Published Oct 04, 2016Amongst everything that the Decemberists preoccupy themselves with, whether it be EPs, Pete Seeger storybooks or novels, the band are now set to release a tabletop board game.
Titled ILLIMAT, the game came together in conjunction with game designer Keith Baker and illustrator Carson Ellis and is described as "sort of a card game, sort of a board game. Sort of a bit of both."
The game's genesis stems from a series of photoshoots in 2009, in which the band looked to "dress as a secret society that met in out-of-the-way places to play a strange, inscrutable board game," as you can see in the photo above. Last year, the band decided to look into bringing ILLIMAT to life having played their fair share of board games on the road during downtime.
Alongside Portland game publisher Twogether Studios, the band have launched a Kickstarter to fund the game, with perks including instructions on how to play pressed to a 10-inch vinyl record, screen printed posters, enamel pins, tote bags and copies of the game itself.
As of publication time, the campaign has already cleared its goal of $42,812 with 30 days remaining. Get all the details through visiting the campaign here, and read the origin story of ILLIMAT as told by the band below.
The Decemberists, in conjunction with Keith Baker, game designer par excellence, and Carson Ellis, illustratrix, have made a tabletop game. Sort of a card game, sort of a board game. Sort of a bit of both. But a whole lot of one thing: AWESOME-NESS.
How did this come to be, you ask? Very astute question. See, back in early 2009, in the wake of another watershed presidential election, the Decemberists were prepping to launch the record The Hazards of Love into the world. They were doing what most bands do in preparation for such an event: trying out new hairstyles, inviting people to be in their band, and participating in photoshoots. As is their wont, they were searching about for something to do in said photoshoot when it occurred to one of them that they should pretend to be a secret society that met in out-of-the-way places to play a strange, inscrutable board game. They tasked Carson and photog Autumn DeWilde to make a game board for such a caper and voila: there survives, to this day, a few rolls of film with The Decemberists playing a weird-looking board game in a room of the Ace Hotel. Such is life. (We did make a t-shirt out of it, which some of you may own. You were confused then; hopefully you still remain confused.)
However! FLASH FORWARD TO 2015: The band, having played many board games on the road during their down time 'twixt soundcheck and show, decided to try and make this strange game-board-without-a-board-game into a real living, breathing game. They invited renowned designer Keith Baker (Gloom, Phoenix Dawn Command, Eberron) to give it a shot. With a little input from the band, Keith retreated to his mountaintop hermitage and studied the game board for an entire year, only returning to civilization once he had a finished game to show. And what a game it was — a game that is as classy as it is classic, as fun as it is demanding; a game that feels of its time, yet weirdly out of time altogether.
We're working with Portland game publisher Twogether Studios to fund the game via Kickstarter — AND IT'S LAUNCHING TODAY! Head on over to Kickstarter to look at the game, see how it's played and maybe, just maybe, take a gander at the various reward levels and figure out where you fit. Ask yourself: just how much money you would heap on such a marvelous creation in order to have one for your very own self? Everyone will have a different answer. You are all, each of you, unique flowers.