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A role-playing game of small service robots in the aftermath of human extinction.
A role-playing game of small service robots in the aftermath of human extinction.
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483 backers pledged $16,553 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$16,553

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The time of the humans has passed.

All that you were built for is no more.

But you and your kind endure.

Engine Heart is a game about little robots. When the humans were around nobody paid any attention to them, but now the humans are all gone, and they're on their own in a world that's falling apart.

The 2010 version of the rulebook has always been available for free online (and it still is). If you're not familiar with the game, download the book and read it for yourself! Check out what fans are saying:

Still want more? Listen to a podcast of actual gamers playing Engine Heart:

Click here to listen
Click here to listen

The game is also available in print, but in very limited quantities, and that's what this Kickstarter is all about.

Thirty-eight Friendly Local Gaming Stores (or "FLGSs") have agreed to take copies of the revised and expanded 2013 rulebook on consignment, along with the 80+ page Power and Light adventure module (also available free online). When this project is successful, these thirty-eight stores will all have copies of Engine Heart on their shelves. More stores have asked to get involved, so we've created special dealer-only backer tiers to provide your FLGS with its own robots!

USA:

  • BOSCO'S (Anchorage, AK)
  • Orbital Games (Sierra Vista, AZ)
  • Brookhurst Hobbies (Garden Grove, CA)
  • Game*Alot Hobby Games (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • Get Your Fun On (West Melbourne, FL)
  • Titan Games and Comics (Smyrna, GA)
  • Beckmon's Gaming Paradise (Twin Falls, ID)
  • Castle Perilous Games & Books (Carbondale, IL)
  • Fair Game (Downers Grove, IL)
  • Games Plus (Mount Prospect, IL)
  • The Game Preserve (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Modern Myths (Northampton, MA)
  • Universe Games (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Modern Myths (Mamaroneck, NY)
  • CheckMate Games & Hobbies (Toledo, OH)
  • Gaming Grounds (Kent, OH)
  • Guardian Games (Portland, OR)
  • Rainy Day Games (Aloha, OR)
  • Big Robot Games (Greer, SC)
  • The Nerdery Nashville (Nashville, TN)
  • Collected (Ft. Worth, TX)
  • Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy (Austin, TX)
  • Tribe Comics & Games (Austin, TX)
  • The Silver Unicorn (Hopewell, VA)
  • Batcave Games (Vancouver, WA)
  • The Dreaming Comics and Games (Seattle, WA)
  • Games & Gizmos (Redmond, WA)
  • Noble Knight Games (Janesville, WI)
  • Pink Bunny Games (South Milwaukee, WI)

Canada:

  • Fandom II Adventure Games and Miniatures (Ottawa, ON)
  • 401 Games, Toys and Sportscards (Toronto, ON)
  • Craving For A Game (Surrey, BC)

Europe:

  • Iocus (Luleå, Sweden)
  • Science Fiction Bokhandeln (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Rules of Play (Cardiff, UK)
  • The Gamers' Emporium (Swansea, UK)
  • Leisure Games (London, UK)
  • Orcs Nest (London, UK)

BECAUSE YOU WANTED IT! We've managed to get enough backing that we want to blow it all on the fans! Because so many people have asked for it, backers who are scheduled to receive books (which includes every backer at the Automated Aerial Worm-Collecting Device tier and higher) now have the option of adding multiple GameScience™ custom dice by adding $10 per die!

These dice are expensive to produce, so we'll actually be losing money on them. That's OK, because we want to give as much back as we possibly can, so if you want some dice, grab 'em now!

All you have to do is add $10 to your pledge for every die you want. For example, if you're backing at the $20 level and you want 3 extra dice, increase your pledge to $50 but keep the reward selected at the $20 level. We'll send out a survey at the end of the Kickstarter to verify who wants extra dice and how many.

Stretch Goals

The very first stretch goal was the final third of In Transit - the complete minimodule was unlocked at $7,501. Since then, more minimods have been unlocked, and all the minimods can be immediately downloaded (by backers only) on the Updates page.

WHERE LOTS OF ROBOTS HAVE GONE BEFORE [UNLOCKED!] - At $9,000 our third minimod, The World Above, was unlocked - this one dealing with the vast cosmos beyond the grouchy bonds of Earth! New robots, new space-themed Features and Defects... what's not to love?

THE WIRELESS HAND OF THE FREE MARKET [UNLOCKED!] - At $11,000 our fourth minimod, Consumer Grade, was unlocked! Written by long-time Engine Heart contributor Kalad "CaesarSalad" Hovatter, it's a libertarian paradise where everything must go! Along with new Features and Defects, this minimod also includes new rules to randomly generate locations for your PCs to blunder into!

