print-and-play I have available, and the print-and-play at the $5 level, will both feature basic art that will not take up too much ink. But if we hit this stretch goal, I will publicly release an alternate full-color limited print-and-play, and everyone backing the game at $5 and up will get a full-color print-and-play as well as the basic, minimal-ink one.

Also: in the base game, you'll vote for players by pointing at them. But you'll notice that the current rulebook mentions Vote Cards. So at this level, I will release official Corporate Logo Cards and Vote Cards, allowing players to vote by playing a card. Just print them out and go!

Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.
Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.

$15,000 USD - Vote Cards and more Drug Cards in the box! - UNLOCKED!
This one is a biggie. If we hit this stretch goal, the game will come with Vote Cards! That's 194 cards total: 144 Drug Cards, 32 Vote Cards, 8 Quick Reference Cards, 8 Corporate Logo Cards, 1 Surgeon General Card, and 1 Malady Card. 

Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.
Card images are not finalized yet. Card fronts and backs shown.

$18,000 USD - Mini vote cards and even more Drug Cards in the box! - UNLOCKED!
Now this goal would be just amazing. At this level, I will shrink the Vote Cards to mini-sized (about 2.5" tall by 1.75" wide). That means the game will ship with 176 Drug Cards!

 $20,000 USD - Tiles and Vote Pills! - UNLOCKED!

At $20,000, you will vote with small chipboard discs that look like pills. Vote pills! I'll also upgrade the Corporate Logo Cards, Malady Card, and Surgeon General Card to nice, thick chipboard tiles.

REMEMBER: All art shown here, including Vote Pills, is subject to change!

$25,000 USD - "Current Round" Tiles! - UNLOCKED!

Each game of Bad Medicine is exactly 4 rounds. Normally, you'd track these rounds in your head, or by who has the Surgeon General tile. But at $25,000, I will include two full-color double-sided tiles to track the current round!

Below is a quick mockup of what the tile would look like. The tile would be roughly 1.75" (45 mm) tall and 2.25" (57 mm) wide.

$30,000 USD - 200 Drug Cards, and blank Drug Cards! - UNLOCKED!

At $30,000, the number of Drug Cards will increase again, to 200. That's almost double the number of Drug Cards that originally came with the game! At this point, the game will have an awesome amount of replayability. 

To increase that replayability, the game will come with 20 blank Drug Cards, in addition to the 200 mentioned above. Each Formulating player will get 4 blank cards at the start of the game. You'll be able to write something on one of the blank cards, or use something someone wrote in a previous game. What you write will become a permanent part of that copy of the game, and everyone's copy of the game will be slightly different!

I've been designing games for almost 15 years. After a long time learning how to make a good game, I'm finally seeing success. My first published game, Prolix, was released by Z-Man games in 2010. My second published game, Battle Merchants, was released by Minion Games in September 2014, after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

I live in Jersey City, New Jersey, with my girlfriend and two adorable ferrets. I do a lot of work with the NYC-Playtest group, helping New York City-area designers make better board games. In my life, I've recorded indie rock albums, edited sound for film, programmed computers, written and performed comedy, and seen more theater and live music than I can remember. 

Bad Medicine is my first self-published game. I'm very excited to take this next step in my career. I've been working towards it for a while now, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead!

Want to know more about me? You can read my blog, follow me on Twitter, or sign up for my mailing list!

Scott Hartman is a graphic designer in the New York area with over 10 years of experience. He's worked with everyone from top advertising agencies down to individuals with a big idea. 

He's also an avid gamer and a budding game designer, studying both graphic and game design at Parsons School of Design & Technology with professors Nicholas : and Eric Zimmerman. 

He's a proud member of the NYC-Playtest group, and he's worked with members Travis Chance of Action Phase Games and Chris Kreuter of Masquerade Games. 

A breadth of knowledge in graphics as well as decades of gaming has imbued Scott with a unique perspective to create interesting designs that enhance the experience of the game.

