Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce - Co-op Sci-Fi Fun!

Created by Sentient Cow Games

Escape from Dulce is a collaborative, sci-fi dungeon crawler for 1 to 5 players. Choose from one of 8 hilariously bizarre characters, who have been imprisoned on the bottom level of Dulce Base and have just awoken after a Cryo-Pod malfunction. The players must blast their way through a base full of self strategizing human and non-human enemies, as they attempt to traverse the seven nefarious levels of Dulce and escape to freedom.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Mega Gigantic Super Fun Update!
4 days ago – Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 10:06:19 PM

Well, hello there stranger! I know we haven't chatted in a while and we needed to remedy that. We hope everyone has been well and enjoying their various escape attempts!

Things have been incredibly busy here at Cow Headquarters. We've done 5 or 6 conventions or events, pulled off a small viral marketing miracle, got to meet some D&D royalty, created a bunch of player aids, and got a lot more development done on the expansions, all in the past 2 months. And Tacos. We ate a lot of tacos, too. We've been busy and have had full bellies, so life is good!

Let's start with the new stuff! We weren't sure if our schedules would align, but we're super happy to announce that we got the incredible team of Ron Joseph (pencils and inks) and Jesse Heagy (colors) to do the cover art for all four new expansions! These guys are responsible for the EFD box cover, as well as some of the other larger pieces peppered throughout the game manual. These guys are both getting huge in the comics industry and we're very thankful to have them come on board!

Here's a little taste of things to come!

One fish, two fish, blam blam, dead fish!
One fish, two fish, blam blam, dead fish!

Not only will these new expansions be a little meatier than the first two, but they'll each have unique enemy types, and interesting twists and turns to keep seasoned players on their toes! We're having way too much fun writing these, and we just know you're going to love these new adventures before we all blast off to the moon!

Progress is being made on all four expansions and we'll continue to share details and offer up more teasers as we approach our next Kickstarter campaign. We're still shooting for a late summer / early fall release, and will keep you all appraised of the situation. If we need to push things out a little bit, just to make sure everything is the best it can be, we'll take that step. You can't rush epic-ness!

While development of the expansions has taken up the lion's share of our waking hours, we also spent a bunch of time putting together a number of player aids to, well, uh...aid players. A number of people have told us they wished there was an easy way to save their progress with the game, so we created a bunch of downloadable resources to help players with this. Below, you'll see character save sheets, as well as campaign save sheets for both the short and epic campaigns. Just click on the graphic and you'll be taken to the Cow Army google drive where you can download these and print as many as you want. 

Sure, you could take a pic of your file folder with your phone, but this is cooler!
Sure, you could take a pic of your file folder with your phone, but this is cooler!
Campaign Save Sheet for the Epic Campaign
Campaign Save Sheet for the Epic Campaign
Campaign Save Sheet for the Short Campaign
Campaign Save Sheet for the Short Campaign

We also had a member of the Cow Army tell us that they were having a really hard time shuffling the Loot cards, due to their small size. Well, we didn't want arthritis or anything else keeping someone from having fun, so we put together a sheet that allows you to roll dice to determine what loot you find. This can also serve as a master list for the three Loot Decks. Click on the pic below to download a 6 page PDF.

Loot Deck master list page 1 of 6
Loot Deck master list page 1 of 6

Now onto a little craziness! We've posted this on social media, so a chunk of you have already seen it, but for those of you who missed it:

Yes, that is Kevin Smith holding a copy of EFD!
Yes, that is Kevin Smith holding a copy of EFD!

Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin record their Fatman Beyond podcast from the Scum and Villainy Cantina in Hollywood and we got tickets to go see them do any episode on April 20. If you haven't checked out their podcast before, we highly recommend it! They talk all things nerdy and geeky and sometimes dig into the weird forgotten corners of it, like one of our all time favorite indie comics from the 80's, Grimjack!

We brought a couple of copies of EFD with us to spread the fun and well, we'll just let you take a look. We recommend watching the whole episode, but if you want to skip to the parts with us, go to about 39 minutes in to see Kevin's reaction when he first notices the games on the bar, and then jump to 2:22:30 to see us talking to Kevin and Marc about EFD. 

We were stupid only bringing two games and regret our poor planning, but we got Marc a copy of the game the next week. Elliot, the One-eyed Jedi, (shown in pic with Kevin) was the guy who answered the trivia question and won a copy of EFD, and boy was he jazzed about it! He worked for the Jim Henson company for years as a creature designer and couldn't wait to get home to paint the minis.

