(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.
Bat Cup is the second game from the designers of Alchemical Crystal Quest (7.8 BGG). It looks like a really crazy race game that sort of emulates Mario Kart-style gameplay. It seems to have a lot of interesting strategy options and the miniatures are a nice touch. One really neat thing is you actually build your car off the board, and this provides traits which you use in the game, as well as tracking damage when you ram another player.
Cthulhu: Death May Die - FOMO of the Week
Death May Die will probably best be remembered for the absolutely astoundingly ridiculous 3 1/2 foot tall Cthulhu Miniature that can be delivered as an "add-on" to the main game. However, if you ignore the flash, there's actually a really neat looking game underneath.
First, the game is designed by Eric Lang (The Others (7.5 BGG), Blood Rage (#23 All-Time BGG), Arcadia Quest (#88 All-Time BGG), Dicemasters, and about a hundred other great games.) Second, this game looks to be going right out to challenge Fantasy Flight's very popular Arkham/Eldritch Horror. Of that series, the one this looks closest to Mansions of Madness.
The Investigators here are a bit more over the top. Where Eldritch Horror embraces the period with semi-realistic characters from that era, Death May Die appears to have given their characters darker and less-realistic twists.
Otherwise, this looks surprisingly close to the FFG model. However, I trust that Lang has introduced a lot of interesting twists to the gameplay. This had to be a must-back for me.
A card game adaptation of the enormously popular indie twin-stick shooter. It's interesting to see that Edmund McMillen (artist on Super Meat Boy, creator/artist of Binding of Isaac) developed this himself. If you look at his engaging development story, there are a lot of red flags here. There are no outside reviews, no print and play, no Tabletopia, and it looks like testing was done with a handful of people. We'll pass, but it's great to see a flood of new backers on Kickstarter, and hopefully the game is good and their eyes are opened to the potential of card games.
In this game the players are scientists pitted against a newly-awakened and empowered AI. What a great idea for a theme! Unfortunately, the campaign was cancelled only a couple weeks in.
This is a fairly interesting game where players are space scroundrels competing for jobs. Once a player earns a job, the other players throw obstacles in their path such as plot twists and enemies. This looks like it might be interesting, but the art is sub-par. The game itself seems to be mostly about telling stories. That's a lot of cards for a storytelling game.
Elite: Dangerous is a popular space battle game for PC. This is a "Living Card" game type adaptation of that universe. The game looks pretty interesting with lots of scenarios. The combat itself is smart, instead of forcing players to roll dice, you have the option to roll dice, or just make an attack that does a set amount of damage.
The "Domin" part of Dominations is a hint that the game uses Dominoes to form the map. Players start out as young civilizations and earn knowledge, build cities, and erect Monuments. This looks like a slightly heavier 7 Wonders Duel with support for four players and a map.
This campaign is mostly for a reprint of a zombie game I hadn't heard of before. The game has a very strong 8.3 on BoardGameGeek, which leads me to believe this is one I should check out. The game itself looks like a heavier version of Zombicide. The focus is on defending a safehouse against the Zombie Horde (rather than exploration as in Zombicide.)
The expansions are small card packs that include new characters, rules, and scenarios. Getting everything runs $80 which is a bit high for our budget this month, but I'd jump at a chance to play it if I see it at a con.
This is yet another Kickstarter by PSC games. I feel like I just backed Lincoln, so I'm definitely not going to jump in on this, but it looks like an intriguing take on the Twilight Struggle formula, switching up the factions into blocs which makes it best for 3-6 players. The strategy looks interesting, each faction has a stack of cards they get access to, but when the deck runs out, thats all they get. Combat is simplified to simply playing a card and unit positioning (no dice rolling.)
This is a good week for themes, Staropolis introduces another one I've never seen before. Each player will be building a component for the starship. When their turns are up, they will need to attach their component to the starship. Players earn points for how well this works.
It's interesting that the designers did this with 3D pieces rather than using cardboard pieces, but it looks like this choice may have paid off, as it makes much more interesting decisions working in the 3rd dimension. It certainly has some table presence, and appears to be designed to appeal to families.
This is a rare Kickstarter that really doesn't have any explanation in the text as to how the game plays. I watched the videos to get a better idea of how this game works. The theme is over-the-top fantasy, with werewolves, necromancers, and princesses battling it out to become a god.
Despite the mediocre visual design, the game itself has a sort of "epic" look that reminds me quite a bit of Duel of Ages. The miniatures, however look quite nice. The game bills itself as a "Worker Placement" game, but since you just have one "Worker" I think its much more accurate to say its an Action Selection game. Interestingly, after six rounds of Action Selection/Worker Placement, you enter an arena and battle it out with the other players.
I definitely see this as a "best with max players" type game, and could be quite a lot of fun.
Too many games on your shelves? Can't decide what to play when people come over? Too many different tastes at the table? Well Game to Pick a Game is designed to end all the debate with another game. You write each potential game candidate on chips with dry-erase, then play out the game to decide which one to play. This looks like it might be a one-off gag game, but it's by Chip Theory Games who did the wonderful Too Many Bones game (8.54 BGG).
This is a huge collection of dark adventures for Pathfinder RPG. (7 in all.) I really love the titles of these adventures "Escape from Skullkeep Prison", "Slaughterhouse of the Ogre Mage".
This is the collection of adventures from Frog God Games which has quite a following for the 5th Edition adventures. This desert themed adventure mixes up Arabic and Egyptian settings to create a sandbox adventure that looks to be quite ambitious. It has a ton of fantastic art (Frog God has really stepped it up here.) And the campaign is doing phenomenally raising over $50K with plenty of time left in the campaign.
They have stretch goals up to $200,000 so I imagine they knew they'd do well. Considering the book is over $90, I'm quite surprised that their fan base is willing to invest so much.
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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!