(Almost) every Saturday we review all Kickstarter campaigns in the "Games" category ending in the next two weeks. Any we think are notable for some reason are curated here. This is written from the perspective of people looking to buy games and game accessories that offer interesting mechanics or ideas. We prefer heavy strategy games, miniature-heavy games, and games with real-time mechanics as opposed to party games, children's games, or light strategy games.
Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. These are the campaigns we backed in this batch.
Of all the metal fantasy coins we've seen as upgrades or for individual purchase in stores, Fantasy coins have been the best and most interesting designs. The photographs in this campaign really doesn't do them justice. Each coin feels like a real coin and it they are large enough to give players something to clunk around while they are waiting for their turn. We've incorporated these into several of our favorite games including Shadows of Brimstone, Trickerion, and Roll Player. So it's a great opportunity to expand our collection a bit.
Dinosaur Island: Expansion - FOMO of the Week
Giant box of Miniatures? Kickstarter exclusives? This is the FOMO Campaign (Fear of Missing Out) of the week.
This Kickstarter is actually for the Dinosaur Island expansion but a lot of people missed out on the Kickstarter last year and the vast majority of backers are for the base game + expansions. (2K vs 8K) The excitement this game generates in gamers due to the design aesthetics and theme is unique. Riding off a wave of 2017 Top Ten lists and the general unavailability of the game, the FOMO is strong with this project.
This is one of the better Campaign Planner products/notebooks we've seen on the market. The key is the encounter-based wet-erase overlays, Lay-Flat design, and well-thought out and interchangeable sheets. I'm always curious about these notebook products that claim to help you organize a campaign. I don't think anyone is writing any serious kind of campaign out in a notebook. But, this does look very useful as a session-tracking info, so we're in.
Board Game Campaigns
Imperius looks a lot like a drafting version of Star Realms. Players draft cards in an effort to build a team to dominate four planets. Gameplay appears simple, but and there's an appealing Assassin vs. Noble mechanic. Whoever has the most Nobles at the planet wins the planet, but a Noble who gets assassinated gets nothing.
This is definitely a unique concept for a board game. You compete against other dreamers to achieve "dream goals" that score you VP by building the best dreamscape based on goals you acquire at the beginning of the game. The gameplay looks very abstract, so the dream theme fits perfectly. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.
Heroes Welcome is an interesting concept. You play as a Goblin that is operating a store for adventurers. Adventurers bring back phat lootz from adventuring, you buy the goods and turn them into raw materials that the heroes enemies will use to fight them.
Ultimately the game does look interesting, but not interesting enough for a $45 pledge. We'll look forward to hearing some reviews when the game releases next year.
Another cooking game with amazing components, Sweet Mess has you dueling against other opponents to make dessert recipes. You use tools and actions to strategically score the most points in the competition. This game was packed with a bunch of mini-games. To get everything it's $100 shipped, so we decided to pass. This might be a sleeper hit later this year, however. (Shipping in December.)
I had never heard of a "postcard game' before I saw Jawbone's amazing $4 price on Kickstarter.. The game itself is only $4, and that gets you two Tri-Fold postcards with everything you need to play the game. I like this idea, although nothing in Jawbone really stuck out to me as interesting. It would definitely be a great design challenge.
Girl Genius is based on a comic book series, but the card game itself is unique. It involves rotating cards and and attempting to line up colors on the card edges to "pop" them and activate the cards. The gameplay seems straightforward, but the strategy elusive. Definitely an interesting game we'd like to try sometime.
This is an adventure game where you play a as orphans in a terrible orphanage filled with terrible people (and creatures.) This game does look like it might be a lot of fun, but the component quality is a bit iffy. By default the game is competitive, but it also has a co-op/solo mode. You explore trying to find quest items, and then race for the final room to escape. It looks like it could be great or it could be bad, so we decided to wait and see on this one. Despite the "First Created" banner for Workhouse Games, the game has almost 1,000 backers.
Cartel is a unique RPG system that deals specifcially with the Mexican/American drug war. The gameplay looks to have borrowed some from Dungeon World, and is more about negotiating than shooting.
What really caught our eye is the amazing art and design of the source books. Releasing three source books at launch is quite the ambitious project, and appears to be a labor of love. We're happy to see it is doing very well on the Kickstarter.
Midlam Miniatures has consistently made excellent sets of small-people miniatures, and we've bought several of their sets in 2017. In fact, the only reason we're not backing this set is we already have many more Halfling adventurers than we'll ever need thanks to them!
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*None of the campaigns mentioned here are sponsored or influenced via payment, prize or other means. If we know or have a connection to someone running the campaign, we will mention it in the campaign notes. If there is a campaign you think should be mentioned here, please e-mail us and tell us what makes it special and we'll review!