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Evil Hat Productions

 

Evil Hat Productions

Solidarity

Jun 18 2020

We’ve been saying “stay safe” to our customers and fans since this pandemic began. 

But for people and communities of color, the murder of George Floyd has made it clear that even if COVID-19 was eradicated tomorrow, they cannot stay safe.

Every day our Black customers, artists, designers, and industry colleagues face the fear of being killed by those sworn to protect and serve. A fear that any random traffic stop, trip to the store, or outing to the park can suddenly turn lethal. They face systemic oppression, financial discrimination, reduced opportunity, and a ruling white society poisoned by hundreds of years of bigotry.

We see you. We stand with you. We support you. The outpouring of pain and protest across the country, the grief and rage of our fans and colleagues, the hard work that remains to be done within our industry to root out racism and discrimination — we acknowledge it, we share in it, and we pledge to listen, learn, and to keep working for justice and liberation.

Some of the Steps We’re Taking

We’re redoubling our ongoing efforts to hire and support designers and artists of color and to ensure that our art and games represent a world at least as diverse and compelling as the real one. Part of that involves reexamining the process we use to greenlight new projects and identifying our own internal biases. We’ll be the first to tell you we’re not perfect, but we’re trying and we’re committed to doing better.

Black Lives Matter Charity Event at DriveThruRPG

The Black Lives Matter Charity Bundle #1 on DriveThruRPG features 58 different RPG titles, including the Zweihander Player’s Handbook, Eclipse Phase Second Edition, and Uprising our Dystopian Universe RPG where cyberpunk freedom fighters battle to beat the system in a gritty, near-future Paris. That’s over $450 worth of games and supplements for only $10. All proceeds go to Black Lives Matter

This bundle represents just one of six different BLM charity offerings live at DriveThruRPG through June 23rd. Check them all out here.

Black Celebration in the Future – Art Contest

We’re also one of several companies onboard as sponsors for an afropunk/afrofuturism art contest organized by Brandon Dixon, creator of the Swordsfall RPG. The goal is to increase representation and showcase black lives in the future. This sort of initiative shines a spotlight on art and artists of color and is a terrific way to expand the talent pool. One of the explicit goals is that every entry receives some sort of stipend so no one has to sacrifice their time and talent just for the opportunity to be seen. You can get more details and help increase the funds in the prize pool here.

If you are an artist who would like to participate in the contest, ~50 entry slots will open up on Juneteenth. Watch the contest donations page or follow Brandon Dixon on twitter for details on how to enter when it goes live.

In Conclusion

The year has been one of upheaval, both financial and societal. We’re still here, and we’re still dedicated to fighting the good fight. We hope you will join us.

COVID-19: Cautiously Resuming After the Pause

May 27 2020

The ongoing crisis has affected everyone from our customers all the way up the chain to our suppliers, but we hope this update finds you well. Everyone at the Hat is hale and healthy and we’ve managed to keep very busy during this shutdown. One of the advantages to being a work-from-home company is everyone has been able to shelter in place with only minor disruption to the office routine. So while our printing partners and warehouse were shut down, we’ve been able to keep busy behind the scenes.

As of last week, our warehouse, printer, and many retailers have resumed business operations to some degree. After receiving assurances about the health and safety practices they’re implementing for both clients and employees, we have re-opened our webstore for US orders. International shipping remains prohibitively expensive and we do not foresee that as a viable option anytime in the near future.

Like most small businesses, this recent shutdown produced a dramatic reduction in our primary income streams and interrupted much of our release schedule. We’re eager to get hard copies of our games into your hands, whether you buy them from your FLGS or directly from us.

However: we encourage you to ease forward with your daily and public routines in whatever way best mitigates the risk to yourself, your loved ones, and your community. No one’s invented a new instant vaccine or wonder drug treatment, so we all have to do our part to mitigate further spread of this disease. No family member, neighbor, or retail employee should be placed at risk so you can fight imaginary space elves. Wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing as much as possible, and wear a mask.

We continue to believe in the value of local game stores, who have also been heavily impacted by this crisis. Support them by buying gift cards, or choosing curbside pick-up. Remember, if you buy any title of ours new at your local retailer, we will send you the PDF for free. (It’s our PDF guarantee.)

If you prefer to maintain more distance but still want to support our company, you can also buy from us directly, or make electronic purchases on itch.io, DriveThruRPG, and Roll20.

In particular, we’ve spent much of the past month adding our games to the Roll20 Marketplace and we’ve built up quite a selection: from Secrets of Cats and the Fate Starter Bundle, to critically-acclaimed story building game For The Queen to zippy, zany party game Channel A. And for you map and token collectors, we’ve converted art from the epic fantasy world of Karthun to use as locations, characters, and monsters in your Roll20 sessions. All our Roll20 offerings can be found here. We’ve got even more in the works. Shop now to take advantage of some special introductory sale prices available until June 11th.

