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Once upon a time there was a man. The man had a dream. His name was Jukka, and he liked machines. And cars. And board games.
And so, he designed a board game. About cars. Then, a new company called LudiCreations took that board game design, and asked the world to help make it a reality. And the world answered, with several thousand dollars.
It was a frightful time. Illustrators, wood manufacturers, playtesters, translators, editors, steel foundries, reviewers, Spiel volunteers, and hazelnut spread factories all came together to take those several thousand dollars and do whatever needed to be done to turn them into playable cardboard goodness. And they did!
The games were illustrated, designed, printed, boxed, packed, shipped, exhibited, sold, loved.
Alas, not all was well, [ -------------------- REDACTED -------------------- ], and the USA backers had to wait a little more than anybody expected. But there's a happy ending after all. The pallets are loaded and are making their way across the high seas to the land of Ford, Chrysler and the Wienermobile.
And this is how we came to:
While we were waiting for the pallets to be picked up, we asked Jukka to take some time and design two tiles that we can use to thank our patient backers, and to create some content for the game at the same time.
While it would have been nice (and cheaper) for us to include something like this in a future expansion, Jukka just started a new job and we have many more board games under development, and so we don't know when we can make an expansion happen. So, we figured that we could give you something to tide you over until then.
Depicted on The Americans are two of the most helpful people we've had the chance to work with: Todd & Corrie, the dynamic editing duo that worked on making the rulebooks more understandable to all of us. Perhaps we could have had a backer depicted and made some cash, but this was a great opportunity to honor two more Americans that we are thankful for. But what do they do?
The investor part of the duo, showing a dapper Todd, is someone who wants to back a winning horse. He doesn't care what propulsion it is that we'll all be using to drive in the future, as long as it is the biggest. So, he will reward the engineer that specializes the most, by awarding two points to the biggest propulsion system of any colour (red / green / yellow, or gasoline /electric / steam) among the ones used by the prototypes on offer.
A common complaint by novice players is that the game may appear to be "too balanced" in scoring. Since this new investor is a "Stack 3" investor, players that feel that they need more divergence in final scores, may choose to use him in the Advanced/Expert modes of the game.
The Saboteur engineer assistant, showing a devious Corrie, is a dangerous woman. Counting on her counterparts' discounting her as an engineer because she is a woman, she can destroy an opponent's Part. She can be activated in phase 2 (Dark Alley), and as with every other assistant, can only be used once per game, and must be turned face-up, losing a point for her employer.
This engineer assistant scratches a particular itch on many experienced boardgamers' backs, which is the ability to directly cause damage to other players' automobiles. While Gear & Piston is not that sort of game (we have class, you know), having that ability available just once is quite ok, as it preserves the balance and character of the game. Since using engineer assistants in the game is optional, players can choose to include them or not, and if so, also decide to include the Saboteur or not, depending on the style of game their playing group enjoys.
For those of you living under a pile of carbon steel somewhere, Gear & Piston is a board game, funded via Kickstarter and released in October 2013 to the joy of gearheads and boardgamers alike.
In it, players take the role of automotive pioneers that aim to each build a prototype automobile that will impress investors and make history!
To find out more, read the rules, watch reviews and risk a severe case of cardboard envy, visit our website, http://ludicreations.com.
If you couldn't be bothered, here's what Rahdo thought about it (prototype components shown):
Here's how the game looks in its published form, and how it was shown at Spiel 2013 in Essen:
(click on the picture to see a larger version)
You can also pledge to receive the base game and the previously released mini-expansions through this campaign.
As we are a small company that is still growing, we have placed a limit on the amount of copies we will send through this campaign, to make sure we can live up to our obligations. If that limit is reached, we will reassess and consider increasing it.
NOTE: There is no limitation for the $5 pledge reward. Anyone can pledge for it.
Note 1: The amounts in currencies other than USD were calculated with Google's currency converter when the campaign started. Exchange rates fluctuate every day, and your payment provider may convert them to different amounts when you make your pledge.
