While we all wait on tenterhooks for the launch of The Phantom: Treasures of Drakon board game in Australia, another Phantom game is also being planned for a Kickstarter campaign launch - but this one is entirely card based and comes out of Scandinavia!
Mikael Lyck, a Phantom phan from Sweden (and from recently, a ChronicleChamber contributor) has taken it upon himself to design and produce a Phantom card game.
We must stress that this is in the stages of development. Mikael is currently in talks with Bulls, the Scandinavian rights agents of King Features. However, he has generously shared many of his plans with the ChronicleChamber team and we can report sincerely: he has a fully-formed game ready to go with two expansion packs, just waiting for the tick of approval from the right people.
Of course, it must be stated here that as the game is in the development stage, none of the art is final and the final version may well differ from the prototypes discussed and shown here.
Mikael has been generous enough to share his draft of the instruction sheet, as well as over 200 pages of card designs. The designs look fantastic, and we have our fingers crossed and our breath held while we hope that this card game may make it into full-scale production.
In Mikael's own words: "I have been a Phantom phan for most of my life and I have loved games just as long. When I introduced my kids to an old Phantom board game created in the 1980s I was not overjoyed by the game mechanics. After everyone had gone to sleep I was turning in my bed thinking about how I would do a Phantom game. After a few hours of twisting and turning I went down and started writing rules. Some hours later my kids walked in and wondered why I was awake so early, I had been writing the whole night...
"After some shut-eye I was back at it again, this time writing effects on coloring paper and cutting them out. My son was willing to try it. I had him play it over and over again, removing some features, changing others but still the concept was the same: to be The Phantom and trying to save and train Devil."
If that theme sounds familiar - it should! Mikael has based his game on Team Fantomen's 1979 publication The Story of Devil, written by Donne Avenell and drawn by Georges Bess. The two expansion packs he has developed since this initial game design are inspired by other story-lines: Diana in the Jungle Patrol (1973) by Magnus Knutsson and Jaime Vallvé; and The 21st Phantom: Year One storyline (2004) by Claes Reimerthi and artists (Paul Ryan, Alex Saviuk, Hans Lindahl, Kari Leppänen and Bob McLeod).
As for the game-play, Mikael explains it like this: "The Phantom Card Game is an adventure game. You play alone or cooperate with a friend. You are in the world of The Phantom and can seek help from allies, using weapons and actions to support you. Players experience exciting adventures by using cunning to overcome problems and defeat enemies.
Each round, players face a new problem that needs to be taken care of, but with limited resources and plays it is important to make good decisions to overcome short term obstacles, achieve the long term goal and at the same time evolve your supply of actions, items and allies. Any enemies that are not dealt with will injure you, making it hard to come back to full speed."
This is a game that has been over 18 months in the making, and Mikael has now test-played it with many more people than just his eager son. "In test games, most are really enjoying it. What people seem to like is that it is full of choices that matter. The challenge is knowing which card to play, when to risk, when to take care of a problem and when to be able to advance your game.
"I have taught non-gamers how to play in under 10 minutes. I am also planning on doing a video guide that should teach a player everything needed to be able to start playing."
As with all things Phantom, not all buyers will be phans keen on playing the game: some may well just be collectors keen to add a new item to their Major Treasure Room. If this sounds like someone you know, they will be delighted too. As we mentioned above, there are literally hundreds of cards planned and with two expansion packs already being considered this could become a significant addition to the Phantom shelf.
The starting box with a deck for playing solo as the Phantom in The Story of Devil and includes reward cards and 15 tokens. The second "companion" box is needed to play two players. It includes a deck for playing as Diana in Diana in the Jungle Patrol and also features reward cards and another 15 tokens.
The third set is an add-on, an "adventure" box based on The 21st Phantom, which of course is the start of Team Fantomen' s The Phantom Year One saga. This expansion pack includes an adventure and rewards that can be played together with one or both of the other boxes.
"In future I hope to continue bringing out packs that will expand the players' decks and give them new challenges. But I am giving a lot of consideration to continuing on the Year One track with stories like Molok, look at some other phan phavorite stories, or maybe go right from the start with The Singh Brotherhood or phans might even prefer to play newly published stories?"
In terms of when and how this game might be available to purchase? There is a bit of water to go under the bridge. Mikael is currently working with potential producers and Bulls (King Features) to make his dream a reality. In all likelihood, he will look to launch The Phantom Card Game on Kickstarter, with thoughts of add-ons including special sleeves, playmats and collector boxes.
Mikael is keen for any and all feedback on the game as it develops, and is actively consulting phans on his Facebook page, even putting up polls so you can have your say on card design and the like. We strongly encourage you to like and follow The Phantom Card Game on Facebook where you can help contribute to the final look of the game.
The ChronicleChamber team is certainly keeping a close eye on these pages, and will let you know as significant progress unfolds, and certainly when it is available for sale. In the future as development and the kickstarter campaign starts, we will be having Mikael on for a podcast chat to help promote the campaign.