Erfworld Games

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By balder Comments (48)

Right. Now that I have your attention...


It's the final day of the Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards project. We have one of our only two stretch goals left to hit. This post is about why that goal is important.


Why do we need to raise $12,000 for Gametable development? It's a long story, but the short version is:




I haven't done a great job of explaining the Erfworld Gametable. I know it's a weird idea, but it is something I have wanted to do at this site for a really long time.


We've got tens of thousands of tabletop gamers coming here to read the comic every day. I want you all to be able to play and develop card and board games in the browser. This pool of interested, experienced gamers should be sharing ideas and having fun together. You should be collaborating and playtesting each other's games.


We've implemented an instance of Tabloro, which is an open source engine for doing exactly that. Unfortunately, it still needs a lot of development work. We wanted to debut it with some playable games, but found that even simple card and dice games were too much of a hassle to be fun. We can see what it needs, and it's not too complex, but developing in node.js is not something the current web team has much experience in or wants to tackle.


So we're going to have to hire some talent, maybe out of the Erfworld crowd, maybe out of the small Tabloro community, to get Gametable to do the kinds of things we want it to. Here's what functionality we expect $12,000 will get us:


• Taking ownership of a table
• Owners seeing a player list
• Owners being able to kick players
• Set table maximum players
• Assigned table positions when game begins
• Dealer marker/button option, including passing the deal
• Automated dealing based on stored game parameters
• "Keep your hand" option on redeal
• Improved (functional, really) deck shuffle
• Allow players to rearrange cards in their hand
• Scoresheet or shared scratchpad object
• Option to see card count in other players' hand
• Push cards up or down a layer


There are quite a few other things we want this thing to do, but that's the stretch goal list. We see it as the minimum necessary to play something like Uno, Cards Against Humanity, or Go Fish. Beyond that, there's a lot to add, and we'll see where it goes.



Yes, so...the other big reason that we want Gametable is so we can organize the development and playtesting of eventual, EVENTUAL Erfworld games.


We. Intend. To. Move. Very. Slowly. And. Carefully.


But we are finally moving on it. That's where this other new thing comes in. Today, we are rolling out Erfworld RPG.


This is a collaborative volunteer effort to get our gamer fans to work together, and agree on a system to represent Erfworld combat mechanics with rules and dice. Erfworld superfan 0beron is going to lead this project, and we need lots of volunteers. If you've got ideas about how the battles and magic we've shown in the story so far would actually work as a game, now is the time to jump in and put those to the test. You can find it at


And this is also why we need Gametable. We'll be able to write up notes in the wiki, and test these systems in realtime in the browser at the Gametable. We can do that right now, to a limited extent. With more development money and time, we'll be able to create a fairly incredible Arkentool for Arkentesting games.


So that's where we stand on the last day of another successful Kickstarter. I want to thank all of you who have pledged so far, and I hope we'll be able to pull this off and get to $46,500 raised by the end of it. If not, we'll regroup and come at it from another angle. We try things.


  • balder

    @jkbreuer Tabloro is open source and we will begin with a fork of that code. What features we implement in it can stay consistent with the license as far as I'm concerned. Assuming we hit the stretch goal (which is iffy, but it's an exciting chase) we may even tackle this laundry list by placing code bounties on these functions and letting the existing Tabloro community go after them. I certainly respect the aims of the open source community.

  • balder

    @Lor On the uncut sheet of cards, we just added it this morning for US backers only. I couldn't find a decent solution for getting these things overseas. See the latest project update.

  • balder

    @ArtyD We get asked that often. Sadly, you can't donate your Shmuckers unless you can convince the United States Playing Card Company to accept them as payment. :)

  • balder

    @OneHugeTuck Considered offering multiple units, but we see too many downsides. One to a customer, sorry.

  • balder

    @ANGLVD3TH That's correct, to claim an add-on you just pledge more and identify which add-on you want when your backer survey comes, several weeks after the project ends. Why Kickstarter has not improved this process in seven years, I couldn't say.

