All information provided by Earthborne Games staff in Kickstarter comments and elsewhere that are not in the official Kickstarter FAQ will be compiled here.
Key Earthborne Rangers staff:
Andrew Navaro – Creative Direction/Designer/Founder
Adam and Bradly Sadler – Lead Designers
Andrew Fischer – Designer
What’s in the Core Set?
Ranger Card Sets
- Aspect Set (12 unique cards)
- Universal Action Cards (4 total)
- Personality Set (16 unique cards, 32 total)
- Mission Reward Set (35 unique cards, 70 total) — The cards in this set are rewarded for completing missions and other tasks. Most can be added to your Ranger deck, while others may alter the challenge deck, or the path deck.
- Artisan (9 unique cards, 18 total)
- Forager (9 unique cards, 18 total)
- Shepherd (9 unique cards, 18 total)
- Traveler (9 unique cards, 18 total)
Each specialization set contains cards for your Ranger deck and 2 unique role cards.
- Artificer (14 unique cards, 26 total)
- Constable (14 unique cards, 26 total)
- Explorer (14 unique cards, 26 total)
- Shaper (14 unique cards, 26 total)
Total Ranger cards: ~294
Valley Card Sets
Landscape Set (40 unique cards)
- Each card in the landscape set has a corresponding location on the Valley map.
Pivotal Landscape Sets (40 unique cards)
- There are 10 “pivotal” landscape sets in the core set. These contain people, features, and animals specific to certain locations in the Valley like White Sky, Lone Tree, and the Northern Outpost. Each pivotal landscape set features anywhere between 3 to 6 cards.
Trail Sets (approximately 56 unique cards, 96 total)
- There are 8 trail sets in the core set, each containing 12 cards. These represent the terrain, wildlife, strange beings you’ll encounter while exploring the trails through the Valley. The current trail sets are Mountain, Forest, Waterline, Marsh, Rainforest, Hills, Grassland, and Swamp.
Valley Set (12 unique cards)
- This set contains the wandering characters and exceptionally dangerous predators you’ll find while exploring all but the aforementioned “pivotal” locations of the Valley.
Weather Set (5 unique cards)
- This set contains the weather cards, which can either raise or lower the difficulty of your game experience.
Mission Set (24 total cards)
- This set contains the cards that will lead you through the main and side missions during the campaign. They include cards that sit in the surroundings and cards that may be added to the path deck or your Ranger deck.
Total Valley Cards: ~217
Challenge Deck (24 total cards)
- You’ll draw from the challenge deck every time you perform a narrative action in Earthborne Rangers.
In addition to the cards, the core set comes with a full set of high-quality punchboard tokens made from either recycled paper or FSC certified paper with a matte finish. There are currently 79 tokens in the core set:
- Energy Tokens (32 total, 8 for each aspect)
- Ranger Tokens (4)
- Harm Tokens (10) – 1s on the front, 3s on the back
- Progress Tokens (18) – 1s on the front, 3s on the back
- General Use Tokens (15) – 1s on the front, 3s on the back
The core set will come with two books: the rulebook and the Season of Rebirth campaign guide. Currently each is budgeted to be 48 saddle-stitched pages (8.5” x 11”).
How many copies of a card can I have in my deck? How many copies of each card does the core set come with?
“The core set comes with enough copies of each unique card that one ranger deck can run the maximum number of that card allowed. There are enough unique cards that four players can all build full decks. The card doubler just allows two different players to run the maximum number of the same unique card at the same time.
It isn’t too difficult to build 4 unique ranger decks with just one core set, but each player will have to pick a different background and specialization. If any players want to double-up on the same background or specialization, you’ll want to get the doubler. Also, the ‘outside interest’ lets each ranger add a single card to their deck regardless of which set it is a part of, so having the double gives you waaay more options for that final choice in your deck!” – Fischer
One question I have is what was the thought process for having each card you put your deck being two copies instead of being able to choose how many copies of each card?
“This decision was made for a couple different reasons.
First has to do with the types of decisions we’re interested in players thinking about making at character creation. As you’ve probably noticed, almost all the content in EBR is designed from a theme-first “top-down” approach that prioritizes creating verisimilitudinous content that immerses players into the world. Similarly, at character creation, we wanted players thinking about what objects and skills their ranger has instead of thinking about probabilities and optimal mechanical builds. (Granted, we’ve still created the card pool to offer a good number of engines and combos to discover from a mechanical angle.)
Second has to do with character progression. As you play the game you earn powerful cards you can add to your deck, some of which you only get single copies of. As this happens, it offers you interesting opportunities to tweak the distribution of certain cards in your deck by swapping out one of the two copies. The even card distribution at character creation creates more of a “canvas” of a character that players will want to tweak through character advancement. There are a few other smaller benefits, but these are probably the two main ones.
Obviously there are a lot of different ways to approach deck building, but we felt like this one fit best for the experience we were trying to capture with this game.” -Fischer
[Who worked on the story?]
“Most of the writing is done by Sam Gregor-Stewart who has worked on a ton of great TTRPGs, and I think it shows in his writing to this style.” – Fischer
How many main missions are in the base box?
