Algomancy was created to be a playground for ideas, where extremely open ended card designs are combined in endless possibilities. Players are given maximal agency to plan and execute their wildest strategies through a live draft and deterministic resource system.
Turns are global (so neither player goes first, no play/draw disparity)
Hands are drafted during the game (no decks needed in the draft mode)
Cards are simple but extremely modular (most cards have 1-2 lines of text)
The Deterministic resource system ensures players can always play the game
Region limited interaction enables parallelized multiplayer gameplay
You get all the game cards at once! No need to gamble on packs or buy expensive singles.
Algomancy has had open playtesting for over a year. In that time we've had over a hundred unique players participate in thousands of hours of testing. We've also run five competitive tournaments.
He's written a 10,000+ word essay about his goals and intentions with making this game, which can be read here.
Algomancy is not a Trading Card Game. It can be played directly out of the box like a board game; or the card pool can be used to build constructed decks to compete against others. This means it has all of the depth and complexity one might expect with a TCG, but players get access to all of the game cards at once, rather than needing to gamble on randomized packs and deal with expensive singles.
In Algomancy, you are an Algomancer vying for control over an AI simulation. By manipulating the source code of the world you are able to cast spells, summon armies, and augment game objects to modify their capabilities. Players use these powers in a conquest to vanquish the opposition and become the last one standing.
Turns begin with a live draft, where each player is able to freely exchange cards in their hand with cards in a pack that will be passed around the table. Players are able to seamlessly move in and out of strategies to match the flow of the game, allowing everyone the freedom to play in their own style.
In order to collect resources, players can recycle cards in their hand. Resources generate mana, which can be used to play cards and activate abilities. They also add to your affinity towards their respective elements, which are necessary to play most cards.
This deterministic system ensures players always can access the resources they need, while forcing them to make difficult decisions about which cards to give up and when to stop collecting resources.
Players are able to take any resources they wish during the mana step. However, each resource also offers the benefit of free shards (the factionless resource) when three or more of its type have been collected. This balance of card advantage and flexibility rewards players for staying in a specific lane, while still allowing them to change directions if needed.
The core gameplay of Algomancy happens in the combat phase, where players venture into regions occupied by their opponents to do battle. This is a fast paced and highly interactive sequence where players make tough decisions on how to distribute their armies across their offensive and defensive formations.
Each player exists in an isolated region, meaning units that you send into a neighboring opponent's region to attack cannot interact with units you keep back to defend with. This also keeps interaction between cards and players limited locally, as only players with units inside of a region can interact inside of that region.
Turns in Algomancy are global, meaning it is never an individual "player's turn". Instead, Algomancy utilizes an initiative system to specify who must act first as players move through each step of a turn cycle. This ensures a fair gameplay experience for all players, as nobody gains an advantage by going first.
Locally limited interaction and a global turn structure allows multiplayer games to run in parallel, where multiple combats can be resolved at the same time.
With the two headline mechanics of Augment and Graft, players are able to combine the effects of cards together in a nearly endless variety, ensuring every single game of Algomancy is a new and unique experience.
But take care! Once a card that has been augmented or grafted dies, it and all of its modifications are erased forever!
Ways to Play
Algomancy is an extremely versatile game that can be played with as few as 2 players or in excess of 10. It works in any variation of live draft, traditional cube draft, constructed, sealed, team draft, free for all and team constructed.
We've found that live draft works best for 2-5 players, team draft works for 4, 6 or 8 players. Cube draft, where players draft decks as a group and break into 1v1 pairings for matches works for 6-10 players and traditional constructed can scale to any range of player count in either teams or free for all.
In the constructed mode, players participate in a modified draft of their own deck by drawing 4 cards and putting 2 from their hand on the bottom of the deck.
One of the best places to have all of your gameplay questions answered is in our rulebook, which you can read right here! (Note, we are actively working with an editor to compile the rulebook from my original document here, which has all the information but not as nicely presented. So the fancy purple one is still in progress.)
For more discussion on the game's mechanics, we have also created this series of shorts that highlight some fun and unique interactions. If you have any questions that you can't find an answer to, our discord is a great place to ask questions and talk about the game as well. (Plus we have open playtesting and TTS and Tabletopia!)