We drove home that night with us all thinking, "Wait, did that really just happen?!" It was one of the most surreal moments in all of our lives. How could anything crazier happen? Well, a few days later we got a message from a gentleman named Tim Kask.

While not a house hold name, Tim Kask was influential in TSR's early days, and was their first full time employee, hired by Gary Gygax in 1975. He worked as an editor and helped smooth over the rough spots of what would become Dungeons and Dragons, as well as heading up Dragon magazine for it's first few years. 

A couple of weeks earlier, Craig noticed that he was going to be in Los Angeles as the guest of honor for an auction of D&D memorabilia. We told him a little about our game and asked if he'd be interested in getting together to play. While the concept intrigued him, we just couldn't get together due to timing. 

We sent him a copy of EFD and he started messaging us with some questions, and then he started talking a little bit about EFD on multiple episodes of his "Curmudgeon in the Cellar" podcast. This led to an hour and half Skype call with Tim, a man who helped create a game that opened new doorways into our imaginations and set the wheel in motion to us becoming game designers. While opinionated (There's a reason his podcast is called The Curmudgeon in the Cellar), he was incredibly humble and treated us as peers, telling us some of the new things he's working on and asking us what we had up our sleeves for the next release. We filled him in on a couple of the expansions and started going back and forth with various ideas. So Tim Kask is responsible for some of the details in "The Mystery of Mount Shasta" expansion! 

And for the second time in a week, we had another very surreal experience! It just blows all of our minds that a man who helped create a game that brought us so much fun is now playing our game with his friends and having a blast with it! I guess the circle is complete.

We recommend checking out his podcast, especially if you play D&D. Here's one of the episodes where he gives EFD some glowing praise, which was another astonishingly surreal moment. While you should check out the whole episode for more context, jump to 23:04 and he'll start talking about EFD in a bit. 

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! 

Tim, we still have to get together to play!

So this all brings us up to present day, where I'm typing this from a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio. We flew in last night and start set up for Origins game fair tomorrow morning. It's going to be a very busy week for us, and if you're in the area, stop by and see us! We'll be in booth 467 and would love to see you!

Expect another update before the end of the month. There is a ton of fun coming your way!

As always, thank you for your support. Without you, none of this would have been possible.

Weller, Craig and Donna

Sentient Cow Games

To the Moon... and Beyond!
2 months ago – Thu, Apr 04, 2019 at 11:22:39 PM

Well, that was a crazy couple of weeks! Conventions, events, and final shipping ate up all our time. When we weren't sleeping or watching The Umbrella Academy, we were busy finalizing our plan for world domination! HAHAHAHA MOOOHHAAAA HAAAHAHAMOOOOO!

Actually we've been working on the next releases, but it would be cool if that somehow led to world domination in a laid back, non-bossy way. Like if the Dude from The Big Lebowski was in charge. I digress.

We've got a LOT of plans with the world of Secret Unknown Stuff, and to make it easier for everyone to wrap their heads around it, we put together this handy dandy graphic covering our current plans for the next 3-4 years! While this is by no means everything we have up our sleeves, it should give you a good idea of where we're going.

That is a heck of a lot of Secret Unknown Stuff!
That is a heck of a lot of Secret Unknown Stuff!

All of the new expansions are going to be a little bit meatier than the first two, each with it's own set of new, unique enemies, as well as a new Boss Commander. And there will be minis. We've got the amazing Raul Tavares, who sculpted everything in EFD, currently working on Sir Reginald the Cleaver! 

While illustrations are still in the early phases, here are tight pencils of some of the horrors that await you in Attack on Atlantis! 

Atlantean Shock Troops
Atlantean Shock Troops

These guys are the basic enemies you'll be facing and boy are they ugly! A mix of all manner of deep sea terrors with a touch of cybernetics thrown in, these baddies will prove to be worthy adversaries! 

Atlantean Calvary
Atlantean Calvary

Chosen from the upper classes of Atlanteans, these elite warriors serve as an honor guard to Atlantis' ruler and guide the near mindless Atlantean Shock Troops. Usually found riding giant mechanical Sea Horses, they strike terror in creatures below and above the water.

Atlantis' Evil Ruler - Sharkasauraus
Atlantis' Evil Ruler - Sharkasauraus

The big baddie. After Prince Kaltar went missing, the Evil Sharkasaurus usurped the throne, but one kingdom was not enough for him! He now has his evil beady shark eyes set on taking over the surface world and only you and your weird band on misfit heroes can stop him! We've said it before, but we'll say it again; Good luck! You're gonna need it!

