Wave 3 & 4 Delayed.
I am delaying wave 3 until I am personally fully satisfied with Advanced Kingdom Death: Monster, an integral part of the Gambler’s Chest. I am also moving the Campaigns of Death from wave 4 to wave 3 (not reflected in the pledge manager yet).
There is currently no estimate on when Wave 3 or 4 will ship.
I will see my ambition for AKDM and the newborn Strain system (that’s developed as part of Campaigns of Death) fulfilled. Then I can start mass production and ship rewards. I cherish my opportunity to further develop and improve Kingdom Death. The best way for me to show my dedication and thanks is to make the hard choices and shoulder the responsibility that comes with them.
Donna Poots is dead.
My mom passed away late June this year, a few days after my son's birthday and a few days before mine. It was from her couch, Black Friday 6 years ago, that the first Kickstarter for Kingdom Death: Monster launched. I was visiting for Thanksgiving and I’m still surprised we all didn't just vomit in shock as the campaign took off. She was proud, a backer, and even a regular part of the comment section. (I told her not to tell anyone she was my mom!)
She was sick for a long time and It was only because of the success of Kingdom Death that I was able to provide increasing care for her over the last 3 years. So really, many of you are directly responsible for that and I thank you for it.
Death is part of life. Personally speaking and perhaps sharing a too much, to me it's like a powerful gambling token. You could make peace and move on, or you can keep it clenched tightly in your fist—an extra something added to the choices you make, the gambits you take, and the things you create!
Kingdom Death has grown well past being just me. I apologize for getting personal, but it’s something I wanted to share with you all. Now, please enjoy our humble presentation of what’s to come:
I am very happy with the quality of the hard plastic miniatures in the Gambler's chest. As a team, we are now much more involved in actually engineering the miniatures. In some sculpts we’ve chosen to push detail and challenging poses over keeping the part count low. Here are just a few of the miniatures we’ve built ourselves in the office!
The Scouts of Death are currently in the queue to be tooled at the factory. I'll have to share their final plastic incarnations another day.
The Gambler sculpture is finished! Here’s the resin cast in all its glory!
Engineering The Gambler
My mission with this project is to get the hard plastic mass production model as close to the original hand sculpture as possible. To that end, an expert team of engineers have been working on how it will be cut and produced for months! And e’re still not 100% there! Below is one of the proposed split patterns I rejected:
Advanced Kingdom Death: Monster
I worked on the core building blocks for AKDM for a long long time. I kept it a total secret from everyone (except Anna) until I was finally ready to share. Since its unveiling, we’ve been exploring exciting ways to bring new stories and continuity to your KDM campaigns, as well as new methods to make survivors feel like dynamic individuals with desires and depravities all their own.
I’m thrilled to say that we have shared gameplay moments that transcend what current Kingdom Death can offer, changing the way long-time players and playtesters engage with the game. My design goal is to ensure that any extra fuss is worth it. We ask that a lot when we are designing something, "is the fuss worth it?", "what's this really adding?" While KDM has a lot of tracking between sessions, each isolated slice of the experience is quite streamlined. That is very much on purpose.
With AKDM as I turn up the dial on depth of simulation, I have to ensure that it is worth it. So far, I’m pretty excited about what I've seen at our playtest table!
Campaigns of DeathThe scope of Campaigns of Death has grown! You still get custom campaigns with new stories to play, new gear to chase, and new final bosses to face. We also planned a cleanup of current expansions and errata. That piece grew as we pored over the current expansions. Now COD delivers proper KDM 1.5 updates to all current expansions alongside overhauls for your entire collection (yes, cards too!).
Much like the core game, there are many things that are rebalanced and adjusted. We’ve learned a lot about telling the KDM story and we’ve clarified, enhanced, and deepened the narrative of each expansion. Descriptions are added and improved, hit locations decks bring more personality to monsters, and everything that makes each monster what it is has been concentrated.
The Campaigns of Death hardcover rulebook will contain the updated versions of all 12 expansions printed within it. Due to the vast increase in size of the expansion, I am increasing the pledge price from $40 to $125.
The Strain System is something I am bonkers excited about. One core rule of the Kingdom Death world is that there is no "human history". My explanation for why this is the case is that Watchers ate history. Eroding statues, devouring books, inhaling weapons and armor. Cultures were just a snack before they could ever leave any enduring mark.