“The campaign is still in development, so we don’t have an accurate number of main missions or side missions to report, but I’ll give you our current estimates. 🙂 In the core set there are currently about 12 main missions that follow the central narrative, roughly 8 “ranger” missions that aren’t part of the main mission (these are deeper side-stories that will impact the feel of your campaign and could potentially influence the main story in some way), and countless of the non-tracked “side-missions” scattered throughout the world that Fischer wrote about in yesterday’s update.
All this, obviously, is subject to change, but it should give you a good sense of the balance between main story, side story, and emergent narrative that we’re trying to strike. The campaign in the Legacy of the Ancestors expansion is not far enough along to get into any specifics, but my hope is that it will be even bigger. It adds new locations both in and outside of the Valley, and it will have you returning to locations from the first campaign to discover new things.
We’ve done some development a couple of new geographical areas, and we have a loose outline of the trajectory of the story, but we’re going to finish the core set campaign before we really dig in on it–especially since your outcome from the core set campaign will carry over into the expansion.
Right now the core set campaign is a maximum of 30 play sessions or ‘days’ as we’re calling them. With how we’re envisioning the mission structure, it will almost certainly be possible to complete the main story in fewer sessions, especially if you focus on it exclusively and ignore all the side missions and tasks. Since the goal of the campaign is exploration, however, our hope is that you’ll spend time wandering around and seeing what’s out there as opposed to just beelining the main mission.
Even if you do, and you complete the main story with days to spare, you’ll still be able to continue exploring, much as you would after completing the main story in an open-world video game. The expansion campaign will be pretty big. It adds new locations to the Valley map (and beyond), but it will also have you returning to the locations in the core set campaign, where there will be new discoveries to be made. Thematically, I like 30 days as a campaign length, since we have a fun ‘phases of the moon’ campaign day tracker in mind, but we’ll have to wait and see if we can cram everything I’d like that campaign to do in that amount of time and still allow for some more leisurely exploration.” – Navaro
Is there a sense of how long a 1-2 hour “session” takes to play?
“It really depends on player count. Two players who know the game can get through in a bit over an hour, but four are going to take quite a bit longer. Initial character creation before the campaign starts is not included in this estimate, and will likely add about 30-45 minutes depending on how much you really want to mull over your initial deck. Though a four player game can push decently past that depending on how on-task people stay.” – Fischer
What does character progression look like through a campaign?
“There is a lot of character progression after initial deck building. By the end of a campaign, your deck will look very different than it did at the beginning. When you complete missions and other tasks, you’ll unlock cards to add to (and improve) your deck. The narrative and your Ranger’s progression go hand in hand.” – Navaro
Can you go above 30 cards with upgrades?
“The rewards are replacements. Your Ranger Deck cannot grow over 30 cards, so you’ll have to decide what to keep and what to leave out as you progress.” – Navaro
How many character portraits will we get?
“There are 8 role cards (the ones that have the character art on them), two per specialization.” – Fischer
I was wondering if it will be possible to modify the player count in a simple way between session in an ongoing campaign, or even during a session? I am also curious to read more about how the game progress is saved at the end of a session.
“You can absolutely change your player count between sessions. The game is designed to allow for “drop-in/drop-out” co-op, so if someone in your group can’t make it for a session, the rest of your group can continue without any issue. Though, like pen and paper RPG groups, the person who missed the session will almost certainly wish they had been there when they hear about what the rest of group got up to.
Game progress is saved in the campaign log, which will display your progress on your current missions, your current location on the campaign map, and any rewards you’ve unlocked. You’ll need to keep your Ranger deck together (and just in case of calamity, I’d recommend keeping a decklist somewhere), but all the other cards will return to the box to be organized by set. There’s no need to physically “save” the card-state of the world.” – Navaro
Will the ranger cards added in the expansion add new cards to the base backgrounds/specializations, or will they introduce new backgrounds/specializations?
“The Ranger cards in the campaign expansion are “reward” cards. That is cards used for deck progression as opposed to character creation. We will not add new specializations or backgrounds in the campaign expansion. There will be a lot of reward cards, and a lot of new locations and trails to explore.” – Navaro
How many campaigns will the reward cards support without taking decks apart? Do I need to buy multiple core sets and expansions to get doubles lf reward cards?
“I think that if you wanted to play multiple campaigns and *never* take your decks apart, you’d need multiple core sets and campaign expansions.” – Navaro
Was Team Covenant correct in their assumption that other rangers can’t commit approach icons to the active player’s tests?
“Yes, they were correct. They did, however, miss the core rule that *does* allow Rangers to help one another: your Ranger token. When your ranger token is on a card in play, each other ranger receives +1 effort to any actions they perform while interacting with that card. Cards in the Ranger card pool may also allow you to help other Rangers perform actions.” – Navaro
Are there going to pre defined character decks in instructions for those that aren’t into the creating a character from scratch?
“Yes, we will include some ‘pre-gen’ characters (i.e. decklists) in the rulebook if you’d prefer to jump right in.” – Navaro
I would be playing this exclusively solo with a single character. Will I still get the full experience, or are multiple characters necessary?
