So, it’s time for an announcement of sorts. The Little Metal Dog Show has been running for some time now – since April 2010 in fact – and since way before then I’ve been tinkering away in the background with game ideas and designs. One of them, a co-design with Mark Rivera called Ace of Spies (you may have heard me talking about it once or twice) should be hitting people’s tables before the end of the year. Another, Pocket Universe, is currently with the folks at Game Salute who are doing everything they can to make it as shiny and lovely as possible. And now I’ve made the decision that ‘it’s time for me to try and strike out on my own.
It’s been percolating for a while, but now it’s time to officially put Sprocket Games into full-on action. And I’d like to announce that our first game, Keep Running!, will soon be wending its way onto Kickstarter as we battle for the attention and support of you, the gaming public. And I’m very excited.
Keep Running! is a simple game to play with a lot of player interaction – it ticks many of the boxes of the kind of stuff I enjoy playing, and I hope you will agree. It’s based around the idea of folks hurtling through the woods, trying desperately to escape the bear that is chasing them. The old joke goes that one guy stops to pull on some trainers. The other guy, still going, yells back that there’s no way on earth he’ll be able to outrun the bear, trainers or not. The first guy shouts back that he doesn’t need to outrun the bear… he just needs to outrun him.
This is the game of that little scenario. It’s a mean and nasty little affair, filled with plenty of opportunity to screw your opponents over but with a dash of dice-driven luck in there to ensure that not everything will go exactly to plan. Your objective is simple – be the last one standing and you win the game. Between three and eight players can take part, and games (even with the maximum amount of players) take less than 30 minutes. Keep Running! is a perfect little filler, ideal to bridge the gap between two heavier games or to round off an evening of play. I’m currently working on a video to explain precisely how play works and you’ll be able to try out a print and play version of the game before you even think of committing to supporting the campaign. If you’re a reviewer who’d like to try it for yourself (before the P&P files go up) let me know and I’ll get a copy to you ASAP.
Why Kickstarter? Well, it’s both a way to gauge interest in the game (though everyone who has played it so far has said positive things) as well as raising the funds to actually produce it. Sure, there are a lot of other people out there doing the same thing, but I’d like to think that Keep Running! will be good enough to stand out from the crowd. The game has been extensively playtested by groups from all around the world, tweaked and modified to within an inch of its life… and now it’s ready to go.
A few further details; The game will be entirely produced in the UK meaning that we’ll be able to keep the time between campaign and production down to a bare minimum. It also means that should any issues arise while the game is being made, we can deal with them almost immediately (as opposed to having someone do stuff on our behalf on the other side of the planet). We aim to keep the price as reasonable as possible so folks from all around the world can get a copy if they so choose.
There will be a limited run of copies, each one numbered and signed by myself and the artist, Stephanie Burrows (full disclosure – she’s my wife as well as one of the best artists I know; her work on the project so far has really captured the fun and madness that the game exudes). As this will be the first official Sprocket Games project, we’re sure that there will be some hurdles to overcome – there always are when it comes to game production – but we hope that you will support us in the same way that you’ve supported the site and show since its inception.
That doesn’t mean that the Little Metal Dog Show is going anywhere, though. The podcast will continue – after all, we’re tantalisingly close to episode 50! – as will reviews on the site. It’s just that I want to really do my best to produce games that I think people will enjoy to a high degree of quality as well as write and talk to people from this hobby of ours.
So yeah! As the time draws closer, I’ll put more information up here about the game and campaign, but for now that’s pretty much it. Keep Running! will hopefully be the first in a long line of stuff from us and I firmly believe that Sprocket Games has the ability to be something really special.
Now it’s really time to get down to business. Won’t you join us?