Among the many reasons Oaxaca (pronounced WA-HA-KA) is well known are its exquisite handicrafts. Drawing upon generations of tradition, as well as vast quantities of raw materials, many artists within this state in Southern Mexico dedicate their lives to perfecting their craft.
In Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture, you and up to three friends assume the role of skilled Oaxacan handicraftsmen preparing to craft and sell art at a bustling tianguis in Oaxaca City. Will you reach a distinguished position with your exquisite craftsmanship, or are your crafts common for the culture?
We reached our initial funding goal in less than 36 hours! Now we're hitting stretch goals to beef up the components and unlock additional content! Here's what we've unlocked so far:
And here's what we're working on in our Workshop:
Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture is played over three rounds where you roll dice, gather raw materials, turn them into works of art, and then display them in your Market Stall!
The player with the most points at the end of the third round is the winner!
Here's a wonderful how-to-play video from our good friend and fellow play-tester, Jason Taylor:
Here's a closer look at Oaxaca's solo mode:
For more information, you can check out the rule book or even download the print-and-play files (in color or black & white) to assemble and try out your own copy! This print-and-play version uses standard dice.
Oxaca: Crafts of a Culture comes in a pretty small box but packs a major punch!
Check out Rafael Cordero's whole written review right here.
Check out David McMillan's whole written review right here.
$5: Print-and-Play files for both Tower and Project Dreamscape
Although Tower has completely sold out and I'm down to just a few copies of Project Dreamscape, one way you can still play one or both games is by pledging an extra $5. I'll send you a couple of super-high-quality PDFs that mirror the files sent to the manufacturer. This means full bleed on each card, and handy cut lines to ensure you make a beautiful game that you print out at home.
$30: Extra Copy of Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture
You will only be charged for shipping on your original pledge--any additional copies of Oaxaca you purchase will have free shipping!
$15: Roll-up Play Mat
If you're pledging for an extra copy of the game, consider grabbing an extra play mat as well!
I am pleased to be able to say that Oaxaca will be my first EU-friendly project--in fact, it's also Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia friendly too! If you're unfamiliar with the term, this means that a portion of the games will be sent directly to the those destinations after manufacturing, and then they'll go out to all the respective backers--this means backers in those destinations won't have to worry about import or customs fees. I pay them!
The exception to this is the collector's edition, which will need to be assembled in my home before I mail it out--unfortunately, I cannot offer import-friendly shipping on this pledge level.
US shipping for all pledge levels is free. For backers outside the US, a $15 shipping charge will be added to your pledge to help pay the cost of shipping, except for Mexico which is $5, and Brazil which is $20. For the collector's edition, which will be sent with one-of-a-kind handicrafts and insured, shipping is $50 for international backers ($75 for Brazil).
Because of how quickly the $100 collector's edition has sold out, we're offing an $80 version that is the same, but includes no Oaxacan woodcarvings--sorry! The shipping prices outlined above apply to this pledge level as well.
Currently, backers from all other territories will have their games shipped from the US, though I am working on Canada-friendly shipping right now.
You may pledge for additional copies of the game by adding $30 per copy to your pledge--no additional shipping charges will be imposed.
When I first laid eyes on Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture back in 2015, it was under a different working title: In the Ruins. Designed by Sarah and Will Reed, In the Ruins had an archaeology theme where players would visit dig sites, gain artifacts, and research them for points. It was a really fun game with, well, a competent and well-represented theme.
Similar to Sarah and Will’s Project Dreamscape before it, I knew pretty early in my first play-through that I wanted to publish In the Ruins--it was fun! My favorite thing about the game is how it rewards planning by giving you opportunities to create combos and wipe multiple Craft Tokens from your cards in a single turn. But when it came time to actually publish the game--when we put our heads together to develop it--we had some difficulties coming up with an art direction we liked. While archaeology is the focus in many of my favorite games such as Thebes, Artifacts, Inc., and the aptly named Archaeology: The Card Game, I didn't find it to be compelling subject matter to explore in such a well-represented genre. That’s when I brought up a Oaxacan theme, and I think all three of us were a little surprised at how quickly everything came together.
I’ve been fascinated with Oaxaca’s handicrafts for years now, ever since my wife surprised me with my first alebrije while she studied abroad in the beautiful state. I’ve collected little bits of barro negro pottery and tin art here and there, and I’m still spellbound by the incredibly specific processes Oaxaca’s artists employ when crafting their beautiful art--often using raw materials right there in the state! You really won’t find anything quite like it anywhere in the world.
