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Explore a deadly cave and race to escape with the treasure in this pulp adventure board game.
Explore a deadly cave and race to escape with the treasure in this pulp adventure board game.
Explore a deadly cave and race to escape with the treasure in this pulp adventure board game.
1,049 backers pledged $44,784 to help bring this project to life.

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You pull your hat down low as you squint down the dark tunnel. A peal of laughter echoes down a neighboring passage — one of the Baron’s goons, no doubt, laying more of his traps for you. From a crack in the wall you hear the unmistakable sound of slithering. Best to not go that way either, then. This whole cave has the stench of death about it. If you had any sense, you’d be high-tailing it for the exit already. Instead, you lace up your boots, tighten your grip on your trusty whip, and step forward into the darkness.  You’re an adventurer, and there’s treasure down there somewhere.

Skulldug! is a pulp exploration game where 2-6 players race to collect 3 treasures and escape from an ancient and treacherous cave system.

You build out a new map every time you play, discovering new passages, equipment, and monsters.  Passages are generated on the fly from three decks of cards, so you never know what might be around the next corner.  It will take all of your wits to escape past your opponents’ traps with your cursed loot, but make it out alive and all the glory will be yours.

Thanks to our awesome backers, we've unlocked a slew of new contents. The updated elements include:

  • 15 unique explorer tokens
  • 6 Dazed cards
  • 30 Health gems
  • Bonus Fortune and Hazard cards (see the Bonus Cards stretch goal below for details)
                              

You can also provide feedback on the manual by commenting on Google Docs!

  

If you'd like to try Skulldug! out for yourself, you can download the free 2-player print-and-play version of the game.This contains a slimmed-down selection of cards and passages, but is a great way to familiarize yourself with the rules and play of Skulldug!


"I really enjoy the game. I like building the cavern, I like that it's different each time, I like the cartoon nature of it, I like the idea that you have an army of your group waiting outside just waiting for someone to die and then 'SEND ANOTHER ONE IN!'"
-
UndeadViking

"This is a very smooth game... Despite playing the game many times, I have yet to feel like I am playing the same game. Each set up, reveal, and encounter is always different.'' 
- Cyrus Kirby, Father Geek

Read Father Geek's full preview here!

"Watching an opponent slide on a grease smear into the maw of a cave denizen is priceless! ...Skulldug is a great fit for virtually any game group or family." 
Luke Turpeinen, Across the Board Games

Read Across the Board Games' full review here!

"Skulldug! gives you one of the most authentic “exploration” feelings in board gaming. Many of your decisions are completely blind – you could be walking to your doom as easily as walking to victory, and you just won’t know until the cards flip. It makes for an exhilarating and tense environment as you hope for the best but prepare for the worst."
- BoardGaming.com

Read BoardGaming.com's full preview here!

"I'm too poor a shot to be Quatermain, too old to be a Goonie, and too hirsute to be Indy. Thankfully, Skulldug! lets me scratch my treasure-hunting itch in relative safety!"
- Matthew Moore, designer of Bring Your Own Book

"Skulldug! is an exhilarating romp through mysterious ruins that will leave you laughing like an old school adventure game. I especially enjoy the cursed treasure--it's such an awesome catch-up mechanism that doubles as a way to up the zaniness as the game approaches its end!"
- Teale Fristoe, Nothing Sacred Games

"A game of curiosity, danger, and excitement. The closer you are to winning, the closer you are to doom. With this much variety I could play for hours!"
- Tap Pribbenow, designer of Grow

Unlocked: We've upgraded every card to casino-quality bluecore cardstock!

To clarify, cards are printed on two sheets of thin paper, which are then glued on either side of a thicker core of cardstock. The quality of this cardstock effects a number of attributes, including how much light the card lets through and how much 'snap' the cards have when bent. Upgrading to bluecore stock will increase the feel and longevity of every card in the game!

Unlocked: We've upgraded the Skulldug! box interior from a simple cardboard insert to a custom molded plastic tray, perfect for keeping all of your passages and explorers organized!

Unlocked: Skulldug! will ship with rules and components for a new team mode, allowing you to partner up with a friend as you explore the cave! Team mode will support up to 3 teams of 2 players each in a competitive yet cooperative race for the treasure!

Yes, you read that right: this goal raises the max player count to 6 players! Team mode provides a totally different dynamic than the base free-for-all mode, and we're excited to get to share it with you. 

