Game Buzz: Kickstarter Blitz #5

Time for this month’s Kickstarter Blitz!  On with the show!

image by BGG user Loren5324
image by BGG user Loren5324

Transylvania: Curses and Traitors (Loren and Jamie Cunningham, WIBAI Games) is a 3-6 player adventure game where objectives can change midgame.  It’s set in monster-infested Transylvania (obviously), and players are adventurers trying to lift the curse.  On their turn, a player can takes actions – move, collect quest cards, activate a quest, discard a quest or event, and/or attack monsters.  YOu can then attempt to improve a character trait, and end by discarding down to four cards.  As you move around, you will add new board tiles to the playing surface, which means the board will keep changing.  As you play, characters could die, or even turn into a vampire, werewolf, or zombie.  The game ends when one player enters the church tile with the required knowledge cards OR when an adventurer attacks and kills a monster OR when a player who has turned into a monster kills a number of adventurers equal to half the number of players.

This game looks like it is almost pure theme.  It doesn’t look like the mechanics in play are that great – a lot of card drawing and seeing what happens – but if it’s theme you’re looking for, this one looks pretty good.  The art looks pretty good too – that was what I first noticed.

  • End Date: May 31 @ 11:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2015
  • To Get A Game: $45
image by BGG user timeisner1
image by BGG user timeisner1

March of the Ants (Tim Eisner/Ryan Swisher, Weird City Games) is a 2-4 player game about building an ant colony, which I think is a great theme for a game, even if it has been done several times in the last few years.  The game centers around a great tunnel tile to which smaller hexagonal tunnel tiles will be attached.  In each round, players will first go through a worker phase, where players take actions.  You can explore (draw and place a new tile), move your ants and larvae, forage for new ant cards, play a card by paying larvae and/or ants.  You can also choose to rest, which means you won’t be taking any more actions, but collect food every time your turn comes around.  Each action also has a secondary effect that all players get to do when someone else chooses it.  After the worker phase, battles are resolved in the soldier phase.  Then comes the queen phase, where players collect resources, feed their ants, gain food or larvae, and gain points for hexes they are defending.  Once the final round has been played, the player with the most points wins.

As I said, I really like the theme of ants in a board game.  Something about their colony structure really makes it an appropriate theme.  This game seems to be focusing on exploration and building your empire that way.  It also features the feed-your-people (ants) mechanism that seems to be controversial these days, but I don’t have a problem with it.  I think the game looks pretty cool, and think it’s worth a look.

  • End Date: June 3 @ 11:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $20,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: January 2015
  • To Get A Game: $35
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Code Monkey Island (Raj Sidhu) is an unusual project for me to cover for a few reasons.  One is that it’s not in the BGG database.  Another is that it seems like a very generic game – you’re moving your monkeys around a board to be the first to reach the bananas.  And if it was a standard roll-and-move game, I wouldn’t even give it a second glance.  However, it caught my attention because he’s trying something different.  Instead of rolling dice, players have a hand of cards and play one to determine movement.  These cards are programming concepts – for each monkey not on a rock, move three spaces; if any monkeys are on a vine, move eight spaces; etc.

There are no rules posted for the game, but it all seems fairly straightforward.  This game is aimed at kids, and is trying to teach programming concepts.  Not programming itself, just the logic involved.  I think it’s quite admirable that the designer is taking a familiar set-up and trying to do something different.  So, here it is for your consideration.

  • End Date: June 6 @ 6:49 AM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • To Get A Game: $40
image by BGG user litfung7
image by BGG user litfung7

Capes and Villains (Henry Lam, Shingo Games) is actually in its second campaign – the first one was cancelled in March.  It is a 1-12 player superhero card and dice game.  Each player gets a 30-card deck representing your character.  Characters have special abilities that can be charged using energy dice in specific combinations (each player has 8 energy dice).  Your character deck consists of attack cards, defense cards, tactics cards, and so on.  You start a round by drawing up to five cards and rolling your energy dice.  When it’s your turn to attack, you play an attack card, which your opponent can defend using defense cards, tactic cards, or whatever they wish to do.  You can play up to five attacks in a turn, and end by discarding any cards you don’t want.  Play goes back and forth until one player has been reduced to 0 health (you start with 20).

The format of this game seems a lot like a CCG, specifically Magic: The Gathering – in Magic, you have 30 card decks and want to reduce your opponent from 20 to zero health.  The difference here is that the decks are preconstructed.  However, there is great potential for more decks and they’re even looking to add more when stretch goals are unlocked.  It’s definitely different than other superhero games right now, like Legendary or Sentinels of the Multiverse.  It will be interesting to see how the system works out as the game is released.

  • End Date: June 6 @ 12:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $35 game, $55 game plus five add-on expansion packs,
image by BGG user Incubus
image by BGG user Incubus

I Say Holmes (Alan Emrich, Victory Point Games) is a reprint of a 2007 game.  It’s a drafting/deduction game set in the world of Sherlock Holmes.  In the game, 3-8 players are trying to arrest the player who holds the villain card, or (if you’re holding the villain) have the villain escape.  On your turn, you play a card from your hand – either a Suitable card (that matches a type on the Current card), or an I Say card.  If you can’t play, you draw a card and play it if possible, or pass.  Interrupt cards can be played by other players (alibis and masterminds can possibly counter special instructions on played cards).  If you play an arrest card, you can name another player.  If they are holding a Villain card, the round is over.  If you only have villains and interrupts in your hand, you can reveal your hand and your villain escapes.  In either case, you score points and play another round.  Once a player has taken the final case closed token, the game ends and the player with the highest score wins.

