About this project
Do you run role-playing games?
If you're a Game Chief (or game master, or dungeon master), you probably already have some sort of screen that lets you keep secrets from your players. You probably have several. You do not, however, have anything like this.
These Game Chief screens are designed for half-sheets of 8.5x11" or A4 paper, or A5 paper straight out of the box¹. You can take whatever information you need, print it or hand-write it, then prop it up in front of you. You can also pick up a screen and hand it to a player at the table, as if to say "here is the contract you've acquired." Or you can flip it around and use it as a dry-erase tablet.
The screens are made of sturdy ABS plastic. If you're determined to break one, you can, but the player who clumsily (or angrily) knocks one off the table is going to be very relieved (or disappointed) when the screen bounces and clatters and takes zero falling damage.
Each screen can hold up to six sheets of 8.5x11 paper folded in half. The upper left corner has a pin dock suitable for a hypernet node pin (yellow map pin), and the reverse side of the screen functions as a dry-erase board. The screen it can be mounted with either the dry-erase or drop-in side facing you, and it can be lifted from its "foot" and reversed with one hand.
With the feet removed, a set of three screens packs flat for easy transportation and storage.
These were designed to stand at an easy-to read angle, while still serving their primary function as a privacy screen that hides your die rolls from players. They're also balanced so they won't tip over—not forward, not backward, nor to either side—even when fully loaded.
Adroit Engineering did amazing work on this design². They solved problems we didn't know existed, and thought up things that would never have occurred to us. When Howard held the final product in his hands he cried, just a little, overcome by the experience of holding something that was so much better than what he had originally imagined.
Size Might Matter (a Planet Mercenary Adventure)
During this Kickstarter we are offering a $10 add-on: a pre-built Planet Mercenary adventure, in PDF format, along with blank template sheets for NPCs and other encounter-type things. Those templates will be sized perfectly for dropping into your screens, obviously.
The adventure, "Size Might Matter," will debut at GenCon Indy in August of 2017. It takes the player characters to Eina Afa where they must search the enormous interior wilderness for a fugitive. Encounters with megafauna are a certainty.
This PDF will be pretty simply laid out, but it will get better if we meet the stretch goals that give us a budget for artwork, fancy layout, and colors. It will ship separately from the Game Screens. The basic text version (which might be the only version) will ship in August 2017. If we hit our stretch goals, we'll send updated versions of the PDF later, as they come ready.
If you want to add the Size Might Matter PDF to another pledge, just increase your pledge by $10.
If you missed the Planet Mercenary kickstarter and would like to add a Planet Mercenary book to your order, just increase your pledge amount by $20 for a PDF version or $55 for print + shipping. ($70 for international).
A Bit of Backstory
During the Planet Mercenary Kickstarter, back in 2015, Howard had this zany idea for a Game Chief screen that looked like the display screens and handbrains that appear in that setting. His daughter built a few mockups using cardboard, and everybody wisely decided that although the idea was cool, it was in a completely foreign realm from making books. We had no idea what kind of a budget would be required to build them.
So we built a budget to find out what the budget was. We promised our backers that we would spend some of our profits on R&D for "cool stuff we couldn't afford otherwise." Those R&D funds covered all of the research, design, and tooling for the Game Chief Screens. Thanks to Adroit Engineering, we have a small run of the actual, final product in our hands. This Kickstarter will allow us to make more, and offer them to you.
What Are We Funding?
Our funding goal is relatively low. It covers the minimum manufacturing run from our molding company. The funding goal also covers Kickstarter overhead, shipping, and the relevant taxes (ours, because we pay lots of taxes.) Obviously, if there's huge demand, the manufacturer can mold as many of the screens as we need.
The screens are fully designed. They're DONE. We're not doing anything fancy to them as stretch goals. Even if the project over-funds in enormous ways, the core product will be finished within a few weeks.
We do have some stretch goals:
$30,000 - Ubiquitous Pins, and B/W Art: Every screen will come with a pin (sets of three will come with three pins), and we will commission black & white art for the adventure PDF. We'll create additional maps and stats that are formatted into half sheets so they fit in your screen. (Note: The text-only PDF will still arrive in August. The art update will arrive in September.)
$45,000 - Clear Plastic, and Adventure-in-Print: Every screen will also include a drop-in sheet of clear plastic, suitable for dry erase overlays. We'll also offer a print version of the adventure as an add-on. The cover will be in color, and the interior (with all the art and stuff from the 30k stretch) will be in black and white.
(Note: The printed adventure won't arrive until October.The text-only PDF will still arrive in August, and the art-and-layout PDF will still arrive in September.)
$60,000 - So Colorful! The print version of the adventure will be full color, inside and out.
(Note: Same dates as above—Text-only in August, art update in September, print version in October)
These stretch goals will not delay the delivery date of the screens. The pins and plastic are now sourced, and can be obtained and packed as part of the original schedule.
¹ A4 paper, when folded in half, is a teency bit taller than 8.5"x11", but still fits behind the borders of the screen. Width-wise it's a tighter fit, but Adroit Engineering made sure that it was an actual fit. Put another way, the screens are 100% compatible with the A4, A5, and Letter paper sizes.
² The screens are 100% American designed and manufactured. We like being able to do that.
Risks and challenges
The screens are completely designed, tooled, and ready to be molded. The only real risk with the manufacturing is whether our manufacturer suffers some unforeseen issue outside the scope of what we're asking them to build. You know, stuff like floods, or tornadoes, or plagues of locusts. Wandering monsters. Long, statistically unlikely series of crit-fails on "pull lever" skill checks.
We know how to ship thousands of packages to thousands of people, so fulfillment isn't likely to be a problem. We've done this a dozen times before. Sure, we're just as likely to suffer from the random encounter table as anybody else is, but we're taking care to roll as few dice as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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