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Category Archives: cool news

Creative Collaborations and Odd Opportunities for Immortality

So, it’s been an interesting couple days….

On Tuesday the news broke that Lin-Manuel Miranda has officially signed on to help develop my books into movies and television.

This news has been a long time coming, and it hasn’t been easy to keep under my hat.

I’ve already done a Q&A about it over on my twitch stream, and I’ll write about it here in the blog in the future. But for now just let me say that my creative crush on Lin is of Whedonian proportions. I’m about as excited as a human being can possibly be.

miranda-rothfuss(This excited. Plus ten.)

And if that weren’t enough to make this my best week ever, my books also got passing mentions from the Vlogbrothers and Nightvale. Which is a confluence of events that seems to imply I have gained a fairy godmother or access to a genie. It’s odd, and feels a little bit like maybe god checked his ledgers, realized that someone had done the karmic equivalent of running over my cat, and is desperately trying to balance things out before the new year for tax reasons.

Anyway. It’s been a good week. And that’s not even taking into consideration that Worldbuilders raised (and then matched) another quarter million dollars this week. Which means as of right now, we’ve raised more than $1,100,000 for Heifer International.

That’s enough money to give 9000 families goats, along with the education, training, and tools to care for them.

Buwamdelema Village, Mbale District, Eastern Region, Uganda Sandra Nabwire, 16 years old, and Edward Wanyama, 4 years old, feed the family goat fodder at their home in Buwandelema village on Friday May 20, 2011.

Goats are awesome, because they’re hardy, easy to care for, and produce a gallon of milk a day. That milk is a valuable source of protein and calcium for children, and the excess milk is easily sold to provide household income so families can pay for school fees, clothes, and medicine.

You see, in most of the world, a goat isn’t just a source of food, it’s a small business. But more importantly, it gives birth to other small businesses.

So far, Worldbuilders has raised enough to give 55,000 families flocks of chickens ($20.) Enough to provide 3,600 communities with clean water ($300.)

And we’re not done. We still have some time left. And we have some cool new announcements today.

  • We still have matching money!

Once we hit $1,000,000, a lot of people thought that we were out of matching money.

We’re not. We’ve used up $555,000 of the million dollars we have available for matching. So rest assured, when you donate, your money is still getting doubled.

  • Return of the Widget!

I’m delighted to announce the return of the probability calculator widget. Powered by math from the fabulous Vi Hart.

As you know. (Or at least I hope you know.) Every $10 you donate to Worldbuilders gets you a chance to win thousands of books and games from our prize lottery. This widget is updated with the most up-to-date numbers so you can tell what your odds are of winning something, depending on how much you donate.

  • Odd Opportunities for Immortality

As faithful readers of the blog know, earlier in the fundraiser, a handful of awesome authors offered up cameos in upcoming books.

We’ve done this for several years at Worldbuilders, and my only regret is that we’ve always auctioned them off. It brings in good money, but it makes me feel bad that only folks with a lot of money to splash around get a chance to get their names or faces in upcoming books.

So last week when a more authors came forward to offer us walk-on roles in their books, we decided to try something new, a little experiment, if you will.

We’re making separate pages for each of these new cameos, if you go in and donate there, you’re still eligible for everything in the regular fundraiser. Your donation will be doubled. You’re eligible for all the prizes in the lottery.

AND you’re eligible to win the guest star appearance that’s detailed on that page.

This way, you have a chance at immortality even if you’re not made of money.

I’m really excited to offer these up, folks. I’m huge fans of all the works listed here.

wesandcassandra

It was recently announced that the awesome authors Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu are co-writing a new trilogy featuring a fan-favorite character of Cassandra Clare’s, Magnus Bane. The book is out in November of 2017, and they’ve offered to name a character after one of our lovely supporters.

They were happy to let us put this in the lottery for anyone who donates via their page, so that’s exactly what we’ve done. The more you donate, the better your chances, but even if you only have 10 bucks to spare, there’s still a chance.

ratqueensblogimage

Rat Queens have also stepped up to the plate. But this isn’t just going to be some little walk-on part. The fabulous Kurtis Wiebe is offering up the opportunity to be Killed by your favorite band of adventuring badasses: the Rat Queens themselves. They’ll draw you and your likeness in to the comic, and you’ll get super dead.

Don’t be a Gary. Donate to make the world a better place, and rest comfortably in the knowledge that every $10 you kick in on their team page, gets you a chance to get killed by Rat Queens.

sandman-slim-feature

Or, if you’re more into the Sandman Slim novels, you could get killed to death in that.

