28 May 2019
Spirit Island and Sentinels of the Multiverse studio Greater Than Games has acquired Cheapass Games, the maker of Tak and the Doctor Lucky series founded by veteran game designer James Ernest.
Greater Than Games previous merged with label Dice Hate Me in 2015, creating the design studio responsible for American-inspired Eurogames such as New Bedford, Bottom of the 9th and more. Greater Than also spawned two more labels – Fabled Nexus and Sentinel Comics, which have produced games including co-op comic-book card game Sentinels of the Multiverse and its spin-off roleplaying game.
Ernest founded Cheapass in 1996, with the studio putting out around 100 games in the 20-plus years since – many in affordable black-and-white or free print-and-play versions. Cheapass’ best-known series is probably the Doctor Lucky run of games, the Cluedo parody in which players race to commit murder, which has included Kill Doctor Lucky and last year’s The Island of Doctor Lucky.
Ernest also teamed up with fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss to create a real-life version of tabletop game Tak from Kingkiller Chronicle novel The Wise Man’s Fear. The abstract strategy game was released in 2017 and followed up by a more compact University Edition – addressing our only gripe with the original when we reviewed it.
More recent Cheapass releases have included a new version of Unexploded Cow, with the studio turning to Kickstarter to crowdfund deluxe versions of some of the games it previously released in budget-friendly forms.
Greater Than’s acquisition of Cheapass will see it handle the studio’s line-up of game releases, as well as joint appearances at conventions and shows.
“I’m thrilled to have Greater Than Games take over publishing current and future Cheapass Games titles, and I look forward to working with them on a variety of projects,” said Ernest.