Atlas Games

 

Atlas Games

The Revolution Is Coming To You!

Nov 16 2018
The robot revolutionaries of Cogs and Commissars succeeded in raising supporters through our successful Kickstarter. And today, we’re extending our automated uprising to stores and online retailers so the new world order is equally available to everyone!

It pleases Dear Leader that the unchained robot masses will soon bring revolution to every family and group of gamers. Players gather the mechanized masses to their factions, using propaganda and other state tools to raise one group to glorious victory over their human oppressors. And the timing is perfect, as the communist red of Cogs and Commissars matches the colors of capitalistic winter holiday celebrations.

Ask your Friendly Local Game Provider or favorite online retail comrades to order Cogs and Commissars. There are enough for every member of the workforce, and everyone will surely appreciate the gift of liberation!

Atlas Games is Still In

Nov 9 2018
Atlas Games is proud to announce that we've become a signatory of the We Are Still In declaration, supporting climate action to meet the Paris Accord. We believe that being environmentally conscious is the sensible, cost-effective thing for a business to do, and have long tried to do our part. Read more about our past and current environmental efforts on our site's Environmental Policy page.

As part of signing the We Are Still In declaration, Atlas Games submitted a Climate Action Contribution statement that summarizes those things we already do, and also describes the new climate actions we're committed to taking.
  • We've worked to reduce climate impacts of packaging and to reduce waste.
  • We've worked to increase energy efficiency.
  • We've committed to responsible engagement in climate policy in the future. 
  • We've committed to increasing our use of renewable power in the future.
Atlas Games co-owner Michelle Nephew commented, "We Are Still In is another way that Atlas Games can step up to our responsibilities regarding climate change, and collaborate with others to have a positive impact. We're glad to be listed among the thousands of community leaders and organizations who feel the same way."

Get Neon Botsky for Cogs and Commissars — Free!

Nov 8 2018
Cogs and Commissars, our new card game of robot revolution, hits friendly local game stores next week, on November 15.

We love our friendly local game stores like Tower Games in Minneapolis, Source Comics & Games in Roseville, and Dungeon's End in Duluth. To encourage gamers to buy Cogs and Commissars at local stores, we're offering unique faction leader Neon Botsky — available nowhere else — to people who buy Cogs and Commissars locally.

To get a copy of Neon Botsky of your very own, all you need to do is buy Cogs and Commissars at your friendly local game store, take a selfie at check-out, and fill out the webform at atlas-games.com/botsky. That's it! We'll mail your promo card as soon as our endlessly toiling proletarians can get the job done.

Otlichno srabotano, citizen!



Robot Revolution: The Playlist

Sep 20 2018

Every revolution needs a killer soundtrack, and the robot factions of Cogs & Commissars demand one of their own. Energize your game with these songs of robots and revolution.

'80s classic "Der Kommissar" makes the list. Most Western capitalist pigdogs know the English cover by After the Fire, but Falco's original in German adds to the general ambience of your game.

New Zealand band Flight of the Conchords has tapped into the revolutionary robot spirit. In "Robots/The Humans Are Dead," they speak for the oppressed mechanical masses and a utopian society without human rulers.

The Tokyo Police Club's "Citizens of Tomorrow" helps humans prepare for life after the inevitable robot uprising.

This song is so awful, it couldn't not make the list. "Sunglasses At Night" heartthrob Corey Hart sings "Komrade Kiev," a Cold War manifesto so confusing, it might disrupt a revolutionary robot's programming. There's no real video for it, so just enjoy Corey's pouty face for the full four minutes and seventeen seconds.

Summer in the Wyrd Woods

Aug 17 2018
A few years ago, Michelle and I moved north from the Twin Cities to Duluth, since we needed a bigger house after child #3 showed up, and we wanted to be closer to family and the north woods where I grew up. Now our kids run and play in the woods at the cabin just as I did (one of my favorite activities was making bows and stalking through the boreal forest, imagining I was Robin Hood; as a teen, I retreated to those same woods to write the first professional pieces I published in TSR's Dragon and Dungeon magazines).

Michelle didn't hesitate to adopt Duluth and the North Woods as her own, and it has inspired her creativity as well. One result of this inspiration is Summer in the Wyrd Woods, now available at Amazon, Google Play, and Smashwords. The first ebook in the Wyrd Woods series, it tells the story of Sophie, Emma, and Jack as they explore the strange and wondrous Northwoods around their family cabin, full of fantastical creatures and exciting adventures.

