Nightmare™ - The Trading Card Game of Your Worst Nightmares.
Nightmare™ - The Trading Card Game of Your Worst Nightmares.
Face your Worst Fears in a Card Game Race to Lucidity before you lose your Soul.
Face your Worst Fears in a Card Game Race to Lucidity before you lose your Soul. Read more
About this project
Nightmare™ the Trading Card Game.
Face your Worst Fears in a Card Game Race to Lucidity before you lose your Soul.
See the Kickstarter Video in 4K:
Nightmare™ is a Trading Card Game.
Set in a world of shared nightmares and featuring 13 different Phobias to deploy against your own subconscious and that of your enemies, Nightmare™ will test your ability to remain focused and escape your fears.
Deploy strategy, planning, and a bit of Delusion before you lose your soul forever in an experience that combines the familiar with the never before seen in a compelling new twist on TCG gaming.
What Makes Nightmare™ Different?
Nightmare™ isn't your typical cookie cutter clone.
Nightmare™ shares some very fundamental TCG conventions with other games but the core structure and setting is completely unique.
We're going to explain everything as we go along, but what you're in for can best be described as "wicked" in every sense of the word.
"Having spent years studying the psychology of horror for my Alice games, I might be the closest thing our industry has to an expert on the topic. From this perspective, I can say that NIGHTMARE is one of the best researched, executed and visualized games to explore this theme. There's a level of detail and understanding here that's truly terrifying." - American McGee, Spicy Horse Games
"I have been involved with the trading card industry for 20 years. The cards you are producing for NIGHTMARE are some of the coolest looking TCG cards I have seen in a very long time. While most everything out there is anime, or some sort of castles and dragon medieval make believe, These cards are REAL, the concept is FRESH, and the artwork is FANTASTIC. I am very excited to see a very original product like NIGHTMARE come to life!" - Matt Linderman, PBM Graphics
Gaming and Toy store Quotes:
“We typically do not carry CCG, but after viewing the Nightmare preview, we are going to sign on to retail this exciting new game” - Joel, Big Bad Toy Store
Click below to view the official launch trailer. Share it with your friends on YouTube.
Build a deck full of all the things you fear. Race to deploy your fears to force yourself to wake up before your opponent uses their own fears to stop you, and claim your soul for their own.
Battle your own subconscious in a sinister twist on TCG conventions!
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt are now your weapons. Use them to control your dreams.
Play with any number of opponents or allies. Nightmare™ is designed from the ground up to be highly multiplayer friendly, and encourages teamwork and treachery.
Each Player builds a deck based on one or more "Phobias" and the "Entities" of those phobias. Players use their own deck against themselves to attack their subconscious.
What Does This Mean?
The core of Nightmare™ is different from the average TCG. Instead of focusing on attacking your opponent and winning by killing them, you are fighting a constant balance with yourself. Your life meter is the amount of "Lucidity" that you have, measured from 0, which is all the way into your Nightmare and thus lost, to 100, which is awake and escaped.
You begin the game at 40 Lucidity. Every card and ability that you deploy will cost you Lucidity, driving you closer to being lost forever. However, once you deploy your Entities and their abilities, you can use them to FIGHT your subconscious thus ADDING Lucidity back toward sweet freedom.
During all of this you must watch your opponents and possibly intervene if they are beating you to full Lucidity because only ONE may free themselves and win.
When you use your Entities against YOURSELF you GAIN Lucidity and thus the ability to play more Entities and Abilities. When you attack the Entities of your Opponents you slow them down, and thus you must balance whether or not to use your resources to GAIN Lucidity for yourself or force your Opponents to LOSE theirs.
This constant balance is the core mechanic of Nightmare™ and represents your internal struggle with yourself.
It sounds complicated but it plays VERY smoothly and intuitively. You'll be an expert at the end of one game.
The bottom line: Fight your Subconscious and control your opponents!
Show me a Card!!
