I made a storytelling party game called Story War! with my friends Tom/Frezned (an Australian video game developer) and Vondell Swain (a 19 year old Portlandian), who might also respond to questions but they are probably sleeping right now. We reached our $20,000 goal in 36 hours, then I quit my job, and we went on to raise $200,000 more.

  • Here's proof.

  • This post details how we got most of our traffic.

  • We got a lot of initial help from our kissing cousin Kickstarter campaign, The Machine of Death! (Which is ending in 12 hours so make sure you check it out while you still have time!)

  • Colin Mochrie let us make a card based on him!

  • Story War is a card game structured similar to Cards Against Humanity but focuses more on the questions like "who would win in a fight between Medusa and King Midas" than on word association. It plays sort of like a more open-ended and accessible version of Dungeons and Dragons.

  • We've playtested over 500 individual rounds with a diverse mix of people. We've noticed a common thread of people who don't normally like card games getting the most excited about it.

  • The Kickstarter is going to end on Friday at 4pm, while we're running a demo booth at PAX East.

  • Also I made Keyboard Cat in 2009 if anyone wants to ask me about that, for some reason.

  • EDIT: Okay! The AMA has officially closed! Also WOW, Story War's funding shot up by $50,000 in a single day because of you guys! THAT'S AMAZING! If you want to keep up with us, you can follow the Cantrip Games tumblr. Thank you so much everyone!

  • EDIT: I'm editing this post long after it's over to say that you can buy Story War on Amazon here: http://cantripgames.com/amazon and you can watch our cartoon here: http://cantripgames.com/cartoon

Comments: 1046 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

BradOFarrell353 karma

PS: Name two mythological creatures in a reply to this comment and I'll tell you which one would win in a fight. After playing this game hundreds of times I'm sort of an expert on making stuff up.

themiragechild297 karma

100 duck sized horses vs 1 horse sized duck.

(Sorry if someone has done this)

BradOFarrell628 karma

Their physiology doesn't really scale up and down, right? Like a horse-sized duck's feathers aren't going to work because they only work because of their size in relation to air pressure, I think. So a horse-sized duck has clipped wings. Also a horse's only real mode of attack is it's mass, so being smaller makes it hard for them to do any real damage. I don't know if a hundred of them is actually any more of a threat since they can't, like, CLIMB the duck, they don't have thumbs. All they can really do is step on it's webbed feet I guess? I'm pretty sure the horse-sized duck could just eat the duck-sized horses like bread crumbs. Can ducks eat meat? I think they could if their life was on the line. I think I'm going to have to go with the horse-sized duck.

Symphonic_Nightmare143 karma

Anyone who has ever been buffeted by the wings of a pissed off, normal sized duck would likely agree with you. It's a little like being rapidly struck with fleshy hammers.

BradOFarrell223 karma

Can you go into a little more detail about how you acquired this information.

Symphonic_Nightmare267 karma

Long ago...

Boy scout fishing trip. One of the kids (I was also a kid at the time but not as young as some of the other boys) hooked a duck. The hook was too close to the surface and the bait was bread. The hook punched clean through leaving the hook barb on the outside of the bill of a big male. It took three of us to hold the duck long enough to clip the barbed end off the hook.

The duck wasn't having any of it. You'd think we'd thrown capsaicin on its anus or something, but to be fair it did have a barbed shiv of metal through its mouth. It started out by just pulling and pulling on the line, but shockingly the line didn't give (we later learned it was something ridiculous like 30lb test). The kid who'd hooked the duck was pulled right off his feet and lost his grip on the pole, so we had to run and retrieve the pole as the duck was making back for open water. I arrived second and it wasn't until the third person made it that we could get the duck's wings under control. At first I thought we were going to break the poor thing, but then my view of the world dissolved into this malestrom of white feathers and noise and pain and suddenly it was all I could do to hold on. Shockingly, not a one of us was bitten (billed?) during the incident. In the end, everyone was alright with bruises being the main marks of the incident; except for the boy who'd originally hooked the duck. He was a little traumatized by it all. I don't recall seeing him on the next fishing trip.

BradOFarrell288 karma

I think I might be the wrong person doing an AMA here.

Zacky00728 karma

Then what about 1 normal horse vs 1 horse size duck. Also what about 100 duck size horses vs 100 ducks of normal size.

