Dawn of Madness

Created by Diemension Games

A mind-shattering story-driven cooperative board game for 1-4 players that is a true horror experience.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Psychiatrist's Prescription, the Personas Take Shape, and a Deep Madness Crossover!
6 months ago – Fri, Dec 06, 2019 at 09:44:34 PM

So we launched one big update a few hours ago (which, if you haven't read yet, you should check out here), but now we're back for Round Two! First up, let's see what your choices brought about in our psychiatry appointment!

As some of you guessed, this was from Emily the Nurse's story book. It's also not the first time you meet Dr. Thurston, but rather the second. (And there's a third time after this one, as well. Actually, depending what ending you get, there's also a fourth.) If you missed the first entry, be sure to read it before this one right here.  And then let's get into the decision. 

Voting started off pretty tight between the sister and the patients, but, in the end, you guys chose to talk with Dr. Thurston about the patients. Will you regret your choice? Umm... I guess we're about to find out. =D

The Psychiatrist's Prescription

“Doctor, the patients seem to be growing more and more restless,” you say. “They are becoming increasingly difficult to control.”

“And how does that make you feel?” Dr. Thurston asks.

“I – I feel concern for our patients,” you say. “I want the best for them.”

“How does it really make you feel?”

You pause for a moment. “Frustrated,” you say. “Annoyed. Angry.”

“What do you want to do to them?”

Squeezing your eyes closed, you take a deep breath. “I… want to butcher them with a knife. I want to watch their organs pool on the ground. I want to open their chests with a bone saw. I want to feel their hearts cool in my hands. I want to measure and weigh their brains before I squeeze them like jelly between my fingers.”

Opening your eyes, you look up at Dr. Thurston. The skin on both his arms has split open, revealing blue and white crab claws underneath. The pincers clack absentmindedly. “Good,” he says. “Very good. Sometimes what’s below the surface – below our reservations and our perceived fears - is the person that we truly are. And sometimes that person is, to put it simply, a monster. But what I have found is that often the only way we will ever be truly happy is to embrace that monster. To make it our own.”

“So you’re telling me to become a monster?” you say.

“I’m not telling you to do anything,” Dr. Thurston says. His jaw drops away, and two churning mandibles take their place. “All I’m suggesting is that you be true to yourself.” Then one of his claws snaps downward and snags one of his tinier, shell-less brethren. He raises it to his mandibles, his eyes pushing out from his head on long, thin stalks. “Would you like a crab?” he asks before shoving it into his orifice with a crunch.


So, guess which ending we just got story points toward? =D

In our next story we're going to venture down into the asylum's basement. Surely nothing can go wrong down there, right?

The Personas Take Form

You discarded the draft. It just wasn't coming together: a bunch of half-baked ideas that were never going to coalesce into a character or a story. But then the draft began to take on a life of its own. It started to grow, take shape, and become something altogether different from the initial intent. Now it's angry. You discarded it into the cold. It wants revenge.

Today we unlock 3 Traumatized Condition cards at the Core level, and Persona Draft at the Otherworld level!

Today we unlocked 3 new Traumatized Condition cards at the Core level, as well as Anita's first Terror, Persona Draft, at the Otherworld level. Only a half-formed idea, Persona Draft is out for blood regardless. And it's not going to stop until it gets what it wants. Woohoo!

Deep Madness Crossover

Today we have a very special treat for our returning Deep Madness backers. We always said it would be really tough to migrate Deep Madness monsters into Dawn, but maybe not quite as difficult to go the other way. Well, we went the other way. 

We are now very pleased to announce our official crossover pack with Deep Madness! With this pack you will be able to use many of your new Dawn of Madness minis in Deep Madness, adding more variety and monstery goodness! 

Actually, there's two packs: One for many of the core game monsters, and one for expansion monsters. In pack number one you'll get the Vivisections, Rages, Toxins, and Masquerades, as well as one other group you haven't met yet. In pack number two, you'll get the Watchers, Depressions, Executioners, and Numina. Some of them will be Horror level 2 monsters like Twisted, Immortal, etc., and some will be Epic Monsters. (Can you guess which expansion will be Epic Monsters?)

Deep Madness Crossover Packs!

"But wait!" I hear you saying. "Didn't you just release an add-on in the last update? Isn't two add-ons within 24 hours a bit excessive?" 