The "Mind Field" refers to two things. Primarily it is the area of play controlled by each player. Thus when a card says "Your Mind Field" it is referring to this. The Mind Field is also a printed play mat that represents your play field. It has a number of areas representing your status and slots to place certain cards.
See the FAQ for more on this.
The Types of Cards
As you get into the information below you will run into many terms that are proprietary to TCGs and many that are unique to Nightmare™. There is a full featured glossary and it's even built in-line into the rest of the site.
Phobia cardsarepermanents that you put into play on your opponentsMind Fieldto cause them to be vulnerable to your cards. You cannot interact with your opponent without at least one phobia in play.
Phobias represent real ( or made up ) phobias. When a Phobia Card is put into play on a Mind Field, that player's Entities are now attackable by Entities of that type.
Fears are represented by Entities on the play field. Whenever one of your opponents has a Phobia to your active Entities, your Entities can attack their Entities. This way you must balance how powerful your Entities are against how easy you are making victory for your opponents, as you cannot attack your opponents with your own Entities.
This mechanic is a clever twist on TCG game play and is at the heart of Nightmare™. We're going to get into this a LOT throughout this process in both text and video tutorials.
All Entities have a primary Phobia Type. This is the phobia that this Entity represents. When you build a deck, you will usually build a set of Entities that match a set of Phobias to give your opponents. Uncommon and Rare Entities have additional Phobia types as well, making them more likely to be able to interact with opponents.
How does this work?
Player 1, below, plays three different “Phobias” on their opponent, but only has a “Spider” card to attack with. Therefore, Player 1 cannot attack the “Entity” cards of Player 2.
Player 2, below, played three Phobias on Player 1, and deployed a compatible “Entity” card, therefore Player 2 is allowed to attack the “Entity” cards of Player 1.
Attacks are executed by and against Entity Cards, and players cannot directly attack the subconscious of opponents.
The Fears are manifestations of terror, represented by Entities. Each has various abilities, properties, and a life/attack stat. Players may use their own Entities to attack their own subconscious “Psyche“. All Entities have at least one Phobia Type. If that type matches a Phobia Card on an opponent's Mind Field, that Entity may attack the Entities of that opponent.
Entities have specific abilities, states, and many have more than one Phobia Type. Each Entity has a life stat and if attacked successfully for this amount it will be destroyed, and an attack stat, which is the amount of damage it will do to another Entity or a player's Psyche.
Entities are your main “army” and you will usually build a deck around the strategy that certain sets of them bring, and then fill that out with the other card types. They set the tone and type of deck that you’re playing, and are one of the few types of “permanent” cards you will deploy.
What is a Permanent?
A Permanent is played and then placed on the play field rather than thrown away. It continues to exist and be used rather than having one use.
By default, Delusions have no abilities, they exist to power your Nightmares. All cards will cost Lucidity ( Your “Life stat” ) to deploy, and many will cost delusion AND Lucidity, driving you further into your Nightmare.
To build a deck you will usually want to have anywhere from 8 to 12 Delusions available. You may place one each turn.
When you see solid “Clock” symbols in the upper left, you know that you will require that number of Delusion cards on the play field in order to gain a discount for playing that card.
The number that appears below them is the “Lucidity” cost of that card. You pay this in your own “life”. All Nightmare™ cards and abilities cost a combination of your Delusions and your Lucidity. Let's look at a practical example, and then this should be clear to you:
Some Cards have a solid colored border around the Delusion symbol. This indicates that not only do you have to have the cards available, but you WILL have to lose them to pay for that card. If you see this, you will pay that cost by shuffling the required number of Delusion cards back into your Mind as part of the cost of that card.
It sounds really complicated, but it's not, and once you've done it a few times it will become second nature.
Don’t Doubt yourself. When you do, things get twisted. Doubts are used for card control; Drawing, Shuffling, and returning to deck ( The “Mind” ). Doubt is how you manipulate your dreams.