HOWEVER! Life and death are far more interesting than that. I’m not interested in lineages of human kings and the wars they fight. Instead, I thought about an acanthus plant and wondered if it would change color while it grew in a survivor settlement amid their diffuse lantern light. It’s like a kid’s science project where they grow a plant in a cabinet and it turns white. Would its color change be permanent? Might there be a monster that prefers it? Would that change a creatures habitat? And then boom! It hit me!
If the node system we proposed to customize the monsters appearing in your game was card driven, then we could introduce ecological shifts and enduring mutations. Players could play a meaningful role in the evolution of their game world! Not by conquering a nation, but maybe by survivors unwittingly bringing back an insect from a far-off showdown. That bug then scuttles into the eyehole of a stone face and wreaks havoc on an unseen layer of nightmare substrate below. Untold generations of survivors later, the soil of that region is fertile. Who knows what your next campaign might grow in that fertile ground, but we’re excited to find out!
Speaking of evolution, the Butcher is still going strong. Who knows how many hundred lantern years it's been hacking up survivors and growing.
Pinups of Death
The hard plastic pinups are nearly complete! Everything except the Pinup Butcher has been been tooled! We are a few small revision from this massive collection of Pinups being totally finished. The Pinup Black Knight doesn't quite fit in her insert, the Pinup Dung Beetle Knight needs its gates increased on a few pieces, and the Pinup Upside Down survivor is getting its legs adjusted to make assembly much easier. The Pinups from this Kickstarter have so much more going on then our first Pinups of Death collection—different body types, scales, crazy concepts, elaborate bases and poses! The Male Pinups in particular were a huge and very rewarding challenge. It'd be awesome to one day get the range to have as many male pinups as there are female!
Pinups of Death - 3
+2 Bonus Miniatures! Surprise!
Sooo, I had a really hard time with the Pinup Death Armor. She just looked so great at a larger scale that I decided to keep it at that! But, I knew that many people might be expecting a normal scale version of her, even though the sitting pose and the chair don’t read well small. So we included a BONUS standing version of her at normal scale!
I had similar issues with the Pinup Disciple of the Witch, but the rounded base and the primary angle being more from the top made it so the small version worked just fine. Again, though, the larger scale prototype prints turned out so cool that I just couldn't resist! We adjusted some proportions and enhanced some details for a large scale version of her too, which is included in the collection as a BONUS!
Pinups of Death - 4
+1 Bonus Miniature Reminder (From the February update).
The most difficult pinup in the set was Pinup Percival. The artwork depicted her on a piece of fabric in bed reading stone tablets. Miniature design with lying down models is always an interesting thing. I think we sculpted like 7 different versions of what she might be on (so many "shelf"-like things with fabric). The issue was that it made the scene SO busy and it just felt off balance. She’s just as important as the details in the scene—the dogpole, the tablets, and her gear. I also wanted to show that she is missing a hand and had a few nasty scars, but the super busy base was just drowning out all that. So, I went minimal with a clear base pedestal and base! With all the clutter gone, I really like how it turned out, even though technically we had to cut a whole new tool for the clear plastic bit.
On the other hand, the Faceless Survivor turned out super crisp! It’s details really shining through with the way we cut tools!
Pinups of Death - 5
Ah yes, the set with all the Dung Beetle Knight stuff! Also the Male Screaming God Pinup, which quickly became our gold standard for male pinups. I decided to scale the Pinup Dung Beetle Knight Armor, Dung Ball, and Manhunters to be "kind of" similar in size to the monsters they are based on. The variety in size is fun and allowed us to focus on smaller details and, in some cases, to really push poses beyond anything we’ve done for pinups before!
First Hero ExpansionI'll be careful with my words to avoid spoilers, but the First Hero is really developing into a cool character in the world of Kingdom Death. A settlement with the First Hero at its helm really doesn't need anyone else to hunt or defend them, so the hero carries the settlement’s armory with them! This working out to be a pretty lore rich campaign as we explore the Veterans, the settlements they originated from, and how the First Hero came to be. The entire tale, of course, will be served to you in a variety intriguing slices. All the hard plastic turned out phenomenal, too!
The names of the Veteran Survivors are just project names. Their actual names will be the ones you give them!
Screaming God Expansion
The Screaming God was one tough design! I can't even take credit for the showdown in motion idea, that was one of the designers on the team. I recall being really excited and really scared about how we'd make it all work. No showdown to date has had as many revisions as this one! But I’m very proud of where it is now.
