It’s that time again! Here is another installment in the “WNK” series (and yes, I can see what the initials sound like…). In this series I browse Kickstarter on a monthly basis and pull out a couple of games (mainly board games) that really catch my eye. So lets see what we have for August!
Game by TitanforgeGames
$145,188 pledged of $40,000 goal
20 Days to go (31/08/2015)
Instantly by looking at the amount already pledged we can see that this is one popular game. Set in a Psychiatric hospital, players are inmates who are looking to escape, fighting off monsters both real and imaginary whilst recovering memories that unlock new skills and powers. It is a co-op horror game for up to 5 players, with dungeon-crawling and roguelike mechanics.
If I’m honest, the first thing I saw when I watched the video was that the setup seemed very much a mash-up of “Last Night on Earth” (with the modular boards and miniature hoards to fight off) and Arkham Horror (with the card options, Monster choices – they even have an expansion that’s unashamedly Lovecraft). At first this didn’t really impress me much, as we’ve seen these ideas before and the horror setting of a psychiatric hospital seemed as cliche as a Haunted House (although there are games that pull off that incredibly well – I’m of course referring to Betrayal).
However I thought I would look a little deeper into the Kickstarter to see what the fuss is about, and they have pulled together a very professional-looking and slick game. The miniatures and cards are all done incredibly well, and the boards are very well designed. I do also like the idea that the longer the game goes on and the more insane your characters get, you get the opportunity to find out character memories which in turn unlock new powers and abilities. At the time of writing this they had yet to upload any video showing a breakdown of the gameplay with some example rounds, and I think that is a real shame. Especially since they are asking the astounding price of $85 as their lowest donation tier. In my opion that is way too high for their first tier, they’ve instantly cut off people who might want to back it but can’t afford nearly £100 to blow on a game that hasn’t even been released yet. What makes it worse though is that despite forking over that amount of money, they THEN expect you to pay shipping if you live outside the US! I’ve seen other Kickstarter campaigns with games just as detailed that ask for half of that for a copy of their game for backers – so I have no idea why they think they can justify this kind of ask for their cheapest backers. This is a massive disappointment for me, but clearly I am the only person who feels this way though, since all 200 slots in this tier have been taken. Still, I think I might keep my eye out to see the playthrough when it is uploaded, and maybe then I’ll see why it’s worth that kind of money.
Game by Matt Delekta
$2,638 pledged of $12,000 goal
17 Days to go (28/08/2015)
Have you ever heard of the game Werewolf? If you have, then consider this a kitty-themed spin-off. If not, then read on!
Kitty Mafia / Werewolf is a game where the group of players are split into two teams; in this game, the teams are the townspeople and the mafia. During the day, the citizens (plus hidden mafia players) all talk together and try to find out who the mafia are. Everyday someone is chosen and they are then executed. At night, the mafia nominate someone to be murdered. The game continues until either all the townsfolk are dead or all the Mafia have been eliminated. That’s the game in a nutshell.
So how does this game differ from Werewolf? It’s all about the add-ons – some of the character cards come with special abilities (the Kitten angel protects one innocent against the mafia at night, the cop cat can ask questions to try and narrow down the mafia members etc.). There are also Action cards, advanced character cards (creating double agents), and global action cards.
I’m a cat person, so anything cat related will generally get my attention. However, it has cute artwork and is a cheap little card game; the lowest tier is for $20 and that includes shipping for Europe of the Basic set. If you want the Advanced set, that’s only another $15 – which compared to the previous game I mentioned is chump change. If you’re new to pledging in Kickstarter, I recommend this as a little taster pledge – it’s cute, simple and will give you material rewards for very little contribution. Overall not a bad option.
Dingo’s Dreams + City of Iron 2nd Edition
Game by Ryan Laukat
$14,606 pledged of $15,000 goal
20 Days to go (31/08/2015)
Dingo’s Dreams is a family tile game for 2-4 players. Each player competes to be the first to successfully guide his animal through the dream world by revealing tiles and shifting rows and columns of tiles in order to try and find the tile that matches the goal.
