Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire is a tactical bidding and bluffing microgame, where 2-4 players lead international spy agencies, each attempting to recruit the most mercenary agents to their side.
Simple to learn and small enough to carry inside your secret dossier, Sub Rosa offers plenty of tactical decisions and replay value. Each player’s choices and the different combinations of targets available in each play-through can dramatically shift the gameplay dynamic, creating something fresh and interesting every time Sub Rosa hits the table.
In Sub Rosa, you lead an international spy agency, so it's only right that this campaign considers international gamers. If you back Sub Rosa today, we are going to provide both free global shipping, and a rulebook in a variety of languages. Confirmed languages so far include English, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Why are we on Kickstarter?
Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire is the first release by Uncanny Cardboard and we want to make it as cool as possible. As more backers come on board, we can leverage economies of scale to make the components and look of Sub Rosa as exciting as possible.
"Oh that was cool! One more time!" Cloak and Meeple
"This is the sort of game where you can really sink your teeth into." Geek Pride
"This is a fantastic little game!" Who Dares Rolls
"There is a surprising number of factors to consider when playing this ostensibly simple game. Exactly what I'm looking for in a filler." Creaking Shelves
"I like it because of the depth involved in the game, but I also really like it because of the simplicity. [..] Lots of fun!" NVS Gameplays
"For its size and simplicity, Sub Rosa produces a quick and clever battle to out-think and outmaneuver your friends and family. Fans of microgames will enjoy this one." League of Nonsensical Gamers
"A fantastic microgame, because not only are you playing the game, you're playing the people. [...] I really liked it!" Bearded Meeple
Head to the end of this section for a video-guide to the rules.
Players start by shuffling and flipping the double-sided cards and laying a number of these cards out on the table, depending on the number of players - these cards are the agents available for hire in the game. Each agent card has its own specific powers, and the combinations of agents that come out can alter the game significantly. In a 4-player game, there are 32 possible combinations of agents - and while some of these variations are slight, some are quite drastic and can result in unexpected combos and fun bluffing opportunities.
Once the available agents have been determined, players take turns placing their bidding tokens onto the agent cards. Each bidding token is numbered, with a value between 2 and 6. Most tokens are played face-down and are not revealed until the end of the game - placing these face-down tokens is where much of the bluffing comes in. But each player has two tokens that lets them blackmail the various agents into doing various jobs. These jobs include manipulating opponent bids, moving agents around, or locking agents from bids for a round.
After players have each placed all but one token, they reveal all the face-down tokens, and the values on these tokens determine who has won control of each agent. The player who wins control of the most agents at the end of the game is the winner. In the case of a tie, the tied player who kept the highest value token in their hand is the winner.
Don't just take our word for it, check out what other people have to say about Sub Rosa! Watch the videos or click any image to read full written reviews.
If you want to try the game before backing, the print-and-play of Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire fits on one-page, is low-ink, and you can have it on the table in a matter of minutes! Follow this link to find out more.
You can also try Sub Rosa on Tabletop Simulator by following this link.
This is the first Kickstarter campaign by Uncanny Cardboard, and as such we are keeping the campaign for Sub Rosa simple, with just a few key stretch goals and a few pledge levels. This means the campaign can go off without a hitch and we can get the game into your hands as quickly as possible!
€1400 - We're Funded - DONE!
Thanks to you, Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire will be produced!
€2000 - Sixth Spy Card - DONE!
To allow for more even variety and trickery, an additional, double-sided spy card will be designed and included in the game. We will consult backers regarding what kinds of effects they would like to have on the additional spy cards. All additional cards will have new, full art.
€3000 - Seventh Spy Card
Another double-sided spy-card will be designed and included in the game.
€4000 - Eighth Spy Card
And an eighth double-sided spy card will be included.
€6000 - Ninth Spy Card
A ninth double-sided spy card will be included in the game.
€7000 - Tenth Spy Card
A tenth double-sided card will be designed and included in the game, bringing the total count of double-sided cards to 10.
€8500 - Deluxe Upgrades for Everyone
This is what we really want! Sub Rosa will now come in a telescoping box, with a multi-language rulebook included - see the next section about packaging.
Giving value for money to players is very important to us. We want to keep the cost to backers of Sub Rosa as low as possible. So we trimmed the fat to give you a lean mean spying machine of a game. And to this end if we meet our funding goal, Sub Rosa will be packaged in a clear package, with the rulebook providing the front cover. If you've ever seen the older Steve Jackson, Tasty Minstrel or AEG microgames, you'll know what we mean. At this stage, the game package will be small enough and the value low enough that it will not trigger EU import taxes.
Hitting our €8500 stretch goal however, will allow us to leverage economies of scale and we will produce Sub Rosa with a different manufacturer in Europe. Along with a better rule book in multiple languages, Sub Rosa will come in a telescoping cardboard box – a small version of the standard board game box. So if we reach our €8500 target, every backer will basically have their copy upgraded to a deluxe version, at no extra cost. Nice!
International shipping is included in the cost of your pledge. Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire is small enough that it won't trigger any kind of EU customs fees. Should we reach the €8500 stretch goal, the game will be manufactured and shipped from within Europe.
If you are a retailer, please contact us for details on how you can get the game into your store.
Risks and challenges
Sub Rosa is the first large-scale project undertaken by Uncanny Cardboard, but not the first project by myself, Robin David. Over the past years, I have worked extensively in the sale and manufacture of custom stationery, so I have a fairly good handle on how to manage issues surrounding fulfillment, bulk manufacturing, etc.
For Sub Rosa, I am working with a variety of trustworthy manufacturers to get the games into your hands. If Sub Rosa just meets it's funding goal, it will be manufactured and fulfilled in the US, through AdMagic. If the telescoping box stretch goal is reached, Sub Rosa will be manufactured in Germany, through Ludofact.
Of course, the future may throw up unexpected speed-bumps, but Sub Rosa is both a completed product and a small product - any problems should be easily managed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)