Continued from Scenic: Form, Function, Efficiency
So I have been researching Kickstarter card game projects for a while. I should say, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts about Tabletop gaming, for a while, which has led me to some Kickstarter projects, like Scuttle, by Peter C Hayword of Jellybean Games, an Australian, currently in Canada, wanting to live in the U.S. He launched his campaign with a $3000 goal, and ended up raising over $87,000. When you go that far over your asking budget, you end up being able to supply a lot of extras, and the extra funding resulted in the fulfillment of 22 Stretch Goals. The majority of these were extra cards that were added to the game, something he could do, because he started with a deck of less than 40 cards, and the type of game he was making easily allowed cards to be added 1, or more, at a time.
Scenic is not a game you can easily expand in this way. It is about set collection, so there is no real way to add cards individually, save for a couple of modifier cards (e.g. +3 points if you have played the most Gnome cards). With the design of the game (all the cards in play are interconnected parts of one large image), adding new sets is not as easy as adding additional cards to the deck. And as mentioned in my last Scenic post, a 54 card deck is the smallest I can make it for a four player game. But … maybe I should start with it being smaller … and make it initially a game for just two players.
Scenic for 2 Players
The deck for Scenic consists of 18 cards per player, so dropping the card count to 36 cards would work out nicely for a two player game. A full panorama contains 9 cards, so this minimalist starting deck can be either four copies of the panorama, or three copies, with 9 modifier cards. A couple of quick play tests showed that 3 copies of the panorama still made it possible to make a perfect hand, of one of each card. Starting the Kickstarter with a 2 player game, seems like the perfect beginning, which then leaves room for expansion. It will also allow a better growth model. We can start with a lower price initially, and then using the bulk discounts as orders increase, to increase the size of the deck without increasing the manufacturing costs.
Scenic Expansion Idea 1 – the Seasons
The original Scenic is a game built around one beautiful panorama; a tranquil forest scene in a Summer day, showing off the vibrant greens found in Verdant Grove. But I have had in the back of my mind that you could recreate the scene in the different seasons, showing off other colours; the rich golds of Autumn, the stark whites of Winter, and the tapestry of colour to be found in the blooms of Spring. My thoughts of expansion were to see the Sprites, Nymphs and Gnomes throughout the year, and how they adapt to the seasons in their environment. The different decks could be played stand alone, or combined, but now my thoughts are leaning towards including, at least one of, these different panoramas in the original Kickstarter campaign.
For example, if we added the Autumn Panorama, then the races would remain the same, but the elements would change; Tree could become Leaf, Water could become Rain (on the Lake) and Earth could become Lightning (striking the ground). So playing the cards to make your panorama, you would still have same amount of chance in making a set of Race cards, but it would be harder to collect a set of element cards. You might be forced to play a Rain Gnome instead of a Water Gnome, messing with the perfect layout of your Panorama. Of course the other way we could go, is to keep the elements the same, and increase the number of Races that live in Verdant Grove.
Scenic Expansion Idea 2 – the Races
The opposite way to expand the game, is to add cards with the same elements, but that have new races on them. For example, we add the three cards that originally housed the three Sprites, but this time they have Faeries on them. Your card draw will give you the same chance of making a set of Tree, Water or Earth cards, but some of them might have Sprites, and some of them might have Faeries, so it will be harder to complete that set of Races.
Best of Both Worlds
So, writing these ideas down, it occurs to me that probably the best way to go is to use both. A Kickstarter that had two different base pledges, so you could buy the Summer scene or the Winter scene, both of which are a stand along game for two players. We would also offer a third pledge that included both packs for a combined price, starting you off with a four player game. And then there would be stretch goals, adding new Race cards to all games as we hit different milestones, thus expanding all versions of the game.
I need to think about the specifics of expanding the decks with new races, but this seems like a good way of being able to add to the game, if Kickstarter interest deems it necessary.
Continued in Another expansion idea for Verdant Grove