BradOFarrell71 karma

I think the horse-sized duck beats the normal sized horse just because it's mouth is still way bigger than the horse's mouth because of how it'd scale up. It'd be like the sand worm from Dune, basically, but a duck. If they're the same size I'm going with ducks over horses whether it's 1-on-1 or 100-on-100.

wendelscardua130 karma

Schrodinger's Cat vs. Pavlov's Dog

BradOFarrell211 karma

Dear god. If you jingled some change in your pocket the universe would be torn asunder.

AdrianisAwesome87 karma

Ditka vs. A hurricane...

AND the name of the hurricane is "Hurricane Ditka."

BradOFarrell41 karma

I don't understand what Ditka is

is it sports

is it a sport

ehsteve2379 karma

Catbug vs sky whale

BradOFarrell143 karma

Catbug wins because HE'S CATBUG.

pxlhstl10 karma

I've read Catbug vs. Skyler White

BradOFarrell10 karma

Catbug and Skyler team up together, they start a cash-only soft taco business as a front for trafficking meth from the See Through Zone by way of peanut butter squares. Catbug then confides in Skyler that Wallow is holding him in the Invisible Hideout against his will because if he tries to leave he'll tell the cops that he's been smuggling meth. Skyler uses her sexuality to lure Wallow into the Hollo John, but it's actually a hologram of Skyler and she turns her sexy up to 600%, crushing Wallow and freeing Catbug.

gwvent76 karma

Thor vs Superman

No kryptonite allowed.

BradOFarrell139 karma

Thor - he can take the battle into space and away from the yellow sun and retain his powers while Superman is weakened.

whosdamike156 karma

But... why would Superman follow away from the sun? That's like saying Aquaman could beat someone up by diving into the ocean. The person he's fighting could just as easily be like "Well, he swam away, guess that makes me the winner."

Then Aquaman would get another notch in the "loss" column and wonder why he only has fish for friends.

BradOFarrell223 karma

He could tie up Lois Lane on the entry point to the Bifrost and lure Superman in and then once he's in the trap Thor can warp Superman away from earth, instantly. Then he can just tie him up in an Asgardian stable until he loses all his powers. ... This is becoming slash fic nevermind.

gwvent17 karma

Shit, if anyone could do the math on how far they would have to go and how long it would take to get there, I'd be really impressed.

thegrimlich21 karma

Just tell me how fast they can fly and I'll do the math! Seriously, I'm a math dude.

Also, I think going out as far as Pluto would probably be far away enough that the sun wouldn't give enough power to Supes. Then again, he might have Thor chase him to Mercury... where the sun is a LOT closer and he therefore has a LOT more power.

BradOFarrell36 karma

Also Thor could just use the Bifrost to take him away from the sun instantly.

gwvent1 karma

I think OP has bamboozled us all with his answer.

It turns out Thor doesn't really fly so much as he either builds momentum by swinging his hammer and propelling himself with it (how fast exactly I couldn't find but I've read it's upwards of Mach 32 in Earth's atmosphere and FTL in space).

Superman on the other hand seems to be able to fly at approximately light speed.

You would think Supes would clearly win since he can travel so quickly but Thor apparently has an ability that lets him see objects moving faster than the speed of light so there's no way for Superman to sneak up on him and steal his hammer (assuming it would even be possible for him to lift it which is a whole different experiment entirely).

Overall, OP is right but for entirely different reasons. Thor is magical whereas Superman is just an alien. Thor also has the ability to travel through time (op much?) so he'd be able to go back in time to when Superman was still an infant hurtling towards Earth and easily kill him.

BradOFarrell4 karma

I didn't say Thor can fly, I said he would "take the battle" away from Earth, which he could do by way of the Bifrost.

Jinno62 karma

Tom Brady or Peyton Manning ... they're football mythos.

BradOFarrell150 karma

I'd rather kiss Tom Brady than Peyton Manning so Tom Brady.

zace33361 karma

Rupaul vs Medusa.

BradOFarrell204 karma

Rupaul would win because glitter contains thousands of little mirrors which is Medusa's biggest weakness. Also, a little-known fact about Medusa: Her second-biggest weakness is puns.

Aquaquake56 karma

Jake the dog


Finn the human

BradOFarrell200 karma


The_Sign_Painter45 karma

Snoo (the reddit alien) vs. Yotsuba (4chan's adorable mascot)

Also, I've been following you and your team through this whole thing and you're all wonderful human beings with a great idea. I can't wait to play.

BradOFarrell190 karma

I feel like Yotsuba and Snoo would go on a whimsical My Neighbor Totoro-like adventure. I don't know who would win. Miyazaki movies don't really have a winner. I guess Yotsuba is the protagonist of this story and she'd learn to be more self-confident and also respectful of nature by the end of the story, so she wins?

