About this project
THANK YOU BACKERS - You've helped us make the game so much better!
If you've missed the campaign, you can always use the 'Contact Me' button or visit us at: www.playtmg.com
** Our progress during the campaign has encouraged us to strive for a DECEMBER DELIVERY of Harbour. See Update #14 for full details **
Are you ready for the rising tides of Harbour?
- HOOK - Easy to learn, easy to teach, still satisfying
- LINE - Decisions of a heavier game in 10-15 minutes per player
- SINKER - Special player powers, innovative market, tons of replayability
In Harbour, players are ambitious merchants and entrepreneurs in a light-hearted fantasy port city named Gullsbottom. They collect and exchange goods, make shipments, manipulate the market, and purchase buildings as the waterfront community quickly develops.
In clockwise order, players take turns moving their single pawn from one building to a different unoccupied building (simple worker placement).
- Buildings trigger actions that gather or manipulate the goods in your personal warehouse (resource management).
- Some actions enable you to buy buildings by selling goods from your warehouse at the market. Owning buildings accumulates prestige (victory points).
- Every time any goods are sold at the market, resource values fluctuate. Timing is everything (innovative market).
The game ends when a player accumulates their 4th building. The player who has acquired the most prestigious property value is the winner.
Buildings - Developing The Waterfront
Most of the buildings either provide resources, convert resources to different types, or allow the purchasing of buildings. Some of them grant you clever abilities that include manipulating the market prices and breaking the rules.
Interestingly, buildings have variable types that grant bonuses as you acquire them:
- Coins - make buildings cheaper (cumulative)
- Top Hats - grant you access to other's buildings
- Anchors - production bonuses (cumulative)
- Warehouses - keep a resource with each sale (cumulative)
In each game, 10-23 buildings will be used depending on the number of players. Since each of the buildings in Harbour is unique and the order in which they come out is random, there is significant variability in how a game can unfold.
The Colorful Cast of Characters
There's enough gameplay in Harbour that you could enjoy it fully if each player started the game on equal footing without a special power. The back of every character card supports this option by providing a generic shop owner / merchant (i.e. the Family Game).
The game really starts to reveal new layers, however, when the cast of characters are unleashed. We are very pleased with the potential mix of characters that could be unlocked through the stretch goals in this campaign.
In addition to the standard merchant couple without special abilities on the back of each card, here at the four base characters included with the game:
- Clockwork Tradesman - Such a proficient trader that when selling for $2, he always gets $3 instead.
- Diplomat - Starting with a top hat allows you to go to buildings that other players have purchased without paying those players.
- Bookkeeper - Normally you lose all extra resources when you sell, but with the skills of a bookkeeper this no longer effects you.
- Entrepreneur - Starting with a warehouse, you'll get to keep resources whenever you sell.
The following characters have been added to every box of Harbour because of this Kickstarter campaign:
- Structural Engineer - Everything you buy can no longer be used for its ability, but it still provides the symbols and +1 VP per building at the end of the game.
- Efficiency Expert - At your own building, you might only get one resource of your choice, but you also can build a building.
- Drover - Whenever the Drover collects cattle, they can choose to move the price of cattle up or down by 1.
- Dockhand - Starts with two anchors for a strong start, but ignores further anchors.
- Alchemist - You may spend a good to convert 2 of your goods of one type to another single type.
- Travel Agent - When another player uses a building that is owned by a different player, you gain a good of your choice.
- Neighbor - copy the ability of any owned, unoccupied building, including players' starting buildings.
- Investor - When you buy a building, gain one good of your choice.
By pledging during the Kickstarter campaign you also guarantee that you will get the limited edition characters that will be made available to all backers and in limited quantities for retail pre-orders:
- Fisherman - When you collect any fish, gain an additional fish.
- Wholesailer - When buying a building, keep 1 of each good sold.
- Noble - At the beginning of the game, look at the top 2 building cards and build 1 of them for no cost. It is worth $0 and 0 VP, and doesn't count towards the 4 to trigger the game end.
Mason - When anybody uses stone to buy, collect 1 stone.
- Speculator - At the end of the game, add VP to your total building worth equal to the current market value of stone.
- Beggar - When another player gains goods from their character action, you gain 1 good of your choice.