That's the thing about this: it isn't an add-on.

If you backed at the Investigator pledge level or higher in either of our last two campaigns, you will get pack number one for free by backing at the Otherworld level. And furthermore, if you back at the Gameplay Mostly All-In (and previously backed DM at the Investigator level or higher), then you'll get both for free

This is just our way of saying thanks for being a part of Diemension Games and for believing in our projects. We wouldn't exist without you guys, and we are eternally grateful. So, thank you. =) 

That's it for today! I hope you have a great day, and we'll talk with you again soon! There's more really fun stuff on the horizon!

The Art Book Arrives! And You Spoke, We Listened!
6 months ago – Thu, Dec 05, 2019 at 11:21:31 PM

Hi guys! We're going to try two updates today, as we have a lot to cover and want to make sure you see it all. 

First of all, we wanted to announce an add-on that has been one of our most requested add-ons of the campaign.  That's right, the art book is finally here!

The Art of Dawn of Madness is Now Available!

The Art of Dawn of Madness will feature over 200 pages stuffed with over 500 pieces of art from the game, as well as a mix of both story content and developer diaries, answering the questions "What were you thinking when you did that?" It features art from the incredible artists Christopher Shy, Pedro Sena, and David Romero, who are some of the best in the business. It's available right now for $30. This is not included in the Gameplay Mostly All-In because it is not gameplay-related, but for those who really love the art for this game, be sure to check it out!

The Art of Dawn of Madness is available now as a $30 add-on!

Want to add this to your pledge? Then click on the "Manage your pledge" button:

Click the "Manage your pledge" button.

Next, click "Change your pledge": 

Click on "Change your pledge".

Next, add the amount for the add-on you want to your total (in this case $30), and click "Continue":

Add the add-on's amount to your total and then click "Continue."

Next, we had something we wanted to cover with you, and also get your opinions.

Major Gameplay Revisions

We've been watching your comments and your concerns, and we've come to some decisions across several levels of the game. First, some have worried the game seems to have too many components, and that it takes up too much tablespace. We also noticed in playthroughs that no one had gone into the Conscious Realm yet. Part of this was because that would happen more in later rounds, but we started thinking maybe that wasn't enough.

So, to make the game board more immersive, we are going to merge the Conscious Realm sheet into the game board. For each Wanderer, we are going to pick the most meaningful locations from the former Conscious Realm and upgrade them into 16 unique World Shard cards (with more immersive art). So now you will be truly exploring the Central Wanderer's "conscious realm" directly on the game board. There will be no more abstract spaces. The encounters on the board will grow more intertwined with specific World Shards, making it feel much more like you're truly exploring that space rather than a random encounter. This should build a much stronger sense of presence.

Some of the features brought by this change include:

1. 12 more World Shard cards with more unique, awesome art for each Wanderer (48 in total for the core box.) Many of the most important scenes from the Wanderers' pasts will become visual.

2. This will add more variation between each chapter, since the whole game board will be a completely new one every chapter.

3. You will now be able to experience every encounter directly in the World Shards on the game board, building a strong connection between encounters and locations, which will make it less fiddly and much more immersive.

4. We will completely remove the seemingly boring and abstract Conscious Realm sheet, saving a huge chunk of table space. This will also make the movement and encounter systems more streamlined and meaningful.

5. We will separate the Inner Offerings and Memories from the World Shards, turning the Inner Offerings into more like a Wanderer's special abilities, which will add even more gameplay definition between the Wanderers. The Memories will now be accessible to a Wanderer as long as they have the resources at hand to take the action, rather than on their specific World Shards.

In addition to all of this, we have seen people's concerns about the game board itself and, to a lesser extent, the World Shards. So, we pledge to refine the game board further, making it more atmospheric and sending you deeper into the Otherworld. We will also make elements easier to see on it, as well as tweak the World Shards further, to try to maximize immersion in the setting. (I have some ideas for the game board drawn from your comments that I've already passed along to the rest of the team.)

Help Us Rename Terms

Next, we have seen a number of comments expressing concern that the names in the game are too strange. So, we are going to change them. Here are some of our current ideas on what will change:

  • Memory Shards = Memory Fragments (This is to keep them from being confused with World Shards.) 
  • Domains = ? (Focus?)
  • Sentience = ? (Consciousness? Traits?)
  • Aberrations and Distortions = Terrors (We're going to combine them into one term for simplicity's sake.) 
  • Existence = Health?

