Game Buzz: Kickstarter Blitz #3

Time for another Kickstarter blitz.  There’s a bunch to get through today, so let’s go.

image by BGG user johnnyudes
image by BGG user johnnyudes

Cave Escape (Devin Plowman, Anjis Games) is a game about trying to escape from a 5000 ft deep cavern as quickly as you can.  However, only the first person to escape will survive, so you have to sabotage each other to make sure you get out.  In each round, 2-6 players will be spending adrenaline tokens to gain special dice, some of which help you and some of which hinder others.  You then roll the dice as many times as you wish to try to gain distance and adrenaline to spend on the next turn.  However, rolled obstacles are set aside and having three of them will cause you to lose all progress for the round.  The round ends with players giving each other the purchased obstacle or sabotage dice they got at the start of the round.  The game ends when someone makes it to the top.

Cave Escape looks like a pretty light push-your-luck style game with some serious meanness.  If you don’t like take-that mechanisms, I’d stay away.  The campaign ends tomorrow, so get in on it soon if you’re interested.

  • Project Ends March 29 @ 3:34 PM CDT
  • Goal: $1,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2014
  • Pledge levels: $15 PNP, $35 game, $45 game plus three exclusive characters
image by BGG user LudiCreations
image by BGG user LudiCreations

Town Center (Alban Viard, LudiCreations) is actually the fourth edition of a game that came out in 2012.  It’s a city-building game where 1-4 players are using cubes to create a three-dimensional city.  Cubes are drawn from a bag at the start of each round, and the first player creates as many two-cube towers as there are players in the game.  Players will each get two cubes, choosing one at a time to take the top cube from a tower.  Cubes are built into each player’s city.  Depending on the placement, residential and commercial development occurs.  Taxes are collected, and players can buy utilities and elevators.  The game ends when the bag is empty (10 rounds), and the player with the most points wins.

Town Center is essentially an abstract game, but one that makes an effort to have a theme.  The method of choosing cubes at the beginning of each round looks very important, and the first player has a very important job in choosing how to stack them.  After that, there are strategies in determining how to place everything to maximize your revenue and eventual points.  I think it looks pretty good, and the fact that it’s a fourth edition means that LudiCreations is pretty committed to making this into a great game.  It ends tomorrow, so hop on if you’re interested.

  • Project Ends March 29 at 8:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • Pledge levels: $60 game, $200 game plus custom map of your city
image by BGG user feeleash
image by BGG user feeleash

Höyük (Pierre Canuel, MAGE Company) began its life as a PnP game in 2006, and is now getting a full edition.  This 2-5 player game is set 10,000 years ago, and players represent one of five clans trying to establish dominance.  In each round, each player gets two construction opportunities to put up houses, pens, ovens, and/or shrines (determined by randomly dealt construction cards).  Elements are placed in blocks, and there must be at least two players in a block for it to get anything – being by yourself does you no good.  After a catastrophe phase, aspect cards are distributed to players with the lead in each element for the block.  Aspect cards can allow you to build an additional element or score points.  After a player builds their 25th house, the game ends and a final scoring occurs.  The player with the most points wins.

Hoyuk is one of those games that initially attracted me because of the beautiful art, but it also looks like a pretty good game.  There seems to be a lot of strategic options in determining how to build up your höyüks, and trying to get the majority of certain elements to get aspect cards seems like a big deal.  It looks like a pretty clever tile placement game, and I’ll be interested to see how it comes out.

  • Project Ends March 31 @ 3:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $50 game, $95 game plus expansions
image from http://www.platemailgames.com
image from platemailgames.com

This next one is not a game, but I wanted to give it a little attention as an accessory.  Pro Tabletop Gaming Audio (Wes Otis, Plate Mail Games) is a project to fund the creation of audio loops suitable for playing during gaming sessions.  It’s primarily intended for RPGs, but could probably be ported over to board games pretty easily.  The tracks are all thematic, and there are 40 different tracks up for grabs in four different 10-track bundles.  This is actually the third project they have run, and they’ve been fairly successful.  There are some track samples on the Kickstarter page, so go check it out.

  • Project Ends April 1 @ 1:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: $7,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $15 one pack of 10 MP3 loops, $27 two packs, $36 three packs, $40 all four packs, $300 to help record monster and crowd sounds
image by BGG user iamwaggle
image by BGG user iamwaggle

Lineage (Justin Waggle, Gray Wolf Games) is a martial arts game where masters are attempting to train their students in their particular lineage while the emperor and general are trying to unify everyone under one banner.  Essentially, the game is an abstract where some players (the masters and students) are trying to get their pieces to the center, and the empteror and general are trying to get pieces in all four corners of the board.  The game is played in seasons, and each season blocks different tiles on the board from use.

