Hey folks! This is going to be an ongoing post where I’ll list currently available opportunities to work with the Coyote & Crow team and help us publish great games and content. A few things I want to cover right out of the gate that are relevant to all current and future positions:
Native Americans/First Nations folks of all experience levels are encouraged to apply for any/all positions they feel they’re qualified for.
Non-Natives are welcome to apply for any positions that aren’t called out as Native only positions.
We pay at least competitive rates for the hobby game industry and we strive to pay better than the average.
All positions are remote/work from home and are short term contract positions.
Please pay close attention to the application process (ignoring it will move you to the bottom of the list).
We prefer folks working within the United States but will consider applicants outside of the US, unless otherwise specified.
I know it’s been a minute since our last news update. Honestly, I try not to flood folks with trivial stuff or news that doesn’t include something that you all can take action on. But, I’ve got so much great stuff piling up that I just couldn’t wait any longer. Let’s get into it!
Wolves is coming to Kickstarter in June 2023! We’ll have more details soon, but for now here’s the skinny. This stand alone, tabletop board game is for 3-6 players. It’s semi-cooperative and is designed by myself (Connor Alexander) and features art from Sadekaronhes Esquivel and Ovila Mailhot. While the game is called Wolves, the theme is cooperative community survival amongst humans. Players will take on the roles of leaders of their own communities, each of which generates resources and needs them to last through winter. But here’s the catch, if any community fails to meet its basic resource needs, all players lose the game. Consequently, players will be able to gift other communities their excess resources each turn, helping ensure everyone gets their needs met. Along the way, players will gain status by either gifting resources or giving excess to their own people. At the end of the game, if all players have survived the winter, the player with the most status is elected chief of all of the communities and is granted an additional victory. The game takes anywhere from 45-100 minutes, depending on the number of players. It incorporates some push-your-luck elements, hand management, and concepts centered around gifting economies.
In addition, we’re planning on producing this entire game using wood, recycled cardboard, and compostable materials where ever possible. And our goal is to use zero plastics in this game. Not even shrink wrap.
The game is technically set in the world of Coyote & Crow, but no knowledge of C&C is required. The events in the game take place after the Awis, but long before advanced technologies have been developed. So the resources in the game are connected to more traditional ones.
Look for the pre-launch Kickstarter page soon! And in case you’re wondering, after having some great conversations with Kickstarter and BackerKit, we’re going to be moving back to Kickstarter for this next round of crowdfunding. We’ll still be using BackerKit as a pledge manager. You’ll want to sign up for our newsletter and join our Discord to make sure you’re on board for all of the early pledge bennies.
Stories of the Free Lands
Great news on Stories of the Free Lands. We’re currently on track to have these incredible adventures delivered to backers by the end of April. I am so excited to be able to get these all into your hands. We’ll be fulfilling them through BackerKit and folks will get them in two zipped files, each containing one volume of the stories, plus the additional splash art file.
The bonus story from Allen Turner and Tate Allen will be released about a month after that to backers. Following that we’ll release eight of the stories, plus the Allen Turner story, to our website as well as DriveThruRPG and Roll20.
The rest of my news is a little more vague but I still think it’s worth sharing.
We’re very close to being able to announce our partnership with another tabletop game company who is going to be bringing something very different to the world of Coyote & Crow.
We’re dialing in a partnership with an Indigenous owned manufacturer here in the US that will be able to produce some very cool print-on-demand fancy merch for Coyote & Crow that I think you’re all going to be amazed with. I’ve seen the prototypes and they are phenomenal.
We’re finishing up an agreement with a Canadian library book distributor who is going to help us get donation books to Canadian outlets.
We’re finalizing our partnership with Pe Metawe Games in Edmonton, who will be acting as a distribution partner for us in Canada, allowing us to ship C&C games to Canadian customers (and maybe future crowdfunding backers too!)
Our organized play efforts, called Akinana Circle, are coalescing. Greatest thanks to those who filled out the pre-launch survey! Your input gives us excellent guidance as we move forward in our planning. We are excited to bring you all content as well as a place to play the game together. Please keep an eye out for Coyote & Crow games being run at local cons. We are reaching out and trying to set up as many as we can. If you’re interested in knowing more, check out our Discord and the Akinana Circle channel there.