If you donate on this team page Richard Kadrey will include you in the next Sandman Slim novel and kill you. What’s more, he’s promised to make it “as messy as possible.”

Those were his exact words.

bitchplanet_blogimage

If you aren’t reading read Bitch Planet, you really should. I picked it up just last month, and it instantly become one of new favorites.

It imagines a world where women who don’t fit in with the patriarchal society’s standards for women are shipped away from earth and jailed on Bitch Planet for being “Non-Compliant.” That can involve anything from being a violent felon, to simply not speaking politely, using too much sarcasm, or being overweight.

This comic is smart, folks. It’s dark and sharp and full of clever humor. I love it with big love.

So I’m delighted to say that for every $10 you donate on their page will get you a chance to name an inmate and the infraction that caused them to be exiled. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro will work with you to put this character into their world.

sexcriminals1

Matt Fraction is one of my top five comic writers of all time. And honestly? I think Sex Criminals is my favorite comic he’s currently working on.

And it’s hard for me. *ahem* Because it’s not exactly easy to go around recommending a comic called “Sex Criminals” to everyone you know.

The premise is this: In Sex Criminals, when Suzie and John have sex, time stops. Not in the cheesey way that people talk about sometimes. Literally, time stops. Then they do what any red-blooded American with sex superpowers would do: They rob banks.

Writer Matt Fraction and artist/maniac Chip Zdarsky assure you that, while very dirty, Sex Criminals is mostly sweet. And they’re offering you the chance to name your very own sex act in the series. Which is something I’m pretty sure everyone has wanted to do at some point in their lives. Or is it just me? (It can’t just be me, can it?)

Again, every $10 you donate on Team Brimpers gets you a chance for this.

  • Name Viari’s own personal intern in Acquisitions Inc

I talked to the folks at Acquisitions Inc, and they’re letting me raffle off the chance to name Viari’s own personal intern in a future game. You and I will work out your character’s name, as well as their character class. And then they’ll be an NPC in Acquisitions, Inc. They’ll fetch my coffee, update my day planner, and… well… probably die. Because… well… intern…

Roll with Viari over here if that sounds like a good time to you.

[Edit: Amanda hereOne more opportunity came through this morning after we shared the blog, so I’m throwing it in here because I KNOW you wanna see this.

  • Get your name and likeness in an issue of Revival

timseeley_blog

Revival is a FANTASTIC comic set in rural Wisconsin after a day when the dead come back to life. The main character, Dana Cypress, has ongoing investigations into the phenomenon, and the series has been running monthly since July 2012.

Tim Seeley is the writer of he comic, and he and artist Mike Norton have agreed to put your name and/or likeness (whatever you prefer) into the comic. If you love Revival as much as I do, every $10 you contribute on their page puts your name in the hat.]

***

Thanks again for coming along with us on this adventure, folks. And do keep in mind that even if none of the new teams I just mentioned ring your bell, you can just go donate on the main page.

I really want to use up all of our matching money this year.

I’m hoping beyond all hope that we can hit $2,000,000.

pat

P.S. Our servers are getting hit kinda hard today. Because a now that we’re over a million bucks, we’re getting some media attention.

If you have trouble donating, please don’t give up. I know it’s frustrating. But please stick with it.

Also posted in movie talk, Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat25 Responses

Worldbuilders 2016

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.

It’s with genuine excitement, that I announce the beginning of our annual Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web--less-space

Worldbuilders is the charity I founded when I realized that geeks were startlingly empathetic and caring people, and, when given the chance, they will charge out in force to make the world a better place.

Worldbuilders raises money for several different causes, but our end-of-the-year fundraiser focuses on raising money for Heifer International. Heifer helps people raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, they have worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

Don’t take my word for it though. Watch this instead. Seriously. It’s only a minute and a half.

This is what Heifer is all about. They don’t just keep kids from starving, they make it so people can take care of themselves. They give families goats, chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and business training to help families become self-sufficient. Forever.

Now for the big news: This year, Worldbuilders has access to a million dollars of matching money.That means if you donate enough to buy a woman like Chasha a goat, your donation will be doubled and Heifer will be able to provide another goat for someone else in need. If we can hit our total, we’ll have raised two million dollars that will help permanently change the lives of thousands of families all over the world, from Nepal to Appalachia. We have all the way until the end of the fundraiser on December 19th at 11:59pm PST to use it all.

There are a few different ways you can contribute and help us earn that matching money, each with a couple of additional benefits…

  • Option 1: The Lottery

This is the simplest option.: quick, easy, and tax-deductible. You just head over to the fundraising page we’ve created and donate.

