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A card game and roleplaying game in one box, from the designers of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk.
A card game and roleplaying game in one box, from the designers of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk.
2,477 backers pledged $333,661 to help bring this project to life.

Update #4: A Rulebook, New Stretch Goals, The Book of the Animus, Ms. Johnson, and Doctor Zeez's Intrusions

Posted by Lone Shark Games (Creator)

Here is the current rulebook for the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game. It's our playtest document, and has not gone through editing or layout. But it should give you a solid idea of how we're playing the game today.

Now, let me talk a bit about why this rulebook wasn't a part of the campaign at the start. Basically, I screwed up.

The last time Lone Shark ran a big Kickstarter campaign, it was for The Maze of Games, a puzzle novel I wrote. That campaign was built on the principle of the slow reveal; everybody seemed riveted to the updates because a new element of the campaign was launching every few days. The campaign went great. So for Apocrypha, we built a campaign just like that one.

I've learned in the last few days that a lot of board game fans aren't as excited about that kind of campaign as puzzle fans are. They've told me that they would like to know right away how the game is played and everything I can tell them about it. At first I was kind of baffled by this. People didn't ask for scripts on movies they wanted to back, or lyrics for albums, or source code for video games. Why would people really want to see a rulebook for a game a year from its release date, knowing that furtherplaytesting and editing would likely modify those rules? I'm very possessive about the rulebooks in my games, and I wasn't keen on showing a rulebook in development. My ego got in the way.

And then of course, I got it through my skull that this campaign isn't about my ego. It's about whether you guys want to plunk down your hard-earned dollars for a game that sounds cool but you're not completely sure you get how to play. And so I've rebuilt our campaign around getting you that information. The playtest rulebook PDF will be in the game rules section and downloadable for everyone. And when it changes, we'll post updates.

There's a new gameplay video on the main page, talking about game setup and winning. We'll have another one up later today, on how to investigate a nexus. And we'll keep uploading them as fast as we can.

I hope you like the rules to the game. We think it's a very special game, and we hope you'll continue to support us in the weeks to come.

New Stretch Goal Plan

The other giant thing we got wrong, and are revising today, is our stretch goal plan. Again, we were aiming for a slow reveal, and we got a lot of feedback that we were making a mistake by doing so. So we've revealed all the chapter descriptions and all the author names. 

Today we're revealing all of the stretch goals for the nine chapters.

We'd love to hit all of these, because these are some of the best authors on the planet, and they are helping us write some amazing stories. After a week of shifting sands, we're sticking to this plan, so we hope you'll help us reach all of the goals in front of us.

The Book of the Animus

The Book of the Animus depicts the spirit of the earth, Mother Gaia. She has a decidedly anti-human bent; nothing humanity has done for millennia has sat well with her. She appears as an orca, the apex predator of 70% of the earth's surface. Gaia's spirits inhabit every animal, river, and blade of grass; at the junctions of man and nature, they are learning our ways. As of today, the spirits are content with their lot in life. But tomorrow, the call will go out. We do not know who will hear the call.

We do know some of them hearing the call will be very large.

You wouldn't like Mother when she's angry. Art by Shane Tyree.
You wouldn't like Mother when she's angry. Art by Shane Tyree.

Our memory author for this chapter is Kij Johnson. Her books include The Fox Woman, Fudoki, and At the Mouth of the River of Bees. In 2009, she won the World Fantasy Award for her story "26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss." She won the 2010 Nebula for "Spar," the 2011 Nebula for "Ponies." In 2012, she won both the Nebula and Hugo for "The Man Who Bridged The Mist." She's also a dedicated game writer, having worked with me at Wizards of the Coast on stories for Magic: The Gathering and many other games. As a master of stories about animals, Kij gets the subject matter for the Book of the Animus. Here is a bit of her fragment writing.

THE COURT OF THE FOX: From under the holly bush, the vixen watches you drive away. You leave every day at 8:22. The raccoons and the tomcat will be here by 8:30. They have plans to make. The feral cat under your garage has six kittens: three black, a tabby, and two tortoiseshells. She is doing her part to raise an army.

THE ADVANCE GUARD: After people started seeing a cougar out by the golf course, everyone started keeping their cats and dogs inside: spies in every house. Mission accomplished.

After Kij gets done, you'll never look at your furry friends the same way.

Doctor Zeez's Journal, Entry 3

Last time, Doctor Zeez began some experimental surgery. The experiment had inconclusive results.

If you find the body part Doctor Zeez is looking for, send it in an email to (whatever your answer is) (without spaces). You will be rewarded by auto-reply with the Badge of the Fae if you do, and you can turn it into your icon on Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, or anywhere else. Please do!

And thanks for supporting the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game!

Mike and the Sharks

ORCPnP, JRob, and 18 more people like this update.


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    1. Lone Shark Games 6-time creator

      Cool. Thanks.

    2. Jon Sharp

      I'll be honest. I was very close to cancelling my pledge. The game looked good, but without real detail on gameplay, I was having a hard time getting excited about it. I have backed A LOT of kickstarters, and have tried to cut back by only keeping the ones that I really get excited about. This update has changed my perspective on this game. Seeing all of the stretch goals (and having absolutely no doubt we will hit them all) and getting the rulebook means you will be keeping my pledge. Thank you. I commend you for being flexible and listening to your backers.

    3. Anthony B

      Lesson well learned! Thanks for the update, definitely confirmed my pledge.

    4. Lone Shark Games 6-time creator

      Oh, we still have some surprises. Just not the surprises we thought we were going to surprise you with.

    5. Kevin Diebold on


    6. stevelabny

      YAY. But I also agree that there is a correct use of slow reveals. With big earners like Reaper miniatures or Shadows of Brimstone there were "surprise reveals" but the basics - distances between stretch goals and what could be expected as stretch goals - were sorted pretty early. Then everyone just sat back and got excited about what might come next!

      Here, people weren't clear on the gameplay. And then the extra $33 pledge was a total leap of faith on day 1. Then when it looked like $33k between goals, people panicked.

      Hopefully this is enough incentive to hit most goals and we might still find a surprise or two in add-ons or extra goals at the end.

    7. Lone Shark Games 6-time creator

      Keith: Sorry, we just left it off the list. It's definitely still happening at $110K.

    8. Missing avatar

      Johnny Chu on

      Though I'm not one who requested to see the current rules, I want to commend you, Mike, not only for reversing your stance, but also for sharing your reasons why. Game design is very personal, as most creative work is really, for better or worse. Seeing the other side of an argument is extremely important, regardless of whether a decision is reversed. That empathy is missing in a lot of development studios nowadays, and it's always nice to see it so publicly demonstrated. Thank you, and please take my money. :)

    9. Keith Scherer on

      Very cool to see what it will take to achieve the stretch goal books. It is also a nice surprise to see a possible 10th chapter (same as a book?).

      Is the custom card creator no longer a stretch goal? Will it still happen?

    10. ORCPnP on

      I believe there is a place for the "slow reveal" in board game KS projects, however important things like how the game works and what to expect from typical gameplay are things that are important in deciding whether or not to "plunk down cash" xD I appreciate that you listened to the fans of this amazing project and did what you did. Now lets get these stretch goals smashed and see what you have planned once all 9 chapters are unlocked! I'm off to watch the first video!