You'll notice we don't have answers yet on what all of these will be. (And even the ones we do have are not even close to set in stone.) That's because we want your help in determining what they should be called.  All of them are up for debate. (Of them all, probably the only two that have any chance of staying unchanged are Sentience and Existence. All the rest are going to change.) As always, we are going to do what is best for the game. (With that in mind, we aren't going to switch to standard RPG stat terms. Strength and Dexterity just don't fit here.) But, as I said before, your idea may very well be the one that gets into the final game. 

Speaking of which, here is where we currently are on the Domain symbols themselves based on your feedback:

  • Tentacle Fingers - Dominion
  • Eye - Awareness
  • Sphere - Otherworld
  • Skull - Synergy
  • Brain - Lucidity

Almost all of these were created by you guys, so thank you for being a part of shaping and creating this game! You guys are the best! (I think that all of these will also keep their descriptive names such as Eye and Sphere as a sub-name, for those who don't want to deal with the more complex word.) We're also still unsure about naming the Sentience colors (people are getting confused with the terms we already have! LOL!), but we're not actively opposed to it, either. I know Sharkey has had some ideas on this, and if any of the rest of you would like to weigh in feel free to do so. 

So! All that being said, let's get to game designing, and we'll be back in a few hours with another update!

The Psychiatric Treatment, New Gameplay Video, and the Wall Becomes Flesh
6 months ago – Thu, Dec 05, 2019 at 10:37:16 PM

Hey guys!

Today we've got ANOTHER playthrough video! This one's from Bairnt, and it, too, is fantastic. Bairnt's newest video is a good addition to Lance's last video, and you should check it out. Kickstarter still isn't showing embedded videos, so, until it suddenly shows up (it is embedded below just in case), here's a direct link:  https://youtu.be/Kzz7AhDv_K0 

Ironically, in this game that is so story-focused we have thus far not shown you much of the story. We may have had good reasons for not doing it up until now (people seemed to want to focus on gameplay and needed videos), but now I'm going to move from focusing mainly on videos (where I spend days making something mediocre at best while pros like Bairnt and Lance are already pumping out awesome stuff) and switch to showing you bits of the story from the game. So here's how it will work. These will be snippets from the story books, though not necessarily chosen in any particular order. At the end of each one will be a choice. You'll make that choice down in the comments, and then I'll show you what you've wrought. We did a much grander version of this in our last Deep Madness campaign (Choose Your Own Terror - which actually still has one more entry to go before it's finished), but this one will be showing you a few actual story segments written for the game.  Now, I expect you all to have forgotten this by the time the game ships, so don't commit anything to memory. =D Okay, without further ado, let's have a psychiatric appointment with Dr. Thurston! And, in case you care about such things, SPOILERS!

An Appointment with Dr. Thurston

Dr. Thurston looks up from his notes as you enter his office, his glasses perched precariously on the end of his nose. “Ah, you’re back! How wonderful!” he says, grinning. “Please, please, take a seat.”

Slowly, uncertainly, you sit down on his long padded couch. You clear your throat. “Hello, Doctor. How are you this evening?”

“Why, I am doing splendidly, my dear,” he says. “In fact, I was just about to indulge in some dinner. Do you mind?”

Something clacks and skitters on the ground behind the couch. “Of course not, Doctor,” you reply. “Go ahead.”

There is more clacking and shuffling in the right-hand corner of the room. “Good, good,” Dr. Thurston says, tying on a bib with a grin. “Much obliged.”

There are more sounds to the left now. Frowning, you search for their source. “Doctor, is there something in here with us?”

“Tell me, my dear,” Dr. Thurston says. “Have you ever had crab on the half shell?”

The sounds are in front of you now. Looking down, you see a number of crabs scuttling across the floor, their protective back shells gone and their soft innards jiggling.

Dr. Thurston begins to hack and cough. Looking up, you see the doctor open his mouth. Something is moving around behind his teeth, crawling over his tongue. His mouth opens wider, wider, and a blue crab pushes its way out from between his lips. The doctor catches the crab in his hands as it drops toward the ground, then deposits it on the floor with its shelled brethren.