But that's not all! In order to enable team mode, we will ship 15 unique explorers in every copy of Skulldug! This means that you will always have a variety of explorers to choose from, even in team mode!

Unlocked: We've upgraded the passage cards to a set of chipboard tiles! These tiles will be much thicker and sturdier than the previous cards, making them perfect for building out a cave map with a minimum of sliding.

We will also increase the size of the box to fit all those tiles. The new box will measure around 175x250x66 mm, an increase of over half an inch on each dimension. This increased size should make the game look and feel a lot more substantial on your shelf!

We're adding a set of entirely new cards to the game! While we're still working on the designs for these cards, we can promise that they'll explore some great new interactions and mechanics not found in the base set. They may even include a certain famous boulder trap amongst them...

Get a deluxe print and play with the game's final artwork! This will include all of the contents of the physical game, but in a more convenient, printable digital format!

Get one copy of Skulldug! complete with all stretch goals before it's released in stores! If you get antsy waiting for your copy, you'll also have access to the deluxe print and play as soon as it's released.

Worldwide shipping is included in all reward tiers — see the Shipping section below for details.

Show your excitement for Skulldug! with this tier. You'll receive one copy of the game before it releases in stores, the deluxe print and play, a Kickstarter-exclusive digital art book highlighting the artwork and development of the game, and a personalized letter of initiation into your choice of Skulldug!'s teams of explorers.

Will you choose the idealistic Adventurers, the tricky Rogues, the sinister Henchmen, the mysterious Cultists, or the bureaucratic Suits? If you can't decide, you can read more about each team in the rulebook!

Whichever you pick, your letter will be hand-typed on an actual typewriter and mailed to you as an exclusive, personalized welcome into the world of Skulldug!

For when one copy of Skulldug! just isn't enough! Get two copies of Skulldug! at a discount, so you can share all the adventure with your friends and loved ones before it's released in stores. This tier also includes access to the deluxe print and play and the Kickstarter-exclusive digital art book.

Get six copies of Skulldug! before it's released in stores — except for yours, that is! This deep-discounted tier is for shopkeepers who just can't wait to get Skulldug! onto their shelves and into their customers' hands.

Due to the cost of delivery, only retailers based in the U.S. can choose this tier. As a bonus, you'll also receive access to the deluxe print and play and the Kickstarter-exclusive digital art book.

Literally become a part of the game! Submit a photo of yourself or a friend (with their permission), and our superstar artist Ghia Mercado will transform you into a member of one of our five teams of explorers.

As well as being turned into a playable explorer token, your portrait will be displayed on a card with other members of your team and may be used in the manual or on other promotional materials. 

We'll also send you a high-quality 8.5"x11" print of your portrait signed by Ghia herself! In addition, you'll receive a high-quality digital file of your image, a copy of Skulldug! before it releases in stores, a hand-typed letter of initiation into your new team, the deluxe print and play, and the Kickstarter-exclusive digital art book.

The fine print: Ruddy Games is committed to presenting a diverse and inclusive cast of characters in Skulldug!, and in order to encourage a balanced representation of genders across our explorers, we've split this tier in two: one tier for backers who identify as male, and one for backers who identify as female. If you don't feel that these tiers represent you, please pick either tier and we will absolutely include you in the game!

After you back this tier, we will reach out to you for your photo and to establish which of the five explorer teams you would like to be a member of. Photos must be received along with a signed release form by June 14, 2015, otherwise we cannot guarantee you will be in the game. Team choices will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis — once a team has two backers signed up for it, it's gone for good. We also reserve the right for final creative sign-off on the completed portraits, but we will work as hard as we can to get you with something you're proud of!

The motherlode! Back this tier, and you'll not only receive all the previous tiers, including a copy of Skulldug! with your portrait in the game, a signed print and digital copy of your image, a hand-typed letter of initiation, the Kickstarter-exclusive digital art book, and the deluxe print and play, but you'll also get to hang out with the designers in Oakland, California or Seattle, Washington!

You're responsible for getting yourself into the city, but beyond that we're up for pretty much anything. We can play games, talk about design, swap trade secrets, go out for drinks... Trust us, it'll be fun. We're pretty cool.

We'll work with you to find a time and place that works for everyone to meet up, although since Brian and Jon live in different cities, it's possible that one of us will have to join the fun via video chat. It'll still be great.

With the exception of the Proprietor rewards tier, all copies of Skulldug! will ship directly from our logistics partner's warehouse in Shanghai. This allows us to ship games worldwide without having to charge backers outside of the U.S. extortionate shipping rates!