Over the last two and a half years, Sarah, Will, and I have spent many days and nights honing the game into what you see now. Ideas and mechanics have been suggested, adopted, discarded, tweaked, and boiled down into a beautiful game that we’re all really proud of and eager to share with you. The following play-testers made this possible:
Greg Amaral, John Brieger, David Bruglia, Davey Chacon, Angel Elkins, Cassie Elle, Jareth Elkins, Sarah Graybill, Noreen Gwilliam, Owen Gwilliam, Ashley Hershey, Vincent Hirtzel, Jon Knight, Jacob Knoester, Ashley Leaphart, David Leaphart, Marty Lewis, Walter Jay Little V, Johnson Luong, Jason Newman, Connor O’Hare, Cody Parcell, Jenni Parcell, David Reeser, Robert Salls, John Shulters, Roland Strebe, Jason Taylor, and John Vang.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Derek Bacon in the past--he illustrated many of the cards in Baldrick’s Tomb (as well as its two expansions), and he illustrated everything in Tower. Knowing the art direction we wanted to take with Oaxaca, Derek Bacon was the obvious person for the job.
And speaking of art direction, if you’re already familiar with Oaxaca’s many handicrafts (or better yet, if you weren’t familiar with them but this Kickstarter page prompted you to look them up), then you may be a little surprised at the artwork in this game.
There are many table top games out there named after places and events that are really good about producing authentic artwork that perfectly portrays the tone and setting--games like Thebes, for example. One aspect of Oaxaca’s development that was particularly challenging for us was that, to an extent, we actively avoided a certain degree of authenticity.
Sounds a little odd, right? Well, the interesting thing about Oaxaca is that we’re portraying handicraft traditions that are alive and well today. So, out of respect, we opted for a more stylized approach to avoid inadvertently miming actual artwork made by real Oaxacan artisans. In fact, if you look through some of the illustrations (especially the pottery and textiles), you’ll see that Derek specifically avoided using well-known designs and patterns.
The result is a wonderful collection of artwork that is vibrant and colorful--a collection we believe captures the beauty and diversity of Oaxaca’s many handicrafts--but also one that aims to be respectful to the beautiful source material.
A lot of people wonder why they should back a Kickstarter campaign instead of just waiting to get it later in retail. The biggest reason not to do wait with Oaxaca is that it is planned to be Kickstarter limited. We currently have no plans to release this in retail settings because we don’t have the right connections to get it into distribution. Thus, if you wait, you may end up missing out as we won’t have that many extra copies to sell through UndineStudios.com and unless your local store backs the campaign, they won’t be carrying it either.
- Kickstarter Limited – the game will be hard to find after the campaign.
- Subsidized Shipping – we’re making it free shipping to the US, $20 to Brazil and $15 to everyone else. We’re going to pay for the rest of the shipping costs, whatever they may be.
- Discounted – after the campaign, we will be selling some copies, but for $35 instead of the $30 you’d pay now. Also, actual shipping will be charged then.
- Help Us Improve Oaxaca – we have a lot of stretch goals planned to help improve the quality and add more content to the game for everyone!
- EU Friendly – copies will be sent from inside the EU to avoid VAT.
And most importantly, without backers, this game would not get made. We really appreciate every person’s support in making our dream a reality.
Risks and challenges
This is my fourth Kickstarter campaign (the third for a tabletop game--I ran one earlier this year for an audio book). I learn a lot each time. My first campaign, Tower, ran into some issues during fulfillment (it was a few months late), but went smoothly overall. My second campaign, Project Dreamscape, ran very smoothly and delivered on time (though I did go over budget and had to spend out of pocket).
The majority of the challenges with Oaxaca: Crafts of a Culture were faced during development--we tried to be very careful about presentation and routinely sought outside opinion on the art and theme.
For this campaign, my priorities are a timely delivery, coming in under budget, and real Euro-friendly shipping (In the past, my games have simply been small/inexpensive enough that there were no issues for backers in Europe). I'm in talks right now with several European fulfillment companies to have a portion of the games shipped directly to them. Beyond that, should we be fortunate enough to reach our funding goal, most of the art is ready to go and files can be submitted to the manufacturer shortly after completion of the campaign.
If things run behind schedule, I've found the best approach is to always be up front and communicative with backers. It's my goal to make post-campaign updates part of the experience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)