Kickstarter Blitz #8

It’s time for my eighth monthly Kickstarter Blitz.  13 projects to cover this time, so let’s get to it.


image by BGG user ChrisHandy
image by BGG user ChrisHandy

Pack o’ Game (Chris Handy, Perplext) is a collection of micro games.  Initially, there were four planned for the project.  Two more have been unlocked, and more are coming if stretch goals get met.  The interesting thing about these games is that each fits into what amounts to a pack of gum.  Each game consists of 30 narrow cards.  The games that have been unlocked so far are as follows:

  • HUE: An abstract game where players are trying to form the largest contiguous area of single colors.
  • TKO: A two-player boxing game where players are simultaneously choosing actions (punch or block) to try to score points and win the TKO belt.
  • GEM: Players are collecting jewels to try and gain the most valuable set.
  • FLY: A dexterity game where players are trying to drop a fly swatter onto flies.  Any flies completely covered by the swatter get collected by the player.
  • TAJ: A voting game where players are trying to arrange rugs in the Taj Mahal in specific color schemes.
  • LIE: Essentially Liar’s Dice with cards (that have dice printed on them).
  • BUS: A pick-up-and-deliver game where you are dropping off passengers around a track.

There’s a possibility of two more games in the stretch goal queue right now, so we’ll see if they get funded.  I like the concept behind this project a lot.  These anthology collections of small games (i.e. the Level 99 Games Minigame Library and the Dice Hate Me Rabbits) really appeal to me.  I appreciate the work involved in putting together a cohesive set, and these are definitely distinctive.  The games are all different, but use the same aesthetic – thin cards, small decks, unique packaging, and three-letter names.  I’ll be interested to see how this does beyond Kickstarter.

  • Project Ends: August 30 @ 11:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2015
  • To Get A Game: $6 for one, $24 for the original four plus all stretch goals, $44 to add a POD (carrying case)
image by BGG user ezeqiel
image by BGG user ezeqiel

Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest (Jake Thornton, Mantic Games) is this month’s big miniatures game.  I haven’t gotten a chance to read the rules yet, or even watch the hour long demo game video on the Kickstarter page.  But from what I can tell, it seems like a fairly standard dungeon crawl with a modular board where you’re taking your party in, killing a bunch of stuff, leveling up, and moving on.  One player is the Necromancer, trying to prevent the party from succeeding at their goal.

I think what has gotten this game around half a million dollars so far is the miniatures.  Mini games often do super well on Kickstarter, and this one seems to be falling right in line with the trend.  I honestly don’t know what sets it apart from something like Descent, but it’s doing quite well.  Check it out if interested.

  • Project Ends: August 31 @ 5:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $50,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: August 2015
  • To Get A Game: $100
image by BGG user jguitarstring
image by BGG user jguitarstring

Fidelitas (Jason Kotarski/Philip duBarry, Green Couch Games) is a game about medieval citizens trying to become the most influential leader.  It’s a card game where players get secret missions to complete in a race to 10 points.  On your turn, you’ll play a character card from your hand to one of the locations out on the board.  Characters have special abilities that trigger when played.  If your play has completed a mission, you score it and take a new one.  Otherwise, you draw a new character and that’s the end of your turn.  The first player to ten points wins.

This game seems to fit in the base attack genre, similar to games like Smash Up, Balloon Cup, and Blood Bowl Team Manager – there are locations, and you’re spreading out your cards to try to accomplish your objectives.  The difference here is that you’re not scoring the locations, but trying to get locations to certain levels in order to score.  It’s pretty compact, looks like it’s fast playing, and looks like something I’d really like to play when it comes out.  They’re well funded at this point, but you can still get in on the action.

  • Project Ends: August 31 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $12,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: January 2015
  • To Get A Game: $19
image by BGG user krakengames
image by BGG user krakengames

Asking for Trobils (Erin McDonald/Christian Strain, Kraken Games) is a worker placement game set in space, where you are trying to rid the star system of Trobils (which are a kind of pest).  On your turn, you do one action – place a ship on the board, or retrieve your ships from the board.  The different locations allow you to do different things – collect resources, collect Trobils, throw Trobils into a star for money, collect Riffraff, collect Traps, and gain new ships.  When the final Trobil is captured and the final city is revealed, the game ends.  The player with the most points from Trobil cards is the winner.

