Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Evil Baby Orphanage Kickstarter - Review

Wyrd released their party card game Evil Baby Orphanage (EBO) at Gencon 2012, where I was privileged to provide the early release demonstrations. This card game was Wyrd's first foray into using Kickstarter to fun development of one of their games, and it was successful overall. They were able to get the base game developed in time to bring a number of copies to Gencon, and for the second year in a row I was able to grab copies of Wyrd's new game to demo to people the Wednesday before Gencon actually opens to the public.

While at Gencon my wife and youngest daughter also got the chance to play EBO and all three of us really enjoyed the game. We picked up several copies of the game at Gencon and knew these were in addition to the copy we would be receiving through our Kickstarter commitment. Since then we have given away nearly all our extra copies and have seen several of our friends become interested in the game as well. All of this provides a little background to my excitement in finally recieving the fulfillment of the kickstarter items from the campaign.

The EBO kickstarter ran from July through August 2012, ending just prior to Gencon 2012. There were multiple funding levels that people could pledge at, with the $55 level being the ideal level to receive the most swag for pledge. This was the level I pledged in at and the rewards with all the stretch goals were listed as:
  • Copy of the game
  • Print and Play PDF version of the game (and 2 expansions)
  • 2 Limited Edition promo EBO cards (Nero and Himmler I beleive)
  • Crayon Manifesto EBO expansion
  • Nerd Fighteria EBO Expansion
  • EBO Poster
  • EBO Limited Edition Case (box)
  • Multipart Baby Jack the Ripper model plus 2 Malifaux stat cards
  • Multipart Baby Lizzie Borden model plus 2 Malifaux stat cards
  • Multipart Baby Eric the Red model plus Malifaux stat card
  • Adorably Evil EBO coloring book
  • Littlest Evil History Book
  • Plastic EBO playing card/fate deck
  • Plushie 
Earlier in 2013 we received our EBO kickstarter deck in the mail. This was nice to receive as it came around the same time the game was released in stores. I have to admit I was disappointed to find out that our copy was shipped in the cheaper boxes used for packaging at Gencon, while the copies sent to distributors and stores were in much better constructed boxes.  This was one of the areas where Wyrd started to slip on the commitment to quality that they have previously demonstrated with their games. This move surprised me at the time, but hindsight shows that it is one of the early cracks in how they have moved in 2013.

That brings us to last Tuesday, June 18th, and the arrival of the remaining kick-starter rewards. Wyrd had sporadically updated backers that there had been delays due to issues with the plushie and the metal limited edition box. Delivery of the rewards was originally predicted for January 2013, and the delays had only pushed the delivery back ~5 1/2 months. I hear from some kickstarter regulars that this is not too bad, although we (my wife, daughter, and I) were certainly frustrated. That said, let's see what showed up!!!

Promo Cards and PDF's

I did not grab pictures of the promo cards but they did show up. My wife had gotten Justin and Mack to both sign copies of the promo cards at Gencon, but we happily put the two EBO promo cards in our remaining "give away" copy of the game. These will be a nice addition to the game for anyone else we get interested. As a nice bonus Wyrd sent along two additional promotional cards of EBO Time Nannies. These were a lot of fun to read and we look forward to playing them. Overall, the promo cards and PDF's were well received, positive marks here.


We received both expansions for the game and they are a lot of fun to read through. The boxes they shipped in are very nice, in line with the box used for the distribution and store release of EBO. The expansions add a couple new rules to the game, including a new behavior for evil babies and the addition of Time Nannies. We are really looking forward to playing with Time Nannies, as they add new win conditions to the game and shift the overall feel of the game. We are excited to sit down and play the expanded game, which we are keeping all together as one large expanded game. This reward gets good marks!

EBO Poster

We received the poster, which is a small poster that can be unfolded and hung up. The art is the same art on the boxes, which we like. This was not a real decision factor for us overall, so it falls in line with our expectations.
Nothing overly exciting but then again nothing negative about it. This reward gets average marks.

