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 Standee Gameplay Expansion, Daily Unlocks, and World Shards
6 months ago – Mon, Dec 02, 2019 at 08:37:49 PM

Welcome back, Wanderers! I hope your weekend was a good one. 

I have some news today that I thought was impossible at this point. But here it is anyway. So why don't we get into that straightaway?

The Standee Gameplay Expansion

They told me it couldn't be done. And then they went ahead and did it anyway.

For those of you who wanted the gameplay content but didn't care about the minis, today your requests are answered! May I introduce the Standee Gameplay Expansion! 

The Standee Gameplay Expansion is here!

This expansion includes everything missing from the Core level that is included in the Gameplay Mostly All-In. It will contain both of the Otherworld stretch goal Wanderer expansions once they're unlocked (Edward the clockmaker and Anita the writer), it has the add-on Wanderer expansions for Mordecai the anthropologist and Cary the actor, it has the Numina, the Executioners, the Depressions, and even the Watchers. And all of it without minis. 

We realize this will only appeal to a very specific portion of our community, but we wanted you to know that you are important to us, too. Honestly, I had given up hope on this, so I am extremely happy to be able to offer this to you today, regardless of how many people actually get it. 

The Standee Expansion is available starting today for $99. To add it to your pledge, first click on "Manage your pledge": 

Next, click "Change your pledge":

And then add the amount of the expansion to your total and click "Continue". (For the Core pledge, it would be $79+99 to equal $178.)

Amounts will likely be different for your pledge. This is just an example.

We'll figure out what additional expansions you pledged for in the pledge manager later on.

Now, once again, if you are getting the Otherworld or a higher pledge level then this is probably not for you. (You will already have much or all of this content already included in your pledge level.) This is strictly for people who want the gameplay content but don't care about the minis. Also, this collection will be a KS-exclusive box. That doesn't mean the contents are, necessarily: only the box itself. We won't offer this collection at retail.

Well hopefully this has made some of you happy! Now, onto other stuff!

Our Daily Unlocks

Today we unlock a piece (or pieces) of Anita's world, as well as some ways that Masquerade Bliss is going to mess with you! At the Core level we've unlocked 12 Devour cards for Bliss, and at the Otherworld level we have 8 World Shards (4 regular and 4 exhausted) that give you a glimpse into Anita's fractured life. 

The Devour cards and World Shard cards!

And speaking of World Shards...

Gameplay Deep Dive: World Shards 

Today we're going to take a look at the ground beneath the Wanderers' feet: the World Shards!

Though, calling it ground could be somewhat deceptive...

In Dawn of Madness, Wanderers and other entities move around the Otherworld performing actions, diving into encounters, and ripping each other to pieces. However, as mentioned in the last update, the Otherworld is not a specific place. Instead, it is a fragmented, conscious alternate dimension filled with shards from the worlds and lives of every person who has been thrust into it.

The Otherworld was not specifically created by the Golden Dawn Church. But, whether it is a byproduct of their consciousness fusion experiments or they simply pierced into a place that has existed for time immemorial, it has certainly benefitted from the fruits of their endeavors. The Golden Dawn seek a way to harness this realm for their own purposes, but it is hard to do that when entry seems for the most part to be a one-way ticket. For instance, early on they tried to gain some foothold in the place by injecting their agents into it, armed with technology to protect them while allowing them to broadcast back to the church. The end-result of this was the Watchers. Like the Watchers, all efforts have thus far ended in one degree or another of failure. But every iteration sees them move one step closer to their goals.

The Wanderers have been sucked into the Otherworld not only as a part of an experiment, however, but also because, for one reason or another, they were "special." Their receptive mental states (combined with their unique pasts) reacted with the Golden Dawn's experiments to hurl them into the Otherworld, while also preserving parts of their essential being in a way that very few others could hope to achieve. Regardless, as they entered the Otherworld it ripped their minds apart, fracturing them beyond recognition. And now their lives, their memories, and the places they inhabited are a part of the fundamental structure of the Otherworld. Their fragments of consciousness are the key fuel for this realm - and the main topography for it as well. Whenever new Wanderers are thrust into the Otherworld, their new World Shards are added to its milieu. All of those World Shards intertwine to forge an ever-twisting, malleable, and hopelessly fragmented world.

