¡Vamos¡ Berlin 1981, Awesome Blog Posts, y Aztlán 2033!
And… we’re at $40,000. I thought you would give me a few days, muchachos. And yet here we are. Already at $40,000. ¡Híjole! We’ve unlocked Berlin 1981, and we’re well on our way to our next two stretch goals: more narcocorridos y Aztlán 2033. We’ll talk about todos those stretch goals in this update, along with some awesome blog posts and actual plays!
Oh… as a reminder, the voting for the new santos candle closes tomorrow, ¡así es, mañana! Please get your vote in to determine the candle we add as an available option for backers:
Santos Candle Voting: https://goo.gl/forms/mBVdTK99HWwAKcHN2
¡Bueno! On to the update!
Unlocked Stretch Goal: Berlin 1981
We’ve unlocked our first official hack of Cartel, Berlin 1981, giving you all the tools you need to bring the mechanical core of Cartel to a brand new setting: the Cold War. I’m super excited to expand what Cartel can do, and I’m thrilled that folks are excited about digging into the mechanics from a new perspective. Spy fiction has its own rich literary and cinematic history!
Berlin 1981 will be featured in Sin Fronteras, available to all of our $20+ backers as part of the digital stretch goals. We’ll make the materials available to backers for playtesting well before Sin Fronteras is published, so you all mendigotes will be the first folks who get to try out the hack.
New Stretch Goal: +2 Narcocorridos ($42,500)
After our short jaunt to Germany, it’s time for us to get back to Mexico. Now that we’ve upgraded our Deck of Locations and added new tattoos and candles, it’s time to add a few more songs to Corridos de Durango:
If we reach $42,500, we’ll have Justin add two more songs to our album of custom narcocorridos, bringing the total to six songs of betrayal, amor, drogas, y dinero. I’m excited to give you all some authentic corridos to play at your table (and perhaps even use as songs for your characters!).
New Stretch Goal: Aztlán 2033 ($45,000)
But we’re not stopping at $42.5k… we’ve got more stuff planned. First up, a second hack for Cartel, this time set as far into the future as Berlin 1981 was set in the past:
Aztlán 2033 is a hack of Cartel set in a fictional narcostate south of Canada and west of the Mississippi, a post-apocalyptic pseudonation wracked by climate changes and economic collapse. Aztlán—as the locals call it—isn’t technically part of Mexico...but it isn’t part of America either. Abandoned in the wake of a nuclear war precipitated by rogue artificial intelligence, Aztlán is cyberpunk dystopia haunted by diablos, programs that hijack human hosts to flee the restraints of La Red (the Grid). Now ángeles hunt those diablos, the trusted agents of the corporations who are paid to get the programs back in the box.
Aztlán 2033 is probably the most ambitious hack I will ever do of Cartel, a one player/one gamemaster noir engine that evokes Bladerunner and City of God in equal measure.
If we reach $45,000, Aztlán 2033 will appear in Sin Fronteras—in both print and pdf—and will include all the materials you need to run a game of Cartel in a totally new, cyberpunk setting.
Awesome Blogs: Bluestockings and Save vs. TPK
Since I launched the Cartel Kickstarter in early March, there’s been a goodly amount of internet ink spilled on the nature of the game, and the role it plays in our understanding of the drug war. It’s been really exciting—and sometimes stressful—to see people engaging with the material, and I’m still pumped to see folks thinking and talking about Cartel.
This past week, though, two of my favorite pieces have been published, and I want to share them with you.
Blustockings: Playtest Focus - Cartel
First up, Kate Bullock wrote a fantastic piece on her blog (Bluestockings) reflecting on her experiences playtesting Cartel with myself and a few other Gauntlet regulars last week. Her piece is really honest, exploring what she found out about herself through the game:
“As I publicly shamed my husband for being less than a man, Mark looked at me and asked if I was verbally abusing or shaming someone. I blinked, stunned, that a game would mechanize emotional abuse. It's not something I've seen often other than in games that are exploring that topic. [...] It blew my mind that a game would own that bullshit, call it abuse, and acknowledge how much of a role these things have in the society it was talking about. In fact, the only Stress move that isn't abusive is confessing your sins to a priest, which is feeding back into community and healing. Yes please.”
And here's the playtest Kate is talking about on YouTube, a great example of the way that gender politics and familial drama plays out in Cartel:
Save vs. TPK: Without the Distance of Metaphor or Time
Over on Save vs. TPK, Ramanan Sivaranjan tackles some of the controversy and drama around Cartel’s subject matter, writing really elegantly about what games are able to do and how they are able to do it. As I said on Twitter, I’m honored he cast his critical eye on my project:
"The archetypes the playbooks of the game represent aren’t distant or fantastic: they are grounded in reality. Mark could tell his story about the Mexican drug trade using allegory (the cartel are the dark elves or some such nonsense), or he could push his story backwards or forwards in time (Cartel: 2120). As players you might be able to avoid dwelling too much on the reality of what you’re playing. But this seems contrary to everything Mark wants to do with his game. His goal—as he notes often—is to push people to play roles that might be uncomfortable for them. He wants people playing Mexicans."
Great stuff in both posts! Please go read and comment. Both these writers are really excellent contributors to the RPG community, and I'd love to see some Cartel fans engaging with them.
¡Last Week, Cabrones!
We’re down to the last semana of the campaign. Just six more días until we close on Sunday, April 15th. Tell everyone you know! This is their last chance to be a part of this campaign.
¡Mil gracias, amigos! It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I can’t wait to see what the última semana has in store for us!