“Earthborne Rangers can be played exclusively solo. It’s the primary way that I play the game, and we’ve made a lot of design decisions around ensuring a great solo experience, without the need to play two-handed.” – Navaro
Is the aspect card design final?
“None of the graphic design shown in the Kickstarter is final, though the final design will likely be similar. It intentionally mirrors the challenge card face, and is very easy to quickly identify and reference during play.” – Navaro
I’m a tentative backer after the Team Covenant livestream, but I’m very curious to know when we can expect a full rulebook.
“We will be posting a link to our current version of the rulebook soon. It’s not a “full” rulebook–that won’t be finished until the game is read[y] to go to press–but it will absolutely give you the majority technical rules information you’re looking for. As for access to the Tabletop Simulator [TTS] workshop. Stay tuned! There are some things that we need to address in it before we can make it available, but our plan is to do that very thing before the campaign concludes.” – Navaro
Any chance of offering the map & lorebook in pdf?
“Yes, there will be a PDF of rulebook too. We’ll to make both the rulebook and the campaign PDF as user-friendly as possible. In all likelihood, they won’t simply be an export of the printed books, but rather formatted for digital display with some basic interactive features.” – Navaro
How long does it take to play through the campaign of the core? What’s the save system look like? How difficult would it be to have two campaigns going?
“How many sessions a full playthrough will take will depend a lot on how much you just stick to story missions, how many ranger missions you take on, and how many of the optional side objective you pursue. Bare minimum, it will likely take at least 12 sessions to complete the core story, but a lot more if you pursue other things. You save through a campaign tracking sheet where you record your progress.
The hardest part of playing multiple campaigns at once will be player decks, especially as they get customized through advancement. If you have the card doubler and both campaigns have separate player decks, it’ll be simple. But if you have to constantly deconstruct and reconstruct player decks each session, it’ll be a bit of a chore (though still possible).” – Fischer
Is there any reason that the modifier cards have four numbers instead of just one?
“Yeah, having four modifiers for the four aspects vs a single universal modifier was something that we considered. There are a couple reasons we went with the challenge card as it’s currently designed: -Distribution: By having the four separate modifiers, it allows us to distribute them differently and pair them differently with different challenge effects.
Certain aspects are more likely to fail in concert with certain types of challenge effects triggering, and others are more likely to succeed. -Design Space: Each card having four different modifiers on it allows developed content (like ranger cards or path cards) to reference and play with those modifiers. A card might let you change which modifier you’re using, or have you add two specific modifiers together, all without needing you to draw additional cards (which would add more words to the effect and complexity to manage on the table).” – Fischer
Regarding gameplay, what sort of threat is there to playing poorly? You can’t lose a game, but can you lose the campaign?
“While you can’t die, story missions definitely have better or worse outcomes based on how long you take to do them, if you take a different approach, or if you don’t achieve a goal by a certain end condition. This impacts the story, and our story has several significantly-different outcomes based on this. While some of these different outcomes aren’t explicitly “winning” or “losing,” I’m certain that you will feel the impacts of your performance in how you feel about the outcome.” – Fischer
“There is no winning or losing a campaign or a game of EBR, there are only different narrative outcomes based on your choices and performance. You will be the ultimate judge of how well you did. I think that will probably come down to how satisfied you feel with the conclusion of your individual campaign.
There may be an outcome that you’re aiming for, but fail to achieve, and that might feel like a loss to you, but the game is designed to continue, and to carry that outcome forward. When I say that the outcomes will be affected by your performance, that will manifest itself differently depending on the mission you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re on a search and rescue mission, the outcome will most likely change depending on how many days it takes you to find the person who’s missing.
Regardless of how many days it takes to find them, however, the campaign will progress. There are no plans (currently) for a scoring system. The campaign will check, however, for certain pivotal decisions that you made along the way, and those decisions may affect the tenor of the resolution.” – Navaro
This has probably been brought up before (sorry!), but I just heard the Covenant podcast where I was told that there is no character death. While I don’t want to replay the same mission over and over like LotR LCG, I still would like to feel danger, be afraid of going some places and have my stupidity punished. What are the punishment for walking up to a predator and patting it if it can’t attack me (or at least can’t kill me)?
“Just jumping in to confirm what others were saying. I think you’ll find the main consequences for failure to be the different narrative outcomes for either taking too long or failing to accomplish missions. These make you deal with the consequences of your failure and see their impact in the valley and people around you for the rest of the story. Instead of just magically “respawning” or retrying until you get the perfect outcome, you have to deal with the permanent results of your actions.
As far as mechanical consequences, Cristoph is right that you can get wound cards in your deck as a result of ending the day from injuries. But if you’re looking for roguelike-style permanent consequences from these, you will be a bit disappointed. These will alter the makeup of your deck, but will likely just be roadbumps in future play, not permanent consequences that debilitate your character.” – Fischer
I’m curious as to why you chose to pitch this game with these characters? I’m also curious if the Afrocentric representation is surface level or if there are ideological, philosophical, social representations (even demonstrations) from the precolonial African, post colonial African, and/or African diasporic communities?