When you donate on that page, in addition to having your donation doubled, you’ll be entered into our prize lottery, which contains thousands of books, games, comics, and more.

For every $10 you donate on the fundraising page, your name will be entered into our random drawing. So if you donate $30 (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times. Enough to give clean water to a whole village ($500) you get 50 chances to win.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun.

So we’ve spread things out so that we can show them to you in all their glory without risking your precious brain. I’ll be posting up blogs a couple times a week here on my blog, but there will be content going up pretty much every weekday on the Worldbuilders website. (Which we just finished re-designing, so it’s even better than last year.)

worldbuilders-home-page

(NEW AND IMPROVED!)

If you head over there, you can see *all* the different games and books we’re giving away on our Lottery Library page that we’ll be updating throughout the fundraiser.

You can also go check out the blogs full of prizes here:

In order to make sure everyone gets prizes they love while also making sure all our prizes find good homes, we’ll have you answer a question or two when you make a donation.

prize-question

Alternately, if you prefer not to leave things to random chance….

  • Option 2: Auctions

Sometimes we get donations that are cool…but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people (sad, unhappy people) just wouldn’t be into it.

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, collectibles. Signed signed art and rare books.

When things like that get donated, we put them up for auction.

Sometimes we also have people offering interesting services. Like writers and editors who are  willing to read and critique manuscripts. We’re auctioning off cameo appearances in comics and the chance to have your name in upcoming books.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

The funds raised through the auctions will be going to Heifer International too. So whatever you bid in the auctions will be doubled as well. So and they count toward our matching money, so you’re still helping us have a huge impact on the lives of people who need it.

  • The Sure Thing

For those of you who want to have an absolute sure thing, we have an online store.

We have geekery from my books, games, t-shirts, and tons of other stuff for your perusal. The purchases there don’t go toward our fundraiser total, but the profits in the end will come to Worldbuilders and help make the world a better place.

  • Added Incentive: Stretch Goals

To help spread the word about the fundraiser (and encourage donations) we’ve brought members of the geek community together to do whimsical things as our donation total grows. There will be dirty limericks, grown adults clucking like chickens, happy dances, Neil Gaiman reading in that awesome voice of his, and so, so much more….

A special stretch goal this year is coming from Neil Gaiman: he’s offered to read to all of us again, and this year, you get to help decide what he reads. You can cast your vote when you make your donation:

what-should-neil-read

Once we hit $1,000,000, we’ll tally all the donations and tell Neil what he’ll be reading for us. In 2013, Neil read Green Eggs and Ham; the next year he read The Jabberwocky. This year promises to be equally wonderful.

  • Streaming on Twitch

Last year as an experiment, I tried livestreaming on Twitch to raise awareness of charity, talk about our prizes and what Heifer does, and have some fun with y’all at the same time.

It worked pretty well, so this year we’re doing it again. Here’s my new Twitch schedule through the end of the fundraiser (December 19th):

  • Mondays: 1pm-4pm CST
  • Tuesdays: 4pm-7pm CST
  • Wednesdays: 4pm-7pm CST
  • Thursdays: 4pm-7pm CST
  • Fridays: 2pm-5pm CST
  • Saturdays: 2pm-5pm CST
  • Sundays: 2pm-5pm CST

I don’t have anything scheduled on Wednesday November 23, Thursday November 24, and Friday November 25 to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I might do a surprise, unofficial stream in the evenings, but it won’t be pre-planned, and it definitely won’t be at these scheduled times.

As for what I’m streaming… well… I’m thinking I’m going to figure that out as we go along. I’ll probably play some games. But I’ll probably also do some Q&A sessions. Maybe do a few writing discussions. Maybe I’ll read some more kids books, or just work on book three while y’all stare at my coffee mug and listen to the tantilizing clickity of my old IBM keyboard while I write.

You won’t know unless you tune in. So if you want to know, you should head over here, follow the stream, and then change your settings so you get a notification when I start a new stream.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website has all of the information you’ll need, including a nifty bar that shows off how much money we’ve raised from all of our various avenues. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.

pat

P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat10 Responses

Being a Trouper

Hey there everybody,

I’d meant to post a fun blog earlier this week. I had a couple cued up and almost ready. One was full of Kingkiller tattoos I’ve seen over the last year, another was pictures of babies that have been named after characters from my books. The one I *really* wanted to post involved the story of how I snuck some underage chicks into Max Temkin’s hotel room at Gencon.

