FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Jay Cormier’s ‘Corps of Discovery’ 800% funded on Kickstarter

By VFS, on July 10, 2024

Admit it. You've impulsively Kickstarted a board game (or 3 in one year, in this writer's case…) based on the stunning artwork & presentation alone. When Jay Cormier, Board Game Designer and Vancouver Film School Game Design Instructor, launched his brand-new game 'Corps of Discovery' on Kickstarter, board game lovers couldn't resist. In fact, within 1 hour of the Kickstarter launch on April 23 the game was fully funded and is now nearly 800% funded! (Read to the end to learn how you can experience VFS's Game Development programs and join the game industry!)

Designed by Sen-Foong Lim and Jay, 'Corps of Discovery' is a cooperative game for 1-4 players. Gamers are tasked with surviving the challenges of the untamed wilderness, gathering resources from the terrain and completing each chapter's objective.

The ultimate cooperative deduction and survival game, 'Corps of Discovery' follows the historical expedition of the same name by famous explorers Lewis & Clark.

Based on the acclaimed Skybound comic Manifest Destiny and featuring a gorgeous design (the art is truly something out of a Mark Twain novel!), the game boasts a high level of replayability with dozens of unique maps, countless cards & tokens, and already 4 available expansion packs to get your hands on; pledgers who went the extra mile will also find themselves with an elite wooden board/tokens/pieces to truly enhance their gaming experience. 

'Corps of Discovery' came to life as Jay and Sen-Foong scoured the comic book world for IPs that would make a great adaptation to a board game. They were looking for something that was heavy on the adventure, with a deserted-island element. When they discovered Manifest Destiny they knew it was a perfect fit. “Oh my gosh, this is an amazing comic book.” Jay muses, looking back on the moment he knew they'd found a winning concept. “Of course this fits. We're exploring westward and now we have to fight monsters.” It was a no-brainer. 

Unsurprisingly, 'Corps of Discovery' has already been swamped with overwhelmingly positive reviews. While Unfiltered Gamer is calling it “an excellent and mechanically unique game”, The Dice Tower's Mike DiLisio describes it as “a mix of adventure, survival, and deduction… [in] a rock solid package.” On YouTube, there's already a handful of “how-to-play”/review guides for those who just can't wait; if the 800% funding wasn't proof enough, this is a sure indication that the game is going to exceed expectations.

Jay's released countless board games, some with original concepts and others inspired by existing IPs.

This latest success is no fluke. As the Founder of Off the Page Games, Jay has a proven track record releasing successful games (over 20, in fact!), including 'MIND MGMT: The Psychic Espionage Game', 'Harrow County: The Game of Gothic Conflict', 'Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion', 'The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel', and many more. He's also spoken on panels at numerous board game events like GenCon, SHUX, & FanEXPO and created the Pitch Project, which connects new designers to over 40 publishers.

“I'm trying to ensure each of my games does something unique… something they haven't seen before” comments Jay, speaking on Off the Page Games' proven track record. “We're going to continue that trend in all our future games.”

On-campus at VFS, Jay teaches Board Game Design Theory to 25+ students per intake. The course is a fan favourite of Game Design students, many of whom graduate with a newfound passion for designing not only video games, but board games as well!

Congratulations on your latest hit, Jay! We're looking forward to venturing into the wilderness with our gaming cohort when this game hits shelves.

VFS All Access Pass if your exclusive backstage pass to VFS's industry-leading programs.

DYK: You can be trained to create hit board games (and video games) just like Jay! It all starts at VFS. On July 27, we're hosting All Access Pass, an on-campus event for you to experience VFS's award-winning Game Design and Programming for Games, Web & Mobile programs and your future in the game industry.

The event features an Industry Talk with Unity Executive Producer Joe Bonar on 'Crafting Memorable Gaming Experiences', hands-on Unity and Unreal Engine demos (your chance to build your own Stack'O'Bot level!), an opportunity to play student games, and so much more. If you live in Vancouver or are going to be in town on July 27, register here for FREE.



What challenges did Jay and Sen-Foong face during the game's development process?
One of the key challenges Jay and Sen-Foong might have faced is ensuring that the gameplay mechanics accurately reflected the historical and adventurous themes of 'Corps of Discovery' while keeping the game engaging and balanced for players. They would also need to secure the rights to adapt the Manifest Destiny comic, which involves negotiations and legal agreements. Additionally, designing the cooperative elements to provide a meaningful and satisfying player experience, while also incorporating the complex elements of survival and deduction, likely posed significant design and playtesting challenges.

How has Jay Cormier's teaching approach at VFS influenced his game design and development process?
Jay's teaching approach at VFS likely emphasizes innovation and unique game mechanics, as he aims to ensure each of his games offers something new. This philosophy is probably reflected in his work, encouraging him to explore unconventional ideas and mechanics. Teaching board game design theory to students might also keep him abreast of the latest trends and emerging concepts in game design, which he can integrate into his projects. Additionally, interacting with students can provide fresh perspectives and feedback that can be invaluable during the development process.

What future projects or expansions are planned for 'Corps of Discovery' after its successful Kickstarter campaign?
Given the game's success, future plans might include additional expansions that introduce new challenges, scenarios, and characters to enhance replayability. Jay and Sen-Foong might also consider developing digital versions of the game to reach a broader audience. They could also explore collaborations with other comic book IPs to create new thematic expansions.


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