I am very proud to announce that my first self-published designs are coming to Kickstarter! It has been a heck of a journey, but here we are!

Possible Kickstarter Image3

To check out more about the Kickstarter process and the things I have learned, please take a look at this article I wrote about launching Kickstarter tabletop projects.

Project Overview

My project consists of 2 very unique 18 card micro-games called Reach and Okazaki. They will be part of an exclusive limited edition print run in which I will be hand-packaging the games into a sleek custom-designed and hand-crafted button-string envelope.

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The button string envelope will be made of high quality textured and durable Japanese paper, leather buttons, and silk string. It is custom-designed to be optimally compact and protective.

(A sneak peak for the readers: If we manage to raise enough money, we will also be adding custom embossing and limited edition numbering to the packaging as part of an extensive set of planned stretch goals).

I truly believe that the games will stand out in your collection for their uniqueness and I wanted to provide a unique package that stands out just as well. People will see these games and will want to know more about them, because there will be nothing else on your shelf like it.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce the 2 games that will be available during this project and what makes them unique.

Reach

Reach Envelope
  • Players: 2
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Type: Cooperative
  • Check it out on BGG

Reach is an asymmetric cooperative game that utilizes player movement and action within three-dimensional space. Players will each have an asymmetric hand of cards featuring tools specific to their role. They will need to manage their tools, withstand negative events, and try to reach each other as they simulate a space rescue mission.

The Story Behind Reach

An asteroid has collided into your shuttle while the Flight Engineer was performing repairs on the exterior. Their tether has broken and they are quickly losing oxygen as they begin to drift into space. They must creatively use all the tools at their disposal while the Commander makes a daring attempt to reach and save them.

Sample Artwork
Sample Artwork by Masayoshi Ninomiya

Notable Design Challenge

In October, 2019, Button Shy, the wonderful 18 card wallet game publisher, launched their second monthly challenge. This was to create a game that requires no surface or table. I almost instantaneously came up with the name of the game (Reach) and theme (space survival).

I spent nearly the entire month brainstorming how the heck to implement the mechanics for said theme and I had nearly lost hope. In fact, I started developing 2 other possible options to submit instead of Reach.

A mere 12 hours before the entry deadline, I had an entire alternate game nearly ready to submit, when I had an epiphany. This game Reach is bold and it’s design could not be tackled with restrained mechanics: I had to pull out all the stops and commit to the theme as much as possible. I pulled an all-nighter to design the game virtually from scratch, prepare a rulebook, a prototype, playtest, and record a video explaining the game.

The result was the most unique game that I have ever designed or played, and the judges agreed:

Reach gains praise from Jason Tagmire and Mike Mullins (Button Shy challenge judges)

So what’s so interesting about the Reach design?

Simple But Unique Objective

The object of the game is to literally grab each other’s hand before either player runs out of oxygen.

Quick and Simple Setup

  1. Players take their character’s cards and shuffle them face-up to form their hand.
  2. They stand far enough apart so that they can only touch each other’s fingertips.
  3. The Field Engineer rotates away from the Commander as a result of the initial asteroid impact.

Real Use of Three-Dimensional Space Brings the Theme to Life

Each turn, players will apply ongoing linear and angular momentum effects, and will literally have to rotate and move based on that momentum as if in gravity-less space.

Players have the options to use tools in multiple ways, including activating a thematic ability, throwing to change your momentum or even using as an extender when you are reaching out to each other.

“Holy Asymmetric!”

Players will have a completely different set of multi-use tool cards that will require you to manage your hand differently depending on your role and the situation you are in.

For more details on Reach, please check out the following video. Please note that the design has since been streamlined and fully original artwork and graphic design is in process of being completed by Brazilian comic artist Masayoshi Ninomiya.

My entry video for the Oct. 2019 Button Shy challenge: Make a game that does not require a surface or table.

Okazaki

Okazaki Envelope
  • Players: 2
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Type: Trick-Taker
  • Check it out on BGG

Okazaki is an ICG (identical card game) that features a unique combination of trick taking, hand management, and ability activation to create a tense strategic and tactical experience using nothing but 18 Identical Cards.