Doubts are played and then sent to your “Memory Pile”. The Memory Pile isn’t like the discard piles of other games, and is simply a long term storage for cards you’ve already played, and cards being played again is a core mechanic of Nightmare™.
Doubts deal with changing the conditions of the game, and are built to complement the Entities you have chosen.
In the sample below, you see a perfect synergy of card name, image, and ability. The ability text is even a clever play on words. This is what makes Nightmare™ special.
Doubts are ultimately meant to instil doubt in your opponents, and keep them wondering what you’ll do next.
The longer your Nightmare draws out, the more likely you will have uncertainties. Uncertainties create state-based local effects or abilities that are always “on” meaning that they always apply, rather than having what we call an “activated ability” and may or may not help you.
Uncertaintiesare permanents like Entities. They do not attack and are not usually targetable. You can destroy them through other effects and will usually want to prioritize dealing with the Uncertainties of your opponents.
Uncertainties are only playable during your ownREM Phase and are similar toEntropies, which we’ll discuss below, but aren’t as dangerous to play.
Not all decks or play strategies will involve Uncertainties but they’re a cost effective long term solution to deck strategies that keep pressure on you.
When you’re ready to take action, use your GUILT against your fear. Channel that rage into action. Guilt cards are played and then discarded after executing their effect.
Guilts are played and then sent to your “Memory Pile” and are playable on any turn.
Guilts deal with using your existing liabilities against your opponent or punishing them for their strategy. They break up combos and have powerful effects, but often punishing costs. Deploy them carefully.
But then, nothing is stopping you from using your Guilts on yourself which might open up some new possibilities or give yourself an “out” when dealing with complex strategies.
Guilts are a manifestation of your rage, and thus will usually instil such feelings in your opponents.
Sometimes, the mind just misfires, and it can happen at ANY time, even during your opponent's turn. Change the course of yours or their Nightmare in an instant with these fast effects.
The Misfire is your tool for stopping your opponent from doing something that will cause you to lose the game, or as a mechanic to control them before they ever get that far.
Misfires are not only playable on any turn, they are the only card type playable in response to the playing of another card.
Opponent plays Card A - an Entity you can’t afford to let them have.
In response you play a Misfire Card. Both you and your opponent must pay the costs of the Cards, but both cards go to their respective Memory Piles, and their Card does not enter play.
In order to maintain a game structure that makes sense and avoid complications with the rules, only ONE misfire may be played at a time. At no time can a Misfire be Misfired.
It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you. Get them first with direct damage cards!
Paranoias cause direct damage to either Entities or sometimes directly to the Psyche of an Opponent.
You can’t rely on your Entities alone, or rather you don’t have to. Although expensive and vulnerable to Misfires, Paranoias deal damage anywhere you choose and can quickly alter the course of a game.
It is possible, especially after a couple of expansion packs, to create viable decks using NO Entity cards and only using Paranoias, Doubts and Guilts. That’s the beauty of the system; infinite possibilities.
Paranoias do have “Phobia Types” and in order to damage your Opponents directly you will still need to have deployed the proper Phobia Cards against them.
This is it; you’re close to waking up or losing your soul forever. Only playable during the LUCID Phase, Entropies cause massive, sometimes chaotic effects and are both expensive and dangerous to play. The most powerful cards in the game but the hardest to play without losing your mind.
Entropies are permanents like Entities and Uncertainties. They do not attack and are usually not targetable. You can destroy them through other effects and will DEFINITELY want to prioritize dealing with the Entropies of your opponents.
Entropies have abilities that are always “on” but unlike Uncertainties, all Entropies are granting powerful BENEFITS AND LIABILITIES to all players, not just you. This can cause chaos and end a game quickly, which is the point.
Not all decks or play strategies will involve Entropies and they’re the most powerful and dangerous cards to use.
ALL Entropies are RARE and are UNIQUE, meaning that you may only have ONE per deck.
Entropies may have additional costs to keep them in play.
