Kickstarter Blitz #17

Time for the seventeenth edition of the Kickstarter Blitz.  Here we go!


image by BGG user Forscience
image by BGG user Forscience

Gruff (Brent Critchfield, Studio Woe) is, as you might assume from the title, a tactical card game of mutated monster goats.  From the BGG description:

Gruff is a tactical Expandable Card Game about mutated monster goats.  Players create a customized team of monster goats called Gruffs led by a Shepherd.  You win the game by crushing through the enemy line of Gruffs and killing the opposing shepherd.  Players take turns playing ability cards and declaring attacks.  After an attack is declared your opponent takes his turn and may dodge or block your attack then declare his own attack.  Your attack resolves at the beginning of next turn.

You have three Gruffs and a Shepherd.  Your Gruffs each have three stats – Mean (offense), Weird (which increases the Shepherd’s Crazy level), and Fat (defense).  Shepherds have two stats – Life (health) and Crazy (used to play cards).  Each Gruff also has a 15 card ability deck, from which you will choose eight and shuffle into a 24-card personal deck.  Sliders are set to indicated starting stats.  On your turn, you draw a card, activate a Gruff, play cards, then take a tactical action (attack, move, grow, or resurrect a dead Gruff).  When you kill the opposing Shepherd, you win!  It’s a strange theme, which always attracts me, and looks like a good quick fun fighting game.

  • End Date: May 31, 2015 @ 9:03 AM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: November 2015
  • How Much: $25
  • Video: Undead Viking’s review
image by BGG user Trevor_Lehmann
image by BGG user Trevor_Lehmann

Crop Cycle (Trevor Lehmann, Convergent Games) is a game about competitive farming.  From the Kickstarter description:

Navigate the seasons in this fast and easy to learn game about farming!  Plant and harvest seasonally appropriate Crops for points. Use Event cards to prevent other players from doing the same. The first to 5 harvest points wins the game!  Whether you have a competitive streak or just enjoy agriculture, you will find something to love in Crop Cycle!”

In a round, each player performs the Planting Phase.  You may plant a crop on your field or an opponent’s.  You may also play a Utility card, which gives you an action.  Cards can only be played or planted if the current season matches the card – summer cards can only be planted in summer, and so on.  After all players have done this, you move on to the Harvest phase.  Here, you harvest all possible crops for the current season.  You get the indicated number of points, and the first player to five points is the winner.  Seems pretty simple, and the world can always use another farming game.  The season system looks cool, so check it out.

  • End Date: May 31, 2015 @ 11:30 PM CDT
  • Goal: $6,700 CAD (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: January 2016
  • How Much: $25 CAD
  • Video: Bower’s Game Corner review
image taken from Kickstarter campaign page
image taken from Kickstarter campaign page

ModCube (3rd Dimension Gear) is a set of plastic cubes intended to organize in-game markers.  From the Kickstarter description:

“The ModCube is a gaming aid which enables you to keep 6 common gaming tokens on a single cube, and quickly rotate between these tokens…Token designs are made to be compatible with the most popular sci-fi wargames on the market today!  What sets the ModCube apart is the fact that it can be taken apart and reconfigured, whereas custom dice can never be changed!  There are still many, many situations to use custom dice for, but there are also many where the ModCube is a better fit.  To take full advantage of this modularity, we are including 80 tokens with each set of 8 cubes!  The only exception is the Dogfight set, which includes a whopping 120 tokens! (This is due to all the half-size tokens in that set)  How can we possibly afford to include so many tokens?”

So they’re not dice, they’re plastic cubes you can take apart and put tokens in.  I can see a lot of use for these, particularly in games where you have to keep track of a bunch of different tokens.  These are being pushed as an aid for games like X-Wing and Warhammer 40K, but probably can be modified for a whole slew of other games as well.  It’s an interesting accessory, and I’d be interested to see how they work out.