Please let us know what you think of our future plans and let us know what you want to see in addition to all of this. We've got some other ideas for things, but would love to hear from you. 

As we move forward to our next campaign, we'll keep you informed of everything and hope to get our Kickstarter page up a month before the campaign launches so we can get your feedback and make adjustments to things as requested and needed. 

We're really looking forward to sharing this next batch of adventures with you before we all blast off to the moon next year. The fun is only just beginning!

Thank you for taking this journey with us,

Weller, Donna and Craig

Sentient Cow Games

Hello, this is Cow Customer Service...
4 months ago – Mon, Feb 25, 2019 at 12:57:13 AM

Wow! It is so crazy seeing our little baby take it's first steps out in the wild. Thank you for all the pictures and posts about your adventures! It's incredibly rewarding to see so many of you having such a blast with the game. 

Questions, Questions, Questions!

We've been trying our best to comment as often as we can, but at the same time the three of us have been trying to answer all of your questions coming in via email, messages, facebook posts, and the 3 dozen or so threads on BGG.

We're starting to put together a document of the most Frequently Asked Questions, as well as clarifications on a few things that you've brought to our attention. We're going to hopefully get this first draft out next week. If there are things you think should be included in this, please sound off below.

We've got you covered!

Our biggest concern, and number one priority, has been to take care of the few people who received damaged or missing components. It breaks our hearts a little bit every time we get one of these emails, as we really wanted everyone to get a perfect product. The reality of the situation is that there will always be misprints and mispacks on a small percentage of any production run. We apologize to those backers who received an inferior product and are in the process of getting you replacement/new parts. We really appreciate that everyone has been extremely understanding with these things. 

At this point, 90-95% of orders have gone out to everyone. There are still a few stragglers in Canada and Europe, who should be getting your orders very shortly. If you have any concerns or questions, you can always sound off here, or send us an email to info@sentientcowgames.com and we'll get you taken care of. Remember, who loves you? The Cow loves you!

A workaround for the objective tokens

One of the most common comments we've heard from you concerns some of the objective tokens. While misprinted/misaligned punchboards are probably the most common production problem in board games, we went the extra mile to try and make sure this wasn't an issue. We went back and forth multiple times with the factory over this and when the samples we got weren't up to snuff, we had them go back to the drawing board. The last samples we received looked good. 

From the feedback we've gotten from you, it looks like a misalignment on one of the punchboards containing objective tokens was more common than we anticipated. Due to the ? sides being offfcut this has led to some people being able to figure out which tokens are which before flipping them over. 

While there are extra tokens for everything except the portals, we've had a few kind folks offer solutions for the offcut ones.

Russonc suggested taking a black sharpie to the edges, and we feel this will work for some people.

Radioland offered another work around in the comments section, involving cutting apart and reassembling tokens. This involves some skills with a hobby knife, but we've got a simpler solution.

First, click on the image below to download a jpg of a whole bunch of token backs, then print it out at 100%. You can cut these out (please be careful) and glue them on to the backs of the existing tokens. There's also a PDF of the rulebook at this link too, if anybody wants to download that.

Click Me! Click Me! Click Me!
Click Me! Click Me! Click Me!

Another, easier, solution we found is to take the new token backs and use them on the board instead of the objective tokens. Let's use level 6 of the campaign as an example. Take the new paper token backs and place 5 of them out in the appropriate rooms at setup. Then take the objective tokens that are supposed to go on this level (a level 6 portal token, a computer terminal, a cryo pod, and 2 supply cache tokens) and put them in a small bowl or a dice bag. Every time you enter a room with an objective token, randomly draw one from the bowl or bag and place it face up in the appropriate room after you remove the paper token. This should solve the problem for those who have figured out which tokens are which.

We're working on a more long term solution for this problem, so that we can fix things down the line for everyone. 

Adjusting the Difficulty

While this hasn't really been a question, we've seen a lot of you commenting that it's taken a few attempts to escape the base and some of you are still working toward that. This is normal. The game still kicks our butts sometimes, too! While we meant the game to be difficult and unpredictable, we also left enough give and take in our systems so that you can make the game easier if you're really having trouble. Check out page 35 of the rulebook for some ideas about how to make the game easier.

