Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 6, 2013.

Update #19

More About Scholarship Editions

3 comments

We’ve been very clear (we hope!) about the fact that Meriwether isn’t edutainment. And yet, here we are offering “Scholarship” editions. How do those two things fit together?

We begin with a basic premise: almost all educational video games are terrible. Just unplayably bad. For every good game like Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego that exists, thousands of pedantic, transparent, and woefully unfun offerings litter the field of educational video games.

Why should this be? We at Meriwether believe the problem is that edutainment treats the “game” part of “educational game” as secondary. And that’s where they go wrong. That’s why with Meriwether, we’re working hard to create a great game rooted in the amazing history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We are crafting the game based on the team’s collective experience in making games, as well as everything we as a team have learned after a lifetime of playing them. If you happen to learn something along the way, well, that’s your own fault. :)

Seriously though, there’s a reason why games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have such detailed and richly-presented worlds. The settings of those games are what give meaning and power to the actions players take through the gameplay. Would there have been such controversy around Mass Effect 3’s ending if players hadn’t grown to care passionately about the people, places, and events that the game created over a period of years? No way!

That’s what we want to do for Meriwether: we want to offer players a combination of great gameplay and great storytelling that will make them fall in love with this world. The only difference will be that, instead of inventing a history from the ground up, the way fantasy and science fiction games must, we have based our world on the best historical research we can muster about the Corps of Discovery’s journey. When players finish the game, those people, places and events will stay with them, just as much as our fond memories of other game worlds stay with us.

And that’s why we think educational settings have a lot to gain by employing games like Meriwether, in spite of the fact that the game isn’t edutainment. By immersing players in the history, presenting them with the challenges the Corps of Discovery faced, and compelling them to think like a 19th century explorer, we hope to open whole vistas of possibilities to learners and educators alike. That’s why we’re offering the game to educational institutions at such a discounted rate through our various “Scholarship” levels.

The Scholarship edition at $25 secures a copy of Meriwether for yourself and another for an educational institution of your choice. Also, if you pledge at the $50 level or above, you can donate a copy of the game to an educational institution of your choice for every $6 you add to your contribution. If you want to donate a bunch of copies, you can go for the “Super-Scholarship” or “Super-Scholarship + Swag” editions. Finally, don’t forget that if we hit our stretch goal of $50,000, we will match all the scholarship donations our backers have made, doubling the amount of scholarships we give out. And we’ll be sure to inform those educational institutions that they have you to thank for bringing the game to them.

So far, backers have graciously donated about 180 scholarships. We hope you’ll join them and help us get Meriwether into the hands of these institutions so we can show them how fun and engaging a game that does history right can be!

Comments

    1. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Sortasoft LLC on January 3, 2013

      Alcaray, thanks for the advice. I agree it's a great article, and we've definitely taken some suggestions from it. And--we haven't officially announced this yet, but we are also taking their suggestion for the final hours. Is there anything else specific that you'd recommend?

    2. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator J. Elizabeth Clark on January 3, 2013

      As an academic, I'm very excited about the scholarships. I know in Meriwether that game play comes first: first and foremost, this is going to be an incredible game. But, I also appreciate that you can learn something along the way. And, as we continue to see changes in pedagogy and content delivery in higher ed, I'm psyched to share copies of the game with schools in my area! Thanks for including this as a part of the reward package!

    3. Tinydan.small

      Creator alcaray on January 3, 2013

      I posted this link elsewhere, but I get the feeling you did not read that post. This project did some very interesting analysis of post-ks statistics and they discussed their ks strategy. In particular, there are some specific things they did in the last 48 hours of their project. I recommend that you read this update:

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nyphur/predestination-a-turn-based-space-4x-strategy-game/posts/378315…

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    ★★★ WELLWISHER ★★★ Every dollar brings us closer to our goal, so thank you! Besides receiving our sincere appreciation, contributing at this level also earns you access to all game updates during and after the Kickstarter campaign.

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    ★★★ SCHOLARSHIP EDITION ★★★ Even though Meriwether isn’t edutainment, we think that, just as fiction, movies, plays, and other artworks can enhance learning, so can this game. In that spirit, at this level you can purchase a download code for yourself, and we'll send an additional copy directly to the educational institution of your choice: high school, college, library, museum, after-school program, etc. (just be sure it’s age-appropriate for the game’s “T” rating, please!).

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    ★★★ FAST FRIENDS (early-bird) ★★★ One to keep and one to share! You’ll get two download codes for your new favorite Lewis and Clark game at a special early-bird price. With the holidays coming up, ask yourself: can you afford NOT to buy in at this level?

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    ★★★ FRIEND ★★★ If you’re backing us at this level, the early-bird level above must be gone. Sorry! But don’t feel bad: $33 for two copies of the game is still a terrific deal. Spread the love!