“If you’re familiar with my past work, I along with many others, have continually strived for greater and greater ethnic diversity and representation in tabletop games, so continuing in this direction with the characters of Earthborne Rangers is very much an extension of the work that I’ve been a part of for the past decade. That being said, the ethnicity of the characters in Earthborne Rangers is not about aesthetics.
As I envisioned what this future, fictional culture would be, and what its people would be like, I always saw them as dark-skinned people of varying shades. In the Earthborne setting, the people of Earth live in harmony, and after 1,000 years of living in self-sustaining arcologies, then another 1,500 years of helping each other to find homes on a changed Earth, they no longer define themselves by their differences, but instead by their commonalities, the things that unite them as humans, and speak to the experiences we all share, even today. Without going too deep into the lore, the people of the Valley descend from a midwestern, metropolitan area. In short, a place of great ethnic diversity.
Those people lived for generation upon generation in an enclosed space, raising families in an environment where the color of one’s skin played no part in the relationships they had with one another. Their connection to one another, and their compassion for one another, was the only thing that mattered as they worked together to heal and preserve the Earth. As such, the people of the Valley are as much of African descent as they are of European or of Native or Asian or Lantino. They are the embodiment of a vision of the future in which we are not divided by race. They are humans. Just as we are today.” Navaro
Lately I was wondering about replayability. Building your Ranger from the available pool of cards looks all right.
“I’ve commented a fair amount on replayability here in the comments section. In short, it’s very replayable. If you’re coming from the perspective on a co-op LCG player, however, where you’re used to replayability coming primarily in the form of attempting the same scenarios multiple times, you’ll find that EBR offers something different in that regard.
Currently, a path deck consists of 12 cards from the trail set + 3 to 6 cards from a pivotal landscape (or +3 cards from the Valley set) + cards from the mission set, if applicable (so 15 – 20 odd cards in the deck each time you travel).
It’s difficult to do a one-to-one comparison, simply because the experience EBR offers is fundamentally different than the co-op LCGs, but f you’d like to compare the amount “encounter” content in the EBR core set to the LCG core sets/cycles, encourage you to do so! As I am intimately familiar with those products, I can say with confidence that the EBR core set stacks up quite well.
There may be several new sets introduced in each AH campaign, but every scenario in every campaign (with one or two exceptions) relies on the core set cards to build the Mythos deck. That’s a good thing. Having a degree of reliability in that deck makes it easier for you to strategize. The trail sets provide that same foundation, allowing you to strategize before you travel and while you’re exploring a given location.
I’m pretty excited for what the modularity of the trail sets will allow us to do in the future. We can absolutely do something similar to what you’ve described and create numerous shades for the existing trails. Not dissimilar to the “Return to” expansions for AH, if you’re familiar with those.
In the expansion, I’d like to create several new “pivotal” sets for a number of the locations in the core set. We’ll also be introducing completely new trail types for you to explore, and a couple of new maps.
As for guest artists and designers, that would be awesome. We’ll see what the future holds!” – Navaro
1) Are Artificer/Constable/Explorer/Shaper specializations or specialties? I’ve seen both terms and even the rules document cannot decide which one to use. Or is there indeed a distinction between the two?
2) Is there a difference between an Aspect Requirement of 1 and BASIC? Or did you update the one to the other at some point and there are images floating around with an out-of-date formatting?
3) It seems as all the personality cards have no cost. Is that the same as having a cost of 0 and just a templating decision to exclude the numeral, or is there a difference and cards with a cost of 0 exist in addition to that?
“1) There is no distinction between “specialization” and “specialty.” As I mentioned in the update, the rules document has not been edited. We’ll clean that up so that only one of those terms remains.
2) There is not. Since one of our primary color-blind aids fell off of the graphic design for the Kickstarter, we switched all “basic” cards to “[ASPECT] 1.” In effect, they’re the same, but in the final game we will likely use “basic” instead of “[ASPECT] 1” to indicate that there is no stat requirement for including those cards in your deck.
3) No cost is the same as “0” cost. Personally, I’ve always wanted to try showing 0 cost cards without a numeral, but I realize that might cause some confusion. I just like the way it looks! 🙂 Like everything, we’ll playtest it. If we find that including a 0 is best, we’ll do it.” – Navaro
How easy is it to put this game away? Can you put it away at any moment, like only play for 30 minutes? What about playing with two separate groups? What if I want to play solo and also play with a group, working through the campaign content at different paces?
1) The [ease] with which you can put away the game will depend entirely on how you choose to do setup. The organization system in the box, which includes divider cards for every set, will make finding all of the sets you need very easy. If you keep those organized, clean up will be simple. If you take all of those cards out every time you play and scatter them to the wind, it will be a chore!
2) You’ll need more than 30 minutes of free time to play EBR. It’s a game that is designed to immerse you in the experience and the world. That being said, we will have a few stand-alone, bite-sized missions for you to play, but they will likely take longer than 30 minutes to complete.
3) You can absolutely play multiple campaigns in the way you’ve described. You’ll track your campaign on a campaign tracking sheet, so all you would need to do it have a separate sheet for that campaign, so you could track progress separately.