Another thing to keep in mind, is the characters you are using. While Snippy Von Bell and The Smith Family have become fan favorites due to their weirdness, they are definitely more difficult for new players. Think of them like magic users in D&D. They are a little weaker than other party members early on, but once they level up a few times and get the right equipment, they become total powerhouses! Build your party wisely. Try to cover all of your bases. Make sure you have at least one "smart" character in your party, so you can find better loot. Don't underestimate characters' non-combat skills. 

On to the next thing or things!

Now that we've gotten through the bulk of fulfillment, we're getting back into development for the next expansions. Things are coming together and the stories we are creating are going to blow you away. Part 2 of the Secret Unknown Stuff trilogy, The Hollow Moon, is still being developed at the same time and we hope to drop this at the end of the year, or early next year. While we're keeping a lot of info for this under wraps for now, we do think you'll all love to play as the intelligent cat ninja, Mister Murder Mittens! 

Alright Cows, that's all we have for now. Thank you all for your support and we wish you luck on your escape attempts! We're going to keep the comments going on this page until the next campaign. We'll also be sending out occasional updates related to future expansions/games. Now go blast some aliens!

Weller, Craig, and Donna

Sentient Cow Games

Thank You!
4 months ago – Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 07:26:12 PM

Hello Cow Army! We're super excited to hear that some of you have started to receive your games!

To our European backers, it seems there was a bit of a mix up and thank you postcards that were to be sent out to everyone with their orders did not make it to Gamesquest. We didn't want to hold the games up waiting for these, so we figured we'd just put the postcard up here. 

Postcard Front
Postcard Front
Postcard Back
Postcard Back

You might want to print out the one side of this for reference when it comes to fitting the legs back into the box. 

Like the front of the postcard said, we can't thank you enough for being a part of making this game a reality!

If you post pics online, please send links to us so we can see your smiling faces!

Excelsior!

Weller, Craig, and Donna

Shipping! We've Got Shipping News!!
5 months ago – Sun, Jan 27, 2019 at 01:03:33 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, cows and cowettes, gather round, for we have some news you'll all be interested in! We got some answers late last night in regards to the status of all of the shipments. 

All three shipments, US, UK, and AU, have cleared customs in their respective countries and are enroute to the various fulfillment centers. We were told the US shipment is due to reach Quartermaster Logistics sometime between Jan 28 and Jan 31. We're still trying to get answers as to what exactly happened, and which port the games were unloaded in, but we were assured that they are making their way to Quartermaster. 

Once the games reach the fulfillment centers it should take them 7-10 days to unpack the pallets, start repacking individual orders, and start sending them out to you. 

Thank you for your patience as we've worked through these rough spots. We now understand that trying to get accurate shipping dates is sometimes like trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded. 

The good news is that we are over the latest hurdle, and that much closer to everyone getting their orders.

As things continue to progress, we'll be sure to fill you in!

PAX South was a Blast!

We spent last weekend in San Antonio, Texas and had a brilliant time at PAX South! This was our second year attending, and it was so awesome to have so many of you remember us from last year and stop by to see the final version of the game. 

We were able to run demos for over 100 people and chatted with so many more. Got to see some familiar faces and made a lot more friends, both fans and fellow game designers. We really can't say enough good things about everyone involved with and attending this con!

The River Walk is really beautiful and I was so close to pushing Craig in!
The River Walk is really beautiful and I was so close to pushing Craig in!
Ray and Professor Scientist showed up to help spread the Cow Gospel!
Ray and Professor Scientist showed up to help spread the Cow Gospel!

Ray and Professor Scientist walked the floor of PAX South on Friday morning before the doors opened to the general public. They asked some members of the Army if Reb Buford was there, visited the Raccoon City Police Station from Resident Evil 2, and chatted with some fellow game creators who came all the way from New Zealand to show off their game, Crimopolis!

We had a great time running demos for so many people over the weekend!
We had a great time running demos for so many people over the weekend!

Live Stream Tomorrow Night!

Our friends John Beckler and Jeremy Samson from Tabletop Takeovers are stopping by Cow Headquarters tomorrow night to hang out and do a little chatting about Escape from Dulce. I had the privilege of speaking with these guys on a panel at LA ComicCon and they've been doing some great things to promote the board game community in Southern California. They'll be live streaming our discussion on their Tabletop Takeovers Facebook page at around 9PM PST, so tune in for a little more of a preview of EFD. 

Until next time, keep it weird out there folks!