“I’ll get to that later,” he says. “Now, what would you like to talk about?”

A. Do you want to talk to Dr. Thurston about your sister?  

B. Do you want to talk about your parents?

C. Or would you prefer to speak to him about the patients?

Let me know in the comments below!

Walls Made of Flesh

The wall stirs, shifts, and then bulges outward as... something... tries to push its way free. Its fingers press through first, followed by its arm and face. It is like a portrait squirming to life, its flesh made of wallpaper. Opening its mouth, it takes its first breath and moans. You know that your words brought this thing to life. This is your fault. And now you don't know how you can possibly fix it.

Today we are unlocking 12 new Devour cards for Masquerade Impotent at the Core level, and a brand new final boss at the Otherworld level: Living Portrait! Hope you like it!

Okay, that's it for this update! We have some more really fun stuff coming up, though, and on the horizon is some very big gameplay news that we will once again need your help on. So be sure to keep checking back, let me know what choice you want for the story! Have a great day!

The Videos Have Landed!
6 months ago – Wed, Dec 04, 2019 at 08:41:34 PM

(NOTE: So, as of this writing, now that we have playthrough videos done Kickstarter has developed a bug that won't show embedded videos. LOL! How's that for irony?)

They're here, guys. After a journey through the proverbial desert, suddenly we have a deluge of playthrough goodness. We have not just one video, but TWO! 

The first video is from Lance at Learn to Play. His video is a great look at playing Dawn of Madness that clearly walks through several rounds. I highly recommend it. (If the embedded video doesn't start working, you can find it at https://youtu.be/QHZCfZLOT5s.) 

Next, we have a slightly less... refined video from me. It is far from perfect, and I am still not a great videographer. Having said that, you may find it entertaining if for no other reason than because I do so very badly in it. (I certainly did.) From a tactics standpoint, I think it's safe to say mine is probably not the epitome of best practices. 

I should also mention that I only play a round-and-a-half in this video. Why, you ask? Because I feel very, very strongly that I want you guys to play this with me. I already know how the stories go, and what the best choice(s) to make are. But you don't. So, you're going to tell me where to go and what to do in the encounters, then I'm going to film another video and play out what happens, and I really think we're all going to have a good time. 

Don't care about playing along? No problem. You should hopefully still be able to get a good idea for the mechanics, as I put off playing a story encounter for as long as I could to show you some other gameplay stuff. (To my poor Wanderers' detriment, I fear.) Should this embedded video not start working, either, you can find the video at  https://youtu.be/4UghuQUTr3k.

So what's it going to be, guys? Are we going to go for the air vent to see what's in it, or check out the papers on the desk? Let me know in the comments!

Daily Unlocks

Today we have 12 Devour cards for Masquerade Freedom opening up at the Core level, and 48 Finale Encounter cards for Anita at the Otherworld level! More bad stuff coming for your Wanderers! Huzzah!

Today we unlock Devour cards for Masquerade Freedom at the Core level, and 48 Finale Encounter cards for Anita at the Otherworld level!

We're not going to do a Gameplay Deep Dive today, because we figured you had enough to do with the videos. We'll be back tomorrow, though, with more fun stuff. Talk to you again soon, have a great day, and be sure to tell me in the comments which direction we should go in the next video!

Encountering the Family, Devoured by Frailty, and Diving Into Encounters
6 months ago – Tue, Dec 03, 2019 at 11:19:31 PM

Hi there, guys! How's your day so far?

I wanted to start off this update by discussing the playthrough video that I'm making with you. I was really pushing to have it done for this update, but try as I might it just isn't quite there. Having said that, it is really close. So I will probably not wait for the next regular update, but instead put out a second update midday today. I know how anticipated this video is, and I don't want you to have to wait another full day to get it if you don't have to. Having said that, some things could go wrong (such as taking too long to upload), but hopefully, if all goes according to plan, I'll have a midday update out for you later with that video.  

Also! We are going to do another live stream this Wednesday at 3pm PST! We're going to try to have this one on both YouTube and Facebook for those who aren't fans of Facebook. (And if I can't do both, then we'll go with YouTube this time rather than Facebook.) Come hang out with me if you can!

Okay, so with video stuff out of the way, let's get to the daily unlocks!

