Innovation Ultimate

Innovation Ultimate

Carl Chudyk's Innovation, turned up to 11! A full box set that adds Age 11 cards to each set, a whole new expansion (The Unseen), with new streamlined expansion rules to get more of the hundreds of exciting cards to your table!
$252,293 🎉
of $30,000 (USD) goal
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What is Innovation?

Welcome to our campaign for Innovation: Ultimate - an all-inclusive box set of Innovation and it's expansions!

Innovation, designed by Carl Chudyk, is a game where all of humanity's ideas, technologies, and clever inventions are represented by cards. Every card has its own unique effect that might help you build up your society, advance to new eras, or even attack your opponents. It's a game that's designed to be enjoyable and fresh every time you play, and it boasts over a million plays on various online platforms. We've decided to update the game to refresh it's appearance, add new content (Age 11!) including a new expansion, and adjust the balance and fun-level of various cards. That brings us here to BackerKit to crowdfund the new edition and bring it to your tables or table-like objects! 

UPDATE: All-New Art Comes to Innovation: Ultimate!

As you can see, in addition to design tweaks to cards, we've also decided to spruce up the cards with fully illustrated backs which establish the theme of each age, as well as reconfiguring the important icons and info to make gameplay easier and more intuitive when all the decks are laid out in front of you.

Check out our big Art Update here for lots more details!


Your civilization is represented by the Innovation cards you put into play. There's no map, armies, miniatures or dice to worry about, just the cool ideas your people have developed. Innovation cards are organized into ten eleven decks representing various periods of history. You start in Age 1: Prehistory. Here are some early-age Innovations:

Each Innovation has game text organized into one or more Dogma Effects. When you spend one of your two actions per turn as a Dogma Action, you pick one of your cards to focus on, and perform each of its effects. You're declaring your civilization's intent to focus on that thing: This year, we focus on Writing!

Writing is an Age 1 Innovation that allows you to draw a 2, advancing forward to the Classical Age:

When your people boldly declare a direction, the other civilizations might notice your efforts. In fact, if they're able to, they'll share in your technology's benefits! Eligibility for sharing is determined by the icons you have visible on your board (all of your cards in play). If you have at least as many as an opponent when they take a Dogma Action, you'll perform the effect also. They'll get to draw a free card for sharing, as a bonus.

As you play new cards, you'll cover up your old innovations. You'll only ever have five cards available to activate, but your older cards still quite valuable because of splaying. Some effects will allow you to splay a pile in a specified direction, revealing icons on all the cards you covered up. This is crucial for keeping up with your opponents' efforts to share your effects, and to resist Demands.

Demands are effects that only impact your opponents, but only if they have fewer icons than you. Their effects can be quite nasty, so watch out! Your ultimate goal is to score points by using effects that place cards in your score pile, and then claim achievements in order to win. 

If you'd like to watch a live play of the game, Carl (Designer) and Chris (Developer, Owner of Asmadi Games) have played a series of games with the various expansions, all of which are on YouTube. Here's the base game + The Unseen:

Additional liveplays:

What's New?

Innovation: Ultimate contains a significant number of changes and updates from 3rd Edition. 

The most important change is that Innovation now goes to 11! The Prudence Age represents both the time since Innovation first released and also speculates deeper into the 21st Century with the things we might (or hope to) think up in the future. Age 11 cards are quite strong, and do a variety of amazing and intriguing things, including the new aslant splay direction:

We've added the new keyword junk to replace remove, which is used to send cards out of the game entirely. Some cards will even allow you to junk entire ages or achievements, letting you skip ahead, catch up, or reach the higher ages!

As you can see, we have also taken a design pass on the visuals of the cards to refresh their look and improve overall legibility and accessibility. The font on all cards' has been made clearer, in some cases bolder, and generally much easier to read across the table - it's as important as ever to clearly see what cards are out there and evaluate the state of the game! Ease of playability is our #1 goal with our graphic design.

Over the years, we've published four expansions for Innovation, and with this new box set we're premiering a fifth: The Unseen! Each of the expansions has undergone a redesign to streamline it's mechanics and give each both a solid identity, and easier to teach rules. We want everyone to be able to enjoy adding the expansions to enhance their play experience.

Echoes of the Past adds Echo Effects, which are activated when visible, and also the Foreshadow mechanic, which lets you store cards from future ages. You'll be able to promote them to your board once you get to that age, and take a free Dogma Action! Bonuses, which give extra points when visible, are part of the Echoes, Figures, and Cities. expansions.

Figures in the Sand brings innovators from the ages into the game. Each Figure has a Karma Effect, which can't be activated with a Dogma Action. Instead, it has a constant impact on the game. You can only have one active Figure at a time - who will you choose to lead your civilization's innovating?

