Update Posted by Jonathan Liu, Designer
Hi, Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Today's update is mostly business: I'll introduce you to artist Bob Boyle, tell you about the four main characters in the game, and if you're concerned about what the final box will look like, we've got you covered.
Bob Boyle is, as his website states, a "Maker of Silly Things," so he feels right at home working on Emperor's New Clothes. He's best known for his Nick Jr. cartoon Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, but has also written a children's book Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String. I met him through his work on the (sadly short-lived) Geek Life comic strip that ran on GeekDad and GeekMom for a few months in 2011. Much of Bob's artwork is brightly colored and cheerful, but (as evidenced by his Doc Bizzarre, M.D. pin up at below) he's also quite capable of something a little darker.
Bob's a super-friendly guy who does school visits to talk about being an artist, his creative process, and following your dreams. His artwork reminds me of the joy of play. I mean, look at Wubbzy there playing soccer—wearing his birthday suit and having a blast. For more about Bob, visit his website.
Introducing the Main Characters
With everything that's been going on, I completely spaced on the fact that I never introduced the main characters of the game! So, let me remedy that today.
First we have the EMPEROR, of course, a vain man who is interested in having the best of the best—and ends up parading through town in his birthday suit. Money is no object, of course, but in this case what he really needs by the end of the story is a bit of dignity. What's interesting about the original story is that after he's exposed, the Emperor doesn't run and hide, even though he knows the child is right and everyone can see him in all his natural splendor. He holds himself up and keeps on going.
While that can be hard to represent perfectly in a game (short of having you strip to your knickers and march around the table—but that's a different sort of game altogether) here's how it works: the Emperor automatically collects gold from each person at the table (it's good to be King!), but also automatically gets a "dupe" cube from the supply, because, well, no matter what you roll, you've been duped. It takes dignity to cancel out the dupes, and then the Emperor scores if he has any dignity left.
Next up, the SWINDLERS. I debated about whether to have one or two. The story has two, of course, so I decided to make that work in the game. The Swindlers are after cash—everything the Emperor gave them to purchase materials just went to line their own pockets. So the Swindlers get points for the amount of gold they have—and they also get to take gold from the Emperor if he has at least one duped cube by the time they score. (If he wises up before they get paid, then they only get what they've already raked in.) The Swindlers also have to watch out for the Knight, of course.
Finally, what would the story be without the CHILD? Now, the Child doesn't have much use for gold or dignity—those are things that adults worry about. What the Child wants to know is why the Emperor is walking around naked, and why the whole town turned out to watch. So if you're the Child, you'll discard gold and dignity resources, and then score for all of the dupe cubes for all the other players. It's an interesting role to play because it doesn't really matter what you roll—just what the other players roll—but if they manage to get rid of their dupe resources before you score, then you'll just end up losing the cash and dignity which would have been useful for another role. And, don't forget, if the Mother wises up, she sends you home.
In case you didn't watch the video in Update #6, you may have missed the explanation of both the Jester and the Mother, so I'm posting them here as well. Both of those were unlocked as our first two stretch goals.
The JESTER is of course a member of the imperial court. He's a fun character because everyone expects him to be the fool anyway. So unlike the other characters who lose dignity when they've been duped, the Jester has no such penalty, making him a great choice if you don't like to press your luck and would rather hedge your bets a little. He actually scores points for having dupe cubes—but dignity cubes cancel those out.
Meanwhile the MOTHER is in the townsfolk category, and of course she's the one who brings the truth-speaking child to the parade. So her special power is that she can send the child home; after all, once she realizes the Emperor is naked, she covers the child's eyes and leaves the parade.
We've Got You Covered
I've also gotten some feedback on the cover art. Some backers really like the art-only cover (shown in the full-art prototype photo on the main page) and some like the version with the logo over the artwork as seen in the box mock-ups in the Pledge Levels section. Obviously it would be too costly to have two different versions of the cover printed, but I think we've come up with a solution that may satisfy everyone.
The cover will just have the artwork (as shown in the photo), but we'll also include a sticker with each box with the logo. If you like the way the box looks with the logo, you can apply the label—but otherwise you can enjoy the distinctive look of the artwork without any distractions. The artwork is distinctive enough that fans will recognize the game regardless. (And, of course, then you'll have a logo sticker you can use somewhere else if you like!)
We're close to that $10,000 goal for the PennyGems, so keep spreading the word! And we've got a couple other stretch goals in the works, so stay tuned.