Heist Crowdfunding Preparations

You’re never completely prepared for something like your first crowdfunding effort. I’ve spent years reading blog posts and guides about how to do this, and felt like I’d been investing an appropriate amount of time and effort into making things happen, but staring down the seeming immensity of what comes next, and knowing just how much I don’t know about the reality of it… It’s daunting y’all. Not going to lie.

Which is not to say that there isn’t something really fun about the possibilities that lie ahead. If nothing else, I’ll have learned a lot and been forced to grow as a creative and as an entrepreneur. I’m thankful for the support that has gotten me this far and I’m excited to build a community around our shared love of daring raids against well-secured, extremely valuable items.

Among the promo shots for this new cover style.

The Heist: Masterminds page has been added to the site, and will be the main hub for the game once the crowdfunding effort has passed. I’m eager to share the campaign preview with you, but there’s still some odds and ends to sort out when it comes to that side of things. The game, not forgotten in the midst of all this, continues to be a project that I am very, very proud of and look forward to sharing with all of you when I have more than six of them to loan around.

You Reap What You Sow

I’m so glad to bring you You Reap What You Sow, a new narrative one-shot RPG that explores the uneasy alliance of three undead beings all descended from one human life. How did you die, why did you get separated, and how can you come to some kind of closure before the Reapers put you back in your grave(s)? Grab a deck of cards and 2 friends to find out!

This premise started off as a bit of a joke: if your soul got reincarnated but your body was raised by a necromancer, which one is the real you? And if your mind was harvested into a Frankenstein’s-Creature-type promethean, do we trust the soul, the body, or the brain? A real Corpse of Theseus situation. The longer I thought about it, the less it was a joke. I was already developing what would become Boneyard, a domino-based game about Reapers & Omens guarding the line between life and death and guiding lost souls into a final rest they do not fully understand, and thought that a game exploring this undead life-triangle trying to solve their potential murder before the Reapers get them could be a great way to explore that world. Marry it to a Descended from the Queen framework of cards and prompts with enough additional game added on with the Demise, Connection, and Reaper countdown clocks and voila! You Reap What You Sow came down from the ceiling slab while I shouted “It’s (technically) alive!”

This version is still in development but is 100% playable. I’ve run it with some of my people and incorporated their feedback, and we’re looking at the final game perhaps being a hybrid of book and custom card deck or exclusively custom-card-based. I always like to include the option of playing with poker cards whenever possible, as I understand both international shipping and keeping track of yet another custom deck can be a pain, but let me know if you have strong feelings one way or another regarding the future format of the game. Thanks for taking a look and may you have as many days as you want between now and when you meet the Reapers.

Black Friday & Monster Damage

This weekend, I’ll be hosting my first sale on the itch store. All weekend, all the pdfs will be 50% off, with community copies added for every purchase. Any bundle purchases will add community copies to every game in the bundle. It’s only running from Black Friday through Monday, but come down and grab any games you’re missing. itch is also waiving their cut, so more of your hard-earned gaming dollar is going to the creators you know and love. A lot of like-minded creatives are joining in this weekend so take a look around and grab some new titles for yourself.

The concept of community copies should probably be unpacked a bit here. Pioneered by some great folks in the community, community copies are free or reduced price copies of pdfs available for folks who can’t afford to pay full price for what you have available. I’ve been making use of them to keep copies out for review, available for whoever needs them. It’s something I would love to see more creators embrace as we invite more people to have a seat at the table.

The other announcement worth making right now is that there is an extremely limited run of BITE games that are available right now for a significant discount. They are literally Monster damaged, but come with a pair of Nerdhaus buttons and a hand-written thank you note if you buy them off the BITE page. If you don’t already have a copy, this is the cheapest you’ll find it. I’ll even waive the shipping and hand deliver if you’re close to the Kansas City metro, just send me a message any way you can and we can work out the details.

A new game is underway and projects are starting to get moving. I’ll have more of that development process as well as some new game reviews up between now and the end of the year. It’s been a weird time for everyone lately, but let’s try and make the rest of 2020 something we can appreciate. Let’s all help each other do that.

The Long Way Home

Our newest game just hit digital shelves. Swing by the itch store or buy it right here and check out our newest rpg. The Long Way Home is a 2-player asynchronous journaling rpg about a post-apocalyptic couple separated by circumstance struggling through the badlands and the dangers of their unexplored Habitat to find a way back together. Take on the role of one of the two figures and see if you can beat the odds and find your way back to each other.

