Kickstarter Blitz #6

It’s the last Friday of the month, and that means it’s time for my monthly Kickstarter Blitz, where I look at some currently funding games that have caught my eye.  Fourteen projects to look at this time, so on with the Blitz!


image taken from Kickstarter page
image taken from Kickstarter page

The Worst Game Ever (Jeff Siadek, Gorilla Games) takes all the worst aspects of gaming – kingmaking, player elimination, broken cards – and seeks to make a game out of it.  It’s a card game where  you are trying to have the most tokens left when a player is eliminated.  On your turn, you ante a token to the kitty, draw a card, and attack someone.  To attack, you say how many tokens you want to take from them and roll a die.  If you roll higher than the stated number, you take the tokens.  If not, you get nothing.  Cards can be played at any time, and can really mess with your plans – cancel a card as it is played, fudge your die rolls by a point, start singing and take tokens from the last player to join you, etc.

The Kickstarter campaign had a goal of $1, and the stretch goals are essentially to make it look more professional than a home printing.  It looks like a fun Fluxx-style game, but hopefully quicker and with a better sense of humor (the rules, after all, are in English and Pig Latin).  You only have a few hours until the campaign ends, so get on it quickly if interested.

  • End Date: June 27 @ 5:11 PM CDT
  • Goal: $1 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get a Game: $15
image by BGG user Kyokai
image by BGG user Kyokai

BattleCON: War of Indines (D. Brad Talton, Level 99 Games) is actually a reprint of a game that was first Kickstarted in 2011.  It made $15,000.  The sequel, Devastation of Indines, made over $150K.  With all that buzz, a new edition makes sense.  The game is a two-player card fighting game where players are using cards in pairs, creating a BattleConnection (which is what the name stands for).  Players are standing on a 7-space track, and are simultaneously choosing a pair of cards – one base and one style card.  Each card shows a range, power, and priority number.  You’ll add the numbers from the two cards to get your total for the round (known in this game as a beat).  When players reveal, the player with the highest priority goes first and resolves the effects on their cards.  They may attack and stun their opponent, who won’t be able to attack if they are stunned.  There are stun guards and soak effects that allow you to avoid being stunned and injured.  The game is over when someone is reduced to 0 health, or until after the 15th beat.

BattleCON has a bunch of fans, and it’s easy to see why.  The game has a very unique combat system with the pairs of cards.  While it uses a familiar structure of fighting, the ability to make combos on your attacks makes it a very unique game.  The world is also the basis for many of Level 99’s other games, including Pixel Tactics (another GREAT and COMPLETELY DIFFERENT two-player fighting game).  So if you like this style of game, go check it out.

  • End Date: June 29 @ 12:59 AM CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get a Game: $50
image by BGG user henryjasper
image by BGG user henryjasper

Waggle Dance (Mike Nudd, Grublin Games) is a very appropriate game for this blog because it’s all about bees.  It’s a worker placement game whereyou are trying to produce as much honey as possible.  In the Day Phase, players will roll their dice and then, in player order, place one on an action.  These actions are Claim a Room, Hatch Eggs, Claim Egg, Claim Pollen, Trade, Make Honey and Move Pollen, or Draw Card.  During the Night phase, these actions will be resolved in that order.  Sometimes the number matters, sometimes it doesn’t.  At the end of a Night phase where one player has made at least 7 honey, and the player with the most honey wins.

Worker placement and bees seem to be two things that are a match made in heaven.  This game looks fairly fun, and the art looks pretty cool (at least, from what I’ve seen of it).  The game is having a little bit of a hard time getting funded, but the last couple of days should push it over the top.  If it doesn’t make it, I hope it will be back sometime in the near future.

  • End Date: June 29 @ 5:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: £15,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • To Get a Game: £22
image by BGG user EndersGame
image by BGG user EndersGame

Essen: The Game (Fabrice Beghin/Frédéric Delporte/Etienne Espreman) is based at the annual Spiel Fair, held in Essen, Germany.  This one is specifically set at the 2013 Spiel.  It’s a game about the quest for new board games.  Each player drafts four wish list items, and will be hunting for those over the course of seven rounds.  At the beginning of each round, games leave the pallet trucks and go to the publisher stands around the hall.  On your turn, you have a number of action points, which you will lose as you acquire more games.  You can spend these to move, purchase, playtest, unload (to free up action spaces), and withdraw cash.  A scoring occurs after the third and seventh rounds.  The player with the most points wins.