41f23fed1b92a824ced03db71d8b4a9c(Like this. You pervert.)

But, as everyone knows, the election happened. Anyone who watched my election-night twitch stream might have an inkling of how I felt about that. And those of you who didn’t watch it can still probably guess.

And I’m guessing a lot of you feel the same way.

Interesting fact for those of you who feel shattered about the results: What you’re feeling now? That’s what a depressive episode feels like. At least it does to me. The pisser about depression is that you can feel desolate hopeless dread of exactly this sort even when nothing bad has happened.

Anyway, as a result, I couldn’t bring myself to finish a fun blog earlier this week. In fact, I’m not in the mood to write a blog now, either. I’ve been writing this thing for TWO HOURS and this is as far as I’ve gotten. It’s like trying to walk with a broken leg.

How the hell am I supposed to feel hopeful right now? How am I supposed to launch this year’s fundraiser and be enthusiastic about the cool news I have to share? I feel like everything is crumbling.

Earlier today, I found myself wondering what Auri would do in this situation. Well… that’s not actually true. Maybe it’s more that I wish I could ask for her advice? I wish she could just… help me. Like maybe she could give me a seashell or something and I would put it in my pocket and then I’d feel a little better.

Hell. You know you’re not doing well when you wish a fictional character would help you out. What the fuck does it even mean that I want help from the person who is arguably the most broken of all my characters? Is this it? Am I finally having a nervous breakdown?

No. I’m not. I’m depressingly sane.

Maybe it’s that Auri never lets it get to her. Not really. Not deep down. She’s a fighter, and despite everything, she always has a tiny flame of joy burning inside her. We’re very different in that regard.

I keep thinking of this picture and I don’t know why….

a-and-e-brazen

One of the things I share with Auri is that we both want to fix the world. Maybe that’s why I wish she could give me some advice. I can’t see a way to fix things right now. I am all unkilter.

Shit. I’m doing an awful job of this. I should just erase everything I’ve written and start over, but that would feel dishonest. I don’t want to lie to y’all. I don’t want to pretend I have my shit together. I don’t. I’m not doing great right now.

But still, I have some news to share. And it can’t wait.

Today I heard someone say, “We have to soldier on” and while I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think there’s any way I can think of myself as a soldier.

I’ll be a trouper instead. How about that? The show must go on, right?

Okay, I’m taking a mulligan and starting over. Ready?

*     *    *

Hey there everybody,

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that this is the time of year when we do our big annual Worldubuilders fundraiser.

Last year we raised over 1.2 million dollars for Heifer International. We sent little girls to school in Nepal and fed hungry kids in Haiti. We gave people clean water and education. Medicine and self-reliance. The work we do literally brings light into the lives of people all over the world.

And no, I’m not misusing the word “literally” there. One of the many things Heifer does is teache people to make biogas digesters.

biogas-diagram-990x1024This miraculous contraption turns animal waste into fertilizer and methane. Then families can use that methane as a clean, cheap source of light and heat. Cooking over gas is much safer and easier than using a cookfire. That’s a big deal in parts of the world where electricity is expensive or straight-up unavailable.

It’s like real-life alchemy, folks. Heifer teaches people to turn shit into gold.

Over the last 8 years Worldbuilders has raised more than $5,000,000 to make things better all over the world, in Ukraine and Uganda. From Peru to Appalachia.

This year’s fundraiser is launching Monday, and we’ve got some big news. News I’ve been sitting on for months. And despite the fact that I’m a tease of epic proportions, I’m actually going to tell y’all that news today.

1. Story time with Neil Gaiman.

Two years ago, Neil Gaiman red us Green Eggs and Ham. While last year people who donated got to vote on what Gaiman would read. Jabberwocky beat out Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, so he shot a video of himself reciting it from memory to help us spread the word about the fundraiser.

If y’all had any thoughts about what would be fun for him to read this year, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Personally, I think The Monster at the End of This Book would be great. I’d love to hear him do Grover’s voice.

2. More livestreaming on Twitch.

Last year, I experimented with livestreaming on twitch to help spread the word about the fundraiser and it worked surprisingly well. So this year, not only will I be streaming again, but Worldbuilders is reaching out to the streaming community in general, and providing tools so that you can do fundraising for us on your own stream.

If you’re a streamer and you’d like to help out Worldbuidlers, contact us at twitchteams@worldbuilders.org and we’ll work with you to make that happen.

And now the big one….

3. A Million Dollars of Matching Money

This year, with Heifer’s help, Worldbuilders has access to a million dollars worth of matching money.