This seems like Sherlock Holmes Uno.  What you can play depends on what the player before you played, and your goal is to get rid of cards.  However, it does seem like there’s a lot more going on than in Uno.  It seems like they’re making an effort to make it like a mystery, adding in some deduction elements.  I’d need to see what all the cards are like, but it does seem like an interesting game.  One worth checking out.

  • End Date: June 7 @ 2:29 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: July 2014
  • To Get A Game: $35
image by BGG user angelkurisu
image by BGG user angelkurisu

Heat (Dave Chalker, Asmadi Games) is a 3-5 player game where you are a crime lord, recruiting members for your mob to pull jobs around the city.  There are three heists in the game.  First, youlll draft five cards.  Then, you’ll pull the heist.  Each player chooses a card, then reveal simultaneously.  Each card has an A, B, or C effect, and these are resolved in order.  After you’ve played four cards, the heist ends.  After the third heist, players need to pay for the heat they have acquired in the game.  The more heat that is acquired by everyone, the more it will cost you.  The player with the most leftover money wins.

Heat is a pretty small game – only 34 cards are involved.  Still, it looks like a cool Fairy Tale style game.  Thesecret seems to be trying to find the good combos that are going to make you the most money.  I think it looks like a fun filler type of game, and one I’d like to try.  I tend to like Asmadi’s stuff, so I hope to try it out sometime.

  • End Date: June 9 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $8,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • To Get A Game: $19
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Electronic Cribbage Board (Dan Martyna) is a…well, electronic cribbage board.  The designer, Dan Martyna, reached out to me to see if I could talk about it a little bit.  And as I’m a big cribbage fan, here we go.  The board is triangular, has rows of lights, and wheels to help players with tracking scores.  Also, there’s a holding space for cards in the middle.  Now for me, I really like using a traditional pegboard.  However, this is being marketed as a solution for people who no longer have the manual dexterity to operate the pegs – people with arthritis, for example.  The wheels are a pretty cool innovation, and I’m for anything that might get people playing more cribbage.  He has a loooooong way to go for this to get funded, but do go give it a look, particularly if you’re a cribbage fan.

  • End Date: June 11 @ 3:04 M CDT
  • Goal: $55,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • To Get A Board: $45
image by BGG user domcrap
image by BGG user domcrap

Evolution (Dominic Crapuchettes/Dmitry Knorre/Sergey Machin, North Star Games) is a reprint of the 2010 game Evolution: Origin of the Species.  It is also significant as the first non-party game produced by North Star Games (of Wits & Wagers and Say Anything fame).  In each rounds, players will get three cards plus one per species they have in front of them.  Players will then submit a card to determine how much food will be available later, then you can play as many cards as you wish.  This can include playing a trait on one of your species, creating a new species, or increasing the size or population of a species.  The food cards are then revealed, then players take turns feeding their animals.  Vegetarian animals eat food, carnivores attack and eat other player’s animals.  If you can’t feed a species, you reduce its population to how much food it got – if it got none, it goes extinct.  After the final round, players get points for food they ate, traits on surviving species, and the population of each species.  The player with the most points wins.

North Star is very well known for their party games, so it’s good to see them getting into the strategy game market.  Evolution was pretty well received when first released, but never got wide distribution in the States.  I’m excited to see what North Star does with it, especially considering their presence in mass market stores.  I don’t know if Evolution will be something that will go over in the mass market, but who knows.  It looks like an interesting push-and-pull resource management game, and one I look forward to checking out.

  • End Date: June 16 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • To Get A Game: $50
image by BGG use golddmaster
image by BGG use golddmaster

Brave the Elements (Miles Ratcliffe, Chaos Publishing) is a fantasy game where 2-4 players have the ability to control the four elements – Fire, Air, Earth, and Water.  The game is played over a series of rounds (4-6, depending on the number of players).  There are three locations available, and at the start of the round, players take turns choosing one until they have five in front of them.  Players then get a chance to take an action using a card from their hand, then players can infiltrate a location.  Players can then attempt to conjure up to two disasters.  After scoring, the round is over.  After the final round, the game is over, and the high score wins.

This looks like a fairly interesting resource management game with some good art and some take that elements.  It seems like it’s something that would get funded, but it’s pretty far off right now.  At the moment, it seems they’re not effectively getting the word out, and that might be a problem.  It’s also their first attempt at producing a game, and people may be cautious about that.  Still, it looks interesting enough that I’m including it here.  Check it out if it interests you.

  • End Date: June 18 @ 12:30 PM CDT
  • Goal: £13,500 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • To Get A Game: £5 PNP, £18 game
image by BGG user indialogue
image by BGG user indialogue

Maha Yodha (Chandan Mohanty/Sagar Shankar, Leprechaun Games) is a term that, in Sanskrit, means “the greatest warrior”.  This game is based on Hindu mythology, and pits two players against each other as the Asura and Aditya factions.  Players begin with 20 life, and the goal is to get your opponent down to zero.  You begin each turn with five valour points, which you spend to put cards into play.  Once you’re done, you can attack your opponent, dealing damage if your attack beats their defense.  Turns go back and forth like that, until one player wins by killing the other.

On the surface, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot going on here.  But simplicity is good sometimes.  There’s an obvious CCG feeling here, but in a game that only has two factions (so far).  What really attracted me here is the gorgeous art, and of course the highly unique theme.  The game was created by some guys from India, and you can tell they’ve really gone out of their way to be true to their heritage.  So if that holds any interest for you, give it a shot.

  • End Date: June 21 @ 8:03 AM CDT
  • Goal: $16,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • To Get A Game: $5 PNP, $20 game

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

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