(Almost) every Saturday we review all Kickstarter campaigns in the "Games" category ending in the next week. We do a quick 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, RPG Games, miniature-heavy games, and games with real-time mechanics as opposed to party games, children's games, or very light strategy games.
Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. These are the campaigns we backed in this batch.
Arcadia Quest Riders (Completed)
CMON continues to innovate on Kickstarter, and their latest experiment is a "flash" campaign for their Arcadia Quest series. The campaign only ran 5 days (so weren't able to cover it while it was running.) We're huge fans of Arcadia Quest, and backed the two previous campaigns, and mounted miniatures and combo campaigns are too hard for us to pass by. This flash Kickstarter campaign seems to be effective due to CMONs huge social media/board game presence (and they just wrapped their con up last week.) They have already sold out their first print run, are deep into a second print run, and have raised over 200K 12 hours after launch.
Skull Tales: Full Sail! - FOMO of the Week!
This is the second game from publisher Eclipse Editorial, the first is Ratland (7.4 BGG) which did OK on Kickstarter raising $57K. It did have miniatures, but it was limited to being an add-on to the base game. This new pirate Kickstarter is exploding and is definitely our FOMO of the Week!
Having raised $400,000 with 8 days to go, this is a remake of a game released in 2015 (8.1 BGG.) It includes ton of miniature stretch goals (a few Kickstarter-exclusive), tons of Kickstarter-exclusive component upgrades, and some gameplay upgrades that everyone gets with the retail version of the game.
This is an adventure game where you embark on a campaign simulating a pirate ship, docking at a port, exploring the sea, and adventure on land.
Luxor is a relaunch of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Luxor is nominated for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award (typically given to light strategy games like Camel Cup and Kingdomino.) It's got some stiff competition alongside Azul and The Mind. It's hard to blame Queen Games for trying to get some more sales due to the award nominees announcement.
For the gameplay, there's nothing that stands out as being particularly innovative (particularly when compared to The Mind.), but it does look like a fun game, and some of the depth of strategy may not be readily apparent until you give the game a whirl.
This is a new edition of a game that came out in 2015 (Cosmic Run, 7.2 User Rating BGG). It's interesting in that it's a dice worker placement game like Alien Frontiers, but is structured around a race. You roll your dice and decide what action to take with one of the dice, then you reroll. This is a pretty neat idea for a racing game.
The original game is still in print and available for about $20, so the $35 (before shipping) price tag on this Kickstarter is a bit high.
A miniatures board game with an 80s television action theme. It is by Blacklist Games, who appears to be wrapping up the delivery of their first game Street Masters: Rise of the Kingdom (8.8 BGG.) The game uses the same core gameplay system that Street Masters uses (the Modular Deck System.)
This game does have some FOMO with some miniature unlocks, but the campaign looks like it's barely going to break $100,000. The game looks interesting, but is quite expensive ($109 for the base game + KS exclusive expansion), and there's an awful lot of content here for a newly-launched game with three more expansions in the Add-Ons, it's all a bit overwhelming.
This is a solo card game where you'll be playing Mr. Cabbagehead, a Victorian-era anthropomorphic cabbage man. Your goal is to assemble a garden with the most aesthetic appeal. Not only do you have to contend with a random stack of vegetables that can be quite challenging to sort, but whenever Mr. Cabbagehead steps away for a quick vacation, his jealous neighbors steal plants out of his garden.
This is a surprisingly fun game, which comes with two expansions and two-player rules if you back on Kickstarter. We played it on Tabletopia which features all the Kickstarter content, and quite enjoyed it.
This game attempts to convert one of the "battleground" type video games (PUB, Fortnite, H1Z1) into a board game. Up to eight players fight it out on a shrinking battlefield. I'm a bit amazed that a game with seriously vicious player elimination looks like it's going to fund. The game does have good art and nice components.
Seriously beautiful box art and some really neat bust miniatures drew me in to take a closer look at this game. This was already released in several European and Asian countries, but hasn't yet been released in the US and that is the purpose of this Kickstarter. The game currently has a 7.5 User rating on BGG.
This campaign has no stretch goals, and no Kickstarter-exclusive items, but you do get a ton of promo items for backing via this campaign.
The components and the artwork are excellent, but the gameplay and weight is very similar to City of Gears, which we are still waiting on from Kickstarter, so we decided to pass on this one and wait to play it before buying it.
This is a pretty light trick-taking game where you'll be exploring the ocean, discovering islands, and spotting monsters. I really like the artwork in this game, the components and design are all fantastic. The designer is Steve Aramani, who made the popular Barker's Row game which just hit retail.
This has one of the nicest videos I've seen in a long while for a Kickstarter campaign. Watch it below.
This is a low budget card dueling game that has really fantastic art. There's also a free Print and Play to try the game out (we didn't try it out).
We've never played Kodama: The Tree Spirits(6.9BGG), but we have played Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama, which is one of our favorite Roll and Write games. This version of the game is two-player only. Players build a tree attempting to score by placing nice tree features such as stars and worms along the tree's route. It uses the "I Split, You Choose" mechanism which is underused in duel games, and probably spells out a pretty fun game.
At $19 + Shipping, you don't get the best deal on the game in this Kickstarter (the second edition is only $19 shipped on Amazon), so we'll wait to read the reviews. Sometimes dual conversions of games don't work out.
This looks like a pretty interesting Dwarf clan game. Players accumulate riches in mines via a worker placement mechanic. You can only bump another worker if your own worker has a longer beard. This game has the "follow the leader" mechanic where you get to take a lesser action after the active player takes one. This mechanic appears to be appearing more commonly in games, and makes games like this a lot more engaging because you are constantly getting stuff while waiting for your turn.
This is a really neat adventure game. You play a team of time travelers tasked with a story-based mission. Your team moves around the board together (which starts off in the named castle), attempting to acquire information and the items you need to complete your mission. (And sometimes you need to find out what your real mission actually is.)
There's a great demo available for free on Tabletopia.
This is an arena battle game for two to four players. It includes a big box of of miniatures, but hasn't caught fire, mostly because the miniatures are *just OK* and this is another big miniatures First Created campaign. I think we all have have fatigue on these types of games, and we really need something to stand out to us to back. I didn't see anything that really stood out to me in this campaign that I couldn't get from existing games like the preordered HATE or the classic Duel of Ages II.
From the creator of Argent the Consortium (7.8 BGG), this is an engine building game where you'll be building a train, a network, and a company in order to fulfill contracts. This looks like a pretty interesting game with lots of replayability, but it's very expensive at $65 for the regular edition. We'll wait to see what the reviews are like after the game comes out.
This is a PDF-only set of modules for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. The twist here is that these are "old school" styled and will likely result in some player deaths. I am interested in the modules, but I wish the campaign offered some free samples! When you have a huge backlog of modules to run for your players, it's tough to committ o buying one unless you can read a meaty sample first.
A pretty good idea of making a Tabletop Simulator specifically designed for RPGs. Most RPGs can be powered by Tabletop Simulator, but if you want to do complex miniature landscapes, that's a bit beyond its scope.
Demons and Dice attempts to add a lot more RPG-specific props that are tailored to running fantasy RPGs. Unfortunately, this Kickstarter has gotten practically no traction, I think too many people have been burned by overly ambitious software campaigns like this. Better to self-fund and hope to get some traction post-release.
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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!