TheFarmHand38 karma

Thor vs. Kratos

BradOFarrell154 karma

Thor wins for being the more valuable brand right now.

thegrimlich35 karma

Zeus vs. Odin

BradOFarrell192 karma

Zeus wins on account of depth perception.

villitriex32 karma

Centaur w/ nunchucks vs. a Minotaur with very large horns.

BradOFarrell103 karma

Centaur is a cowboy. Cowboys beat bulls.

NickDouglas21 karma

The Sphinx vs. a grey alien.

BradOFarrell103 karma

Alien wins - aliens created the pyramids and probably the Sphinx !

Rubene321 karma

zombie vs bigfoot

BradOFarrell39 karma

Zombie wins because Bigfoot doesn't even have any offensive powers. (Which is why he's not in the game.)

Tigbun18 karma

Quijibo vs. Wolpentinger

BradOFarrell119 karma

bless you

zombieCyborg15 karma

Zombie vs. Cyborg

BradOFarrell43 karma

Oh good one. I think the Cyborg wins because it's robot half can't become infected?

Goorilla9712 karma

Sonic-Sloth or Giant Crab?

BradOFarrell32 karma

Crab wins because Sonic can't breath under water.

timx139 karma

Who would win in a footrace: Cthulhu or Godzilla?

BradOFarrell34 karma

I imagine Godzilla is slightly more adapt to running - I think Cthulhu prefers to fly or swim.

TargetBehavior5 karma

Bugbear vs. Catbug

dangthelad2 karma

Dwarf vs. Wizard

BradOFarrell10 karma

Wizard, easily, come on. Gandalf > Gimli - easily! COME ON!

Jacqland1 karma

David Malki ! vs Ryan North.

BradOFarrell1 karma

Hey have you ever thought about what it would look like if those guys kissed. Yeah. Yeeaaahhhhh.

wonderloss1 karma

Kirin vs. Unicorn

BradOFarrell12 karma

Kirin wins because Suicune's total base stat is 580 and Rapidash's is only 500.

TheNilla210 karma

I just wanna say thanks for creating keyboard cat, my life wouldn't be the same without you in the world

BradOFarrell49 karma

Thank you!

sweebez130 karma

As someone who had never funded a KickStarter project before, it was a breath of fresh air to see a project like Story War that could quickly be understood by people of all walks of life. I've shown the videos to my friends and we're already planning on bringing it to bars and coffee shops alike. The idea of just jumping into a scenario so unlike the day-to-day is really refreshing, and with so many cards and settings, the replay value is super high. I bought in at the Hero Level and I'm hoping (hint hint) that they also send the PDF print-out to us when funding is complete, because I want to play the DAY it's funded!


BradOFarrell94 karma

Thank you! I know this wasn't really a question but inclusiveness has always been a goal with Story War from the beginning. We tried to include cards based on mythological tropes that everybody already knows, or that would at least be self-evident based on their art and descriptions. For example our ridiculous bugbear card is not the classic definition of a bugbear but it's probably what people who don't play D&D imagine what they hear the name.

When we playtested it, we tried to get as diverse a group as possible (I'm pretty sure our playtesters have been evenly distributed in terms of gender, which I don't think is very common.) When listening to playtester feedback, I paid much more attention to the feedback I got from people who rarely play games than the feedback I got from hardcore gamers. I felt like the board game geek crowd was trying to steer me towards making my game more like games that already exist, whereas non-gamers were trying to steer me more towards making a game that would be appealing to them. I'm really happy with the direction it ultimately went in.

NowWeAreAllTom93 karma

This question sort of presumes that cantrip games intends to launch more products in the future, beyond the ones already announced as stretch goals:

Do you think you would launch another product through Kickstarter again? Or do you feel like the success of your Kickstarter has put you in a place where you would no longer need to crowdfund new products?

BradOFarrell147 karma

We probably would launch another project through Kickstarter, yes. If we didn't produce games through Kickstarter we'd have to go through a publisher and it's unlikely that a board game publisher would've ever funded a game like Story War. Kickstarter is a superior funding model to deficit funding because there's no risk involved for either party. Next time we make a game through Kickstarter we'll probably also do what we did this time: work on a project until it's nearly-complete before actually launching the Kickstarter. I think Kickstarter works much better if you're showing a nearly-finished product than a pie in the sky idea.

