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A chance to combine your interest in destroying the world, card games, and riding down innocents in order to doom your friends.
A chance to combine your interest in destroying the world, card games, and riding down innocents in order to doom your friends.
A chance to combine your interest in destroying the world, card games, and riding down innocents in order to doom your friends.
1,045 backers pledged $30,088 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Card Game

$30,088

1,045

11/19/2015: ONE LAST STRETCH?: We hit the $28k stretch goal so we'll add four more Boost cards to your decks...but is this the last stretch goal we can attain? See the announcement directly below!

11/19/2015: NEW STRETCH GOAL ADDED: Mystery stretch goal if we reach 1,000 backers!

11/19/2015: STRETCHED TWICE!: Yay! You all will now receive the "Fallen Angels" expansion for a total of 90 cards PLUS you'll get a free download of a short story written by Mark Lawrence, who, as some of you know, is a hell of a bestselling author. The tale promises a repertoire of laughter, betrayal, death (literally), tears, and a few "ick" moments.

11/18/2015: STREEEEETCHED!!: We'll now add four more Boost cards to the game for a total of 86 cards in your HotA deck! Wowzers!

11/15/2015: STRETCH ARMSTRONG? — Okay, I'm running out of ways to say "stretched," evidently. We've unlocked the "Leviathans" expansion set, so you'll receive four new Boost cards with massive beasts on them — think Kraken, Juggernaut, Kaiju! RAWR!

11/10/2015: STRETCHIE-STRETCHIE — Youse just got yourselves four more Delay Cards added to your decks, such as "Red Cross" versus Famine and "Viral Feelgood Story" to especially delay War. Deck card total is now 74!

11/01/2015: STRETCHED! — We're adding four cards based on four U.S. Presidential candidates. Hilary and Trump seem to be a given. Who else? Bernie Sanders? Ben Carson? Chris Christie? Put your votes in the comments.

10/28/2015: STRETCHED AGAIN! — We're upgrading the card stock to 310gsm French casino quality card stock with black core (linen finish); you'll be some silky-smooth HotA shuffling fools.

10/27/2015: STRETCHED! — We're adding a round plastic token to the decks. The token will be stamped with the HotA logo.

10/26/2015: STRETCHED! — The $14k stretch goal has been unlocked. We'll be adding Boost Cards to the decks now. 

10/25/2015: FUNDED! — We hit our target goal! Woohoo! HotA is going to be a real thing!

EVERYONE WHO PLAYS HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE DIES.

Sorry.

The object is pretty straightforward. Be the last survivor...and ensure your (so-called) 'friends' are ridden down first. How? You do this by throwing innocents under the hooves of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in order to slow them down.

Decks of cards contain the Horsemen: Death, Famine, War and Pestilence, and their Horses. They have arrived on Earth at the End of Days hell-bent on bringing doom and gloom to the world. Everything else in the game is designed to help you survive. For a time, at least. 

Delay Card samples
Delay Card samples

Delay Cards are many and varied. They comprise the bulk of the game and include such things as hippies, a school bus, a beached whale, your grandmother, nurses, farmers, a basket of puppies...basically anything you can throw in front of the Horsemen to stop them from reaching you.

Delay Cards are extra fun for their snarky and/or witty blurbs. For all you fans of Mark's fantasy novels, several of these will be written by contributing fantasy authors, including Mark, Brent Weeks, Robin Hobb, Peter V. Brett, Anthony Ryan, Michael J. Sullivan, James Lovegrove, Myke Cole, and more.

Effect Card samples
Effect Card samples

There are also Effect Cards, which include actions such as Swap, Shield, Force, and more. These cards allow a player to steal another player's defenders, or to turn a Horseman back against the previous player, or to force a player to put down any Horseman/Horse card in their hand.

According to the game's designer, Mark Lawrence, "the game is all about recklessly laying down innocent lives to eke out your own miserable survival, but to win you have to do it effectively. Each Horseman of the Apocalypse is unique. It’s going to take something very different to slow down Pestilence than to slow down Famine. If Death and War are both riding your way, throw the Diplomat under War’s hooves and the Doctor under Death’s, not the other way around."

Every Delay Card has four icons, each displaying a number, to show how that card is at resisting each of the Horsemen. So, a Flower Child is great at resisting War, but pretty friggin' useless at resisting Pestilence, while a Beached Whale is mostly useful at resisting Famine. Nom nom nom...and, uh, gross.

At the end of each Player's Turn all the Horsemen on the table try to kill them. An unmounted Horseman does 2 damage, and 4 damage when mounted. Consult the Delay Card's resistance to that Horseman to see if they survive. Extra damage will go through onto the next card, so Death on his Horse could potentially ride down 4 cards in a row if they each had a defense of 1 against him.

Players get a bunch of cards to start with (their hand), and they pull more from the Draw Pile each round. Any Horse or Horseman pulled from the Draw Pile is placed on the table. Any Horse or Horseman in your hand can be played whenever you want (or when you're made to). 

