Gassing Up the Embermobile – Fireball Island Design Diary 5

March 27, 2018

We’re one week away, folks. Next Tuesday, April 3rd, hopefully around noon EST, we’ll be launching the Kickstarter for Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar. We’ve ordered the giant ribbon and are sharpening the giant scissors. We’re excited to send this out in the world, this thing we’ve been working so hard on for the past year or more.

So let’s talk about something that’s very important to us and plays a central role in this Kickstarter: fun.

Sometimes in this business, it seems, people can lose sight of the whole point of games, and that’s having fun. Not me. I practiced law for 20-odd years before I started Restoration Games. I’m still grateful I get to spend my days bringing fun to people all over the world. Everyone on the team has their own reasons, but that feeling is something we all share. That’s why we were so excited when we got the chance to bring back Fireball Island, a game that so many were so fond of. So when it came time to start putting the Kickstarter together, we wanted to make sure we made it as much fun as the game itself. We’re hoping this Kickstarter can help build a community of Fireball Island fans, who can share stories and memories and laughs. We’ve got a bunch of little ideas to make the Kickstarter as much fun as possible, but today I want to mention two of them: The Fireball Island Tour and our Silly Stretch Goals.

In a lot of Kickstarters, the publisher sends out preview copies to various reviewers so they have nice videos to post on the campaign page. Unfortunately, that’s just not possible with Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar. The single prototype costs several thousands of dollars, so we couldn’t very well do that a dozen times. Of course, we wanted people to be able to see it and play with it and see people playing with it. What to do? Our Tinker-in-Chief, J.R. Honeycutt, came up with a great idea: What if we took our prototype on a big road trip? After he said it, it seemed so obvious. And J.R., who is a bit of kook when it comes to driving long distances, took the idea and ran with it. So, without further ado, we are excited to formally announce the 2018 Fireball Island Tour.

We’ve rented J.R. a swanky SUV we’re temporarily calling the Embermobile. We’ve kitted out the prototype with a tactical-grade footlocker for transport. We got bright car magnets so passers-by can gawk. We’ve got tour t-shirts. And fancy pens so everyone who stops by can sign the footlocker. We got a GoPro so J.R. can record himself playing the game with folks all over the country, and we lined up the Brothers Murph to do some daily video edits so we can post it to our YouTube channel. And, most importantly, we’ve lined up an amazing list of cities and sites.

J.R. starts his adventure at PAX East, where you’ll find us in the First Look area of open gaming and in the Kickstarter Room from 4-6 PM. He’s hitting the Secret Cabal meetup at Beer Mongers in Dallastown, PA on the 10th. And Snakes and Lattes north of the border. There’s Atomic Empire down in North Carolina, and Pieces in St. Louis. Just to name a few. We’re expecting a lot of local content creators to attend as well, so don’t be surprised if you see some of your favorite tabletop celebrities. If you’re in the neighborhood for any of these dates, we encourage you to show up, play the game, get some goodies, and – that’s right – have some fun. And if you see J.R. on the road, buy him a Dr. Pepper, snap a selfie with him, and make sure you tag us and use #FireballIsland in your posts.

Honk if you’re on fire!

The other thing a lot of Kickstarters do is have stretch goals that bling out the game. Again, though, that’s not something we can really do with Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar. Sure, we’ve got a few little upgrades we’ll be putting in as early stretch goals. But the fact is, we’ve already unlocked the Mother of all Stretch Goals: the board itself. We’re also planning on doing an “expansion deck”, which adds new cards to the game. The more stretch goals we unlock, the more cards that end up in the deck. (Backers will get this expansion deck for free, but it will be available for purchase after the campaign on our website and through other channels.) That’s great. But we wanted to come up with some stretch goals that were, more than anything else, just about having fun. For example, Jason, our Visual Restoration Wizard, personally developed the font you see on the cover of the game. If we hit one of our early stretch goals, we’ll release that font for free. Maybe you’ll use it on your invitations to game night when you get the game? We’ve got a stretch goal, where Rob and I will write up a D&D 5e scenario featuring a certain evil island totem. For awhile now, Rob and I have been going back and forth on who’s the better chef. Well, if we hit a certain stretch goal, we’ll finally do the throwdown and find out. And then there’s the biggie.

When I told the team we got the rights to do Fireball Island, J.R. confidently claimed we’d hit $5 million. I laughed and told him that, if we hit $5 million, I’d buy him a car. It became a running bit for so long that I had to include it as an official stretch goal. It’s legally binding now – I would know. So if you want to see J.R. get a genuine Embermobile, well, we’ve all got some work to do.

J.R.’s future ride hopefully.

If you’re planning on stopping by during the Tour, let us know. If you’ve got any ideas for a Silly Stretch Goal, let us know here. And make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter. On Monday, we’ll send the preview link for the Kickstarter to our subscribers for a sneak peek. Most of all, come join us next week and have some fun.