We want to ensure Algomancy has the greatest possible chance of success, so we have just included all of the stretch goals into the product from the start. This allows us to focus on making the core elements of the game as good as we can make them.
It also allows us to clearly plan ahead for our manufacturing and shipping, to reduce any chances of logistical problems. The end result is a streamlined game at a more affordable price for all of you.
Post Launch Update
Well you absolutely blew way past all of my expectations, so I've worked out a great compromise that will not affect manufacturing or production at all, while still giving you a part of the game's history. I wrote in depth about this in update #2 if you want to read more.
The premium foil pack add on includes 10 pseudo-random holofoil Algomancy cards. Packs will be numbered 1-32. Each pack of the same number will always contain the same cards, and packs of different numbers will never contain the same card. This means collecting all 32 packs is guaranteed to yield exactly one complete foil set of the 320 Algomancy game cards.
In Algomancy, tokens share the card types of the card that created them. These card types currently have no effect on gameplay, so the base game comes with tokens that can be used for any situation. The add-on token pack provides a large selection of premium, full art tokens to expand your gameplay experience and immersion.
The token pack includes many of the common unit types within the game: Flower, Fungus, Hooba (Egg version), Robot, Elemental, Hooba (Banana version), Axolot, Luminary and more! It comes with 54 double sided tokens, distributed statistically according to their likelihood of appearance in the game.
Note: I have been talking with our backers and some have requested play zones be included on the playmats. We are working on making that available for those who want it. If we do, pledges will be modifiable through the pledge manager to opt into the desired playmat type (play zones/ no play zones).
Algomancy was designed to be a competitively viable game. By reducing the variance that is present in many existing card games and giving players more control through the live draft and deterministic resource system, we hope to foster an environment where smart and strategic play, not "the heart of the cards" determines who wins.
To further this goal, we are committed to creating an affordable competitive gameplay experience by forgoing the expensive TCG model. When players are able to collect cards in complete sets, they have maximum freedom for brewing new deck ideas and adapting to shifts in the metagame rather than being locked into one deck because it is all they could afford.
Our long term plans involve organized play via local tournaments at LGSs, online ranked matchmaking as well as a pro circuit.
Algomancy was a bottom up design, meaning the mechanics are the reason the game was created and are the aspect of the project we are most excited about. We've spent thousands of hours meticulously refining the core ruleset to ensure the gameplay is clean, intuitive and a blast to play; far before any of the visuals were developed.
The game of Algomancy has been playtested continuously for over a year with thousands of hours of testing, balancing and refining. The playtesting was and has always been completely open to the public, so we have had a continuous stream of fresh eyes on the project to spot anything we might have missed. This allowed us to see how the game would be received organically, as more experienced players teach new players how to play. Watching hundreds of new players experience our game for the first time has been invaluable and allowed us to craft a game that we are confident that players enjoy and are excited to play.
As far as the gameplay and card designs go, Algomancy is finished. That being said, because we are still continuously allowing open playtesting for a game with 320 unique cards during this campaign, it is possible we will make a few minor tweaks to individual card designs when opportunities to make the game even better present themselves.
The visual design of the cards started after the gameplay was virtually complete, and is slightly behind. Out of the 320 cards, approximately 250 have finalized art; the others have placeholder art like what is shown below. Some of the cards also have playtesting names which will be updated. Caleb has been able to make on average 1-2 pieces of art each day, so we are estimating to have the art finalized within two weeks after the Kickstarter ends. We have budgeted 3 months in our schedule for all of pre-production, so if the art takes longer than expected we have plenty of buffer room to account for delays of this type.
Some of the cards shown in this project or the video trailer are using placeholder art and will be updated to match our standards in the final product. All of the updates will be publicly visible in the discord in the #card-changes channel so you can watch Caleb's progress and talk about any of the updates.
Manufacturing and Shipping
As soon as the remaining card art is finished we are ready to begin manufacturing Algomancy. We have partnered with Panda Games Manufacturing, who have produced over 50 million games including recognizable favorites like Wingspan and Root. Due to our manufacturer's experience and because the game has no custom components, we don't expect a lengthy pre-production phase.
Through talking with Panda Games Manufacturing, their most common delay in manufacturing is getting the proper formatting with print files to meet their standards. But Caleb has years of experience with formatting print files across hundreds of different print shops globally through his art business.