The part of the gameboard that reflects the Otherworld, laid out with World Shards and Encounters.

In the game, each Wanderer’s World Shards can provide the Wanderers with differently colored Domains, provide their own unique game effects, and unveil Memories for their specific Wanderer. For example, Emily’s World Shards offer different kinds of mental and physical treatments which can reshape the functions and capacities of a Wanderer's Domains, while Lynas's World Shards can help purify negative conditions and earn Glory tokens (which can be used to temporarily summon a powerful entity into the Otherworld). Different combinations of Wanderers can completely change the Otherworld, which will affect the Domains you can get and the actions you can perform.

World Shards and Inner Offerings for Emily (top) and Lynas (bottom).

During the game, players need to make good use of the available World Shards' Domain resources and unique actions in order to have any chance of surviving a bit longer in the Otherworld. This is a place with endless chaos and malice. Those who fail to adapt to and exploit it will be devoured and corrupted, becoming Distortions or Abominations themselves - or being annihilated altogether.

I hope you've enjoyed this look into World Shards and the Otherworld. We'll be back tomorrow with more cool stuff (including probably at least one video)! Have a great day!

OnTabletop, Emergence of Worlds, Domains, and Shaping the Future of DoM!
6 months ago – Sun, Dec 01, 2019 at 10:55:57 PM

Hi all! It's been another great day over here in Kickstarter-land. Perhaps it's been (unsurprisingly) a little slower than the last couple of days, but it's been impressive nonetheless! In fact, we unlocked another new stretch goal!

One more stretch goal down, and a new final boss in sight!

We also got mentioned today in The Weekender from OnTabletop! It's not necessarily the most accurate look at the game, but it's still cool to be featured on the show! (Our segment starts at around 56:00, though the video below should be keyed directly to the segment.)

There'll be more videos shortly. The last couple days were a bit more... hectic than I was expecting, so it's taken me longer to edit my playthrough video. Having said that, it should be done shortly. Also, Lance with Learn 2 Play will have a playthrough video up before long, so keep an eye out for that, too. 

Our Daily Unlocks: Emergence of Worlds and Confronting Masquerade Impotent

The portal takes its final form, and Anita is all but lost. Who knows what horrible, monstrous things will come through the breach? Likely Anita won't. But perhaps, somewhere deep inside, at least the act of creation still burns within her.

Today we unlock Anita's third Malformation, Emergence of Worlds, at the Otherworld level. In addition, we have also unlocked 10 Confrontation cards for Masquerade Impotent at the Core level. 

Today we unlock The Emergence of Worlds at the Otherworld level and 10 Confrontation cards for Masquerade Impotent at the Core level!

The Death of Concepts, and the Rise of Domains

So, one of the things that backers mentioned as a barrier to understanding Dawn of Madness was the relation between Sentience, Concepts, and Domains. One solution (raised by Sharkey and others) was to merge the ideas of Concepts and Domains, essentially eliminating the Concepts. We're going to give this a try. So, the five symbols on the Wanderer dashboards are no longer Concepts: they are now Domains.  Thanks, guys - you just made a major impact on Dawn of Madness.

We wanted this to be a game that you guys helped us make in more ways than one. The game is not finalized yet (thus why we said this was a true Kickstarter project, not just a preorder campaign), and there is certainly room to improve and refine. While we will always go with what we think is best for the game, in this case that was what you all were suggesting. So, to everyone who weighed in on this, thank you. Let's see where it goes. =)

Because of this we will now be referring only to Domains in the future, not Concepts. If this causes any confusion, we ask that those of you who get it help those who don't. (You guys are the reason we're doing this, after all.) But, without further ado, let's dive deeper into Domains!