The Story Behind Okazaki

The inspiration behind the game Okazaki is the Okazaki fragment which is a critical part of DNA replication.

In Okazaki, players are competing to replicate a small string of DNA by creating base-pairs and writing them into a new sequence of DNA. Players will be able to utilize numerous mutation and DNA reparation abilities to manipulate their hand and their written sequence. The first player to correctly replicate the origin sequence wins.

Identical Card Game

The fact of the matter is, not many people would think an identical card could exist. However, when challenged to create something with a restriction, you can find really interesting ways to work within and around that restriction.

I was quite fond of my original design “Tricky Pins” for the Sep. 2019 Button Shy ICG challenge and it was indeed well received by the judges due to the ultra simple and streamlined mechanical core, but it had it’s issues, which is why it fell just short of reaching the top 20 out of a whopping 228 entries. You can check out the original design here (sorry for the shoddy camerawork):

Original entry into the Sep. 2019 Button Shy Challenge: Make a game that uses 18 identical cards.

Unique Theme and Implementation

The major issue with my original design was it’s lack of theme. I had to add a theme and it honestly didn’t take me long to realize that the perfect theme for this game is DNA replication.

However, I wasn’t content with just “pasting” the new theme atop my abstract spatial puzzle trick-taker. No, did tons of research on the biological mechanisms behind DNA replication, mutation, and repair and went through dozens of iterations to find the right ways of incorporating them into my design.

Tactically Fluid Card Play

In Okazaki, either “winning” OR “losing” the current trick may be your best option depending on your current situation and the card(s) in the play area. The loser gets to activate a unique mutation ability, but the winner gets to draft a card from the play area first and even gets to switch the play area to adjust the asymmetry (see next section).

Holy Asymmetric Part 2!

This seems like a strange item to include here. How can a game with 18 Identical cards be asymmetric?

Well, there is a unique base-pairing mechanic that actually provides 2 different abilities to the 2 players each turn depending on which side of the origin sequence you are sitting on. These asymmetric abilities can also be manipulated throughout the game by the players themselves, giving a natural sense of control and balance to the asymmetry.

Img 20200212 212735
Prototype as of February 15th, 2020.

Multiple Modes of Play

I have been developing a solo mode and will include the rules for it should we meet the pre-launch campaign goal (300+ followers of the pre-launch). The solo mode manages to capture the essence of the 2 player game and feels fresh. It offers a true win-loss state as opposed to a beat-your-own-score style solo mode.

Minor spoiler here: There is one final mode of play unlockable via stretch goals.

What to Expect During the Kickstarter

In my project, I am offering these two very unique limited edition 18 card micro-games. There will be various pledge levels including individual game, both games, and group pledges.

Cost

Each game will cost under $14 per copy and group pledges will receive up to a 15% discount on the cost of each copy.

Worldwide shipping is around $4.50 for 1-2 games and the overall shipping cost per copy will be reduced for group pledges.

Stretch Goals and Add-Ons

I will have a number of stretch goals to enhance the packaging further as well as new content additions. At the start of the campaign there will be no add-ons available, however, this is subject to change based off the stretch goals we meet.

Exclusivity

This particular edition of the game will only be available during this Kickstarter campaign, the Spring Tokyo Game Market, and sales directly from my website (if copies are still available).

Languages

The games are completely language independent, however, the rulebook will only be printed in English.

PDF rulebooks will be available in English, Japanese, and Portuguese.

If there is demand, German, French, and Spanish rulebooks will be made available via PDF as well.

Timeframe

The campaign is expected to launch on February 18th at 9PM JST and will run for 21 days.

Fulfillment is expected to begin in July, 2020.

Conclusion

I hope that you found my games and my project interesting. If so, please follow along and share my campaign with others who may enjoy is well. Thank you in advance for all your support and your encouragement.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the campaign, feel free to comment on this post or directly on the Kickstarter once the project has launched.