Crisis RPG

Crisis is a roleplaying game of escalating stakes racing against disaster to tell a story. Players define the margins and color in the major points at the beginning of the session, and explore those plots, people, and places in detail during the scenes themselves. Each scene features a player character designated the Protagonist whose story is told for that scene. Another player is their Foil, putting obstacles in their way to test them and show all of us what they are capable of. In this way, every player is both a character and a game master.

more “Crisis RPG”

The Good That Zoos Do

Another is a game we spun up in a month for the #cryptidjam last year at itch, where participants built a game in a month’s time on the theme of cryptids. The Good That Zoos Do creates agents of a supernatural zoo as well as the monster they are hunting. The cryptid is revealed during a flashback scene where it interacts with a group of disposable NPCs and its traits are defined through the process of eliminating them. The rest of the session, play is between the players as agents and the GM as both setting and the cryptid itself with a playing card mechanic resolving all the actions. It is based largely on the Zoo Podcast and their ongoing series about monster hunters and occasionally empathetic intelligent cryptids.

BITE

As the harvest approaches, the villagers gather and ponder the coming winter. Among them, darkness lurks, corrupting the town and its inhabitants. Unlikely allies will rise either to save this village or condemn it. 

Can you make it through the lengthening nights and save the town? Or is something creeping up on you, disguised as a neighbor, waiting for its chance to BITE?

BITE is a social game to be played during a gathering, like a party or convention. Players receive roles and pair up for a few minutes of conversation at a time, at the end of which each reveals an action card to the other player. They resolve these cards and move on to the next discussion, their motives changing throughout the game based upon which side they find themselves: Good or Evil. By the final night, either darkness will have been rooted out of the town, or it will have triumphed.

Officially released in October 2019, Discover the Monster Within!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bite-Cover-Image-672x1024.png
BITE Cover Art

BITE is a social deduction game for 6 to 17 players, playable in under an hour. Rules are quick to learn and laid out across two books, a rulebook for running play and a reference manual that details role strategy, action cards uses, and more. 10 roles (5 Good and 5 Evil) have access to 13 actions ranging from the fact-finding Talk card to specialties like Haunt, Stake, and Devour. Vampires have Bite cards they share with other players, spreading their malign influence and claiming their victims for an Evil victory. BITE retails for $27.99.

Planned support includes rule videos, expansion options, an RPG tie-in, and the Mayoral Decrees script that provides word-for-word choices on how to run your first few games of BITE. (It’s the next best thing to having the designer in your living room) If you are running the Crisis RPG scenario that calls for BITE cards and you don’t have them (or can’t get a copy yet), then this download will provide the flavor text for the roles, prompts for their actions, and printable slips to use as cards until you snap up a copy for yourself.

Available at local conventions, and in game stores in the Kansas City, MO region at TableTop Game & Hobby in Overland Park, KS and Pawn & Pint in Kansas City, MO. You can also buy directly from us and we ship anywhere in the US:

Grin RPG (or How Do I Play Jenga Online)

Last week, I had the treat of sharing an rpg table with my college roommate for the first time. We have games together in other formats (our dining room table was never used for meals but permanently set for Necromunda), but this was the first time we played together. Normally I introduce first-time roleplayers with something straightforward (like Dread) or ridiculous (like Crash Pandas). I opted for straightforward and planned to run something out of the Harrop Collection but there’s the issue of how to do social distance right now within arm’s reach of a Jenga tower…

There are lots of options for running a game online. You have Discord servers, various video chat options, digital tables, and play-by-post. You could even dust off your typewriter and get started on a De Profundis campaign, but I’ve never had one make it more than two letters in, despite our best efforts [link]. But none of those do Jenga, and networked BoomBlox as a resolution mechanic feels cumbersome. Enter Grin.

more “Grin RPG (or How Do I Play Jenga Online)”

Always/Never/Now

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to complete a run of Will Hindmarch’s Almost/Never/Now, a cyberpunk take on Lady Blackbird. It was inspired by revisiting a long-running cyberpunk campaign he had been a part of, and wrote the adventures that would become A/N/N as a sort of love letter/dramatic finale to the world and characters he and his friends had created and inhabited a decade prior.

The sessions themselves blend story, action, and character in a flexible form that encourages big storytelling: cinematic action, dramatic blow-outs with your peers, and always pushing what the mechanics allow. This is a collaborative story situation, writ large over international espionage and dystopian intrigue with cyberware and technology and highly specialized weaponry all coming to bear in a system that absolutely does not concern itself with the specifics of how you accomplish any of that.

more “Always/Never/Now”

Jewels in the Attic

I just had the chance to play a charming little game from 1992 called Jewels in the Attic, by Discovery Toys (and no other credited authors). I should also note that the same company was responsible for a series of puzzle games/activities including the Think-It-Through tiles I’ll be referencing in an upcoming post as well.

The premise is simple: The Jewelkeeper has a treasure trove of gems they have hidden in the attic of a large manor house and your group of friends have to brave the threats in various rooms using your own skills and magic items you collect along the way. Once you find enough objects to attempt the Attic, you can attempt to conquer the Jewelkeeper’s minions and defeat the Jewelkeeper himself. The trick is you play in your actual home, moving from room to room and using an ingenious set of cardboard tokens to run these challenges. 

more “Jewels in the Attic”