I love the meta nature of this game.  I also love that 60 publishers gave permission for their images to be used in the game.  And why not – free advertising.  So, you might be hunting for Rokoko, Lewis & Clark, Steam Park, and Rampage.  I wonder at how well this game will succeed, especially since the Board Game Geek Game was not very well received.  This is also the second Essen Game that has been on Kickstarter in recent months (the first, Essen by LudiCreations, wrapped up a successful campaign this past Sunday).  Still, this is one I’d really like to see when it gets officially released…at Essen!

  • End Date: June 30 @ 7:08 AM CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • To Get a Game: $55
image taken from Kickstarter page
image taken from Kickstarter page

Escape From Alcatraz (Mike Fitzgerald/Andrew Korson, Gryphon Games/US Game Systems) is a new game in the Mystery Rumy series of games that already includes Jack the Ripper, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Jekyll and Hyde, Al Capone and the Chicago Underground, Wyatt Earp, and Bonnie and Clyde.  This one is the first that has a co-designer with Mike Fitzgerald.  An escapee revealed from the draw deck (known as the cell block), and then each player is dealt ten cards.  The game proceeds in standard rummy fashion – draw from the cell block or solitary (discard pile), then possibly play cards from your hand.  This can include a meld of three or more cards, or laying off on an existing plan.  You can also play another escapee to the yard, which will allow you to play more melds.  After the first card or cards you play on a turn, you have to draw an action card.  You can also attempt to foil an escape.  You end your turn by discarding.  When a player discards their last card, or when the cell block runs out, the round is over, you score, and redeal.  Once a player gets to 100 points, the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner.

The Mystery Rummy games have always done a great job melding theme with the familiar mechanisms of rummy.  Of the ones out there, I’ve played Jekyll & Hyde and Jack the Ripper.  Jack is probably does a better job with the theme, but they’re both great games.  As such, I’m really looking forward to giving this a try when it gets its release.

  • End Date: July 4 @ 1:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • To Get a Game: $20
image by BGG user Mystical_Games
image by BGG user Mystical_Games

AVGhost (Pablo Miras, Mystical Games) has a fascinating concept – you are cooperatively exploring a haunted house only guided by the flashlights of your minis.  You have to play this game in the dark.  On your turn, you can take one movement action and two other actions – turn off your light, exchange items with an adjacent companion, attack ghosts with a flashlight blast, search for items, open doors, use items, record an EVP, or record a video.  After the investigator turn, the ghosts move towards the flashlights.  During the game, you have to find 5 pieces of evidence, 3 EVPs, and one video.  If all investigator flashlights are off at the same time, you lose.

Despite the fact that the rules for this game are a bit of a mess, I think this game looks fascinating.  It’s really trying to do something different – this isn’t your standard co-op in a haunted house.  This one is seeking to immerse you in the experience by making you play in the dark, including minis with little flashlights, and also including a soundtrack and DVD to enhance the mood.  This is the second attempt to fund this game – the first one had a much higher goal.  Unfortunately, this one does not look like it’s going to succeed either, but I wanted to highlight it because I really think this type of innovation is what Kickstarter is all about.

  • End Date: July 6 @ 3:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $65,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: May 2015
  • To Get a Game: $70
image by BGG user 3ddevine
image by BGG user 3ddevine

Ghosts Love Candy (Danny Devine, 5th Street Games) is a much lighter ghost game, if only because you can play with the lights on.  Also, it is lighter.  Each player has a stack of ghosts numbered 1-9, as well as a preference card for which candies you prefer.  There is a line of ckids in the center of the table, each with a sick number and a special ability.  At the start of each round, each kid gets a candy.  Each player chooses a ghost and reveals simultaneously.  The highest numbered ghost goes first, and adds their ghost to a kid.  You take the candy from that kid, activating its ability and claiming it if the total number of ghosts exceeds the kid’s sick number (each kid you claim is worth -2 points).  Once all candy has pulled from the bag (8 rounds), the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

This looks like a really fun Halloween game that should appeal really well to kids and casual gamers.  The use of special abilities from the kids looks like it will help increase the tension in the game, tension that you might not expect looking at the cute art.  I’ve really liked the types of games that 5th Street has come out with in the past, and this one looks like a real winner.

