Coming from TESA Collective: “STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion”

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A Smile Drone, brought to you by HappyCorp. (image: TESA Collective)

TESA Collective is a group that works with clients to make educational games about workers’ rights, ecology, activism, co-operatives and other progressive issues. They also publish their own games, including Rise Up! The Game of People and Power and Space Cats Fight Fascism.

(Rex Brynen at Paxsims reviews Rise Up! here: https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/review-rise-up/)

They’ve been doing their thing for ten years. Their next board game, STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion will launch on Kickstarter in October 2019.

From the TESA blog (sorry for quoting at length, but they say it better than I ever could):

We at The TESA Collective are excited to announce that we have teamed up with the labor organization Jobs with Justice for our next board game: STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion. We are thrilled to be developing this game in such close partnership with a nationally renowned leader in the movement for workers’ rights.

Following in the footsteps of our previous releases, including Rise Up: The Game of People & Power as well as Space Cats Fight Fascism, we will continue our tradition of merging cause and play with the publication of this game about labor rights and worker empowerment. It is fun, strategic, humorous, and full of tense gameplay.

We will launch a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for STRIKE! in October. TESA has run several successful Kickstarter campaigns for our previous games, using the platform to grow our community and raise funds to manufacture our games. A portion of all funds from the game will go to directly support the incredible work of Jobs with Justice (more details below).

STORY AND GAMEPLAY PREVIEW

HappyCorp, the richest company in the world, has just unleashed its most evil plan yet: turning Mercury City into an entirely corporate-run city. From the schools to the sidewalks, everything will be owned and run by HappyCorp, and every resident will become a HappyCorp employee. There will be no more minimum wage, no more public services, and no more unions. HappyCorp has already begun unleashing its Smile Drones to convert the city’s infrastructure, crush protests, and ensure every resident watches its Commercial Breaks.

Players take on the role of the Strike Council to lead a city-wide strike of workers against HappyCorp’s take over, while also fighting for better livelihoods for all. Players will use energy tokens to grow their ranks, mobilize their workers, and complete strike cards. As the Strike Council scores victories for workers around the city, they will gain the support of more allies, from the dockworkers to the teachers, and build new bases of support from the manufacturing district to the university.

So do you have what it takes to lead the worker rebellion to defeat HappyCorp? Or will you soon be an employee of HappyCity?

Game stats:

Player count: 2 – 5 players
Game length: 45 minutes to an hour
Special features: STRIKE! will come with three versions in the same box. The standard version is a strategic cooperative game, where everyone wins and loses together. STRIKE! also has a simplified rule set, for people who are less experienced with strategic games as well as for educational settings. Finally, the third version of the game allows one player to be the evil corporation and take on the role of HappyCorp!

HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
Make sure you are on our mailing list to get updates about the game. We will be sharing behind-the-scenes content about the development process. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In the near future, we will also have a “print-and-play” version of the game you can try at home.

You can also donate directly to the development of the game. Like with all of our other games, we will donate copies of STRIKE! to community centers and social change organizations to support their important efforts. (Most recently, TESA donated copies of Rise Up to students leading the strikes for action on climate change.) Donating will help cover the expenses involved and allow us to share the game with more of these groups. Everyone who donates will also get a thank you shout out in the game’s final rulebook!

PARTNERSHIP WITH JOBS WITH JUSTICE

The initial concept for STRIKE! came out of conversations between TESA and the amazing labor rights organization Jobs with Justice. JWJ is one of the nation’s foremost leaders in strategic campaigns to shape public discourse around labor and build power for working people. They have a network of over 200,000 people as well as numerous chapters across the country. For roughly six months, TESA has been collaborating with JWJ on every step of the process for this game, from developing the storyline to creating the game mechanics and running a lengthy series of playtests. Our shared purpose is to engage in culture change by developing a fun game about worker empowerment that speaks to labor supporters and regular board game players alike.

Jobs with Justice and TESA will be sharing proceeds from the game’s profits. Therefore, when people purchase the game, they will be directly supporting JWJ’s vital work!

I backed their Kickstarter for Rise Up! and they were as good as their word. I’ll be backing this one too.

Another notable thing about TESA is that their games are produced in the United States, using sustainable manufacturing processes (e.g. vegetable based inks, few or no plastic pieces, recycled paper and cardstock) and union or worker-owned businesses.

Company blog: http://www.toolboxfored.org/category/tesa-news/

Also, today is the last day of their 50% off sale for their board games! You can get Rise Up!, Space Cats Fight Fascism or Good Dog, Bad Zombie for $20 each! Their shipping is reasonable too.

http://store.toolboxfored.org/

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Nights of Fire: Kickstarter is done!

 

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The Kickstarter campaign is over. And the final tally is: $87,821 !

Over three times the minimum $25,000 goal required to get this game produced at all… so I am gratified!

