(Almost) every Saturday we review all Kickstarter campaigns in the "Games" category ending in the next week. We do a quick write up on anything we find notable here. This is written from the perspective of people looking to buy games and game accessories that offer interesting mechanics or ideas. We prefer heavy strategy games, RPG Games, miniature-heavy games, and games with real-time mechanics as opposed to party games, children's games, or very light strategy games.
5-Minute Dungeon (7.4 BGG) is a game that attempts to give you a real-time dungeon-crawling experience, but in our plays, it just felt like a card-slapping shout-fest. However, the game has gotten its following, and is now stocked in what's left of Toys 'R Us. There's obviously a lot of people who love this game, because this expansion has raised over $300,000 on Kickstarter.
The expansion adds two new classes and two new card types. Curses make the game harder, and add some social components (Example: "You can only say the word, 'Waffles.'") Artifacts balance the game better for fewer players, giving your party an ability they can use once per game.
The Kickstarter is not a very good value. The expansion + the base game is $50 CAD ($38 US). The base game is currently available on Amazon for $20. So this seems designed specifically for mega-fans.
Darwin's Choice purports to be a gamified version of evolution's natural selection. This theme has interested me quite a bit since Spore which really did the opposite of natural selection; allowing you to create and alter creatures. I have wondered what a real natural selection game would look like. Evolution also tries to do this, but the theme is so crammed into a euro-style game format that I think it came off as game first, science second. Additionally, you are actually intelligently designing your creatures in order to allow them to survive the changes in the ecosystem.
It appears Darwin's Choice falls into the same trap. You take traits from different species to "adapt" a creature to survive in vegetation zones. You are still building creatures, and this doesn't seem to have any real evolutionary science here. Like with the game Evolution (as opposed to the science of evolution), your creatures are subject to environmental pressures, but they aren't changing due to them.
A dexterity game where you'll need to shoot Goblins with rubber bands guns. The playfield is what really caught our eye on this one. It comes with multi shot pistols, and some pretty neat looking goblins (Although the one featured in the main shot there looks like she escaped from Gremlins 2.)
This is another steampunk board game, Crisis at Steamfall is an adventure/crafting game where you'll play competitively or cooperatively to decode alien symbols and destroy alien pylons. The game has a pretty interesting character creation mechanic which allows you to build actions right into your character's board.
The map is randomly generated at the beginning of each game, and exploration is rewarded as much as pursuing the pre-defined scenario goals. Looks like fun, looking forward to seeing post-release reviews.
Well it's hard not to love the price and artwork in Mad Love, a 2-player cooperative game. Interestingly, you must play the game in complete silence. This is an interesting new trend in games, but I think this is the first 2 player version of a silent game. You and your partner are lost in another dimension, and must find each other before succumbing to madness.
This company had also published the much-more successful Savage Planet game, the fact that product hasn't shipped yet may be hurting this Kickstarter.
This is an interesting looking adventure board game that is reminiscent of Flying Frog's series of games in that it uses real people for the artwork. While cosplay of the characters is quite good, I find the game's design to be less than visual appealing. This is a first created, and nothing here compels us enough to take a chance on backing this game. Luckily, the game has funded, and so we'll see how this one gets reviewed once it's delivered.
OrcQuest WarPath - FOMO of the Week!
OrcQuest WarPath is a follow up to a lighter card game (7.6 BGG) which was Kickstarted last year. The game stands out because the hero is an orc. (Coincidentally we reviewed another board game where the heroes or Orcs called Ravage this week.)
This is a fully-cooperative dungeon crawler with tons of miniatures, so we gave it our FOMO of the week. The stretch goals have been falling quickly to miniature-hungry backers, and they have unlocked new characters, monster miniatures, and lots and lots of quest content.
What really stood out to us on this Kickstarter is the 2D art. The creators are showing a real love for their orc characters. We decided not to back because the enemy miniatures (which are mostly traditional heroes like elves), are too repetitive. If there were more alternate sculpts for these minis, we would have definitely been in for the $100 pledge.
This is a very simple solo game, where you'll be attempting to assemble four pieces of your broken time machine before you run out of health or time charges. The game is very quick and only takes about 10 minutes to play. The art is pretty good, except for the main player card which is a bald sunglasses-wearing white guy smoking a cigarette. Feels very 90s. Nothing else in the game feels 90s so I'm not sure where that came from. (Apparently the smoking hero is only in the Tabletopia version.)
We played the game on Tabletopia, and thought it was just OK. I don't really like rolling percentile dice to determine damage, and there doesn't feel like there is much strategy here.
This is the third 80s/90s arcade beat-em-up board game we've covered in as many weeks. It's funny how these things line up that way. This is an interesting campaign because it has a base cardboard pledge for $40 and a miniatures pledge for $60. Which gives us a rare comparison of what is more popular. As of 5/31/18, we see 207 backers at the cardboard level and 533 at the miniatures level. That's 38% cardboard.
Personally, I prefer the cardboard look to the miniatures, but I would be really curious if cardboard would have beaten miniatures if they had managed to get their price down to the magic $30 price point.
Another thing that caught my eye in this campaign is that the creators actually worked on Rock Band and Guitar Hero. They are also the designers behind High Heavens (7.6 BGG.)
If you've been dying to get a Halfling Blood Bowl team, you can't really beat these guys. The Treants are amazing and dynamically posed, and the halflings are full of desperation and cakes!
Journal 29 is a puzzle book series where you need to solve puzzles in a book, and then submit your answers to a website. The art in the book is fantastic, and the first product is reviewed very highly on Amazon. A unique idea that's pretty well-executed and at a good price for puzzle-hounds.
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*None of the campaigns mentioned here are sponsored or influenced via payment, prize or other means. If we know or have a connection to someone running the campaign, we will mention it in the campaign notes. If there is a campaign you think should be mentioned here, please e-mail us and tell us what makes it special and we'll review!