Jun 292011

Evil Hat Productions Announces ‘Race to Adventure’ Board Game
Double 2011 Origins Award Winner Moves Beyond RPGs with Family Adventure Game

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — June 29, 2011 — Building on the momentum of its two 2011 Origins Awards, Evil Hat Productions, LLC, today announced an agreement to produce, publish and distribute a tabletop board game that will expand the company’s reach beyond the roleplaying genre. Race to Adventure: The Spirit of the Century Exploration Game, designed by Evan Denbaum, E.K. Lytle and Christopher Ruggiero, is an easy-to-learn pulp adventure game based in the Spirit of the Century universe. The richly themed “action-selection” game can be played in as few as 20 minutes, and its variable setup and levels of depth allow for infinite replayability.

“We wanted our first foray into board games to be highly accessible and fun, while taking advantage of the intellectual property Evil Hat has cultivated during the past few years,” said Evil Hat Co-President Fred Hicks. “What I love about Race to Adventure is it can serve as an entry point for younger and casual gamers into the ‘action-selection’ genre while also having ample strategy to appeal to a wide range of players.”

Race to Adventure: The Spirit of the Century Exploration Game is scheduled for a late 2011/early 2012 release. It will be a heroic companion-piece to the much-anticipated Zeppelin Armada combat card game by veteran game designer Jeff Tidball, targeting a similar release timeframe. Like Race to Adventure, Zeppelin Armada will also feature characters from the Spirit of the Century universe.

“This is just the start of what you can expect to see from Evil Hat in the months to come,” said Hicks. “The time is right to move into board and card games, and we’ll be leveraging our roleplaying game catalog as complementary tie-ins to those games. Together, they’ll create a gaming experience greater than the sum of its parts. Our motto is ‘passion makes the best games’ and you’re going to feel that passion poured into our upcoming offerings.”

For more information about Evil Hat Productions, visit www.evilhat.com/.

About Race to Adventure: The Spirit of the Century Exploration Game

Each year, a worldwide scavenger hunt brings together daring adventurers from all parts of the globe—members of the famed Century Club. Their journey is filled with danger, excitement and wonder as players race to be the first to complete every mission, stamp their passport as proof in every location and cross the Empire State Building finish line first. Snatch a golden eagle egg from a Himalayan mountain peak, escape the Mummy King, rescue a prisoner from Atlantis and much more in this family adventure game playable in as few as 20 minutes!

About Evil Hat Productions

Evil Hat Productions believes that passion makes the best games. It is this passion for gaming that raised Evil Hat to its acclaimed position in the RPG community. Our games can be used to build the best kinds of role-playing experiences—full of laughter, storytelling and memorable moments. Today we don’t just run games, we don’t just make them, we work with you to make your play the best it can be—the kind that upholds and gives birth to passions of your own. That’s the Evil Hat mission, and we’re happy to have you along on it.

Since its inception, Evil Hat has won accolades ranging from the Indie RPG Awards, the Golden Geeks, the ENnies and the Origins Awards, most recently claiming the Origins Awards for both Best Roleplaying Game (The Dresden Files RPG: Your Story) and Best Roleplaying Game Supplement (The Dresden Files: Our World).

Press contact:
Fred Hicks
Email: feedback@evilhat.com
Website: http://www.evilhat.com


Apr 122011

So, we’re going to be producing Do: The Book of Letters as the Do kickstarter runs its course. This will be a digest-ish sized booklet, hopefully around 32 black and white pages, containing additional letters and letter-writing advice for the game, adventure seeds, and so forth, which we’ll be making available in print only to folks who are contributing at the $40 level or higher. (Smaller-amount contributors will get the PDF of the Book of Letters, and we’ll likely be selling it as a PDF as well, but this will be the only way to get it in print for sure.)

So who’s going to write these letters? Well, we’ll write a few. But mostly: you are. We’d love to have your letter, and to give you a chance to be a part of Do with us. Interested?

We can’t promise we’ll accept every letter we get, but we will do our very best to get into trouble with it. Ideally we should have your letters in before the end of April. This will give us time to select the letters we’ll use, and get some editing and artwork done on the booklet. And even if we don’t use your letter, we’ll save it up and possibly share it on Daniel’s blog later on. No letter goes unheard by the pilgrims.

Here are your guidelines.

Avatar: the Last Airbender, The Little Prince, Kino’s Journey. Stories of young people traveling through the strange, often absurd world of adults.

There are hundreds small worlds orbiting a flying temple. Like islands, these small worlds often have strange cultures and unique problems. Whenever the people have a conflict that cannot be resolved on their own, they send letters to the temple requesting assistance. The temple sends young monks on a pilgrimage across the universe responding to a stack of letters one at a time. Their goal is to leave each world with less trouble than when they arrived.