All packages will be labeled as 'Kickstarter rewards' and will have their value declared as their manufacturing cost. Backers are responsible for any additional import fees. However, the declared value will be low enough that you should avoid any additional duties or taxes in most countries.

After several months of comparing quotes and sample cards from various printers, we decided to partner with Besser Ltd. to produce Skulldug! Besser is known for printing the Red Dragon Inn games, and we are confident that they will provide the level of quality we demand for our games.

                                                  

 Set one of these avatars as your picture on your favorite social networks and forums to show your love for Skulldug!

Brian is an Oakland-based designer of all things: games, graphics, websites, and probably interiors if you gave him half a chance. After developing Skulldug! with Jon for two years, the two of them founded Ruddy Games to help share their game with the world. You can find Brian on Twitter as @bkopleck.

Jon is an ex-pat living in Seattle with a love for elegant game design and dark humor. Although Skulldug! is the first tabletop game he has completed, he has been designing games his whole life and released his first finished digital game five years ago. Jon is Twitter at @TheJonAGill, and occasionally updates his website at jonagill.com.

Ghia is an illustrator living and working in Oakland, California. Raised on a love of comics and games of all sorts, she now harnesses her obsession with drawing to create her own. She may or may not be a warlock. You can find more of her personal work on her Tumblr.

Alix is an illustrator working out of San Jose, California. Having left the world of commercial illustration for freelancing, she now focuses on projects closer to her long-time interests in fantasy, horror, and games. Alix painted the Skulldug! box cover. You can find more of her work at alixbranwyn.com.

Kickstarter video by Chris Word.

Typewriter image released under Creative Commons 2.0 license by Marco Tedaldi.

Risks and challenges

Although Skulldug! is the first board game that Ruddy Games is bringing to market, we have developed and released several digital games before, including the mobile roguelike-brawler Asterogue, and we feel confident in our ability to deliver a quality product on a deadline.

While there are inherent risks to any project of this scale, we have taken every step that we can to minimize those risks. All design and art work on the Skulldug! base game has been completed and vetted over many hundreds of playtests, and we are already working on our stretch goals. We've also spent over six months preparing for publication, talking to other publishers who have run successful Kickstarters, and picking our printing, shipping, and distribution partners. All that's left at this point is to sign the check and deliver the files to the printer!

We have also picked delivery deadlines with a lot of wiggle room to account for any delays that may crop up in the pipeline. We are very confident that we will be able to get rewards in your hands by or before the delivery date!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    ARCHIVIST — Get a copy of the deluxe print-and-play of Skulldug!

    All higher reward tiers also gain access to the print-and-play.

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    ADVENTURER — Receive a copy of Skulldug! with all stretch goals before it arrives in stores.

    Includes free worldwide shipping.

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    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    ADVOCATE — Receive a copy of Skulldug! with all stretch goals, a Kickstarter-exclusive digital artbook, and a hand-typed letter of initiation from the explorer team of your choice.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ACCOMPLICES — Receive two copies of Skulldug! before it hits stores and the Kickstarter-exclusive digital artbook.

    Includes free worldwide shipping.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    PROPRIETOR — Receive six copies of Skulldug! before it hits stores. U.S. retailers only, please.

    Includes free domestic shipping.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    MAN OF ACTION — Have your portrait immortalized as one of the game's explorers! Receive a high-quality print of your character by the artist, a print-ready digital image, a copy of Skulldug! before it hits stores, the Kickstarter-exclusive digital artbook, and a hand-typed letter of initiation from the explorer team of your choice.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    WOMAN OF ADVENTURE — Have your portrait immortalized as one of the game's explorers! Receive a high-quality print of your character signed by the artist, a print-ready digital image, a copy of Skulldug! before it hits stores, the Kickstarter-exclusive digital artbook, and a hand-typed letter of initiation from the explorer team of your choice.

    Refer to the Rewards section for details on this reward.

    Includes free worldwide shipping.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    BENEFACTOR — Spend a day with the designers in Oakland or Seattle! We'll play games, chat about design, and generally have a great time! Includes all previous rewards, including having your portrait added to the game as an explorer, a copy of Skulldug! before it hits stores, the Kickstarter-exclusive digital artbook, and a hand-typed letter of initiation from the explorer team of your choice.

    Includes free worldwide shipping.

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Funding period

- (30 days)