4) I’m not familiar with Etherfields, so I can’t speak to how EBR compares specifically. Based on the description of your experience, however, I can say that you won’t have that issue with EBR. Campaign progression in EBR is tracked by group, not individually, so if your friend misses a session, or if they want to join for a single session here or there, they can do that without feeling like they’re underpowered or that they’ve missed an unlock. They’ll certainly miss out on the story, but they won’t miss out on any rewards you’ve unlocked for the campaign.
4) As for your last point, there’s nothing to be done for that. There are story beats and fun discoveries to be made that, like in all storytelling mediums from fiction to film to television, are simply more fun to see for the first time than on repeat viewings or readings. Thankfully, there is far more to do in the game world than you will be able to accomplish in a single campaign, so you can always go back and try to find new things, or to make different choices regarding the central narrative. Also, the gameplay is a lot of fun, and the way the world comes to life can and will change each time you play, so the emergent stories you create provide a deep well of new experiences.” Navaro
I was wondering if we could get clarification on the FAQ stating that we don’t need to buy a second copy of the campaign expansion. We know that both the core set and the campaign expansion feature playsets of the ranger cards.
The Ranger card doubler offers another play set of the core set cards. Why would something like this not be needed for the campaign expansion’s ranger cards?
“Our goal for the Ranger cards in the campaign expansion is for them to not require “doubling.” We have a deck-building focused update planned for Monday that should clarify how the Ranger cards in the campaign expansion differ from those found in the core set. I think a lot will come into focus when you get a full sense of how deck building works (how you combine card sets to create your Ranger), and how deck progression works (how you augment and improve your deck with new cards over the course of the campaign).
The Ranger cards in the campaign expansion are focused on deck progression, which makes them less likely to require doubling. You are very close to the mark with your questions. Some cards, like unique pieces of gear, are inherently limited. Others may be more specialized. The campaign expansion will provide you with all the cards you need, even for play groups of rangers with duplicate specialties or backgrounds.” – Navaro
Will you be doing a similar detailed manifest for the expansion?
“Yes. I’ll do something similar for the expansion before the end of the campaign.” – Navaro
How will future campaigns link to previous campaigns? Will they be written assuming that a single ranger or group of rangers have progressed through them all, or will they be distinct and assume that each one is telling the story of a different individual or group?
“The two campaigns that are part of this Kickstarter: “The Season of Rebirth” and “The Legacy of the Ancestors” are linked. That is, decisions that you make in the first campaign will carry over into the next. Our goal is for you to be able to continue your personal story from campaign to campaign without resetting or reverting elements to their “canonical” outcomes.
If you’d like to start fresh with a later campaign, I’m envisioning something like the questionnaire at the beginning of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect sequels (if you’re familiar with those) that will set the table for you.
Our current plan is for you to be able to carry over your rewards from one campaign to the next. We’ll need to playtest that though, to be sure.
There are no plans for your Rangers to age or die and be replaced by their descendants. But I love that idea. Maybe a future expansion will shift the timeline forward significantly. You’ve got my imagination going!” – Navaro
I want to add an expansion to [my] pledge. Would I be able to combine for [the core] and just leave it mixed in all the time? Or do you need to add it to base after certain amount of playthroughs or finished campaign?
“You will be able to combine all the contents of the core set and the expansion. There will be a good number of expansion cards that won’t be used until you play through the expansion missions or visit the expansion areas, but they can all be sorted and combined with the core set cards from the beginning.” -Fischer
Component and Distribution Questions
Any chance that the plastic tokens are made from wood?
“Currently wooden tokens are not planned, but I know that Andrew did mention he was interested in that as an option and may investigate it further.” – Adam Sadler
Please add a French localized version.
“Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm for a French edition of EBR. While we may not be able to make a French edition happen during the campaign, there’s a strong possibility that we will after the campaign’s conclusion (once I have time to focus on something other than the Kickstarter). Stay tuned!” – Navaro
Any chance of being translated to Spanish?
“I would love to do a localized Spanish edition. We’ll be working toward that goal once the Kickstarter concludes. I’ll be sure to let you know if and when it happens!” – Navaro
In the FAQ, it said that the box would be able to house all the items on offer in the campaign. I took this to mean that it would also be big enough to store the valley playmat and 4x player mats. But I didn’t see this mentioned in the most recent update and just wanted to be sure.
“The core set box will not be large enough to accommodate the playmats, only the card content offered during the Kickstarter (the core set, the Ranger Card Doubler, and the campaign expansion), sleeved or not.” – Navaro
Will the main box have a nice insert? Or will we want to upgrade to something like from Broken Token?
“The box will have an insert to help keep your cards organized. Though ours likely won’t be quite as premium as Broken Token’s! We are not working with Broken Token or another maker of storage solutions at the moment. But if we start working with one, we’ll make sure to let you all know!” – Fischer
Is the insert cardboard or wood?
“The material of the insert is yet to be determined. Right now, I’m planning on it being the same material as the tokens — a thick, sturdy chipboard material. Whatever it becomes in the end, the intent is for it to be durable and long-lasting as opposed to flimsy and disposable.” Navaro
I am interested in buying the doubler and expansion, but would love to try the game first. So, do you guys have any plans for how this is being distributed to retail OR if you will have an online shop later on (after delivery) with those items?