As you can see in the schematic above, the Horseman Card for Death is in play against four players. Player 1 has bravely hidden behind three Delay Cards, so a Cute Widdle Puppy, a Flower Child, and a Pest Control Van have all managed to delay Death from riding him down, and Death is closer to slaying his opponents (depending on what cards they've put into play). 

Part of the strategy and fun is making those 'hard decisions'; Players may be called upon to decide whether to dump their Beached Whale in Famine's path or to steal Player 2's School Bus and reverse it into Pestilence's way! What to do, what to do...

It needs to be noted that Horsemen, on their own, will always move to destroy Players; a Horse on its own, however, will just stand around waiting for its rider and witnessing the chaos with a disinterested eye (allowing the Players to build their defenses around it). Horses are basically "boost" cards for the Horseman, enhancing a Horseman's skills and increasing their power/speed in pursuit of destroying anything and everything around them, especially the Players. 

When all four Horsemen are in play and mounted, no more cards can be drawn from the Draw Pile. Play continues until only one player survives. That player is the winner. 

Then the Horsemen kill them, too. No survivors!

HotA First Edition Components (KS version)

94 Poker-sized cards, includes:

  • 4 Horsemen Cards  
  • 4 Horse Cards  
  • 11 Effect Cards  
  • 45 Delay Cards
  • 18 Boost Cards
  • 12 Expansion Cards
  • Round Plastic Token  
  • Rules Booklet

Dimensions: Traditional Poker-sized playing cards; 63.5mm x 88.9mm, 2.5" x 3.5" 

Material: 310gsm French casino quality card stock with black core (linen finish)

Printing: Full color print, front and back

Packaging: Custom-printed UV-coated tuck box

Rules Booklet: Booklet size (folded): 2.5" x 3.5"  

500 Backers - Plastic Token - ACHIEVED!: Every deck will come with a round plastic token that can be used to simulate any in-game coin flips...or you can try to pass it off as a drink token at your local pub.

$14,000 - Boost Cards - ACHIEVED!: We'll add six Boost Cards to the deck. These cards can be played along with Delay cards to increase their resistance scores; for example, add "Underpants of Awesome" to your "Husky Lad" Delay card to make him even more potent, or play "Flower of Love" to boost "A Big Hug."

$16,000 - Economies of Scale - ACHIEVED!: All decks will be upgraded to 310gsm French casino quality card stock with black core (linen finish).

$18,000 - "Presidential Candidates" Mini-Expansion Set - ACHIEVED!: We'll commission cards to include four U.S. Presidential Candidates in each deck.

$20,000 - More Delay Cards! - ACHIEVED!: We'll add four more Delay cards to the decks, such as "Red Cross" versus Famine and "Viral Feelgood Story" to especially delay War.

$22,000 - "Leviathans" Mini-Expansion Set - ACHIEVED!!: We'll include a four-card monstrous Leviathans Boost card mini-set in all decks. Imagine what has hitched a ride from the Abyss in the Horsemen's wake!

$24,000 - More Boost Cards! - ACHIEVED!!: We'll now add four more Boost cards to the decks.

$26,000 - DOUBLING DOWN! You get the "Fallen Angels" Set + A Mark Lawrence "HotA" Short Story - ACHIEVED!!: We'll include four more delay cards with a "fallen angels" theme, plus Mark will write a Horsemen of the Apocalypse short story, which will be provided to all backers in digital formats MOBI, EPUB, and PDF.

$28,000 - More Boost Cards! - ACHIEVED!!: We'll add four more Boost Cards to the decks.

1,000 Backers - Mystery Stretch Goal: To be announced once the campaign ends!

2,500 Backers - BOX UPGRADE! Upon hitting this milestone stretchie, we will convert the cardboard tuck box design into a printed tin box with a thermoform mold inside instead so you can protect your HotA deck like a boss.

HotA is the brainchild of best-selling fantasy author MARK LAWRENCE. He is the author of The Broken Empire trilogy and The Red Queen's War trilogy. He is the winner of the 2014 David Gemmell Legend Awards for "Best Novel" for Emperor of Thorns. Mark is also a research scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence, so making a card game is something he totally does in his sleep.

RAGNAROK, the maker of this game, was founded in 2013 by J.M. (JOE) MARTIN and TIM MARQUITZ. They will have published approximately 50 books in two years by the end of 2015. They are both nuts. They are also authors in their own rights. Again, nuts.

Our lead card artist is CATHY WILKINS who has been illustrating since 1997 for clients such as White Wolf/CCP, Onyx Path, Weird USA (New Jersey), and for Monte Cook Games on The Strange, Numenera, and "No Thank You, Evil!".

Our designer is SHAWN T. KING, an award-winning graphic designer residing in the state of Mississippi. He is the creative director for LEGENDS, a Mississippi arts and entertainment magazine distributed throughout the South and winner of the 2013 Mississippi Tourism Association's Travel Media Consumer Publication of the Year award. In June of 2014 Shawn became the In-House Graphic Designer for Ragnarok Publications. He is also a graphic designer for Mechanical Muse, the company behind the new roleplaying world of Aetaltis.