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    ★★★ SOUNDTRACK ★★★ Our soundtrack will feature an original score from the inimitable Jim Welch (welchcompositions.com) and period-accurate fiddle music (the kind Pierre Cruzatte would play around the campfire), among other offerings. At this reward-level, along with a download code for Meriwether, the DRM-free music of the game is yours.

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    ★★★ ENGAGÉ ★★★ Lewis and Clark hired a number of non-military hands called "engagés" (because they were usually of French-Canadian descent) to assist the Corps of Discovery. So at this level, you are promoted from backer to comrade-in-arms. You will not only receive a copy of the game, but, as a beta-tester, you will get it before it’s available to the general public and help us squash bugs and refine gameplay. In addition, at this level we will immortalize you in the credits. Plus you get the soundtrack. Plus our eternal gratitude!

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    ★★★ TRADING POST ★★★ At this level, you’ll get everything included at the ENGAGÉ Level, plus your choice of any one of the following: 1) T-SHIRT; 2) CLOTH GAME-MAP; 3) MERIT BADGE; 4) USB COMPASS; 5) "THUNDERCLAPPERS" COMMEMORATIVE TIN. Please see the descriptions of these terrific rewards for more details.

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    ★★★ TRADE UP ★★★ Everything at the ENGAGÉ level, plus any TWO of the rewards listed under TRADING POST. Now how much would you pay? (Well, $65, I guess.)

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    ★★★ HIDDEN CACHE ★★★ Everything at the ENGAGÉ level, plus any THREE of the rewards listed under TRADING POST.

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    ★★★ HARD BARGAIN ★★★ Everything at the ENGAGÉ level, plus any FOUR of the rewards listed under TRADING POST.

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    ★★★ QUARTERMASTER ★★★ All our swag are belong to you! Everything at the ENGAGÉ level, plus all FIVE of the rewards listed under TRADING POST.

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    ★ SUPER-SCHOLARSHIP EDITION ★ You get everything listed under ENGAGÉ, plus ten—that’s right, ten!—digital copies of the game, which we will send directly to your favorite age-appropriate institutions of learning. You tell us where to send them, or donate copies to a general pool, or mix ‘n’ match. We’ll be sure to let every institution know of your generous contribution.

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    ★★★ SUPER-SCHOLAR + SWAG ★★★ You get everything listed under the QUARTERMASTER level, plus 10 extra copies of the game, which we will send in your name to the educational institution of your choice (or place in a general pool of institutions if you prefer). Everybody wins!

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    ★★★ CORPS MEMBER ★★★ Help make history! At this level, besides receiving everything included in the QUARTERMASTER level, you will be the sole sponsor of one of the soldiers or the baby (!) listed in the $250-level reward box in the body of this page. We will give you the Corps member of your choice, subject to availability (first come first served!), or just as happily choose a member on your behalf if you don't have a strong preference. You will receive special recognition in the credits and the Wunderkammer as the sole sponsor of your character, and we will send you a limited-edition, 8x10 giclée print of the box art on watercolor paper (for that extra touch of elegance).

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    ★★★ SPONSOR GEORGE DROUILLARD ★★★ If Chuck Norris had to spend a week in the woods, he'd take survival lessons from George Drouillard. Tracker, interpreter, woodsman, and bar-none the best hunter in the Corps, Drouillard put more meat in the Corps' stomachs than anyone else. Sponsor MERIWETHER'S resident badass and you'll get everything included in the QUARTERMASTER level, plus you'll be the sole sponsor of Drouillard, to which the credits and the Wunderkammer will attest. Plus, we will also give you a limited-edition 11x14 giclée print of Drouillard on stretched canvas.

