Game Buzz: Kickstarter Blitz #4

Time for our monthly rundown of current Kickstarter projects.  Today, I’m highlighting eleven campaigns that are expiring sometime in the next month.  Onward!

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000 (Greg Lam, Mayday Games) is a reprint of a 2006 game.  The idea is that you’re competing on a Japanese game show designed to promote use of chopsticks.  Each player has a set of chopsticks and a small dish.  25 shapes are placed in a large bowl in the center of the table. In each round, a player will reveal a disk that will show you a shape and possibly a color.  Players then use their chopsticks to try to be the first one to put the indicated shape in their dish.  They then win the disk, the shape goes back to the bowl, and a new disk is revealed.  The player who first wins 10 disks  (in a three-player game) or 15 disks (in a two-player game) is declared the winner of the Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000.

Obviously, this is a dexterity game, and obviously it’s going to take a lot of skill to pull off a victory.  With 2-3 people trying their best to get the same shape with chopsticks, it seems like this game would be pretty hilarious.  You have less than 24 hours if you want to back this project, so get on it if it sounds at all interesting.

  • Project Ends April 26 @ 2:39 AM
  • Goal: $5,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $32 game, $60 two copies, $200 10 copies (retailers only)

image by BGG user 2LTGamer
image by BGG user 2LTGamer

Sakura (Ben Cope) is a 2-4 player game set in feudal Japan.  The game features a modular map, with each tiles showing different terrain types.  Each player begins with a city containing a peasant, and a rice paddy.  On your turn, you get two rice per rice paddy and 1-2 wood or iron.  You can then recruit a new peasant, promote a peasant into a foot soldier, promote a foot soldier to a samurai, move a person, build a rice paddy, repair your city, upgrade your city (thus producing more resources), purchase a Chikaruta card, battle a soldier in your spot, plunder a rice paddy, or attempt a kill shot.  The game ends when a city is defeated.

This game is one that attracted me generally because of its theme and its look.  While I don’t know how well the theme truly ties into the mechanics, they’ve clearly gone to a lot of trouble to make everything seem authentic.  The look of the art has a very Japanese feel, and the peasant/soldier/samurai tiles all have kanji characters on them.  You can get an heirloom version of this game, which includes a wooden box, pewter coins, and wooden abacuses to track resources.  Check it out before Monday to get in on the campaign.

  • Project Ends April 28 @ 11:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delievery: December 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $5 PnP, $52 game (limited), $250 heirloom version (limited), $1000 meet the creators for a night of sushi and Sakura

image by BGG user zenmazster
image by BGG user zenmazster

Conquest of Speros (Aaron Belmer, Grey Fox Games) is a 2-4 player game about trying to establish dominance over the land.  On your turn, you first discard a card, resolving any written abilities.  Then you can take one of four actions – explore a location by playing the cad from your hand to the skirmish area; attack a location by deploying a minion there; lead by deploying a general to any location; or draw three cards.  You can capture a location by achieving a majority when there are no remaining spaces, or by demonstrating that there is no way for anyone else to gain the majority.  When a player runs out of units, or when the last card is drawn from the location deck, the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

That’s the basics.  Each player also has hidden victory point conditions, so you’ve got something to shoot for.  The game seems like a fairly quick=playing area control type game, with players trying to claim locations and artifact cards.  The art looks very nice, and there seems to be a lot of variety in the secret goals and player abilities.  Worth taking a look at – it’s only $19, and there looks to be a lot going in a smaller package.

  • Project Ends May 1 @ 2:16 PM
  • Goal: $8,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $2 PnP, $19 game, $26 game plus expansion, $38 adds play mat, $112 eight copies of the game (retailers only)

image by BGG user kmatejka
image by BGG user kmatejka

Bullfrogs (Keith Matejka, Thunderworks Games) is a game of warring frogs.  In case you’re not already sold, this game is for 2-4 players and consists of 49 cards and 64 markers.  You’ll start a turn by playing a lily pad card out to the array, then taking a number of actions determined by the lily pad card you play.  You only have two choices – deploy frogs or bullfrogs to an open space in the row or column you played into, or sabotage by moving an opponent’s frog in the same row or column to an adjacent card.  If any lily pad cards are full after your actions, they are scored with the highest combat value winning.  Once the battle is finished, the lily pad sinks, with some frogs and bullfrogs jumping to adjacent lily pads (possibly completing more battles) and the remainder returned to their owners.  The winner keeps the lily pad.  Once all lily pads have been played, the game ends, and th player with the most points wins.