I wanted to bring up this game because it only has a few days left and it’s not even close to being funded.  I’m a little surprised by this, particularly since they did a BGG contest – hose usually give games a boost.  I’m guessing that their goal was a little high, and cleaning up the rulebook might help attract some people.  Just one I’m keeping an eye on.  It doesn’t look good for them meeting their funding goal this time – according to Kicktraq, they are trending towards only reaching 58% of their goal.  There’s usually a bump in the last few days, so who knows.

  • Project Ends April 1 @ 11:01 AM CDT
  • Goal: $40,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • Pledge Levels:
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Gone Viking (François Valentyne, The Flux Capacity) is a Viking-themed trick-taking game for 3-5 players.  The game plays out like a standard trick taking game – the highest value in the led suit (plunder) wins the trick, unless trump was played.  There are a few differences – first, players may have god cards in their hands that might give them an advantage.  Next, you may be accumulating wealth throughout the game, and at the end of each round, the wealthiest player will lose half of their wealth.  You can also spend wealth to get new cards or to buy a ship (which still counts as wealth but cannot be lost).  The first player to get a certain amount of wealth (7-9, depending on the number of players) wins the game.

Gone Viking looks like a good entry into the trick-taking genre.  It adds some resource management as you’re trying to not lose all of your wealth, and there’s some strategy in playing the god cards (but as there are only four, I don’t know how often you’ll be able to get them).  I generally like trick-taking games (with some notable exceptions), so this is one I’d definitely be interested in playing sometime.

  • Project Ends April 1 @ 9:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $5,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2014
  • Pledge Levels (in CAD): $10 PnP, $30 game, $300 autographed game plus four autographed prints of the Viking gods
image by BGG user DragonCat
image by BGG user DragonCat

I talked about Baseball Highlights: 2045 (Mike Fitzgerald, Eagle Games) last week, so I’ll keep this one quick.  Baseball Highlights simulates a season in a futuristic version of the game of baseball, utilizing some deckbuilding mechanics, as well as hand management.  It focuses on building a team more than winning individual games, which makes it a sports game in the tradition of Blood Bowl Team Manager rather than Pizza Box Football or 1st & Goal.  Take a look – it seems cool.

  • Project Ends April 3 @ 4:51 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $32 game, $47 game plus a Mystery Rummy game, $86 game plus all four official Mystery Rummy games, $350 signed game plus dinner wit designer and Eagle/Gryphon at Origins 2014
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

The Ancient World (Ryan Laukat, Red Raven Games) is a civilization game for 2-4 players that is a bit bigger than Laukat’s last game, Eight-Minute Empire.  Players are managing city-states to become the most influential.  The game is played over six rounds, and in each round players will be taking actions, which can include placing citizens on action cards or empire cards, or attacking a titan.  Players are attempting to collect cards (empire, district, and titan) with matching tribe banners to increase their points, and the player with the most points wins.

The Ancient World is one of those games that I’m just going to have to see to really make a determination as to how it’s going to play.  However, it seems fairly straightforward, and the art is gorgeous – I love the effect of the statue coming out of the clouds on the cover.  I think it’s worth a look, so check it out.

  • Project Ends April 3 @ 6:22 CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $50 game
image by BGG user Floodgate
image by BGG user Floodgate

Epic Resort (Ben Harkins, Floodgate Games) is a 2-4 player game about building a resort to attract tourists heroes.  Of course, with heroes come monsters., and the heroes may or may not protect your tourists.  Players begin with the same 13-card worker deck, and begin a turn with 5 cards.  Simultaneously, they’ll send workers to their attractions.  After resolving the tourists for each attraction, players take turns attracting tourist cards (gaining resource cubes); attracting heroes (paying star cost); hiring workers (pay the money cost, then hire to discard pile or training to upgrade a worker in your hand); upgrading attractions (paying and placing in one of the three attraction slots); or passing.  After a ship arrives (possibly with monsters), the clean-up occurs and the game continues.  The game ends when the monster draw pile is empty, and the player with the most hearts wins.

Epic Resort has a really fun theme.  I love the resort idea, and placing it in a fantasy world really appeals to me.  Add that to a deckbuilding style game (with some simultaneous play), and this looks like something I would really enjoy.  I look forward to hearing more about it.