I am currently hard at work writing the next full Coyote & Crow RPG book. I’ll have more info soon, but what I can share now is that it is a setting book, set in a small fictional town and chock full of mysteries, stories, characters and ideas that will be worth a read even for folks who don’t play the game. This is a passion project for me that will hopefully go to crowdfunding toward the end of the year.
We have three other games tabletop games in the wings in various stages of development. We’ll have more on those soon.
I’ll be appearing at Big Bad Con this fall. Outside of that Coyote & Crow Games will be limiting their conventions to panel and speaking appearances by myself (and writers and artists), and organized play events run by Akinana Circle.
We’ve got some other partnerships in the wings that are really exciting. We want to wait until we have some really exciting things to show you before we announce them, but they are in the works!
From the start, I dreaded working with PayPal. There’s a wealth of reasons to dislike the platform itself as well as its founder, Peter Thiel (Here’s one among many). But we here at C&C Games were using it for two reasons. First, I needed a way to pay contractors easily and in a way that made sense for them. Roughly 80% of my contractors request to be paid through PayPal and I try to be conscious of their needs.
Second, it’s a massive default payment option through most webstores. We currently use Shopify and a large portion of our sales there come through PayPal.
So, I had a post that I’d been working on for days. It was an essay really. I was about 1500 words into it and I realized I’d only reached the half way point. I re-read it three times. And I realized something. No one really cares about what I have to say about all of the nuances and nitty gritty details of AI art. At least not enough to warrant a 3000 word essay.
Instead, I’m going to give it to you internet style with some succinct bullet points. Here’s where I (and by proxy, Coyote & Crow Games) stand on AI art, currently.
Coyote & Crow – the RPG and the company – would not exist without artists who collaborated with me extensively over the last two years.
I appreciate artists and I strive to pay them on time, at better than industry average rates, and with bonuses whenever possible.
Artists (and all creatives I’ve worked with) are also fallible. The vast majority I’ve worked with have missed deadlines, many have flaked on me, ghosted me, or flat out stolen money from me. If I could add up all the time and money I’ve just straight flushed down the toilet on artists, I would seriously spend the day weeping.
I used MidJourney to create the background for three Facebook ads on our last crowdfunding campaign. These did not take jobs from anyone. I either would have used AI art for the background or art I already owned.
AI, LLMs, machine learning, and the art all of these will create, are not going away. It will only get better, cheaper, and more pervasive. It’s here to stay. And while the details and legislation on the hows and whys may evolve, don’t ever think that in the system we all live in that AI art will ever be abolished, banished or undone.
AI art programs, in their current forms, are rife with racism and misogyny and fly directly in the face of what Coyote & Crow is striving to present in our art, which is the accurate and positive portrayal of Indigenous people.
Companies that trained their algorithms on scraped art, where the terms of their arrangement were only for research, are wrong for using it for commercial purposes and the artists who have had their work stolen deserve compensation and justice.
Our society needs to start seriously tackling the wider social implications of AI now, rather than later. We need to have real discussions about the difference between “create” and “make” (currently, I believe AI is ‘making’ art, not creating it, but that may change)
Coyote & Crow Games will not use AI art in anything we sell, with AI in it’s current form and structure.
Coyote & Crow Games might use AI art in non-commercial forms in the future, depending on:
The ethical and legal structure the particular AI is built on. It will need to be something that a majority of artists are on board with and whose terms do not conflict with the ethical foundation that Coyote & Crow Games is built on.
The intended use of the art and whether the situation calls for it. I don’t have an example off the top of my head for this, but it will have to be on a case by case basis.
Coyote & Crow Games will not use MidJourney, Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, Lensa or other AI at all in their current iterations. We may reconsider this if they change how they operate, their terms, or how they gather data. We will also be adding a clause into our terms with contract artists specifying the same.
Today, 11/16, is a big one for us. Coyote & Crow Games is launching three different items!
NAASII: A COYOTE & CROW DICE GAME
First we have Naasii: A Coyote & Crow Dice Game. This fresh twist on a classic concept is our first step into tabletop board games. We wanted to create something that gamers and their aunties could play together and that has both elements of classic American dice games like Yahtzee along with aspects of traditional elements of Native American games of chance.
This game was designed by Connor Alexander (Cherokee Nation) with development from Daryl Andrews (of Sagrada fame!) and art from Wolf Tomoyaketu (Comanche & Apache).