I was attracted to this game just because it was about warring frogs.  After reading more about it, I’m even more interested.  What we seem to have here is more of an abstract game than thematic – you’re essentially figuring out how to move cubs around to different locations in order to win battles – but it comes with a fun and unique theme that makes it more interesting.  The game isn’t quite funded yet, and I hope it gets there over the next few days because I do think it looks pretty cool.

  • Project Ends May 2 @ 2:10 PM
  • Goal: $15,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $11 PnP, $22 game, $90 six copies (retailers only), $110 six copies (the common man), $300 game hand delivered and taught by designer

image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Baffledazzle (Rachel Happen) is not a game, but Rachel reached out to me to see if I could talk it up a little.  It’s actually a series of puzzles, each one created to be more unique than your standard store-bought jigsaws.  These are constructed out of wood, and her purpose is to create puzzles that mean something.  She has created five sets – La Plage has you piecing together historical moments through the stories of people who lived it; Ozuzo has you piecing together animals; Cirkusu has you trying to figure out seven different historical games; Lucharán is about finding the identities of luchadors; and Biurko has you solving nine riddles from around the world.

In her initial contact with me, Rachel mentioned that she had gotten some enthusiastic responses from board gamers, and that she was looking for ways to reach out to the greater tabletop community.  It seems that she’s trying to create a game within a puzzle, and it looks like there are some really good ideas there, definitely worth exploring.  If you’re interested, go check it out.  All the puzzles look very nice, and it’s clear that a ton of work went into them.

  • Project Ends May 4 @ 7:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $12,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $25 four mini-puzzle coasters, $49 for Biurko or Lucharán, $99 for La Plage or Ozuzo or Cirkusu, $385 for all five

image by BGG user 3pod
image by BGG user 3pod

Among the Stars (Vangelis Bagiartakis, Artipia Games/Mage Company) came out a couple of years ago, and despite some very favorable reviews, didn’t get much in the way of US distribution.  Now they are Kickstarting the reprint.  Among the Stars is a science fiction 2-4 player card drafting game where players are attempting build space stations.  In each of four rounds, players will draft cards 7 Wonders style – take a card from your hand, reveal it simultaneously with everyone, resolve it, then pass and repeat.  Here, your options with the card are to build the location (with placement rules and costs payable in money and possibly energy); build a power reactor to produce energy; or discard for three credits.  After the fourth round, the player with the most points wins.

This is a game I wanted to talk about when it first was being crowdfunded on Indiegogo, but I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t – I probably got distracted by other hot games coming out.  Still, it was a game that appealed to me then, and I’m still interested in it.  Its fans says that it outdoes 7 Wonders in what it does, and while that remains to be seen, there’s no denying that the two are very similar and warrant comparison.  Stronghold Games now has distribution rights in the US, so expect it to be everywhere soon after the Kickstarter ends.

  • Project Ends May 5 @ 8:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $10 one set of stretch rewards, $50 game, $100 game plus promos and Ambassadors expansion

image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Epic Fantasy Soundtracks (Strangelette ) is another audio package to complement Pro Tabletop Gaming Audio that I talked about last month.  This one is a combination of sound effects and music that you can pick and choose from.  It was created with more role-playing games in mind, but I think there’s a place for this kind of thing in board games.  Go give it a look, and listen to some of the demos on the page to see if you want to throw in.

  • Project Ends May 6 @ 10:38 PM CDT
  • Goal: $1000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $25 24 music tracks (3 hours), $30 3 hours of sound effects, $40 complete package, $90 adds Cyberpunks Soundtracks, $440 adds custom exclusive track based on your keywords, $2440 has eight custom tracks

image by BGG user litfung7
image by BGG user litfung7

Heavy Steam (Scott Kimball, GreenBrier Games) is a steampunk themed resource management game with miniatures.  The game is for 2-4 players, and has a number of different scenarios to play.  On a turn, a player can move, engage in combat, move steam, and use that steam to buy battle cards.  Turns are ended by making pressure overload rolls, and venting any steam you need to.  Getting your steam to the right place at the right time seems to be critical to success in the game, so you have to move your steam titans around so steam can be moved easily.  The game ends when the victory condition of your scenario has been met – destroy enemy titans, recover an item, having the most recon points, or destroying enemy infantry.

Steampunk is pretty big right now, and this game seems to do a better job than most in actually conveying the theme.  It doesn’t feel like it is just slapped on like some other games (Spyrium, I’m looking at you).  It has some great looking art and minis, and I’m interested to see how it is received.  At this point, it’s not funded and is trending towards 93%, so they have a ways to go.  I think some of the trouble is that Euro gamers are turned off by the minis, and mini gamers are turned off by the resource management.  From what I hear, it’s a pretty great game, so I hope it succeeds.