Cities of Destiny allows you to add cities from around the globe to your game. Cities don't have effects, instead they have extra icon slots, some of which are filled with special icons that grant instant actions. Splay a pile, jump ahead in the ages - some are even worth achievements while visible!

Artifacts of History are wildly powerful items from throughout time, each of which has a powerful Dogma Effect. Once you dig one up, you'll get a chance to use it the next turn before it's placed in a Museum. Be careful - cards in Museums can be stolen by other players, and your powerful effect may wind up in their hands!

The Unseen is a brand new expansion. The Safeguard mechanic allows you to stash away available achievements in your Safe, where only you can claim them! Cards in The Unseen deal with subterfuge, shadowy technologies, and other clandestine concepts. 

Patch Notes - We've made a PDF summary of the new mechanic changes here:

Multiplayer: New Parley Rules

Innovation is a game that many enjoy with 2-3 players, but we've long sought to improve the experience for 4 or more. Previously, the player limit was 4 + 1 per expansion used in the game. We're increasing it to 5 + 1 per expansion included, with the addition of the new Parley rules. Team play does not use Parley rules, and we still suggest limiting teaching games to 2-3 players or 4-player teams.

Parley: In a 4+ player free-for-all game, each player that is next to you is adjacent. All others are distant. During a dogma action, you can Parley (return one card from your hand) for one of three reasons.

  1. If you would share the effects of a Dogma Action from a distant player, you must choose to either Parley (returning one card from hand) or ignore all the effects.
  2. If you would be susceptible to the demands of a Dogma action from a distant player, you must choose to either perform all the demand effects as usual, or Parley to ignore them. 
  3. When you take a Dogma Action, you may Parley to select a top card on any distant player's board to activate. You still count the icons on your own board to determine who is eligible to share or susceptible to demands. 

As you can imagine, this changes the landscape of 4+ player games quite a bit! It's much harder to get stuck in the lower ages, since you can bootstrap through a Parley of a distant player's card. These rules have no effect on 2-3 player games, but we're excited to see people try out bigger games. Pretzels not included.

We played a 5-player game with just Base, and you can watch it here:


The Box

Innovation: Ultimate is intended to be a game you can play many, many times, and we wanted our box to support that experience. We know that many of you prefer to sleeve your cards, and we've designed the insert with wells that accommodate both sleeved and unsleeved cards.

The box will contain wells that fit sleeved cards in one direction, and unsleeved in the other. Here's a rough schematic of what that part of the insert looks like:

In total, Innovation; Ultimate comes with approximately 750 cards and 10 reference cards/player mats

Pledge Levels

Pledging for Innovation: Ultimate is simple! There's one option available, and it is Innovation Ultimate, for $69 (Estimated MSRP $85). You can add additional copies of the game to your pledge for the same cost.

  • Retailers: A pledge level for $540 for 12 copies of Innovation: Ultimate has been added to the campaign. After the campaign, to avoid being charge sales tax/VAT, you'll need to provide us with appropriate tax info / reseller certificate as per your country's rules. 


Here's our estimated price table for shipping to various places around the world. We collect shipping + VAT during the Pledge Manager stage, and we will strive to keep costs as close to what we listed below as possible. The world will do the things the world does, and hopefully nothing too wild will happen between now and shipping time.

Games will be shipped from hubs within various regions to avoid excessive handling fees.

Retail Level: Shipping to a US address is included (US retailers or those who wish to use a freight forwarder). Shipping to all other regions will cost $40 per set of 12 games. 

Development: Is it Done?

Not yet! Innovation: Ultimate is still in the works, and the purpose of the campaign is to both to fund the printing of the game and the rest of our work on it.  So what's left to do?


We've already done a lot of internal testing on the changes being made to this new edition, and with the help of developers on BoardGameArena and Yucata, that effort has expanded to public beta testing! We're pretty confident in what we've worked on so far, but we're continuing to make updates and tweaks based on our own testing and on player feedback from fans.

To test on BoardGameArena, you'll need to share your username with us so we can add you to the Alpha:

You can make games on Yucata now directly:

If you'd like to submit feedback on gameplay:

Art Assets/Layout

With 115 new cards in The Unseen, and about 100 card changes or new cards in the other sets, we need to make additional card images. That process has just begun, and will continue through the rest of the Summer and early Fall.

We also will be rebuilding the rulebook with a new layout and updates to the rules where we've changed things. We've gotten pretty good at explaining Innovation over the years, so most of the work here is sharing the rules adjustments.

Packaging/Insert Design

We'll be working with our factory partner to finalize the design of the insert and making sure it actually holds cards like it's supposed to! We learned some lessons about this process from Aegean Sea, and hope to avoid delays this time.


Given all of what we need to do, our aim is to submit files to send the game to print in late November, with a target delivery date to backers of Spring 2024.

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