Rising Tides - The Dynamic Market
We've covered the simple turn structure, the building types and their variability, and hinted at what the characters can bring to the game. But it's all tied together with an innovative ever-changing market.
- Every time goods are sold, market values change.
- Highest valued goods fall to the bottom and less expensive goods rise to the top; there's an elegant flow that makes sense as soon as you see it work its magic.
- You'll find yourself strategizing about the timing of your critical moves; this is meaningful indirect interaction at its very best. (strategic euro game mechanics)
Please watch this 30-second video above to see how the market values fluctuate. As soon as you see it, the market should make sense.
Buildings, Characters, Markets ... Oh My!
What makes Harbour special? That's easy—a few simple elements are distilled into a deceptively small and playful looking game that you'll reach for again and again due to its depth and variability of game play.
The following quick sample play video by backer Nick Shaw is a great way to watch the flow of the game:
Find out for yourself: DOWNLOAD the PRINT AND PLAY and RULES
TMG prides itself on investing a lot of effort into each game's development. Part of this tradition comes from being more interested in unique gameplay than designer pedigree and an openness to working with first-time designers. From the very beginning our head of game development, Seth Jaffee, has focused on harnessing a game's potential.
Our relationship with Scott Almes goes way back to his light dice game with decisions, Martian Dice (2011), and his much heavier pick-up and delivery steam-punk game, Kings of Air and Steam (2013). So when he contacted us about a simple but interesting small euro game—we were very eager to take a look!
Back in November of 2013, Version 1.0 of Harbour was interesting and showed promise. Over time, Seth and Scott delicately tweaked the game ... while Michael pounded with a chisel. The building mix improved, the clarity of language improved, the game play got much more interesting.
We stopped increasing version numbers after Version 15. Each new version got us closer and closer to perfecting the game of Harbour.
In March of this year, we released the print and play files online and they were downloaded thousands of times. Recently, we sent out a Print on Demand prototype of the game to over 300 reviewers, game groups, and alpha gamers for more feedback and exposure. We did this because we're very confident in Harbour and all this feedback is making it an even better game experience.
Because people are interesting in learning about the development of the game, Scott has agreed to write a series of designer journals about the development of Harbour:
DESIGNER JOURNAL #1 - The Beginning of Harbour (Update #9)
DESIGNER JOURNAL #2 - Adding Character (Update #11)
DESIGNER JOURNAL #3 - Building Buildings (Update #15)
ARTIST JOURNAL - The World of Harbor (Update #17)
DESIGNER JOURNAL #4 - Why Harbour? (Update #18)
We have put in this effort to make Harbour as awesome as possible, and now you have an opportunity to help us make it even more awesome...
One of the strengths of using Kickstarter is that the enthusiasm of backers can grow a solid game into an even bigger experience full of additional awesomeness, value, and replayability.
When we prioritize the games we most want to launch on Kickstarter, we identify the games with the greatest potential to grow impressively with active support—that's why we have been so eager to launch Harbour for many months!
More funding means a bigger print run, which means a cost savings per unit ... which means we invest that value right back into the game. We developed Harbour with this potential in mind.
So, let's unlock some stretch goals:
- $120,000 - NEIGHBOR (new character) - Unlocked!
- $125,000 - HOUSE OF WEIGHTS & STANDARD (new building) - Unlocked!
- $130,000 - LIBRARY (new building) - Unlocked!
- $135,000 - INVESTOR (new character) - Unlocked!
- $140,000 - Wizard's Travelling Imaginarium (building) - Unlocked
- $145,000 - New Building - Floating Dock
- $150,000 - New Building - Clocktower
- $150,000 - New Character - Market Owner
- $160,000 - New Character - Contractor
Feedback and Comments:
"This is a good little game ... There are complicated decisions and plans to be made, but the game plays smoothly and easily ... plotting out your turns so you can make the perfect sale is challenging, engaging, and makes the game enjoyable to play." - Julius Besser, jayelbird on BGG
"Apart from the ingenious market mechanism, the quick gameplay, the easy-to-grasp rules, the fun, the fresh theme and the humorous realization of the artwork, Harbour really feels like a world in a nutshell. It's going to be my first full-fledged Eurogame that fits into a small box!" - Manuel Ingeland, magneheeli on BGG
"The market mechanic is brilliant. It allows for levels of player interaction not seen in other worker placement games. ... The abilities of the building cards are also so diverse that each game is radically different. Don't be fooled by its size; it's a really deep game!" - Perry Fergin, perrygf on BGG
Lance Myxter, UNDEAD VIKING VIDEOS:
- "The best part about this game ... is the market board. This market board is where the game really starts clicking together. It makes the game for me."
