Kickstarter Blitz #7

Time for my monthly Kickstarter Blitz, where I look at some of the gaming related projects currently on the crowd funding platform that interest me.  Ten projects for your consideration this month:


 

image by BGG user Loophole Master
image by BGG user Loophole Master

Zombicide: Season 3 (Raphaël Guiton/Jean-Baptiste Lullien/Nicolas Raoult, Cool Mini or Not) is the third iteration of the insanely popular Zombicide series.  The first game funded with $781,000, which at the time was a record for tabletop games.  Season 2 got over $2.2 million, which now holds the record.  Season 3 is currently at #5, and rising.  Zombicide is a cooperative zombie game using a modular board and some very detailed zombie minis.  The Season 3 pack includes a new standalone game (Rue Morgue), as well as an expansion (Angry Neighbors) that can be used with any set.  There are new characters, new zombies, new mechanics, and even team rules that allows you to play against your fellow survivors. I’ve never played the original Zombicide, though I would like to give it a try sometime to see what all the fuss is about.

I’m not really a zombie fan, but I had to talk about this one because of its sheer popularity.  Cool Mini or Not has hit upon a highly successful formula – zombies plus awesome miniatures equals big bucks.  I think it will be interesting to see where this system goes in the future.  The project ends Sunday, so check it out.

  • End Date: July 27 @ 2:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $100,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • To Get A Game: $100 for Rue Morgue, $150 for game plus expansion
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Battle for Hill 218/Sector 219 (Darwin Kastle, Your Move Games) is actually two games –  Battle for Hill 218 was originally published in 2007, and Battle for Sector 219 is its sequel.  From what I can gather, they’re both essentially the same game, just with different units and different themes (218 is a World War II game, 219 is sci-fi).  The basic idea is that the Hill (or Sector) is a card in the middle, and each player has a base on either side of it.  On your turn, you draw two cards and play two cards.  You’ll play a card anywhere on the grid (other than on the central card) so that you can trce a supply line all the way back to your base.  Cards can then attack, destroying anyone in their way.  If you ever occupy your opponent’s base, you win.

I heard a lot about 218 when it first came out.  It seems like a predecessor to the current microgame trend with only 53 cards in the game.  It looks like a pretty good tactical game that two people can enjoy.  The art they have revealed for Sector 219 looks pretty spectacular.  They’re already funded, and the campaign ends Sunday.

  • End Date: July 27 @ 4:28 PM CDT
  • Goal: $3,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2014
  • To Get A Game: $12 for one, $20 for both
image by BGG user Pattonandy
image by BGG user Pattonandy

Speakeasy (Andy Patton) is a social deduction game in the tradition of Werewolf and Two Rooms and A Book.  It is playable by large groups of people (10-30), and involves trying to figure out who is on your team (the Mob or the Feds).  A Moderator sets up the game by selecting roles and giving each player three point cards and a password.  The password should be dropped into conversation to identify yourself to your teammates.  Roles have special powers printed on the cards.  As you play, you are trying to collect point cards (which can also be spent on power cards), names/roles/passwords of the opposing team, and who the rat of your team is (the rat has loyalty to the other team).  The game lasts an hour (timed), and at the end of that period, the team with the most points wins.

Social deduction games are fascinating to me.  They seem to be very popular even though you really don’t know anything and often have to get really lucky to succeed.  I usually like them, with Werewolf being an exception (I hate the way player elimination is used in that game).  This one seems to be taking the genre into a much more involved place.  Not only is it a lot longer than the games usually are, it’s also got more set up (the moderator has to line everything up before hand, including who is getting what) and more information to collect.  Still, it seems like an interesting concept, and I’ll be watching to see how the game is received once released.

  • End Date: July 29 @ 6:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2015
  • To Get A Game: $25
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Aquasphere (Stefan Feld, Tasty Minstrel Games) is a new 2-4 player game from one of the hottest designers out there right now, Stefan Feld.    Players are leading research teams in an underwater station trying to gather as much data as possible, and more data than the other teams.  The board consists of six round sectors around a central hub that contains four tiles.  Players also have their own board.  On your turn, you program a bot, or carry out a bot’s programmed action.  To program, you’ll move your engineer along a path to one of two spaces in your headquarters, then place a bot from your supply to the corresponding space.  To carry out the action, you’ll move your bot to the space occupied by your scientist.  Actions include expanding the lab, taking time markers (which can help your scientists switch sectors or give you a different action than you would take), take crystals, catch octopods, place a submarine, take a research card, program a bot (you can never have more than two programmed bots).  After all players have passed, there is an intermediate scoring.  After the fourth tound, there is a final scoring and the player with the most points wins.