ThrowAwayYourLies70 karma

n. It plays sort of like a more open-ended and accessible version of Dungeons and Dragons.>

THANK You, I have been asking for this for the longest time. I always tell my friends to teach me D&D and they are like its going to take too long, you can't play it like a round of monopoly and I am like "DAMN IT" So thank you, what was your day job that you quit?

BradOFarrell88 karma

Tom is very much into board games and D&D, and I am not. This game was a gay marriage of his deep understanding of board games and my willful ignorance of board games.

_Kalchio_51 karma

A few questions:

First off, on a bunch of people's minds, I bet--any chance of a reddit card making it into the game? :P

Secondly, are you guys prepared for the last 48-hour Kickstarter rush? Other things you've partnered with have seen a preposterous final 48 hours, and it seems like you've got some awesome stretch goals already.

Machine of Death

To Be or Not To Be

Finally, [how] are you planning to make other expansion packs available in the future? Any ideas on what those may contain?


BradOFarrell107 karma

We were actually working on a Reddit card, because we're working with Breadpig and they introduced us to Reddit's branding team. But unfortunately our illustrator's tablet broke and we just... ran out of time. WAIT UH - we can still probably make a Reddit card!? Can Reddit make a Reddit card for us? If someone wants to illustrate and original drawing of the Reddit alien in the style of a Story War card and suggest his powers/copy we can send it to Reddit's branding team and ask for permission to put it in the game. So - yes there's a Reddit card if Reddit makes one? THAT SEEMS FAIR.

My response to the rest of your post is http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ezh4-4i1gjc/UAfWOxwrqbI/AAAAAAAAA5I/bnpx2ZWvyHs/s1600/deer_headlights.jpg

TheFarmHand46 karma


  1. What type of job did you quit?
  2. Did you or your team have any previous entrepreneurship experience?
  3. What are your plans for the future from a business standpoint?
  4. How long did it take to grow out that beard?

BradOFarrell121 karma

  1. I was doing customer service for turntable.fm and now that I'm running my own game company most of my time is spent doing customer service so it was basically like the pilot to Futurama.
  2. I've worked for a lot of small startups before so I've observed business being run but I've never run one myself. I offered one of my former employers equity in exchange for being our lawyer and accountant and CFO. So he's handling that for me which is great because I'm an idiot.
  3. Right now our next immediate goal is getting Story War into retail stores and also getting deals for licensed expansions with common card backs that you can shuffle into the main deck.
  4. I was fully shaved in October.

Holllly29 karma

What was the hardest "bridge" to get over when making this game?

BradOFarrell66 karma

The most difficult thing about Story War is that it's super easy to understand when you play it but hard to explain to someone who has never played it. If one person in the room knows how to play Story War a game can just happen instantly and everyone in the room immediately knows how to play and plays the game correctly and it's always a lot of fun. But when I explain the game to someone before actually showing it to them, almost every person responds with this same statement, "Doesn't the game not work because the judge is bias?"

And I'll tell them that the judge being bias is an non-issue that has literally never come up in the hundreds of times we've playtested the game. The reason is that the judge actually has very little room to exert bias into the game and very little motivation. The judge acts more like a moderator in a presidential debate than a judge in a court room; they only step in to clarify things, and keep things on format. The judge ultimately calls the winner, but the winning team is almost always readily apparent from the story that emerges from the battle itself.

Also, the meaning of victory points has been de-emphasized to the point where people rarely get upset over losing a round and they have almost no motivation to try to cheat by corroborating with judges - not to mention the fact that forming "secret alliances" is almost impossible when everyone is sitting around the same table. It's also explicitly against the rules to base your judgement on anything other than the story itself. So, yes, a judge could always rule that their girlfriend's team wins every battle regardless of her argument. But doing so would be as obvious as a soccer player picking up the ball and walking it into the net, so it's not a thing anyone ever actually does.

So the most difficult thing about making Story War has been figuring out a way to explain the game to people who haven't played it yet. I think we did an okay job of this in the Kickstarter video, and showing the footage of people playing it helps a lot too.

wonderloss27 karma

I think if someone is playing with a group where that sort of cheating and bias would be an issue, they really need a better group.

BradOFarrell31 karma

Yeah. I've met one or two people with whom it was impossible to play Story War and they are not people I'd want to hang out with in just like a regular non-game context.

futuresushi22 karma

One of my housemates is one of those people

BradOFarrell85 karma

Burn your house down.

NickDouglas7 karma

Have you found it easier to explain to people if they've played some other type of game? For instance, I found it easier to understand since I play tabletop RPGs, where no one's trying to "beat" another player and the point is to tell a fun story to each other.