This game has a very distinctive look.  The board and bits all make heavy use of the color orange, which really makes it stand out.  Certainly, that’s what made me take notice.  It does look very nice.  The game itself seems to be a fairly light worker placement game, kind of like a sci-fi Lords of Waterdeep.  Because of its distinctive look and what seems to be very simple gameplay, I’m making this my PICK OF THE MONTH.  Take a look, and consider backing it – I know I’m very interested to see it when it gets released.

  • Project Ends: September 1 @ 11:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2015
  • To Get A Game: $42
image by BGG user gsquirrelgo
image by BGG user gsquirrelgo

Pack the Pack (Meg McGinley, Games by Play Date) is actually on its second campaign, having cancelled the first in July.  This one looks at what happens in a dungeon crawl once all the monsters have been vanquished – you have to get the loot out somehow.  In the game, you’ve got 88 treasure tiles, five of which are face down in front of you.  On the word “PACK”, everyone flips up their treasures and tries to make them fit in their pack.  You are trying to make completed gems of the different colors.  As you place treasures, you can take more from the center.  If you want to return a tile, you yell “JUNK!”, put it face up in the center, and take two new pieces.  When you have tiles touching three sides of your pack, you can say “TO TOWN!” and you’re done.  Once the second to last player has said this, the round is over.  You then score points for each completed gem, plus bonus points for the order you made it back to town.  The player with the most points wins.

This is a lot like Galaxy Trucker in the frantic placement of tiles.  There’s no journey at the end, but I get that vibe from the puzzle.  That alone is enough to pique my interest.  It does have a post-dungeon crawl theme, but I think it’s more of a game about making patterns than anything terribly fantastical.  Also, I’m unsure why you would want to stop first – the bonus points don’t quite seem like enough.  But I haven’t played, and maybe it will make more sense if I ever get the opportunity.  So, this is something I’d like to see once it’s out.

  • Project Ends: September 3 @ 2:01 PM CDT
  • Goal: $5,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $35
image by BGG user Eagle_Gryphon_Games
image by BGG user Eagle_Gryphon_Games

Clockwork Wars (Hassan Lopez, Eagle Games) is a fantasy-steampunk war game that features a modular board for increased playability.  There are four races – Purebreeds, Troglodytes, Rhinochs, and Mongrels, each with unique units and traits.  There are seven turns in the game, grouped into three ages.  The ages determine available discoveries and when scoring takes place.  During a turn, players take Spymaster actions, recruit workers, deploy units, engage in combat, and research discoveries.  Scoring happens after the second, fourth, and seventh rounds.  The player who has the most points in the end is the winner.

That’s of course a very simplistic breaking down of what looks like a fairly complex game, and I’m not going to go into all the rules here.  I really like the look.  The map tiles are double sided, with terrain on one side and a more functional abstract design on the other.  The art looks pretty good from what I’ve seen, and there is a ton of stuff in the box (hence the high price tag).  If this type of thing is something you enjoy, be sure to check it out.

  • Project Ends: September 3 @ 8:54 PM CDT
  • Goal: $25,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: July 2015
  • To Get A Game: $79 (early bird)
image by BGG user toyvaultinc
image by BGG user toyvaultinc

But Wait, There’s More! (Jay Cormier/Sen-Foong Lim, Toy Vault) is a party game from the designers of Belfort, Train of Thought, and This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us (which is my favorite title for a game ever).  The idea here is that you’re trying to pitch products in a 30-second infomercial format.  Each player has a hand of features, and at the beginning of a round, a random product everyone is selling will be revealed.  You select a feature to go with that product, and then you have 30 seconds to make your pitch.    About halfway through that pitch, you must say “But Wait, There’s More!” and flip over a random feature from the deck.  You must include this in your pitch.  Once everyone has pitched, players vote on their favorite pitch (not their own).  At the end of the game (three rounds), votes are tallied, and a new Billy Mays is crowned.