We’re working to deliver the games you want, in the format you want. If the past months have taught us anything it’s that this is not one obstacle to overcome, but multiple different challenges. We plan to take it one step at a time. We invite you to join us. Safely.

Fate Space Toolkit

May 1 2020
players_info_icon ages_info_icon time_info_icon price_info_icon Fate Space Toolkit
3-6 12+ 2-6 hr $20

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Fate Space Toolkit

Fate Space Toolkit

Take your Fate game into the great unknown with the Fate Space Toolkit!  Fate Space Toolkit is an expansion for the Fate Core System.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Guidelines for creating a space-faring game without breaking your table’s sense of what’s plausible.
  • Multiple options for deciding how space-travel works in your setting, from star charts to rocket ships.
  • A variety of tools for making your space fights exciting and consistent with your setting.
  • Guidance on creating aliens and alien worlds.
  • Five ready-to-go campaign-starter settings showcasing all of the toolkit’s tools in action.

Fate Toolkits. All the tools to build your stage.

Expansion Information

Number of players: 3-6
Age of players: 12+
Length: 2-6 hours
Type of Game: Roleplaying Game Supplement for Fate Core
Languages Available: English
Price: $20
Length: 176 Pages
Availability: Available now on itch.io and DriveThruRPG
Format: PDF
Release Date: February 8, 2019
Game Designers: Bill White, Mikki Kendall, Joshua A.C. Newman, C.W. Marshall

COVID-19: A Further Update

Apr 6 2020

On March 18th we posted a statement on how COVID-19 was affecting our business. We noted that the situation was highly fluid and unpredictable and promised that we’d keep you updated.

Some two-and-a-half weeks later, it’s time again to check in.

Impact to Our Operations

As states have worked to mitigate the spread of the virus, many of our business partners have (rightly) been deemed non-essential businesses. This includes our main distributor, our printer, and many of the local game stores who carry our titles. Our retail pipeline is basically shut down. We understand that is a dire step – but a necessary one. We’ve weathered financial hardship before and we’re fortunate to be in a position where we can absorb this hit for a couple of months. Obviously the situation is supercharged with uncertainty but for now we are holding steady.

This turn of events has forced some operational changes, however.

Since our warehouse is closed, we can’t fulfill physical orders and for the time being we have closed our webstore. If you’d like to support us or are just looking to pick up a game in PDF format, you have two options:

In terms of upcoming releases, the Fate Space Toolkit made it through the printing process before the facility was closed. We anticipate that it will be ready to pick up from your FLGS within a couple weeks of our warehouse re-opening. If your FLGS is open and takes part in Bits & Mortar (which they should, it’s free for them) they can take your pre-order and deliver you the PDF right away.

AGON is final, the proofs have been approved, and the game will go to press when our printer re-opens. We are currently taking pre-orders here. Making a pre-order now gives you immediate access to the PDF.

With so many local game stores closed, our fans have been forced to look elsewhere to find our books. We are temporarily broadening our PDF guarantee to include other sources. We encourage you to support your FLGS however you can. They need your help in these times.  But we don’t want to penalize customers who don’t have that option. If you buy one of our games new, we’ll send you the PDF for free.

If you’re in the US and looking to mail-order our recent releases and most popular titles in hardcopy, Indie Press Revolution is still shipping daily. They send you both the book and the PDF and stock a finely-curated selection of indie titles from a variety of great publishers. They also carry physical copies of our highly-praised story-building game For The Queen as well Channel A, our goofy party game of pitching anime tv shows. If you have teens or pre-teens both of these are easy to learn and will provide stimulating creative engagement for bored kids and parents alike.

While many other retail outlets are closed, IPR is not a retail storefront in the traditional sense and this post explains the details about their unique situation, why they’ve chosen to stay open, and how they work to keep their staff and their customers safe.

The Online Escape Valve

Especially in these times, we’re glad we have official licenses with online virtual tabletop Roll20. If you’re looking for a very rules-light game that’s extremely newbie-friendly, we recommend For The Queen. It uses a simple yet engaging series of prompts to help you develop the characters and story. It’s easy to learn, easy to play over the internet or tablet, and it’s never the same twice.

Fate makes it easy to pick up a set of dice and set foot in the world of your favorite movie, tv show, or novel. The Fate Complete Bundle gives you rules, character sheets, two complete Worlds of Adventure, character tokens, and more. Everything you need to get a game of Fate going on Roll20. 

The Fate SRD has recently been updated with resources and tips for playing Fate online.