Feld is not known for his themes, but let’s give some credit for this one being something different.  I don’t know how much a hand he had in it versus the publishers, but it’s different.  It’s worker placement with a “programming” element – I don’t think it’s much like RoboRally programming, just ordering bots around.  The art looks really nice, and it’s Feld, so you know it will be a brain burner.  I’m sure fans will be all over this one.

  • End Date: July 31 @ 10:12 AM CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $40
Unpub
image from Kickstarter project page

Unpub is not a game, it is a community of people involved in the creation of games – designers, publishers, artists, retailers, even players.  It was originally founded in 2010, and holds an annual exposition where people come together, playtest games, and attend seminars about the business.    The next event, to be held in February of 2015, is their fifth, and is moving from Delaware to the Baltimore Convention Center.  The Kickstarter campaign is to help fund the new venue, as well as to keep costs as low as possible for event organizers without increasing costs for attendees.  They also want to have a presence at large cons like GenCon and PAX.

I think Unpub is a great idea.  It’s a time for people who are passionate about games to come together and help each other in the process of creation.  If you’re an aspiring designer, it seems like this is the place to be.  So if you’re interested in supporting the campaign, go check it out.   There are a number of pledge levels, and you can get anything from a dice bag to a T-Shirt to some published games that made their debut at Unpub (VivaJava: The Coffee Game, Mars Needs Mechanics, Compounded, Tessen, Maximum Throwdown, etc).

  • End Date: August 1 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $4,000 (funded)
  • Event: February 2015 (other rewards delivered in March)
  • To Get A Dice Bag: $20
image by BGG user KrisWattsalpoag
image by BGG user KrisWattsalpoag

Switching Tracks (Kris Gould, Wattsalpoag Games) is a train game featuring double sided track tiles that act as switches.  It’s a pick-up-and-deliver style game where you are delivering goods to different cities around the United States.  The map has tracks already built, with locations for switch tiles to be randomly placed in the beginning.  On your turn, you first refill any empty cities with goods or demand disks, then flip one switch for every switchman token you have.  This means you’ll either turn it over or rotate it.  You’ll then run your train, moving it up to a number of cities as your speed.  In each city, you can either pick up a good and/or deliver a good.  You can’t change directions during a move.  After running your train, you can do one upgrade to your speed, length, or switchmen.  At the end of your turn, you can fulfill one contract – discard the right combination of goods and take the contract.  This also gains you an office that will give you special abilities as you spend its activation disks.  Once a player has at least five contracts (with at least one green, one orange, and one purple contract), they win.

Wattsalpoag (which is an anagram for With All This Talent Sitting Around Let’s Put Out A Game) has been around since 2–6, and has published some well respected games, like Jet Set, Buccaneer Bones, and A Fistful of Penguins.  This one looks like a pretty standard pick-up-and-deliver game, but with the added twist of having a modular track set up.  It seems like there’s a strong puzzle element in the game as you try to figure out the best way to get your goods delivered and get what you need to claim contracts.  The game is having a very difficult time getting funded, but there’s still over a week, so we’ll see.

  • End Date: August 3 @ 1:06 PM CDT
  • Goal: $22,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $39
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Casual Game Insider Magazine got its initial start on Kickstarter two years ago.  The aim of the magazine was to bring more attention to casual games, which they define as games that last under an hour, take less than ten minutes to set up and teach, have light strategy, and are accessible to all.  They successfully funded their second year, and this year are back with the aim to get wider distribution.  They have signed with a distributor, and are confirmed to be on shelves in Barnes and Noble, which is pretty cool.  Barnes and Noble is one of the biggest stores to carry our type of games, and were doing it before Ticket to Ride and Dominion started showing up in Target.  So to have that magazine nearby to help people know what they’re getting into would be a really nice step for the hobby.