Since the release of Apples to Apples in 1999, many many party games have adopted the voting format for determining a winner.  This one varies from the model a bit by having everyone vote on their favorite.  This helps take away some of the inherent bias of voting party games – the majority rules here, not just one person.  So I’m glad to see this varying from the model of other pitch games like Snake Oil and The Big Idea.  It seems like it will be pretty fun, and it is streamlined to the point that it shouldn’t drag on too long.  With a lot of players, it may be tough to keep track of all the pitches, but if something is particularly memorable, that shouldn’t be a big deal.

  • Project Ends: September 5 @ 10:59 AM CDT
  • Goal: $3,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $25
image by BGG user HoggerLogger
image by BGG user HoggerLogger

Hogger Logger (Shaun Duenas/Ryan Shapiro/Charlie Winkler, Hogger Logger LLC) catches my eye JUST because of the title.  It is described as a “fast-paced, cutthroat guessing game with lumberjacking pigs.”  Each round begins with four face down cards and one face up card.  If it’s your turn, you choose one face down card and guess if it is higher or lower than the face up card.  If you’re right, you guess again.  If not, the player to your left becomes the new guesser.  The player who guesses the last remaining face down card wins.  This in itself would be pretty boring, but there are ways to mess with your opponents.  Anyone can play a number card at any point to increase their own odds or decrease their opponents.  If you play an 8, or play the same number that is the active card, you get an action card.  These give you different abilities.

This seems like a pretty silly game.  It’s not necessarily one with a lot of strategy, but I can imagine a lot of opportunities to mess with each other.  As much as I like the theme of lumberjacking pigs, it’s not really important to game play.  The name Hogger Logger came from Higher or Lower, they just wanted to make it more fun to say.  It looks fun, so check it out.

  • Project Ends: September 14 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $9,500 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2014
  • To Get A Game: $14
image by BGG user JustChristine
image by BGG user JustChristine

Heist (Pair-A-Dice Games) is a card game about art theft.  It takes exactly three minutes to play.  It comes with 36 cards, a timers, and 4 pawns.  Four rooms are laid out face down, and then each player gets five cards.  On your turn, you play a card then draw a card.  These cards will help you to steal cards from others, move your pawn forward, force others to discard, etc.  If you make it to the Vault and play an Art card from your hand, you win.  If time runs out, whoever is furthest along wins.  If there’s a tie, play again – it’s only three minutes.

This is a game that I think is a little big to be called a microgame.  It’s still very small, but I see microgames as being smaller (the debate over the definition of microgame can wait for another time).  Pair-A-Dice is calling it a pocket game, and I like that designation.  It’s a race, and it’s a quick real time game, one that I think will be pretty fun.  I don’t know if it will conquer the world like Love Letter did, but at least it’s only three minutes.

  • Project Ends: September 15 @ 12:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: $3,500 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: July 2015
  • To Get A Game: $10
image from Kickstarter project page
image from Kickstarter project page

Slap .45 (Gnarwhal Studios) is a Wild West duel that involves…well…slapping.  Each player gets a home base that goes between themselves and the player on their left.  The six members of that home base go in front of you.  This is your gang, and it has a special power.  On a turn, you flip over a card, then everyone reacts to it.  If the card revealed is a gun, you can slap it and making a pistol at another player, or slap a home base to protect yourself from being shot.  If it’s gold, you slap it to claim it.  If it’s a Move card, you need to slap a home base.  If you get shot, or are the last person to make it to a home base, you lose a gang member.  The last gang standing wins.

When I was in college, my friends and I would spend HOURS playing ERS, which involved a lot of slapping.  After some injuries, we had to make it a rule that no jewelry was allowed.  I haven’t played that much since leaving college, but this is the exact group this kind of game is meant for.  It’s not something I’d play a lot of now, but it would be good for some of those loud social occasions with some silly people that don’t mind getting a little violent.  If that describes you or your group, take a look.

  • Project Ends: September 17 @ 10:23 AM CDT
  • Goal: $18,850 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: April 2015
  • To Get A Game: $35
image by BGG user Brando Calrissian
image by BGG user Brando Calrissian

Clockwork Kingdom (Brandon Allen, Mr. B Games) is ANOTHER steampunk game about battle for control of an empire, though this one is more of a worker placement game than a combat-based game.  On each turn, players take turns placing workers around the board, then resolving the actions.  These actions could be acquiring resources, acquiring alchemy stones, taking or completing schematics, searching for ancient technology, doing battle, training professionals or acquiring new workers, acquiring production facilities, or determining turn order for the next round.  Whoever has scored the most points after nine rounds is the winner.