Limited Edition Card Case

We are fairly mixed in our family when it comes to the limited edition card case. This was an area Wyrd admitted to struggling with, although I have no insight into what those struggles were. The card box is a metal box with EBO art on the outside and a nicely snug cover. All of this is good, and it provides a great place to hold all of our EBO cards. With the top closed and on an initial look, the box appears to be really good and a nice reward. Once you start to sort your cards into the box there are a couple small things that start to jump out as issues. First, the box has rounded corners which keep the cards from fitting snugly against the side of the box. This also means that any pressure within the box will force the cards to bend as they come against the sides of the box.
After that the box is not deep enough to place the cards in "standing tall". This may not seem like an issue, as the box is wide enough to store the cards as shown in my picture. It would have been nice for the box to be taller however, as standing some cards "tall" would help separate the different types of cards in the decks. EBO is played with 3 "decks" of cards, the Baby Deck, the Toy Deck, and the Nanny Deck. I would have liked a way to better separate these along with the quick reference cards while stored inside the box. Lastly, the rounded lip at the top of the box holds the cards in nicely but scraped the edges of the cards when you remove them from the box. This can be worked around with a little fiddling while removing the cards, but it could have been handled better. As this is one of the items that delayed the shipment of the kickstarter rewards, I would have been happier if these small bits were not problems.
It would have been nicer if the box was large enough to play 2 decks flat in the same fashion as the cardboard EBO box that was shipped to distributors. Making that type of box in metal and then adding some additional depth for expansions would have been a much nicer reward than what we received. We give this only an average grade since we do like the box but it could have been done so much better.


As a Malifaux player I was very excited to see that I would be receiving 3 multipart models for Malifaux as part of my kickstarter rewards. In addition, these models would be able to be used as 5 different models in the game, with official stat cards for those 5 different models. The term multipart was something Wyrd has been using to indicate not only multiple options on models, but also that they would be plastic models. My wife called me while I was out at the game store to let me know the box of EBO rewards had arrived. During that conversation she also told me I had not received any models, which initially concerned and frustrated me. I was relieved when I got home to find out that I had indeed recieved the models, and that she just did not realize what the box was that they were packaged in. Looking at the models themselves, they have some nice detail. I am happy with the models, but I have to admit that I am struck by the false advertising in the kick-starter campaign. Baby Jack is a multipart model, but Baby Lizzie and Baby Eric are clearly a single piece. Now, being fair, I am very happy that Wyrd chose to make them a single piece in this case.
My daughter is incredibly frustrated with the multiple pieces used in her Puppet Wars Unstitched models, and I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be if all three of these models were split apart. It would have been nice if Wyrd had communicated what we were getting in a more honest and clear fashion. This is something else that could have been handled much better by doing something as simple as providing a preview of the models prior to sending them out. All things considered, I still give this positive marks and look forward to painting up the models.

Coloring Book / Little Evil History Book

We received two small books in our box of kick-starter reward. One was the coloring book which we had picked up at Gencon (I believe). This is a cute little coloring book and one we like. It's something we will probably toss on a shelf for when friend bring over their small children. The second book is one that we found to be a very nice little reward. The Littlest Evil History book is a lot of fun to look through, with its illustrations and a small blurb about the history of the included Evil Babies. The blurbs are longer than they are on the cards and its a nice bonus for those of us who ended up googling the babies after games. These two books have been a real hit in our house and thus receive very positive marks.

Playing Cards / Fate Deck

As we dig toward the bottom of the box we come to the plastic Playing Card/Fate Deck. This was billed as both a Malifaux Fate Deck and as a deck of playing cards containing EBO art on them. Wyrd have done a good job creating alternate fate decks with thier Retro-Fate deck and the Puppet Deck. Lot's of others have replicted the fate decks with custom art and delivered really nice decks as well, especially when you look at the 2013 Adepticon Fate Deck from Through The Breach. I was looking forward to a new fate deck with EBO art on it, and was very disappointed to see what was delivered. The art is nice and clear on the cards, but this will not work well as a fate deck or as a playing card deck.  Looking closely at the actual symbols, the suit or the card is buried in the corners and is very small and not easily read.
In addition, there is no correlation to the Malifaux suits, forcing a player to either memorize or refer to the conversion charts to track which playing card suits match which Malifaux symbols. This is disappointing to me and really delivered far below what Wyrd is capable of. Anyone can go take a look at the excellent job Wyrd did with the Retro Fate Deck and see that they are capable of doing a far better job linking the Malifaux symbols to the suits while keeping them readable and playable in either scenario. This was a disappointment, and gets poor marks overall.