  • End Date: June 5, 2015 @ 7:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $15,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: 2015
  • How Much: $30 for one set of 9
image taken from Kickstarter project page
image taken from Kickstarter project page

Click Clack Lumberjack (Justin Oh, Mayday Games) is a Korean game (originally titled Toc Toc Woodman) that was first released in 2008.  Mayday Games is seeking funding for a reprint of their English edition.  From the BGG description:

“With a similar mechanic to Bash, which was first made in the sixties by Milton Bradley, [Click Clack Lumberjack] requires you to remove the bark from a tree by knocking stacked layers with a plastic axe.  This game takes more skill and strategy than Bash because the goal is to leave behind the inner part of the tree. [Click Clack Lumberjack] is a great dexterity/action game that will also draw some comparisons to Jenga. It is, however, quite dissimilar aside from the fact you are working within the realm of a ‘tower’ of parts.”

Basically, a tree is built out of plastic parts – plastic disks that make up the trunk, then plastic bark covering it.  You take a little plastic axe and tap the tree twice, collecting any bark that falls off for a point each, and any pieces of log that fall off for -5 points.  It looks highly stressful, and a very decent alternative to Jenga because it doesn’t end until the entire tree is clear of bark rather than whenever it falls down a little.  This is one I’ve had my eye on for a while, glad to see it coming back to market.

image by BGG user Anaesthetic
image by BGG user Anaesthetic

Automania (Kenneth Minde/Kristian Amundsen Østby, Aporta Games) is all about running a car factory to build the most popular games on the market.  From the Kickstarter description:

“Central to the game are the factory boards: Each player has a factory with three assembly lines, and each line produces one type of car.  You can put machine tiles along your lines to change the specifications of your cars.  However, your three assembly lines intersect, so each machine tile placed might affect more than one type of car.  Therefore you have to think carefully about where you put those machines.  When you produce a car, it must be shipped to one of two markets.  Choosing the right market is crucial, as one market provides more money, while the other provides more prestige.  Each market has some demands, and the better your car matches these demands, the more popular your car will be in that market.  The most popular cars will sell first and reap the highest profits.”

You start the game with some goals of cars you want to make.  In each round, you’ll be grabbing tiles from a grid in the center to give your cars certain features.  After making the car, you can sell it in the American or European market, gaining stars depending on features they are looking for.  After four rounds, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.  The game looks really interesting, a little abstract but with some tough decisions.  Definitely one to check out.

  • End Date: June 6, 2015 @ 4:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $9,142 (kr70,000) (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2015
  • How Much: $42 (kr319)
  • Video: Rahdo’s Runthrough
image by BGG user Grant
image by BGG user Grant

The Last Spike (Tom Dagliesh, Columbia Games) is a train game that is actually a reworking of a 1976 game.  From the BGG description:

In The Last Spike, players must cooperate to build a continuous railway from St. Louis to Sacramento.  Different routes are possible and some towns never get a railway link.  Each player competes to accumulate the most money from land speculation before the ‘last spike’ is laid.  Each player has a hand of four track tiles, with each tile showing a particular location on the game board and a cost.  The game board depicts nine cities in a diamond shape, with St. Louis at one tip and Sacramento at the other, and locations where track can be built are marked on the game board.

On your turn, you choose one of your four track tiles and place it on the corresponding space of the map, paying the indicated cost.  You can then buy a deed if you wish.  When the city on the deed is connected to another city, you collect a payout based on the number of deeds you hold.  When St. Louis and Sacramento are connected, the game ends and the player with the most cash wins.  Columbia Games is most known for war-games, hence the Kickstarter campaign for this train game.  It looks interesting to me, and has been getting some comparisons to Acquire on rails.  Not a bad association.

