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‘Machine Of Death’ Returns In A Kickstarter-Funded Game Of Creative Assassination

We’ve talked about Machine of Death before here at ComicsAlliance, covering the short fiction collection featuring some of our favorite webcomics creators, built around the premise of a machine that predict how you’re going to die with 100% accuracy — and a dark sense of humor. The original, independently published collection rocketed to the #1 spot on Amazon when it was released, and prompted a follow-up that took another look at how that machine would affect the world around it. Now, it’s coming back again in the form of a Kickstarter-funded card game from David Malki! and Kris Straub.

After only a week, the game has blown through its original goal of $23,000 and raked in over eight times that amount. Clearly, the people have spoken, and they want to sit around a table with their friends and murder imaginary people in increasingly bizarre ways. Check out a few details and an all-new video of the game’s competitive head-to-head mode below!

One of the more interesting things about the MOD game is how it examines one of the aspects of the books that I hadn’t considered until now: Assassination. In a world where you know beyond a shadow of a doubt how someone is supposed to die, killing them becomes an exercise in rigging things up to fit that prophecy. After all, if someone’s MOD card says “shooting,” stabbing them with a knife is right out, and even a gun might not be the answer. You might have to conk them on the head with an errant basketball, or get a movie camera involved.

That’s the kind of situation the game creates, turning it into a collaborative problem-solving game with your friends. More than anything else, it reminds me of Gloom, a card game designed by Keith Baker that was built around heaping various miseries on a family until you eventually just offed them for points. It’s a little more fun than that might sound.

From the gameplay videos, it looks like MOD plays out the same way, adding in the challenge of a time limit and the luck of a die to keep things exciting as it moves. And these are definitely elements of the other way to play the game, a competitive head-to-head duel of outlandish plans:

Like I said, the Kickstarter has already demolished its initial goal, but there are plenty of stretch goals up there waiting to be unlocked for backers, including this one that Malki! mentioned to me in an email:

One of the most exciting things about the first Machine of Death book (and the second, for that matter) was the chance to commission cool art from our webcomics pals to illustrate the great stories that both books contain. With the game, we’re going one step further and commissioning bonus game cards from the stars of webcomics – to be given free to all backers who pledge during the Kickstarter. We’re continuing to unlock bonus artists, but my ultimate hope is that we can get TWENTY different artists to contribute about ten cards each. That’s as many additional free bonus cards as there are in the base game to start with. IS IT A FOOLISH DREAM? Only time – and the generosity of kind backers – will tell!!!

A foolish dream? Perhaps. But what is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action? So check it out!

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