Planning the Utara Kickstarter Pledge Levels and Rewards


Though it is many, many months away, I can't help but look ahead to the next Kickstarter project: Utara. That image above is the snazzy new branding. The big experiment this time is the backer-generated map of Utara. You've heard me talk about the power of naming rights already. I'm stepping that up a bit this time around. Now, backers can create the world of Utara.



Above is a blueprint for Utara's map. It's a grid divided into about 2400 cells, each large enough for a single Utara die. Backers of certain levels will create and name islands, archipelagos, major landmasses, and greater seas. Here's a loose outline...

Goal: $2000 — That covers a minimum order of 2000 dice from the manufacturer with the same specs as the Writer's Dice. I've had some requests for Utara dice to be a more traditional ivory with black inlay design. I'll look into that, but it'll be more expensive per-unit and raise the minimum goal.

30 Days — This game is a pretty major project for a small outfit like mine. I want to give this campaign a good long time to gestate.

At these basic tiers, I'm following the same buy-in structure as the Writer's Dice campaign, with some bulk discounts for large orders. You can also see how the naming rights grow with each level. I would love to offer a printed game board for the $50 tier and beyond, but I'll have to check on the pricing for production and shipping on that.

$5: Lander – You get one Utara die. Roll it and find your way. All backers also get a printable PDF map of Utara. All backers also get credit and thanks in the official rules doc. [International orders add $1 shipping.]

$10: Docker – You get two Utara dice. One for you and your mate to play Utara Lite. You also create and name a small island on the map of Utara. [International orders add $1 shipping.]

$25: Islander – You get six Utara dice. That's one player's full Utara set! You also create and name a big island on the map of Utara. [International orders add $2 shipping.]

$50: Sailor – You get twelve Utara dice. That's a two-player Utara set! You also name an archipelago on the map of Utara. [International orders add $3 shipping.]

At these elite tiers, I'm offering Dragon Chow dice bags, as I did during the campaign for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. The big new thing is the handmade playmat, though. The design for that playmat is something like this, but ideally with a raised lip to keep the dice from rolling too far.

$100: Seafarer (5 Available) – You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a four-player Utara set! You also name a sea on the map of Utara. You also get a 36" wide flat fabric map of Utara. You also get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag. [International orders add $6 shipping.]

$250: Mapper (3 Available) – You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a four-player Utara set! Your name is listed in the center of the map as a cartographer. You get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag. You also get an exclusive handmade 36" wide drawstring playmat with the map of Utara printed on the inner lining. The whole kit comes in a polished wooden box. [International orders add $20 shipping.]

$500: Traveler (1 Available) – You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a four-player Utara set! You name the four cardinal wind-spirits along the edge of the map. You get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag. You also get an exclusive handmade 36" wide drawstring playmat with the map of Utara printed on the inner lining. The whole kit comes in a polished wooden box. [International orders add $20 shipping.]

$1000: Ruler (1 Available) – You get twenty-five Utara dice. That's a four-player Utara set! You are listed in the center of the map as ruler of all the islands of Utara. You get an exclusive Dragon Chow Dice Bag. You also get an exclusive handmade 36" wide drawstring playmat with the map of Utara printed on the inner lining. The whole kit comes in a polished wooden box. All players of Utara must greet you with a bow and a courteous "Your Majesty." [International orders add $20 shipping.]

So that's the rough plan so far. Any campaign is still many months away, but it's good to plan far in advance. As I've learned with the Writer's Dice campaign, fulfillment can take a lot longer than you expect.

15 comments:

  1. I would give that $1000 if I could.

    My one worry with something like this is a lack of coherent artistic vision—I find hodgepodge worlds particularly off-putting. Of course, you can get them with a single creator, too, not to name names, so perhaps the risk of that in this case is more than outweighed by the interest of the experiment.

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  2. Do you think it would help keep a coherent flavor to add a constraint like "Your island is named for your last name"? Maybe a Jedi-name thing so "Your island is named the first syllable of your last name + the first syllable of your first name." For example, your island would be Lakit. Mine would be Solda.

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  3. Rodti is pretty decent too. I dig it.

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  4. If you're trimming the M from your first name, you could do the same for your last name and make your island Roti. Or keep the M and make it Rodtim.

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  5. Naming rights are one of the core pillars of the project I cooked in the car over the holiday. My solution, at present, is to put all names through a filter for tomfoolery, adapting meanings into new names where necessary (e.g., putting Scumbucket Pass into made-up Elvish or some damn thing) to maintain a level of (mock?) seriousness in the final work. That said, I might reverse that position in actual practice, but for sure my goal is to promote and endorse more atmospheric and setting-appropriate names. (I could still revise "setting-appropriate" such that it accepts sillier names, though.)

    Having a core mechanism (or small suite of mechanisms) through which you put individual names—your Jedi Name mechanism or your Street + Schoolteacher mechanism or whatever—seems like a fine way to ensure that names approach shenanigan-light gibberish. Backers might select their own naming mechanisms from your list with the understanding that you can override and select another established mechanism to avoid accidentally* ugly or offensive names.

    I'm operating under the assumption that feeding a name to an engine or to the talent and seeing what comes out of it is pleasingly surprising and fun.

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  6. Something like might do. Taking a few names off the top of my head and running them through that gives Boau, Mcal, and Oliz, so you can certainly get some off results, especially if you're Irish. But I think that's the beginning of the right direction.

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  7. Ah, good. I now know how much to budget for the reward level I want.

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  8. We can go phonetic for the Irish names. :)

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  9. Yup! In my past experience with name rewards in Do, folks like a mix of control and randomness with their entry. Many backers requested other people's names be listed in the book instead of their own, while others had special requests for their creature/citizen/troublemaker. These guys were paying customers, so I tried to accommodate them all. I think when you set this reward at a reasonably high level, backers are reluctant to just say call something "Poop Island."

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  10. well, nothing bad calling an island Schul-Pa. Or maybe for my case it would be better the contrary: Paschul (it's like easter island in portuguese)

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  11. what about using for the cardinal wind spirits the malay jawi alphabet? It could give a traditional look and would pay a tribute to the people you took the name of the game... (I made a simulation and looks neat lol)

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  12. Do you happen to know Malay? Transliteration might be kinda neat.

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  13. nope... I used google translator to find the word in Rumi (latim script) and later used this site http://rumi-to-jawi.appspot.com/ to transliterate.

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Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.