We also have strategic partners in North America, Europe and Australia ready to receive freight shipments and handle the logistics of local shipping to the customer from there.
Caleb Gannon has been a professional artist for almost a decade, working in a variety of media ranging from acrylic on canvas to large scale procedural art etched into metal. With Algomancy, he ventured into the burgeoning medium of AI image generation to capture what the dream world of a computer might look like.
Each piece begins with a composition sketch to set the vision, tone and color of the image before undergoing an iterative process of rendering and refinement through inpainting, overpainting and photoshop. A typical workflow for one of the cards is shown below, and can take anywhere from 1-10+ hours depending on how specific the art needs to be for that individual piece.
We understand that with any new technology comes uncertainty, but we are doing everything we can to remain as ethical as possible while still exploring the exciting new potential that this technology offers.
To this effect, Caleb has been working with a custom version of the Stable Diffusion 2.1 model, which was chosen because it is completely open source and most of its training data is in the public domain, like old museum scans, which he feels adds to the strangeness of the art in a unique way.
Retail: Shipping costs will depend on number of units ordered. Contact us for an estimate if you do not see your region on the list.
When will I be charged?
At the end of the Kickstarter Campaign, Kickstarter will collect a payment for your pledge.
A few weeks after the close of the campaign we will be sending a notification email from our Pledge Manager HIVE. The pledge manager will allow you to complete your pledge, give us your shipping information, add any additional product to your pledge and pay for shipping calculated on your total amount of product.
There will be two payments, the first to Kickstarter for your product, the second to HIVE to settle the postage and delivery.
Import fees and local taxes (such as VAT) will be the responsibility of each backer outside of the US and EU and are not included in your Kickstarter pledge. The total cost of your pledge will be calculated based on the value of your product and that will be the total declared for tax and import purposes.
This project would not have been possible if it weren't for our incredible community of players offering their support with playtesting, insight on design decisions and clever spontaneous ideas. We've been running events, chatting about strategies and getting feedback continuously throughout the entire development process from some wonderful people.
I want to extend a special thank you to Shadyshores, Redearth, Maxwell, Elitheduck, Ravaen, Nardolphin, Mylemonlime, Poke, Amagicturbot, Zault, Isilee Milton, Mehseenbetter, Vash115, Vongore, MimberyEarth, Paul, Technetium, Happy Cabbage, Seth Masters, Naca4010, AkuraRaya, Tabby Like a Cat, CallofCthuwu, EllitBoz, Azurinel, Ash, Placeholder, Missa, Zarathustra, Elpoquitolama, Lordzzx and hundreds of others who have been especially helpful and engaged with this project.
We've also worked with some great professionals, including: David Diaz (Mesa Games Lab) who did the awesome trailer and animated gifs, Will Zhao who made the incredible cardback, Crowdfunding nerds who were extremely helpful running our marketing endeavors and guiding me through this process, Morten and Theis Svendsen who are working on the rulebook layout, Aleksandr Kodarev who is working on the art for the initiative and intent tokens, and many others!
If you want to join our community and get involved with the game, you can do so in the following places!
Join the discussion, playtest and participate in tournaments: Discord
A Great Deal: Kickstarter allows us to bring Algomancy straight to you at a reduced cost. I want you to experience the thrill of dynamic and interesting card play without the massive price tag. This is only possible with large print runs through things like Kickstarter!
Leave Your Mark: This campaign is for you, I want you to have YOUR say and give feedback. I want you to be able to pick up a card and say "I played a part in making this". Your input before, during, and after the Kickstarter is valuable and I carefully consider every suggestion offered.
Deluxe Components: You will have the opportunity to get premium quality components through this Kickstarter that might not be available later. This includes full art tokens and premium holofoil Algomancy cards!
Get Algomancy Before Everyone Else: This Kickstarter will fund the first-ever print run of Algomancy. You will get first edition cards and be the first in the world to receive the physical game in your hands! There will never be another print run that is marked with the first edition set symbol.
Great Things Require Great People: The reality is that none of this is possible without your assistance. It's been wild seeing you all tell your friends about Algomancy, asking questions about rules, and playing online! This Kickstarter allows us all to bring Algomancy into the world so that we can all enjoy it together!
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