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    ★ SPONSOR SERGEANT GASS ★ Patrick Gass started the expedition as a private, but, upon the death of Sergeant Floyd, was promoted to sergeant. He's the newest leader of the Corps of Discovery, and his story is a journey of personal growth as he assumes the responsibilities of command. Back us at this level and it will be our pleasure to honor you as Sergeant Gass's sole sponsor in the credits and the Wunderkammer. We will also send you everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, along with an 11x14 giclée print of Sgt. Gass on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR ALEXANDER WILLARD ★★★ Private Willard was court-martialed early in the Expedition for falling asleep at his post (an offense punishable by death!) and spent the rest of the journey earning back the captains' trust. He plays a key role in the plot of MERIWETHER, and at this level you can be his sole sponsor. You get everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, recognition in the credits and Wunderkammer as Willard's sole sponsor, and an 11x14 giclée print of Private Willard on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR YORK ★★★ Besides receiving everything included in the QUARTERMASTER level, you will be the sole sponsor of York, the only African American on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and a key member of the Corps, as he was Captain Clark's personal aide-de-camp and confidant. You receive special recognition in the credits and the Wunderkammer as the sole sponsor of York. We will also give you a limited-edition 11x14 giclée print of York on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR JOHN COLTER ★★★ An explorer and legend in his own right, John Colter gained fame after the Expedition as one of the first "mountain men." At this level, besides receiving everything included in the QUARTERMASTER level, you will be the sole sponsor of Colter and will receive special recognition in the credits and the Wunderkammer describing you as such. We will also give you an 11x14 giclée print of Colter on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR MERIWETHER'S FAITHFUL DOG, SEAMAN ★★★ Before heading out on his adventure, Captain Lewis purchased a Newfoundland who, to the consternation of American History teachers ever since, he named Seaman. Jokes aside, Seaman was an important help to the Expedition, an asset on a hunt and a vigilant guard. Sponsor the Corps' shaggiest, slobberiest member and you will receive everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, recognition in the credits and Wunderkammer as Seaman's sole sponsor, and an 11x14 giclée print of Seaman on stretched canvas.

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    ★★ SPONSOR PIERRE CRUZATTE ★★ Brought on as a boatman and interpreter and well-liked for his fiddling, Cruzatte's biggest claim to fame is that HE SHOT MERIWETHER LEWIS. Cruzatte, who definitely had poor vision and may even have been blind in one eye, probably mistook Lewis for a tasty elk or somesuch while they were out hunting (Lewis was dressed in buckskin). The bullet hit Lewis through his "left hip-joint," then "cut the thickness of the bullet across the hinder part of the right thye [sic]." In other words, both buttocks with one bullet. Awesome. Sponsor Cruzatte and have your name associated with the man who almost took out Lewis (in both the Wunderkammer and the credits). Furthermore, you'll receive everything at the QUARTERMASTER level and an 11x14 giclée print of Cruzatte on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR TOUSSAINT CHARBONNEAU ★★★ Interpreter and family-man, Charbonneau is Sacagawea's husband. Besides his skills in communication and in cooking up a mean boudin blanc, however, Charbonneau deserves a great deal of credit for the Corps' great success. It is his family (Sacagawea and their son, Jean Baptiste) that helps Native American tribes see the Corps of Discovery less as a military outfit and more as a band of peaceful explorers. Sponsor Charbonneau and it will be our privilege to thank you in the Wunderkammer and the game credits. You will also receive everything at the QUARTERMASTER level and a glicée 11x14 print of Charbonneau on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON ★★★ Jefferson's contributions to the formation of the United States of America can hardly be overemphasized, and as America's third president, he was the ultimate architect of the Corps of Discovery's Expedition. He hired Lewis as his personal secretary and trained him in scientific classification, cryptography, and many other skills essential to the voyage. In MERIWETHER, Jefferson is the first person Lewis speaks to in the game. That means he is also the first NPC players can click on and see the generosity of this level's backer extolled in the Wunderkammer (and also in the credits). Backing us at this level also earns you everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, and an 11x14 giclée print of Jefferson on stretched canvas.

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    ★★★ SPONSOR WILLIAM CLARK ★★★ Though the government of the United States only approved a commission of lieutenant, Lewis and Clark agreed they would tell the Corps that Clark was a co-captain of the Expedition. In every way, the two men shared command. That may sound like a formula for disaster, but the amazing success of the Expedition speaks to the remarkable character of both men. In many ways, Clark was the work-horse of the Corps, the reliable and constant soldier who would endure any hardship for his country and his fellow soldiers. He was also the Corps' cartographer and the man we have to thank for the amazingly accurate maps he created on the voyage. Narratively, Clark is a lynchpin of MERIWETHER, the character to whom you will speak most often. Sponsorship at this level includes everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, recognition in the credits and Wunderkammer as the sole sponsor of Captain Clark, and an 11x14 giclée print of Clark on stretched canvas.

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    ★ SPONSOR MERIWETHER LEWIS ★ The man himself! Captain Lewis had an embarrassment of talents: athletic, courageous, and a dead-eye marksman, he was the soldier you wanted standing next to you in a fight. But he was also keenly intelligent, equally adept in the sciences as in the arts. He is one of the United States' earliest naturalists, recording literally hundreds of plant and animal species new to Western science. At the same time, he expresses himself in his journals with a brio that would be the envy of any poet. It is this American original who serves as the centerpiece and vehicle for MERIWETHER. Backing at this level means that you are backing the game's protagonist. You'll be rewarded with everything at the QUARTERMASTER level, recognition in the credits and the Wunderkammer as Captain Lewis' sole sponsor, and an 11x14 giclée print of Lewis on stretched canvas.

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Funding period

- (38 days)