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The Decemberists Present: ILLIMAT 
A Game by Keith Baker for 2-4 players
The Decemberists Present: ILLIMAT A Game by Keith Baker for 2-4 players
5,963 backers pledged $418,628 to help bring this project to life.

Okus Tokens: Our Game Comes With A Bear Tooth

Posted by Twogether Studios, LLC (Creator)


We’ve been developing Illimat for the last year, and we’re almost finished… but there’s a few elements we’re still working on. These include the okus tokens. In our playthrough videos, you can see metal disks resting on the illimat. These serve a purpose in the game - but they aren’t the tokens you’ll receive when you get your copy of Illimat. So what is an okus, what’s the story behind them, and what will they look like in the final game?

How Okus Tokens Work in The Game 

At the start of a hand, you set one okus on the illimat for each player in the game. When a player clears a field - removing the last card from a quadrant of the board - they take an okus from the illimat, if one is available. Each okus is worth one point at the end of the game, and when you claim an okus you also deal three new cards into this field. So an okus is a reward for the first few players who manage to clear fields… but it also serves as a sort of timer. As long as there are okus tokens on the illimat, you’ll keep getting new cards put in play; once they’re gone, the board starts to empty out.

The Okus Token Backstory 

From the beginning, Illimat has been about building a narrative - a game that could have existed in the past, that could be tied to a secret society, that could have a long list of traditions and tales. One of our first ideas was that experienced Illimat players would bring their own okus to the table: that an okus would be an object with some sort of personal significance, and the first thing you’d do is to lay your okus on the table. Carson Ellis has a bear tooth. Keith Baker has an old silver dollar. Jenn Ellis has an unusual key. The Kickstarter exclusive Variants & Apocrypha booklet goes into more detail about the story behind the okus and different ways to use them in play.

While we encourage people to use their own okus, our plan has always been for Illimat to ship with four metal okus objects. We and Carson Ellis are working to determine the final form of these tokens; we want them to be unique and interesting objects, and you can see a few of the ideas we’re considering below. We’ll share the progress of our okus designs throughout the course of the project. But the game that you receive won’t include plain metal disks: when you clear a field, will you take the bathtub or the bear tooth?

Backers & Friends, what would your personal okus token be? Tell us & help spread the word!  Use #whatsyourokus
Backers & Friends, what would your personal okus token be? Tell us & help spread the word! Use #whatsyourokus

Watch Colin & Keith Play Illimat Live Today  at 1pm pacific/4pm Eastern

Join Colin & Keith Today on Kickstarter Live Click Image For Link
Join Colin & Keith Today on Kickstarter Live Click Image For Link

Cheers & Play On!

Keith & Jenn 

Matthew Tyler-Jones, A. Lee, and 26 more people like this update.


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    1. Chris Schreiber on

      Statement about the okus made in the main comments and worth preserving here:…

    2. Elizabeth on

      My okus token would be a dragonfly. I hope the game comes with items that are personal to the creators, artist and The Decemberists.

    3. Missing avatar


      Sorry, any one member being caught and risking the security of the society.

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      I'd also argue against too much symbolism in the tokens themselves. All of the secret society's information can be stored in the luminary cards, which can be carried separately.
      First, if the game becomes accidentally thrust into the mainstream, too much ancient or foreign magic symbols could out the game as "evil witchcraft." Simple tokens that assist the core mechanics help to disguise it in plain sight, and even gives members a chance to test potential new members (ie The luminary cards are a kind of members only expansion).
      Second, if the luminary cards were carried separately by a separate member, it creates insurance against any one member being "caught" by the general or an antagonistic public. So one member carries the core game, referred to as a "mere past-time," and another person carries the luminary cards, which if caught, can be burned for heresy by riling up public opinion.

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      I don't use Twitter right now, but the okus tokens should probably be _sickles_, or any farming implement.

      * Sickles would be be the easiest to manufacture compared to other alternatives,
      * The imagery of the sickle token would ride on the harvest mechanics of the game,
      * Adds an ominousness to the game that fits the "secret society" theme of the game, especially compared to alternatives.

