After over a year of gameplay planning, Grand Archive was funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign. This article documents the history of the campaign and everything that went on prior to the September 2022 release.

Original Grand Archive social media banner.
Original Grand Archive social media banner.

History

The Grand Archive Kickstarter campaign was pre-launched on 21st October 2021 and officially ran from 17th November 2021 at 8PM (CST) to 1st January 2022 at 1PM (CST).

Only promoted through word of mouth, Grand Archive was one of few start-up trading card games to appear on Kickstarter that hadn’t already built up a large community and didn’t already have a ready-to-ship product through prior funding. What it did have was over a year of effort put into the gameplay mechanics between developers Alan Phan and Hung Ly.

With a modest $50,000 goal, the Kickstarter launch in November 2021 revealed a trading card game that had an extensive amount of time and thought put into it.

Part of the Kickstarter campaign gameplay graphic.
Part of the Kickstarter campaign gameplay graphic.

With a mix of anime artwork and western game design, right from the get go there was something for both competitive players and collectors to get excited about, and it wasn’t long before Grand Archive’s Discord server - opened on the same day as the Kickstarter pre-launch - became a hive of activity.

Part of the Kickstarter campaign collector graphic.
Part of the Kickstarter campaign collector graphic.

Less than an hour after the Kickstarter campaign went live, the $50,000 pledge goal had already been blown out of the water. After the first 24 hours the project was at $589,204, over ten times its goal.

Print and play versions of the Lorraine and Rai Starter Decks were launched during the Kickstarter campaign to introduce everyone to the gameplay whilst providing invaluable feedback to the developers.

With an extensive game guide and set of rules, small tournaments were also set up awarding 1st iteration Lorraine, Wandering Warrior (sample) and 3rd iteration Lorraine, Festive Night (sample) cards.

The Kickstarter campaign ended on 1st January 2022 at $947,400 - just short of 19 times the original $50,000 funding target.

Pre-Dawn of Ashes release

The Kickstarter campaign was set to not see any product shipped out until April 2022, with the main set release being scheduled for September 2022 - 9 months after the campaign ended. This section documents what the Grand Archive developers were doing during this between phase.

After the Kickstarter campaign ended the developers were hard at work testing card stock, print and cut quality. Everything from the gloss placement on the back of the card to the overall appearance of the foil was thoroughly tested until the developers were happy with the result, and the outcome of this testing was shared with the community on a regular basis.

Following feedback from vendors and distributors, in Kickstarter update #17 on 10th March 2022 the developers announced Wave 1 Product Delays:

We originally wanted to release the Starter Kits months in advance of the full release of Dawn of Ashes. This would have given our backers and game stores the opportunity to try out and enjoy the product before the big release in Q3 of this year. We’ve discussed this timeline with multiple vendors as well as with distributors and are now acting upon the feedback we have received. They had voiced their concerns regarding the significant delay between the Starter Kit release and the Booster Box release, weakening the overall launch of Grand Archive. In addition, they also expressed that the efficiency of 1 wave versus 2 waves of shipments of products was not optimal. As a result, we are delaying the release and shipment of the Starter Kits to match the Booster Box release for Dawn of Ashes. With this, products that were meant for Wave 1 shipment will also be delayed. These products include metal cards, promo cards, playmats, and deck boxes.

The original April 2022 plan for the Dawn of Ashes Prelude Starter Kits was now pushed back to be in line with the September 2022 Dawn of Ashes First Edition release. To make up for it, however, the developers also announced that any Starter Kit pre-order affected by this would have the number of included Prelude Packs upped from 2 to 4.

Despite the gravity of this announcement, the community almost unanimously agreed that this was the best move.

In late March 2022 the developers announced the introduction of Promotional Packs. Starting with SAMPLE-code packs, these would replace the previous individual sample card giveaways with booster packs containing a card at random.

In April 2022 a new set of 6th iteration foil Lorraine, Wandering Warrior, Blademaster and Crux Knight sample cards would be available to the public randomly inside SAMPLE2 Promotional Packs alongside the older sample cards that had been given away. The clarity, pixel density and overall feel of these new sample cards were noticeably better than what we had seen before.

1st iteration Lorraine, Wandering Warrior (left) vs 6th iteration (right).
1st iteration Lorraine, Wandering Warrior (left) vs 6th iteration (right).

The team went on to improve this even further with a 7th iteration sample run - which wasn’t distributed to the public - before they were finally happy with what they’d created.

In May 2022 Grand Archive would appear with their own booth Collect-a-Con in Dallas. A gameplay section allowed anyone to learn how the game worked, rewarding free Convention Demo Decks. This was the first time merchandise had been available to purchase outside of the Kickstarter campaign - SAMPLE3 Promotional Packs were given out for every $40 spent on merchandise.

