Update Posted by Jonathan Liu, Designer
Hey, everyone! Sorry for the radio silence, but I've been at PAX East this past weekend with the Game Salute folks and it's hard to post updates when you can't get a computer with wifi during a gaming convention. I had a great time showing off Emperor's New Clothes. Thanks to all the folks who stopped by to check out the game or chatted with me about it! It was a lot of fun to show people my prototype in person, and I got a lot of good feedback. Every time I played the game it felt a little different and I even made a few minor tweaks here and there to help balance the roles.
You may have noticed that our funding level dropped again over the weekend. I put in a comment about it in the Comments section on Thursday but wanted to address it here also. I checked in with Game Salute and it was another large pledge who pulled out, and I think it caused a chain reaction with several other backers deciding to cancel or reduce pledges as well. I asked Game Salute to look over all of the pledges again to see if there were any more that look like they were obviously spoof pledges, and it looks like the others are probably legitimate, with the exception of the remaining $500 Narcissist pledge, which may or may not be real. (Of course, there could be any number of other pledges at smaller levels that may cancel before the end, but those are impossible to identify.)
It does mean we've dropped below some of the stretch goals, but I'm hoping we can pick up some steam in this last week to get those PennyGems and the TROO bits option. Stay tuned! Spread the word!
Meet the Artists: Laura Lee Gulledge & Avery Monsen
Laura Lee Gulledge was introduced to me by another artist. I hadn't seen her work before but I had come across her name in connection with her upcoming graphic novel, Will & Whit. When I looked through her gallery, I really loved the way she played with ideas and some of her images really stuck with me, like these here. You can find out more about her work at her website.
She also has a brilliant comic called Sealed which is all about Tupperware. No, seriously. Laura Lee strikes this balance between mockery and admiration of the plastic lifestyle, which her mom sold when she was growing up. I find myself in a similar position, wanting to offer both critique and praise for things like the board game industry, so I appreciate her skill in navigating that narrow path. (Note to parents: the comic is cheerful and fun but has a very small amount of sexual content that may not be appropriate for kids.)
Laura Lee says: "I grew up in an avid board-game-playing family, so I find this a fun concept. It sounds like something that the Improv Everywhere guys would possibly be interested in playing." (Which is an awesome idea—if I had a publicist, I'd put them on that right now.)
Avery Monsen is an actor and a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch comedy team in New York. More pertinent to this project, he's responsible for the drawings of dinosaurs, milk jugs, sheep, and socks in the best-selling All My Friends Are Dead, a book of morbid humor. (And of course there's the sequel All My Friends Are Still Dead, and an unrelated book titled I Feel Relatively Neutral About New York.)
I loved the non-plussed expressions so many of his characters have, and I think you'll agree we put that to great use in our game. Sure, the Emperor is naked and he's been humiliated in front of all of his subjects, but the parade continues on. You can see more of Avery's work at his website AveryMonsen.com.
Special Belated Goof-Off Day Announcement
We hit 1,000 Likes on Facebook! So we have a special post-PAX announcement: a Pixel Lincoln Theme Crossover Thing! Last Friday, March 22 was National Goof-Off Day, so I'm told, and it was also the start of PAX East … and a beautiful partnership.
One of the things that has happened with a lot of Kickstarter projects is crossovers. Sentinels of Multiverse, and Devastation of Indines, Machine of Death and Story Wars, Pixel Lincoln and Boss Monster … it's a lot of fun when characters from one game show up in another one. I was hoping to do more crossovers but for many of the games the timing didn't work out and we never managed to make all the arrangements. But at PAX East I met Jason Tagmire from Pixel Lincoln and showed him my game. I played a round with him, his brother George, and Marty Cobb (who did the artwork for Pixel Lincoln). They all really loved the game, so we're gonna dress up Pixel Lincoln in the Emperor's New Clothes!
In case you don't already know what Pixel Lincoln is, it's a 16-bit side-scrolling adventure deck-building card game, starring our 16th President fighting off bad guys using meat-based weapons like a chicken cannon, like the one you see below. (Here's my GeekDad review of the game.) It's currently in production and is expected to release this summer.
We're not rewriting any rules or anything here—it's a simple character replacement with all of the mechanics remaining the same—but I do think that changing the theme can often change the feel of a game significantly. (Remember what I said about storytelling?) Yes, it's a bit bizarre putting our 16-bit 16th President into a classic story about some fine threads and a couple of con men, but I think it makes as much sense as Lincoln fighting luchadores and puking turtles with a trusty beardarang. (We've just replaced the role cards; the action/event cards will stay the same.) Despite being at PAX, Marty and I were able to finalize all of the artwork that will be used for this version of the game.
Here's how the characters will map out:
- Emperor = Pixel Lincoln
- 2 Swindlers = Luchadores
- Child = Totally T-Rex
- Mother = Rose
- Jester = Booth
- Minister = Laser Shark
- Knight = Sir Cares-A-Lot
- Lady-in-Waiting = Bandatron
- Seamstress = Foxgirl2005
- Fisherman = Hip Hop Alien
- Farmer = Puking Turtle
When you fill out your backer survey at the close of the campaign, just choose the Pixel Lincoln option and you'll be able to play the game using this cast of characters instead of the classic characters. The Pixel Lincoln cards will be printed with the same ROOS technology as the standard set, so you can expect the same level of detail that you've seen on all of the cards already. (Note: Pixel Emperor Lincoln's New Clothes may not be the final title but it sounds pretty awesome, right?)
The original Pixel Lincoln Kickstarter campaign is over, but Jason is currently running another campaign for the Pixel Lincoln Bicycle Playing Cards—and if you missed out the first time, there are reward levels here that include the whole deck-building game as well. Check it out!
Now, I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of exclusive content—things that are added to a game that can only be obtained in the Kickstarter campaign but not later. For a completist, it means that if you missed the campaign then you will NEVER be able to own the "complete" game. On the other hand, I do understand that it's nice for Kickstarter backers to get something extra. Well, in discussing our project with Game Salute and Wysiayg Press, we came to the difficult decision to do a very limited print run of Emperor's New Clothes. Most of the money from the campaign is going toward fulfilling rewards and the Kickstarter and Amazon fees. Wysiayg isn't actually making any money off this project: they're just willing to let us use the ROOS printing and we only pay what it costs them. And of course we're not making any money on the fleeces either; those are just a big thank you to all you awesome backers.
What this means, though, is that we are only making as many copies of Emperor's New Clothes as we need to fulfill rewards, plus some additional copies to send to press for reviews and maybe a couple for giveaways. We aren't planning to have extras for stores, online or off, so if you're interested in a finished copy of the game, this is your only guaranteed way to buy it. (If the game turns out to be much more popular after it is actually shipped, then I guess we can revisit the idea, but I don't know if it will still be at the same price.)
I know there are some people who really want their friendly local game store to benefit and so they're reluctant to pledge through Kickstarter. If that's you, then please check out the Springboard Local Support option. If you have your game store sign up, then you can pledge here, have the game shipped to your local store for pickup, and your store gets a credit just as if you bought it from them. Best of all, it doesn't cost you anything extra! You just fill out the option for Springboard Local Support when you fill out your backer survey when the campaign closes.