There are 121 different game cards. ( with a stretch goal of 242! )
Players design and build a single deck made up of a certain number of cards.
Players may use up to 4 of one type of card except for "Delusions".
There are three primary phases of play: ( and one special phase ).
- The DESCENT Phase
- The REM Phase
- The LUCID Phase
This is the main staging phase. The player whose turn it is adds or subtracts the required counters from the playfield. This is the only phase in which Phobias and Delusions are playable.
Players may: Play Phobias and Delusions.
Phobias set up the play field for Entities and Delusions power abilities.
This is the conflict phase.
Attack themselves with their Entity or Paranoia cards.
Attack valid Entity Cards using their own Entity Cards.
Play Entities, Doubts, Uncertainties, Guilts, Synaptic Misfires,and Paranoias.
This is the only phase during which you can win or lose the game.
PlayEntropies( Entropies cannot be Misfired! ).
At the end of each LUCID Phase, the active player draws one card.
The full rulebook and tutorials are coming, but for now:
At the beginning of a game, players shuffle their decks ( called “Mind” ) thoroughly and draw cards.
Players decide who goes first, by random selection. Each player places their Mind Field into play ( if applicable ).
Each player may place one Delusion per turn.
Play progresses through turns and stages until one player loses their all of their Lucidity, thus losing the game or achieves 100 Lucidity. If there are more than 2 players, the last player still holding on to some Lucidity is the winner and buys their sanity with the souls of their opponents or achieves 100 Lucidity.
This is just the surface. Players will have to contend with Madness, Repression, and Regression in their struggle to escape their Nightmare™.
Wait, what are Madness, Repression, and Regression?
Wouldn't you like to know? These unique game mechanics are part of what Makes Nightmare™ special, and will be revealed in part in a later update.
Nightmare™ has a rigid and sensible rules structure. For those of you who have grown up on a certain leading TCG/CCG you may come into this expecting it to work like that, and it does not.
Many of the abilities of cards are worded a certain way, because that wording is what people are used to, just like any core mechanic of any game genre, but this is really where the similarities end, and you will need to relearn certain habits to be a master of Nightmare™.
There is no “Stack” ( and for many years there wasn’t in that game officially until it became necessary to control the complex interaction of play/counter/tap/respond/counter/ad nauseum. ) With one simple rule we get rid of this issue without losing any depth to the game.
Of course, every OTHER rule has an exception, and “A Certain Phobia Type to be Revealed” Cards are specifically designed to do this!
What, not enough for you? There is a lot more information on the official site.
Yes and no. Below is a chart showing EVERY one of the 121 base game cards ( with a stretch goal of 242! ).These are currently blurred out. I want you to be able to see that all cards are designed and have art, but not be able to read the cards themselves. This is for two reasons.
1 - Spoilers. Part of the magic of opening packs of a TCG is seeing something new and unexpected, and that eye opening moment when you read a new card and realize how powerful it is, and immediately start plotting how you will use it. This is a major part of the whole experience.
While I am happy to include some beta testers in this process and show some cards publicly, there are going to be cards that are never shown, and will have to be discovered.
2 - All cards are not finalized,and it wouldn't be prudent to allow judgment at this early stage. As of this writing, the game is fully realized and currently on its second entire round of edits. It's fully playable, but a lot can change between now and the time the game goes to the printer later this year.
Post funding, I'll have enough interested parties to conduct more thorough play testing and a lot can change between now and then, but the core game works smoothly and has a rational mix of Familiar and New.
First, here is another close up of a card, complete with the anatomy. Once you have an idea of what to look for you can speculate on what the others look like.
That said, see what you can learn from the chart!
With the Introduction of Nightmare™ we are revealing only 9 of the 13 base Phobias. You'll have to tune in during the Kickstarter Campaign for the Reveal of each leading up to the final one.
For Detailed information about the Phobias and what they represent see this page on the main site.
While we're at it, I thought you might like to see the master spread sheets. On the left is the card list, completed, and on the right is the Ability List, tentatively completed, although play testing may add or subtract a few.