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      Zach A. on

      A quick add-on to my previous comment: So, the look and feel of this game lends itself beautifully to a hidden tradition of Illimat aristocracy, yet the topic/theme is seasonal (and agrarian). I think it is a perfect blend of high-low culture tied together with a mystical bow. So, if the nobility belonging to a secret society within an agricultural-driven economy needed four communal (not personal) "okus" what would they use?
      What if the Okus were similar in theme to the society of luminaries lapel pins. Maybe societal inaugural membership commemorative coins, buttons, etc. (maybe even a KS exclusive commemorating the rediscovery and restoration of the Illimat) alluding to important moments in the society of luminaries history that just so happen to coincide with the seasons of the illimat. You know, like the Autumnal Fires of 1773 that destroyed the former great library of the society of luminaries. Or the Exoneration of Head Clerk #812 in the Spring of 1857, and The Golden Reaping of the Vetternwirtschaft, Summer 1620. And who could forget the first pressing of Variants and Apocrypha: An Illuminated Manuscript in Winter 1482.
      And if figurines are the definite direction then maybe they could serve a similar commemorating purpose...
      (another preference: the tokens would be small enough to fit on top of the illimat without obscuring the seasons and their rules)

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      Zach A. on

      @Chris Awesome Ideas! Really creative idea to marry themes of season and symbol with the cabal/secret society element. I absolutely love Carson's art and the look of the game. I have been obsessed with checking this kickstarter, and cannot wait to play the game!!
      I might be in the minority, but I'd argue that situating the okus tokens deeper within the history of the game would provide a much stronger game identity and theme than the majority of possible "personal" miniature figures.
      I know that the metal disks used in promo/play-through videos were placeholders, but I actually really liked the look (re: classic, smooth, and uniform in size/shape) of those on the Illimat. It could be cool to use symbols on coins or metal runes or even tokens encased in glass (especially if they were illustrated/created by Carson). This keeps a size/shape uniformity and smoothness while allowing for individuality, if that's the goal.
      But most importantly, I feel that using let's say metal coins with narrative art depicting "Hazards of Love" historical moments or art that continues to "world-build" the world Illimat lives in could have real lasting impact on the players. I'm thinking of ancient tapestries that illustrate important moments in the history of a society. Or images on money - modern and ancient - that serve an economic purpose as well as a societal one. Any piece of material culture that aids in memory-building. (i.e. now the okus isn't a personal relic, but a communal one. In playing the game and taking/collecting these stories in the form of okus tokens, players are remembering "shared history" every time they play. They may choose to collect the token that depicts an injured fawn in a snow forest or the seal of the Queen...maybe those are too on the nose/maybe they are too much about Hazards of Love instead of being within Hazards of Love, but you get the point.... It's not about capturing someone else's history (re: their personal okus), instead it is about learning our history - learning about the history of the world in which Illimat exists.)
      Individual personal okus tokens (a la Monopoly game pieces) are beautiful and fun, but unless taking the "bear tooth" grants a special power or change in the game it might be only that, beautiful and fun albeit unnecessary. And even still just like the thimble, or race car, or even obscure shark tooth, illimat players have the unlimited ability to reach into their own cabinet of curiosities and pull out fun trinkets to play the game, but we can't create the Illimat world that Keith, Jenn, Carson, and the Decemberists have spent years building. That is why I'd love to see the Okus tokens draw us deeper into the world that surrounds Illimat. It is not to downplay or underrate the awesome work that went into the current vision of the okus tokens, but just to suggest that they could become a complete narrative in something that we understand as part of the Illimat history just by looking at them (just as we can look at the luminary art and see both their story and purpose within the game).
      Anyways, I apologize for this long-winded monologue. Just know that it comes from being really inspired by all the creative parties involved and the work that has gone into creating something I think is going to be really great. All the best!!

    8. Chris Schreiber on

      Given that Illimat means "symbol" in Urdu, I feel like the okus narative would benefit from symbolic inclusivity and/or staying linked to natural phenomena. For example, the seasons are already so central to the game—what if the base okus were linked to the North, South, East, and West?

      This could be vaguely thematic or might even borrow cultural symbolic flavor:

      NORTH - Nordic (Vegvisir) or Celtic (Triskele)

      SOUTH - West African (Andinkra) or Aboriginal

      EAST - Middle East (Ankh) or Far East (mandala)

      WEST - Mayan or even New World freemasons (Eye of Providence)

      There's still room for the other cool ideas below, but this suggests a larger narrative framework and perhaps an ancient global cabal behind the game. At the very least, your "directional" okus could be assigned based on where you are seated around the table relative to where North is.

    9. JackFost on

      I would choose an ankh as it's a very ancient and mystic symbol that represents the concept of life.
      Also, the hourglass and the bird skull sound great !