This is a showdown that takes place in perpetual motion. The survivors are racing through ruins in the darkness, hunting the Screaming God as it hunts them. At the same time, on everyone’s heels is a stampede of Screaming Antelopes in heat. Touching them is instant death. If the Screaming God moves over you, it’s also instant death! To represent the constant motion as the survivors zoom ahead, at the start of every round a horizon card is drawn and all terrain and the monster move 6 spaces towards the stampede. It's totally nuts!
The hard plastic Screaming God is great! I might add a little something to its base, though, as figuring out which way it’s facing isn’t 100% intuitive due to the model’s cool head turn.
For the Gencon Demo, we made some screaming antelope stampede models! I really love how they turned out!
While evidence of it's dominion is everywhere, the Parasite Queen is one of KDM’s most elusive monsters. If the survivors manage to find it, they’ll be in for a challenge like nothing they’ve ever faced! Here’s a look at the sculpt.
Big Thank you to HamletMachine for the Illuminated Men illustrations!
Black Knight Expansion
The Black Knight showdown is another battle where the location really transforms the fight. The battle takes place high on the side of the Inverted Mountain in a crumbling sanctuary. The Squires that noiselessly skulk under the Black Knight’s lonely home have slowly been restoring the cloisters’ grandeur with a locally sourced rubbery elastomer. The lovingly cobbled together statues in the sanctuary take on a elastic aspect, a feature the Black Knight uses to great effect, ricocheting survivors through the sanctum and into the open air! The 5 year Squire campaign has also taken an interesting development turn, focusing on four particular squires and how their individual secrets shaped their relationship with the Black Knight.
We created a really cool demo board for Gencon 2018! The rubble tiles were magnetized to make for easy removal as the Black Knight blasted survivors through them. The Black Knight Expansion WILL NOT come with model versions of its tiles! Instead there will be artwork on token board. But we are thinking about including the Elastomer Statues as an upgrade from their flat token incarnation!
Nightmare Ram Expansion
I fear I have mislead you all! (Gencon Interview.) It's true the Nightmare Ram itself is not part of the Dungeon Crawl anymore... but that’s because it’s been moved to its own "boss" room! The Dungeon Crawl portion leading up to the Ram still exists. Replacing most of the Hunt Phase, the survivors will work their way through the Ram's Dungeon, dealing with boiling water bugs on their way to confront it! We found the design space that combined both at the same time was not allowing us to make the Nightmare Ram or elements of the dungeon strong enough, so we made them both their own more distinct, more exciting pieces!
Pathfinders of Death
The miniatures are all finished and on their way to tooling!
We found the best way to make the Frogdog’s lethal farts a centerpiece of the showdown! You'll have to scroll down a bit to see exactly what I mean. The Frogdog also makes for a massive resource in the early game and includes both an armory and an olfactory location. Oh and the plastic version is totally lovely! The original hand sculpted versions base was a bit more oval then round so we had to rework the base. Moving dogpoles around the pile about to get it just right on the 100mm base!
Even more Satan! It now comes with 4 models instead of 2!
Ivory Dragon Expansion
The Ivory Dragon is now, officially, the largest Kingdom Death Miniature to date. It's head sits higher then the dragon king! Here are some photos of its work in progress!
Honeycomb Weaver Expansion
Titan Bee! Titan Bee! TItan Bee! Now a new node 1 quarry monster included in the expansion! +1 Early Game Monster!!!
I couldn't have made it thru the last few weeks without Spybionic's youtube collections of old video game soundtracks. After about 6 hours your brain will be ready to melt.
Oh, And the Gambler is just so insane. It pushes way past game art and into the fine art territory. Holding it is surreal and dizzying! Please enjoy a video of me rotating it, upside down!
A few more things just came in! Literally like this very second as I finish up this update! Including the newest version of the Gambler Engineering! Its starting to look like what we need!!!!
My mom always told me to be honest, have the courage to follow my heart and to be true to myself. Pretty simple straight forward stuff! Turns out, chasing dreams and being honest can be really hard! I got to say goodbye many times before she passed. I told her it was ok to rest and I told her I’d continue to make her proud. I also thanked her for our time together, for being my friend, my mom and for being herself.
Before my brother and I left her house, I unpacked the 1.31 core game that she backed long ago and put it up on the mantle to display. She was too far gone to open it and see all the work inside. No one knows what happens after life, but I’ll figure out some way to bring it to her for a game.
Thanks for being part of Kingdom Death.
I love you.
Have a good rest.