Hike! A card-drafting racing game with huskies

Created by SnowBoardGames

A fast 2-6 player game in which you assemble your husky sled and race through the snowy wilderness.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Hike! ❄️ is funded and next steps
6 months ago – Sun, Feb 13, 2022 at 03:15:07 PM

Hello everybody,

we are thrilled to announce that Hike! is officially funded! 🎉 Thank you for being on this journey with us! I know we are probably repeating ourselves, but this really means so much to us, and we would like to thank each and everyone for your support and trust! 💗

👉 Next steps

Today, we've been wrapping up some technical stuff connected to the end of the campaign.

Kickstarter has set in motion their post-campaign activities too, and they have started charging the credit cards. Most of them went through no problem, but we did get some reports about errors. That is completely normal and expected - if your credit card happens to be one of them, and you receive an error notification, please see if you can fix the payment details. We will be contacting backers whose pledges don't go through too, so keep an eye out for messages on Kickstarter, so that we can make sure that the pledges don't get dropped.

We've been living and breathing with the different timezones of this campaign for a month, and it has been quite an overwhelming experience. We will take the weekend off, get some rest and maybe go climbing, and Monday, we are back rested and sharp, and we start finalising the technical specifications and order quantities with the manufacturers.

✉️ Future updates

Going forward, we are thinking to send out regular monthly updates, and some additional updates in between, when something interesting or important happens. We think that this is a frequency at which we can keep the updates interesting, with relevant information in them, so we don't spam your inboxes. 

And for everybody who would like to be in touch more often, we plan to post smaller things on our Facebook and Instagram, so we kindly invite you to connect with us there. We can also post smaller updates in the comments here on Kickstarter if you would be interested, but we can't include images here.

How does that sound? Let us know in the comments!

💙 This campaign has been absolutely amazing and we would like to thank you for being part of it. We are now entering a new phase in which Hike! gets transformed from an idea into a reality, and in which several thousand copies are manufactured. So there's a lot of work on the horizon, but we're excited to tackle it!

Greetings from Slovenia

Your SnowBoardGames team

Hike! ❄️ Last 48 hours and how it all began
6 months ago – Tue, Feb 08, 2022 at 10:52:06 PM

Hello everybody,

We have just passed the €100k mark. If you had asked us before the campaign what was the number we were hoping to reach, we can honestly say that this number was way beyond even the secret hopes that we only shared with the core team. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙏

🧭 We are extremely happy that the success has enabled us to improve Hike! from the original version both with upgraded components quality and additional art and gameplay. During the campaign, we were able to add

  • A cardboard divider that will make sure the components in the box are nicely organised
  • Linen finish to both the cards (base game and expansion) and the base game box
  • 6 wooden pawns to replace the cubes that move over the landscape fields
  • 8 mm cubes used in the sled will be upgraded to 10 mm cubes which are nicer to handle
  • 6 new cards with sleds that will complete the look of the sled, so it will not only be a group of huskies, but it will also have a spot for the musher and a clear direction with lead dogs and wheel dogs. The cards will have player aids on the backside, so they will hopefully allow the players to have a smoother gaming experience without the need to check the rulebook during the game.
  • 2 new landscape cards with a beautiful sunset pink landscape illustration
  • A new husky illustration so the Hike! pack now has 8 adorable members
  • All of the husky cards got names, so the huskies now have a bit more personality. We got a ton of amazing name suggestions, and while the topmost voted are included on the husky cards, all of them will be included on the sides of the box, as part of the Hike! Kickstarter pack.
  • 6 customizable husky cards that will allow you to add your furry friend to the game
  • A new event in the expansion, that is thematically tied to taking photos and is a nod to Instagram social goal

We have one more unreached social goal – we need 110 more followers on Kickstarter to unlock a new ‘Crowdfunder’ trait in the expansion. If you want to contribute to it, you can do so here by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button.

