It’s the last Friday in September, which means it’s time for Kickstarter Blitz #9. This monthly series takes a look at several projects currently on Kickstarter that have caught my interest. On to the games!
Jane Austen’s Matchmaker (Richard Wolfrik Galland, Warm Acre) is a 3-6 player card game in which players are trying to marry off their gentlemen and place their ladies in society. The game is set in the world of Jane Austen, with characters taken from her books. On your turn, you will bring a lady into society by playing it from your hand to the table in front of you. You could also use a gentleman in your hand to propose to another player’s lady, providing that they aren’t lady, and he has a higher charm rating. If she accepts, the players swap cards and the one with the lower wealth value draws new cards, and the two players put the married cards in a score pile. You can also have a ball by playing the appropriate card, which allows everyone to place a lady in society and gives you one card for each player who attends. The player with the highest virtue (value of cards in your marriage pile minus value of cards in society) is the winner.
I’ll admit, I’m not that interested in this game based on the theme. What I am interested in is seeing how this game does among Austen enthusiasts. Personally, I know next to nothing about her works, so I couldn’t tell you if the theme and mechanisms work when stacked up next to Pride and Prejudice or…anything else she wrote (I told you, I am quite ignorant of this topic). There looks to be a lot of potential for negotiation in this game, as well as having a theme that might appeal to a crowd not usually into hobby type games. So I’m going to keep watching this one to see how it does.
- Project Ends: September 28 @ 3:00 PM CDT
- Goal: £3,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: December 2014
- To Get A Game: £15 (about
Poseidon’s Kingdom (Gordon and Fraser Lamont, Game Salute) originally came out in 2011 and has had people begging for a larger print run ever since. The game, which is for 2-4 players, is all about trying to score points while building reefs, moving sea creatures around, and trying to free your friends from the Kraken. The big gimmick in the game is a dice wave that you load, then tip once full so the dice spill out on the board. These dice are then eaten by your creatures as they try to free their friends – each friend is trapped by a different combination of dice (seven total, low pair, high pair, three in a row, three of a kind, four different). You can also build your reef in order to get more movement and the ability to eat more dice. At the end of each player turn, a shark is moved that could eat your pieces. This edition also contains a dolphin, which makes you immune to the shark until the next wave breaks. Once a player has freed all of their friends, the game ends after everyone has one more turn. The player with the most points wins.
I was very interested in this game back when it first came out (I even talked about it on the blog). And I think it is probably the Fragor game that has gotten the best buzz over the last few years. However, only 967 copies were originally produced, and all were snatched up pretty quickly. So I’m very glad to see that Game Salute is bringing it back into print. I know Game Salute has developed a bad reputation lately, and I think that’s keeping a lot of people that would have backed from supporting the campaign. But it is funded, so we’ll just see how it goes from here.
- Project Ends: September 30 @ 7:00 PM CDT
- Goal: $20,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: August 2015
- To Get A Game: $69
Stuff and Nonsense (James Ernest, Cheapass Games) is a reimplementation of the 2002 game, Captain Park’s Imaginary Polar Expedition. In fact, the full name of this project is Stuff and Nonsense: The Inevitable Aftermath to Professor Elemental’s Imaginary Polar Expedition. In the game, 2-6 players are adventurers who are pretending to go on exotic expeditions, but in reality aren’t even going to leave London. On you’re turn, you will be moving to various locations to collect antiques that you can use to create your story about your adventure. There are five possible adventures, and each card will give you points for some of those adventures. When you turn in an adventure, you’ll gain the points from the cards times the current value of that adventure. Meanwhile, Professor Elemental is moving around the locations to try to catch you – if he does, you either lose a card from your hand or one point per card in your hand. The first person to a preset point value is the winner.
When they originally came out, Cheapass Games were essentially a rule set and few components in an envelope. They tried to minimalize everything, which meant you had to supply some more common bits (dice, pawns, tokens). They were microgame manufacturers before it was cool. In recent years, they’ve been working on upgrading a lot of their stuff – they’ve done it so far with Unexploded Cow and Deadwood Studios. I can’t speak to the quality of many of their games (I do like Kill Doctor Lucky and Give Me the Brain), but I can’t deny that they have some really crazy themes that appeal to me. I can honestly say I don’t have any games in my collection about lying Victorian adventurers. Sounds like fun.
- Project Ends: September 30 @ 11:00 PM CDT
- Goal: $25,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: March 2015
- To Get A Game: $5 PNP, $30 full game
The Orcfather (Carlos Michán Amado, Lost Games Entertainment) is a 4-10 player team game that mixes the mafia with fantasy characters. Each team has a secret leader, and the goal to kill the opposing leader. In each round, players must decide individually whether they want to attack or defend, and choose targets for whatever they are doing. You can also choose business cards, which give you other different actions. Once everyone has chosen, you resolve the cards. Defending players put defense tokens on the player(s) they are defending. Then, attackers place attack tokens on the player they are attacking. Defense and attack tokens obviously cancel each other out. If an attacked player was not defended, they lose a life token. Finally, players reveal and resolve their business cards. Tokens are then discarded. Once a team’s leader has been eliminated, the game is over. There are special powers of the creatures as well, though they recommend not playing with them in the first game.