BradOFarrell15 karma

I think it's easiest to understand if you've played both D&D and Apples to Apples. Honestly it's faster to actually start playing the game than it is to explain it, so if people ask me about it and I have it on me I'll usually just start a quick game before telling them anything about it.

NicolasZN20 karma

How do you envision the game working online or, if you pass $250,000 on Kickstarter, as a mobile app - given that it is so rooted in story telling and arguing your case?

(Great game, by the way - so excited to be supporting you all.)

BradOFarrell27 karma

The online version of the game is most likely going to be a Google Hangout extension that lets you manipulate virtual cards while arguing your case over webcam. We originally playtested the game as an IRC bot but it is much more fun to play using your voice and inherent conversational skills than it is to play by typing.

The mobile app isn't necessarily going to be a mobile version of Story War, it might be a totally different game set in the same universe, or some kind of variation on the gameplay of Story War. We're still deciding.

knw25720 karma

What sort of balance issues did you come upon through playtesting that you never thought of during game design?

BradOFarrell21 karma

Oh man! One of the weirdest problems was trying to express our "headcanon" for how we thought the character was supposed to work in a way that didn't sound too mechanical. The hardest one was the Nymph, who is supposed to be able to control the environment as an extension of herself. Right now her copy is "She uses hippie magic to manipulate · the environment as if it were an · extension of herself." but we had to go through so many different variations of that before anyone other than us would figure out how to play her correctly. With this current iteration of the copy she gets played "right" all the time and she's a really cool card.

knw25711 karma

I have that problem all the time, being unable to express an idea through words in a way that others are able to understand the intent.

On a side note, traditionally, Nymphs are specifically forest/woodland in nature. Have you found cases where people use the term 'environment' too globally, giving her abilities like being able to create black holes and such?

BradOFarrell14 karma

Generally people play her as an extension of the Battlefield card, which is exactly how we intended her to be played.

KnoseDog18 karma

My English Teacher thougt this was a great idea to use in schools. Is he crazy or does it maybe work as school-material?

BradOFarrell29 karma

Yeah! We've been thinking about coming up with a way to integrate it into classrooms. We'd love to get it sold in the Scholastic book fair catalog.

themiragechild16 karma

What was your favorite card you had to scrap? (Preferrably one you don't normally mention)

BradOFarrell34 karma

Oh man, the Succubus! She was the second card we ever drew, but we had to remove her because we wanted to make this game G-rated and ... a sex demon really has no place in a G-rated game.

Rubene314 karma

What does Cantrip Games plan on doing next as a company? A Sequel? More games?

BradOFarrell17 karma

We're going to focus on getting Story War into retail stores and getting really cool licensed expansions. We want to make more cards based on existing characters that share a common card back that you can shuffle in with the main deck.

In addition to that, though, we'd like to move into the digital game space as well. Both myself and Tom are programmers and we're constantly programming games for fun all the time. So our next big project after Story War might not necessarily be another board game, it could be a video or computer game.

BradOFarrell13 karma

PPS: Who do you think would win in a fight between the Mermaid and the Harpy set in the Capital City? Explain your rationale for why they would win!

RAColt4513 karma

What is your game coming out on? Dalek vs Darth Vader

BradOFarrell44 karma

It's a card game! It comes out on your hands!

Daleks and Darth Vaders are both Hitler stand-ins but I'm pretty sure Daleks win because Darth Vader wouldn't know how to force choke them because he'd probably mistake the Dalek for a robot.

wonderloss12 karma

I disagree. Dalek's are Nazi's, not Hitler. Davros would be Hitler.

BradOFarrell47 karma

Daleks are distributed Hitler.

themiragechild5 karma

Dalek can also attack far ranges so lightsaber wouldn't be a thing.

thegrimlich11 karma

Lightsabers can reflect ranged attacks, though, and they can block/destroy projectiles.

BradOFarrell14 karma

But the Daleks can also spray toxic gas, against which a Jedi or Sith has no reasonable defense.

thegrimlich30 karma

But Darth Vader has that respirator mask that pretty much filters all his air for him. Poison gas wouldn't affect him.

BradOFarrell32 karma

Oh dang that's a good point.

azureillusions13 karma

What were some of the factors you had to keep in mind when designing the cards? Are some cards more powerful than others, or are they all in roughly the same competitive tier?

Any tips for when I buy the game?

