Band or Album – The Social Game You're Playing Even Now

Created by Jeff Tidball

Band or Album – The Social Game You're Playing Even Now
Photo original
265 backers pledged $5,593.00 on Kickstarter

The multiplayer social game that you play on Twitter, at the bar, in the car, and everywhere else you say things.

Raised in Kickstarter
$5,593.00 / 265 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$516.50 / 274 backers

Learn About Our Project:

You’re waiting for your morning joe. The woman in front of you is on the phone with someone. Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Definitely someone like that.

“Oh man, that’s like the square root of my soul,” she says.

Before you realize what you’re doing, you’ve said it out loud: “Square Root of My Soul is the name of my next band.” You’ve never been in a first band, let alone have plans for a next one. You don’t even play an instrument. But it was too perfect not to say.

Then the guy behind you chimes in. “Sounds more like a concept album.”

He is an idiot, naturally. But how do you prove it?

Band or Album is the game that knows the truth. That every word or phrase in English could be the name of a band, or of an album, but not both.

The single correct answer, in each case, is a reflection of the Platonic ideal that is Band or Album, neither opinion nor conjecture, often elusive, and only arrived at through the consensus of playing the game with others. Sometimes augmented by social lubrication.

Band or Album is an easy game to be played with any number of friends, layered over any and every social interaction.

Chatting over drinks. On the phone with your mom. Posting on social media. Playing another game.

There’s never a wrong time to play Band or Album. In fact, you’re never not playing Band or Album – even now. Because Band or Album is a meta-conversation that, once started, is impossible to stop.

The rules tell you how to play. And show you how to play. And comment on the wisdom and strategy of playing. And teach you how to play on social media or while responsibly enjoying an adult beverage. And tell you how to respond to the weak-minded who are always, like, “What about self-titled albums?” They take the form of a set of old-school CD liner notes, with graphic design by the inimitable Will Hindmarch.

The collector coins are game pieces. They’re 39mm (top to bottom) minted metal coins shaped like guitar picks that let you and your cohorts play in style. They're not required for every playing circumstance, but they shine when you play in person, and most especially when there's a beverage, here, man. At such times, it's best if every player has one of their own — which gives you the opportunity to be the hero who produces enough coins for everyone from your pocket, purse, or backpack.

The coins' iconic images were created by the amazing Daniel Solis. They'll be produced by our friends at Campaign Coins, who positively rock at this. But are the coins just game pieces? Oh, hell no.

Band or Album collector coin manufacturing sample
Band or Album collector coin manufacturing sample

The coins are an outward sign that you love language, that you love play, that you have good sense and good taste. Band or Album coins look great sitting on your desk, because they show the world that you believe what we believe: That everyday discourse can be made even better with a game.

Kenneth Hite (Trail of Cthulhu, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff) had the epiphany that led to Band or Album in grad school. For years it remained a private entertainment.

Then he shared it with Jeff Tidball (Eternal Lies, Horus Heresy), who became obsessed with the idea of publishing it.

Jeff recruited Will Hindmarch (Eternal Lies, Project: Dark) and Daniel Solis (Kigi, Belle of the Ball) to create awesome visuals. 

Renee Knipe leapt aboard to cut video, coordinate logistics, draft text, come up with great ideas, and take care of a million other things.

Campaign Coins will manufacture the coins — they've been a huge help.

But none of these people are making Band or Album happen. This is Kickstarter. You are making Band or Album happen.

October 29: The first stretch goal has landed. At $3,000, Band or Album goes platinum! Premium finish coins are baked into the Rock Star and Executive levels. If the campaign reaches this milestone, each backer at those levels will get a platinum coin for free, in addition to their other rewards. (November 12 Update: Unlocked!, with the clarification that we'll us the finish that Campaign Coins called "Antique Silver" to represent our platinum coins, because its depth of tones looks even better than the actual platinum finish.)

November 13: At $3,666, we'll add the black nickel finish for the totally metal among you. As the backer tiers describe, each Rock Star backer will receive one unlocked premium finish of their choice at no additional cost, while Executive backers will receive one of each for free.

Platinum ("Antique Silver") premium finish
Platinum ("Antique Silver") premium finish
Black Nickel premium finish
Black Nickel premium finish

At $4,000, we added the first ten #EarwormNinja meditations, in PDF format, for all backers regardless of backer level. Meditations on #EarwormNinja will be a work in the style of Things We Think About Games that presents rules for and explorations of the ideas behind social in-person and online games. Does that sound super-serious? It will be equal parts super-serious and totally irreverent, as all the best work of art ("Art") are.

At $4,500 we added a four-color, two-sided, Band or Album guitar pick for every Band Leader, Rock Star, and Executive backer.

At $5,000, we unlocked the extra-shiny double platinum premium finish.

"Double Platinum" Premium Finish
"Double Platinum" Premium Finish

And finally, on the last day of the campaign, we enlisted a wedding Executive to unlock our final stretch goal, the copper premium finish.

Antique Copper Premium Finish
Antique Copper Premium Finish

Thank you, backers. You've been magnificent.