  • Project Ends April 6 @ 8:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $20,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $40 game, $90 game plus Legacy: Gears of Time
image by BGG user cbatarlis
image by BGG user cbatarlis

Raiders of theLost Tomb (Christopher Batarlis/Jim Samartino, Everything Epic Games) is on Kickstarter as a pay-what-you-want microgame.  What that means is you can give them as much or as little as you want for a copy of the game, as long as it’s at least $3.  The game comes with 6 cards, a boss monster track, and a zip-lock bag.  Players have to contribute 87 cents (12 pennies, 8 nickels, 1 dime, and 1 quarter).  On your turn, you’ll “roll” your pennies, then possibly move to the next space.  You can also attack another player to try and get the Holy Grail.  If you get to the escape with the Holy Grail, you win.

I’m very interested in watching as the microgame craze develops.  There’s a lot that can be done with it, and this is interesting because you’re using coins instead of dice for what amounts to a roll-and-move mechanism.  It does seem a little simplistic and maybe not very strategic.  But hey, it’s only $3, so it may be worth a look.

  • Project Ends April 7 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $3,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: April 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $3 game, $63-$253 game plus Secrets of the Lost Tomb board game with Kickstarter extras
image by BGG user dyskamipublishing
image by BGG user dyskamipublishing

Worker Placement (Mark C. MacKinnonm Dyskami Publishing Company) is a worker placement game about running a temp agency.  So the title is both a mechanical AND a thematic description.  In each round of the game, after player order is determined and new jobs are revealed, players draft business cards from a hand of three (keep one, pass one to the left, discard the other).  From the discarded cards, hold an auction for three of them (random selection of which).  Players then place workers on the game board – this can get you resource cubes or advance you on the thumbs track.  You can also fill jobs using appropriate skills.  After a preset number of rounds, the player with the most cash wins.

Worker Placement seems like a fairly standard worker placement game, but one with the most appropriate theme I’ve ever seen.  You send workers to various schools to gain skills, and then place them in jobs.  It just makes sense.  The audacity to call this game Worker Placement catches my attention, and I hope it does well in its funding.

  • Project Ends April 10 @ 9:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: April 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $10 PnP, $40 game, $65 game plus expansion, $1000 copies of every game Dyskami produces for the next five years plus dinner with the designer at GenCon
image by BGG user PilotStudy
image by BGG user PilotStudy

Inceptor (Reid Cuddy/Bruno Gervasi, Pilot Study) takes place in the dream world, where players are trying to plant an idea in the dreamer’s mind.  It is sort of based on the movie Inception, though not officially sanctioned (though permission was granted by Warner Brothers).  The board consists of four concentric circles, each representing a level of the dream.  On your turn, you can move around your current level (roll two dice and move), or you can announce your attempt to switch levels and try it.  You could also play a subconscious card.  Depending on the space you land on, you could draw an idea card, plant an idea, draw a subconscious card, or have nothing happen.  As you plant ideas, you will be completing missions, and the first person to complete all four phases of their mission announces the end of the game.  Each player must make it back to level 1 before 15 turns are up, or they are lost in Limbo.  After the dreamer wakes up, each player adds up their scores,  You’ll then randomly draw a cube from the bag from all players who completed their mission to see which on the Mark carries out.  That player gets 15 bonus points.

To me, it seems that this game has a lot of problems.  It’s roll and move for one, and there’s not a whole lot to do to mitigate that.  Also, the game comes down to what amounts to a random cube draw.  However, I like the theme and just think that it needs some more refining.

  • Project Ends April 10 @ 9:07 CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: April 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $25 totems only, $59 game, $110 game in an aluminum briefcase, $140 design a mission card
image by BGG user unipat
image by BGG user unipat

Pay Dirt (Tory Neimann, Crash Games) is a game about excavating gold in Alaska.  It’s particularly notable as being designed by Tory Neimann, whose game Alien Frontiers is credited with starting the Kickstarter craze in the board game world.  At the start of each round, players will bid on new equipment, personnel, and claims.  During the work phase, workers will be assigned to use equipment (move, process, or finish processing), make repairs on the equipment, or go to town (sell gold or buy gear).  In the hardship phase, players will draft a hardship card (the least gold gets first choice), then resolve them.  Finally, in the income phase, players get $2000 and the game is reset for a new round.  The game ends the round after the temperature falls to zero, and the player with the most gold wins.

This game seems pretty different from Alien Frontiers in several respects.  They’re both worker placement games, but this one has far fewer locations, and most variety seems to be within the personnel and the hardships.  The theme is pretty unique – I don’t know of any other modern gold mining games (much less mining for gold in Alaska), so that’s an appealing part of the project.  It’s still got a ways to go before funding, but do check it out.