Note 2: Anyone can pledge for the $5 level, not just past backers.
Limits & Multiple copies
$1 / $5 rewards: You may add $1 / $5 (or more, if you are feeling generous) per set to your pledge in order to receive multiple sets.
$65 / $75 / $85 rewards: Limit of 1 base game per backer. We save no money in shipping two games (it's actually more expensive), and since this is not being fulfilled by a large team (like last time, before Spiel), we can't do bulk packages. Also, last time we tried it, and it was terrible - delays, complications and no money saved. You can add $1/$5 (or more) for each copy of The Americans that you would like.
To help us make the tiles, we ask for a contribution, for which we will send you the set.
Backers from the USA that also backed the original Byzantio / Nekken campaign need only pledge $1 to get the Event Set I. Following the end of the campaign, we will check that to make sure that only eligible backers receive the set at that price. To see if you are eligible, first check to see if you are in the USA (to some, this might be less obvious than one would expect), and then click https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/backings to see if you've backed Gear & Piston in the past.
Backers from everywhere else only need to pledge $5. This is the bare minimum we need to produce, pack & ship the tiles, and is in keeping with prices at places like the BGG store.
While we are not "branding" this campaign as a "Pay-What-You-Want" campaign, we will graciously accept any amount above $1/$5.
As you might notice, we also offer rewards for the full game + previous expansions. While you may already own the game, there's many more out there that would like to have it, so let them know by sharing the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and BoardGameGeek.
Much like the Overheated/Assistant Engineers mini-expansions, The Americans will not be available through distribution, and will not be available on the BGG store.
If we have any left over from this campaign, we will offer the set on our website for 5 EUR (6.88 USD - the discount calculations on the rewards list include this).
The set will also be available at Spiel 2014 for a similar amount, or free with a minimum purchase. We reserve the right to make promotional deals, bundles and offers to promote Gear & Piston and other LudiCreations products. But fear not, our backers are our first priority, and as we have demonstrated time and again, we aim that the campaign to launch a product of ours is the cheapest way to ever get that product.
Gear & Piston: The Americans will be shipped from Finland, once the tiles have been produced.
Gear & Piston and the Overheated/Engineer Assistants mini-expansions will be shipped from Germany, soon after the campaign concludes.
In both cases we are using postal services, not any fulfillment company. We will try to ship to the furthest destinations first, but please understand that due to the nature of this big, beautiful, (almost) round planet of ours, some backers may receive the rewards before you do.
For backers outside the EU that are getting the base game, we will state the customs value as 35 EUR (you pay for the main game, everything else is "free"), which should bring it under most thresholds for customs duties.
To be the first to know of future campaigns, sign up for our newsletter here: http://ludicreations.com/newsletter.
Also, check out our sister company BoardGameTravel.com, and the event we have planned for this summer!
Special thanks go to Jukka, for designing a great game, Mateusz for his beautiful illustrations, Maciek for his steady hand on the graphic design controls, and Bill Murray because he is a righteous dude. Ludi-C out!
Risks and challenges
There is of course always a risk that the factory will be late with producing the tiles, but they haven't so far, and we are inclined to believe that this will continue. We gained a lot of experience with fulfilling our first campaigns, and intend to use it to deliver on time. The rewards for the Gear & Piston and Byzantio / Nekken campaigns have been delivered to everywhere but the USA, to which the pallets are now on their way to. The Ambassadors campaign rewards are being fulfilled at this very moment, and the Boardgames That Tell Stories book is in the process of being finished. For more information on those campaigns, please use the respective comments pages, or contact us directly.
We are aware that running two campaigns at the same time can have its own challenges, but since the Gear & Piston: The Americans and Byzantio / Nekken: Event Set I share several steps in the process of fulfilling the rewards for both, we are confident that we can deliver what we promise.
- (23 days)