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The Fantasy Trip Status Report

Philip Reed
United States
Kyle
Texas
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"The Fantasy Trip started as an attempt to design a more playable FRP game system. We wanted well-organized rules, streamlined action, and all the bugs out. The Fantasy Trip has evolved into much more."
- Steve Jackson, "Designer's Notebook," The Space Gamer No. 12, July-August 1977

When Steve wrote those words over four decades ago, I am certain that no one could have foreseen just how much the game would evolve from its initial Melee and Wizard microgames. Back in the seventies and eighties, under the original publisher, the game grew to include multiple microgames, solitaire adventures, full-sized rulebooks, and a loyal following that kept the game alive at the tabletop for the 30+ years between the shuttering of the original publisher's doors and the announcement that The Fantasy Trip was back in the hands of Steve Jackson.

The response to Steve's announcement that the game was again his (posted December 26, 2017) was overwhelmingly positive. On our own forums, as well as at roleplaying game blogs and forums across the web, many old guard TFT players stepped out of the shadows and raised their voices in excitement and encouragement. And that excitement, infectious as it was, touched gamers unfamiliar with The Fantasy Trip and helped drive the success of The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition crowdfunding campaign that ran in July and August of 2018.



We knew that we wanted to support The Fantasy Trip with new adventures and expansions; the 3,000+ backers of the Legacy Edition campaign told us that we needed to move quickly to prepare that support. Our hope was to have adventures ready by the time that the physical rewards mailed out to the Kickstarter backers.

Steve, along with Guy McLimore, and following a template that the three of us agreed to, started the difficult task of assigning authors to create the first five adventures to be published for The Fantasy Trip under the Steve Jackson Games banner. We released the first two of those five adventures in PDF in November and December of 2018 . . . to a small number of purchasers. After the success of the Kickstarter campaign, the number of PDFs sold was, honestly, disappointing. We had expected a stronger response to the adventures and we were not going to let the weak sales numbers of the first two PDFs slow us down.

We adapted quickly. One message that we saw, again and again, led us back to Kickstarter: The majority of the original campaign backers wanted printed books and counters, not PDFs, so we stopped the release of the third adventure and took all five of the adventures to Kickstarter as a collected book with die-cut megahex tiles and game counters. The resulting campaign was phenomenal, with over 1,000 backers. It created a 64-page hardcover book complete with die-cut components. The book is now at the factory and expected to ship to backers starting in August.

Zine Quest. In January, when Kickstarter announced their Zine Quest event -- in which they encouraged creators to produce old-school gaming zines -- we immediately saw the fun in the idea and reached out to Kickstarter. On February 1, we joined the first wave of Zine Quest campaigns with Hexagram #1, a old-school zine for The Fantasy Trip that grew to 36 pages and looks incredible! It was a small project, yes, but we were taken by surprise when the BackerKit preorders and surveys generated more revenue than the Kickstarter campaign. The lesson? We are not alone in being fans of gaming zines.

By the time we started shipping the Kickstarter rewards for the 2018 Legacy Edition campaign to backers (in March of 2019), Steve and the team had spent months working on a new type of supplement for The Fantasy Trip. Decks of Destiny, taking advantage of the manufacturing experience that we’ve developed over the years, brings cards -- lots of cards -- into the game in a variety of different ways. With over 250 cards in the new set -- which is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter -- Decks of Destiny offers tools for both players gamemasters.



What tools?

* Card decks including option cards (players use these when declaring actions in combat), various adversary cards (orcs, wizards, and creatures), rumors for roleplaying sessions, treasures for when you defeat foes, and labyrinth cards you can use to randomly create dungeons and caverns.

* Megahex tiles, which expand on the tabletop terrain tiles that are in the Legacy Edition box, giving you more options when it comes time to build a map and run combat encounters.

* Journals, that can be used as expanded character sheets, rumor tracking tools, labyrinth design workbooks, and more.

The box was heavy to start, and unlocked stretch goals keep adding to the Decks of Destiny package. And that doesn't even touch on the I Want All The Newness reward level that also comes with dice, a new playmat, and even more as stretch goals are met.

Decks of Destiny is now on Kickstarter and open until June 3. To participate, please join the campaign today and drive us forward so we can unlock even more stretch goals and keep adding to the box.

What comes next?

Even though our attention is on Decks of Destiny, as well as completing the Adventures and Hexagram campaigns, we're still looking to the future of The Fantasy Trip and preparing for even more support. Coming up we have:

* More adventures. And do you want to write for The Fantasy Trip? Check out the new guidelines!

* Monsters. Steve has written one book of creatures, and we know that we always need even more monsters for the game.

* More cards. Steve is keeping notes for a companion to Decks of Destiny (keep the requests coming!) and, once there's enough material, we'll start solidifying plans for the sequel.

* More everything. Counters. Terrain tiles. Playmats. Dice. MORE STUFF! We have heard you and we're doing all that we can to incorporate player and GM tools into the upcoming projects.

We do not yet have a schedule for when these support titles will be published, but we do know that you need to follow both the Steve Jackson Games and Warehouse 23 accounts on Kickstarter for notification when projects launch. As you can tell, we're planning on supporting The Fantasy Trip for as long as the demand remains strong, and the best way for this to happen is for you to vote with your voice -- by joining the discussions at our official forums -- and with your dollars both during crowdfunding campaigns and after titles are released into the wild.

Thank you, everyone, for making the launch of The Fantasy Trip under Steve Jackson Games so powerful. We're going to do all that we can to keep producing enjoyable and valuable supplements for the game, and we'll keep working to satisfy your demands as well as our own dreams for the game. Together, we can keep The Fantasy Trip going for many, many years to come.
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