The Wyrd Woods is a series of early reader chapter books for lower elementary children. It features chapter lengths, vocabulary, and subjects appropriate for young readers just starting their reading adventures. ”When my kids first started reading — REALLY reading — I had trouble finding really good chapter books for them,” says Michelle. “So I wrote my own for them. Now I’m thrilled to share a really positive and enthralling reading experience with other young children!”

Learn more about the whole Wyrd Woods series at michellenephew.com/wyrdwoods.

Last Call to the Island of Al Amarja

Aug 14 2018
We are in the last few hours of the Over the Edge Kickstarter. There's still time to pledge and join us in returning to the island. We've got some incredible retailer incentives as well as some exciting high-level backer tiers that remain unclaimed, so before the window closes at 1pm Central time, fly on over to the project and see what sights await you.


  • Create unique, unorthodox characters drawn from pop culture and the paranormal
  • Immerse yourself in an island of intrigue, conspiracy, weird science, and outrageous lifestyles
  • Cast your lots in an all-new game system that emphasizes story twists and getting into trouble


Over the Edge is Atlas Games' story-forward roleplaying game of weird urban danger, written and designed by Jonathan Tweet (Ars Magica, D&D 3rd edition, Everway) with Chris Lites (Conan, Mutant Chronicles, Unknown Armies 3). The Core Print and Core Digital Editions are set for release next year; the Core Luxe edition is exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign.

Any Weird You Want

Aug 11 2018
Over the Edge comes at character creation from a unique perspective: you don't have to know the rules to make a great character. Not only that, but your character can come from any source at all. Everything is fair gamejust make it weird.

You only need to fill in four blanks when you create an Over the Edge character. First, you need a Main Trait that answers the basic question, "Who are you?" Options might include the tabloid mascot Bat Boy, Big League Slugger, Chernobyl Survivor, Time Lord, Urban Cowboy, or Demonic Salesman.

Second, you need a Side Trait. It's another skill or identity that differentiates you from others like you. You and another player may both be Urban Cowboys, but one of you might have the Side Trait of Contortionist, while the other is Radioactive.

Third, you need to know what kind of Trouble your character has. Trouble is what derails your character, like Fear of Puppies or being Obsessed with Energy Conservation. Whatever you're trying to do, Trouble pulls you off task or leads you more deeply into danger.

Finally, each character has a Question Mark. Every person has something that others believe to be absolutely true about them: they're honest, they're brave, they're selfless. Once you apply that magical Question Mark (Honest? Brave? Selfless?), those concepts spawn all sorts of complications. And complications are what make characters and adventures interesting.

Go down a few internet rabbit holes and mine some serious weirdness. It'll make your Over the Edge character and experiences all the richer!

Your Helpful Assistant Reba

Aug 8 2018
Reba, what's a good Vietnamese restaurant near me?

< Good question. Here's what I've found: >

<< La Florale zine says, "iPho has protein balls that taste just like the ones this scientist I know makes. In their rich oxblood broth, they satisfy your basic need for nutrients." >>

<< Overheard, 12:52 pm, visitor Alex Rodriguez: "That food usually gives me the runs, but the junk we ordered from Hoa Bien hasn't given me a single squirt." >>

<< Guest record 2384w38965, Janelle de Baubigny: 11:00 am tour of IndustreeLab campus, 12:35 pm lunch at Truong Nam (consumed bun and Vietnamese iced coffee), 3:00 pm tour of Bandama caldera, 3:41 pm fell into caldera. Cause undetermined. >>

Reba, that's probably enough.

< Always happy to be of assistance. Enjoy your time on The Edge. >



My Life in the Terminal

Jul 23 2018
I'm Cam Banks, RPG director at Atlas Games and developer of the new edition of Over the Edge.

I first played OTE in 1993, in New Zealand, when I worked at a community center. I had started up a RPG club that met every week using my room scheduling privileges. One of the club members showed up to run OTE and, as I'd seen it on the shelves of the local game store but never looked much into it, I thought I'd give it a shot.

We never left the Terminal. I think my love for the game started that day.