Encountering the Family and Devoured by Frailty 

Today we unlock 12 Devour cards for Masquerade Frailty at the Core level, and 40 Encounter cards for Anita at the Otherworld level. What is creeping under the surface of the family home Anita is visiting? Why are the walls bulging and the ceiling starting to churn? You'll have to dive into these encounters to find out.

Today we unlock 12 Devour cards at the Core level, and 40 Encounter cards for Anita's expansion at the Otherworld level!

Speaking of diving into encounters, that's exactly what we're going to do now!

Gameplay Deep Dive: Encounters

The encounters are one of the core gameplay experiences in DoM. During a chapter, every Wanderer will need to enter the encounters contained within the current Central Wanderer’s book, making decisions, resolving tests, and reshaping the Central Wanderer’s story.

One of Emily's Portal Encounter cards (front and back).

Here are some interesting game features about encounters:

1. Every player's decisions make a sizable impact on the Central Wanderer’s story. Your choices or test results will not only earn plot points toward one or more of the Central Wanderer's specific endings, but they will also lead to branching paths in the story, block off some choices, and open others. You will unlock deeper hidden encounters, spread consequence tokens across the Conscious Realm that will impact the story in the future, and reveal portals to areas in the Conscious Realm. As an example, perhaps in one encounter you may normally go to meet a nice chap who only wants to give you good things (hey, it could happen), but if you have completed a different encounter first then you may instead be chased by a Wanderer's faceless mother - and the only way to escape her is to run down the corridor swarming with innumerable cockroaches.

The Apparition - one of Emily's possible encounters.

2. Every Wanderer has his own strengths and weaknesses, so different Wanderers resolving the same encounter would come to completely different outcomes. This fact alone will alter the plot dramatically, with a heavy impact on the finale.

The Searchlight - one of Mordecai's possible encounters.

3. One of the most interesting features in my opinion is that you are not only contributing to the Central Wanderer's stories: you will also get rewards that only come from that particular encounter. Most of the encounters will give you a Coda card as a reward for resolving it. That Coda card contains special abilities that will allow you to build up and customize your Wanderer - abilities that may not be found in other Wanderers' stories (or even in other encounters within the same story.) This allows you to forge a different Wanderer yourself in each campaign you play - even if you're playing with the same Wanderer as before. Some Codas from different stories can even create powerful combos - if you’re lucky enough to get them both.

Heart of My Heart - one of Edward's possible encounters.

There are three types of Encounter cards in Dawn of Madness: Portal Encounters, Realm Encounters, and Deep Encounters. Portal Encounters are the main encounters that go on the game board. And, when one is completed, it is turned over to reveal a portal into the Conscious Realm. Both Realm and Deep Encounters appear on the Central Wanderer's Conscious Realm sheet, their locations marked by tokens matching the red and blue question marks shown on their cards below.

A Deep Encounter (top), and a Realm Encounter (bottom).

An Encounter card features a little bit of flavor text to give you a taste of what the story may contain, and then below that are the requirements to enter that encounter (with required Mental Capacity on the left and Domains you need to spend from your dashboard on the right.) There are also two slightly different flavors of encounters across all three types: Reality Shards (which are green in color) and Explorations (which are blue.) Reality Shards are closer to seeing through the Central Wanderer's eyes and experiencing her life, while the Explorations are more akin to exploring the world the Otherworld pieced together from her mind. Either variation can be experienced by any Wanderer.

So, what are some more purposes of these encounters?

1. Every Wanderer has four different endings. Of these, some may be considered “better” while others could be called “much, much worse”. Although there is not a standard rule of thumb that will direct you toward obtaining the best endings, you will still gain a sense the further the story develops of how your choices are influencing the ending - and may even give you some hints of what you need to do to win the finale.

2. In addition to upgrading your Wanderer through Coda cards, you and your fellow Wanderers will need Memory Shards to gain access to your own memories, gain new abilities, upgrade your active Coda card limit, clear Devour tokens off the board, and fight the Abomination. While Memory Shards can be gained from defeating enemies, by far the most plentiful source of them is inside encounters.

3. The encounters are the main place in the game where we are going to try to scare you. =)

I hope you enjoyed this little look into encounters. We'll be back with more shortly (and hopefully I'll be back a little sooner than normal with a video for you, should all of the pieces fall into place.) Regardless, have a great day and we'll talk with you again soon!