ADHESIVE ANDROIDS [UNLOCKED!] - At $14,000 every backer who receives a physical shipment also gets a set of professionally-printed Engine Heart stickers included with their shipment for free! Not only that, but all backers immediately receive a high-resolution pdf of all the sticker icons that's ready for print! These super-cute icons will illustrate the Features and Defects of the new edition, but why cut pages out of your book and tape them to the wall when you can have this instead? Just look at this sampling!

Wow! What a selection!
Wow! What a selection!

CHARITABLE CLATTER [=LOCKED=] - At $20,000 our final stretch goal unlocks - every backer who receives a physical shipment also receives one free custom d10, identical in every way to the other custom GameScience™ dice already available, except it's free!

Project Info:

Q: What is Viral Games?
A: Viral Games are games made by Viral! Since 2007, we've been creating offbeat, free-to-download RPGs for the Internet at large. Engine Heart, Joints & Jivers, Modempunk, Betty and Veronica meet The Punisher, WETSUIT... chances are you've never heard of any of them!

Q: What is this Kickstarter actually funding?
A: What we're doing is getting Engine Heart into the stores as requested by fans of the game. However, because we are the very definition of independent, we don't have the support of a traditional distribution model. The stores that have agreed to take in copies are doing so on a commission basis, meaning we have to pay for the cost of the print run up front.

When this is successful, the funds will be used for printing a run of 250 copies of the 48-page Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook, 250 copies of the 84-page Power and Light module, and then shipping said books to said 38 stores. The new printing has a few minor fixes that have cropped up over the past few years, although it's totally compatible with the 2010 version. It will also include an all-new story to give a little more context to the world of Engine Heart.

Any excess funds will go to backer rewards and unlocking stretch goals.

As you can see, the core goal of this KS (getting copies of Engine Heart onto store shelves) is only a small part of the funding goal. If someone dropped a check for $2,500 this would already be over, but since that ain't happening, we have to use the backer rewards themselves to pay for (in a twist of financial irony) the backer rewards.

Q: What does Viral get out of this?
A:The stores get paperback copies of the game sent to them for free, and if any copies sell, are gently encouraged to send half of the cover price back to Viral Games. This won't be enough to pay for a second run as large as the first, but will take a dent out of restocking costs.

Q: What are the dice gonna look like?
A: Like this!

Risks and challenges

Assuming that the United States Postal Service doesn't burn up in a thermonuclear conflagration, there really aren't a lot of risks. The books have already been written, and stores have already agreed to take copies. All that's left is paying for the print job.

Once the KS is successful, Viral will be spending most of his time building and crudely depicting robots with his cheap Wacom Bamboo tablet and a ball-point pen. Even in the event of catastrophic computer failure, the files are all safely stored on an external drive. Even God Himself can't ruin things! Of course he (Viral, not God) will be staying in contact with the printer and GameScience to keep on top of any issues that do arise.

Logistically, Viral is just one (handsome) individual. If he gets hit by a car or breaks his good writing hand, things might slow down a little. Likewise, if his laptop goes kaput it might take a little longer to get everything out, although as stated above, pretty much all the pieces are in place.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    CINDER BLOCK - Every backer will immediately (well, almost immediately) receive an advance pdf copy of the first Engine Heart mini-module, 'Industry Standard'! This minimod includes new industrial-themed features and defects, a new premade location, and lots of new robots. Not only do you get an advance .pdf of the Industry Standard minimod, but if this is successful every backer will also receive an exclusive KS-only minimod that will not be made available after the campaign ends (although it will probably be pirated).

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    ON-LINE ONLY - Save a tree and waste some bandwidth! At this level you get guaranteed access to an electronic copy of everything - the rulebook, the modules, and every stretch goal that's unlocked.

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    199 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    WE BUILD ROBOTS - As above, plus Viral will make you an original 100-point robot based on your description and give you a pdf copy of the character sheet! Because, you know, if you want a robot but really don't feel like making it yourself.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    AUTOMATED AERIAL WORM-COLLECTING DEVICE - Along with the advance minimod pdf, you get a signed softcover copy of the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook! Get 'em while they're radioactive!

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    FACTORY SHOWROOM - Along with the advance minimod pdf, you get a signed softcover copy of the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    ROBOT ROLL CALL - You get the softcover rulebook, a 100-point robot based on your description, AND Viral will also include it as a local non-player character in an upcoming minimod pdf! Somehow, someway, Viral will figure out how to integrate it into the area. Please keep it PG... or at least PG-13.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    BATTERY BACKUP - Just like Factory Showroom, but Viral will toss in a signed softcover copy of the Power and Light module too!

