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Build an Empire. Amass Power. Crush your rivals.
Build an Empire. Amass Power. Crush your rivals.
279 backers pledged £17,920 to help bring this project to life.

About

Manipulate Board Game - are you playing or being played? project video thumbnail
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Manipulate Board Game - are you playing or being played?

£17,920

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Manipulate is a competitive and darkly humorous board game for 3-6 players set in modern-day London. Players choose from a number of characters and make deals, double cross, and outmanoeuvre each other as they seek to build their shady business empires in the City. Their goal? To be the most Powerful at the end of the game...

Unashamedly encouraging bluffs, threats and dubious deals, the game captures the deceitful nature of London's corrupt and cut-throat elite - all colluding as they vie for Power and influence. From having your most lucrative Venture burned to the ground to revealing your friend's most incriminating Skeleton, Manipulate is a game that's sure to get emotions running high.

Link to review

***KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE*** Following the campaign, we plan to sell Manipulate at £35 plus shipping in store and online. This means that all backers of our Manipulator reward will be receiving a nearly 30% discount on the recommended retail price (RRP). 

Please see the link for the full Manipulate Rule Book (please note these are the rules in their current form, there may be some tweaks to the final version).

Rules video with some early prototype components:

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Below is a very quick summary of how to play the game.

While setting up the game, players pick or randomly draw a Character (Celebrity, Criminal Mastermind, Head of Police, Media Mogul, Politician and Tech Entrepreneur) and associated Super Favour. Your Super Favour is a one time special ability that you can use to attack other players during the game. 

Players then take turns to build up their empire by setting up Ventures, attacking other players and making deals. At the end of the game, players count up Power from all Ventures, any Power bonuses and from their mountain of cash and declare a winner.

The recommended game length is 8 rounds, but you can easily play for more or less. 

The reversible turn guide
The reversible turn guide

Rake in a "chicken feed" salary of £100k in your first turn which you can increase in following turns by setting up some Ventures.

Build your empire - Set up Ventures to give you a steady stream of income and to build up your Power.

Some Ventures have a white header bar with symbols, such as Jetsetter, and any Character can collect a set of these cards for extra Power at the end of the game. The number of symbols shows how many cards are in the set and the symbol shape shows you which set the card belongs to - in this case the airline set. 

Ventures - The building blocks of your empire
Ventures - The building blocks of your empire

Make deals with other players - you can make any deal you like, apart from trading Power and Skeletons. Trading Ventures or Favours can be a good way to make friends, or you can consider threats and extortion to earn some extra cash...

Call in Favours - Call in Favours to attack your opponents or to give yourself a boost. Some Favours are illegal which will mean you gain an additional Skeleton in your closet...

Favours - Call them in to attack your enemies or boost yourself
Favours - Call them in to attack your enemies or boost yourself

Skeletons are a mixture of political, celebrity and business scandals and if uncovered will cause you to lose Power, cash or both.

Skeletons - Guard the Skeletons in your closet closely, it could cost you money and Power if they are uncovered...
Skeletons - Guard the Skeletons in your closet closely, it could cost you money and Power if they are uncovered...

Finally, top up your cards, sit back and wait for carnage to unfold as your carefully laid plans fall into place...

Every single Venture and Skeleton card is unique and there are 50 unique Favours.

Prototype components - Here is a board we mocked up and some cards we had printed in a factory in Italy
Prototype components - Here is a board we mocked up and some cards we had printed in a factory in Italy

 Stretch goals will decrypt as our campaign progresses...

We've had amazing feedback from over one hundred playtests, including a large number of blind tests, public playtesting at the UK Games Expo and from reviewers we've sent copies of the game to. 

- @md_wheatley on Twitter and Instagram

Link to review

Luke, Jack and Marc from Muster joined us for a game at our launch event. Muster is the ultimate social & organisational app for all tabletop gamers. Check out their thoughts on Manipulate and the app in the link

Link to review

Link to review 

Some of the comments we have had from friends and playtesters:

We will be shipping Manipulate from inside the EU and we currently plan to use GamesQuest to help us achieve this.

To reduce shipping costs, parcels will not be tracked. We estimate it will take items sent within the UK around 2-3 days to arrive from the date of posting. Items sent to Europe will take 3-5 days, and Rest of World 7-9 days. Some locations may take slightly longer.

Shipping for all our pledge levels is free for UK backers, and subsidised for backers anywhere else. Please make sure you enter your shipping address correctly.

Before we ship we will offer you the chance to double check your details and correct any errors before shipping begins.

As this is Walrus Ventures' first game we are more than happy to hear from retailers. If you are a retailer and would like to get in touch then please contact either josh@walrusventures.com or henry@walrusventures.com. 