“Retail release will depend on a lot of factors. We would like to have it available there. At the very least it will all be available on our website after release.” – Fischer
Any chance of offering a plastic token set for one player? It would be more economical and less waste for solo players and 3-person game groups.
“We’ll be sure to look into that possibility and share our progress on the deluxe energy tokens in a future update.” – Navaro
I like playmats for card games but am not super excited about the current options. Overlay UI limits the utility, especially if you don’t get both mats.
“It’s great to know that people are interested in seeing the map on a playmat. My personal favorite playmat is one featuring a map of Middle-earth. I will absolutely keep it in mind. Down the road, I envision that we’ll offer all sort of mats through our webstore, but for the KS, I wanted to keep things simple and offer tutorial or game-board style playmats to start.” – Navaro
So… what’s the most environmentally friendly way to sleeve cards?
“There is no great way at the moment, unfortunately, except to simply not sleeve them (which is an okay thing to do!), or to be sure to buy sleeves that come in minimal packaging, and then take care of them. I have also been pointing people toward Ultimate Guard’s “Return to Earth” initiative, where they are working toward environmentally friendly versions of all of their products, including sleeves. With any luck, they’ll have eco-friendly sleeves figured out sooner rather than later.” – Navaro
Any chance of providing a poster sized map in the PM or a pdf that we could have printed locally if we want?
“Ooo, that’s very cool! Thank you for the suggestion. We are going for a very ‘trail map’ vibe with the map. It would be cool to present it in that traditional map-fold format. I’ll consider it!” – Navaro
There’s no mention of the Map. Will it be separate component? Will it be in campaign book?
“Our initial plan was to feature the map on the back of the campaign book, so you won’t have to open and press the book flat. The campaign guide will be saddle-stitched though, so I don’t think you’d ruin it by opening it a bunch like you might with a perfect-bound book. To make it as large as we possible, we may feature it as a spread at the center of the book. All that being said, if in the end it would be coolest to make it a separate component, we’ll do it.” – Navaro
Have they said anything about improving the art for the map? I badly want the map art to be as good as the rest of it!!
“I love the look of the map so far, and it will be absolutely beautiful in the end. We’ve really only just begun working on it. What we’re going for is something similar to a national park trail map, as though it were seen on some kind of future-smart paper/parchment–like the Marauder’s Map in HP except, sci fi, and full of natural environments and fun little iconic illustrations of individual locations.” – Navaro
What are the shipping estimates?
I think it might be useful to outline in the campaign the likely impact on cost if the manufacturing does/doesn’t happen in your country.
“I would love to be able to outline the specifics regarding the increased cost of shipping if the game arrives overland or by sea, but since we’re a ways out from fulfillment, and the cost of shipping is so volatile at the moment, any numbers I could provide would be almost entirely fictional.
The last thing I want to do is give people a concrete number, and then have to revise that number a year from now. There are a lot of Kickstarter’s out there that are getting heat for raising the price of shipping from what they outlined in their campaign, even though it’s perfectly reasonable for them to do so.
I’ve tried to keep the information about shipping costs as plain as possible, because this I know to be true: if the game is manufactured in your region, shipping will be less expensive than it will be if it isn’t. I don’t know how much less expensive it will be. Hopefully, that message will be enough.
I consulted on those shipping estimates. Please keep in mind that they are not the actual shipping costs. Originally, I didn’t want to include estimates at all, simply because I don’t think there’s any way to accurately predict them. Since posting them, I feel like they’ve caused more confusion and consternation than anything.
Based on the information I received, the UK cost is low simply because it’s less expensive to ship there. I honestly don’t know why, but I trust my source. The German and Italian shipping costs are lower because we have partnered with both a German publisher and an Italian publisher for localized editions, and each will handle the fulfillment of those copies.
I’m not sure whether or not securing a French partnership will help offset shipping in France, but it may. Again, I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted and provide concrete information on shipping costs as soon as I have it.” – Navaro
Will the estimated shipping cost to Australia be affected in either way, if any of the regional manufacturing stretch are/aren’t met?
“Wherever the Australian copies are printed (U.S. or Europe), we’ll be sure to make our decisions based on whatever proves the most economical for Australian backers.” – Navaro
There’s no sensible world in which if goal for Europe was reached that UK copies wouldn’t come from there and not the US/China anyway, so it makes sense to combine them initially, then further subdivide them if the numbers get even higher?
“I had considered combining the E.U. number and the U.K. number before posting this update, but since I had discussed the possibility of a U.K. production in the stretch goals section, I decided to give them the opportunity. If, in the end, we get close with the E.U. number, I think we can absolutely wrap the U.K. backers in and make do a regional printing in the E.U. that serves U.K. backers.” – Navaro
Can you please talk about Lore book in detail?
“For the art and lore book, imagine something similar to an RPG campaign setting sourcebook, with fun details about the world, characters, and places in the Valley. Plus a lot of beautiful finished artwork, and some early sketches and concepts.” – Navaro
Will the Art & Lore book also be translated?
“At the moment, we are only localizing our card-based products, so the Art & Lore book will only be provided in English.” Fischer
It appears that all the location cards are landscape orientation, which is fantastic. Have you considered enlarging the location cards so players can “take in” the epic landscapes even more?