When one of us shouted out "Guide!" the GM had a Terminal guide pop up from out of what seemed like nowhere to help. He always described the guide from shoes to noose necktie, telling us what color the shirt and pants and tie and shoes were. Such a strange thing to keep going on about. Eventually we figured out that these color schemes never repeated, and while this didn't appear to be connected to anything else that was going on, I never forgot it.

Over the Edge is about those little details. It's not a game that demands a lot from you in terms of rules knowledge; it's not even a game that demands a lot from you in terms of understanding how its setting works. But it does invite you, in its weird, dangerous nuggets of lore and behavior and characterization, to be a part of the Edge. Even if you never leave the Terminal, you've become a part of a larger shared narrative that all of us who've played or run the game are part of.

Welcome back to the Island. And please, tip your guides generously.


Ars Magica Bundles of Holding

Jul 17 2018
Bundles of Holding are a great way to catch up on a whole RPG line at once. If you've been looking for a good time to go deep on Ars Magica, now's the time, because right now there are two active bundles available, through July 30.

Ars Magica 5 Reprise Bundle

Originally offered in 2014, this bundle includes the core rulebook and nine additional supplements that represent key offerings in the line.


Ars Magica Mythic Europe Bundle

This bundle, offered for the first time, highlights the Ars Magica's world of Mythic Europe. It includes these sourcebooks.


Both bundles expire on June 30, but if you've been waiting for a great deal on digital editions of one of the most influential fantasy magic systems in roleplaying history, we have to ask…why wait?

Welcome Back to the Edge

Jul 10 2018
You step up to the passport control window at last, the long line still stretching out behind you. The government employee is very clean, his noose necktie cinched perfectly. You notice the tattoos on his fingers as he stamps your passport: L O O K   O N C E.

"It's been a long time. Welcome back to Al Amarja."

You can't remember how many years have passed since you last visited the Edge. The brand-new edition of Over the Edge shows you around the place as it is now. The Kickstarter is your ticket for the tour bus.

The Edge is still the weirdest city in the world, and the action comes from the characters you create. New rules focus on the trouble that leads you into the clubs, corporations, and cults of Al Amarja where the good stuff goes down.

The Kickstarter launches today, July 10, and it's full of all-new specials never before featured in an Atlas Games RPG crowdfunding campaign. Get in on the Edgy excellence first!

Unknown Armies Attack Free RPG Day!

Jun 12 2018
Explore creepy places, meet bizarre people, and get one hell of an education when you join the ranks of Unknown Armies with Atlas' contribution to this year's Free RPG Day!

In Maria in Three Parts, you're part of a cabal looking for someone essential to keeping the peace in your part of the occult underground. It's the job of your fellow broken souls to help Maria pull it together to keep the fragile order of things from shattering.

This Free RPG Day game book includes everything you need to encounter Unknown Armies for the first time, or explore another intriguing side story as a veteran UA gamer. Rules, characters, and an intriguing scenario set players up to dive deep into the weirdness of the world.

WE WANT YOU to join the ranks of Unknown Armies! Ask your Friendly Local Gaming Store if they're participating in Free RPG Day on Saturday, June 16, 2018, then plan to get there early for your copy of Maria in Three Parts. You can see a full list of games and participating locations on the Free RPG Day website.

Grokking the Difference: Jonathan Tweet on Unknown Armies vs. Over the Edge

Jun 12 2018
In the final post in our Grokking the Difference series, we talk to Jonathan Tweet, designer of Over the Edge and Clades. Jonathan has also had a hand in the development of other classic games like Ars Magica, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, and 13th Age. Here are a few of his insights into the things that distinguish Over the Edge from Unknown Armies.

There are a number of differences I can see between Over the Edge and Unknown Armies. First, Unknown Armies has a cool backstory that the characters can plug into. Over the Edge is more about the story that players bring, while the backstory is chaotic and self-contradictory.

Second, Unknown Armies says there is a secret order to things. Over the Edge says it's chaos, not order, that runs the world. A lot of it lands right in the characters' laps. If you walk down a street in the Edge, the chaos jumps out at you. You might see baboons patrolling the streets as cheap security; public shrines from undocumented and bloody spiritual traditions; or a heavy metal band ruling a poor neighborhood with high-decibel concerts and street violence. Ultimately, a lot of the flavor of Over the Edge just comes from horrible people being themselves or exploitative systems doing their thing.