  • End Date: June 7, 2015 @ 10:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2015
  • How Much: $39
image by BGG user enditen
image by BGG user enditen

Defenders of the Last Stand (Richard Launius, 8th Summit) is a post-apocalyptic game that is being billed as a cross between Defenders of the Realm and Mad Max.  From the BGG description:

Defenders of The Last Stand is a post apocalyptic adventure game by Richard Launius (Arkham Horror, Run Fight or Die, Defenders of the Realm) for 1-5 players set in the Western United States more than 50 years after nuclear war.  Players take on the roles of Defenders of the last known haven for humanity, called The Last Stand.  Four outside clans leaders, along with their followers, advance toward the town, and players work cooperatively to defend The Last Stand.  Menacing mutants also roam the desert threatening the city’s survival.  The game will introduce player character mutations – your character can mutate from travel into irradiated areas.  Gameplay will consist of both elements of adventure and conflict resolution, and Defenders of the Last Stand will come loaded with miniatures, including three large sculpted miniatures of the invading Clan leaders as well as their minions – sculpted by Chad Hoverter.  The four warrior clans include raiders on bikes and in cars, another group of mutated humans who ride large beasts, third clan consisting of techno savvy, yet criminally insane youths, and finally a large winged creature so mutated that he has lost all traces of his old humanity.”

This is a scenario based game, and each scenario gives you the set up and win conditions.  Your heroes start in the center of the board (Last Stand), and raiders are slowly making their way towards your position.  There are certain objectives you’ll have to meet in order to win, including defeating the leaders of each faction.  This game seems to have a pretty evocative theme, and is really cashing in on the post-apocalyptic craze that’s going on right now – I’m seeing a lot of these games on Kickstarter this month. Still, Launius is a pretty good designer, and 8th Summit did well with Agents of SMERSH, so that’s enough to make this worth a look.

  • End Date: June 8, 2015 @ 10:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: $50,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: March 2016
  • How Much: $65
  • Video: Undead Viking’s review
image by BGG user cwali
image by BGG user cwali

Samara (Corné van Moorsel, Cwali) is a game about building a town that utilizes worker placement and an innovative time track mechanism.  From the Kickstarter description:

“Travel back through history to a small settlement, named Samara (it’s a Russian megacity nowadays), where you lead your builders.  At the start they can only build a sandcastle, cave or huts. For more complex buildings, they must invest time in skills, strength or getting new workers.  Special projects, such as the Bridge, Barracks or School, give you advantages or hurt all your rivals. In the end you want to have the most prestigious buildings.  Will you be the best foreman of SAMARA?”

Workers are on a sliding month track that sits next to a static market board.  The first worker in a current month will go first, and will move to the month matching the column of what they want.  This can get you a new tool, a new worker, allow you to complete a building, or give you a vacation (which is basically a pass).  You may have to move multiple workers to get the strength you need.  When the current month is empty, the month track slides to the next occupied month.  This continues until all 30 buildings have been taken.  The player with the most points wins.  This game looks super cool.  Corné van Moorsel and Cwali have been doing some really neat stuff for a long time, so I’m glad this one has already met its funding goal.  In fact, I’m naming it my PICK OF THE MONTH, so go give it a look.

  • End Date: June 10, 2015 @ 4:59 PM CDT
  • Goal: €8,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: September 2015
  • How Much: €26
image by BGG user AndreSchillo
image by BGG user AndreSchillo

Karnivore Koala (André Schillo, Voodoo Games) is a so-called “post-eucalyptic” game about koalas trying to hunt mutant animals.  From the Kickstarter description:

“It is not just a game for meat-eaters in which the word ‘bear’ gets excessively abused to create an invasive humorous atmosphere – no!  It is also a game with a misspelled title and for our own surprise even 100% vegan!  This game is for all of you that like a fast-paced strategic game combined with the ever so unsatisfying randomness of dice rolls, mixed with backstabbing friends and most important: KARNIVORE KOALAS!”

On your turn, you’ll be rolling dice and assigning them to different koalas in order to activate their effects.  You will be then using your koalas to hunt for different mutant animals – the appetizer first, then the main course, then the dessert.  The full rules have not been released yet, they are introducing them incrementally through the updates, so I don’t know how the game really works.  But it looks pretty cute and with a good sense of humor, so it’s one I’m keeping an eye on.

