About

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that civilization is built on cooperation. It’s all about different people working together to overcome challenges and build amazing successes — and then celebrating the camaraderie of their shared achievements.

The best cooperative games are like that too. If you love cooperative board, card, and dice games, and you want to know more about how they work, Meeples Together is for you.

Meeples Together is a book about how and why cooperative games work. It's a 384-page, 6" × 9" trade paperback with more than 150 illustrated figures. It's also available in digital editions.

Meeples Together is for gamers. Whether you play games as a lifestyle or a more casual pastime, and whether you’re just interested or you want to get better, this book will help you understand how cooperative games work, how you can play them better, and which games might be your next new favorites.

Meeples Together is also for aficionados. Champions and connoisseurs of tabletop gaming can never get enough of thinking and talking about games. If you’re the kind of person who logs your plays on BoardGameGeek and always tries the new hotness at Gen Con or Essen Spiel, this book provides crucial fuel for thought and discussion.

Meeples Together is for critics too. The gaming community has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to writers, reviewers, podcasters, and pundits. This book moves the state of the art forward in terms of understanding this key subset of tabletop gaming, making it required reading for anyone with a serious critical interest in tabletop games.

Meeples Together is for game designers. Not only does it break down existing tabletop designs in exhaustive detail so you can understand what specific mechanics and concepts make them tick, it also highlights ideas for game development with icons in the text, and appendices cover both the basics of game design as well as game design dilemmas.

If you’re a gamer, aficionado, critic, or game designer, Meeples Together is for you.

Meeples Together contains 14 chapters about the nature, mechanics, theory, and frontiers of cooperative gaming.

Along the way, 14 in-depth case studies (or more, depending on stretch goals!) of cooperative gaming’s greatest hits — from Pandemic and Battlestar Galactica to Contract Bridge — demonstrate the concepts and ideas. (Not to mention Appendix V’s capsule reviews of more than 90 cooperative titles!)

The physical edition is a 384-page, 6" × 9" trade paperback containing more than 150 illustrated figures.

Digital editions will include a tablet-optimized PDF version, an Epub version, and a Kindle (.mobi) version.

Here's the table of contents:

  • Foreword by Matt Leacock
  • Chapter 1: The Basics of Cooperation
  • Part One: The Spectrum of Cooperative Gaming
  • Chapter 2: Styles of Competition
  •      Case Study: Terra 
  • Chapter 3: Styles of Teamwork
  •      Case Study: Contract Bridge
  •      Case Study: One Night Ultimate Werewolf ( ⬅️ stretch goal unlocked!)
  • Chapter 4: Styles of Cooperation
  •      Case Study: Pandemic 
  •      Case Study: Forbidden Island ( ⬅️ stretch goal unlocked!)
  •      Case Study: Forbidden Desert ( ⬅️ stretch goal unlocked!)
  • Part Two: The Mechanics of Cooperative Games
  • Chapter 5: Cooperative Systems
  •      Case Study: Flash Point: Fire Rescue 
  • Chapter 6: Challenge Systems
  •      Case Study: Robinson Crusoe — Adventures on the Cursed Island 
  • Chapter 7: Players Facing Challenges
  •      Case Study: Shadows over Camelot 
  •      Case Study: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game 
  • Chapter 8: Players Undertaking Tasks
  •      Case Study: Arkham Horror 2e
  • Chapter 9: Adventure Systems
  •      Case Study: Mansions of Madness 2e
  • Part Three: The Theory of Cooperative Games
  • Chapter 10: A Theory of Cooperative Gaming
  •      Case Study: Space Alert 
  • Chapter 11: A Theory of Challenge Design
  •      Case Study: Ghost Stories 
  • Chapter 12: When Games Go Wrong
  •      Case Study: D-Day Dice 
  • Part Four: Cooperative Frontiers
  • Chapter 13: The Psychology of Cooperative Gaming
  •      Case Study: Hanabi 
  • Chapter 14: Assembling the Puzzle
  •      Case Study: SOS Titanic 
  • Appendices
  • Appendix I: The Basics of Game Design
  • Appendix II: Game Design Dilemmas
  • Appendix III: Game Design Types
  • Appendix IV: Game Design & Social Theories
  • Appendix V: Cooperative & Teamwork Game Synopses & Reviews

☑️ New Case Study @ $7,000 — We’ll add Forbidden Island as a bonus case study.

☑️ New Case Study @ $8,000 — We’ll add One Night Ultimate Werewolf as a bonus case study.