If you’re looking for a concise, streamlined version of our rules, last month we released Fate Condensed.  It’s a tight 60-page package that explains how to play Fate and is fully compatible with everything else we’ve published for the system. It’s priced as a Pay What You Want PDF or you can browse the rules online at the Fate SRD

And on the board game side of things, the digital version of the Dresden Files Cooperative card game offers cooperative play and a wide set of challenging cases to solve together. It’s available on Steam, the App Store for iOS, and Google Play. It supports both online and local pass-and-play. Fans of the novels will appreciate the characters and references, but knowledge of the books is not required and doesn’t give a player any specific advantage. End-to end, it’s a terrific adaptation of the highly-acclaimed board game.

In Conclusion

As we’ve learned in the past two+ weeks, this crisis moves quickly and takes unexpected turns. We’re dealing with the uncertainty as best we can. It’s challenging and stressful but we still see a path forward for our business. We know there is a lot of economic instability out there. If you’ve been affected by reduced hours or a job loss and are looking for a distraction or creative outlet, you have our full blessing to pick up any of our 30+ Pay What You Want Worlds of Adventure and set the price to zero. If you find yourself in a position to help ease some of the suffering out there, we still recommend supporting your local food bank.

Please put health and safety above all else, the only way we can beat this is through discipline and collective action.

Regarding COVID-19

Mar 18 2020

These are difficult and unpredictable times, so we wanted to take a moment to share how COVID-19 is affecting our business.

However, before we get into operational details: do what you need to do to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community . Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and help flatten the curve. The World Health Organization has excellent resources and advice for the public.

Impact to Our Operations

Day to day, the impact of this initial stage of the outbreak has been marginal. The staff here at Evil Hat already work from home, so there has been no workplace adjustment needed to manage the projects we have in the pipeline and do the marketing, layout, and design work required to prepare them for production.

Our card games are printed in China and so a reprint we ordered of collaborative story-building game For The Queen has been delayed until May or so. Good news: it is also available and very easily playable via Roll20. You can find it here in the Marketplace for $7.99.

Our books are printed in the USA and so far those production schedules are holding to their estimates. The Fate Space Toolkit print run is complete and getting loaded to our warehouse now. We’re optimistic we can hit the April 20th release date. AGON is in its final proofing stage and almost ready to go to press, we are also ordering reprints of Blades In The Dark and Monster of the Week. So far, so good but of course the situation is fluid.

In terms of fulfilling orders, we’ve been in contact with our main distributor and are satisfied with the steps they’ve taken to address employee wellness, business continuity, and minimization of risk to both their workers and our customers and retailers.

On the convention front, we’ve scaled back our con presence in the past two years. We’ve been very happy to have Indie Press Revolution carry our products and represent us at the major cons. We trust them to make whatever decisions they feel are warranted as restrictions on events and public gatherings are implemented across the country.

Serving You While You Stay Safe

If you’re trying to maintain social distance but still crave the interaction of gaming together, we recommend Roll20. It’s a virtual tabletop that supports chat, dice-rolling, rules, character sheets, and more. You can join for free and everything is run off your browser, nothing extra to download or install. 

As we mentioned, For The Queen is a rules-light, collaborative story-building game you can play in as little as half an hour. Available now in the Marketplace for $7.99. The Fate Complete Bundle includes rules, character tokens, the Deck of Fate, and the popular Til Dawn and Masters of Umdaar worlds of adventure. The bundle is $19.99 or (like any bundle) you can buy just the parts you like. Roll20 also has fan-creations supporting Blades In The Dark and a ton of other games. This recent thread on the Blades forums will give you some tips on setting up a game in Roll20.

If you’re on a budget and looking to game or just get a shot of inspiration, last month we released a streamlined version of our Fate rules in a tight 60-page package we call Fate Condensed. It’s a great explanation of how to play and it’s fully compatible with any one of our 30+ Fate Worlds of Adventure. Each World features a unique take on a genre. From explorers researching abandoned alien relics in the far future to vampires hunting settlers on the Oregon Trail to magical cats secretly holding eldritch evil at bay, there’s a Fate World to surprise and inspire you.

And we mean it when we say Pay What You Want. If you’re facing financial insecurity and you need to set the price to zero, you have our blessing.

Serving Our Hobby and Our Community

We believe that the expertise and culture fostered by local game shops is essential to keeping our hobby thriving and growing. The bans on gatherings will hit this segment of the industry hard. If you have some extra dollars to make a purchase, please consider buying a gift card or making a pick-up order with your FLGS. Without tournaments and organized play events to bring customers into the store, they will need extra support. As always, if you buy one of our games new from your FLGS, we will send you the electronic version of that game for free. It’s our PDF guarantee.