That means that if you come in and donate $10 to Worldbuilders, this anonymous benefactor will double that money, turning it into $20. You donate enough for a goat? It becomes two goats…

dollar-panarama-704155

This is a HUGE deal. And it means we have the chance to absolutely destroy last year’s totals.

I mention this to y’all in advance with the hope that you might be are willing to come in swinging in the early days of the fundraiser. If we manage to get some good donations early on, then double them, I’m hoping the total will be impressive enough that we can get some coverage in the media. That means people will find out about worldbuilders who otherwise would never have noticed it.

If that happens…. well… it means we get to feed a *lot* of hungry kids.

And that’s what I’m really in the mood to do right now.

If you have any suggestions for the upcoming fundraiser, or if you have a clever way of helping us spread the word, please drop those in the comments below, too.

Thanks much.

Take care of each other,

pat

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, calling on the legions, Uncategorized, Worldbuilders | By Pat108 Responses

Five Sentences, Three Events, Two Videos, and a Bag of Chips….

Heya everybody,

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get a solid blog up, so I thought I’d remedy that today, especially as there’s some news that’s a little time sensitive….

First and foremost, I’ve got a few readings and Q&As coming up in places I don’t visit very often.

  • Charleston, West Virginia

This Saturday (October 29th) I’ll be in West Virginia for the West Virginia Book Festival.

I’m going to be giving a talk on the importance of reading. (Where hopefully I’ll find something to say other than just shouting DUH! really loud.) I’ll also do some Q&A, and then have a signing for everyone who’s interested.

And if that isn’t enough for you, I’ll even be introduced by Justin McElroy, West Virginian and co-host of the awesome podcast “My Brother, My Brother, and Me.” It’s one of my newest loves, and if you don’t listen to it, you should. It is a source of genuine delight.

Here’s all the info for the event itself:

October 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Charleston Civic Center
Little Theater
200 Civic Center Dr
Charleston, West Virginia 25301
Facebook Event

If you’re in the area, come say hi. And if you happen to be in a different area…

  • Madison, Wisconsin

Despite the fact that I only live a hundred miles away, I’m doing my first event in Madison in years. Even better, I’ll actually be doing *two* different events, both with some Q&A and books available for purchase, though the first is primarily a reading and Q&A, and the second is primarily a keynote speech.

The first one is next week Thursday…

November 3, 2016 at 5:00 PM
Reading and Q&A
Agriculture Hall, Room 125
1450 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

And the second is going to be on Friday night…

MADISON, WI
November 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Talk and Q&A
272 Bascom Hall
Madison, WI 53706

Both events will have books for purchase from A Room of One’s Own, one of my favorite bookstores in Madison. So if you’re all signed-book-wanty, this would be a great place to get one without paying shipping costs from our online store

For those of you who aren’t in West Virginia OR Wisconsin, there’s some cool internet things I’ve been up to as well….

  • Moana Screening in New York

And a couple weeks ago, his happened. For real.

I’ll probably gush about this more in the future. But the short of it is that I got to see an early version of Moana, and it was stunningly good.

More than that. Honestly? I think it might be the best Disney movie I’ve ever seen. Though honestly, with Lin Manuel Miranda involved, that shouldn’t really be a surprise.

Super good, folks. Seriously.

 

  • Podcast: “I’m Not Here to Judge You Chickenf*ckers.”

The most recent episode of Unattended Consequences is up, and it was a pretty good one. We recorded it live at NerdCon: Stories,  and the audience did a good job reining us in. We even said some not entirely stupid things.

Give it a listen if you’re so inclined. And be aware some of the stories I don’t have time to write up on the blog these days end up on the Podcast instead.

And finally, here’s the most time sensitive of the announcements:

  • A  delightful kickstarter that will help you friendship better.

Yesterday, I agreed to write five cards for Jenn and Trin’s Friendship Postcards Kickstarter Project:

You should really check this out. It’s a wonderful idea. The campaign includes cards like “Wow, that thing you did to your hair is super cool!”, “You make the internet a happier place,” and my favorite, “I said some shitty things (That’s not really how I feel, and I’m sorry.)”

782a6bde35266775fcadc2a84c8a34d3_originalWhen I saw this project, I actually emailed Trin and Jenn to tell them they were awesome, and to offer my help if they needed it.

I don’t talk about it a lot on here. But I have a hard time making and maintaining friendships these days. It used to be so easy for me. You just met people, they came over to your house. You watched movies and played games. You were friends.