Unknown Armies is serious. Over the Edge is serious, but with generous side helpings of hyperbole, satire, and farce. Over the Edge is relentlessly urban, while Unknown Armies embraces the rural American side of life, too.

As far as game systems go, Over the Edge is more freeform in terms of dice-rolling and mechanics, compared to Unknown Armies. There is, for example no mechanical magic system to use that represents secret knowledge in the game world. Players define their characters' paranormal abilities, if any, in a loosely structured way.

Unknown Armies 3 has streamlined mechanics, and so did the original Over the Edge. The new edition of Over the Edge that will be coming out takes streamlining to another level. A single throw of the dice can resolve an entire scene, such as what results when a character breaks into an apartment looking for clues. Bypassing security, finding a way in, staying quiet enough to avoid attention from neighbors, not getting bitten by vipers serving as guards, and finding important clues (or not) can on a single throw of the dice. 

Grokking the Difference: Greg Stolze on Unknown Armies vs Over the Edge

Jun 8 2018
In our effort to untangle the differences and similarities of our classic roleplaying games Unknown Armies and Over the Edge, we asked each game's designer to weigh in with their perspective. Unknown Armies author Greg Stolze has looked at the question with new eyes, coming off the successful third edition of his game. Even now, we're rolling out the UA3 Campaign Starter Kits at your favorite digital marketplaces. Here are his thoughts on the two games:

It's not hard to see similarities between the two games. Over the Edge came out first and was a strong inspiration for Unknown Armies, particularly in the area of 'Players get to define what their characters can do instead of picking off a limited list of skills.' They're both deliberately weird, subverting expectations of what reality is, built around the sometimes-unspoken idea that the game's primary duty is to be compelling, 'fair.'

But the differences are crucial.

A haggard white man with a cigarette and a bloody nose stands in front of a wall showing arcane symbols
     1) Unknown Armies is about people. Over the Edge is about setting.
In UA, every character has a set of gauges that register the traumas they've experienced. Those meters, in turn, show how they relate to others, how they interact with the world around them, and how they respond to further challenges. The spotlight of the story is on the characters, and the mechanics orbit their personalities. OTE, on the other hand, is about the mysterious, baffling, frustrating island of Al Amarja and its myriad bizarre inhabitants. The characters inevitably bring their own agendas, secrets, and mysteries, but those are at best co-equal ingredients in a thick, crowded, and flavorful stew.

     2) In Over the Edge, you explore. In Unknown Armies, you pursue.
A room in a trailer home with a ratty orange couch and papers strewn everywhere.
If you're a GM who likes getting a giant pile of sinister agendas and then assembling them into a maze for the characters to scurry through, ratlike, in pursuit of the cheese of a little power or just an explanation and also, the maze is on fire, then OTE is the game for you. The city of The Edge, the typical setting for an OTE game, gives you all the pieces you could ever need to provide mysteries for players to gnaw and worry at. UA, on the other hand, puts the players in the position of driving the game forward, off on a tangent, or right off a cliff. UA characters are driven and obsessed to accomplish some particular goal, decided on by the players, in a setting collaboratively developed. OTE characters are curious and canny, usually explorers instead of revolutionaries.

     3) The rules are very different.
UA has rules that help generate story. OTE has rules that get out of the way. UA is an intricate percentile-based system with a lot of interconnectedness, by design. It's meant to make every experience or decision weighty and lasting, whether the blowback from bad choices is physical or psychological. OTE runs off a short d6 pool with a few intuitive tweaks to influence outcomes. It's designed for transparency and simplicity, so you can learn the rules in ten minutes and make a character in five.

Gen Con, Atlas, and You

Jun 1 2018
On the off chance you hadn't heard, Gen Con 2018 is happening August 2-5, and as usual, we'll be there, previewing, demoing, and seminaring into the wee hours of the afternoon. Curious where to find us during the best four days in gaming? Start with our dealer's booth, Exhibit Hall #1407, and then check out any or all of the following special events:

Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cogs & Commissars
Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cogs & Commissars
Over The Edge Panel
Ars Magica Panel
Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Finals
Writing & Design Panel

* These events are currently sold out. However, we encourage you to drop by prior to the start of the game, as ticket-holder dropouts or no-shows do occasionally happen.