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    18 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ELECTRIC COMPANY - Your very own softcover copy of the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook... with an almost assuredly terrible drawing of your robot doodled inside the front cover! It won't get lonely, because we'll include a softcover copy of the Power and Light module as well. And what's this tucked inside? A printed-out copy of your requested 100-point robot's character sheet built by Viral just for you!

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    Limited 22 backers
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    HARD-CODED EDITION - People have been demanding a hardcover version, so here it is! Inside are both the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook, the Power and Light module, and the exclusive KS-only minimod. Along with this, Viral will build your 100-point robot and send you a .pdf copy of its character sheet and a .png doodle too!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    HARD-CODED RNG REDUX - Not only do you get a copy of the hardcover Hard-Coded Edition, Viral will also doodle your 100-point robot inside the front cover and tuck a paper copy of your robot's character sheet in as well! What's more, this level includes a special prize - a custom GameScience™ precision ten-sided die with Engine Heart icons in place of the 1 and 10 faces!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    99E9F0 - Because fans asked for it, here's the hardcover Hard-Coded Edition in glorious full color! Just like the regular Hard-Coded Edition, this book contains both the Engine Heart rulebook and the 80+ page Power and Light module. Drawn inside the front cover is your 100-point robot, and tucked inside is your filled-out character sheet, printed by Viral on his desktop printer! And lovingly thrown into the shipment is a custom Engine Heart GameScience™ precision ten-sided die!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $105 or more About $105

    B-B-BACK THAT CHASSIS UP - You asked for it, we delivered it, and then they all sold out but people still wanted more! Due to the overwhelming response and success of the Kickstarter so far, we're able to offer a second helping of the 99E9F0 full-color hardcover! Just like the regular Hard-Coded Edition, this book contains both the Engine Heart rulebook and the 80+ page Power and Light module. Drawn inside the front cover is your 100-point robot, and tucked inside is your filled-out character sheet, printed by Viral on his desktop printer! And lovingly thrown into the shipment is a custom Engine Heart GameScience™ precision ten-sided die!

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    Limited 11 backers
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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    TEN TRAPEZOHEDRON TRIO - Stuck on a deserted island? This gives you everything you need to play Engine Heart - a signed softcover copy of the Economy Model Edition, a signed softcover copy of the Power and Light module, and TEN custom Engine Heart GameScience™ precision 10-sided dice!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    MULTI-MODEL MECHANISM - This special dealer tier is made for the widest possible array! You get four copies of the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition, two copies of the hardcover Hard-Coded Edition, and two copies of the full-color 99E9F0 hardcover book. Also included is a copy of the in-store micromodule to get your customers playing right out of the box! Proof of business is required for any backers at this tier.

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    Ships to Only United States
    1 backer
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    DEALER DOUBLE BUNDLE - A ready-made robotic inventory! This retailer-only tier includes 9 copies of the softcover Engine Heart Economy Model Edition, 9 softcover copies of the Power and Light module, and a copy of the in-store micromodule to get your customers playing right out of the box! Proof of business is required for any backers at this tier.

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    2 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    HARD-CODED HAVEN - If you're a retailer and your shelves have a high Durability rating, this one's for you! Seven copies of the hard-cover Hard-Coded Edition delivered to your store, along with a copy of the in-store micromodule to get your customers playing right out of the box! Proof of business is required for any backers at this tier.

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    0 backers
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    CHROMATIC CARGO - For dealers that work in exceptionally bright environments, here's six copies of the full-color 99E9F0 hardcover book! Also included is a copy of the in-store micromodule to get your customers playing right out of the box! Proof of business is required for any backers at this tier.

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    0 backers
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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    HARD-CODED HARDCOVER COLLECTION -

    This is the big one! Nearly 200 pages, this full-color Kickstarter exclusive has never existed before today, and never will again. The collection contains the Deluxe Model Edition of the Engine Heart rulebook, plus color versions of the Power and Light module, all of the minimods, the in-store demo micromod, and comes complete with a doodle of your 100-point robot on the inside cover! Not only that, but your copy will be a one-of-a-kind because your robot's character sheet will actually be part of the book! Heck, make it TWO robots! This thing has a Durability rating of 2, a Damage Threshold of 3, and inflicts 2 damage when used as a weapon.

    You also get a softcover copy of both the Engine Heart Economy Model Edition rulebook and the Power and Light module so you can share the robo-love! Finally, you get not one, not four, but TEN custom Engine Heart GameScience™ precision 10-sided dice!

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Funding period

- (30 days)