Note that this represents the game as a 121 card set, but the main stretch goal is for a 242 card set.
Every reward tier includes something special, and most include the actual game. Here's the breakdown:
Due to tight restrictions on Kickstarter Rewards, the early backers will be somewhat limited in what is listed, but REST ASSURED that MUCH more is available, and there are going to be special PayPal only backer levels as well. If you're a distributor and you want more, hit up the main site, and we'll have ways for you to get whatever you need.
I'm so glad you asked. Unlike many large scale gaming projects on Kickstarter, Nightmare™ has a FULLY transparent monetary structure, and currently, not one PENNY of the asking price goes toward design, equipment, or personal expenses.
ALL of that is taken care of!
In a nutshell, your entire pledge goes toward printing and shipping the actual game and to the art and some logistics. The printer has established a final quote, which establishes the final price of packs. This is the biggest issue. We can't really print much less without making packs prohibitively expensive. The upside is that there will be plenty of packs to go around after the campaign closes and you are ready to expand your collection!
Here is the actual, to the dollar breakdown as it stands now. As you can see, there are no design or equipment costs, just a rational buffer for added expenses in each of the core categories, which have some built in variability.
Of course a great Card Game will have Great Art. I'm working diligently to photograph many pieces for the cards, and I anticipate covering at least 20-30 of them myself, and maybe more.
I have contracted with a number of amazing artists for Nightmare™ including:
Brom - Brom is a world renowned dark fantasy artist known mostly for a surreal and twisted style that was always destined to be part of Nightmare. Right now he's super busy creating his unique art for many projects, and we're very fortunate to have a couple of pieces to use, and post funding, more to come.
Jeff Miracola - One of the most prolific fantasy artists of our time with a career spanning two decades, and one hell of a nice guy, Jeff is contributing both licensed pieces such as these, and will be creating some all new art as well. We greatly look forward to what Jeff brings to the game, both now and in the future.
Jason Felix - Another sick mind joins the team in Jason, a veteran and teacher of dark fantasy art, and the first two pieces we're showing are just amazing. There are many more to come, and I can't wait for you guys to open the packs and see what we've got in store.
Many more to come, just wait till the updates! See this page for more info and a preview of the beautiful pieces we're currently showing.
Here is a sample of the card art we have so far:
You might ask what happens if I don't find art for all cards? Take a look at the chart above. All cards ALREADY have art! Whatever I can't fill with photography or paintings, I'm prepared to fill out with Shutterstock images. Either way, you get beautiful cards.
If you're an artist and you'd like to see your art on one or more of our cards, see the FAQ.
So why Nightmares?
Primarily, virtually no one has done games set in nightmares before. I'm not talking about "Nightmare Worlds", but actual NIGHTMARES. I'm not saying it's unprecedented, but it's not a highly tread path. The synergy of the theme and the game mechanics is extremely elegant.
The world of Nightmare™ is a real place, a shared dream space where victims find themselves. How did they get there? How do they get out? The secrets are maybe best left undiscovered but there are hints of what is in store in the official Kickstarter Video.
Beyond that, you'll just have to discover for yourself . . .
That sounds awesome, how can we help?
First, we'll need to hit a certain stretch goal level ( currently locked ). Due to needing a certain percentage of the cards to have original art, I'll have to massively increase the art budget, and then we'll need time to story form and write, and that takes resources as well. Just like any creative process and no different from the game itself, developing the story will take time, money and resources.
But it also opens up a HUGE amount of creative rewards!
We're out of word count, so hit the STORY link for more.
So let's hit that stretch goal and start building a new world together. See the official FAQ for information on the story, the setting, and information on subjects like Achievements and DLC. The Kickstarter page has only a FRACTION of the information available. We're also going to be releasing updates nearly every day of the campaign, so pledge early and spread the word, your Nightmare™ is here . . .