  • Project Ends April 11 @ 12:AM CDT)
  • Goal: $35,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $50 game, $90 two copies
image by BGG user enditen
image by BGG user enditen

Till Dawn (Richard Launius/Jason Maxwell/Mike Wylie, 8th Summit) is a vampire game where players are hunting for blood.  The game is for 3-12 players (though only eight vampires are in the base game).  During each turn, the hunt leader draws the top card of the hunt deck and read it out.  A feeding card means that all players gain blood tokens.  An invitation card means that players need to try to guess what the next moon will be (blue, red, or crescent) to get a pay-off.  Night lingers cards allow sunrise cards to be placed back on top of the deck.  Sunrise cards cause the sun to start rising, which burn vampires and lose all of their blood tokens if it gets to 6 and they are not in their coffins.  Vampire hunters lose you health or blood tokens.  Werewolves attack the person who drew the card.  Once the card drawn has been resolved, players must decide whether to continue hunting or to retire to their coffins.  The round ends when there are no more active vampires, or when the sun rises all the way.  After three rounds, the game ends, and the player who has collected the most blood (which turns into caskets) wins.

This game is basically Incan Gold with vampires.  It’s a push-your-luck game where players are just trying to get as much blood as they can before jumping in their coffins.  There are a few extra things (guessing the moon, taking damage from certain events), but it generally seems like the same concept.  The box looks pretty cool – it might be worth it just for that.

  • Project Ends April 13 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $8,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $24 game, $39 game plus four-player expansion, $58 game plus all expansions, $75 game and expansions signed by Richard Launius
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Catacombs (Ryan Amos/Marc Kelsey/Aron West, Elzra Games) was a 2010 game that brought dexterity to the dungeon crawl genre.  Now a new version with more family friendly art is being Kickstarted.  The basic idea of Catacombs is that one player controls the monsters and the 1-4 are heroes.  Each player flicks discs around, attempting to knock out their opponents.  As the heroes advance through the dungeon, they’ll pick up money and equipment.  Once they get to the final room, they have to defeat a big bad in order to win the game.  Otherwise, the overlord wins.

Catacombs was a big hit for Sands of Time Games (as Elzra used to be known), but I know it was tough for them to keep up with demand.  Hence the Kickstarter.  I think the art now (which I do like) will help the game get into more mainstream outlets.  This probably means that future expansions will be in the new style, and all adopters of the original edition will have to get the new game if they want stuff to be compatible.  This one doesn’t bother me as much as the Pandemic new edition did, however – probably because Elzra is not as big of a company.  If you have never played the game, I’d highly recommend it.

  • Project Ends April 16 @ 4:04 PM CDT
  • Goal: $40,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $55 game, $500 design a variant for a monster that will be included, $800 meet and play with Aron West, $1000 design your own monster
image by BGG user Aerjen
image by BGG user Aerjen

Pleasant Dreams (Aerjen Tamminga, Aerjen Games) is a 1-2 player game where players are trying to fight off nightmares.  The goal is to stay asleep by keeping your number between 0 and 5 (5 means you wake up screaming).  You’ll decide how many dream fragments you want to experience, then will reveal that many cards.  Cards will then be resolved, either increasing or decreasing your wakefulness.  Some cards can be flipped and placed back in the deck.  If you are still asleep when the deck runs out, you win.

This is a VERY light game.  I like it because it’s got some nice art, and I really like the dreamy theme.  The biggest appeal in the two-player game is that you may be trying to make your opponent lose by stacking the deck (flipped cards go back in secretly).  There are only 19 cards in the game, so I don’t know how that will affect replayability, but I do think it looks like a game that kids will enjoy together.

  • Project Ends April 20 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $3,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $15 game, $22 two copies, $60 game plus prototype soon after campaign ends so you don’t have to wait
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Last one – 1st & Goal (Stephen Glenn, R&R Games) has been out for a while, and is my favorite football game.  R&R is currently trying to Kickstart a digital version of the game (iOS, Android, PC, and Mac).  The project ends on the day I plan to release Kickstarter Blitz #4, so I thought I’d squeeze it in here.  Go check it out – it’s a very clever system, and I’m hopeful that the digital version will attract a wider audience to the game.  Still a long way to go before it gets funded.

  • Project Ends April 25 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $9 mobile game, $15 any platform game, $24 for both, $500 to design a team for online community league

Whew.  That was a lot.  Thanks for reading!

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