Some say print is dead, and they might be right.  Others might say that magazines are out of date before they even come out, and all the information they can give is easily accessible online.  But, I think Casual Game Insider is going to be a great tool for the non-obsessive side of the hobby, and will help to be a gateway to the larger world of gaming.

  • End Date: August 4 @ 10:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2014
  • To Get A One-Year Subscription: $15 (PDF), $25 (print and PDF)
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Core Worlds Digital (Andrew Parks, Stronghold Games/BrokenMyth Studios) is a campaign to bring the 2011 science fiction deckbuilding game to mobile devices.  In the game, players are building up a space empire by drafting cards into their deck, invading worlds, and in general trying to stay a step ahead of the competition.  The game lasts for ten rounds, with every two rounds introducing a new set of cards to play.  In the final rounds, players have an opportunity to settle the Core Worlds, which give them extra bonuses.  The player with the most points at the end is the winner.

I have played Core Worlds (the analog version), and I found it to be a very engaging take on the deckbuilding genre.  It works very well as a thematic experience, and as a turn-based game, I think it will work very well on mobile devices.  And the buy-in is not as much as it often is in the Kickstarted mobile games, so it’s got that going for it already.

  • End Date: August 6 @ 11:09 AM CDT
  • Goal: $20,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $5
image by BGG user vanrydergames
image by BGG user vanrydergames

Hostage Negotiator (AJ Porfirio, Van Ryder Games) is a solo game that is all about…well…negotiating for hostages.  During the game, you’ll be playing conversation cards to simulate the tactics used to try and reason with the Abductor.  These are resolved by making threat rolls – based on the current threat level, you will roll a number of dice in an attempt to roll 5s or 6s.  You could gain or lose conversation points, gain or lose threat levels, increase or decrease the number of dice to roll, release hostages, or even get them killed.  After you’ve played all the conversation cards you want to, you’ll move to the spend phase where you can spend conversation points on new conversation cards.  Finally, during the terror phase, a card is drawn that tells you what the Abductor does and the negative effects it has on your game.  The game ends in victory if all hostages are out of the hostage pool, with at least half of them still alive, and the Abductor has been captured or eliminated.  You lose if more than half of the hostages are killed, the Abductor escapes, or you can’t draw a terror card at the appropriate time.

I like solo games a lot, and I’m always on the lookout for them.  I do think I tend to like the smaller ones, where there’s not a huge amount of set up and tear down, and you can carry them around easily wherever you go.  This seems like it fits that bill – not a whole lot of components, and some pretty quick and simple game play.  I don’t know how much luck will play into it, but there seems to be some strategy in the way you play your conversation cards, and that’s probably the secret to the game.  One I’d like to try out sometime.

  • End Date: August 10 @ 11:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $5,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2015
  • To Get A Game: $20
image by BGG user mr_bink
image by BGG user mr_bink

Trekking the National Parks (Charlie Bink) is a game about trying to visit as many of the 59 US National Parks as possible.  The board shows them all, and has paths in between each.  On your turn, you get two actions, and can choose between drawing a new trek card, moving from park to park, or claiming a park card.  Trek cards show an icon and a number, and you’ll draw from a face up draft line or the deck.  Movement is done by playing cards with a value that equals the number(s) on the paths.  As you land in parks, you will collect stones if they are present.  There are also airports you can use to move without playing cards.  To claim park cards, you’ll need to be in the indicated park and turn in cards that match the indicated combo.  Once all stones have been cleared from the board, or when all park cards have been drawn, the game ends after one more turn.  After awarding final achievements, the player with the most points wins.

When I first saw this game, I thought it would probably be an educational, probably trivia-based product.  Instead, I’m getting more of a Ticket to Ride type of vibe.  You’re not building routes, but the map and card draft give that feel.  It looks like it has a different style of play, while still maintaining that ease of entry – this is probably a gateway type of game.  I like the theme a lot – visiting all 59 national parks would be a fun thing to do, and this would help familiarize people with them all.  This is actually the game I’m most interested in this time, so I’m making it my PICK OF THE MONTH.

  • End Date: August 21 @ 1:59 AM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $65

That’s it for today.  It feels like a lighter month for projects that are interesting me, but that may be primarily due to GenCon coming up and focus being elsewhere.  We’ll see what it looks like in August.  Thanks for reading!

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