In July 2022 the team had an even larger booth at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, which was an overwhelming success. For almost the entirety of the four-day event the booth was packed full of people learning about the game far beyond the expectations of the developers.

Grand Archive's booth at Anime Expo, Los Angeles (July 2022).
Grand Archive's booth at Anime Expo, Los Angeles (July 2022).

This convention introduced three cards from the 2022 Promo set, Bubble Mage, Dungeon Guide, and Honorable Vanguard. No longer regarded as samples, these were printed on finalised card stock and were the first tournament legal cards to be released.

This section will be updated over the next few months as new news comes in. In the mean time, check out What we know so far about the Dawn of Ashes set.

Tiers

Starter Tier

The Starter Tier pledge was $40.

Starter Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Starter Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Starter Tier ended with 76 backers.

Starter Tier (Early Bird)

The Starter Tier (Early Bird) pledge was $30 and was limited to 100 backers. It was a discounted version of the Starter Tier.

With $10 off, this was the cheapest Starter Kit offering available throughout the entire campaign.

Starter Tier (Early Bird) ended with 100 backers.

Gold Tier

The Gold Tier pledge was $115 and was limited to 1,250 backers.

Gold Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Gold Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Gold Tier ended with 719 backers.

Platinum Tier

The Platinum Tier pledge was $300 and was limited to 500 backers.

Platinum Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Platinum Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Platinum Tier offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $80 ($10 off).

The Platinum Tier ended with 139 backers.

Diamond Tier

The Diamond Tier pledge was $600 and was limited to 150 backers.

Diamond Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Diamond Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Diamond Tier offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $75 ($15 off).

The Diamond Tier spent the majority of the campaign at 150/150, but a few late drop-outs opened up some spaces in the closing hours. The final count was 148/150.

Champion Tier

The Champion Tier pledge was $1,000 and was limited to 100 backers.

Champion Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Champion Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Champion Tier offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $71 ($19 off).

The Champion Tier spent the majority of the campaign at 100/100, but a few late drop-outs opened up some spaces in the closing hours. The final count was 98/100.

Grand Champion

The Grand Champion Tier pledge was $2,500 and was limited to 50 backers.

Grand Champion Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Grand Champion Tier Kickstarter graphic.

The Grand Champion Tier offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $66 ($24 off).

The Grand Champion Tier spent the majority of the campaign at 50/50, but a few late drop-outs opened up some spaces in the closing hours which were quickly filled. One very late drop-out in the closing minutes of the campaign didn’t give anyone enough time to jump in, leaving the final count at 49/50.

Designer

The Designer Tier pledge was $10,000 and was limited to only 1 backer.

Designer Tier Kickstarter graphic.
Designer Tier Kickstarter graphic.
  • 6 Dawn of Ashes Prelude Starter Kit Kickstarter Edition
  • 72 Dawn of Ashes Booster Box First Edition (Kickstarter Exclusive)
  • 1 Grand Archive Origins Kickstarter Playmat
  • 10 Lorraine, Blademaster Alternative Artwork Kickstarter Promo
  • Design an ally card with our team and talented artists!
  • Receive the designed card in foil signed by all the devs!
  • Receive a canvas print of the designed art signed by the devs!

The Designer Tier offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $66 ($24 off).

By far the most lucrative tier, the Designer Tier also included the design of a custom Ally card to be included in the main Dawn of Ashes set.

The Designer Tier was taken almost immediately after the campaign launched, however in early December the original backer dropped out and someone else was quick to take it.

That someone else turned out to be a duo: Sera and Triskit, who collaboratively worked with Hori to design Triskit, Guidance Angel, first revealed in a video uploaded by Triskit on Youtube on 29th June 2022.

Triskit, Guidance Angel digital image.
Triskit, Guidance Angel digital image.

This was the first time the community had seen a card using the Luxem element, the first time a card had been seen which enabled multiple elements at once, and the first time an Ally card had been seen with the ability to take the place of the active Champion.

Brick and Mortar Game Store Tiers

Two tiers were set up specifically for brick and mortar game stores. Backers were required to verify that they operated a game store from a physical location.

Both tiers offered discounted add-on prices, with Starter Kits at $35 ($5 off) and booster boxes at $66 ($24 off).

Game Store Tier 1

The Game Store Tier 1 pledge was $500.

Game Store Tier 1 Kickstarter graphic.
Game Store Tier 1 Kickstarter graphic.

Game Store Tier 1 ended with 36 backers.

Game Store Tier 2

The Game Store Tier 2 pledge was $1,000.

Game Store Tier 1 Kickstarter graphic.
Game Store Tier 1 Kickstarter graphic.

Game Store Tier 2 ended with 119 backers.