Gameplay Deep Dive: Domains

First, though, a caveat: in the last Deep Dive, I threw a couple people off because they started to think the philosophy behind Sentience was sounding like we were making a different game than the one they signed up for. That's not the case. LOL! This game is still all about creeping you out. I can pretty much guarantee the things we're talking about now will hardly even cross your mind as you're playing (if they do at all.) But these Deep Dive updates allow us to reveal things to you and talk about things that we never otherwise could, whether in-game or even in the rulebook. If this stuff starts to make your eyes cross, then stop reading. You won't enjoy the game any less for skipping this. But for those of you who like it, onward! =D

There are five different Domains, and each one is closely knit to one of the five Sentience colors. (They can and do appear in any of the colors, but each has one color that they are more regularly favored by - which is reflected in the fact that they appear twice on that Sentience color's dice.) These symbols may seem like random cool (or strange, depending who you are) icons, but they are more than that. Each one has a theme behind it that ties in with the Otherworld and the Deep Madness Universe.

The five Domains in their favored Sentience colors.
  • The tentacle fingers, as mentioned in yesterday's update, are like the warping effect of violence - but they can also mean manipulation and initiative, which is why it can also be used in-game to reroll bad dice rolls. They are favored by red Sentience, which is why there are two of them on every red die. 
  • The eye Domain stands for awareness, as well as protection. That's why it can be used to block damage that you are meant to receive. (It is favored by green.) 
  • The sphere is straight out of Deep Madness. If you have played that game, then you are at least familiar with the sphere. It stands for the unknown, the unexpected, the boundless, and the uncertain. That's why it is treated as a wild result in-game. Purple favors the sphere. 
  • The skull reflects the fusions of two consciousnesses - like two minds becoming one. It can also mean synergy and connection. That's why you can use them in-game to play a Domain card and help another player. They are favored by the yellow dice.  (Fun fact: the original skull icon was actually two skulls fusing together - which was also straight out of Deep Madness. However, it was too hard to see at small sizes, so we had to switch to the current version.)
  • Lastly, the brain Domain refers to mentality - the capacity for intelligent thought. That's why brain Domains can be used in place of Mental Capacity in-game. The blue dice favor them.

One other thing that should be explained is the idea of Domains themselves. First of all, some have wondered if this game takes place in some sort of dream world, or, if not, exactly what kind of place the Otherworld is. It is not a dream, but it is also not a "physical" reality in our sense of the word. It is a place that is conscious, and it thrives on the consciousnesses of others. Domains, then, are how this living dimension breaks up consciousnesses - and devours them.  Each Domain is essentially a specialty or attribute of a conscious being - a "domain" of expertise, in a sense. (The word Domain would here mean "a specified sphere of activity or knowledge.") So perhaps when you use a Domain you are using your own mind's latent abilities... or maybe you're stealing a piece of someone else's consciousness, siphoning it out of the Otherworld for your own purposes. In the end, though, does it really matter as long as you pass the test? =D

Now, another problem that people have mentioned (and which I came to realize myself a couple of days ago) was that the Domains each needed a name, (We're still working out what to do with the Sentience as far as names go, or if they'll even have names.) We're going to be working on this, and we've listed some of our initial thoughts below. Sharkey also had some ideas on what these should be called, so we "fused" some of his insights into our own thoughts. Here's what we're currently thinking about calling them:

  • Tentacle Fingers - Ferocity
  • Eye - Awareness
  • Sphere - Eldritch
  • Skull - Fusion
  • Brain - Mentality

But we want to know, what do you think they should be called? As I said, we will still use the one that we feel is best for the game. But, as I also said, that could very well be your idea. So let's get discussing! Throw your ideas down in the comments!

That's it for this update! We will talk to you all again tomorrow! Have a great Sunday!