  • balder

    @udat I'll get the team to look at VASSAL, because no we did not. It looks really interesting and potentially useful.

  • balder

    @CDS That is a brilliant idea and it'll be easy for us or any user to implement. Even a game piece made via a custom screenshot of the units would look cool and could be done in the Gametable as it is right now.

  • CrazyIvan1745

    @balder WOW response city! Thanks for clearing that up with TS though.

    I will say one thing that constantly comes to mind is an Erfworld based video game mod in general. Maybe that is because I used to love modding, but also because it's my way of thinking how many ways Erfworld could work in a video game. Last night I was thinking how well you could adapt a game like Empire At War's Galactic Campaign to be a fairly interesting representation of Erfworld. That makes it a turn based game (no idea how you would make space into a hex system), but then as you initiate battles within a hex it goes to an RTS game. I guess the Total War games kind of work that way too, but I never got into those much.

    Anywho getting back on topic. Regardless, I really hope we hit that last stretch goal! Once that goal is hit, it at least gives the team the ability to try things, as Rob put it, and I want to see that happen, even if it doesn't really show for 5 more years on down the line. I'm sorry I can't contribute to the Kickstarter. I "want" to, but needs come first (booooo who needs things like food and water anyways?). I wish you all the best!

  • urbalt

    Another programmer here. I'd just like to throw my vote in for sponsoring open source development. I'd love to contribute by picking things off of a bug queue or tackling stretch goal features! I hope that, with the healthy, stable web/software team you have now, you'll have enough bandwidth to organize such an effort eventually.

  • RonInDune

    As a back end dev, I'm willing to contribute to any of the technical parts (cleaning up on github, etc)! Unfortunately, as I have never actually played a pen & paper RPG in my life, my contribution will necessarily be limited.

    Also, I've backed on the digital only tier, as that's all I can do for now. Best of luck, all you deities of Erfworld!

  • rbowman1234

    I contacted Rob a year ago about developing an Erfworld game (or, rather, re-working a game I am already developing) and was given permission to develop it as an unofficial Erfworld game. This news is exciting as I will be posting game layout and component concepts here in a week or two for review and comment, and gametable combined with interested fan participation would be a tremendous resource.

  • edsobo
    1. This is awesome. I just upped my pledge to help with the final push.
    2. Loving the idea of Erfworld tabletop games.
    3. Also loving the idea of bounties on the open source project. I don't have the time/energy to work on it full-time, but I'll definitely keep an eye on those to see if there's anything quick I can work on to contribute.
  • Morsious

    Its less than $600 away from the stretch goal #2!

  • AdmiralFuzzypants

    Are you familiar at all with Battle for Wesnoth? It is a somewhat simplistic hex turn-based strategy that might prove useful in any attempts to launch a virtual game as it is free, open-sourced and allows users to mod as much as they like.

  • OneHugeTuck

    How can I build an army of overwhelming numbers if I can have only one??  

  • rstoffel

    Holy cow!  Only $98 to go with 10 hours left!

  • Slayorious


    You should seriously consider setting  your project up as open source so that your readers can contribute. I've been asking for a while now if there's any way I could contribute programming time without any clear responses, and as a student, open source work looks good on a resume so there's a secondary benefit for me if I contribute. I'm sure I'm not the only member of the community that want's to help with development on the site or on an Erfworld game.

  • balder

    That's game(s)!

  • rstoffel

    Woo!!  Very excited to see the ongoing development of this project!

  • Fjord

    Congratulations on reaching the goal!

  • edsobo


  • shneekeythelost

    Thanks to a VERY generous person, I've managed to slide in as a backer in the last hours of the Kickstarter. I'm very proud to be able to support the team that produces this excellent website, and hope to be active in 0beron's project.

    There's still an hour left, it's not too late!

  • Polvane the eraser


    Though I was pretty confident Erfworld would meet the last stretch goal anyway.  Erfworld fans seem to be really dedicated.