- "...if you're in the mood to play a euro game and you don't have a lot of time ... it's gonna scratch that quick little strategy euro itch you have ... and it's gonna satisfy that."
- an ideal lunchtime game
- "Harbour is definitely a very, very fun game."
John Zaenglein, THE CHALK - Board Game Reviews:
- "My family really liked the game."
- "... the base level to get the game is $20. To me, that's a no-brainer."
- "You definitely see the artwork and the world that the game is taking place in. I'm just enamored with it. It looked really fun."
- "It's a very elegant design. Very fun. I think it's gonna be a hit." "I highly recommend it. Try out the print and play version."
Hunter Shelburne, WEAPONSGRADE Previews:
- "This isn't really a micro game, but it has a bigger game feel in a smaller package."
- "The art is amazing. I can't wait to see what the stretch goal art looks like."
- "It's not a very complicated game at all, but it feels a little deeper."
- "This, on its own, stands alone. I really like Harbour quite a bit."
Online Written Reviews:
Article: 'Harbouring a Love of the Microgame' [Review HERE]
"I've never played a worker placement game where I was so interested in what the other players are doing and trying to mete myself into their business in-game."
"...interesting asymmetric passive benefits are one of my favorite game mechanics ever."
"As you may be able to tell, I love Harbour a lot. ... Harbour’s mechanics are extremely well thought out, fun and engaging and you should back it. If you’ve ever liked a board game, I am 95% sure you’ll like this game."
- Luke Turpeinen, ACROSS THE BOARD GAMES
Harbour started out with a unique market mechanic, but I didn’t know it at the time. I had an idea that whenever a set of goods was sold, the price would drop immediately. Then, the other goods would have to be sold before that price could increase. This would make not only collecting goods important, but timing when to sell them a hard decision. Originally, this was how the market was going to work in Kings of Air and Steam, but it didn’t work in that game. It didn’t work in any game I was developing.
So, I locked the idea away in the giant warehouse I have of design ideas, in a giant wooden crate, where it would later be researched by the smartest and the brightest.
That was in 2010. Stuff happened in between, but let’s jump to 2013 when small games became a “thing”…
I love the small game revolution. I like to travel, so having small box games with big gameplay is a huge benefit to me. Unfortunately, many of the meaty euro games are far from portable. So, with the small game revolution starting, I decided to design my own eurogame that could fit the small games aesthetics.
Harbour fell out of my notebook. I’m not sure if it could be stated any other way. Like the market example described above, there were many ideas that I had set aside because they didn’t work in another game, but were great ideas in their own right. It just so happened that Harbour needed all of them. I had designed Harbour in the background, by accident, and didn’t realize it.
I wanted a game with high variability, and the random building mechanic was a perfect fit. It was another ‘core’ mechanic that didn’t fit another design. I’d been trying to design a worker placement where you had one worker and limited but tough choices, which fit Harbour’s gameplay perfectly. Then, of course, I found the market mechanic from before. It was like realizing all of those odds and ends in your pantry were able to create a perfect meal (that serves 2-4 gamers in a casual setting).
And, as public service announcement, I’ll say it’s a great example on why to write everything down…
The game worked well right off the bat, with some normal tweaks. This was more dumb luck than anything, but I’ll take it. I was having fun with it. It was a tight euro that you could play in twenty minutes, worked well from 2 to 4, and played differently every time. (Gameplay variability is HUGE for me) I was super happy with it, so I sent it over to the euro-masters at TMG to see if they were interested.
Mr. Mindes bit on it instantly. And, as he and Seth Jaffee tend to do, they made it even better. We tweaked, expanded, and added expert characters. We went through 15 versions of the game within an extremely short time frame, and now the game is amazing instead of just working well.
I’m very excited to be bringing out Harbour with the folks at TMG. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and it brings lots of joy to you and your friends and family. -Scott Almes, Game Designer
TMG began in March of 2009 as a dream. A dream that we could make excellent games that gamers wanted to play. A dream where we could work to make the world a better place.
We have now published over 20 games which include great games like Eminent Domain, Dungeon Roll, Belfort, Homesteaders, Martian Dice, Ground Floor, and Kings of Air and Steam. We also look to co-publish high-quality games such as Village and Rialto through strategic partnerships with our partners abroad.
We are a team of gamers, designers, educators, and experienced professionals currently based in the lovely mostly rural and unpopulated Mountain Green, Utah. As a group we are making games that we are really excited about and we can't wait to get these to you. In all honesty. we're some of the biggest fans of our games you can find.
Please help us make them better. Thank you.
Every successful Kickstarter has to answer the important question, "Why now?" for its backers. Why not just wait? For some, backing is simply a reflex based on a belief in the company or the idea presented. Obviously, that's the cornerstone of participating in Kickstarter.
In the best case scenario, participating in the community and the experience and memory of a project should be its own reward. A well-run campaign keeps you connected and in the loop long after the funding ends and thoughtfully manages your expectations along the way. You feel like you're a part of the process when it all runs smoothly.
But backers are increasingly sophisticated and there's many competitive choices for your money in our hobby. Therefore, tangible incentives help provide a expression of gratitude for what can be an emotional investment for one person and a shrewdly pragmatic decision for another. We all come to Kickstarter with different expectations, but goodwill should be universal.
Here's how we answer "Why now?" for Harbour:
- We'll pour your enthusiasm back into the game and evolve it into its best version possible. When we look at what backer support has done for some of our games, it's hard to imagine them any other way. Thank you, we love what you do to our games!
- Backers will have access to Kickstarter exclusive stretch goals. If funding goes well we have some non-gameplay stretch goals planned that will be exclusive to backers—such as a special enhanced version of the box. Backers had the chance to design characters that TMG agreed to test.
- You can help improve the game. There's more ways to help a game than giving it money. We change card names, we hear ideas, we try to respond to your feedback. Your questions and inquiries help shape our priorities. For example, we're currently looking into an official solo version of Harbour because of backer interest.
- Backing is the only way to guarantee that you'll get the Limited Edition Launch Promo.
What is a Launch Promo? A Launch Promo a set of limited edition additional characters that will only be printed in English with this first edition. These characters add some dynamic variability to the game.
These characters are connected with the entire launch of the game because they will also be made available to Harbour pre-orders at retail stores—but only in limited quantities. If you want to be sure you get the promo as a professional printed version, become a backer.
However, since no one likes to be missing out on game play content, late adopters will still have access to these additional characters because they will be made available as a free pdf file.
The games that TMG makes have continued to grow in popularity worldwide, and today we have a growing number of non-English language partners for our games.
We understand that we have a global audience and that many of you would prefer to have the game in your native language (Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese).
For reference, our partners will have access to all of the launch promo characters to use as they decide. We do not know yet if they will be including them in the localized editions for the respective countries.
Risks and challenges
To date, Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) has delivered numerous games throughout the world. Some that were funded on Kickstarter and some that were not. As an established small games company, the real question is making sure we manage potential sources of delay and communicating clear expectations throughout the campaign and after the funding ends.
Two primary sources of delay are staying on top of production and completing art in a timely fashion. These two things are closely related, of course.
To address any concerns related to production TMG hired an operations manager in April to escort everything through the checkpoints and hurdles with our manufacturers. Thankfully we have worked with Panda Game Manufacturing for several years now and have a good working relationship with them. We also have a full-time production artist on staff now to support pulling all of our game assets together smoothly between Panda and our individual game artists.
The illustrations for the base game of Harbour are complete and between the video and the campaign pages you can see most of the 29 base illustrations images. We will need to stay on top of stretch goals, however, as sometimes success can add meaningful delays. Harbour artist Rob Lundy is therefore on retainer while the project is live to meet this demand. We've also scheduled an extra two weeks into our estimated delivery timeline to focus on finishing artwork at the end of the project.
In an effort to stay on top of communication, we now have a community manager to keep backers in the loop and keep the campaign focused and responsive. Behind the scenes our design and development team is quietly working to provide testing, balance, and inspiration in support of all of our games and designers. As you can see, we've assembled a full team here in Utah to elevate our overall level of service. We think you'll feel the difference.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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