Today we have some exciting news….
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….
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.
* * *
(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.