  • Project Ends May 13 @ 9:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $55,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • Pledge Levels: $30 four miniatures, $75 game, $145 two copies, $300 game with your head shot illustrated into an add-on deck (limited), $800 game plus your full bod illustrated into the rulebook (limited)

image by BGG user riddlen
image by BGG user riddlen

Eggs and Empires (Ben Pinchback/Matt Riddle, Gryphon Games) is a 2-6 player game where players are trying to collect dragon eggs.  Each player has the same deck of ten character cards, which they will shuffle and draw a hand of three.  2-4 eggs will be revealed (based on the number of players), and each player will choose a character from their hand, revealing simultaneously.  The highest numbered claims one of the eggs (with ties broken by a marker), followed by the next, and so on until all eggs are gone.  The characters mostly have special abilities that are resolved when revealed – the Shepherd (3), for example, can beat aBlacksmith (8), while the Mage (7) does not collect exploding eggs (worth negative VPs).  After nine turns, scores are totaled, and a new round begins.  After three rounds, the player with the most VPs is the winner, or you can play until someone has won a certain number of rounds.

Eggs and Empires seems like a very fast and light game, with hidden roles reminiscent of Love Letter – the higher point cards have more negative abilities (like the Countess), and the lower ones have their own advantages for playing.  It seems like it will be a lot of fun – maybe not the most strategic experience, but definitely will provide some laughs.  The art looks great, it’s a good theme, and it’s only $16.  It’s close to getting funded, so go jump in on it if interested.

  • Project Ends May 14 @ 11:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $16 game, $85 four copies

image by BGG user binarysunrise
image by BGG user binarysunrise

The Pirate Deck (Jared Bond) is a 2-4 player card game mostly aimed at kids where players are trying to collect treasures by matching coins.  You start with a ship on the board, made up of five starting cards.  On your turn, you draw up to three cards in hand, then either play an action card or play a pirate card.  Action cards give you special abilities that you can do once, then discard the card.  Pirates are able to board the ship, either in empty spaces or replacing another pirate if allowed.  As you place cards, you’ll be trying to line up coin symbols on the edges of the cards.  This earns you money, and this is the point of the game.  Once all available coins have been claimed, the game is over and the player with the most coins wins.

Full disclosure – I helped with the playtesting of this game.  I really like the mechanism of matching up coins – it’s a lot like a puzzle as you try to figure out how to maximize your cash intake.  The ever-changing ship makes it so it’s hard to plan ahead, but finding those optimum moves is a good part of the game.  It’s not the most strategic game ever – there’s luck in the card draw, and there are hazard cards that must be played immediately and can really screw you up – but it’s fun, and definitely good for its target audience.  Go give it a look.

  • Project Ends May15 @ 4:01 PM CDT
  • Goal: $14,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • Pledge Levels: $15 game (limited), $27 game with metal coins (limited), $150 10 copies, $180 original pencil sketch, $250 10 copis with metal coins, $600 be featured on a bonus pirate card

image by BGG user jollyrogergames
image by BGG user jollyrogergames

Cthulhu’s Vault (Jim Dietz/Richard Launius, Jolly Roger Games) is a 2-6 player Lovecraft inspired game, and a new one from Arkham Horror designer Richard Launius.  This one is a storytelling game.  At the beginning of the game, players are all on the same team and are playing cards to tell a story that leads to the awakening of the Ancient One.  The player who awakens the Ancient One in their hand becomes the Ancient One, and all other players must fight them for the salvation of the world.  As Battle cards are played, the story continues, and the Ancient One will end up victorious or vanquished.

Storytelling games, to me, are hard to pull off.  You’ve got to have people with good imaginations, and you have to have a certain amount of willingness to do weird things in service of the story.  So I think the success of this game is going to depend on the group that plays it.  It’s definitely a unique spin in that one player breaks off and becomes evil incarnate, and it’s interesting that they have the control to do so.  Jolly Roger usually does a good job with their games, so I’m interested to see how this one turns out.

  • Project Ends May 15 @ 6:32 PM CDT
  • Goal: $8,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: July 2014 (this has been changed to December 2014)
  • Pledge Levels: $20 game, $30 game plus The Last Post (Lovecraft-inspired novel), $45 adds a calendar, $500 six copies plus dinner and games with the designers at Origins

That’s it for this month.  Thanks for reading!


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