  • End Date: June 12, 2015 @ 3:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: €5,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2015
  • How Much: €25
image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

The Dwarves: The Saga (Michael Palm/Lukas Zach, Pegasus Spiele) is a cooperative game that is based on a very successful German book series by Markus Heitz.  From the BGG description:

“The goal…is to keep evil from flooding Girdlegard.  During set-up, players choose one of the dwarves from the novel, each of which is equipped with a unique special ability and different stats for fighting, crafting, and movement.  Before each player’s turn, the forces of evil usually break through one of the four big gates – which are guarded by different dwarven tribes – and further the spread of the Perished Land.  On his turn a player spends two action points to use two of five actions.  He can fight against the advancing enemies, travel to other locations, lobby the dwarven council to give advantages to all players, solve a minor quest for rewards, or take on the current major quest, revealing the next major quest if successful.  Completing these quests is the only way to win the game.  For most of these actions, a player must succeed in a dice-driven challenge.  If the players cannot control the flood of evil while simultaneously solving the major quests in time, they will lose.”

The original game was released in 2012, but was only available in German.  With this release, it will now be available in English and will have an expansion (The Saga).  I’ve never read the original book series, but it’s very popular, so I may have to take a look sometime.  That may excite me more about this game, but I already think it looks pretty decent.

  • End Date: June 14, 2015 @ 11:00 AM CDT
  • Goal: €30,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2015
  • How Much: €29 Saga expansion, €39 base game, €65 both
  • Video: Rahdo’s Runthrough
image by BGG user madyoss
image by BGG user madyoss

Assault on Doomrock (Tom Stasiak, Beautiful Disaster Games) is something I’ve been falling since it was called D&D&D (they changed it to prevent Wizards of the Coast from coming after them).  From the Kickstarter description of the project:

After yet another year of evil machinations, BD Games is proud to bring an expansion to Assault on Doomrock, as well as a second edition of the base game.  Those of you willing to endure a uniquely ridiculous journey and those of you not frightened of being eaten by flying sharks, please continue.  I welcome you, Heroes.  It is time for an adventure.  I just hope the dragon will take it easy on you during your first run.”

Assault on Doomrock is a cooperative adventure game where you are trying to level up and make it to Doomrock before it’s too late.  As an adventure game, there’s a lot of exploring and encounters to have.  This campaign is funding the Doompocalypse expansion, which adds more of everything – locations, characters, encounters, and so on.  The game has quite a sense of humor about it, and sounds like a fun time.

  • End Date: June 15, 2015 @ 9:38 AM CDT
  • Goal: $10,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: 2015
  • How Much: $60 for the game, $85 for the game with the expansion
  • Video: Rahdo’s Runthrough
image by BGG user junkyard12
image by BGG user junkyard12

Heldentaufe (Simon Junker) is a fantasy game from Germany with a modular board and some gorgeous art by Mathieu Leysenne.  From the Kickstarter description:

The day that you have been waiting for has come. Get ready for your “Heldentaufe”.  At last, you can prove that you are worthy of being a member of the Hero’s council.  Show us your skills by collecting 20 monster teeth and be the first to return them to town.  The unique experience of Heldentaufe arises due to two distinct but connected realms: The Upper world and the Netherworld. Heroes can travel back and forth to the separate worlds through so-called ‘portals’.  Events and activities taking place in the Upper world are mostly serene and peaceful.  You will harvest natural goods, carry out missions and trade items that you find.  Somewhere hidden in the Netherworld lies a bright and shiny treasure.  But what underworld would be complete without monsters and traps?”

Each player has a hero card that tracks stats and items.  Each player also has three mission cards, which earn you rewards when completed.  On your turn, you have four action points, which you can use to exchange a mission card or move.  Once the Upper World has been completely explored, you move to the Netherworld where you will fight monsters.  These monsters are not controlled by an AI, they are controlled by the players.  Once someone has collected 20 monster teeth, they win.  As I said, this game is quite beautiful, and I think the only reason it has not yet funded is really high shipping costs to the US.