Mr. B has been coming on strong of late, especially with the recent successful Kickstarter releases of Spurs and Alien Uprising, so most of my interest lies in seeing what they do next.  This game has an interesting look to the board, with a round kingdom kind of like a clock.  It’s a worker placement game that doesn’t really look like it does much new mechanically, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good game.  If you like steampunk, or worker placement, or are just interested in what Mr. B is doing, or some combination of these, check it out.

  • Project Ends: September 23 @ 4:30 PM CDT
  • Goal: $20,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2015
  • To Get A Game: $45
image by BGG user binarysunrise
image by BGG user binarysunrise

The Pirate Deck (Jared Bond) is on its second Kickstarter drive.  I covered the first one back in Kickstarter Blitz #4, so I won’t say a lot here.  It’s a light card game where you’re trying to match up coins in order to make money.  I got a chance to play the prototype and make some suggestions, and it’s a game I like.  It’s got a nice puzzly feel to it, and is fairly simple to pick up.  Plus, there are pirates.  Do check it out – it’s about halfway to its $6000 goal.

  • Project Ends: September 24 @ 5:01 PM CDT
  • Goal: $6,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: June 2015
  • To Get A Game: $12 (early bird)
image by BGG user tartujik
image by BGG user tartujik

Skyway Robbery (Philip duBarry, Game Salute) is all about being a notorious criminal aboard an airship cruiser line.  The game is a kind of programmed action deck building game where players are simultaneously playing three secret action cards, then resolving them one at a time.  You can try to catch opponents red-handed, acquire new assets, pickpocket to gain more cash, perform a local heist, bust gang members out of the brig, start a turf war, do a side job, or repeat an action you played previously in the round.  When the airship reaches the end of the location track or the last location’s loot card has been taken, the game is over.  The player with the highest reputation is the winner.

This game looks great.  The art looks fun, the game looks like it plays really well, and it has the pedigree of a designer like Philip duBarry (making his second appearance on this list) to boost it up.  But I think some people will be scared away from backing it because of the involvement of Game Salute.  Game Salute has not been doing well in recent months, delivering late, breaking promises, and ticking off designers.  And I wonder why their name is NOWHERE on the Kickstarter page – their logo is not even on the box they show (though it is on the image included on BGG).  I also find it interesting that there’s no stretch goals, and they don’t intend to include any.  You can make assumptions from this information as you will – I’m sure conspiracy theories will abound.  But I also think Game Salute is ready to start correcting some mistakes they have made in the past, and want nothing to get in the way of this being a great game.  I think you should check it out – it does look very good.

  • Project Ends: September 25 @ 7:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $32,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2015
  • To Get A Game: $45

That’s it for this month’s edition of the Kickstarter Blitz.  Thanks for reading!

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2 comments

  1. Playtested “But Wait, There’s More” informally with some girls @ camp this summer. They loved it, though we treated it more as an activity than a game. The card draws definitely played into the success of the pitch, as well as the person’s creativity.

    I seem to remember Clockwork Kingdom having worker placement w/ variable worker powers so it’s a little more than your normal game there. It’s on my watch list.

    As for Game Salute projects, I’m waiting to see how they pan out before committing to any more Kickstarters run by them. Still waiting on Alien Frontiers Promos, Card Game of Oz was delivered, but …. and I asked for a refund of the “print ready” Wok Star after they went back on their stretch goals and decided to put their own touch on the components (which many backers seemed to think were not for the better). Mr. duBarry may have a great game on his hands, but as it will never be discounted and who knows how it will be handled in production I’ll probably not acquire it unless I win a contest. 😦

    • Good to hear about “But Wait, There’s More.” I like the Bamboozle Brothers.

      Sorry about your troubles with Game Salute. I think they overextended themselves, and got caught in a trap they are finding it hard to get out of. I think your reservations are going to be shared by a lot of people, and so Skyway Robbery might have trouble funding because of it. It’s a shame, because it does look like a good game.

      Thanks for the comments!

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