    10. Twogether Studios, LLC 4-time creator on

      These suggestions are great- and it's awesome to see how so many of you are excited about the backstory and use of okus tokens in Illimat. We also want to encourage you all to share with us either here or on social media an item that would be personal to you or just that little odd thing you have laying around. We love to hear the stories and pictures! (Did you see that tiny piglet made from Austrian bells on twitter? Amazing.) It's great to get to know you all. The team at Ilimat HQ will share our personal okus tokens over the course of the weekend on social media too. #whatsyourokus.

    11. Brad Almond on

      Nothing too round that would easily roll off when the box is rotated (that could get annoying). Otherwise, I'd be happy with anything that keeps in line with Carson's visuals and the theme of the rest of the game. The bathtub seems a little odd like some other commenters had mentioned, though I get the Rake lyrical reference.

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      Michael Tomasulo on

      - a piece of movable metal type

    13. Missing avatar

      Michael Tomasulo on

      - A jack-in-the-box
      - A Victrola
      - an earring
      - an arrowhead
      - a coat hanger
      - a baby
      - a buoy
      - a bee

      - a tin cup
      - a bullet
      - a knotted rope
      - a book

    14. Andrew Shulman on

      I think the tokens should all be object with relative size. Replicas of things that one might actually have in their pocket or carry with them. I like the strange coin, bear tooth, and odd key, other such objects might be: a small piece of sea glass, a ring with odd marking upon it, and the discarded shelll of an unknown creature. All things you might discover and keep on you as a charm.

    15. Twogether Studios, LLC 4-time creator on

      @Cody Funny you should mention randomizing okus tokens. Here at Illimat HQ this was discussed at the very beginning - but practicality won at the end of the day because there are drawbacks for retailers to do this ( cherry picking packages,etc) & additional costs associated with mold and tooling the additional designs. We'd certainly reconsider it ( and maybe still decide not to) for the Kickstarter version if we can get to a larger print run volume ( 10K backers) and it's within the budget.

    16. Cody Hess on

      Really like the idea of a bird skull okus. some kind of coin would be cool too, possible something with an engraving scratched into it or from somewhere fictional to make it mysterious. It would be cool to have either future or deluxe editions to have a range of possible okus tokens and come with four at random. The rules on using your own okus' and ransoming them at the end of the game sounds very cool.

    17. Michael

      found it! :) haha

    18. Michael

      I was at work during this time. Was this recorded and posted on youtube?

    19. Beanbag Amerika

      I really like this, and will almost certainly use my own little tokens (and encourage anyone I play with to do the same). For most of my life I've carried around little trinkets: currently in my left pocket are two dice, six- and twenty-sided, both translucent blue-green with gold numbers/pips.

      As for the included orkus tokens, the bear tooth is great. The bathtub is wonderfully odd, but maybe a little too incongruent. A life-size bird or mouse skull strike me as better than the human skull. The thimble was always my favorite Monopoly piece—it's everyday, practical regularity made it ironically one of the weirder tokens.

    20. Nathan on

      I have a tiny bird skull somewhere.

    21. Erica Larson on

      An hourglass. A wishbone. An acorn?

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      Hunter Goodenow on

      First of all, AMAZING idea! A totem-esque item that can be personal if brought. I can imagine old keys, lockets, dice, coins, thimbles, rings... it's endless. I love the sparrow and bear tooth. I'm undecided on the bathtub and human skull. My recommendations are a crown (possibly thorns), deer skull (with antlers duh), scythe, tree branch, or instrument (flute or mandolin).

      I'm very excited for the whole project! Keep it up guys!

    23. Therese Totten

      Love the bear tooth, though! Re the silver dollar, i may also have a small shell for an okus aside from the crystal skull or small smooth semi-precious stone.

    24. Therese Totten

      I might use a crystal skull or small crystal/semi-precious stone.

    25. Eric Rubelmann on

      I would love a barn owl, or the sparrow.

    26. Barb Bliss

      Two items I might use is a small Indian medicine bag and a swiss army knife.

    27. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      Though ... hold on! Didn't you read to the end of my previous message?! I CLEARLY demanded a Mistle Thrush, not a bloomin' Sparrow! :D

      (I also love the Bear's tooth idea, and the Tweet that features it)

    28. Twogether Studios, LLC 4-time creator on

      Thank you Matthew! It was great feedback!

    29. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      :) pleased to see my suggestion being taken up!