BradOFarrell25 karma

Balancing the cards: Ah that's a good question! Initially we had some cards that were too powerful, like the Lich, who had complete control over life and death which is obviously way too powerful - we changed it so that she's just a necromancer whose soul is stored in her staff like a Horcrux. We also had trouble making sense of the Genie, who was either too powerful or to restricted - we ended up throwing that card out entirely in favor of a Wishing Star item card that limited wishes by "ironic twists." A lot of the time it came down to nerfing or boosting cards by editing their copy or artwork. Our rule of thumb was to make everyone as powerful as the average Mutant on X-Men.

Tips for buying the game: Get the Deluxe Pack if any of those cross promotion cards interest you, they'll definitely never be reprinted or sold after the Kickstarter ends.

ehsteve236 karma

What were some of your favourite cards that had to be nerfed or removed completely?

BradOFarrell15 karma

My favorite card right now might be the mermaid whose copy says "Half fish, all woman." But also we liked that joke so much that we're going to have to re-draw her art; people are supposed to play her like Katara) but it's not clear that she's water-bending because it looks like waves could be just coincidentally crashing around her. We previously corrected this with the copy but then we came up with that really good joke so now we have to correct it in the art itself, by redrawing the water to show it spiraling around her in an unnatural way.

yincrash11 karma

Why have an iOS app instead of an Android one?

BradOFarrell21 karma

We actually might end up just making it in Unity which could easily be exported to both but mostly because ANDROID SUCKS MICHAEL GO BACK TO WORK.

dangthelad10 karma

What was the initial inspiration for Story War?

BradOFarrell21 karma

My friend Tom (Frezned) was visiting America from Australia for some reason and I invited him to sleep on my couch for a week in NYC. We normally talk about video game design over Skype but since were hanging out in person we were playing board games and talking about board games. He told me about how he designed a board game and played it with his friends and that it's really fulfilling because you can prototype it so fast and update it much quicker than a video game.

I wanted to make something simple and I originally made this spy game where you had to match your spy's skills to a specific mission in order to solve it. It ended up being way too complex and when I explained it to people they got bored and didn't want to play it. I also didn't think it was very much fun in playtesting.

So I started working on something else that was structured similar to the Pokemon TCG, a game I really liked and started playing again recently when I found my old cards. And while I was working on this game, I we had a game night at work and we played Apples to Apples. And I realized Apples to Apples is really boring because:

  1. It doesn't scale up well. The more players you add, the less likely it is you can win and the less invested everyone is in the round. (We solved this problem by always having two teams, regardless of how many people are playing.)
  2. Everyone just wants to argue in favor of their card so the rule that you have to remain silent (or at least not disclose your card) until the judge picks a red apple card is stupid and everyone ends up ignoring it and arguing in favor of their card anyway. It's way more fun to talk about WHY your card should win.
  3. Word association is boring and "who would win in a fight" is a way more fun conversation that literally everyone wants to have.

I also realized that all these game ideas I had kept involving character cards, item cards, and location cards - mostly because I just wanted to get to come up with artwork for those three things, it feels like those are the ingredients for a coherent fictional world. So it all kind of congealed into what Story War is today, tempered by a lot of play testing.

Oh also Tom was telling me about The Resistance which sounded really cool and I liked the idea of making a party game that was more about facilitating conversation than focusing on numbers and dice.

therobbbrown9 karma


BradOFarrell14 karma

The game was fun the very first time we tried playing it, but it's gotten slightly more fun over time as we've been playtesting and tweaking it. It took about 6 months to do all the artwork, and we used that time to test and revise the rules.

Right now we've mostly been focusing on English speaking countries. We may expand out to other countries later. It's a difficult proposition though, because it's not a simple matter of translating the cards; we have to make sure the jokes are translated properly too.

The game is already done so it should ship ASAP. We're hoping it'll arrive sometime in early June.


what is a piece of (non-gaming) advice you learned early on that had a major impact on your life?

BradOFarrell16 karma

I used to be pretty volatile in middle school and then I realized life is much easier if I'm not going out of my way to needlessly offend people all the time. By the way nice username :T

egg11111157 karma

I've backed your game, and it looks like it could potentially be a lot of fun, but I'm worried my friends aren't nearly as fun as the people in the playtesting video. Will it be a problem if our friends are creative, but not that creative?

BradOFarrell6 karma

No it won't be a problem! Because the card's art and text offer you a lot of straws to grasp at. You're not forced to come up with a whole narrative off the top of your head! Really, just synthesizing one or two pieces of information is all you need to make it fun. This isn't a game for theatre kids, it's a game for everybody. I've yet to see a single playtester be "unable" to play it, or not have fun.

no_detection6 karma

I'll throw some questions at you.