You can also get our new Story Guide Screen for the Coyote & Crow Story Guide Screen. It’s got a ton of great info inside it to help smooth your storytelling and has incredible art from Sadekaronhes Esquivel (Kanyen’kehá:ka & Mexican Indigenous).
Finally, we have our first novel set in the Coyote & Crow universe, Hemlock And Sage. Written by Tali Inlow (Cherokee Nation), art by Mackenzie Neal (Quapaw Nation) and edited by Heidi Billy. It’s a fantastic coming of age story set in Cahokia as two friends are undergoing the Adanadi. Their friendship is tested as things don’t go as planned and a stranger from out town needing help crashes into both of their lives.
You can get Hemlock And Sage in the following places:
I’m going to have a Crow’s Nest video soon that will cover some of this same material, but I wanted to write down my thoughts and let you all know where I’m at, where the company’s at, and where Coyote & Crow Games will be heading in 2023.
Starting on a personal note, I’ve recently moved and while it’s a positive move into a lovely nearby home with more workspace and game development space for me, it’s also taken the expected toll on my body, my psyche and my wallet. So I’m a little wiped and looking forward to a relatively quiet winter. I need some chill.
As I write this, I’m also concerned about ICWA and SCOTUS’ hearing of the Brackeen v Haaland case. And the general outcomes of state and federal elections, like many of us are. It’s been an exhausting year.
Stories of the Free Lands
Stories of the Free Lands was a big success. We took some huge risks in offering PDFs up for a crowdfunding effort and in moving away from Kickstarter to work with BackerKit for their beta platform. And now we’re wrapping up work on ten stories for the Coyote & Crow RPG that I really can’t wait to share with you all. There’s some really fun worldbuilding in them and some amazing art. I’m so grateful for the support and love our backers and fans showed us for this project. If all goes well, we’ll be delivering those PDFs very soon.
In addition, backers who pledged for the Story Guide Screen and Naasii should be receiving their products soon. We’ve already begun the fulfillment process and games are on their way. Fulfillment this time has been so much smoother.
Speaking of Naasii, we have three products landing on November 16th:
Naasii: A Coyote & Crow Dice Game
The Coyote & Crow Story Guide Screen
Hemlock And Sage, A Coyote & Crow Novel
I’m thrilled for all three of these and I think they’re really going to help people get their heads around the Coyote & Crow universe. Everyone involved has put blood, sweat, and tears into these things and I can’t wait for you to dive in.
Let’s talk about social media for a minute. We technically still have a Facebook page, but we’re letting that go idle and really only using it to attach to any FB ads we run. We’ve got an Instagram, but I’m personally running it and frankly it’s not a priority. I’ll occasionally drop announcements or art there, but it’s not a regular source of communication for us.
Twitter is…a mess. For the moment we’re staying on board and I’m watching things. To be honest, it’s been our best platform for engagement with non-hardcore fans and for bringing new folks into the fold. I’m not sure there’s anything out there that can replace it. So far, I’m not sold on Tribel, Counter Social, Mastodon or anything else. It’s likely that if Coyote & Crow leaves Twitter, I won’t add a new presence elsewhere to replace it.
That said, I am looking to find someone who can take on creating a TikTok channel for us. While I’m not a user or a fan myself, I’ve seen what boardgame and RPG TikTok has to offer and I think it’s a great way to reach new audiences. The problem has been finding someone to do it. My requirements were experience with TikTok and Native American heritage. So far, I’ve had two people get in touch. Neither of them have gotten me their TikTok info and one of them didn’t even include their name, so…yeah. That may take awhile.
Lastly, we have our Discord, which is growing and fun and engaged. Great folks there and if you’re looking to hang out with C&C fans, it’s the place to be.
I’m currently in various stages of negotiations with a number of different partners. From new merch producers, to minis, to foreign language localizations for the RPG, non-profits and actual play groups, film and television work. All kinds of stuff. When it comes to those kinds of things, it’s difficult to get specific because so much can happen between ‘talking’ and ‘contract signing’.
I’m hoping to have some announcements to make before the end of the year and all of these possibilities are really exciting. We shall see.
In the meantime, you can find Coyote & Crow on Roll20, Foundry VTT, and DriveThruRPG.