Then I got published. I got busy. My friends moved away to pursue jobs and relationships. And I wasn’t in college any more. Wasn’t teaching any more. Wasn’t meeting people socially any more. Which means that friends don’t just happen to me any more. Which means… for about a decade now, I really haven’t had a lot of close friends.

But this last year, I’ve made a really good friend by the name of Thera. She’s better at being a friend than I am. And she’s taught me a lot about how to be a good friend as an adult (As opposed to just being a sort of an older maladjusted post-collegiate manbaby.)

So we’re writing these cards together. Me and my friend. Not only does this make me happy. Not only does this mean they’ll be better than if I did them myself. But it also means they’ll probably get done on time….

Here’s the downside, the project ends Thursday, October 27 at 1:00 PM CDT.

Yeah. Today. There’s just a few hours left. So if you want a set of postcards you should hop to it.

Be good to each other,

pat

Also posted in being awesome, conventions, cool things, geeking out, Interviews, Link salad, panels, podcasts | By Pat19 Responses

A Beautiful Game II: Kisses, Blood, and Lavender

So, for those of you who missed the first announcement I made on the blog a couple weeks ago, we’re a little more than halfway through the Tak Kickstarter.

TakFPBanner1

As I write this, nearly 6000 people have joined up with us to produce a game that previously existed only as shape and shadow in my head. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve raised more than $550,000, and that is strange and wonderful to me.

As the kickstarter gets bigger and bigger, we have more and more resources available to add and improve things. And as a result, there have been a lot of additions to the kickstarter over the last couple weeks. Too many for me to go over here, especially as they’re all covered in perfect detail in the updates on the kickstarter page itself.

But there are a few things that I’m especially excited about. Things that, much to my delight, make this beautiful game even more beautiful. I can’t help but show them off to you….

*     *    *

Let me tell you a true story. And yes, I know that all stories are true. But this story is a little extra true, because it really happened.

I’m in LA right now (typing this update in a hotel room). Earlier today, I met up with Clint Evans to hang out a bit and chat. At some point, the subject of Tak came up. I mentioned I had a prototype set in my bag, and before too long, we were playing a game in the hotel bar.

(Actual footage.)

At one point the waitress comes over to bring us some drinks. She asks what we’re doing. We say we’re playing a game. What’s it called? Tak.

Then she says, “It’s really beautiful. I mean aesthetically. I just like looking at it.”

And I beam like a proud father. “Thank you,” I said. “We worked really hard on that.”

Part of what made the game we were playing a little extra beautiful is the fact that I had a early prototype of the wooden board with me.

WoodBoard2(We’re calling it the Arcanist’s board.)

It’s a little silly how much I love this board. You might think it’s because it’s pretty. (And it *is* pretty) But for me the real appeal to it is how it *sounds.* When you put one of the wooden pieces down on the wooden board, it makes the most *marvelous* sound. It’s the auditory equivalent of being given a sharp, sweet, kiss.

I’m not saying the basic game isn’t lovely. It is. What’s more, the boards in the boxed game will have levels of graphic coolness in them this wooden board simply can’t match. I love them both for different reasons.

But seriously. The sound of wood on wood. It’s like being kissed.

*     *     *

Lastly, here’s something that we really weren’t sure we were going to be able to do at all until just a coupe weeks ago.

Devi's Box1A complete wooden collector’s set of the game. The cover/board is be two-sided, so you can play in whichever way you feel is the most beautiful….

Devi's Box2It’s made primarily of walnut and maple. I say primarily because that reddish wood you see in the diamonds and on the border of the board? That’s called bloodwood.

Also? One of the sets of pieces is made out of bloodwood.

Devi's Box3

Which is only appropriate. As this is Devi’s Tak set.

James and I have been trying to figure out a way to make a posh, all-wooden box set for a long while. Something you’d be proud to have on display. Something that was a joy to touch. But up until now, every prototype we saw was either shoddy, clunky, or would have ended up costing more than a thousand dollars…

But much to our delight, the folks from Wyrmwood came in and knocked it out of the park. This is the most attractive prototype I’ve seen so far, and while it is spendy, the lovely folks at Wyrmwood have worked with us so that we can make it available in the kickstarter for less than half of what some of our previous options were.

devi's box pieces(I’d never even heard of Bloodwood before. Isn’t it gorgeous?)

We’re still finalizing certain elements of the design, including the piece shapes and the capstones. This is mostly for me, because if we’re saying this is Devi’s set, I need to make sure all the details are perfect. But the folks at Wyrmwood have been amazing so far. (Hell, they’ve already figured out a way to make the set smell slightly of lavender.)