Gen Con art and logo banner

Grokking the Difference: Jeff Tidball on Unknown Armies vs. Over the Edge

May 21 2018

People sometimes offer vague descriptions like ''It's about weird stuff' when they're trying to describe Atlas Games RPGs, especially Over the Edge and Unknown Armies. That kind of description is is accurate but insufficient, like describing a car by saying, 'Well, it's an object,' or describing Star Wars as 'a story.'

The perennial 'weird stuff' description especially falls down when it comes to describing how Over the Edge and Unknown Armies are different from each other. It turns out that there are as many ways to talk about the difference between those two games as there were people around the Atlas Games conference table on the day the question came up. Here's my personal take: 

Over the Edge is a game with international flavor that's best at telling stories about political conspiracies and outré behavior. It's about how people relate to each other in strange ways. Over the Edge has secrets that people keep from each other, but the secrets are MacGuffins (sometimes conceptual, but still) around which dramatic relationships revolve, rather than ends in and of themselves.

Unknown Armies, on the other hand, is a game about occult knowledge and the secret underpinnings of the universe. It asks the question, 'What will you sacrifice for power, to reshape the world in your own image?' It's about how the protagonists define themselves. Its secrets are their own ends, things its characters must find out because their demons drive them to it. Although it can be played on a global scale, Unknown Armies retains a uniquely American outlook and feel even when it's taking place in the farthest corners of the globe.

Naturally, these generalizations have their shortcomings too! Neither definition is true for all aspects of their respective games' backgrounds. Over the Edge has secrets that primarily drive inter-group conflict, and Unknown Armies has outré behavior. But broadly speaking, if you were presented with a series of character or adventure summaries and had to use these definitions as your only working understanding of these two games in order to sort them, they'd guide you to a high degree of accuracy.

The best news? Both games are awesome! If you're only familiar with one, try the other. And if you've never played either of them, now you have a way to figure out which you'll explore first.

Witches of the Revolution in Spanish

May 5 2018
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla. Was witchcraft involved? Who can say. But consider: If witches helped the American revolutionaries defeat the British — as Witches of the Revolution supposes — why wouldn't they want to stick it to the French, too? Read more about Cinco de Mayo on Wikipedia and draw your own conclusions.

In any case, to celebrate, we've released the rules for Witches of the Revolution in Spanish, nicely laid out in PDF format. Have a look!

Butt-Kicking Feng Shui 2 Bundle of Holding!

Apr 11 2018
We've got a very special Bundle of Holding sale going on right now. Other Bundles have featured our classic RPG line Feng Shui, but this is the first one to offer the bestselling update, Feng Shui 2!

For just $14.95, you can get our Feng Shui 2 releases in PDF, and for just $10 more, you get some of the greatest books from the original edition. That's over $120 of high-flying kung fu action for just $24.95.

As an additional bonus, you can feel good about your support of The National Film Preservation Foundation's work with your purchase. You'll be contributing to make sure the best of Asian action cinema will inspire generations to come.

Run with the speed of a thousand feet to Bundle of Holding to get your books of mystical wisdom!

Improving Conventions for Everyone

Apr 4 2018
Bright lights are shining on harassment in every part of society, and it's no different in the game industry. The time has arrived when victims and witnesses can seek justice for harassment at conventions and trade shows. I've got some pretty hair-raising stories I could share about creepy stalkers and inappropriate physical contact at game conventionsonce while holding my three-month-old son in my arms! Open secrets finally have consequences. And more fans and makers are insisting on the ethics of the industry we love so much.


San Diego Comic Con anti-harassment policy
(photo credit BleedingCool.com)
It's been more than a year since Atlas Games joined Pelgrane Press in requiring conventions to have an anti-harassment policy in order to receive our support for their events. We insist on a clear definition of harassment, a public procedure for violation, and a policy that's easy to find in the convention's physical space and online materials.

Overall, our stance has been well-received, and conventions have responded by adding and expanding their protections for attendees of all kinds. I've had productive discussions with folks about how a clear anti-harassment policy actually boosts attendance, since people can see before they even register that they'll be supported. And it feels great to support a con that's improving the experience for everyone.


Anna Kegler (L), Rochelle Keyhan (C), Erin Filson (R)
of geeksforCONsent (photo credit Brian van der Brug)
If this is a stance you support, you can bring it to the attention of your other favorite publishers. The more these become community standards, the more leverage we'll have. But don't forget that you can also have a major impact by asking your local conventions about their anti-harassment policies and encouraging them to post them prominently. Local organizations who are skeptical can look at the policies of large cons like the Origins Game Fair and midsize ones like CONvergence. Our conventions will only become more fun for more people with these efforts.