  1. I've been designing some games with friends for a while as well. How do I know if/when I should make the jump into actually trying to produce them? Should I wait until after college?
  2. I've been watching your project, but have already backed Superfight! Why should I also back yours?
  3. I want the 5 meme cards, but I don't think they're worth an extra $20. What's up with that?

BradOFarrell10 karma

  1. You can probably produce them while in college! Our artist is in college and Tom and I worked on this game entirely after work at our day jobs. I only quit my job to focus on the insane Kickstarter. But you can totally make a board game as a side project while working on something else, yeah.
  2. Because they're completely unrelated games? That's like asking "Why should I eat a sandwich when pizza exists"? Buy what you think you'd like. Our game has a much bigger emphasis on the artwork on the cards than Superfight, so if that matters to you, there's that.
  3. It's actually over 28 new cards, not just those 5. Scroll down on the Kickstarter page to see the rest. You also get a bunch of blank cards and exclusive comics. It's your own prerogative to decide if that's worth the price.

angelini55 karma

What do you have planned for your pax east booth? Will you show off the cards from the basic pack and will you let others play the game?

BradOFarrell8 karma

We have a demo table at PAX so anyone can come by and play! We'll be playing an endless game of Story War for three days straight! It should be really fun for everyone else and a living hell for me. (If you play Story War for more than 4 hours your brain starts to melt... It's going to be rough.)

GoWithItGirl5 karma

Do you have a back-up plan if this is not provide you with a sustainable income?

BradOFarrell6 karma

It's not my only new job. I'm going to be doing freelance work, etc, to support myself. But I quit my job so I could spend 100% of my time focused on the Kickstarter itself. What I do after the Kickstarter ends is all up in the air.

calaesia4 karma

What advice would you give to anyone trying to create their own unique card/tabletop game? Did you specifically want to create a game and then come up with Story War, or have the idea out of nowhere and decide to pursue it?

I've been following the game for a while, I'm really looking forward to its release!

BradOFarrell6 karma

I think I "wanted to make a card game" and I kept building up and tearing down whole new ideas from scratch until I found something cool. My biggest advice is to not fall in love with any one gameplay mechanic until you can get someone else to fall in love with it too.

KN-Art3 karma

Just wanted to say great job. Love seeing people go for what their passionate about. (Love PAX East, last year was awesome) Will you be at PAX Prime?

Also, While starting/building my business, there are times where my stomach just kept saying, "Calm down, or I'm going to throw up all over your desk." Did you experience physical signs of stress?

BradOFarrell5 karma

Most of my anxiety has been deadline-based, which might be different from the kind of anxiety that makes you want to throw up. I have been under a lot of physical duress, not sleeping to reach deadlines, stress eating like Jack Donaghy in the first season of 30 Rock, and constantly forgetting to leave my computer and actually drink water and then wondering why my face feels all dry.

But it sounds like you might be talking about a different kind of anxiety, right? I think normally starting a business is a much higher risk proposition. Because we were planning to launch via Kickstarter all along, it's always been "if we don't work hard enough this cool thing won't happen" and not "if we don't work hard enough our lives fall apart" which is how running a business usually is.

So if I'm interpreting your question correctly (and feel free to follow up if I'm not), no I haven't really experienced the dreadful feeling I think you're talking about, because the existence of Kickstarter has made the whole process of starting a business really low-risk.

DoWhile3 karma

What is your game's trump card? I.e. the equivalent of Helen Keller/Anne Frank?

BradOFarrell5 karma

The Wishing Star! It can be used to do anything but it's balanced by the fact that it's going to have an "ironic twist" - generally the way it works is that the person who plays the Wishing Star makes a wish and the opposing team or judge doesn't let that wish go through as-is; they distort it into some monkey's paw variation of the wish. It's the most powerful card in terms of mechanics but the ironic twist element of it keeps it balanced and usable.

Jinno3 karma

What's one game that you would like to change the mechanics of?

Doesn't matter how thoroughly or slightly, just one that maybe you hate that everyone else likes, or something like that.

BradOFarrell8 karma

I love the Zelda series and I wish the boss battles in the 3D Zelda games felt more organic and less like puzzles. The DS Zeldas also had this problem. I think it's a result of the somewhat constrained controls in both 3D Zelda games and the DS Zelda games. These boss fights generally consist of using a specific item to expose the boss's weak point, button mashing your sword to deal damage to the weak point, then repeating the cycle.