We want to look beyond the hobby as well. As schools close and gatherings are limited, Americans who are food insecure need our help more than ever. That’s why we’ve made a $500 donation to Feeding America, a network of food banks supporting communities across the country. They’re rated four stars by Charity Navigator and have set up a dedicated COVID-19 Response Fund to help food banks secure the resources they need to efficiently serve the most vulnerable members of the community. Every dollar helps secure and distribute 10 meals to people facing hunger. If you have the means, we encourage you to make a donation.

In Conclusion

We understand the stress brought about by this fast-moving and unpredictable situation. We’ve taken appropriate steps to mitigate our risks as we can currently foresee them. Things will certainly change and we’ll keep you apprised as they do. The best way to stay up to date is to follow us on twitter or subscribe to our once-a-month (and only once-a-month) email newsletter.

We thank you for being our fans and customers, and we have confidence we can continue to provide some inspiration, creative distraction, and a social outlet as we all face these challenges together.

Agon

Feb 26 2020
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3-6 13+ 2-4 hours $25

Agon

Heroes of Legend

Far back in the mists of antiquity, a poet sings of great deeds wrought by mighty heroes—of monsters slain and justice restored, of wise council and devious strategies, of courage, valor, and daring—defiant of the gods themselves. In Agon, you create and play these heroes, crafting their epic tale into an immortal legend.

On their way back home from the war, the heroes have become lost among strange islands populated by mythical creatures, dire beasts, treacherous landscapes, legendary kingdoms, and desperate people—all somehow cursed or abandoned by the cruel power of the capricious gods.

It falls to you to seize this opportunity for greatness—to set things right in these lost lands, overcome the trials of gods, monsters, and people, prove the glory of your name, and win your way back home.

In this book, you’ll find:

  • Rules for creating your heroes of myth and legend, building the glory of their name, and forging their eternal legend.
  • Divine favor, bonds, and pathos for each hero to call upon to reach further than a mortal could.
  • Islands full of gods, monsters, and people to challenge your heroes.
  • Guidance for the Strife Player, who presents the challenges on the island.
  • The Vault of Heaven to record your progress towards returning home and the ire of the gods.
  • Contests and Battles that reveal the heroes greatness and glory as well as what they care most about.

The Trials of Glory Await!

GAME INFORMATION
Number of players: 3-6
Age of players: 13+
Length: 2-4 hours
Type of Game: Roleplaying Game
Languages Available: English
Product Number: EHP0054
ISBN: 978-1-61317-175-2
Page Count: 160
Format: Hardcover and Digital formats.
Release Date: October 2020 – Pre-order now!
Availability: Check here
Game Designer: John Harper and Sean Nittner

Agon – Reviews and Actual Play

Feb 20 2020

Actual Play

Let’s Play on the Critshow
The Fated Strings of Polybius with Theater of the Mind Players
The Dreams of Thalia with Theater of the Mind Players
Harping on Kyria with Theater of the Mind Players
Judgment of Pashiphae with Theater of the Mind Players
InTurtle Games of Domon with Theater of the Mind Players

The Smart Party

AGON on The Smart Party – Session 2 – Find on Patreon

Fate Condensed

Feb 5 2020
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3-6 13+ 2-8 Hours PWYW

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Fate Condensed is an updated, streamlined, 50-pages-or-less version of Fate Core System. It’s completely stand-alone and features new refinements to the Fate Core engine that’ll have it running better than ever. Call it Fate 4.5, if you like—it covers all the ground (and uses the same skills) as Fate Core, in about a sixth the size.

You can use Fate Condensed (FCon) to drive any game, any scenario, with proactive, capable player-characters leading dramatic lives. The easy-to-digest rules are presented here with a minimum of verbiage, letting you get to the table and roll the dice, fast.

For game creators, the text of Fate Condensed is available for development under an open license, at a word-count that won’t bust your budget when making an all-in-one-book stand-alone game Powered by Fate.

Fate veterans will appreciate the refinements and additions to the Fate Core engine, including:

  • A shift to one-point stress boxes to help reduce player confusion.
  • The use of “Balsera Style” initiative (also known as “elective action order” or “popcorn initiative”) as the default rather than using skills to determine turn order.
  • Improvements to advancement, eliminating significant milestones and finessing major milestones to compensate.
  • Changing active opposition so it’s no longer separate from the defend action.
  • Eight pages of optional rules to make building your variant of choice easy, including Dresden Files Accelerated scale rules, extreme consequences, countdowns, and a variety of ways to make your Big Bads bigger and badder.

Fate Condensed.
Refined. Streamlined. Stand-alone. Open licensed.

Download now at DriveThruRPG or itch.io

Girl by Moonlight – Media

Jan 15 2020

Actual Play

In a Maze of Dreams with Andrew, Jory, Morgan, and Jess
In a Sea of Stars with Andrew, Andy, Sean, and Stras

Interviews

Interview with Andrew Gillis on The Critshow