  • End Date: July 6 @ 8:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $7,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • To Get a Game: $25
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

The Stonemaier Games Treasure Chest (Stonemaier Games) is not a game, but rather an accessory.  Specifically, it’s a collection of resource tokens to replace the boring cubes in games.  So you get resin stone, wood, clay, and gems, as well as metal gold and ore.  They started out with 20 of each, and are adding one resource per 100 backers.  These look perfect for a lot of the Eurogames that represent the same old resources with cubes – Kingsburg, Stone Age, Agricola, Lewis & Clark, Tzolk’in, and even Stonemaier’s own Euphoria.

Stonemaier has made a name for themselves with their games Viticulture and Euphoria, and are really well respected in how to run a good Kickstarter project (Jamey Stegmaier has a wonderful series of Kickstarter lessons that EVERY publisher working on a Kickstarter project should read – http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/).  If you’re into upgrading your game components, this is definitely something to check out.

  • End Date: July 9 @ 7:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014/January 2015
  • To Get a Chest: $39 for December, $33 for January
image by BGG user icecreammc
image by BGG user icecreammc

The Game of 49 (Mark Corsey, Markee Games) is an abstract game played on a numbered 7×7 grid (hence the 49).  Each player starts with $49, and your money is kept secret throughout the game.  One card is flipped face up, and a round of bidding starts.  If all players pass, the card is discarded, but if there’s an auction, you go until someone wins it.  Some payoff cards may come up during the game that get you $7 per chip on the board (but no more than $49).  As soon as one player gets four in a row (or three in a row in a five-player game), they win.

I’m not one that usually goes for auction games, but the abstract nature of this one intrigues me.  Rather than just placing pieces, there’s the tension of bidding on things that are important to you, bidding on things that are important to others, and trying not to run out of money.  It looks like Bingo with actual strategy.  I’m glad they didn’t try to put a theme on this.  Give it a look.

  • End Date: July 9 @ 9:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $4,900 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • To Get a Game: $30
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Penny Press (Robert Dijkman Dulkes/Matt Golec, Asmadi Games) is a game set during the newspaper wars of the late 19th century.  Each player is in charge of a newspaper, and has five reporters (workers).  On your turn, you take one action – assign one or more reporters to a story on a news beat; reassign a reporter from one story to another; recall reporters back to your play mat; or go to press.  When you go to press, you pick up all stories where you have as many or more reporters than anyone else, and award scoop points to anyone else on that story.  You then get to build your front page, scoring points.  The endgame is triggered when someone goes to press for the third of fourth time (depending on the number of players).  Each other player can then claim a final story or go to press.  The player with the most points wins.

I find this to be a really fascinating theme.  From what I know of the yellow journalism era, it was pretty cutthroat as everyone was competing to get the best scoops and employing sensationalism to sell papers.  This game looks like it captures the madness pretty well as you want to scoop other players, but with limited scoring opportunities, you want to go as long as you can before jumping in.  Definitely one I’m keeping on my watch list.

  • End Date: July 10 @ 12:30 PM CDT
  • Goal: $2,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get a Game: $40
image by BGG user Justinschaffer
image by BGG user Justinschaffer

Ophir (Jason D. Kingsley/Charles C. Wright, Terra Nova Games) is a game of seafaring and commerce in an ancient world where the Temple is being built.  The map consists of seven hexagons, and there are spaces for the Market and the Temple on either side.  On your turn, you must sail 1-2 times or anchor, then take one main action (as well as one of each available free action).  Main actions include picking up goods, trading with a merchant at the Market, or buying metals. Free actions include completing basic trades, delivering metals, or upgrading cargo.  When the final Temple Tier has been filled with a metal, or if you run out of Market cards, the game ends immediately.  The player with the most points wins.

I was initially attracted to this game because it looks pretty.  After reading through the rules, I’m unsure if it’s something I’d want to play.  It is certainly attractive, and there’s probably more there they I’m not seeing.  It’s a pick-up-and-deliver game with economic aspects, but I’m not really seeing beyond that.  The game still has a ways to go before funding, but I’m betting it will get there with a late push.  So here it is for your consideration.