🏳️ A new language

We are also very happy to welcome Spanish as one of the languages for the downloadable pdf rulebooks. Since the start of the campaign, the Hike! family has grown from 2 to 8 languages, and we hope the additional translations will allow more people to enjoy the game.

🐺 Husky enthusiast and shipping

We were looking through the pledges and we noticed that there are a few people that backed the Husky Enthusiast pledge and also added Events and Traits and Compass first player token as add-ons. The Husky Enthusiast pledge includes both of those items by default, so adding the add-ons means you are adding a second copy of the expansion and the token to your pledge. If this was something you wanted to do, awesome, but we just wanted to make sure that this was intentional.

We also wanted to make sure that everyone knows that shipping will be charged after the campaign, in the post-campaign pledge manager. You can read more about it in the Shipping section.

The story behind Hike!

We are entering the last 48 of the campaign, and we have taken the time to reflect, and to see just how far we’ve come, and we thought we would share it with you, as you are becoming a very important part of this story. We hope you don’t mind it’s a bit longer, it’s one of those stories you can’t tell in a paragraph or two.

The idea for Hike! was born about a year ago. Me (Nika) and Blaž watched the Disney movie Togo some months prior. It is a very moving story about a relationship between a man and a dog, and the unique skillset they have as a team, and it is set in the harsh winter environment with vast open spaces and raging storms. And as alpine climbers who had experienced a bit of rough weather conditions ourselves, the story truly kept us at the edges of our seats. After the movie, we googled the 1925 serum run to Nome, the distances involved, the equipment, and dog sledding itself – it’s an activity that we have no practical experience with ourselves – and we were pretty impressed by the achievement.

And I guess the story somehow stuck with our subconsciousness, as a few months later, I got an idea for the dog sledding theme combined with the matching-edges-pattern building mechanics. We are both enthusiastic board gamers, and this was not our first idea for a board game. We have one quite a bit more complex that’s sitting in our drawer, half-designed, on a pause at the moment, so we can focus on Hike! first. But that one will take a lot of time to become a reality and the Hike! idea seemed like something that could be developed pretty quickly. In fact, Blaž said: 'let’s make a prototype and test it', and we created the first hand-made prototype with bullets and arrows in just 4 hours.

Various Hike! prototypes. The first, hand-made one, the one for playtesting, the digital one and the one with actual art.

And then we playtested it, and it seemed like fun. But we were probably totally biased, so we had to broaden the playtest group. The problem was we were in a full lockdown at that time due to the pandemic, so we could only test it with my sister Maša and Martin. And they liked it too. We worked on it for a week or two so it came from the rough idea to something playable, and we called our friends and colleagues and organised some online tests sessions with a 2-camera setup and a physical game on our kitchen table. And the feedback we were getting was positive and encouraged us to decide we would try to publish it.

And our first thought was Kickstarter, as it had just become available to Slovene creators. We’d been following the platform for quite some time, and we had been fascinated by it as backers, seeing projects we believed in come to life, and we had always known we would like to use it for our own project once too. Given our technical background, we had thought it would be a tech project, but it turned out that games are also well represented on Kickstarter, so we decided to try and launch Hike! here.

We knew being a creator is probably quite different than being a backer, so we started researching Kickstarter from the creator’s perspective. There are a lot of great sources available online, but we were also very fortunate to be accepted into a Crowdfunding Boot Camp held by one of Slovenia’s most experienced people when it comes to Kickstarter, where we really learned a lot about how to do it in practice.

So for the majority of 2021, we were developing a game, working with the illustrator, searching for manufacturers and contacting reviewers, while at the same time preparing for Kickstarter – building a landing page and a Kickstarter page, building an audience, creating social media channels for SnowBoardGames and so on. And we finally launched the campaign in January, one year after the original idea.

