Anthromancer is a patented game system, and a band. It’s also much more than that, but that’s a start. Developed over seven years by St. Louis native Daniel James Drake – formerly known as Dr. Dan the Pancake Man and creator of Dancakes, the world’s first professional pancake artist agency – Anthromancer gives life to its philosophy through a mystical board game draped in sacred aesthetics, and music that speaks of radical vulnerability and forgiveness. Daniel’s goal is to save the world by absolving us all of shame...starting with himself.
Funded on Kickstarter during the height of the 2020 Covid lockdowns and soft-launched for public sale in mid-June, the Anthromancer tabletop entertainment system presents 4 complete experiences – a patented board game suite, an original oracle/tarot, an electronic concept album, and an illustrated storybook – and weaves them together with symbolism both familiar and exotic. It is grounded in the connection between the archetypes of The Fool and The Fox, whose relationship is key to unlocking deep secrets hidden within. These archetypes (plus a collection of others) directly correspond to tracks on the accompanying album, The Hymnal, released in 2020 to help promote the kickstarter.
Now a new album has dropped – Absynthe & Honey, released on August 1st, 2022 – in which Drake unpacks a tumultuous rebirth during the final year of Anthromancer’s development, as his marriage, relationships, and reputation dissolved, burned away by unconsciousness to reveal an autistic, audacious weirdo at peace with himself. The album’s sound evolves from synthetic hyperpop (as with the cryptocurrency anthem ‘Prima Materia’) into metal distortion, as Drake channels anger into the sexy and dangerous ‘Untouchable’, concluding with the heartfelt polyamorous ballad, 'With Me' (complete with music video). The music, according to Drake, is meant to drive interest around the board game, which is itself a vector to advance what he sees as his life’s work: holding space for exiles.
“If you build it they will come,” Drake says of the project’s complexity. “If I want people to pay attention, I have to give them something to pay attention to. Some want it simpler and more marketable, but that's not my priority here."
The Anthromancer board game is now available in limited quantities through the project’s website, Anthromancer.com. In addition, Drake has launched a Patreon for those who are interested in receiving behind-the-scenes content, early access to future NFT drops (kickstarter backers were able to claim a free NFT just for supporting the game), and previews of singles, blogs, and video essays, in exchange for supporting the mission. As he is moving into focusing on Anthromancer full time, the Patreon “helps a whole lot.” Lastly, Drake will begin hosting a monthly Anthromancer meetup series at an as-yet-to-be-determined location in South St. Louis, in which attendees will be invited to sit together, play the board game, and connect in deep discussion about spiritually fulfilling ideas. The first event will be announced in the weeks to come.