“Yes, we talked quite a bit about tarot-sized cards for those cards for precisely that reason! We ended up deciding against them for several reasons including keeping the core sets price for backers as low as we could, more simplicity in organization and storage of cards, and the potential waste of implemented them as an addon instead. We compared our current landscape cards against the larger size and decided that the pros just weren’t worth all the cons in this case.” – Fischer
Do you have some research or articles you can point to that substantiate your belief that manufacturing a board game locally is more carbon efficient?
“The limitations placed on shipping have almost as much to do with a desire to ship locally and reduce emissions as they do with the fact that this is our first Kickstarter. Simplifying fulfillment by limiting the countries to which we will ship will make fulfillment far easier for us to manage, which will (hopefully) translate into a pleasant experience for backers. It is my hope that after the Kickstarter, if there is enough interest, that we will be able to supply the countries not included in this Kickstarter with a retail release of the game. Once we get our feet under us, we will also be able to coordinate with more distribution hubs, so that the copy you order in Japan will not come from the U.S., but from much closer. Maybe even Japan.
Beyond the mainstream reporting and articles I have read regarding the harmful environmental effects of shipping products around the world (due to both emissions and fuel consumption), I have not done exhaustive research on my own on the impact of shipping locally versus shipping globally. After the Kickstarter, and as we move toward production and fulfillment, and I ultimately make final decisions about how and by whom the game will be produced, I hope to work with individuals in the field of environmental sustainability, and learn from their expertise. I’ll be sharing what I learn both with backers and on the Earthborne website so that we can all benefit from the experience.
Thank you also for your question about a print and play pledge tier, as I’ve been asked the same question in the DMs, and thank you very much for the suggestion. While printing a copy of EBR at home may be better for the environment than manufacturing and shipping a game, doing so does not push the industry forward in the way I am hoping to push it. Fair or not, print-on-demand, or print-and-play games are largely seen in the industry as the domain of hobbyists, and they are easily dismissed as not impactful to the industry as a whole. It’s a lofty goal, but with Earthborne, I’m trying to show both major and minor publishers that things can be done differently, they can be done better, and they can be done well.” – Navaro
[Is the game] color blind friendly?
“Making the cards colorblind friendly is very important to me, so we’ll be sure to enhance and test their colorblind friendliness as we develop the final card templates. The card templates that we tested with over the winter and spring were very color-blind friendly. As we fancied them up for the Kickstarter, one key colorblind aid was excluded from the design, but we’re already thinking of how best to reintroduce it for the final templates.” Navaro
Obviously this is subject to how well the project does, but will there be design/narrative space for further expansions, or is the intent that the game is complete after this kickstarter? Do you have plans to support the game if it does well?
“Both are true. The game will feel complete with just the products offered during the Kickstarter. It is also designed to be expanded. If it does well, we will absolutely continue to support it. I have ideas about how I’d like to do that, but I’d like to remain flexible and see what parts of the experience you all enjoy the most before I settle on a direction.” – Navaro
Since the vast majority of the backers of this game are in the United States, is it safe for me to assume that this game will definitely be manufactured in the United States?
“If the community numbers continue to look like they do now at the end of the campaign, domestic print run is almost assured. There’s a lot of road between now and the end of the campaign, however. We’ll see what happens! I’m sincerely hopeful that we’ll be able to manufacture at multiple sites. Even if we don’t reach those goals during the campaign, I won’t give up on the idea of regional manufacturing until it’s simply not financially possible to do so.” – Navaro
Any chance for a campaign guide app or website?
“Right now we are focusing on developing the physical experience, so there is no app currently planned. But we will provide a lot of the campaign tracking materials via PDF for people who want to use them digitally.” – Fischer
Will a future design update discuss why the challenge deck is cards versus dice for the activation symbol and aspect modifier?
“Happy to address your question here. As a big pen and paper RPG fan, I too enjoy rolling dice. I had considered using them in the design at one point, but ultimately decided against it. One of the major determining factors in deciding to launch Earthborne Games with a card game was the relative “ease” of manufacturing it sustainably. Including dice in the design would have complicated that significantly.
Additionally, the game’s design hinges around the world coming to life with every action you perform, so having the “challenge icon” present on each card is of paramount importance. If we were to transfer that mechanic to dice, they would need to be custom-tooled, and that is far more difficult to achieve domestically than in China. This is only our first title, though! I’m sure we’ll have dice in one of our designs eventually, and we’ll be able to do it sustainably. I foot in front of the other!” – Navaro
Gotta say that the art style reminded me of Miyazaki/Ghibli films and really helped draw me towards the game knowing nothing about the gameplay, only that it’s something about nature.
“That’s great to hear! I love My Neighbor Totoro. People may assume that our main point of reference in relation to EBR is Princess Mononoke, but Evan can attest that I’ve pointed to the beautiful pastoral images of rural Japan in My Neighbor Totoro as a touchstone for what we’re trying to accomplish with the landscape and background artwork over and over again. We’re very much looking forward to creating the rest of the art. There will approximately 250 unique card illustrations in the core set–so many opportunities for us to create beautiful, inventive pieces. I can’t wait!” – Navaro
without spoiling anything, can you hint at how many unique wildlife encounters does the base game have? I’m interested in exploring the ecosystem and encountering interesting plant and animal life. Does the narrative give room for this kind of exploration?