Our goal was €6k, and if we reached it, we would invest some of our own money with it to be able to order a series from a professional manufacturer, meeting their minimum order quantities. Approximately double the funding goal, we would cover the series from Kickstarter funds, and we would also cover some of the past expenses we had with the development of the game. We said that if the campaign would go towards €20k, we would be really happy, and if it goes towards 1000 % funded, that would be really amazing, and beyond what we thought was realistic.

We are now at €100k. So the development costs that we were paying out of our pockets are covered, and we will be able to order a series that is above the minimum order quantities. We have also been able to improve Hike! quite a lot from the original version. And we had to ask ourselves, where do we want to go from here. Will it be a one-time Kickstarter, or will it be something more?

And we really want it to become something more. Our wish is for SnowBoardGames to become a board game publishing studio that develops quality games that bring people together and whisk them into adventure. And the first step towards this goal is that we make sure that Hike! is also available after the Kickstarter. Some retailers have already approached us, so we have opened a pledge for them. At the moment, we are still new, and we are still developing relationships, so I think it’s hard to say where this will take us, but we definitely want to stay in the board game field for the long run.

And as for Hike!, we want to let you know that you backers are special to us and that you are getting premium content through Kickstarter. So we want to make sure that we offer you a better price and exclusive items. Therefore, Hike! base game and expansion will have a higher price after the Kickstarter, and Compass first player token will not be available at all. It will be a true Kickstarter exclusive, available only to those who back the Kickstarter.

⏱ So we don’t have any fancy announcements for the last 48 hours. There is one more stretch goal at €110k, which still seems a bit far away, but we are really hoping we can reach it, as it is a fun little addition to the base game which allows the huskies to change sleds in the preparation phase. And we also want to ask for your help once again, if we may. We have a pretty limited budget for marketing, as we are trying to direct as much funds as possible to improving Hike! so we are probably not reaching as many people as we could. Therefore, if you have a friend who you think would enjoy the game, please let them know about it, and tell them that they have 48 more hours to join the Kickstarter.

💗 Our sincere thank you for your continuous support and for allowing Hike! to become a reality!

Nika and Blaž with the SnowBoardGames team


PS – it wouldn’t be a true SnowBoardGames update if we didn’t ask for your opinion. 🙂 You probably know we are still working on the art for the expansion cards. The fronts are designed, we just need to finish the illustrations and put everything together. But we are still figuring out the backsides. For the base game, the landscape card backsides feature a distant mountain range, and the husky card backsides have the 2 husky character patterns flowing one into the other.

For the expansion, we want to do something special too, but we could use some more brainstorming. One idea we have is to have a patchwork of all of the different event illustrations on the events backsides, and a cap and gloves of that musher person in gray that is always illustrated facing away from us, so they can be anyone. But we’re afraid that this wouldn’t say ‘back of the cards’ on the first glance and that someone would think it’s the front. The other idea is a more abstract frosty wintery pattern in blue for the events.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas of what we could do? Let us know in the comments! 🙂

(And if you don’t mind, please use the comments section of the campaign page, not below this update. Apparently, that helps the algorithm and makes Hike! more visible)

Hike! ❄️ Landscape cards and some other info
6 months ago – Thu, Feb 03, 2022 at 06:15:20 PM

Hello everybody,

let us start this update with a big thank you! 🙏 We asked for your help with contacting organisations connected to dog sledding and dog well-being, and we received so many encouraging emails and a lot of really great info! We've sent out some emails, so we're hoping we will be able to include the answers in the future update.

It really is a privilege to be part of such an amazing community. 🥰 You have helped us unlock the Facebook and Instagram social goals, and the Kickstarter one is currently 151/300.

First, the meeples

We have collected your answers from the poll from the last update, and the results are as follows:

- 121 people have completed the questionnaire.

- 101 people say they would potentially be interested in meeples.

- 39 % of the voters say they would pay $10 - $15 for the meeples, 20 % would pay $5 - $10, and 16 % would pay $15 - $20. The other percents were for paying more than $20 and votes for high quality, paying less than $5, proposing that we include meeples in the base game, votes that were not interested in meeples anyway and some very unique answers that made us smile - thank you for sharing, we are really happy we included the 'other' option as a possible answer.