  • End Date: July 14 @ 1:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $24,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get a Game: $39
image by BGG user EndersGame
image by BGG user EndersGame

Harbour (Scott Almes, Tasty Minstrel Games) is an economic game set in a fantasy port city.  Each player has a starter building, and a number of buildings equal to the number of players plus three are dealt to the middle of the table.  On your turn, you move your pawn onto a building that is not occupied by another pawn.  Buildings you own or that are in the middle are free, but you have to pay for buildings owned by other players.    You can take the action of that building, which will get you goods, convert goods, buy buildings, or do other various special actions.  After a player has bought their fourth building (which will be their fifth due to the starter building), other players all get one more turn.  You then score to see who won.

Harbour is a pretty light-hearted game, but it seems that effective use of the buildings’ special abilities is the key.  The game displays a good sense of humor, and Tasty Minstrel has gotten pretty good at producing quality stuff, so you know you’re getting a good product.  The art looks fun, and I think this will be a good lighter game that has some good strategy potential.

  • End Date: July 16 @ 11:42 PM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2015
  • To Get a Game: $20
image by BGG user mgcoe
image by BGG user mgcoe

Tiny Epic Defenders (Scott Almes/Gamelyn Games) is a sequel of sorts to Tiny Epic Kingdoms, which Kickstarted earlier this year.   While TEK was a competitive 4X game, TED is cooperative.  They are calling it a microgame, and I really think it’s time to standardize the definition – 37 cards, 7 threat tokens, 4 pawns, and 5 cubes seems like a little bit more than a microgame.  At any rate, each player gets a hero card, while enemy and player cards make up the turn deck and more enemy cards make up the horde deck.  To start a round, you draw a card from the turn deck.  If it’s an enemy, you take an enemy action as indicated on the card.  If it’s a player card, the indicated player gets three action points, and may move, fight, use a region’s ability, or use an artifact.  When you get to the end of the turn deck, you take another enemy card from the horde deck and add it to the turn deck.  If the horde deck is empty, you reshuffle the turn deck and reveal the Epic Foe, who stays in play until defeated.  If the capital falls, you lose.  If you defeat the Epic Foe, you win.

As I said, I don’t really consider this to be a microgame.  I think Pocket Game would be more apt terminology – a big game that can fit in your pocket, but certainly not as micro as something like Coin Age, or even Love Letter.  I think it looks like a lot of fun, and I think the mechanism of determining turn order through the draw deck sounds really clever.  I would definitely like to check this out sometime when it comes out.  And, by the way, kudos to Scott Almes for two concurrent successful Kickstarter campaigns (this and Harbour)!

  • End Date: July 19 @ 8:22 AM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2015
  • To Get a Game: $16
image by BGG user keithblume2
image by BGG user keithblume2

Through the Ages (Vlaada Chvátil, Eagle Games) is a reprint of a 2006 game that happens to be the #2 game on BoardGameGeek.  Vlaada Chvátil’s masterpiece is a civilization building game that features drafting from an ever cycling card row. Players evolve their civilization by building up military, culture, and science.  What you can do largely depends on what you have, but in general, you will be taking political actions, civil actions, military actions, production and maintenance.  There’s a lot going on, and it can be really long, but in the end, it’s the player with the most culture that wins.

I’ve played Through the Ages once, and there was way too much going on to really get a full picture of it, especially since we only played the simple game.  However, it’s detailed and in depth enough that I can fully support its lofty heights on the BGG ranking chart.  However, I don’t really see the need for Eagle, an established company, to Kickstart Through the Ages, THE #2 GAME ON BGG!!!  To me, Kickstarter is about funding new ideas, or for small companies to bring their games to a wider audience.  It is not your personal preorder system!  Nor is it a way to get rid of junk you couldn’t move otherwise (the first 220 backers will also be getting Modern Society, currently ranked #6498 on BGG).  Obviously, there are enough people who disagree (the game is already 200% funded), but come on.  I have nothing against established companies like Eagle/Gryphon or Queen using Kickstarter to fund projects that they aren’t sure of the market for, but this one is ridiculous.  From what I hear, they’re not even upgrading the components.  Anyway.  Rant over.  The game is funded and will be reprinted, so if you’re looking for a copy, I’d say wait until it hits stores.

  • End Date: July 22 @ 1:06 AM CDT
  • Goal: $20,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2014
  • To Get a Game: $60

That’s it for this month’s edition.  Hopefully, you’ve found something new to get excited about.  Thanks for reading!

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