Locally Created Card Game Gives Santa’s Elves An Escape

Wednesday December 16th, 2015

Posted at 10:22am


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Photo from their Kickstarter Page

Despite how crazy work can be at Christmas, one role-playing group thinks some employees have it worse than the rest.

Windsor-based Dice and Stuff’s holiday gift to the masses is nearing completion. Focused on roleplaying games, the group has a Kickstarter campaign underway to help fund their new creation. Taking inspiration from the hardest workers at Christmas time, Escape The Pole tells the story of some elves who aren’t very happy with their working conditions.

” We came up with the idea for the game in a random conversation while playing board games one evening,” said Dice and stuff member, Adam Giles. “Someone brought up the possible bad working conditions of Santa’s workshop as a joke. The game initially was thought up as a board game, much like Mousetrap, where you had to avoid Santa and gather supplies. It was then suggested to make it more simple and portable in the form of a card game.”

Promoting easy gameplay, Escape The Pole is straightforward. The goal is to collect one of each eight supply cards before the other three players. Action cards also help or create obstacles along the way and every deck has 52 cards — 32 supply and 20 action. Dice and Stuff is already developing an expansion pack as well: Called Reindeer Games, the add-on will bring another level of strategy to the (holiday) festivities.

With positive feedback from those play-testing the game and extra incentives for people contributing on Kickstarter, Giles hopes the campaign continues to gain momentum.

” Play-testers have said the game is fast paced and cut throat, which requires a great deal of strategy and a little bit of luck to win,” he said. “Escape the Pole is great because it can be played anywhere since it is the size of a regular playing card deck. The rules are also simple, so anyone can pick it up and play it. To those thinking about contributing to the campaign: Go for it! We even have a donation level where you can get your name on the supply card ‘The Naughty List’ for all to see.”

With images and layouts already finished, no production delays are expected following the end of the campaign. Because of this, files will be sent to the printer upon completion of funding — current estimates are for the product to be printed and shipped in mid-to-late-January.

Starting Dice and Stuff to spread awareness of different roleplaying systems, the group considers it a passion. Beyond developing their own, they’ve also helped launch several Kickstarter projects for others as well. It’s a level of success they hope to replicate.

“We have actually only done one Kickstarter ourselves, Escape The Pole,” said Giles. “Through our podcast series ‘Behind the Dice’ we have showcased other people’s projects that they’ve put up on Kickstarter. (All of which have been funded, several are actually Kickstarter Staff Picks). Our hope is that Escape the Pole becomes funded so that it can be distributed through local channels to gaming stores.”

Dice and Stuff’s website content revolves largely around podcasts. Behind The Dice is a show dedicated to interviews with game developers looking to get their projects off the ground through Kickstarter or word of mouth. One-shot podcasts also feature hosts playing one session of a game previously featured on Behind The Dice. Each episode has same room in-game play (meaning all players are recorded in the same room) and is edited to remove excessive off-topic conversations. This is done to give people a better idea of how the game works and these shows can be found on iTunes as well. Past episodes are currently in the process of being uploaded to youtube.

Enjoying the opportunity to share their stories, Giles and his podcasters also get a chance to flex those muscles in two other ongoing podcasts.

“We currently have two continuous podcasts on the go; ERA: The Consortium and the Humaeon Campaign,” he said. “ERA: The Consortium is played using the ERA: The Consortium d10 rule set created by Ed Jowett from Shades of Vengeance. It’s a space based game where we play as resistance members trying to fight the rule of the Consortium. The Humaeon Campaign is played using our own role-playing system (which is currently in the play testing phase),. It’s based after a plague, war and an accidental robot uprising in the near future of Earth. The game is set in the Windsor/Detroit region where the players are elite soldiers set to protect humanity.”

Dice and Stuff plans to expand in multiple ways next year. Joining current content, player blogs, video tutorials for Game Masters and game-related videos will be added to their website. They will also offer podcasting and game-testing services for game developers.

Still, their biggest wish is for people to continue supporting and spreading the word about gaming as a whole.

“We would like everyone who loves games, of any kind and genre, to support those who are trying to break out in the gaming scene” said Giles. “Share those Kickstarter pages, share your adventures in gaming, check out your local game and comic book stores and support your local game developers.”

For those interested, Dice and Stuff can be found at their website and through social media on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The group also attends many conventions in the area and you can meet them in person there. Escape The Pole’s Kickstarter campaign runs until December 23.

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