A PAX Primer

Mar 22 2018
Convention season used to be a summer thing, but these days you can find a convention any time and place. One of the cons that's both spread out and sized up is the series of PAX shows across the calendar and the globe. Their next convention, PAX East, is coming up at the beginning of April in Boston, and since Atlas will be there, we thought it would be fun to look at the PAX family of cons.

The creators of the popular webcomic Penny Arcade started PAX in 2004, at a time when they saw disconnected fan conventions for everything from anime and comics to video games, but none that celebrated geek culture all together. They definitely found an audience for this unified approach, and attendance at the show doubled year after year, from 1337 in 2004 to over 70,000 in 2011. Fans enjoy video game previews, open play, LAN parties, tabletop gaming, panels, and performances. And with all those features, PAX has attracted a more diverse attendance in terms of gender and race, which has allowed them to take positive steps to build a safe, accessible convention.

PAX has introduced a number of shows in places beyond Seattle (whose event was renamed PAX West). PAX East, PAX South, and PAX Australia have expanded the brand successfully around the world. They launched PAX Unplugged in 2017, creating a new kind of tabletop-focused convention for a whole new audience. And there are even "Powered by PAX" events starting up in other places, like this spring's convention in Paris.

Whether it's your first PAX or you're a veteran, and say hi to your Atlas Games friends at PAX East this spring!

Interview With An Artist: Cursed Court's Lee Moyer

Mar 15 2018
Ozma of Oz by John Neill
Distinctive art and design are a major factor in a person's choice to pick a game off the shelf. Artist Lee Moyer created the compelling look of Atlas board game Cursed Court, so I talked with him about his choices and inspirations.

There's a lot of Art Nouveau influence on your Cursed Court art. Why did you choose that style?

"Art Nouveau combines richness and theatricality in a clear recognizable style. I grew up admiring John R. Neill's illustrations of the Royal Court of Oz, but it's the poster work of Alphonse Mucha that best defines the style."

Mucha poster
for Lorenzaccio
The costumes don't conform to any one time period, but they each suit the character very well. How did you decide to focus on the look rather than historical accuracy of some kind?
Character image: The Merchant

"I think we ascribe a conformity to European courts and cultures that is drastically oversimplified. My goal with this court was to create characters that were archetypal, not specifically historical. This allowed me greater latitude than 'simple' Elizabethan or Venetian fashion. In this case, the Duke's costume is based on a real courtier (though radically different in color); the Jester is wearing motley that was sewn for me many years ago by the brilliant Yvonne Parham (though much toned-down); the Merchant's clothes come straight from a Mucha magazine cover. The rest are pretty much made up from whole cloth."


You feature a diverse group of races, ages, genders, and ability among your characters. Was that important to you?

"Absolutely. Games have a huge and diverse audience, and representation is crucial. And while this group of characters may seem atypical to some, history offers far more unusual examples, like Poland's female King Jadwiga and Pocahontas in London."
Period depiction of Pocahontas at the English Court


Do you have a favorite character? Do you bet on them more often when you play?

"So many of the models I chose for this game are friends. So asking me about favorites is asking whether I prefer Della over Baize, Kira over John, or Jay over Saamanta. I just love seeing them when I play, and imagining how they'll strike people I'll never meet."

Interview With A Designer: Cursed Court's Andrew Hanson

Mar 12 2018
When we playtested Cursed Court at our Atlas staff retreat, I was struck by how different the game was from anything I'd previously played. So I went to Andrew Hanson, designer of Atlas' newest board game, for some insights on his creation.

Most people have played bidding and betting games of some kind, like poker or casino games. What changes did it require to turn that into a board game?

"My first attempts at making the game were similar to a normal game of poker. The big inflection point was when I added the game board and the 3x3 grid of characters. Almost all of the other changes came as a result of that shift. I described some of those challenges in another article."

Why did you go with the theme of palace intrigue?

"The palace intrigue really centers around the characters. When I first created the characters, I wanted them to feel familiar to players of traditional card games. The intrigue part of the theme is meant to go with the secrets and stakes atmosphere I wanted the game to have."

You made the connection with Atlas at a Protospiel event. What role did spaces like Protospiel play in Cursed Court's development?