☑️ Professional Indexing @ $10,000. We’ll be able to afford the expense of professional indexing.

☑️ New Case Study @ $11,000 — We’ll add Forbidden Desert as a bonus case study.

☑️ Soft-touch Cover @ $13,000 — We’ll add delicious soft-touch lamination to the cover.

☑️ The White Box Essays Audiobook @ $15,000 — We’ll add The White Box Essays audiobook edition to the “Digital Designer,” "Print Designer," and "Everything in Print" levels.

Companion Interview Ebook @ $24,000 — We'll add a short digital companion comprising interviews with noted co-op game designers. See campaign update #4 for more details.

Blog Case Study Reveals via Social Goals

Shannon and Christopher have plans to post dozens of co-op case studies to their Meeples Together blog over the months to come.

We’re going to reveal the games they have planned for their blog case studies, ten at a time, as we unlock a series of social stretch goals. (Otherwise? You'll have to wait until they post them to learn what they are.)

Christopher Allen writes about collaboration. He's founded several companies focusing on social software, including Skotos Tech, an online game company where he aided in the design of Castle Marrach, Grendel's Revenge, and Lovecraft Country. His Life with Alacrity blog talks about the principles of cooperation, collaboration, and governance while his Rebooting the Web of Trust workshops imagine the future of collaboration on the internet.

Shannon Appelcline writes about games. He regularly contributed to the defunct board-gaming magazine Knucklebones, while his eurogame-focused Meeples & Mechanics blog contains over a decade worth of game analysis. He's also long been involved with the roleplaying field, working for Chaosium and supporting lines like Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon. He's best known for Designers & Dragons, a four-book history of the roleplaying industry.

Gameplaywright publishes books about games, stories, and the work of making them. Its co-founders are Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball. This is their seventh Gameplaywright release. 

Featuring interior figures by Keith Curtis, editing by Renee Knipe and Colleen Riley, cover design by Will Hindmarch, and interior layout by Alex Mayo and Jeff Tidball.

We think every store in the world that sells board games can sell Meeples Together.

We’re positive that we won’t reach every gamer, aficionado, critic, and game designer in the world in the 30 short days this Kickstarter runs. For the 20 years after that, we hope game stores will continue to sell Meeples Together to people who love cooperative games.  If you have a store, our "Bricks & Mortar" tier is for you.

This campaign is retail-friendly because:

* The price is the price. What it costs to back the campaign is also the MSRP we’ll put on the back.

* Your customers get everything. We’ll give you access to the digital edition so you can pass it along to your customers who buy physical copies of Meeples Together from you.

* We won’t tie up your capital. You'll choose your quantity and pay the balance — with your pledge counted as a credit — the month before we ship. You’ll even be able to add other Gameplaywright titles like Friendly Local Game Store and The White Box.

* You’ll get the discount you expect. Your discount is 50%, with shipping pegged closely to our actual cost.

* You’ll get it before your competitors. We'll ship to retail backers at least four weeks before we ship to general distribution.

* You’ll have long-term access. Through Gameplaywright’s distribution partnership with Atlas Games, physical editions of Meeples Together will be available through distribution, so you can make it available for years to come.

Retail backers must be established, brick-and-mortar, retail game stores. 

The Gameplaywright titles offered in our “Plus,” “Designer,” and "Everything" tiers are described briefly below. Also described are titles that will be available as add-on purchases via BackerKit, after the campaign ends.

The White Box is a game design workshop in a box, a 208-page book of 25 essays about how to design and publish tabletop games, and a kit of more than 400 generic components — cubes, meeples, dice, chips, punchboard — to get you started right away. ($29.95 as an add-on)

The White Box Essays is the book from The White Box. It's not available on its own as a physical edition, but its digital editions are part of the Digital Designer pledge level. ($7.95 as an add-on)

Things We Think About Games collects bite-sized thoughts about games. It spans the breadth of games and the depths of gaming, offering insights about collecting, playing, critiquing, designing, and publishing. ($19.95 as an add-on)

The Bones: Us and Our Dice gathers writing about fandom and family — about gamers, camaraderie, and memories — and ties them together where they meet: our dice. Contributors include Wil Wheaton, Keith Baker, John Kovalic, Ken Hite, and Chuck Wendig. ($18.95 as an add-on)

Friendly Local Game Store is a book about how to earn a middle-class income opening your own game store and creating a community for gamers. It’s written by Gary L. Ray, author of Quest for Fun, the go-to blog for all things FLGS. ($24.95 add-on)