We also got some great suggestions in the answers to the next question, and we would like to thank everybody who participated in the poll, and also everybody who used that last answer to tell us your feedback about the whole campaign - we really appreciate it!

So our conclusions based on your answers and based on the info we got from the manufacturers are as follows.

👉 About meeples in the base game:

- If we want to produce the game in Europe, we can't include meeples in the base game, it's simply too expensive. There is also a question of whether we should in any case - we got quite a few answers that were against meeples in the base game, as they don't add anything to the gameplay. And we have to agree with that.

- If we do the production of the base game in China, meeples in the base game would be possible from the financial standpoint. But, there is a really high chance that with the meeples, we wouldn't meet the October fulfillment. And we would really prefer to keep it. So that is not a great option.

👉 About meeples as an add-on:

- Based on the price the majority has voted for and the quotes we got, producing meeples in Europe is unfortunately not an option.

- Production in China on the other hand is very viable. And we were also looking into air transport, so this would mean there is a good chance that we could do it before October. The problem, however, is that in China, manufacturers have (much) higher minimum order quantities. We would have to order 1500 to 3000 meeple sets. With 100 people that said that would potentially be interested, this would leave with a huge pile of meeples, that we said would be a Kickstarter exclusive. Even if the sales were better than 100 sets, they would realistically probably not cover the manufacturing costs. So as a small studio, that does not have financial cushions, we can't really afford that.

- We have found some Chinese manufacturers that have lower minimum order quantities, but unfortunately, we didn't get the quotes yet. With the Chinese new year, they told us to expect quotes and estimates of the production time in the 3rd or 4th week of February. Unfortunately, that is too late for this Kickstarter campaign.

So it pains us to say this, but we are not able to offer you custom meeples add-on for a price that would make sense at this point. Realistically, it would probably be cheaper for you if you order dog meeples from suppliers that offer wooden components. We also have a .svg file with an experimental shape of a dog and person in a parka shapes that we used for some tests, so if anyone is interested in it, it's available here. Maybe it can be used for 3D prints.

We also hope that we reach the next stretch goal for upgraded 8 mm cubes for the sled cubes. We're talking about different options with the manufacturers and the one that is definitely possible is an upgrade to 10 mm cubes that are nicer to handle than the smaller ones.

🏳️ Additional rulebook languages

Now we do also have some good news for this update. We are adding 2 new languages for the downloadable pdf rules, Polish and Dutch. So we hope this enables more people to enjoy Hike!

🏔 Landscape cards

We also wanted to share a little design background with you. Nika and Blaž, designers of Hike! are both climbers and outdoor people, and when we started designing Hike! we got the idea to use real places as an inspiration for the landscape cards. So we reached out to different organisations and places and asked them to show us a photo and share a bit of a background story. So we thought this would be a good time to share it with you, and we kindly invite you to join us for a trip through Hike! landscapes here. (And we can't wait for you to read everything, so we're giving away the info that the landscape below is from our hometown, and that we illustrated it without the tallest chimney in Europe that would otherwise be seen from this place here. We took a bit of a liberty with freezing the river too, the winters now are not what they used to be...)

We are also sharing a preview of the new landscape card illustration, and we are excited to tell you that it will bring some new colours to the game.

We hope you enjoy the stories, and we invite you to let us know what you think in the comments!

🎲 What kind of a gamer are you?

We really enjoyed getting to know you all from all of the comments about the dogs and dog names, but we realised we don't know much about you as gamers. And being gamers ourselves, we thought maybe we could talk about board games a bit - what is your favorite game, and what type of games do you usually prefer?  Let us know in the comments section of the campaign!

💗 We would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting this campaign! We've come a long way, and we have been able to upgrade Hike! through the reached stretch goals, to make it a better version of itself. This campaign is doing really amazing, and we are starting to hope that it can become something more than just a one-time Kickstarter. And we would like to tell you that this really means a lot to us and that we will do our best to justify your trust and show you our appreciation in the future!

