Designed and beautifully illustrated by Haakon Gaarder, Villagers is a game of card drafting and village building set somewhere very much like medieval Europe. As a village founder you'll invite people from all walks of life to live and work in your expanding community. If you can recruit the right people to form lucrative production chains while balancing your food production and building capacity, your village will become the most prosperous and you'll win the game!
In solo mode, a lone village must prosper against the machinations of the very ill-tempered Countess.
Stretch goals are divided into three camps: base game upgrades, expansion pack content, and upgrades to the Coin Box. Any expansion content we unlock during the campaign will be included in a free expansion pack for everyone who pledges to receive the game. The expansion pack and Coin Box will be sold separately at retail.
If you'd like to see the work-in-progress rulebook, you'll find it here.
Tom aka Slickerdrips plays through a two player game:
Villagers is played over several rounds, each with two (or sometimes three) phases.
In the draft phase, players take it in turn to take villager cards from the face-up or face-down cards of the central road area. Whenever someone takes a face-up card, it is immediately replaced from the leftmost stack of face-down cards. The number of villagers a player can take in the draft phase depends on how much food their village produces.
In the build phase, each player places villagers from their hand into their village - putting them to work. You can play as many cards as you have builders in your village.
There are two market cards, tucked away under the second and sixth stacks of face-down cards on the road. When a market card is revealed, there will be a market phase this round, right after the build phase.
During the market phase, players count up the total amount of gold produced by the people working in their village. At the end of the second market phase, the player with the most gold in their supply wins the game.
As you can see, Villagers is quite simple, but it's not that simple, there's some other stuff going on, so let's talk about...
Each villager is part of a production chain. Villagers must be placed in the correct order in their production chains. Longer production chains give you more resources, but require more draft and build actions to put into play.
Some villagers need special tools or equipment to start working, and they have padlocks on them. Padlocks must be unlocked by paying the bank, or a villager of the type specified - called the unlocker - 2 gold. If possible, this gold is paid direct to the unlocker, and the coins remain on their card for the rest of the game, scoring extra gold during each market phase. This interaction makes it possible to profit from what other players are doing.
A silver coin icon indicates that some villagers score a conditional amount of gold at the end of the game. They offer many extra scoring opportunities, and you can play two of the same to double your bonus!
Special villagers can make a big difference. Some are like wild cards, helping you create your production chains, while others can create scoring opportunities, or help you in the draft phase.
In solo mode, a lone village must stand against the evil Countess, an AI opponent who seeks to restore her former glory at any cost. The early rounds take place in Summer, but fair weather does little to lull the fury of the Countess. And when Winter comes, she really loses her temper...
As an optional extra we are offering a fabulous Coin Box - a set of 110 coloured & printed wooden coins to replace the cardboard coins that come with Villagers as standard, all packaged in a magnetically fastened cardboard treasure chest that fits inside the Villagers game box.
What's more, you can use them in almost any other game that would benefit from the addition of some classy wooden coinage! Quantities and dimensions (correct at time of writing, but subject to change) are:
- 30 Ones - 16 x 4mm
- 30 Twos - 18 x 4mm
- 10 Fives - 20 x 4mm
- 10 Tens - 22 x 4mm
- 15 Twenties - 24 x 4mm
- 15 Fifties - 26 x 4mm
If you'd like extra sets of coins, click on "Manage Your Pledge" at the top of the page, and add the appropriate multiple of £8 / €9 / US$11 / CA$14 / A$14 to your pledge amount.
We are shipping Villagers to backers ourselves. Armed only with a spare bedroom, a Royal Mail Business account and a can-do attitude, we will aim to get every pledge out of the door and into the postal system no more than one week after taking delivery of the games.* We're based in the UK, and Brexit hasn't happened yet, so shipping will be EU friendly.
To keep shipping costs low, parcels will not be tracked. Items sent within the United Kingdom will be sent by 2nd Class mail, and will take 2-3 days to arrive from the date of posting. Items for Europe will take 3-5 days, and Rest of World 5-7 days. Obviously, these are estimates, and actual delivery times can and will vary.
Shipping for all pledge levels is free for UK backers, and subsidised for backers anywhere else on the planet. Please make sure you enter your shipping address correctly - we cannot be held responsible for missing packages sent to incorrect addresses. You'll have a chance to double check your details and correct any errors before shipping begins.
*When this was written, before the campaign, we expected no more than 1000 backers. We have obviously surpassed that by some margin. We will still mostly fufil Villagers ourselves (besides the spare bedroom, we have a very large quadruple garage, and failing that, we'll rent some warehouse space), but it might take longer than a week. If we need to draft in extra help to get your game sent out in a reasonable timeframe, we will.
Our current plan is to get our factory to pre-package the vast majority of games before they ship to us. The factory confirms this is something they can do. This means all we'll have to do for about 95% of pledges is print a shipping label and have Royal Mail collect from us every couple of days until we're finished. It will still be an intensive and very involved process, but nowhere near as insane as if we had to physically package every single pledge ourselves. Whatever happens, we have plenty of extra hands to call on, should we need them.
We will work with Snakes & Lattes to fulfil pledges to backers in Canada, and VFI for backers in China. It is also possible that we will use an Australian fulfilment company for Australia and New Zealand, and we'll do our best to prevent anyone from having to pay import fees & customs charges.
We'll communicate the entire process via project updates, photos, videos, psychic waves etc.
Risks and challenges
This is not the first rodeo for Sinister Fish Games. It's our second, go us! Maybe second-and-a-half, if you count the Removable Sticker Set for Gloomhaven, which is a large and ongoing project, but wasn't on Kickstarter.
We have a good working relationship with our Chinese manufacturer, Whatz Games, who we worked with on Great Scott! and the Removable Sticker Set for Gloomhaven. They'll be taking care of the international freight shipping. We literally give them an address, pay them some money, and games appear a few weeks later. It's a pretty sweet deal.
As with any Kickstarter project, the usual risks apply. Things can and do get delayed for a multitude of possible reasons. The estimated fulfilment date of February 2019 allows some buffer time for mishaps to happen in, so you might get your stuff before then. Whatever happens, we will keep you in the loop via project updates.
I should probably mention that my partner is expecting our first child at the end of July. At that point I will mainly just be coordinating with Haakon (designer & artist of Villagers) and the factory, which won't be a 24/7 job, so things should still run fairly smoothly. Just wanted to give you fair warning. Also, expect baby pictures! (Note to self: tiny Lumberjack outfit).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)