2D Zelda boss battles are much more fun because there's generally a lot of different ways you can deal damage and evade attacks and it feels more like a fight than a puzzle solving checkpoint. 2D Zelda boss battles feel more like Capcom boss fights. The only 3D Zelda game with these kind of boss fights is Majora's Mask. Probably because there are a lot more optional weapons in that game and because you can fight the bosses multiple times.

So yeah I love Zelda but I hate the way boss fights work in the 3D Zelda games and DS Zelda games.

SkyCakeDodge3 karma

Using an on-demand service like thegamecrafter would allow you to sell Story War! for around the same price (<25USD) without the need for a kickstarter. You mentioned that you would save something like 90% by not using such a service. If this is the case, why is the savings not being passed on to the contributors?

Feel free to correct my numbers, they are vague and related only to my experience with thegamecrafter.

BradOFarrell7 karma

You're asking why we're selling our product at a reasonable price and not at cost? Because we're a company. Companies need money to live. We need to make a profit to invest money into our next game.

TheRealBabyCave3 karma

I've been interested in doing something similar. How much of the game had you developed before you made up your kickstarter? Did you give yourself a time constraint to finish? What sort of production did you employ, and how did you get the ball rolling so to speak?

Thank you for doing this!

BradOFarrell3 karma

We basically finished the game before we did the Kickstarter. It's about 95% done, we're just polishing it at this point.

The biggest thing that helped get the ball rolling was that Tom was investing money (which was used to pay Vondell to do art) into the project. A project doesn't really become "real" until someone is investing money and expecting an ROI.

livingtech2 karma

What can you tell us about the iOS project at 250K?

BradOFarrell2 karma

Not a lot, because there's not a lot to tell! We weren't expecting to raise this much money so we don't have much planned in advance for the 250k reward. We'll be developing it over the next few months, after the Kickstarter ends, and keeping our backers in the loop. But... there isn't much to say. We've been talking to some mobile developers and spitballing ideas but nothing is very final yet.

thegrimlich2 karma

Do you have any ideas for last-minute stretch goals?

BradOFarrell8 karma

$27500 I drink vodka in the shower and cry.

$30000 I call my brother and apologize for not speaking to him for two years because he called my facebook cover lame.

No those are jokes. I'm not sure! I really doubt we'll hit or dramatically exceed $250k in the next 3 days! If we do we'll... come up with something???

Twohounds2 karma

As a Canadian it's hard to find gaming conventions to attend and playtest my own game at. Because it's cold here 70% of the time, we spend a lot of time indoors. I used to play alot of video games but that became such an anti social behaviour that I picked up table Gaming. I feel there is huge potential for a gaming market up here. Do you ever entertain the idea of coming north for Con's?

BradOFarrell1 karma

I want to go to every con I could possibly go to. PAX East is the first con we're going to just because it's the first con that's happened since Story War has been mostly finished.

faokryn1 karma

Do you plan to include more licensed cards from comic artists, cartoonists, etc. in future expansions or editions of the game, the way you have for the Deluxe Pack? If so, would they be included in the basic expansion itself, or would they somehow be distributed as limited edition cards, the way it is being done for the Deluxe Pack?

BradOFarrell1 karma

I think it makes more sense for us to go after BIG franchises for expansions, not just for business reasons, but, like, for gameplay reasons. How many friends of yours have heard of Party Cat? One or two of them but probably not all of them. Because Story War is a multiplayer party game that's dependent on intertextuality, it'd make more sense to do an expansion off a big franchise like Marvel or Adventure Time or Nintendo, something that it's likely everyone in the room is going to be at least somewhat aware of. But yeah we'll still do weird limited addition cards like the ones in the Deluxe Pack whenever we can because they're super fun and owning rare cards is fun.

Sageneko1 karma

I'm in at $70 tier and would like to know what I can expect from the original sketch. I hope I will get something I will be proud to hang on my wall!

BradOFarrell1 karma

Our artist will be sketching out drawings of our original characters that will be included with your game. The character you get is a mystery.

Airzeez1 karma

Are you worried that maybe people who can't back you guys download the pdf from somewhere else a bit after its released, or would you be somewhat happy that your game would be getting around more?

BradOFarrell2 karma

We're not really concerned about that. The PDF is good for getting a taste of the game but it's not really a replacement for high quality cards. Shuffling with a paper deck is a pain and cutting it out is the worst.