Love

Your SnowBoardGames team

Hike! ❄️ Let's talk about meeples
7 months ago – Thu, Jan 27, 2022 at 03:59:45 PM

Hey everybody!

We can hardly believe more than 2000 people are supporting Hike! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🥰 It probably didn't show through our comments, but the last few days have been pretty busy on our end. So this update will again be a slightly longer one.

🐺 Meet Murphy, the new member of the Hike! pack

We have received so many adorable photos of your furry friends that choosing one for the illustration was a truly hard task. We were looking for someone who would be as different as possible from the huskies that are already featured on the cards, and we thought this gorgeous agouty husky would complement the team well. Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

And don't forget to send our love to all of your furry friends! (Our dog Max says hi too 😉)

🤟 We have unlocked the first social goal

We are very happy to tell you that we have unlocked the first social goal - 300 new followers on Facebook. Thank you to all of you who helped us reach this number, and a warm invite for everybody else to join us!

This means that the cube that is moving over the landscape cards will be upgraded to a wooden pawn! 🎉 Now we were really hoping to get this one included in the game, and we must admit we thought adding it as a social goal would make it easier to reach than adding it as a stretch goal. I guess we were wrong on that one. 😅 But here it is now, so everything worked out. 🙂

We also have 246/300 new followers on Instagram and 94/300 on Kickstarter. Shall we unlock the Instagram social goal next?

🐕 Now let's talk about the meeples!

This has been a really popular request, and it is also something that we'd like to see in Hike! as we agree, it would look cool. But as we mentioned before, as creators, we need to be sure that it's doable, both from the manufacturing point of view and also financially.

So we were pursuing two thought flows:

- The first was to make the base game components as pretty as possible. Now this one has a budget constraint, unfortunately. But we were looking into replacing a pawn with a custom-shaped meeple, and replacing the 8 mm cubes with something nicer - maybe custom-shaped tokens. We had the idea that they would be shaped like a paw print, but unfortunately, that print really needs the empty spaces in-between the claws and the base of the paw to be recognizable, so it couldn't be just a shape, it would have to have print on it. And that would limit our choice of manufacturers a bit.

Then we also had another concern, and this was a practical one. We scouted our shelf for tokens and tried how they work. And we found that most of the tokens are actually not so nice to pick up. And picking them up and placing them is a  very important part of the gameplay. The cubes actually work pretty well for that purpose. So would it really be a good thing if we make the game look better, but at the same time make it harder to handle? Now without the budget constrain, we could just come up with a shape that would handle as well as cubes, but with it, we're kind of limited to standard thickness and that sort of technical parameters.

- And as we felt like that first approach was a compromise, no matter how you turn it, we also entertained another idea. Let's make the custom meeples and add-on, and go all-in with prettiness: custom shape, larger size, print or engraving on both sides. We were thinking about having dog meeples to be placed on a husky card, and a sled meeple to move over the landscape cards. This was also an idea that was mentioned a lot in the comments. But then we made some cardboard prototypes, and we found that sled is not the best shape for the size of the fields of the landscape cards - it would have to be tiny to fit. So we thought maybe we could have a person wearing a parka - so each player would have a musher and 8 dogs.

Now this is 56 custom meeples. And that is a lot of meeples. It also takes up some space. So we would have to make the base game box a little bigger in order for everything to fit inside. But we think this is doable.

So we're still waiting for some final details from the manufacturers, but from what we know so far, we're maybe leaning towards making the base game a bit prettier, but not making compromises on the functionality, and keeping the components so universal, that they don't dictate the choice of a manufacturer. (Meaning that we could maybe print the games in Europe.) And then go all-in with prettiness on the add-on with 56 custom-shaped wooden printed/engraved meeples that would be a Kickstarter special.