Hamlet’s Hit Points presents the beat system, a toolkit for storytelling in RPGs — and any other form — by classifying story beats and letting you track their ups and down from hope to fear and back. Includes full-length analyses of Hamlet, Dr. No, and Casablanca. ($19.95 add-on)

Beating the Story expands the story beat system by defining different types of beat-to-beat transitions, and providing practical guidance on topics like conceiving your story, creating its hero, mapping its beats, writing drafts, revising, and even editing the work of others. Includes extended analyses of Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” the Mad Men episode “Have a Seat, Shut the Door,” the X-Files episode “Home,” and a scene from The Color Purple. ($19.95 add-on)

Shipping charges for all "Print" tiers and the "Bricks & Mortar" tier will be collected after the Kickstarter concludes using BackerKit, a post-campaign pledge manager. 

This is likely to help us to generally reduce the costs of shipping by allowing us to add more international fulfillment hubs based on demand. It also keeps your money in your pocket longer.

We’ve estimated the following shipping costs by region and tier.

United States (including Puerto Rico) Estimated Shipping Costs

  • Print Edition: $3-4
  • Print Plus: $6-7
  • Print Designer: $12-15
  • Everything in Print: $12-15
  • Bricks & Mortar: Actual cost, inquire if needed

Canada Estimated Shipping Costs

  • Print Edition: $10-12
  • Print Plus: $12-15
  • Print Designer: $15-20
  • Everything in Print: $15-20
  • Bricks & Mortar: Actual cost, inquire if needed

Europe Estimated Shipping Costs

  • Print Edition: $15-20
  • Print Plus: $20-35
  • Print Designer: $20-40
  • Everything in Print: $30-50
  • Bricks & Mortar: Actual cost, inquire if needed

Australia and New Zealand Estimated Shipping Costs

  • Print Edition: $15-20
  • Print Plus: $20-35
  • Print Designer: $20-40
  • Everything in Print: $30-50
  • Bricks & Mortar: Actual cost, inquire if needed

Everywhere Else Estimated Shipping Costs

  • Print Edition: $20-30
  • Print Plus: $30-40
  • Print Designer: $35-50
  • Everything in Print: $40-60
  • Bricks & Mortar: Actual cost, inquire if needed

As you can see, shipping physical objects around the world is expensive. We don’t like it any more than you do.

We won’t profit from the shipping costs for the various tiers of this campaign. Rather, we’ll wind up modestly subsidizing shipping to most destinations. After re-shipping lost and stolen packages, we’ll spend a little bit more. This is what we expect, and it’s fine with us.

Please expect that shipping charges will increase if you respond to the pledge manager after shipping has begun. Make sure your inbox is set to receive backer updates, and look for them after the campaign ends.

To avoid shipping charges, consider the digital tiers. You can also wait until Meeples Together’s public release, anticipated for April, 2019. If you buy the book in a store, you won’t pay shipping charges. Other online merchants’ shipping prices vary; you’ll know better than we will what you might expect to pay in the future.

There isn’t another scheduled opportunity to get digital editions free with printed editions. This isn’t an option we routinely offer at Gameplaywright via any of our distribution channels, including direct sales. So if you want digital and physical editions together for one price, now’s your chance.

For customs purposes, assume the worst case scenario that your rewards will ship from the United States. We are not willing to fraudulently claim that campaign rewards are gifts in order to help avoid duties. If the campaign does well, the possibility exists for fulfillment from within Canada, the European Union, and Australia. That said: It’s a possibility, not a guarantee. If backing at physical levels is contingent on fulfillment from within your local region, we recommend backing at a digital tier now to get access to the post-campaign pledge manager, when you’ll be able to upgrade your pledge if you wish.

Risks and challenges

The manuscript is already done and through its first round of editing. All illustrated figures are complete. Layout is more than half done.

This is Gameplaywright’s seventh project. Its last Kickstarted project, The White Box, was delivered as promised, albeit one month late. This is project manager Jeff Tidball’s seventh crowdfunding project including personal projects, projects for Gameplaywright, and projects for Atlas Games. All have been delivered substantially as promised.

Things can always go wrong. But because this project is being printed in the USA, at a facility where Gameplaywright has done nine previous print runs, in the same city from which domestic shipping will be fulfilled (Minneapolis, Minnesota), many of the things that often go wrong — production delays, shipping issues, customs hang-ups — are much less dangerous here.

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