More Stretch Goals Down, The Sentinels Wake, The Portal Takes Form, and Studying Sentience
6 months ago – Sat, Nov 30, 2019 at 10:52:15 PM

You guys are simply amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who jumped on one of the Gameplay All-In levels, whether you're new here or you've been with us from the start. We appreciate you more than you know.

We unlocked five more stretch goals today! Here's where we are right now:

Five stretch goals unlocked today! Wow!

We have now unlocked all three of Edward's Aberrations, the Sentinels. The Sentinels are not evil. Nor are they good. Instead, they are the dispassionate, unflinching, and relentless wardens of time. They wait, as lifeless as unwound automatons, until a disturbance awakens them from their dreamless slumber. Then they will go to any lengths necessary to close whatever breach has occurred in time's continuum - and eradicate the rupture's cause so that no further tampering can take place. Edward is about to find out that there are very good reasons why time travelers only appear in science fiction - and it's not just because of the laws of physics.

The Portal Blooms

Today our daily unlocks have brought us 10 Confrontation cards for Masquerade Freedom at the Core level, as well as Anita's second Malformation - The Portal Blooms! Anita's writings are beginning to have quite a drastic effect on her physical wellbeing. She is beginning to display symptoms that would certainly be called unhealthy by some medical professionals - but what she wants to know is why the sacs on the ceiling are starting to twitch.

Today we unlock Confrontation cards for Masquerade Freedom at the Core level, and Anita's second Malformation at the Otherworld level!

Contests and News 

It's come to my attention that we've been featured in a couple of articles, including one on Gizmodo! So that's pretty cool! Neither one has a whole lot of content, but if you want to look at them you can find Gizmodo's here and the other one, by Kick Agency, here.

In addition, there is a new contest going on to win an Otherworld pledge of Dawn of Madness in The Boardroom Magazine Board Game Group! You can check it out by clicking here. (You'll have to join the group to enter the contest, I believe.) This contest runs through December 4th, so check it out soon!

Furthermore, it's time for us to announce another winner of our Facebook post contest! Congratulations, Matt Neenan! If you're reading this, you just won an Otherworld pledge! (And even if you're not, you still won it.) If you'd like to participate in this contest, it is still ongoing and we still have eight copies to give away. Just go to this Facebook post, like it and share it to be entered! 

Gameplay Deep Dive: Sentience

This is technically the second in this series (with the first one being about Abominations all the way back in Update 4), but back then I called it Gameplay Focus, which I've decided is a lousy name. So, we're now going to call these Deep Dives, and we're going to have many more of them in the future. 

One of the most common questions we get is about Sentience, Concepts, and Domains. So, today we're going to dive into one of these three - the building blocks for all the rest, Sentience. 

Sentience makes up the five colors in the game: blue, red, yellow, green, and purple. In the current version, Sentience is portrayed as being akin to the five senses, but this may change in the future as this is not exactly how we see these five colors actually functioning. For us, the Sentience is more about personality than it is about senses

Currently Sentience is identified with the five senses, but this isn't necessarily how we see it and so will likely change in the final game.

The word "sentience" basically means to be conscious. To feel. To perceive. And that is much closer to how we see this important resource working in the game. In psychology (and marketing), colors are often used to describe emotions or states of mind. For instance, red can be the color of passion or rage, while blue can mean peace or intellect (among a variety of other things in both cases.) We have taken this idea and applied it to our Wanderers' personalities. 

In our current thinking, red can be positive, but it is also aggressive and violent. Yellow is friendly, gentle, and sometimes cunning. Green is sometimes immature, often passive, and occasionally defensive. Blue, meanwhile, is cold, calm, and calculating. Purple is a bit different, though, in that we see it as more the color of the Otherworld. So, in our view, it represents the unknown, weirdness, and gloom.