Final counts:

  • 167 people bought just Nights of Fire
  • 396 people bought Nights of Fire and the expansion pack (which includes 28 miniatures, two decks of cards for expansion of Nights (scenarios and leaders) and rules for play of the the campaign game)
  • 94 people bought the combined Days of Ire (reprint) and Nights of Fire package
  • 254 people bought the combined package with the expansion pack
  • 8 people bought something else – e.g. large group buy (thanks!)

So that’s about 900 copies at least that will be out in the wild… plus more for the retail trade, no idea of the production numbers.

Really nothing left to do now except review bits and pieces of stretch goals like new art bits for the Insurgent pieces… everything that has anything to do with the actual play of the game has long been written, arted-up and tested. Which is all I wanted to know.

If production goes well some copies will be in people’s hands (or at least for show) at the Essen game fair in October. However, to be sure, they are committing to a delivery date of March 2019 which will cover all exigencies.

If you backed this Kickstarter, good for you and many thanks!

If you didn’t, I hope you get a chance to buy or at least play it when it comes out! I think you will be pleased.

Nights of Fire: 48 hours to go!

Nights of Fire - A sequel to Days of Ire -- Kicktraq Mini

Less than 48 hours left in the Kickstarter campaign for Nights of Fire!

At the time of writing, we’ve just broken the $70,000 barrier – nearly three times the initial $25,000 “all or nothing” point – but there are a couple of stretch goals left to crush.

Please back it now, if you’ve been thinking of doing so! Yes, at this point the game will be produced but if you back it now you will

  • get it before The Others
  • get a nicer product than otherwise
  • save yourself quite a few dollars!

Thanks!

Nights of Fire: Kickstarter day at last!

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Cover art by Kwanchai Moriya

It’s taken a year and a half but today is the day – the designing is done, the testing is completed, the components are composed – and Nights of Fire is launching on Kickstarter!

Here are two videos to entice you, if you hadn’t made up your mind already… and of course, if you had, these will make you feel good about doing it!

 

Paul Grogan explaining how to play the game. This should answer any questions you may have left about play mechanics, especially after reading the long interview I did with The Players Aid blog recently where I went into the sequence of play.

Nights of Fire: quite long interview at The Players Aid

 

 

And here are Grant and Alexander from The Players Aid blog, giving you their impressions after a good play-through. I really appreciate the help and attention these guys have given me and my games over the past year and more. I wonder if we’ll ever meet in person… but if we do, I owe them several beers!

And finally, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the link to Kickstarter!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyboards/nights-of-fire-a-sequel-to-days-of-ire

Let’s go, man, GO !!!

Edited to add: Sometime during the night we made the first goal! 0900 PST right now, 19 hours after the launch, and we are at over $29,000 US pledged, over the first goal of $25,000 and past the first stretch goal of $28,000, which sees two extra leader cards added. So the world will get this game, after all, and then some.

Twenty-seven days to go in the funding period… let’s see how it goes.

Further edited to add: some people on BGG and on the Kickstarter site have complained that the $35 expansion kit is composed of cards (with short rules for playing the game with added details, and the campaign game that joins the two) and 28 miniatures (which are usable in both games). They would like to have just the cards and not the minis. I will quote the publisher, from the Kickstarter site, who explains the economics of the decision quite well:

With regards to questions regarding the combination of campaign mode and the minis in one product, this is related to economies of scale, and it is actually what makes that product possible.

If we were to separate the two, the mini pack would still need to sell at the current price point due to a high Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), whilst the campaign mode, with the costs of new packaging design and material, additional warehousing and added costs in fulfilment and management of pledges, would need to sell for a separate 15-20$.

Because our game has no miniatures in the base game, and they are an optional add on, for us to be able to create them we need to commit to a very high comparative MOQ (when considering it is an optional add-on). This means that combining the two, and therefore increasing ever so slightly the attach rate, is what makes the product possible at all.

Thanks to this we feel we have achieved quite an aggressive pricing range for our entire Days of Ire line. The game is now cheaper than it was in the original Kickstarter and the Days and Nights pack is the best value Mini-Pack we have ever offered (in comparison, the Vengeance Saboteurs pack went for 45$ for fewer miniatures on KS).

This way, we are able to offer the Expansion for NoF AND the campaign mode, in a product that would essentially still cost the same without them. We feel this is much better way of doing this, as you, the backers are helping us reach that steep MOQ, while we offer you more content at no additional cost.

Furthermore, notice that our first few stretch goals (which we seem to be getting to soon!! :D) are specifically directed to adding value to the Days & Nights pack, with even more content at no extra cost as we reach more economical numbers.

Even more edited to add: It’s just over 24 hours in and total pledges have almost hit the $32,000 mark which is the second stretch goal. There are 423 backers at the moment of writing, distributed as follows:

Support (pledge without a reward): 10 backers
Access to Pledge Manager (choose a reward later): 26 backers
Insurgent (Nights of Fire only): 60 backers
Leader (Nights of Fire plus Days and Nights expansion pack): 213 backers
Combined Insurgent (Nights of Fire plus reprinted Days of Ire): 24 backers
Combined Leader (both games plus expansion pack): 81 backers
Army (“if you want lots of copies, contact us for a good deal!” – this must be for people doing a group buy in a remote city or maybe a dealer): 2 backers

Interesting.

