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.
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.
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.
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.