As I stated earlier this year, Coyote & Crow Games won’t have a booth presence at conventions where Roe V Wade has been overturned or people cannot get access to abortion care. I may make personal appearances at some conventions and I may make for some other allowances for other things here and there. But in general, I don’t want tax dollars going to states who are going to deny women basic medical care.
With that said, I’ll be attending PAX Unplugged this year. I’ll be taking some meetings, doing some play testing, sitting on at least one panel and hopefully playing some games. If you see me, please do say hello.
I’ll also likely be attending the GAMA Trade Expo next year and I’m considering Essen Spiel. I’d also really like to attend Big Bad Con as a company and have a full booth and events. Fingers crossed.
I have three releases planned for 2023 currently. One is a stand alone, family friendly, hobby strategy game that centers around semi-cooperative community survival and gifting economies. The second is a constructable, non-collectible competitive card game. Both are set in the Coyote & Crow universe. The third is a Saga setting book for Coyote & Crow the RPG that will be written by myself exclusively and illustrated by a single artist. All three of these will likely go through crowdfunding.
Between those three things, the day to day of running Coyote & Crow, and attending conventions and other business travel, it should be a pretty busy year for me.
How You Can Help
If you’re interested in partnering with or working with Coyote & Crow, please do get in touch through our contact form on this site. While we aren’t currently hiring, I always like connecting with writers, artists, editors, etc, especially Native folks. In terms of partnerships, I’d really love to see some more folks step up with ideas for how they’d like to use the C&C license. I’m absolutely willing to license out this world to inventive folks. If you’ve got a C&C Saga book you’d like to write or draw, a board game you’d like to make, a craft or merch idea, I don’t want to stop you. Talk to me!
A Nativember Surprise
Finally, besides all of our other November releases, we’re also going to have a surprise near the end of the month. I won’t say what it is, but I will say this: only a few of you will be able to get in on it. I’ll have details a little closer to the end of the month.
It’s been a very long time coming, but we can finally announce the release date of our first novel, Hemlock And Sage – November 16th! Just a week out! We’ve been working on it for more than year now. We’d have liked to have had it to you sooner, but between Covid, the world being…the world, and the fact that we really wanted to get this book right, it took us a minute.
The book is written by Tali Inlow, not me. While I’d like to have written it (and will likely eventually write at least one myself), I fully trusted Tali and the story they wanted to tell. When we first discussed it, we quickly agreed that we wanted to tell a coming of age story, one that focused on relationships, friendships, family and the Adanadi. Heidi Billy did a fantastic job editing and developing the book with Tali, and Francita Soto did a lovely job on our layouts. And Mackenzie Neal created a beautiful cover!
The full back cover text:
In Makasing, the Adanadi ceremony is a nearly universal rite of passage into adulthood. It binds the recipient to their chosen Path animal and, in some cases, bestows upon them a supernatural gift. For most, it is a ceremony focused on that single individual, surrounded by family and loved ones. But Niya and Tusika are not your average citizens of Cahokia. Best friends with a bond that goes beyond sisterhood, the two young women have chosen to undergo the ceremony together.
But each of them brings with them their own secrets and burdens. Niya comes from a modest background and her family has never received special Abilities from the Adanadi. Tusika’s family has power and a long line of Abilities—and the expectations that come with that. When the ceremony does not go as planned for either of them, their worlds begin to spark and smoke. And when a strange, passionate young woman shows up with stories of a dark cult and asking for help, there’s nothing that can stop it from bursting into flames.
Hemlock & Sage is the first novel set in the world of Coyote & Crow, an alternate history science fantasy where colonization of the Americas never happened. Instead, after a climate disaster alters the course of history around the world, advanced civilizations develop over centuries, fueled by Indigenous knowledge, culture and determination and powered by the mysterious Adanadi that arrived in the wake of the disaster.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on Hemlock And Sage, it will be available in the following places and formats:
Today we’ve launched our community content tools on DriveThruRPG, called Coyote & Crow Fireside. It’s an important step for us and one I wanted to talk a little bit about beyond just the announcement. This is a tool that’s been a long time coming and one that I’ve sorely wanted to get to you all for quite a while. So indulge me for a minute and let me explain why Fireside is at the crux of what Coyote & Crow is about for me.