So yeah. This prototype is already amazing, and the finished version will be as perfect as I can make it. But because the clock is ticking on the kickstarter, James and I decided to pull the trigger on this set and make it available for people to buy sooner rather than later.

And part of the reason for that is:

  • Fair Warning: Devi’s set will only be available through the kickstarter. So if you want it, you’ll need to pick it up by during the campaign, or early on when finalizing your kickstarter order.

You can find more details about Devi’s set and other cool things over on the kickstarter page.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, cool things, gaming | By Pat36 Responses

Tak: A Beautiful Game

Today we have some exciting news….

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Here’s the short version: We’ve just launched the kickstarter for Tak.

If that’s enough for you, you can head right over here and check it out.

For the rest of you, a story….

    *     *     *

Long ago, James Ernest and I were working on the Pairs kickstarter, brainstorming new stretch goals we could add to the campaign.

“We could agree to make Tak at some point in the future,” James said. (Note, I’m paraphrasing here.)

I didn’t want to do that.

“How about a stretch goal where if we hit it, the two of us agree to work out the rules?” He asked.

I didn’t want to do that either.

“How about we agree to do a live google chat where we just talk about the game in general?” he said.

And I agreed that fine. FINE. We could do that. We could talk about it. And we did. It was okay.

Later, James told me he wanted to make Tak. He wanted to invent it. He wanted to build the whole thing from the ground up based on my descriptions from the book, and the unwritten stuff he knew I had hidden in my head.

Again, I said no.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Tak is supposed to be my world’s version of Chess or Go or Mancala,” I said. “I can’t ask you to make a game like that. It’s like saying, ‘you know those games that have stood the test of time for hundreds or thousands of years? The best games ever? Do that, but in my world.’ So first off, it’s unreasonable for me to ask. Secondly, you can’t do it. No one can. And thirdly, if you did somehow manage to pull if off, nobody would give a shit. We’re living in the golden age of board games right now. Nobody cares about strategy games like chess anymore.”

(If you haven’t already noticed, I can be a curmudgeonly fucker at times.)

“Just let me try,” James said. “Let me take a run at it. If you hate what I come up with, we’ll never speak of it again.”

So I told him, fine. Fine! Do it. Whatever. Jeez.

So he asked me a bunch of questions. Then he went off and made a game. Then he brought it to me….

Now you should know that I’m telling you this story so that you know where I was coming from on the subject of Tak. Simply said, I wasn’t eager to pursue it. I was the opposite of eager.

And it wasn’t because I don’t like James Ernest. James Ernest is fucking brilliant. I’ve been playing his games for twenty years. I loved Pairs and was delighted to incorporate it into my world….

Pairs_Faen_Card_Art_1024x1024(Actual footage.)

But I knew that Tak was a purely mythical game. And while James was great, I knew that nobody could just sit down and create a game on par with chess or Go. I was going to politely look at whatever he brought me, smile kindly, and try to let him down as gently as possible.

Then James brought me his game. And I played it.

And it was amazing.

I was stunned by the game. Stunned that anyone could make something like this. It’s more elegant than chess. It’s more enjoyable than Go.

I learned to play it in about five minutes and had a blast. More than a year later, the game is still unfurling for me like a flower, as I understand more and more about the play of it.

It is, in brief, a beautiful game.

*    *     *

TakFPBanner1

(Is that enough gushing? If so, here’s a link to the kickstarter.)

*     *     *

For a while now, I’ve been working with James on the production of the game.

If you’ve ever bought anything from our online store, you know I’m obsessively careful about merchandise. I never want to sell you anything I’m not proud of. This is doubly true with Tak. It’s such a lovely game, the last thing I wanted was for it to be some crappy thing made out of pasteboard and plastic.

So we’re using wood pieces, even though it’s harder. And we’re getting everything ethically sourced, because that’s important. And we’re getting as much of the work done here in the US as possible, because while it’s tons cheaper to get things done in China… well… I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you why it’s nice that your friends and neighbors have jobs….

I’m really pleased with what we have here. I’m excited for you guys to play it. I want to show you how it fits into my world.

(Have I mentioned the kickstarter is over here?)

*     *     *

I’ll be honest with y’all. The first couple days of a kickstarter are really important. If we have a strong start with a bunch of backers, it’s a hundred times easier to run a successful campaign. And here’s the key, the more successful we are, the more raw awesome we’ll be able to pour into the game and the book we’re making.