And we think it's time to include you in this conversation more and ask you what you'd like Hike! to be. So what do you think? You can use this form to let us know your thoughts, but we also warmly invite you to comment in the comment section (the main one, not below this update, please, it's easier to track, and apparently it also helps the algorithm so Hike! is discovered by more people) so we can all have a discussion together.

🐾 We have one more thing we hope you could help us with

We have contacted several organizations connected to dog sledding and dog well-being, as we want to talk about it in one of the updates, and also have the information about it in the rulebook. But so far, we've had very little luck - we either got no replies, even after a follow-up email, or we got a reply that they're too busy to help us at the moment, as apparently, it's a very busy time of the year for them. So we were wondering if someone here maybe knows about an organization that could help us? Let us know in the comments or send us a message or email at info@snowboardgames.si. We would really appreciate it!

💗 It's really been a long update, so we'd like to thank you if you're still here! 🙂 And thank you so much for being part of this amazing community and enabling Hike! to become a reality. 😊 We hope you stay with us for all the amazing things to come!

Your SnowBoardGames team

Hike! ❄️ Vote for the names and rulebook translations
7 months ago – Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 02:16:59 AM

Hello everybody!

You have shared a ton of very adorable dog photos with us and 170 amazing and unique name suggestions! It has been a privilege learning about your furry friends, and we're sending our love to all of them! 🐺❤️

📸 Husky illustration and names

We will go through the photos again with our amazing artist, Paulina Wach, and we will choose one that will serve as an inspiration for the new husky card illustration. And we also have a very pleasant task for you - the final voting on the names!

We have collected all of the suggestions from the Kickstarter comments (there were 170 of them!), and we propose this system for the votes:

- 10 most upvoted names from the comments automatically get a spot on the husky cards. These are Aurelia, Aurora, Balto, Moose, Nanook, Nova, Teeko, Togo, White fang, and Yuki.

- We will reserve 1 spot for the name of the husky that gets chosen as an inspiration for the illustration.

- This means we can choose 45 more names! The list of the names is here. Everyone can vote for 5 different names, and the ones with the highest number of votes will be included on the cards.

Unfortunately, there is a limited number of husky cards in the game itself, so there is a limit on how many names get to be on the cards. But we wanted to include all of these awesome dogs in Hike! so we thought it would be a great idea to print all of the names on the bottom part of the box, on the sides, and commemorate the extended Hike! pack in the first edition of the game. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

🐺 Custom husky cards

We have received quite a few questions from dog owners if there is a possibility to add a custom husky card to the deck, along with a few great practical suggestions. We have carefully reviewed all of them, and we have debated if this could be an add-on. Unfortunately, we think that the timeline will be too short and that these additional illustrations would not be ready in time for the production to start. We are still working on some of the art for the expansion, so the resources for additional art are quite limited.

But, we may have a different suggestion, and we want to run it by you - we could add 6 additional empty cards to the husky deck, that would have the back and the edges. And you can print, draw or paste an image of your furry friend to the cards. These cards would have the same back as the other husky cards, so you could add them to the deck, and they would allow you to customize your deck with your favorite huskies (or any other dogs or creatures!).

It's just an idea, and we're not sure if it's a good one. So please let us know your thoughts!

🏳️ Rulebook translations

It makes us extremely happy that we are able to announce the Hike! rulebook will be translated into 3 additional languages: German, French and Italian! These languages will be available online, as downloadable pdfs.

👋 Social stretch goals

We're also making progress with the social stretch goals. The current numbers of new followers are

- 184/300 on Facebook

- 153/300 on Instagram

- 54/300 on Kickstarter

Two new cards and a player pawn instead of a cube are inviting you to unlock them!

💗 This campaign is really shaping into a beautiful story with an amazing community, so we want to thank you all for sharing this story with us. We will strive to continue to make Hike! the best it can be, and deliver an amazing game you will be proud to own! We hope you stay on this journey with us!

Your SnowBoardGames team.