Thank you for reading, and if you made it this far, hit one of those Pledge buttons, and let's build something amazing together.
Of course I'm going to participate in this program. Games, fun devices, and photographic gear are my specialty.
See this page for detailed information on Stretch Goals.
Risks and challenges
Entire TCG as featured here has been designed and play tested. All 121 cards have all of the elements needed to be released as a playable, viable game. ( with a stretch goal of 242, and those cards can be designed and play tested very efficiently )
Of course, no game like this can be fully play tested before being unleashed on the world. The leading maker of TCGs had not released a "balanced" set of cards until its 21st expansion, so expect balance issues, possible rule alterations, and even tournament bannings for a while as Nightmare™ gets settled in to the market.
All financial accounting has been completed, and a quote has been submitted from the printer for a quantity of cards sufficient to fulfill all rewards upon successful funding. I have a good relationship with and am in constant contact with the printer.
All art for all cards is either negotiated with artists, or funds have been set aside in the budget for commercial license of stock art. All cards WILL have nice art. As a photographer myself, I will be providing a number of the images, so all cards, no matter how many there are, will have beautiful art.
Budget for full development and support has been accounted for.
Kickstarter and Amazon fees have been accounted for, and project has sufficient padding to absorb charge backs, cancels, and bad credit cards. That said, if those fees or failed charges prove much higher than expected or is normal, I will release a statement immediately, and we’ll see if PayPal donations can bring things up to acceptable level.
If the project succeeds at the minimum level, the game has a 100% chance of being printed and shipped, excepting "Acts of God" type interventions. Everything is complete, and just waiting for final details, final testing, and then to be sent off to the printer.
The only challenge is waiting for your cards. Every detail is worked out.
The timeline is currently set to ship the game around three months post funding, assuming we don't double the card count. I can do it that soon because the game is already designed. I have set the ACTUAL Kickstarter shipping to be five months in order to give us plenty of time for external play testing, card and ability naming, receiving final art from the artists, proofing from the printer to make sure the cards are perfect.
If project meets certain stretch goals, things just get more interesting, but there is essentially no possibility of total failure.
Finally, the last hurdle is less about logistics and all about support. Despite the misnomer of many many small projects, no one has ever actually launched a full scale CCG/TCG on Kickstarter before that wasn't digital. Therefore, educating users on what to expect is a big part of this process. That's why the funding goals are so high, because we're creating a WORLD CLASS product printed by world class production printers, and have to meet very strict minimum order sizes and pricing structures. What you're getting isn't some homemade "local printer" fare, but a AAA quality product.
It is for that reason that the rewards structure is going to be a little wonky at launch. We can have starter decks ( called "Pre-Dreamt" Decks ), play mats, deck boxes, etc. but due to quantity minimums they have to be stretch goals that are fairly high up there.
The LISTED rewards may seem boring, but help us hit those stretch goals and we'll make sure you get loads of nice extras. Hopefully people aren’t just reading the reward boxes and nothing else. If you think your friends are doing that, be sure to assure them that much more is planned, but we’re just staying within budget and TOS restrictions.
What I might try to do JUST for the Kickstarter backers is put together some starter decks and just package them without a box, just have a set list of 60 cards and send you that. We'll have to see how many backers we have and what the logistics of doing that would be. Right now, your rewards and booster boxes will be fulfilled by a professional warehousing/fulfillment center, and as such will not be subject to delays caused by having too many rewards for a small team to deal with. I'd like to think that Kickstarter users have evolved past the need for goofy, hand packed "rewards" like this, and want a quality product produced and shipped efficiently, and you will get exactly that.
I'm in daily contact with all parties involved in this production, and as long as we meet the various funding goals, you will get what is promised.
Believe it or not, we've hit the character cap on Kickstarter, and there is still a LOT more to go over. If you have questions, want more info, and want to see other updates as they happen, be sure to hit up the main page at www.nightmarethegame.com and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NightmareTheTradingCardGame. Both will have information and images not seen here.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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