“There will be quite a few unique wildlife encounters in the core set. We do not have a concrete number yet, but I think 50 or so is a good estimate. There will also be a lot of unique plant life and terrain features to encounter.
The narrative definitely allows for the type of exploration you’re hoping for, and there will be missions that encourage it specifically. We’re building each “trail” set with an ecosystem in mind, so that the flora and fauna in each set interact with each other in ways that create the sense of a living ecosystem. You should have a lot of fun with it!” – Navaro
What’s the size of the cards going to be? I’m gonna be buying sleeves and I’m wondering if I will be able to reuse them for this game.
“The cards will all be standard 2.5″ x 3.5″ poker-sized cards. Any cards sleeves that fit cards for games like Magic will fit these.” – Fischer
I’m hoping to purchase both the Ranger and Valley play mats. In a four player game, does that mean that I would need to purchase for play mats of each, in order for all four players to enjoy the mats playing experience?
“Yes. Only one Valley playmat is needed per group. However, each ranger playmat is for one ranger.” – Fischer
Are the playmats designed with border stitching to prevent unraveling or breakdown of the edges?
“We do not plan on border-stitching the playmats.” – Navaro
First off, I want to say that I love the art that has been shown. Any chance at getting some HD backgrounds of some of it?
“That sounds very doable. We’ll be doing a lot of work on earthbornegames.com in the months ahead. We’ll be sure to add a section for some desktop / device backgrounds.” – Navaro
Are you planning to release a Soundtrack to accompany the Rangers exploring?
“That would be cool! We will be looking into doing a Foreteller module. We’ll see about a soundtrack!” – Navaro
Will local pickup be an option for backers in the Twin Cities?
“I think that sounds very doable. We’ll see if we can make that happen when the time comes.” – Navaro
Will you reconsider the KS exclusive aspect?
“I appreciate the suggestion, but I feel like labeling those few products as exclusive is accurate to their reality. They will all be short-run products, not intended for sale beyond the Kickstarter. Given the nature of manufacturing, it’s likely that we’ll have a few extra of each that we’ll make available on our webstore, but we have no plans to reprint any of the products labelled as exclusive, so when they’re gone, they’ll be gone.
All of them are completely optional, however, and not at all necessary to enjoy the game. There’s also a distinct possibility that, down the road, we will make new and different playmats, publish new books, and maybe make new Ranger minis (if we can find enough reclaimed pewter or a different, sustainable material to make it possible).” – Navaro
Kickstarter campaign/personnel/future questions
Can you tell [us] how long the TTS version will be up?
“I think we can keep the TTS demo up for as long as you all would like. We’re in no great rush to remove it.” – Navaro
How long does the PM [pledge manager] stay open?
“The pledge manager will be open as long as it can be. Essentially, right up until our manufacturing partners need to know specific order quantities. I’ll keep everyone up to date in that regard in the months ahead.” – Navaro
Will there be a cost increase in the pledge manager?
“No. The prices will be the same in the pledge manager.” – Navaro
Any chance of a digital version of the art and lore book?
“Right now we don’t have plans for a PDF version of the Art and Lore Book. If you can’t afford it right now, don’t sweat it. You can always add one to your pledge at a later date in the pledge manager.” – Navaro
What’s the refund policy?
“As stated in Kickstarter’s help page on the subject, the intent of backing a project is to help us bring it to life. The funds raised from this Kickstarter will be spent making the game as amazing as it can be, and once the campaign ends, we’ll be counting on those funds being there to support us. Refunding pledges is not something that we will have the luxury to do.” – Navaro
Is Andrew [Navaro] no longer with chip theory?
“While I am no longer employed at CTG, they have always been, and continue to be incredibly supportive of my work on Earthborne. I am still working with them in an advisory capacity, though my time has been fully consumed in the past two month by preparing for, and now running this campaign. I did not leave because of philosophical differences. CTG is an amazing company staffed and run by amazing and generous people. They absolutely respect what I’m trying to accomplish, and they support it.
One day I might be able to convince them to switch to bio-plastics and natural rubber instead of petrochemical plastics and neoprene, but it’s very expensive to do that at the moment. The more companies that move in that direction, however, the less expensive it will become. That’s a big part of Earthborne’s mission: to show it can be done, so that other publishers might follow their hearts and do the same. We all benefit from moving toward sustainable practices. I know from conversation that I am not alone in the industry on this. There are plenty of people out there in the industry watching this campaign with interest, just to see how backers (i.e. customers) respond.” – Navaro
I loved Heroes of Terrinoth. I hope you guys can work on another fantasy card game in the future that’s story driven with a campaign.
“Glad you enjoyed HoT! Who knows what the future may hold. This project is only the beginning.” – Navaro
I heard during the last gameplay video, that if you reach $500k for this campaign, there will be future expansion for the game.
“Don’t worry. We definitely have enough support to plan for more expansions!” – Navaro