I like the idea behind this game. It’s got the programmed action thing I like so much, as well as a pretty clever theme – you didn’t necessarily HAVE to make it fantasy mafia, but it’s a nice mashup. I’ve been looking at the art, and it all looks really good. There is player elimination in the game – if a player that is not the leader gets killed, the game continues. However, it only continues for three more turns – if no one has achieved victory by that point, it’s a draw. So it seems like they tried to think of a way to not be too miserable for people eliminated early. There seems to be some good deduction and guesswork going on here, so this is a game I’ll be watching more.
- Project Ends: October 1 @ 9:37 AM
- Goal: $8,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: January 2015
- To Get A Game: $30
Bomb Squad (David Short/Dan Keltner, Tasty Minstrel Games) is the first cooperative game from TMG. Here, 2-6 players are operating a disposal robot racing against the clock to diffuse bombs. You have ten minutes to complete a mission – usually to disarm bombs and rescue hostages. Each player has 4-6 cards in their hand that they cannot look at. On your turn, you can give intel to another player by telling them either all cards in their hand that are a single color, or all cards in their hand that are a single action type. You can also choose to discard a card in order to recharge the robot’s battery (you lose if the battery runs out). You can play a card face down into an available programming slot (when all spaces are full, the robot activates). You can also voluntarily activate the robot. For activation, you reveal all programmed cards and then put them in whatever order you wish. This will cost battery life, as will orders that cannot be performed. Once your objectives have been completed, you win. However, if any bomb detonates or your batteries run out, you lose.
I was surprised to start reading about this game and find out it was essentially anti-terrorism Hanabi. It does seem like it has more of a theme, and the time element will add an extra layer of stress. You are not limited in how many times you can give intel, and the fact that you’re trying to program a robot also sets it apart. I do think it is different enough that people won’t need to worry about owning both – in fact, Hanabi might be good practice for this game which seems a LOT harder. But it sounds pretty good to me. There’s also a stretch goal where you’ll get a second game called Bomb Squad Academy, so be sure to help them get to $60,000 if you want that.
- Project Ends: October 1 @ 9:00 PM CDT
- Goal: $40,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: April 2015
- To Get A Game: $35
Coconuts Duo (Walter Schneider, Mayday Games) serves as both a 5-6 player expansion and a standalone two-player version of the popular children’s dexterity game Coconuts. The basic gist of the game is this – everyone has a monkey, and is trying to launch coconuts into some plastic cups in the center. If you score one, you stack it on your player board. The object of the game is to create a pyramid of six cups. However, if you get your coconut inside a cup another player has claimed, you take it from them. There are also some special magic cards you can play to give you an advantage/mess with other people. The first person to build their pyramid wins. If all coconuts are inside cups and the game hasn’t ended yet, the game also ends with the player who has the most coconuts in their cups winning.
I haven’t played the original Coconuts, but I’ve seen it played and it seemed like fun. Chaotic, sure, but fun. My wife played it, and said it took too long with four players. The two player version probably streamlines that and makes it quicker. But for people who are really into it (and there are a lot), I’m sure the six player version will be welcome.
- Project Ends: October 3 @ 9:22 PM CDT
- Goal: $5,050 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: November 2014
- To Get A Game: $15
King Down (Saar Shai) is a 2-4 player miniatures game that is being touted as a prequel to Chess. Each player in the game is allied with a king, and has a corresponding deck of cards. Each army takes a side of an 8×8 grid (basically a chessboard). There’s a 2×2 area in the center that is the Capitol, and the six center spaces on each side is the front line for each army. On your turn, you have four actions. You can use these to call a piece to your front line, take another piece, move a piece, or draw a card from your deck. You can also spend actions to play cards from your hand. The object of the game is to be the first to reach 8 victory points, which are acquired by getting pieces into the Capitol and taking other pieces.
This game takes the idea of Chess and takes it to new levels. Instead of just having one move per turn, you have action points to distribute as you will. Instead of having only your pieces, there are cards you can play to help you out. Instead of being for two players, this is for four. Plus, the miniatures look pretty cool, and because they are based on Chess pieces, you could probably just play Chess if you want to. It looks like a pretty cool game.
