Image is a grim, black-and-white mansion with resemblance to a castle. The images shows the title: Haunts: The Manse Macabre with a skull above the title and three black roses below the title. Also visible is a wispy ghost beneath the titling.

Guys, by now you’ve likely noticed I seem to be fascinated by gothy/horror/grimdark/dystopia settings in games. The truth is I love dark themes. “WTF?” you might say, while looking at a pink page full of ladythings. Indeed, I too love ladythings. Now’s the time to get over your bizarre prejudices, because I love both.
I found this Kickstarter project promising and I wanted to share it with you. Here’s the low-down:

What’s interesting about this?
Haunts: The Manse Macabre caught my attention with its striking black-and-white artwork. Their title page looks like it’d make a terrific boardgame, amirite? Further inspection uncovered a well-thought-out project with turn-based, story-driven gameplay. You can play as either the “Intruders” (those exploring Tyree Manse) or the “Denizens” (those who lived/died there) as you strategy-RPG around the old, haunted manse.
As I began researching this project, I found their website/blog, and I checked out their Kickstarter page. I also learned something: these people are thorough, prolific, and well-organized. Adding icing to the cake was their devotion to good ethical practices. Normally those qualities alone are a good way to impress me, but when I’m looking at Kickstarters in development I need more. I need to see results. I was thrilled to learn they have completed most of the game, and at present they have a fully playable build. If you’re into the horror or strategy genres at all you should be as intrigued as I am at this point.

Haunts: The Manse Macabre Screenshot

What are they doing that other people aren’t?
They have the cleverest idea implemented into their rewards tiers. No matter what amount you contribute, for every $5 you put in, you receive a copy of the game. So $5 = 1 copy, $25 = 5 copies. They artfully suggest these as “Halloween Presents”, lol.
Not only do they have a concrete reward system, but they’re also dedicated to transparency. You can see here that they’re not providing lip service, but tangible visibility.
Why do you think they’ll succeed?
Besides the hidden superpower all writers have which allows them to sense other good writers?
They actually have a game now. Yep, according to them it’s a playable game. A lot of projects on Kickstarter are at early stages where nothing but the concept art and their magic idea are available. It’s easy to throw together “a start” and I don’t like to recommend projects that don’t have a predictable chance of finishing.
They worked on other major projects. Two of the devs formerly worked at Cryptic Studios (a company known for City of Heroes/Villains, Champions Online, Star Trek Online), their writer, Rick Dakan, was the original Lead Designer for City of Heroes. Their team looks solid, with the brilliant artwork of Austin McKinley, combined with the professional experience of Jonathan Wills.

Haunts: The Manse Macabre Screenshot

What will they need to overcome?
I have access to the same materials you do, and from what I can see their animations and sound effects will need some work, (which I’m sure they’re aware of). Extra funds the way they’re planning them should cover this. In an unlikely bizarro parallel universe where those issues are unaddressed the game will be hard to play for most of us.
Because of their attention to fairness, their reward tiers are very low. As such, they’ll need a lot more backers. Here’s my rundown: their top tier is $250, but it’s a limited reward with only 5 more remaining. If they get all of those, they’ll still need ~2000 more $5 backers. A hefty estimate, no doubt, but they have managed as of this writing to obtain ~$13,000. With 33 days to go, they’re actually in a good position if they continue with this steady progress.

Image is of an artistic promotional poster for Haunts: The Manse Macabre. In silhouette the manse appears in the foreground, and in the background a pair of ghostly eyes cover the sky. At the top, the poster reads: May I have this Manse? over the silhoutte of the manse the game's title is shown, and beneath that the words Coming Fall 2012 are shown along with the developer's logo (Mob Rules) and the developer website (

Cool, now what?
You like what you see? Throw down $5 and you get to own it in the fall. If you donate more, you can get more copies of the game. If you’re into this game and want to help out, you can start sharing this informative article with your friends. They’ll be especially excited to learn about it if they’re indy game fans, goths, turn-based strategy fans, or horror aficionados.