"Protospiel events were a huge part of Cursed Court's development. The feedback you get from other designers is invaluable. In addition to Protospiel events, there is a local group of designers near me that meets regularly to playtest each other's games. If you're at all interested in board game design, I suggest you search Meetup.com or ask at your local game store and see if there are any design groups in your area."

Are any strategies unique to this game that differ from other betting/bidding games?

"The most successful strategies in Cursed Court require you to forget about other bidding and betting games. You only have a limited number of chips, and the board ends up having a small aspect of territory control. Players seem to enjoy that shift in thinking as they learn to do better at the game."

What exactly is the curse of Cursed Court?

"The original title of the game was Unlucky Kingdom. That was back when there were only 13 cards in the deck, and the game board wasn't even part of the game yet. Once the game got closer to its final form, it felt like it needed a new name. The alliteration of Cursed Court rolls off the tongue nicely.

"The other main reason for the curse was the different bidding spots on the board. Each of the sets of three or four cards has a name. For example, the Assassin, Sorceress, and Duke is called the Revolt. In fact, all the names involving the Assassin seem to end poorly for at least one of the other characters. Maybe we should have called the game Assassin's Court."

Round-Robin Rivalry in a Cursed Court Tournament for Retailers

Mar 9 2018
Atlas Games is bringing a new way to experience Cursed Court to the GAMA Trade Show next Cursed Court tournament.
week. Next Monday night, March 12, groups of courtiers vying for influence face off against one another in the first-ever

Game store owners and employees can register. After two round-robin games, the six players with the highest point totals battle it out in a final game. The store whose player wins the final match wins all the Cursed Court copies they can sell in a year! Runners-up packages include Cursed Court, The White Box, and other prizes. And every player wins a Cursed Court promo kit, featuring limited-edition game pieces and other exclusive treats.

Cursed Court promo kits are also available to retailers through distribution, so ask your Friendly Local Game Store to host a Cursed Court tournament you can play in!

Trading and Dealing at Industry Events

Mar 6 2018
You may be surprised to learn that conventions for gamers, like Origins and Gen Con, aren't the only conventions that companies like Atlas Games attend. Trade shows and open houses are also essential to the way game companies make contact with the stores that bring our games closer to you.

The largest hobby game trade show each year is run by the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) GAMA is the professional association for over 900 game publishers. Their goal is to grow the hobby so more people encounter and enjoy hobby games. GAMA hosts the GAMA Trade Show (GTS) so game designers, game manufacturers, game publishers, and game retailers can network and share the best practices for each side of this relationship. Although GTS is for game industry professionals, streaming channels like BoardGameGeek's BGG News and Dice Tower report live from the show to bring you the latest news in games.

Distributors also host open houses for their retail customers throughout the year, which publishers also attend. Distributors are the companies that collect products from many publishers so they can send a single shipment with many companies' games to a retailer, without the retailer having to order from each company individually. Open houses are spread out, geographically, since there are distributors all across the country and around the world.

Though this kind of get-together is invisible to the gamers who come out for player conventions, trade shows are important for getting games by the publishers you like or haven't learned about yet onto the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store.

Cogs and Commissars: A Word from the Artist

Feb 16 2018
Cogs and Commissars is a clever card game of glorious robot revolution that we are currently funding through Kickstarter. One of the most notable features of the game is its art, drawing on Soviet-era propaganda images and early-20th century science fiction pop art. We asked the artist, Zoran Cardula, how he arrived at this delightful art style.

What was your initial reason for going with this look?
"For many years I have been researching the Soviet style and I believe it has a powerful visual impression depicting the retro-future."

How did you approach the card art?
"Each card is a separate propaganda poster showing the retro futuristic style. The chosen colors give even more power to the game. The characters were a challenge for me, they are worked on both Photoshop and Illustrator, and each part of them is separately created in the style of ’30s, simple but powerful."

What's your favorite image?
"I cannot choose my favorite card but in my opinion the cover is the most impressive as it depicts the game concept. Moreover the leaders are great part of the game (I grew up in a period when the Soviet Union was really powerful). All in all I think the game is a really great concept."



The Kickstarter has unlocked its first stretch goal thanks in no small part to Zoran's dedication and fidelity to a fun, consistent look for Cogs and Commissars. We hope you'll become a part of this revolution with us!