Aw c’mon, just write another post already huh: Publisher Mighty Boards has decided to listen to the complainers above (some of whom had written on BGG that because they didn’t like the way the extras were offered, they were going to pass on the game completely, in any version) and partly decoupled the expansion cards plus miniatures, for early backers only:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyboards/nights-of-fire-a-sequel-to-days-of-ire/posts/2120640

Good for them for responding to customers, albeit a small number of vocal (real and potential) ones… though this does pose a small but real risk for them, because of the Minimum Order Quantity issue discussed in the publisher’s quote above. Hopefully it will not come back to bite them in their fourth point of contact.

And the next day: we are at $37,000, and a new stretch goal has been revealed – if they make it to $45,000 you can read my designer’s notes!

Days and Nights: preview of expansion kit!

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The Kickstarter launch is imminent. And today we have a preview of the expansion kit that adds to and joins both Days of Ire and Nights of Fire!

Days & Nights: Red Army Pack is an add-on pack that contains 28 miniatures compatible with both games. It also contains a small deck expansion to Nights of Fire, and an additional deck allowing campaign play.

In Campaign mode you can play a game of Days of Ire followed by a game of Nights of Fire (solo, cooperative, or conflict mode up to 1v2 supported), and have the winner decided only at the end!

BGG link: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/247103/days-nights-red-army-pack

I have seen the renderings for the miniatures and they are very, very good. There are three figures: a T-54 (12mm tall including the base, so about 1:200 or around “Z” scale), a standing infantryman with a PPSh41 sub-machine gun (34mm tall including the base, so about 1:64 or “S” scale), and a kneeling sniper with a scoped Moisin-Nagant (15mm tall).

Purely coincidentally, the infantryman bears a strong resemblance to Yul Brynner, as he appeared in the role of “Major Surov” in the film The Journey!

Nights of Fire now on BGG

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Cover art by Kwanchai Moriya.

Yes!

Now officially added to the Boardgamegeek.com database, I can now say and show a bit more about what David Turczi (designer of Days of Ire, a card-driven game on the October 1956 Hungarian Revolution) and I have been working on all year.

From BGG:

Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest is the second game in our duology adapting the events of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for modern board game form. Following the Hungarian success in part one, this game starts as the Red Army arrives at the edge of the capital and pushes into the heart of the city; bent on retribution, destruction, and ruthless pursuit of control. For the players in charge of the Hungarian defence there is no time left for organizing and sedition. This is a hopeless war of survival, plain and simple.

Combining card and action management mechanisms of modern euro games with the theme and feel of a classic block wargame, players can experience the rush of a true no-win scenario, and see how long they can keep the flame of the revolution going under the pressure of the unstoppable march of the Soviet military machine.

The game can be played by up to 2 Revolutionary players against either a live or an automated opponent.

In response to a question announcing the sequel to Days of Ire (DoI), David describes the game mechanics very well:

Yes it’s card driven, but no it’s not like DoI.

The Hungarian side plays a light block wargame with area movement, where the stronger actions require an icon on the block to match an icon on the card. It’s a bit of action allowance and a bit of card management. Cards are randomly drawn, but the deck is small enough to guarantee a reshuffle in every game, so you see every card roughly twice.

The Soviet side plays more of an hand building-action management game. He has 12 cards, each with a mix of actions and a mix of combat values. At the beginning of every round the Soviet picks 6 cards he’ll play one at a time for his actions. The remaining 6 cards are shuffled together into a “combat deck”. Every time he attacks, he flips the top card of that deck and uses the appropriate combat value on it. The more hits he suffers, the fewer cards he can pick from.

If you held a gun to my head and asked me to compare it to other games, I’d compare the Hungarian side to Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan. The Soviet side I had no direct inspiration for, some of the “feel” was inspired by the Empire’s metagame in Star Wars: Rebellion, but it’s an extremely thin comparison. (As opposed to DoI’s Soviet cards which were directly influenced by Twilight Struggle and Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?)

A few things in the game have the feel of a COIN game (both Brian and I were very conscious of that) – flipping units, asymmetrical actions, but it’s less “inspired by COIN” and more “how can you do it differently than COIN”.

I would say the luck element is even smaller than in DoI.

I’m very pleased with how this one has worked out. David’s design background is Euros, but he speaks some Wargame, so I think we have created an interesting hybrid. I know I have learned a lot from him about the use of different mechanics. This one is quite removed from my earlier Operation Whirlwind, but it’s still a lot of fun.

Not much to see so far, but you may want to subscribe to the BGG entry:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/236125/nights-fire-battle-budapest

The game will be up for Kickstarter in 1Q 2018. We’re still talking about stretch goals.