Hi everyone, we are Josh and Henry, the creators of Manipulate - two board game addicts who met 4 years ago whilst working together in London. We developed a healthy board game rivalry (Henry always wins) after moving in together, playing a huge range of board games but particularly enjoying the more competitive ones where our unscrupulous natures are allowed to come to the fore. When not gaming we're always sharing games ideas together, which is how Manipulate was born. 

The idea stemmed from Josh reading The Establishment by Owen Jones, and thinking about how the Media, Big Business and the Government are all in cahoots with each other and struggling for Power and influence. Originally just made as a bit of fun for us to play between us and our mates, we enjoyed it so much and the feedback was so good that we started to take it seriously and develop it into a marketable game. We thought that would take a few months - we've now been developing, testing and designing it for over two years! The game has changed and improved so much through countless play tests and blind tests, such as at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham where we got awesome feedback. 

We've hired Laura Payne to design it, who we think has done a fantastic job and finally have a prototype that we are really proud of and are incredibly excited to launch on Kickstarter! An absolute ton of hard work and effort has gone in to the game, as well as a lot of first hand experiences from living and working in London, and a lot of our sense of humour. We hope you love it as much as we do and really, really appreciate any support. Please feel free to share with your friends, family and on social media (and follow us on @manipulategame on any social media)!

Finally, we'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped in the development of the game - the friends and family who have playtested with us and helped us work through ideas. The guys at the UK games expo who tried out the game and gave us really helpful feedback. To Tom and his team for their stellar work on the video, and of course to Laura whose hard work, ideas and awesome design have really brought the game to life! 

Josh and Henry

Risks and challenges

This is our first game, which means it's an incredibly exciting feeling for us to be putting it out in front of the world. However it also poses certain risks and challenges which we've had to face and deal with. We've listed these below with how we have mitigated them, but if you have any further questions then please get in touch with either of us at josh@walrusventures.com or henry@walrusventures.com.

1) Risk - that our manufacturer will not be able to produce the game in the time required and to the standard expected.

Mitigation - to mitigate this we've done extensive research on the best supplier for us. We got in touch with people who have previously created games and asked their advice and recommendations, we requested samples from a host of suppliers, and we've done online research into all the companies we spoke to. In the end we met and partnered with Long Pack Games because we have had the best experience with them, they have a great reputation and are very confident that they can get the job done to the standards we expect. We'll be in touch if there are any delays to the project, but we're hoping there won't be any! Our estimated fulfilment date in December 2018 includes leeway, but delays outside our control may still occur. Our project updates will keep all backers notified.

2) Risk - that our distributor will not be able to distribute the game to the dates required / fully intact.

Mitigation - see Risk 1's mitigation. Again, we've taken the necessary time and effort to research distributors and make sure we're getting the right people for the job. We're going with Games Quest for their excellent reputation and a recommendation from one of our friends after his successful campaign

3) Risk - potential impact of Brexit on currency increasing our costs.

Mitigation - While any major swings in currency will impact our manufacturing costs, we are mitigating this by buying USD towards the end of our pitch, which we will then use to pay Long Pack Games. This should minimise our risk and mean that no matter what the politicians do, your copy of Manipulate is safe.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 1.27

    Generous Benefactor

    Like the sound of what we are making but don't fancy a copy of the game? Not to worry. Donate however much you like here and we'll show our gratitude with a thank you on our website

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    Retailer package

    Please get in touch with us if you would like to order copies of Manipulate for your store.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $38

    Manipulator

    1 copy of Manipulate in all its glory and a thank you on our website

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    168 backers
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    Pledge £40 or more About $51

    Manipulator Plus

    1 copy of Manipulate in all its glory, a thank you on our website and your name included in the rule book

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    Reward no longer available 55 backers
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    Pledge £75 or more About $95

    Collector's Edition

    2 copies of Manipulate with one version signed by the game designers, a thank you on our website and your name included in the rule book

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $318

    Super Manipulator

    2 copies of Manipulate with one version signed by the game designers, a thank you on our website and your name included in the rule book

    The creators of the game will also design a card of your choice. Pick either a Skeleton, Favour or Venture, give us a theme and we'll work with you to design a unique card to go into your copy of Manipulate

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,273

    The Big Chief Manipulator

    ***Kickstarter Exclusive***

    2 copies of Manipulate signed by the game designers, a thank you on our website and your name included in the rule book

    The creators of the game will also help you write 6 custom Character Bios and help you design a custom Skeleton, Favour and Venture to go into your copies of Manipulate

    We will also plan in an afternoon in London (travel to London not included) to spend an afternoon gaming, talking about our journey so far and plans for the future

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Funding period

- (30 days)