Your Mission:

  • You’re a worldly citizen (that is, a citizen of one of the tiny worlds floating in the sky) with a weird problem. You’re writing to the pilgrims of the flying temple for help. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a letter to be included in the next supplement for Do.
  • Your letter should be around 150-500 words.
  • List key phrases from the letter, including character names, important locations, important objects, adjectives and verbs. Repeat them up to three times if they are very important. Depending on the difficulty level of your letter, the letter should have a list of 10 key phrases (Easy), 15 (Medium), or 20 (Hard)
  • Tag your letter with two or three of the symbols that describe the subject matter in the letter. These are described in this PDF. (There’s a sample letter in there too!)
  • Email your letters to Fred Hicks at evilhat [at] gmail [dot] com


Getting Inspired: To get started, what is your favorite episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kino’s Journey, Star Trek or Stargate SG-1? Pretty much any show where the heroes go from place to place helping people and getting into trouble is a good place to start. Imagine you are one of the people who needs help from the heroes. First you may have to explain a little about the world you’re on, just to give the heroes some context for your problem. That also gives the players more hooks and inspiration to begin their adventure.

A Dose of Realism: You may find inspiration in stories of the real world as a way to start your letter, like natural disasters, historical conflicts, and even outright wars. But make sure you approach those subjects with sensitivity and respect. Do is by its nature a comedic game. Before you submit a letter “ripped from the headlines,” try to change the circumstances enough that the letter doesn’t seem like it’s just making light of a real-world tragedy.

Symbols: The trouble symbols are described in this PDF. Think about the subject matter of your letter. What makes a TREE+BOOK letter different than a SWORD+BOOK letter? What kind of troubles do you expect pilgrims to get into when they visit this world and meddle with people’s lives?

Difficulty: A good letter suggests a complicated situation with no clear solution. A great letter suggests several problems with several unfavorable solutions. Present a Gordian knot to the pilgrims and they’ll figure out the rest.

Age Appropriateness: Do is a game designed for players 12 and up, so adjust the tone of your letter appropriately. The editors reserve the right to revise or re-word your letter in order to make it more age appropriate, if necessary.

Apr 112011


Fundraising Exceeds Expectations for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
New storytelling game for YA and family gamers wins massive support

In less than a day, the fundraising campaign to publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple met its initial goal. Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions quickly pivoted into Phase 2 of the campaign, intended to raise more funds next several weeks. Phase 2 goals were surpassed in less than 6 hours.

“Our initial goal was to raise $4,000 in 45 days, enough to do a print run of 500.” Hicks said. “When we met that on Day 1, we knew we’d tapped into an enthusiastic fanbase. Our next goal was to raise enough funds — another $2,500 — to get a bigger print run, which meant we could lower the cover price through the economies of scale. We busted through that goal in less than 6 hours on Day 2.”

Game designer Daniel Solis believes a long development cycle and a transparent design process built up years of anticipation.

“I design a lot of little board games and post them on my blog, ready to play for free.” Solis said. “I followed that same philosophy for Do. The basic rules have been online, free for anyone to play, for about a year. I’ve also been posting art from the game for quite a while, too. I guess people just wanted the game, finally!”

So what’s the next move?

“Our next move is to use the remaining time to develop additional content for our supporters. We’ll produce a booklet of additional letters and adventure seeds, which will be shipped exclusively to those who pledge at the $40+ level. We intend for those to be the only copies in print that we produce. Those who contribute a smaller amount will get the booklet in PDF form,” Hicks said. “When it comes down to it, the early-adopter $40+ contributors are the reason we were able to hit our goals so rapidly. With their help, the cover price of the hardcover is down to where we believe it will be well-received by parents, teachers, and YA fans.

“These generous backers deserve our gratitude in a palpable way. This specially-produced Book of Letters is our way of doing that, a unique gift showing that they were a key part of Do’s success.”

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a storytelling game about helping people and getting into trouble, for 3-5 players, ages 12 and up.

Evil Hat Productions publishes Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files Role-Playing Game.

Fundraising was facilitated through the crowd-source service Kickstarter, a no-risk way to raise funds for creative projects.

Relevant Links:
Fundraising Page: http://kck.st/fwk4DD
Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com
Evil Hat: http://www.evilhat.com
Daniel Solis: http://www.danielsolis.com
More about Do: http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/do-pilgrims-of-flying-temple.html

Apr 102011

So when I prepped this morning’s post last night, the Do kickstarter was at less than half of its initial $4,000 goal. Right now as I’m writing this, the kickstarter is inches away from hitting its goal, and it will probably hit it before I’m done writing. Am I shocked? Well, maybe a little by the speed of it all. But I’m not surprised. Daniel’s ideas and aesthetic are some of the most exciting found in the small press games industry, and that’s why we’ve been backers and fans of his from day one.

That said, with the goal hit, it’s time to talk about phase two for the kickstarter.

Our initial funding goal was set on the idea of producing the Limited Edition of Do as a small run boutique item, at about 500 copies to be printed in hardcover and with color interior. But there’s a literal price that comes with printing such a thing at that level. Despite the book being a modest-sized affair (you’ll hear more about that from Daniel in the coming days), we had to set the minimum level for getting a printed copy at $40.

