(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.
Sabotage is the latest from designer Tim Fowers who is known for Paperback, Hardback, Word Dominion, and a lot more. Here, you'll be broken up into two teams, spies vs. agents. The game is asymmetric with each side having different goals and objectives. The gameplay is kind of like a "Roll and Write" players roll the dice, then secretly make moves based on what came up. It looks like it shares quite a bit with Captain Sonar, which is great!
In this game you will be creating a hero by making decisions that will alter and shape their traits. This was created by the creators of Boss Monster, which is a very popular game (and a pretty fun light strategy game). The art here is exceptional, there's some truly unique concepts present. I have to say, while Boss Monster definitely has its detractors, I don't think anyone would argue that it's introduces some original concepts and has made its mark on board gaming. I have a feeling Call of Adventure might do the same.
Dungeon Degenerates was just featured two weeks ago when their second Kickstarter was ending, and they're already starting up a new one with an expansion. This is definitely too much of a game too soon, but I'd hate to miss out on the content in this expansion, so I went ahead and backed. The expansion features new classes, scenarios, and loot.
Drinking games are notoriously bad, but it's nice to see one with respectable production values. I'm a bit old for rolling dice to determine the number of drinks I have to take, but I could see this having been a fun one with the right crowd.
This is a historically-based, two-player war game about the Battle for Hong Kong between the UK and Japan in 1941. What's appealing about this game is that it's done by Hong Kong people and it has a much more "zoomed in" approach to this conflict than most games about the World War II Pacific conflict. Reading through the game description it's clear a lot of thought has gone into the structure of the game, and this looks like a good indie pick for war games fans.
The game of "Crimps" this is a beautiful sculpture/game. Each game has to be hand-crafted by the creators, so it's quite pricey (190 GBP). The game itself has players controlling the winds to move their ships around the board. This looks like an interesting one, but for collector's of odd/unusual board games only.
In this game, players will be tasked with rebuilding their kingdom. You do this through resource management and acquiring new cards to put into your lands. This looks like a pretty interesting light-weight strategy game with some really nice artwork. At $30 this seems like a pretty good deal.
Trogdor is a fictional game from the classic web cartoon Homestar Runner, now made real thanks to the wonders of Kickstarter! It's not really clear how this game plays, but I think the custom-painted meeples sell the game on its own, and it broke the one million dollar mark on Kickstarter.
As to the actual game, it's cooperative, and your goal is to burn down the entire area (including monks, woods, and cottages.) I think this game looks appealing even to people who don't know Homestar Runner.
Thunderstone Quest: Back to the Dungeon - FOMO of the Week!
We backed the original Thunderstone Quest, and we weren't huge fans. However, this relaunch appears to add a couple of things we thought were missing: Solo and Co-Op modes. It felt unthematic to not be working together to take out the dungeon minions and winning felt hollow in the same way it does in Legendary (was I even supposed to be paying attention to VP?) This Campaign is a huge success and gets our FOMO of the week due to the huge number of stretch goals.
After playing Pandemic Legacy, I am hooked on the idea of using "Scratch Offs" in games. This is a great concept where you're using Scratch Offs to make a game journal. This is essentially a party game with a core concept that calls flat, but I love the technical execution here. What if something like this was marketed with an instant camera?
This is a nice-looking card duel game. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of card dueling games that attempt to recapture the lightning in the bottle that is Magic: the Gathering, but I think there's something to be said for a game that is self-contained and has all the components you need for an engaging game at a set price.
Esoterica is a game set in the present day where magicians battle in secret societies to acquire power and soul jars. Laden with conspiracy theories and occult overtones, players must battle others seeking power. It's an interesting dynamic that sort of sets out with an amoral archetype for the "heroes." One nice bonus on this setting is there is a preview chapter provided on DriveThru RPG. The chapter doesn't get into the gameplay specifics, but it does give a good idea of the production quality. The game itself uses the Open D6 system.
This is an adventure RPG that is about the fictional island of Al Amarja, where there's lots of trouble to get into for a crazy cast of characters (including the Player Characters.)
Proficiency is an open RPG system with some interesting skill-testing ideas. Each setting has its own set of available skills and players and GMs can make up their own. When testing a skill, you roll a 20. If you critically hit or critically miss with the skill, the Player Character gains +1 permanently to that skill.
Wow, this is one of the coolest-looking RPGs I've seen in awhile (it promises to be a RPG & a Coffee Table Book). With a visual aesthetic that appears to have fallen right out of a 1990s Vertigo comic, Demon City is a horror investigation RPG with a dystopian punk edge. Reading through the nuances of the game would take hours (they are strung together in a long series of 1,000+ word blog posts), but a lot of people bought in on this, and I'm curious to see if it gains a following.
Zombie World is a hybrid board game RPG. You'll be creating a character with a secret past and trauma, and will be working with other survivors to keep your Enclave from collapsing to the zombie threat. You get to create a custom enclave at the start of the game and a GM sets the conflict an goals of the game. I had originally misclassified this as a board game until I read the details of the Campaign more closely. It's great to see an RPG get the full board game component treatment to really enhance the table presence right out the gate.
This is a pretty neat concept, a shadowbox with a diorama designed specifically for storing miniatures. The problem is the cost, I don't think many hobbyists can justify $300 for essentially a nice wall-hanging display case.
Quiver makes very high-quality card game accessories. These Gloomhaven Mats are super-tempting as I like to have all-things-Gloomhaven, but they are pricey, and I honestly don't see a need for them. The health trackers already have spots for most of this stuff.
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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!