  • End Date: June 15, 2015 @ 1:01 PM CDT
  • Goal: $35,000 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: October 2015
  • How Much: $34
image taken from Kickstarter project page
image taken from Kickstarter project page

No Thank You, Evil! (Shanna Germain/Monte Cook, Monte Cook Games) is an RPG for kids.  From the Kickstarter description:

“Olivia is a Super Smart Princess who Experiments With Science. Rowan is a Cool Robot who Plays With Ooey Gooey Things. They just found out that their friend Wiffle has been captured by saw-toothed witches deep in DragonSnot Falls! They’re the only ones who can enter Storia and save Wiffle—how will they do it? It’s all up to them! No Thank You, Evil! is tabletop game of creative make-believe, adventure, and storytelling. In No Thank You, Evil!, each player creates a character based on a couple of cool, descriptive, imagination-firing traits. The Guide (a special role often played by a parent or older sibling) presents a dilemma, and the players set off on an adventure of the imagination. Along the way they use their character’s special skills, companions, and equipment to overcome obstacles—perhaps fighting a slime monster, winning over the suspicious mayor, or beating a rabbit at a race.”

I don’t often cover RPGs on this blog, but with the kid on the way, I find myself looking more and more at kid-friendly games of all types.  What I especially like about this one is that the ages are scaled – they put some effort into making a different experience based on the ages of the participants.  I think that’s cool – a four-year-old is naturally going to play differently than an eight-year-old, but kid games often just play the same way for all ages.  This game looks pretty cute, and a good way to get kids into RPGs.

  • End Date: June 17, 2015 @ 7:00 PM CDT
  • Goal: $40,000 (funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: February 2016
  • How Much: $20 PDF, $40 full game
  • Video: How To Play video from the creators
image by BGG user kdelp
image by BGG user kdelp

Steam Court (Will Meadows/Ryan Pilz, Tantrum House) is a ladder-climbing game with a steampunk theme.  From the Kickstarter description:

“Tasked with the upkeep of the court’s mechanical devices, players attempt to catch the eye of the Queen and other high-ranking courtiers by displaying their mechanical prowess. Using their dealt hand of gear cards, players try to take tricks with the ultimate goal of being the first to play all their cards. The Queen rewards such displays of skill by snatching up the most successful engineer as her own. Can you maneuver your way into the Queen’s good graces and come out on top of the social ladder by the end of the fourth Quarter? Or will you be stuck assisting the Tea Boy and suffering his incessant whining?”

Each player has a character, each with certain special abilities.  For each trick, you’ll be playing a set of cards which other players must beat, or they must pass.  The first player to go out gets the highest ranked character for the next round, and all other players will get characters when they go out.  You’ll also get victory points based on your position in the round.  The highest score after four rounds wins.  This is a game that takes a lot of inspiration from The Great Dalmuti, which I haven’t played, and looks like a good time.  Check it out.

  • End Date: June 27, 2015 @ 4:07 PM CDT
  • Goal: $17,890 (not funded)
  • Estimated Delivery: December 2015
  • How Much: $25
  • Video: Steam Court Walkthrough

A couple of trends I’ve noticed this month.  First of all, post-apocalyptic games are getting more and more popular – I have a feeling this is the theme of the future.  Also, there are more and more international Kickstarters going up.  Good to see the worldwide market getting in on it, but it remains to be seen whether shipping costs will hurt them.

To wrap up, I wanted to draw your attention to three other projects I’ve talked about in the past that are ending soon: The Titans of Gaming (Calliope Games) recently hit its pledge goal, and is now working on stretch goals – it closes tomorrow.  Mottainai (Asmadi Games) is well overfunded, and will be ending on June 4.  The Lounge (Crimson Games) is currently working on its third campaign, and though it’s not yet funded, I think this one’s going to make it.  It ends on June 5.  So a lot of interesting stuff to check out this month.  Thanks for reading!

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