** It was noted and confirmed that the 4 Malifaux suits (Rams, Tomes, Crows, Masks) are included on the card but are very hard to read. 


Wow, I do not even know where to begin with this one. Wyrd added in a "surprise plushie" when they reached the $100K level of the kickstarter. This was a nice little stretch reward that I thought had a nice touch. The art for the babies in EBO already lent itself nicely to stuffed animals, and sending out a small plushie would be a nice way to really show the quality of the art. Wyrd sent out a couple updates letting backers know that they were having issues with the plushie, but that it was coming along.
There was even a picture sent out showing some of the issues and where the delays were. Then the piece of crap pictures here showed up in the box. This is an incredibly poorly made plushie, consisting of very cheap material and such poor quality workmanship I would expect something higher quality from a high school sewing class. Giving this an F mark is unfair overall to the other items that received poor marks above. I am unsure why Wyrd decided to send this out at all, as it is not at all in line with the standards they have set in the past. This toy is an embarrassment.


That brings us to the end of the EBO Kickstarter review. Looking back over the review we have 4 A's, 1 B, 2 C's, and 2 F's. That still leaves the overall grade in the A/B category, even if you cancel out multiple A's because of how poor the plushie was. I pledged $55 to the kick starter and feel that even without the plushie I received my moneys worth and then some.  I think Wyrd could have generated some good will with this campaign and they missed a number of opportunities, but overall it was worthwhile. I know that on the actual game front, my family and I have really enjoyed EBO and think its a great party game. If you can sit down to play a very light hearted game, drink some wine, and just relax while playing then EBO certainly hits the right tone. As a final grade I would go with a B+ for the Kickstarter as a whole!

Here is a closer look at the miniatures for those who are interested:


  1. I couldn't agree more with all of your assessments of the additional swag. Why they would make a metal case that can't easily contain the game is beyond me. And the plushie...all I could think was this is the quality of the first prize you'd win at the state fair...and it takes 18 of them to trade up to a blow up hammer. Everything else was spot on, I especially enjoyed reading the history book. Glad they put Rutherford B Hayes in there because I was struggling to see his true evil.

    Thanks for the content overview...

  2. I think your a bit critical of the Metal case but otherwise I think your spot on. I need to take some time to check out the expansions and how they change the game. Heres hoping for the better

  3. One thing to note is that the Fate Deck does in fact show the proper Malifaux symbols (tome, ram, crows, and masks), it just does so amazingly poorly while also trying to combine the normal suits (clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds, respectively). The club is shown on a cover of a book (tomes), the heart is the eye of the ram, the diamond is on the forehead of a skull (it is probably supposed to look more like a mask), and spades are just kinda thrown in the middle of a bird (crow). These are very hard to make out, and it took me a while to even notice them. I was only looking at the for a while to try to find any indicators of damage for Malifaux (weak/moderate/severe), as both the retro and the puppet deck have these, albeit hidden (blood drips for retro and the position of a dot for the puppet), but I cannot find anything that would indicate this on the fate deck. I was most disappointed in this Fate Deck (but only because I did not care about the plushie).

    1. On a return look I see what you meanabout the symbols and will add a note above. It's still very poor deck, especially when I look at the Retro Fate Deck.

      Then again, I believe the Retro Fate deck was actually designed by someone outside of Wyrd and then licensed or bought by Wyrd to produce. I have not heard the same about this fate deck. This could be why this fate deck is so poor while the retro deck is so well designed.

    2. Thanks for the tip on the weak/moderate/severe indicators on the retro deck. Its my favorite by far.

  4. You are correct, Nix. I was the original designer of what's now known as the Retro Fate Deck. You can my original thread on that here:

    It was sort of a one-off product. I haven't even had that much communication with Wyrd. I was totally stoked that they used the designs on subsequent packaging as well (even if now the newest packaging no longer features it).

    Glad you liked the deck! I personally love my original versions since they are paper cards. Plastic cards don't really fit the retro feel to me.

    1. Better link: