“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula
Lord of the Dead is a tribute to the hex & counter microgames I used to play from the 70s & 80s, such as Chitin: I, Rivets, and Ice War. In this game, you play either an evil lord with vast necromantic powers or a mob of townfolk who have been alerted to his approach. Your object as the lord is to fight your way through the village and reach the cemetery, where you will raise an undead army. Your object as the townsfolk is to stop the villain from defiling your ancestral burial grounds and raising up his horrifying army.
More content = greater replayability. And that's never a bad thing, right? Here is the expanded list of components in Lord of the Dead, including all stretch goals made possible by the Kickstarter community:
- RULES: Basic rules, advanced options for neutral monsters and interactive terrain, and detailed turn descriptions for each side.
- SCENARIO PACK: A set of six different scenarios, giving you options for single player, three-player (both vs. and co-op), arena mode, and even campaign-style story mode.
- HEX MAP: With turn summaries, unit rosters, a tracker for health, magic, & reinforcements, and a black magic tracker.
- TOWNSFOLK DIE-CUT COUNTERS: A horde of villagers and reinforcements, enough to fill 1/3rd of the entire map.
- GRAY LORD of the DEAD DIE-CUT COUNTERS: Eight different lords, spell trackers, and minions, color-coded for multi-lord play.
- BLUE LORD of the DEAD DIE-CUT COUNTERS: Eight different lords, spell trackers, and minions, color-coded for multi-lord play.
- MONSTER DIE-CUT COUNTERS: For those who want the full experience, these randomly-spawned creatures wander around the battlefield and attack the closest unit.
- DIE-CUT ATTACK CARDS: For those who prefer a more strategic, less random game, a sheet of attack cards are provided, giving you the option of diceless play.
- ZIP LOCK BAGS: One large bag for the game, and several smaller bags to keep your counters and cards organized.
- PRINT & PLAY: All game files are available for both 8.5"x11" and A4 paper. Print off replacements for lost components, extra copies for your friends or as reference, or beef up your game with more counters! The print & play also includes a new map: Cathedral Defense. The lord of the dead is attacking the cemetery on the print map. On this one, he's defending the cemetery from the horde of villagers.
The board is printed on 14 pt cover stock with UV gloss coating on both sides. The rules are on one side, the board on the other. The counters and optional diceless cards will be die-cut on a separate sheet. Just punch out the counters, add a 6-sided die (or use the cards), and you're ready to play! The game folds up small enough and light enough to be mailed as a letter, so you save money on shipping and customs. I've already tested this out with international mailings to playtesters in Australia and Europe, without any hassle at all!
One player chooses one of the eight lords of the dead: the Necromancer (the basic lord), the Banshee (with an area of effect attack),the Shadow Wraith (who is incorporeal, and so can occupy the same hex as any other unit), the Pumpkinhead (who alone among the lords has a ranged basic attack), the Vampire (who can heal himself when he hits with a basic attack),the Lich-King (a particularly powerful commander of the undead), the Demon-Prince (whose curses cannot be broken) or the Elder Horror (a brutal Lovecraftian monstrosity). Each has a starting health and harvested souls. As he takes damage, his health decreases. If his health is reduced to 0, he dies. As he casts spells, his harvested souls decrease. If his harvested souls is reduced to 0, he can no longer cast spells. He can increase souls by killing townsfolk. Few of his spells trigger immediately. Instead, he keeps track of spell progress via trackers, advancing each spell turn-by-turn until it triggers. Some trigger several turns in a row, some have a one-time effect. One, Call to the Grave, turns a villager into an undead servant. The lord has several play options available to him: leech the townsfolk's life to bolster his own, freeze them in place, kill them outright, or raise them as undead slaves.
The townsfolk player selects his starting army equal to the value of the lord. There are nine types of townsfolk: expendable Commoners, stronger Thugs, magic-flinging Wise Ones, aggressive Soldiers, long-ranged Foresters, swift Cavalry, creature-controlling Shaman, bomb-flinging Engineers, and anti-magic Paladins. Each is weak, compared to the dark lord, but together they are strong. As the lord nears the graveyard, the urgency of their mission grows. Unlike the lord, who must bolster his ranks by killing villagers, the townsfolk automatically grow stronger each turn and are able to summon increasing amounts of reinforcements from the garrison. Townsfolk have several play options available to them: overwhelm with cheap hordes, rain missiles from afar, or attack directly. With judicious positioning and a bit of luck, they can stop the lord.
Each unit has six stats: Speed (how far it can move each turn), Attack (how likely it will hit), Range (how far its attack reaches), Health (how many hits it takes to kill it), Harvested Souls (how much spell-casting power it has), and Cost (its overall value).
I'll try to make this as open, honest, and clear as possible. This is the approximate timeline for project phases, from the design of the game to estimated incentive fulfillment.
- Design - done
- Alpha Playtesting - done
- Graphic Design - done
- Prototyping - done
- Beta Playtesting - done
- Editing - done
- Artwork - done
- Production Proofing - done
- Domestic Test Mailing - done (IN 2 days, AK 2 days, NY 3 days, FL 4 days)
- International Test Mailing - done (Australia 6 days, Switzerland 8 days, Finland 11 days)
- Kickstarter Crowdfunding - done (2199 fantastic backers, $20,516 total, 2279% funded!!)
- Funds Deposited - Monday, June 8
- Print Run Commissioned - Monday, June 8
- Print Run Shipped - Thursday, June 11
- Print Run Arrives - Tuesday, June 16
- Incentives Mailed - Wednesday, June 17 - Saturday, June 27 (The response to this project has been overwhelming. My goal is to package and mail 200 incentives per day, every day except Sunday, on which the USPS is closed.)
- Domestic Incentives Delivered - Thursday, June 18 - Monday, July 6 (Test mailings took 1-4 days, but USPS says to give it one week.)
- Foreign Incentives Delivered - Tuesday, June 23 - Saturday, July 18 (Test mailings took 6-11 days, but USPS says to give it three weeks.)
To the 2199 fantastic backers who took this modest little home project and blew it straight through that glass ceiling, THANK YOU!! Even now, as I type this, the response and generosity leaves me speechless. It's all pretty surreal.
Risks and challenges
There are four things that I need to happen for this project to work out:
1) This project must raise enough funds. (SUCCESS!!)
2) The printer must stay in business. (likely)
3) The postal services must continue to deliver mail. (highly likely)
4) I don't become incapacitated or die. (fingers crossed)
- (30 days)