Circus is easily among the most popular family pastimes and has been like that for centuries. Sure, it has evolved a lot, especially when it started to focus on aerobics and illusions. Tickets usually sell out quickly, especially when it comes to widely popular troupes.
Do you enjoy circus? Maybe you ever considered joining one or even better: managing it? Well, we have a game just for you. Meet The Amazing American Circus – a card based game coming to PC & consoles this year. A Kickstarter campaign to make it real will launch on February 9th.
The Even Greater Showman
Welcome to 19th century USA. You’re a young ambitious person who believes in American Dream and wishes to become a legend. You don’t want to become a manufacturer or another kind of revolutionary business man. Why do such boring things when you could become the greatest show person in the history of circus.
You begin with barely any money and few trusty performers. As your career (hopefully) progresses, you will gather new talent, and start traveling all over the states. If you get successful enough, one day you might be able to face P.T. Barnum and take his title of the best showman of the era.
Behind the Scenes
The Amazing American Circus was developed by two studios and both of them already have successful projects in their growing portfolio. The duo includes Klabater known for Help Will Come Tomorrow and Crossroads Inn. They were joined by Juggler Games who designed a great game called My Memory of Us. Together they want to make something they’ve always dreamed about – a complex card game with retro circus themes inspired by various TV shows and their own love for the history of 19th century entertainment.
What’s in the Program?
Let us explain what The Amazing American Circus really is. The game is inspired by the “deck builder” genre we know from traditional card games. In the case of deck builders players usually start with barely any cards and then get a chance to expand their decks (e.g. each turn). Picking which cards to add and which to remove is often the main point of the strategy.
The Amazing American circus is a deck builder at heart but expands on the whole idea much more, and turns it into a big, multi game adventure across America. While traveling you will go to different places spread all over the States and try to impress locals, who seem to have quite varied expectations of what they like to see. Making a perfect team to satisfy each of your audiences is the key to your victory.
So who will be able to join your lively group? Remember, the bigger variety you have, the more options there will be when trying to make a certain audience happy. Every performer adds their own set of cards to your arsenal, and some can make your tactics drastically improve.
First: the clown. What’s the point of a circus without a clown? Especially when he’s able to generate more cards when you need him to? Sure clowns are usually depressed and/or scary, but a clownless circus would feel like a candystick with no candy. Next we have a highly flexible acrobat and equally talented aerialist whose tricks revolve around jumping and soaring over the audience. Fans of more classic talents will appreciate the juggler and spend most of their time in the circus waiting to see the legendary Strongman Hercules the Biceps lifting colossal objects. More extreme artists include a face changer, a fire eater, a fakir and a snake charmer. Want more? There’s a good old illusionist, a mime and even a one-man band to please (or hurt) your ears.
All the Tricks Up Your Sleeve
When performing, cards are the very core of gameplay. Each of them is related to one unique artist and features their crazy numbers. How to get more cards? Between performances you will experience the main story of the game, which often results in getting new cards and decks. Same goes for exploration, which also awards them.
Each performance is started by picking 3 artists that would suit the expectations of your audience. You begin with 5 cards on your hand and another 10 in the pile you draw from (5 cards per artist). Cards have their own types, costs that you have to pay to play them, special bonus effects, effect descriptions and sometimes: additional trait keywords. Even though you’re just trying to amaze the crowd or make them laugh, the whole thing is shown like a turn based RPG combat.
On the Road
The United States of America, that you will be traveling through, is divided into a number of areas – each sporting unique preferences and requiring different kinds of entertainment. Your journey begins in the threat-filled Wild West and progresses through industrial Midwest, The South with its unique atmosphere only to end up at East Coast, where the legendary P.T. Barnum has his own circus.
When traveling you can perform in various cities located in dozens of states. While working you might have the pleasure to meet historical figures from the era: from Henry Ford and Buffalo Bill to Theodore Roosevelt. Who knows, maybe you will end up performing in front of them!
Expanding Your Circus
As you progress, your successes will allow you to introduce new wagons to your circus and get access to even more options and content. The main building called the Ringmaster’s Quarters where you plan your activities allows exchanging your hard earned money into Fame, which makes your goal of facing Barnum more realistic each day. Backstage allows customizing your performer’s tricks, Training Grounds help them hone their skills, Cookhouse can refresh them after a show and there’s much, much more you can unlock as you progress.
The Amazing American Circus on Kickstarter
The game is launching on Kickstarter on February 9th and our first impressions are without doubt highly positive. Deck building gameplay design feels tight and replayable, especially considering how many performer and trick options you have at your disposal. The addition of camp management and expanding it with new wagons makes the game feel much bigger, and that’s not counting the whole “travel across the USA” aspect.
Here are some gameplay bits for you!
We also enjoy the atmosphere. The late part of the 19th century was portrayed in a charming way and so did the circus theme that the game revolves around. If the final product ends up as good as it seems right now, we might have a big indie hit here. Especially if the authors manage to achieve some stretch goals and port the game to as many devices as possible.