But (checking… yep) now that we’ve hit that $4,000 target, it’s time to think about what to do with any additional funding we get. The way Kickstarter works, you keep raising funds until the deadline. In this case, that deadline is May 24. Until then, you can keep pledging, pre-ordering the game and telling your friends to do likewise.

As I suggested before, we’ve had our eye on expanding the print run to 750, 1000, or even 1,500 copies (but probably no more) if we get more funds. With the economics of printing being what they are, at each new increment we’re facing a steadily lower unit cost. And to us, it doesn’t seem right to keep the cover price on Daniel’s crazy little game up at $40 if our costs are dropping.

So here’s the plan we’ve got in mind:

At $4,500 raised, we’ll increase the print run to 750 copies, making this gorgeous (but still limited) edition available to more people. But we’ll also drop the cover price to $35, and ship a copy to anyone who has contributed at least $35. (International customers will still need to bump up by $10 to cover the additional cost of non-domestic shipping.) And HOLY CRAP, we may hit THIS level before I even finish this post!

At $5,500 raised, we’ll increase the print run to 1,000 copies — and we’ll drop the cover price again by $5, to $30, and ship a copy to anyone who has contributed at least $30.

At $6,500 raised, we’ll increase the print run to 1,500 copies — and yet again drop the cover price by $5, to $25, and ship a copy to anyone who has contributed at least $25.

(At that point, we’ll have the price point more in a range that we’d like to see, and we’ll have enough copies at a good price point for getting this game out to more people. Once that print run runs out, we’ll transition to a black and white softcover standard edition of the game.)

In addition, for the high-end patrons out there who are sad about missing out on the Flying Turtle contribution level, Daniel is currently looking into the possibility of providing a few more high-end rewards at the $150 and $250 level, but it may be even as much as a few weeks before we can share that (conversations need to conclude, and stuff needs to move from point A to Z, before we can commit there).

Dan & I will also talk about what could happen beyond the $6,500 level, if it comes, but that’s a longer conversation and he has some travel planned a week from now. Possibly an exclusive benefit for all contributors to the kickstarter, at that point. But for that, you’ll have to stay tuned.

Thanks so much, everyone. It’s incredibly gratifying to see how many folks out there have the same kind of enthusiasm and faith in Daniel as we do here at Evil Hat.

Apr 102011

I’m super excited to share this. 🙂

Monday, April 11, 2011

Evil Hat Taking Pledges to Publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
New storytelling game for YA and family gamers, set in new fantasy universe

Evil Hat Productions is excited to announce the start of a new fundraising campaign via Kickstarter to publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a storytelling game about helping people and getting into trouble, for 3-5 players, ages 12 and up. Players tell the story of young travelers who help people, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. They use creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming-of-age adventure in a universe of endless skies and tiny planets.

Do is the latest release by game designer Daniel Solis, creator of Happy Birthday, Robot!, a storytelling game designed for children and families. In Do, he continues blurring the lines between Euro-style board games and role-playing games to create fun, light-hearted games that easily build stories. This time, the game is designed for a young adult audience.

“I was inspired by Nickelodeon’s Avatar: the Last Airbender, The Little Prince, and the Kino’s Journey anime series.” Solis says. “I combined those influences into a new storytelling game set in a weird new universe. I’m happy to say Do consistently produces a funny, creatively engaging and strategically interesting experience.”

Evil Hat Productions, publishers of the Dresden Files Role-Playing Game, has a long history of fostering independent game design. Now, Evil Hat is partnering with Daniel Solis to help bring Do into production by raising funds on Kickstarter, a crowdsource fundraising site commonly used to fund artistic endeavors like film production, novel publication and game development.

The goal is to raise $4,000 in 45 days.  Kickstarter allows people to pledge whatever amount they wish, but no money is deducted until the $4,000 goal is reached, so it’s a no-risk way to help small-press games enter the market.

Relevant Links:
Fundraising Page: http://kck.st/fwk4DD
Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com
Evil Hat: http://www.evilhat.com
Daniel Solis: http://www.danielsolis.com
More about Do: http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/do-pilgrims-of-flying-temple.html

The economics of this project are interesting. Right now we’re running this kickstarter in order to fund a print run of 500 copies of the limited edition hardcover. If we hit that target (and indications suggest we will), we’ll be able to funnel any surplus money into either expanding the print run’s size — the price per unit drops significantly enough that for every additional $500 or so we can spend, we can probably print another 200-250 copies, at least up to the 1000-ish mark — or into getting some standard edition black and white softcovers out there, too. We’ll have to wait and see how well-funded we get, but since we first tweeted about the kickstarter Saturday afternoon, we’ve seen some really impressive turnout; my hopes are that we’ll see both an expanded hardcover print run for the limited edition and an early pursuit of the softcover too.