Jumpship - Hidden Identity Party Game (Canceled)
A 5-10 player social deduction tabletop game of mistrust and betrayal. Fix your ship, find the aliens, get home safe.
Jumpship is a social deduction game set aboard an exploratory space vessel. Each player is assigned a role on the ship be it captain, engineer, doctor, or one of the many other roles. In secret, players are randomly assigned to be an alien or human. The human team must fix the ship and find the alien queen before the ship arrives home.
Each round, players will draw tokens out of a shared bag and give the tokens to other players or use them to perform actions on the ship. However, if you spend too much time redrawing your tokens for the right ones, time will run out and you'll be forced to make difficult decisions without enough information. Jumpship plays quick so you need to think fast!
In Jumpship, each player is given a special role. Each role lets you play the game a little differently, whether it's granting immunity from being scanned like the First Mate, or directly applying target tokens like the Security Officer. From there, all players are assigned to be a human, an alien, or the alien queen. The aliens will know who each other are, but the humans won't know who anyone is.
The goal of the humans is to find and eliminate the alien queen. Meanwhile, the aliens only need to ensure the queen is still alive and on the ship when the ship arrives home.
The game rules are simple: On your turn, draw two tokens out of the bag and give them to other players.
- You cannot give yourself tokens.
- You cannot give both tokens to the same player.
What do the tokens do?
Players may also re-draw their tokens once per turn- but beware, because countdown tokens must be played immediately, re-drawing your tokens too often can cause time to run out! Unless... that's what you wanted to do...
Throughout the game, events will trigger giving the humans an opportunity to eliminate the queen. If they can accomplish this, they'll immediately win.
Jumpship centers around two boards that indicate the concurrent progress of the game. The primary ship console board tracks time. As time runs out, the players will have to make decisions on who will be put into quarantine, ejected, or killed.
Countdown to Quarantine - The player with the most Command tokens when this countdown track is filled must choose a player to place in Quarantine. Placing a player in Quarantine puts a slight hindrance on them depending on the mode being played. Typically a quarantined player is restricted to drawing one token per turn, or their special role ability is disabled.
Countdown to Eject - When this countdown track is complete, the player with the most Target tokens is ejected from the game. If this player is the Queen, the game immediately ends and the humans win. Otherwise, the ejected player no longer draws tokens but can still participate in the conversations of the game.
Countdown to Kill - The last and final track of the game is the last hope for the humans to win. At this point, the player with the most Command tokens must choose a player to kill. If they successfully choose the Queen, the humans win! If they pick wrong and kill a human or regular alien, the aliens win!
The second board is the Ship Repair Console. Players can choose to place Repair tokens on this board in order to repair the ship and bring the systems online including the ever important Bio Scanner.
As a team, you'll need to work together to fix the ship and bring the scanners online. The scanners are required for players to perform a scan. After the 5th repair token is played, further repair tokens will eventually get the ship home. If the aliens can get the ship fully repaired, and the queen is still alive, the ship will return home and the aliens will immediately win. Can you trust players that keep placing repair tokens?
Other Social Deduction Games
Jumpship began as an exploration of hidden identity games. As a gamer, the concept of hidden identity games are immensely exciting to me, but the execution of many of them left me wanting more (and sometimes less!). Jumpship was designed to address some of the issues I have with a few of the more popular games.
Resistance/Avalon - Due to the way players choose other players to go on missions, there are many times when some players don't have anything to do an entire game (except voting- an element that is largely ignored in many groups/sessions). Additionally, deep dives into the meta game of Resistance show a strong trend of the first half of the game playing out the same every time (captain always picks herself, first mission always passes, etc).
Secret Hitler - Secret Hitler uses a unique deck of policy cards to make it appear as if a good player was forced to make a bad move. However, because the policy deck is of known quantity, and the results of each round are shared, players can effectively track what everyone has played. This splits the participating players into those who are willing to put that effort in, and those who are just looking for a social experience.
Werewolf/Mafia - On the other end of the spectrum, Werewolf-type games rely heavily on pure social cues. Where the previous two games sought to add game mechanics on top of social ones, they often resulted in the games feeling entirely playable on mechanics alone. Werewolf simply lacks enough mechanical meat to allow players to indulge in double-think and strategy. Versions of Werewolf also require moderators and have early player elimination.
So how does Jumpship solve these aspects?
Playing the Game and Strategy
Hidden Identity games need to provide means for both sides to accomplish their goals directly but not overtly. Ideally there should be mechanics in place for which players can hide their motives.
First, are the tokens in Jumpship. Early in the game you will draw a target token and be tasked with giving it to another player. As a human, this doesn't feel good because there's not enough information to determine who is on who's side. This discomfort is a welcome place for the aliens, who, under the same condition, are now able to directly further their goals while acting as if they had no choice. Someone who shows no sign of remorse when giving a target token may indeed be an alien!