For example, Emily is a bit of an introvert, which is why she has two green Sentience. She is friendly and tries to be kind and helpful, which is why she has three yellow Sentience. (She also is very receptive to outside influences, and has an easy time fusing with other forces in the Otherworld - both good and bad.) However, she also has a violent streak, which is why she has two red. She is also not always very calm or rational under pressure, which is why she has only one blue. 

Emily's dashboard, featuring her Sentience values on the right.

So, looking at a Wanderer's Sentience pool, you can actually learn a bit about their personality. 

What does all of that have to do with the game? Actually, quite a bit. It means that certain Wanderers are much better at certain tests than others are, and consequently that Wanderers will approach situations very differently. For example, the resolution that Catherine (who has three red Sentience) may reach in an Encounter could be completely different from the one that Emily or Lynas would have arrived at. (And, very likely, her way of doing things would end up being much more violent. =D) In this way, other Wanderers can dramatically impact the course and outcome of a given Wanderer's chapter - for good or ill. It's often not up to the Central Wanderer to forge the path of his or her story: it's actually up to everyone else.

These ideas also extend to the Concepts (which may be simplified to just being called Domains - we'll discuss that with you guys in a future Deep Dive.) For instance, the tentacle fingers (as I lovingly refer to them) reflect violence and how it can warp us. That's why there are two of them on every red die. The skull reflects the fusions of two consciousnesses - like two minds becoming one. (Perhaps it could be though of as being a little akin to empathy on radioactive steroids.) That's why the yellow dice favor it.  And the sphere reflects the Otherworld - the strange, the unknown, and the inconstant. That's why the purple dice favor it (and why that symbol serves as DoM's wilds.)

In the future we'll go over Concepts and Domains - and ask you your thoughts on them, as they seem to be the biggest roadblock in people understanding Dawn of Madness. But that's a different update for a different day. In the meantime, hopefully you have found this look at Sentience to be interesting both in how it impacts the game and in revealing a bit of our thought process. =) 

All right, I think that's enough for one update. Before I go, though, I wanted to give you one final reminder that, as of this writing, the $303 Black Friday Gameplay All-In deal still has a couple of hours before it closes at 9am PST today, so if you wanted to take advantage of it then this is your last call!  We will talk to you again soon, and in the meantime I hope you have a great Saturday and a fantastic weekend!

PSA: Black Friday Deal Still Ongoing!
6 months ago – Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 11:23:09 PM

Hi guys! I just wanted to give you all a bit of a "public service announcement."

In case you missed the last update or two, our Black Friday Gameplay All-In is still available for another 13 hours. If you hadn't gotten a chance to take a look at it yet, it's on sale for $303 today only. There are no limits, and everyone can grab it who wants it.

If you want to grab it, just click on "Manage your pledge":

Then click on "Change your pledge":

Next, scroll down to the pledge level you want to move to and click on it. And last, click Continue.

We'll be back with our actual update soon, but I wanted to get this out to you so that you would either be aware of or be reminded of the sale before it was too late. Talk to you guys again in a few hours!

The Numina Revealed! Stretch Goals Unlocked! Today's Unlocks! And More!
6 months ago – Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 10:19:09 PM

Well it has been an absolutely mad day for Dawn of Madness! Wow! You guys are amazing. We had hoped we'd be able to get some traction today, but I don't think we ever expected the response that you guys gave us. Thank you so much!

So what all did we unlock? Let's take a look:

That's right: we just unlocked FIVE stretch goals in one day!

So THAT's pretty awesome! But that's not all the cool stuff to go over today! We still have the daily unlocks!

So What Did We Unlock Today?

Today we unlocked 10 Confrontation cards for Masquerade Frailty at the Core level, as well as Anita's first Malformation, Words as Gateways, at the Otherworld level! Anita is beginning to become something altogether different. If you saw the live stream a couple of days ago, then you know where this is headed. If you didn't, then you're probably in for a surprise!

Today we unlocked Confrontation cards for Masquerade Frailty at the Core level and Anita's first Malformation, Words as Gateways, at the Otherworld!