Did I mention the companion book yet? We’re doing a book, too. It will talk about strategy, delve into the history of Tak, and explain in some detail the difference between courtly Tak and Tak as it’s played among… rougher elements of society.

If the campaign takes off, we’ll be able to add more stuff to the kickstarter, too. More levels. A high-end set with metal pieces and a wooden board. Custom capstone pieces. Maybe alternate boards. Maybe even stone pieces. If we get enough interest, cool things like that will be forthcoming.

With that in mind, if you’re interested in this, please consider jumping on board early. As I’ve said, these first couple days really shape the performance of the kickstarter. Most importantly, if you sign up now, you’ll get our updates when we *do* to roll out some of the new coolness. So if you’re hoping to grab one of the specialty sets, signing up now is the easiest way for you to stay in the loop. That way you’ll be the first to know when they come out.

So… yeah. That’s all. There’s a lot more information on the kickstarter. I’ll let you read it there.

If you have any burning questions that aren’t answered over there. You can ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to either find answers for you. Barring that, we will at the very least create some amusing lies to ease the sting of your not-knowing.

And, one final time, the link.

pat

Also posted in gaming, geeking out | By Pat90 Responses

Cards Against Humanity: Fantasy Pack

It’s no secret that I’m terribly fond of Max Temkin. Not only is he fun to be around, but he’s a genuinely nice person who has pitched in to help with Worldbuilders in several different ways over the last couple years.

For example, when we did our podcast together, we weren’t originally planning on having sponsors. But when our audience turned out to be startlingly large, Max immediately suggested we take on select ads and donate all the money directly to Worldbuilders.

Hold on, it occurs to me that some of you might not realize who I’m talking about here. Max is one of the guys who created Cards Against Humanity.

If you don’t know what Cards Against Humanity is… Well, I almost want to congratulate you, because this must be your very first time on the internet. Welcome, traveler! Adventure awaits!

CAH is a hugely, crassly inappropriate game that has given me many wonderful laughs with good friends. It’s… it’s really indescribable. So I might as well just post up a link to the very NSFW edition of Tabletop where they played it. As well as this video of grandmas getting high and playing the game.

But seriously, the game has penetrated pretty much every avenue of geek culture. And even better, (he said, gliding right past many, all-too-easy jokes that could be made due to the phrasing in that last sentence) the CAH folks have elevated irreverence to an art form. Last year, Max and his team protested Black Friday by selling something they called Holliday Bullshit.

tumblr_nfraugXsgU1rbyqg2o1_1280

What was in the box? Actual cow poop. This is a fact that still makes me smile. Then CAH took the money they made from that and donated it to Worldbuilders so it would go to Heifer International. Which is kinda poetic, if you think about it. Circle of life and all that.

I could go on and on about the things they’ve done. One year for black friday, they raised their prices instead of having a sale. Earlier this year, they released a pack of science-themed expansion pack of cards and donated all profits to provide full-ride scholarships for women seeking STEM degrees.

Anyway, today we finally get to unveil something we’ve been working on for a while: A fantasy-themed expansion pack for CAH.

Fantasy Pack

(I have no idea what’s going on in that picture. Seriously. No. Idea.)

This pack contains 30 cards, and it’s everything you’d expect from a fantasy-themed CAH expansion. The ideas for the cards were written by a team of crack authors who have helped out Worldbuilders in the past.

And (if you haven’t already guessed) ALL the proceeds from the first two weeks of sales will go to Worldbuilders in support of Heifer International. For those of you who have been wondering about the yellow progress bar on our website that says, “Coming Soon.” Well… now you know what that is for….

cards

Some of the authors who wrote cards are:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Sam Sykes
  • Myke Cole
  • Jacqueline Carey
  • Kevin Hearne
  • Martha Wells
  • Sherwood Smith
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Wesley Chu
  • Laura Anne Gilman
  • Delilah Dawson
  • Me
  • And a few others who would prefer not to be named….

So there you go. I’ve seen the cards. I’ve held them in my hands and read them and they are delightfully awful. A few of them made me laugh my evilest laugh.

You can buy a pack by following this link. Hell, why not get two? Get 10! (Then you get free shipping, too.)

CAH has a running tally on their website showing how much they’ve raised for us, and we’ll be checking that regularly to update our thermometer. (But again, we’re doing it manually. Because it’s hard to automate these things, and we’d rather spend our money on helping people rather than re-programming widgets.)

So. Go forth. Make the world a better place by playing this wonderful, horrible game.

Also posted in cool things, gaming, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat30 Responses
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