I created Formal Ferret Games as an outlet for my game designs. I wanted to take advantage of the new tools offered to designers, and release my work directly to the public. 

Indie game design and publishing is still a lot of work, but it's incredible work. I'm very grateful to be able to do it!

Risks and challenges

This might be the first game that I'm publishing myself, but I'm not going in alone. I'm bringing A LOT of help.

First: The game design is complete, and its art and layout are close to done. I anticipate that the card art will be finalized before the campaign ends. So there will be no delays for waiting for art or additional playtesting, other than some testing on user-submitted content and layout of combined card sheets for the printer.

Second: The game will be printed by Ad Magic, the same company that prints Cards Against Humanity, as well as dozens of other games. They are incredibly responsive, thorough, and professional.

Third: I will be using professional fulfillment services to deliver the products, instead of trying to handle things myself. That leaves shipping in the hands of people who can send packages safely and quickly. I'm also using a separate fulfillment service based in the UK to handle UK and EU fulfillment, which will relieve a lot of logistical and tax-related headaches.

Fourth: I've built a ton of connections in my almost 15 years designing games. I've also backed plenty of Kickstarter projects, some which delivered on time, some which delivered late, and some that never delivered at all. I learned a lot from each of them.

Fifth: My printer will be handling the delivery of the game from the factory, so that will reduce a lot of surprises. I'm also consulting with a logistics expert who has lots of experience handling shipments, especially board games, from the factory where the game will be printed. That means I should be prepared for anything surprising that might come my way.

At this point, I'm familiar with just about everything that can go wrong in a Kickstarter. Believe me, failing to fund is not even close to the worst-case scenario! I've heard many stories, from artists never delivering their art, to pallets stolen at the port, to mold in the game boxes and snails in the shipping container.

But I've built a great team around me. I feel that I am prepared to deliver this product to you close to my estimate of September 2015.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    HEARTFELT GRATITUDE: The next time our paths happen to cross, I will give you a fist bump, a handshake, or a hug. Whichever you prefer. Thank you for supporting my dream!

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    28 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY: A print-and-play copy of the game containing all the cards that will be in the final version of the game.

    Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" reward.

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    116 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SINGLE BACKER: One copy of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world!

    Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

    SHIPPING COSTS:
    US: Free!
    UK: $5 USD
    Canada: $5 USD
    EU: $7 USD
    Rest of the world: $11 USD

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    755 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    MULTI-BACKER: Three (3) copies of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world!

    Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

    SHIPPING COSTS:
    US: $3 USD
    UK: $12 USD
    Canada: $7 USD
    EU: $25 USD
    Rest of the world: $39 USD

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    122 backers
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    NAME A BIT OF A DRUG: One copy of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world! Plus, you get to choose the name of ONE Drug Card!

    (See main text for the fine print.)

    Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

    SHIPPING COSTS:
    US: Free!
    UK: $5 USD
    Canada: $5 USD
    EU: $7 USD
    Rest of the world: $11 USD

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    PROVIDE A SIDE EFFECT: One copy of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world! Plus, you get to come up with a side effect on one of the cards!

    (See main text for the fine print.)

    Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

    SHIPPING COSTS:
    US: Free!
    UK: $5 USD
    Canada: $5 USD
    EU: $7 USD
    Rest of the world: $11 USD

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 11 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    MULTI-BACKER + NAME A BIT OF A DRUG + PROVIDE A SIDE EFFECT: Three (3) copies of Bad Medicine, shipped anywhere in the world... Plus, you get to choose the name of ONE Drug Card... Plus, you get to come up with a side effect on one of the cards... Plus, you get half off shipping!

    (See main text for the fine print.)

    Includes ALL stretch goals. Also includes the "HEARTFELT GRATITUDE" and "FULL PRINT-AND-PLAY" reward levels.

    SHIPPING COSTS:
    US: Free!
    UK: $6 USD
    Canada: $3 USD
    EU: $12 USD
    Rest of the world: $20 USD

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (33 days)