(Almost) every Saturday we review all Kickstarter campaigns in the "Games" category ending in the next week. We do a write up on anything we find notable 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.
This is a really great concept for travelling DMs. The flip books allow a ton of settings to be quickly laid out without worrying about having to carry massive rolled tubes, or seriously heavy Dwarven Forge plastics.
We backed this at the "two giant book" level. It can't hurt to have an easier way to quickly plop down a battle mat, and you can link two books together to make a bigger play area.
Blight Chronicles is a solo-only deckbuilding game. It plays a lot like the Legendary: X titles. You are in control of an agent charged with completing a mission. Each mission is made up of six scenarios. The cool thing is that you can make a choice at the end of each scenario which dictates what the next scenario will be so the game plays out quite differently as you play through.
We reviewed this game in its Tabletopia incarnation earlier in the week.
The City of Kings was a very well-received Kickstarter from last year. It distinguished itself from other RPGs by having a complex and interesting character development tree and extremely varied enemies that are randomly generated at the beginning of combat. The game is sitting at a very high 8.3 BGG Player Score, and will likely begin rapidly climbing the BGG All-Time algorithm once it gets a bunch more player votes.
This game is a sandbox RPG with an ongoing story. You control not only your hero, but workers in your realm who gather important resources while you are out completing quests and defeating enemies.
We didn't back this game last year because it seemed a bit pricey for what it is. You do get a lot of components, but a 95 GBP price tag is quite a lot for a game with no plastic. (And actually quite a bit for anything short of a CMON-level miniatures game.)
The expansions offered here include miniatures, new monster abilities, new heroes and new adventures. The all-in on this is 145 GBP, and we decided to pass this time around again. This was a tough one to pass-up, but we really hope to give this a try sometime.
This is a versatile card game where players will duel as investigators in the 1950s against an ancient horror. While the theme definitely seems familiar, the gameplay is very original, and not really anything like any other card game we've played.
One player (or an AI deck), will be playing the Wall, attempting to open gates. The other player(s) (up to 5), play the investigators sacrificing their marbles (representing sanity and inventory) to close gates and slow down the old one. This is a challenging game to get your head around, and the art direction is a bit odd, but we think this game is going to be a winner. You can try it on Tabletopia.
Court of the Dead had some huge pre-launch campaigns, and it was all over Facebook and BoardGameGeek. The marketing work seems to have paid off; even with fierce competition from Hellboy and Black Rose (both ending next week) it is funding at 6 figure levels.
The game uses a unique Competitive/Cooperative mechanic where you have to work together or you all lose, but ultimately only one player will win the game. This is a bit like Auztralia, and it worked very well there. I find the miniatures in this campaign to be cool, but not OMG I need to have that cool like I did for Rising Sun and Planet Apocalypse.
The publisher is Project Raygun who did the well-received Thing (7.5 BGG) game last year. However since there's a ton of plastic and this is a First Created for the studio, we'll wait for the reviews. (Although it pains us to miss out on all those Kickstarter-exclusive coins and metal tokens!)
This is an expansion to Villages of Valeria, a village-building game that came out last year. It has a 7.2 rating on BGG. The game uses a "Follow the Leader" mechanic where you can do a lesser version of the action the active player makes. This is similar to the alliance action mechanic in Rising Sun. The expansion gives players another option to build a landmark instead of following a leader action.
The Kickstarter also offers a way to get the KS-exclusive edition from last year (and it ships in June.)
This is another First Created Miniatures game, but this one has a unique 17th century Cossack fantasy setting.
What caught my eye in this game is the unique dueling system. When characters battle, they select a stance die (secretly), the stance die is modified by the characters skill die. Some stances have advantage over others. This is an interesting idea I haven't seen before. Even more complicated combat-rolling games basically just have Attack and Defense dice, and it's nice to see someone trying to push that design element forward.
Unfortunately, this campaign is only half funded with 8 days to go.
Despite what it says in the video below: "Funded in 36 hours", this game was cancelled about three days ago. Looking at the Kicktraq on this game, it did look like it was hemorrhaging backers a few days before the cancellation. There doesn't seem to be a clear cause. In the comments the reasons range from "too much foreign language in the comments" to "too many early birds decided to leave due to lack of stretch goals."
I think the latter was definitely a contributor. This project was priced like a CMON game, but with no stretch goals, it would have been just an *OK* (read: MSRP) deal. It's unlikely this game would have cost more than $89 retail, so risking $84 for a $5 discount on a first-time creator just doesn't make sense.
Hopefully we'll see a relaunch (preferably after the company has worked on some less ambitious projects.)
This is a reprint of a "classic" miniatures game called "Confrontation." While I had never heard of it, I'm not an expert on European miniatures games. The campaign has raised $600,000 and has unlocked a massive number of stretch goals. I would urge a bit of caution as the creator (Sans-Detour) is a first-time creator with 0 backed Kickstarters. This can be a pretty deadly sign that this KS is going to have delivery/manufacture problems.
That said, the number of miniatures you receive for a 300 Euro pledge is absurd. I'll just leave the following graphic (which was cropped!) for you to scroll through.
The Shattered Tower Kickstarter introduced a whole new fantasy genre to me: "Mythpunk." The Wikipedia entry on this genre is a bit garbled, but it sounds like introducing folklore and classic mythology into the present day.
The system uses a D6 for determining success or failure, and sounds very close to Eldritch Horror's system.
Beyond that the gameplay is a bit vague and there is no sample to download. So we decided to pass. (Although we became a fan of the artist featured: Michele Parisi.)
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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!