Dave Chalker (Get Bit, Heat) rocked his playtest Band or Album coin so hard it broke in half.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

"The White Box" = Album
3 months ago – Wed, May 03, 2017 at 03:05:33 PM

Short and sweet, Band or Album backers:

My latest Kickstarter endeavor is The White Box, a game design workshop-in-a-box. It's for people who think game design is awesome. If that's you, have a look. If it's someone you know, pass the link along?

My thanks, and I hope your Band or Album'ing is still going strong. I carry my coin in my left back pocket pretty much every day.


"The Meditations" = Band
about 1 year ago – Tue, May 17, 2016 at 08:01:24 PM

Last night I blasted out download links to Thirteen Meditaions on #EarwormNinja, with Two Bonus Games for Online Amusement to all y'all Band or Album backers. That's three meditations and two bonus games more than promised, but when you're moved to add meditations and bonus games, you add them.

That's the last of the promised Band or Album rewards. Since you've had your coins for a couple of months now, think of it as an encore. I hope you enjoy reading and playing #EarwormNinja.

As an early adopter, you've no doubt been exposing Band or Album to late-coming non-trendsetters who weren't plugged-in enough to back the campaign, or who didn't get it at the time. Bless you.

If your Band or Album–lacking friends, neighbors, and countrymen need to remedy their situation, is their one-stop shop. Although the order page currently speaks of "Pre-Orders" (we'll get that fixed soonish), it's still active for post–Pre-Orders. Folks who leap aboard now have missed out on the Black Nickel and Platinum premium finishes — those are all gone — but non-trendsetters must sleep in the bed that brought them, if you'll forgive me for taking a pair of metaphors out behind the shed and shooting them.

Campaign Coins is also selling Band or Album coins and rules; their shipping is probably cheaper than mine and they almost certainly process orders faster than I do.

Band or Album rules are now, and Thirteen Meditations rules will soon be, available on DriveThruRPG as PDFs.

Adventure Retail, Ltd. (look for Atlas Games in the show directory) will be selling Band or Album and Origins, San Diego Comic Con, Gen Con, and Dragon Con. Campaign Coins will have them at Gen Con, along with about a billion other wonderful coinages, so visit them, won't you?

If you didn't receive something you're due from the campaign, drop me a line. There are three of you floating around who haven't responded to your BackerKit surveys, for example. I'll assume that's a political statement of some kind until I hear otherwise.

Thanks again, mightily, for supporting Band or Album. All y'all are the best.

"An Exodus of Coinage" = Album
over 1 year ago – Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 04:31:06 PM

The last physical rewards are away, rockers. A small handful of backers have outstanding BackerKit issues, but as of about 30 minutes ago, everything I can ship has been shipped.

No rest for the wicked, of course — I still owe you all the stretch PDF reward Ten Meditations on #EarwormNinja. Look for that sometime in April, as it seems clear that the GAMA Trade Show and its attendant what-have-you are likely to eat the rest of March.

Do you have a question? A thought? A gripe? Drop me a line.

Did you get your rewards? Put a picture on Twitter, and remember the #bandoralbum hashtag.

Did someone near you just say something that's the name of a band, or an album? Call the question.

Did your friends fail to back the campaign and thus receive no rulebooks, no collector coins, no guitar picks? Of course they did, because you are the majestic, ahead-of-the-curve early adopter in your social circle. But you can help these late bloomers, even still, because all Band or Album swag is still available for purchase at Spread the word, won't you?

"The Postal Challenge" = Album
over 1 year ago – Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 07:48:56 PM

The unexpected postal challenge that I should have seen coming, rockers, is not that shipping is expensive — my estimates there were pretty good, even with the recent USPS rate increases — but rather, that it's challenging to pack a set of paper rules into an envelope-style mailer with a small baggie of coins and not have a certain level of concern that latter will bang the hell out of the former in transit.

After all, did anyone's rewards include a banged-to-hell set of rules for Band or Album?


I didn't think so.

I have dispatched some test mailings of various backer levels to various parts of the US. If those all arrive in good shape, I'll mail all the rest using the same packaging.

This will delay shipment by a week or so, I imagine, but I figure better you should get your rewards in good shape than get them immediately, especially since we're a good two months ahead of the promised delivery timeline. That's how we roll here at Band or Album Central.

The exceptions — as ever — are our Wildly Beloved Executive-level Backers. Their shipments have gone out today or will go out on Wednesday not because of the generosity of their backing (as welcome as said generosity was and is), but rather, because the enormity of their rewards go into a Priority Mail box rather than an envelope, where it's much easier to protect them.

You all are the best.

As you know.

(I should add: If you are exceptionally eager to get your goods right now, at risk of damage to your printed rules, drop me a line and I'll ship your stuff out right away.)

"The Gang's All Here" = (An Actual) Album
over 1 year ago – Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 11:29:14 AM

Our coins, guitar picks, and printed rulebooks have all arrived at Band or Album Headquarters!

I still have some modest fulfillment planning to do, and some shipping supplies to order, but I should be able to start shipping reward next week.

That means that the 5% of you who're BackerKit stragglers ("BackerKit Stragglers" = Band) have about a week or so to lock in your shipping addresses and any last-minute add-on orders. Let's call 2/19 BackerKit Lock-down Day.

The rest of you who've already responded on BackerKit (thank you!) can also continue to update your addresses (have you moved since December?) or add more add-ons (do you covet additional guitar picks or premium-finish coins?) until 2/19.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!