The artwork for this game is wonderful and creates a world that suits the dreamy, simplistic aesthetic the game puts across. Each tile setting has a mystical quality, and the animals are quite cute and happy. The mechanics seem pretty straightforward, so definitely one for families to play together. It also has the option to up the difficulty once you’ve mastered the basics (though I’m not entirely sure how). It’s unfortunate that the page doesn’t include a video showing this game in action, however for just $16 (and whatever shipping costs), I think it’s a risk worth taking.
This Kickstarter also includes the option to back the 2nd Edition of an already existing game – City of Iron.
In City of Iron, 2-4 players take on the role of leaders of one of four nations who all compete to become the most powerful and influential. From what I can gather it seems to combine the conquering aspects of Risk with the resource collecting from Catan, and then adding a deck-building element for good measure.
This version includes updated Graphics (similar in style to Dingo’s Dreams), a revised game board and rule book, new variants, new citizens – basically it looks like they’ve completely redone it. And from what is shown on the Kickstarter it looks to be the right decision. The graphics look stunning, with detailed character cards and resource cards. They’ve also included a link to a dropbox which contains a pdf copy of the amended rules – giving backers the chance to read through it and get to grips with the game. We all know by now, this kind of trust and confidence with backers is something I like.
You can just purchase this game if you pledge $42 (plus shipping), but to be honest I would just go ahead and spend the extra $10 and go for the tier that lets you buy both. It still works out cheaper than Lobotomy (no I’m not over that yet), and you get 2 games! Why wouldn’t you?! Out of the artwork I have seen for this month’s selection, this Kickstarter has got to be my favourite. It reminds me of the kind of art used for Dixit, and that is a beautiful card/storytelling game.
Cultists of Cthulu
Game by Sixpence Games
$34,345 pledged of $35,000 goal
23 Days to go (03/09/2015)
Cultists of Cthulu is set at the Miskatonic University. Players must work together to fix the Elder Sign that hangs over the university in an attempt to stop a portal opening and revealing a path for eldritch horrors. The twist is that one of the players is actually a cultist trying to kill the other players and keep the portal open.
The box contains: Map tiles for creating the map, Events, tokens, cards, 4 Scenarios, a rule book, and a free 15 minute mp3 of original theme music (bit of a nice touch). Each game is between 45 minutes – 3 hours of play with around 10 minutes of setup time.
This game makes me think of 2 of my favourite games: Arkham Horror (naturally, even the cover looks similar), and Betrayal at the House on the Hill. The game has all the elements I love – tile boards create variety, the millions of cards and dice that you need to discover the items needed to close gates, and of course the betrayal element. Since the cultist chooses when to reveal themselves, you never know who is going to suddenly spin round and try to murder you – so you have to work together, but with the element of mistrust! Perfect in the Cthulu mythos.
The videos are a bit of a letdown for this game though. The designer comes across a little awkward, forgetting his words when talking to the camera, slow gameplay and drawn out discussions on the example – choppy editing with a separate introduction because the gameplay video missed the first 6 minutes of play. It doesn’t make me overly confident that these guys know what they are doing, which is a shame because the game itself is such a great concept. I do like the inclusion of a timelapse showing how easy it is to create different map layouts using the tiles – not only does it show how quickly you can set up the game, but it’s also good inspiration for players.
I think this Kickstarter page could have been put together a little better – the layout is completely wrong, with reviews coming before the designer playtest and the detailed list of components and game features; Superfluous information is included, such as recommended reading (lets be honest here, it will be Cthulu fans that buy this game, so a list of Cthulu books is definitely not needed); and only a very small paragraph under risks and challenges which essentially says “we’ve made one game before, so we know what we’re doing.”
Despite all of that however, I think it is a good game idea. Cthulu games are popular, and this is one that you can clearly see was created with a love and passion for the theme. The characters are all fleshed out, the designs are all well thought out, and at $60 including shipping it isn’t that bad a price for the game. If you like Lovecraftian horror, this is definitely one for you.
Go look at these games that I’ve suggested. In fact – if you do, make sure to comment below letting me know whether they managed to convince you to go post them some money.
If you spot anything you want me to look into, be sure to let us know in the comments!
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