- Project Ends: October 12 @ 6:00 PM CDT
- Goal: $50,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: March 2015
- To Get A Game: $65
Of Dungeons Deep! (Jason Glover, Grey Gnome Games) is a two-player dungeon crawl that incorporates elements of deck building and blind bidding. The game is played over seven rounds, and at the beginning of each round, three dungeon cards are drawn. Players have a hand of six cards drawn from their own deck (they have the option of banking one for the next turn, at which point they will draw another). Each player then chooses a card to play face down on each monster. Once cards have been assigned, you reveal them and see how much damage each monster took. You then play your remaining three cards, one on each monster, in the same way. Monsters that are defeated go into the deck of the player who dealt the most damage, earning fame and treasure. Undefeated monsters deal damage to the player who hit them the hardest. After the seventh round, you add up your points from your dungeon cards, treasure tokens, and remaining health. The player with the most wins.
This looks like a pretty good bluffing game for two players. They say blind bidding, but that’s a little misleading – it’s not an auction, it’s just assigning your cards without knowing what the other is doing. And since there are two rounds of it, you can try to mislead with your first play. I think it looks fun, and I’m going to name it my PICK OF THE MONTH for September. Check it out!
- Project Ends: October 16 @ 7:01 PM
- Goal: $15,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: May 2015
- To Get A Game: $29
The Lounge (Alex Gregory) looks to be another game in the glorious tradition of social deduction games, one of my favorite genres. In particularly, it expands on the concept of Mafia (which later morphed into Werewolf). One player is the moderator, and deals out roles to all of the players. In each round, everyone goes to sleep for the night phase, then the moderator wakes people up in a certain order to resolve their abilities. During the day, everyone wakes up and finds out what happened. There is some discussion, then all players vote on someone to kill. The game ends when someone meets their win condition – townspeople want all Mafia and relevant third party members eliminated. The Mafia wants a majority in the town with all relevant third party members eliminated. Third party members have their own win conditions.
Bezier Games produces Ultimate Werewolf, an expanded role set for the public domain game Werewolf. This appears to be Ultimate Mafia. For people who enjoy the system, this is probably going to be a fun thing to have – there are 82 unique roles in the game. I’m not really a Werewolf/Mafia fan myself, but I do like the concept of adding a third party. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about Shadow Hunters, which has neutrals with their own agenda. That addition here will probably help this game be more fun. It’s still got a long way to go before funding, and this is the second campaign that has been run, so we’ll just have to see if this one works out.
- Project Ends: October 17 @ 10:59 PM
- Goal: $23,000 (not funded)
- Estimated Delivery: August 2015
- To Get A Game: $8 PNP, $20 full game
Slaughterball (Erik Kjerland, Frog the What Games) is a 2-4 player miniatures game in the ever-growing genre of fantasy sports. No, not a bunch of jocks playing DnD: Football Edition, but actual fantasy creatures in a fantasy sport. Basically, this boils down to 2-4 teams of genetically enhanced creatures battling in a steel pit. On your team’s turn, there is a draw phase, an onslaught phase, and a cleanup phase. During draw, you can discard and draw new strategy cards. In onslaught, you can take actions – move, pick up the ball, attack opponents, shoot goals, etc. In cleanup, you…well, clean up. The game plays over six rounds, and you want to have the most points after those six rounds. Ties force overtime. It is possible to win if all of your players have been slaughtered.
The only real fantasy sports game I have played is Blood Bowl: Team Manager, but it’s a theme I love. I don’t know a whole lot about this game, apart from the theme and the nice looking miniatures, but I’m hearing some good things when compared to recent games like Dreadball and Kaosball. It should be a fun time.
- Project Ends: October 19 @ 7:00 PM
- Goal: $30,000 (funded)
- Estimated Delivery: June 2015
- To Get A Game: $95
Play Me: Alice in Wonderdice (Aldébaran Geneste) is a real-time dice game set in Wonderland. You are trying to catch the White Rabbit by rolling 1-2-3-4-5-6 on your six dice. Each player is rolling their dice at the same time, and trying to make the sequence in order. So if you have locked 1-2, you can use a rolled 3 on yours (you can only use one die at a time). You can also use your dice to block another player’s line – if they have 1-2-3, you can play a 4 to stop them. They must use a 4 then to unblock themselves, and then must roll another to continue the line. When you win, you flip your character over to its madness side. If you win again, you win. If all players are on their madness side, the White Rabbit becomes the Jabberwocky, and the game becomes cooperative as the players try to defeat the monster (as played by one of them).
I like the theme of this game, and it seems like a pretty fun game. The shift to a cooperative game seems a little weird, but there’s an opportunity to betray the others and try to win on your own – it just seems odd that the game is competitive, but if everyone is tied, it becomes a co-op. Before that, it’s just a case of dice rolling and trying to catch your opponents before they cause too much damage. It’s not really catching fire on Kickstarter yet, but there’s time. We shall see.
- Project Ends: October 21 @ 5:00 AM CDT
- Goal: $25,000 (not funded)
- Estimated Delivery: December 2014
- To Get A Game: $30
Another edition of the Blitz is in the can. Thanks for reading!