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8 Responses to “New Kickstarter: Haunts: The Manse Macabre”

  1. Jordan Says:

    I want to throw out to people who didn’t watch the video that you should watch it. This is one of the best kickstarter videos i’ve seen- and make sure to watch it carefully. No that wasn’t a trick of the light, yes that was a guy standing behind the guy talking just silently and threateningly watching. Yes there are a bunch of these things happening. This attention to detail and the work on something (the video) that many developers think of as unimportant is what separates the pros from the amateurs. I hope they can get the animation and graphics up to baldur’s gate 2 or Avernum level though.


  2. Tiffany Martin Says:

    I like their video a lot! And you know, when they can make a video that entertaining and detailed they can probably use those same skills to make awesome games, right? I thought so at least.


  3. S. D. Says:

    They had me at Gorey… wait until the awesome physical rewards come come out!! Some original artwork in the style of their artist, Austin, may look fantastic on my wall. Highly excited about that.

    One reason I backed was that the team has also committed to releasing the game assets (that is, audio, graphics, animations, etc) under open culture licenses. That is, a Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution required license, and the code in a modified BSD license.

    That means that artists and craftspeople could reuse the art assets in creative works of their own as long as the Haunts team is properly credited (think… Haunts-style wallpaper? phone skins? guitar case stickers? you name it…). It also means that the same fun game mechanic could be reused by a programmer to make a sheriff & lawmen vs. outlaws game, a humans vs. aliens on a ship, or even a Hatfields vs. McCoy’s game that plays the same way, just by substituting the artwork. Truly an astounding move for them!

    Lastly, please excuse my shameless plug (the URL my name links to above) for a wonderful science-fiction-satire comedy adventure game Kickstarter planned by the creators of the beloved Space Quest series from the 80′-90’s. Promoting it has been a really difficult slog because the cost of high production values for an adventure game set a daunting target (example; voice actors include Rob Paulsen, voice of Yakko the Animaniac, and Ellen McLain, the voice of Portal’s GLaDOS). I hope readers will mention this game project to sci-fi geeks in their lives (after pledging Haunts first, of course!). Because, face it… if you’re a blogger, you know sci-fi geeks. Somewhere…


    Tiffany Martin Reply:

    Hey, “S.D.”, thank you for your point about the Creative Commons, it’s a terrific setup for programming.

    I too would love a movie-promo size poster to en-awesome my walls with. If you check out their website you can see more of their concept art, it’s stylish.

    I don’t mind the plug at all! I’m flattered that you think my reach is that good (: I keep watching those numbers, you’re getting close, and you’re down to the wire. As of right now, 3 days left and 80% there. I can only imagine the kind of work that goes into promoting a Kickstarter, kudos to you guys.


  4. Megan Says:

    “Guys, by now you’ve likely noticed I seem to be fascinated by gothy/horror/grimdark/dystopia settings in games. The truth is I love dark themes. “WTF?” you might say, while looking at a pink page full of ladythings. Indeed, I too love ladythings. Now’s the time to get over your bizarre prejudices, because I love both.”

    I too absolutely love horror and dystopia games/books/movies, but at the same time I am such a stereotypical girly girl when it comes to loving the color pink and most things fuzzy and frilly. I will definitely think about adding to their kickstart!


    Tiffany Martin Reply:

    Haha, that’s so cool, Megan, I sometimes wonder if I’m the only ladyperson who also enjoys horror >_> Glad you’re into that style too. BTW the makeup look in your pic is brilliant, is that your work?


    Megan Reply:

    Haha Sadly no. I totally wish it was though! Though I’ve been meaning to give rainbow eye makeup a shot!

    And yeah, it always weirds people out when I am dressed in pink and giggly, but then play mostly games about blowing up monsters and zombies haha. I just tell people “I love rainbows, unicorns, fairies, AND DOOM.” 😉


    Tiffany Martin Reply:

    You, Ma’am, have terrific taste. I’m picturing a princess in glitter and frills murdering everywhere with a BFG. Hear, hear.

    (And yeah, for rainbow eyes I bet it’d take a great primer + some white as a first layer to make it pop–in any case I love the pic!)

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Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 2nd June 2012
Filled Under: Games, Kickstarters