Video animation by Penelope Astridge and Zulu 8. Audio provided by the one, the only, David Robison, maestro of the Round Table Podcast.

                                                    

Risks and challenges

We've published many books; this is our first attempt at manufacturing a card game. We've got a printer/manufacturing facility picked out and we have the basics of the game designed and play tested by a select few. We want to ensure the playability of this game is tight, so we intend to incorporate more beta players as soon as we make the target goal. Because of this, and also because we're not sure precisely how many cards will be in the deck due to stretch goals (which means more artwork), the anticipated ship date is an ESTIMATE ONLY. Updates will inform backers on any extra time needed for beta testing and production.

*Regarding the tuck box packaging for the decks, we are currently planning cardboard tuck boxes, but are interested in seeing how far along funding will take us and potentially get us to shipping cards in plastic cases or tins, thus the asterisk in the rewards tiers.

Joe Martin has had experience in making card games before on the PowerCardz and Spawn® PowerCardz in the '90s, which dealt with a lot more collation concerns than HotA does, so he doesn't anticipate issues in that area of production and manufacture.

Please note that this game was conceptualized by best-selling fantasy author Mark Lawrence. This is the first game he's created, but if reception is what we hope to see, not the last. Any errors in this Kickstarter campaign are entirely his fault, though. Just kidding, Mark! This Kickstarter campaign and the production of HotA, as well as the fulfillment of rewards, is the duty of Ragnarok Publications, so please direct all communication to them and NOT to Mark Lawrence.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    MISER

    You get to hear about progress via our exquisitely crafted updates. You get to luxuriate in the glow of our latest artwork. And you never get to play the game because you're a tightwad.

    Also, we're eternally grateful for the donation.

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    EARLY BIRD

    -SINGLE HotA DECK

    Includes one full deck, packaged in either a tuck box (or other packaging*). Enough cards for a full game up to four players.

    - NOTE: Not eligible to order multiple decks due to limited quantities of this tier. One deck per pledge please.

    - Add $17 USD to your order if you'd also like a t-shirt. See "EXTRAS" for images.

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    HERO OF THE PEOPLE

    -SINGLE HotA DECK

    Includes one full deck, packaged in either a tuck box (or other packaging*). Sufficient cards to annihilate your friends and enemies. You can expand the set at a later date when you realize how addictive it is.

    - Ordering multiple decks? Add $16 per deck. Additional shipping charges may apply.

    - Add $17 USD to your order if you'd also like a t-shirt. See "EXTRAS" for images.

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    HERO OF THE PEOPLE? NSFW* VERSION

    -SINGLE HotA NSFW DECK

    Includes one full NSFW deck, packaged in either a tuck box (or other packaging*). Sufficient cards to annihilate your friends and enemies. You can expand the set at a later date when you realize how addictive it is.

    *The NSFW (Not Safe For Work/Kids/Pets) deck will include, at the very least, a dozen variant cards of questionable taste, as reaped from Mark's demented little mind. You've been warned!

    - Ordering multiple decks? Add $16 per deck. Additional shipping charges may apply.

    - Add $17 USD to your order if you'd also like a t-shirt. See "EXTRAS" for images.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    KING/QUEEN. You're the lord of your realm, be that as it may.

    -TWO HotA DECKS
    -A 24" x 24" CUSTOM GAME MAT

    The game mats will feature full color HotA artwork and a printed template for card placement on fabric with a rubber backing.

    - Add $17 USD to your order if you'd also like a t-shirt. See "EXTRAS" for images.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    EMPEROR/EMPRESS. Overlord of the planet of your choice.

    -TWO HotA DECKS
    -A 24" x 24" CUSTOM GAME MAT
    -LIMITED ED. GICLEE PRINT

    But wait! There's more!

    -SOME USELESS PLASTIC ATTACHMENT*

    * Okay, this part is a lie. We will actually have artist CATHY WILKINS sign your print (personalized even, if you like).

    - Add $17 USD to your order if you'd also like a t-shirt. See "EXTRAS" for images.

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    Pledge $155 or more About $155

    SCRIBE OF THE APOCALYPSE. You are the scribe of a Horseman, writing down all sorts of blasphemies and lewd jocularities on parchments of human skin.

    You get all the Emperor level awards, plus a t-shirt, AND Mark Lawrence is going to scrawl his insignia (i.e., AUTOGRAPH) on a card of his choosing in gold or silver ink and include it in one of your decks. Limited quantities available as Mark abhors signing the things we send him — but that makes it all the more rare, does it not?

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    Pledge $205 or more About $205

    SERVITOR OF THE APOCALYPSE. You are the bannerman or shieldmaiden of a Horseman.

    You get all the Emperor level awards, plus a t-shirt, AND we will base one card in an expansion set on your suggestion and credit you as the designer.

    We can also use your face (or the face of a loved one) in caricature on your card design, if applicable.

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Funding period

- (30 days)