When I started really diving into the world building of Coyote & Crow back in 2018, it hit me pretty quickly that I could either create a very close up view of one place and get into hyper detail and specificity or I could paint a larger world with a broader brush. I chose the latter because I didn’t want this game to be about Cherokees but about Indigenous people across North America. I just couldn’t see how I could build out a single tribe or nation or city, without giving context to the larger world around it.
But even bringing on other writers to help flesh out those spaces didn’t really do all of that world building justice. And as proud as I am of the almost 500 pages in the core book, it barely scratched the surface of the possibilities.
Really early in testing, we began to get questions like, “What about the Inuit?” or “What about the Métis?” And the answer to both, and to that type of question in general is, “Firstly, we can’t tell the alternate history of every tribe in North America and even if we could, it’s not my place.” And as we built out this fantastical world, it became clear that what we needed to ensure was that there was space in this world to tell a huge amount of stories. Rather than making it a bug, I decided to make it a feature.
While I still envision there being expansion books for the Ti’Swaq Alliance, the Keetoowagi Federation and all of the other nations, along with books for Mesoamerica and South America, I don’t want folks to have to wait for those at the pace that modern RPG publishing dictates.
Which brings us to Fireside. Giving folks the tools to put together their own content, and being able to sell it in the DTRPG marketplace is a real gift. We’re going as fast as we can over here at C&CG, but laying out these tools will let everyone who wants to participate jump in with their own ideas and at their own pace. And maybe even make some money!
What I want to be really clear about is that these tools are for everyone. Not just Indigenous folks. Sure, you can create stuff that is specific to real world tribes if you claim that identity. But you don’t have to make content that is focused on those things. Come up with your own cool monsters or spirits, your own pieces of tech or just write a story.
Let me say that again. Non-natives, dive in and make stuff. It’s okay. Just don’t add real world tribes to your stuff and you’re fine. Let me know if you need me to say it again.
We’re doing THREE different contests during our Stories of the Free Lands crowdfunding campaign. You do not have to back the campaign to enter any of these contests but please READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. Each contest has its own rules and prizes.
What we’re giving away:
5 sets of Coyote & Crow Core Rulebooks and Custom Dice
4 sets of limited edition signed art prints
This contest is all about getting the most retweets from one of your tweets! The contest begins on Wednesday September 14th and ends on October 10th 6pm PST.
Here are the rules:
Post a Tweet on your own Twitter profile that includes the link to the Stories of the Free Lands campaign and includes the hashtag #SotFLContest<—This is IMPORTANT. If it does not include a link to the campaign and the hashtag, it will be not be eligible to win!
The post can say anything you’d like but must not be deceptive in nature (you can’t tell people you’re raising money for baby formula or things like that)
The post must be dated on or after 9/14/22.
On 10/10/22 at 6pm, the five tweets with the most RETWEETS will win a copy of the Coyote & Crow Core Rulebook and a set of custom dice.
Shipping is included, but the prizes will ONLY BE SHIPPED WITHIN THE U.S.
Only one prize per person
Coyote & Crow LLC reserves the right to make judgement calls in any edge cases and may disqualify an entry for any reason.
This contest is all about doing a great piece of Coyote & Crow fan art! This contest will begin on Wednesday September 14th and ends on October 12th at 5pm PST.
Create an original piece of art set in Coyote & Crow and post it in the designated channel (#art-contest)
The art may be of any configuration, style, or contain any content with the exception that it must not be overly gory, hyper-sexualized, culturally insensitive, or otherwise offensive in nature (we reserve the right to disqualify and remove any art we deem offensive)
Post the art at web resolution on the designated Discord channel
You may not in any way use AI art for this contest (and may be asked to show sketches or layers if necessary)
Users on the channel will vote on the art by giving the thumbs up emoticon. The art with the most thumbs up (other emoticons do not count) will be declared the winner. We reserve the right to disqualify a winner for any reason and choose the art with the next most votes.
The winner will be offered a $500 prize and have their art become an official part of Coyote & Crow art, included in the Stories of the Free Lands campaign package.
To receive the prize, the winner will be required to sign a contract for the art and may also be offered future work with Coyote & Crow Games. While the post on the Discord channel only has to be at web resolution, the final piece of art must be able to be delivered at 300dpi or higher.
This contest is all about answering trivia questions about Coyote & Crow. This contest will begin on Wednesday September 14th and ends after we’ve determined the last trivia question winner.