The Numina

Since we revealed the Gameplay "Mostly" All-In pledge level, we have gotten a number of questions around one particular expansion. Namely, what is The Numina? It's a fair question. And today we're going to answer it.

The Numina

The Numina are a very special family of Abominations. Monstrous in size and countenance, they could be thought of as the avatars, vessels or manifestations of entities beyond the veil of mortal comprehension. You do not see them in their wholeness: only in the aspect that your physical senses can perceive, and only as much as they desire to be known. But what you see of them is enough to drive you absolutely mad. Their beings interact and intertwine with the Otherworld - in fact, they could even be said to be a part of it. Certainly they are closer to it than any of the other threats that have presented themselves to you. After all, most of those you have faced were once men or women. The Numina, however, never were. They were not warped and changed by the dark energies of this place. They are something much more than that - and far more horrific. Which makes you wonder: Perhaps you can remove the entity before you, but are you ever going to truly kill the being behind it? Can you know the unknowable? Can you destroy the unfathomable? It is very likely that the answer is inconsequential. After all, does a lone ant seek to topple a man? Or does it simply run?

Numina Creation, painted by Big Child Creatives

The Numina are available right now as a $45 add-on. You can add it to your pledge by clicking "Manage your pledge", then clicking "Change your pledge". Lastly, add the total for this expansion to your current amount and click "Continue." Additionally, The Numina is included in the Gameplay All-In pledge level available right now.

The New Black Friday Deal 

Okay, for those who didn't read the last update, we wanted to make sure everyone knows about what will happen today. We have radically changed our approach to our Black Friday deals, and are now offering one last deal for this weekend. It will run for 24 hours, starting at 9am PST today, and it will cost $303. There are no limits or anything to this pledge, but please make sure that you get in on this during those 24 hours if you're interested. (The $313 Gameplay All-In will be available for the entire remainder of the campaign, so this won't be your only chance to get this pledge level. It will just be $10 cheaper today.) 

First and most importantly for our early bird backers, DON'T CANCEL YOUR PLEDGE. Your pledge number is the way we can tell if you qualify for the EB or not, and if you cancel then we will not know that you were with us from day one. When the pledge becomes available, click "Manage your pledge" just like you would if you were adding add-ons.

Next, you will select your new pledge level. The first thing you'll see is a pledge that's highlighted by a blue box that says "Current reward". The new pledge level will be under that Current reward level. (If you're in the Core level, it will be two levels down, and if you're at the Otherworld level, it will be directly below your current level.) 

Once you see the new Black Friday pledge level, click on it and then click "Continue". This will confirm your new pledge level, and you'll be good to go.

Why aren't Faces of the Sphere and The Watchers Included in This Pledge?

We've gone over this a bit before, but we wanted to address it again as we've seen a lot of questions about it. This has always been considered a gameplay "mostly" all-in, largely because it doesn't include these two expansions. (And it also likely won't contain some non-essential peripheral stuff that we release later on.) The reason it doesn't include Faces of the Sphere is because this was actually an add-on from our last campaign, the Deep Madness Reprint. As such, a significant number of our current backers already have it. Similarly, the Watchers were originally an early bird offer, so, once again, a big chunk of our current backers are already getting it. As such, it wouldn't make sense to include it in this pledge level. Hopefully that helps make sense of that particular conundrum for you.

Okay, that's it for this update. There'll be more fun stuff soon (and we'll post another update later today if it's needed), so stay tuned. Also, please remember that, if you're Italian, we need to hear from you regarding how many of you would buy an Italian translation. Currently we only have 145 people who have said yes, which is still quite a way from where we need to be. So, if you haven't already, be sure to fill out the poll at https://forms.gle/rNFFmtengCqF2iJR7.

Have a great day, everyone, and be safe as you're out there shopping today! (For those of you who are, at least. =) Talk to you again soon!