(Almost) every Saturday we review all Kickstarter campaigns in the "Games" category ending in the next week. We try to 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 an official Chaosium product (the creators of the Call of Cthulhu RPG), and it's designed by Reiner Knizia. So I thought at $25 this is a can-miss. The game also has raised three times its goal, so several stretch goals have been unlocked. They aren't the best goals (the first one was a PDF certificate, the second a German translation), but at that price point, I can't image there's much room to add all that much content.
This is a First-Time Creator, and we generally avoid those games unless we really like something in particular about the game, and here it's definitely the visual style and artwork. It's a bit pricey at $40, but the campaign is well-put together with a lot of great videos.
We'll be taking a closer look at the game in Tabletop Simulator this coming week.
It's no secret that we love Dungeon Crawl Classics here at SGL, Inc. While we hadn't heard of this DCC Magazine before the Kickstarter, this appears to be a favorite of the community. This Kickstarter's goal is to raise some funds to publish the Spring 2018 issue. While we're currently completely overloaded with source material, it's hard for us to turn down something with artwork like this inside.
We've been playing Dual Powers this week on Tabletopia, and we were really close to backing it. (In fact, we technically did back it for a Roll Player card.) This is a fun historical scenario for two players where you are battling for the will of the people during the 1917 Russian revolution. One side plays the Bolsheviks (red) led by Lenin, while the other side plays the Provisional government (white.)
Gameplay is essentially drawing cards with multiple uses. They advance the calendar (which can give you a bonus), give you an action to take, and provide goals to reach. The game plays quickly, and it is a very interesting area control game. Even though your success can be heavily dependent on the cards you get, each card has three uses which gives you a lot more "outs" to realign your strategy for a victory.
We also took to Tabletopia to try out Gem Rush, a very light game where you play a dwarf collecting gems in order to unlock new levels of a labyrinth. We played a four player co-operative game, and found it to be a bit simplistic for our tastes. This game received good reviews the first time around, but is a light filler with not too much else going for it.
At $30 for a small box (albeit with cool gems), we decided to pass.
We loved Kitchen Rush, and despite some semi-functional hour glasses, it's a really fun real-time co-op game. This game adds more to the base, but adds even more pieces to a game that already has a ton of moving parts. We decided to hold off on this one until we get a lot more play time in on the original.
A very simple card game with great artwork. You compete to put together clues to solve a murder before the murder catches up to you and does you in.
We love the art style, but $25 for a small deck of cards? That's murder!
I can't imagine a game more awkward to randomly pull out at a convention, but this developer certainly didn't mind recruiting couples for demo videos. They've taken a game of Jenga, and added a weird romance theme (Soviet Astronaut and Pan, AI and programmer, a nun and a priest). If the love is forbidden, it belongs in Star Crossed.
Players take turns removing Jenga pieces and moving the story forward by taking flirting with their partners. Once the Jenga falls, your characters take action. The amount of bricks you remove determines the outcome. There's really not much "game" here, but it does look like an experience. Oddly if you make it through the whole game without the tower falling, your characters never act on their feelings. Metaphorically, that's a nice idea. Concerning gameplay, I'm not so sure.
Growl is a suped-up Werewolf game with one of the most agressive launch campaigns in recent memory. I think the results look a bit mixed. It's hard to tell how the game would have done if the creator hadn't given away 500 copies on the first day, or without the experiment with KickRocket where if you refer two people to the project, you get a free game. Regardless, 125K+ is a lot of money for a small box game like this.
Faceless - FOMO of the Week!
With a box completely overflowing with plastic, and a neat magnet gimmick, we had to give Faceless the FOMO of the week. Unfortunately, I didn't really love the character design, and while there are a lot of really neat miniatures in this set, we'll wait to read the reviews.
Interestingly, Faceless ups the FOMO by advertising "No late pledge." A lot of Kickstarters don't offer Late Pledges, but this is the first one to advertise it because "The minimum we can do for our backers is to give them the privilege to obtain the game you contributed to create without sharing this possibility to the rest."
This is a very simple card game about stealing and collecting turnips. You play cards against the person sitting to the left and right of you, and you reveal and resolve the cards all at once. The surprising thing is this game has raised $50K, which goes to show that simple games with great artwork can still do well on Kickstarter. Interestingly, the original version of this Kickstarter failed to get to 20K less than a month ago. I'm not sure what caused the change.
Homesteaders & Expansion
Homesteaders is a reprint of a game that came out in 2009 and has a solid 7.3 on BGG (#491 All-Time).
The game feels a lot like Le Havre set in the old-west. The new components and expansion looks to have upgraded the components quite a bit from the original.
The game itself runs $60 which is way high for a Kickstarter, and must be at least MSRP. We'll wait to try this out before buying.
I'm a sucker for RPG settings where civilization has fallen, and it's slowly rebuilding. This RPG has some really fantastic artwork and thematic settings. The game itself offers point-based character generation and a pretty basic D12 Success/Failure action system.
I am continually amazed that these RPG Kickstarters can raise money even with ultra-weird settings like this. Even with no sample PDF being offered.
Not much to say here except these area great classic metal goblins. Unfortunately, they were just a bit too pricey for us, so we decided to pass. ($70 for 15 goblins.)
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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!