Next, we have the board. As countdown tokens are placed onto the board, a sense of urgency increases. Just about every action you take in Jumpship can be interpreted from the perspective of an alien or a human. For example, scanners are one of the only ways to get hard information on another player. But in order to perform a scan, you not only need 4 scan tokens, but the scanners have to be repaired. Repairing the ship is a very human thing to do indeed, however it is also the same track as getting home early. In this way, aliens can contribute to both objectives without revealing who they are. Don't forget: you can't always trust the person who performs the scan...
Lastly, Jumpship features unique roles for individual players. These character roles dynamically change the game each time you play. The Captain role allows you to decide ties creating a natural leadership. The Scientist gets a discount for scanning, making other players unwittingly focus scan tokens on him. These roles subtly guide how players interact. Imagine a Captain that is secretly the alien queen!
Many hidden identity games also leave scarce options for the "bad" players that have been discovered. In a game like The Resistance, if you've been outed as a spy, you'll never go on a mission ever again, likewise if you're caught on the wrong side of the policy cards in Secret Hitler, you've practically been eliminated. In Jumpship, because only the Queen needs to survive, an alien player can decide to make openly alien moves in a last ditch effort to win.
There are many layers to Jumpship and I'm excited for players to discover them for themselves.
Tokens!!! Why tokens?
Party games and highly social games are identified by their high potential player count and low level of complexity. What this translates to in practice is an important question from a design perceptive: "How much can we ask from a player?"
In designing Jumpship, I looked at the physicality of social games. Each round in Jumpship, a shared token bag is passed between players. This makes it very clear whose turn it currently is. As players draw tokens and give them to players, there is a high level of engagement as players vocalize why they gave a token to someone as they are defending themselves.
Giving something to another person is such an incredibly simple action, and yet through the mechanics of the game, it can turn such a innocuous gesture into a devious one.
So these tokens have to be nice. I'm partnering with a manufacturer known for their casino quality parts. The plan is to create a custom token mold of a recessed hexagonal shape with casino quality stickers on both side. These tokens will have a satisfying feel and heft making each turn a joy to dig into the bag.
Holistic product design is something I'm enamored with. I won't rest until a product meets my exact specifications. Because when a game is made, it's out there and lives in homes and on tables. In the past I've been known to drive my manufacturers crazy in an attempt to reach my vision. I hope this is evident in my past work and will show through in my future endeavors.
As with all my Kickstarters, you won't find crazy positive video reviews/previews or extensive marketing campaigns with stretch goals where I try to maximize funding by over promising. Hype is not healthy for the tabletop industry, and I implore you to decide for yourself if you'll enjoy the game by looking at the rules or trying the print and play. As an independent publisher, I believe in investing in a solid product, and not my ability to convince you to back it.
Jumpship will always be available as a print & play, and this Kickstarter will be a way to get a deluxe version with premium poker chips and components. Please check out the game for yourself.
1 x Box, 1 Rulebook
70 x Tokens, 1 x Token Bag
1 x Ship Console Board, 1 x Ship Repair Board
10 x Role Cards, 11 x Bio ID Cards, 3 x Quarantine Cards
Tau Leader Games does not do Kickstarter exclusives. We fully develop our games and don't piece parts out to be added as stretch goals later. If we exceed funding I'd like to further enhance the quality of the game components and add some more characters or character variants.
A smart goal would be some custom card sleeves, as hidden identity games can be ruined by marked components when said components are roughly handled- you know who I'm talking about, Charlie.
$32,000 - Upgraded Cardstock
$34,000 - 2 bonus characters
$36,000 - ????
Shipping will be accomplished by 5 main fulfillment partners based out of the USA, UK, China, Australia, and Canada. This makes shipment EU friendly and minimizes any VAT or customs charges elsewhere.
Shipping for the United States is built into the pledge. For other countries, click on the pledge reward to see the additional cost of shipping.
If you reside in the US, Canada, or EU, use the HUMAN pledge tier. For all other countries use the HUMAN International pledge tier.
Risks and challenges
Jumpship is fully designed and tested. The artwork has already been paid for.
This is my 6th Kickstarter game project. I did my first one back in 2013 and so much has changed since then. Every project is unique in their own manufacturing, shipping, fulfillment, and communication. What has stayed the same is my commitment to quality products and game experiences. As a designer and gamer myself, I strive to create long-lasting experience that are not fashionable or trendy.
Tau Leader Games has a 100% delivery rate, however, most of my projects deliver later than their estimated delivery times. Much of this can be contributed to my relentless pursuit in design and execution, and other times it falls on me personally. I ask that you only back this project if you trust me as an individual and my capability to get it done.
Tau Leader Games is a small independent game studio based out of New York. Our games focus on fun ideas and playability - the best games are the games that hit your table. We still believe Kickstarter is a place for innovative ideas and works in progress, not a place to pre-order already made things. We still need your help and support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)