What’s New Kickstarter??????

And we are back! 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.

We had a small break at the end of last year, for which I can only apologise. However we have a fresh start for 2016, so let us see what the new year brings game-wise.

Let’s see what we have for January!

Karmaka – A tactical card game for 2-4 souls

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eddybox/karmaka-a-tactical-card-game-for-2-4-souls?ref=category_popular

Game by Eddy Boxerman
$36,656 pledged of $20,000 goal
28 Days to go (18/02/2016)

This game really caught my eye. The premise for this is that everyone begins as a Dung Beetle, and you play out each “life” to work your way up the Karmic Ladder to reach Transcendence. Each Life is played using a hand of cards, and players play those cards to reach 3 objectives:

  • Score enough points to climb the Ladder and keep up with your rivals.
  • Stash a good selection of cards to your “Future Life”. This will become your opening hand next life.
  • Play cards for their abilities to help yourself or to hinder others. But what goes around comes around. A key tension in Karmaka is that after playing a card for its ability, a rival may take the card into their Future Life. Your actions may come back to haunt you in the next life…

Note the last point – I *love* this idea. Other games have tried to incorporate a consequences element to a player’s actions, but this one manages to not only add a brilliant tactical element to a fairly simple card game, but it also does it in a way that fits with the context of the whole game.

The artwork looks to be beautiful, with the karmic ladder painted as a twisting vine with a variety of creatures on it all on the path to enlightenment. The cards are wonderfully detailed as well, with even the images of dung beetles rolling dung artfully drawn.

The site has included positive reviews from places like PAX South, and awards from the Boston Festival of Indie Games, so already the game seems like a safe investment.

In fact, for the first time since starting this Kickstarter series – I am so in love with this game I have personally backed it with my own money! So when it comes in expect an excited review in a future post.

Control: A Strategic Card Game

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keymastergames/control-a-strategic-card-game?ref=category_popular

Game by Keymaster Games
$6,479 pledged of $7,500 goal
29 Days to go (19/02/2016)

This game is a quick card game, inspired by titles such as Love Letter (brilliant quick card game), Magic the Gathering and Cuttle. The aim of this combat card game is for players to use Fuel Cells (the cards) to refuel their time machines and to escape the rupture that has trapped them all outside of time.

Games generally run 5-15 minutes so gameplay is extremely quick and easy to learn. On their turn, a player chooses ONE of the following:

  • Draw a card. A player may not draw if they have seven cards in hand.
  • Install a Silver or Bronze Fuel Cell in their area of play. The Fuel Cell Charge on installed cards goes toward a player’s goal of 21 or more to win. Abilities on Silver Fuel Cells are activated when installed.
  • Burn a Bronze Fuel Cell to the discard pile to activate its ability.
  • Defuse an opponent’s fuel cells with a Fuel Cell of your own of equal or higher value.

I generally like quick card games as a rule, and combined with the sci-fi/steampunk-esque artwork I think this game is definitely a winner. The designs on the box make me think of Dr Who and Gallifrey (not a bad thing at all), whilst the artwork on the cards makes me think of the old Sci-fi novels and comics.

The campaign page itself is well done, with clear rules, affordable contributions that will give backers a copy of the game. And they even have a PDF print & play copy of the game available to download. Once again – to be so confident and proud of your idea that you’re willing to let people print it out themselves to play it says wonders.

Definitely one to keep an eye out for!

Dirigible Disaster-A frantic real-time co-op for 2-5 players

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/letimangames/dirigible-disaster-a-frantic-real-time-co-op-for-2?ref=category_popular

Game by Dan Letzring
$9,194 pledged of $8,400 goal
22 Days to go (12/02/2016)

As the title already tells us, Dirigible Disaster is a co-operative boardgame set on an airship. Players must work together to keep the airship afloat during it’s maiden voyage.

Now this is the part that is really interesting; the “flight” consists of 10 1-minute rounds all played in real time. When you watch the example round they have filmed it just goes to show you how quickly the time goes, and just how in-sync the players all need to be in order to get through it and survive. The added difficulty is that players must all take turns one at a time rather than all together, so actions must be swift and a good mixture of proactive and reactive in order to make it through the round.

Now I will admit that the artwork is not the greatest, but in this game that isn’t necessary. The board is a little ugly, but with such innovative gameplay I’m willing to give it a pass.

I think this would be a great game to burn through with a group of friends as a breather between two larger games. Shouting out instructions and actions for each minute round would be the gaming equivalent to a pallet cleansing sorbet after a real meal.

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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The standalone success of Gwent

Gwent was more or less a success in Witcher 3. I never had much interest in dice poker in the last 2 Witcher games and didn’t think much of Gwent when I first started. But like all things once I figured out the rules and started to win I enjoyed the game immensely. In truth i’m not very good at CCG, after suffering a consistent loosing streak in Hearthstone I generally took the approach that card games; where not really my thing. Gwent continued to enforce this decision when I lost the games main card quest, which you can try about half way through the game.

So what are the rules? Gwent is a game where two players try and win 2 out of 3 games. They do this by laying out cards on the table which simulates a battlefield. After a little back and forth one play will decide to pass: either by not having any cards left, or by believing they have the stronger hand to win the round. We then see who has the highest score. The player with the most points on the board at the end of the round takes the point. This simple explanation does the game little credit, but its this basic Idea which makes the game quick to pick up.

gwent-table

You get different card which have different abilities which allows the player to gain additional cards by giving the opposition points, or cards which multiply the players score if they are placed next to each other. All manner of different cards with different abilities are available to the player which can give certain buffs and benefits. But nothing alters the game more than weather cards, which have the ability to reduce a whole section of cards down to one (for example `fog` will reduce your siege line down to 1 point each).

BlizzCon_Elite_Tauren_ChieftanIn my opinion Gwent has all the characteristics to make a good standalone game. It currently stands with a very basic deck, nothing in comparison to the waves of cards that come with hearthstone or other card games of this type. I believe that its relative simplicity could be the key to giving the game some standalone success, personally games like Hearthstone have the issue of overwhelming the user with choice (ironic considering I felt Witcher 3 overwhelmed the user with choice), the learning curve for hearthstone in my opinion is very high and the cards you start with will in no way hep you against a seasoned player. Gwent has a relatively small amount of cards to choose from which will reduce this learning curve. My personal preference would be to alter the game a small amount and give the player all cards from the start moving it away from the collectible card game genera and putting everyone on the same level from the start.

It would be interesting to hear other peoples opinions on what they would do to turn Gwent into a standalone game and hopefully Cd Project Red might help make this a thing.

One of the only outstanding issues I had with Gwent was the lack of any real challenge later on when it came to fighting AI opponents, you could very easily role the same strategy and win almost 9 times out of 10 (…apart from you failed the main Gwent quest, Shut-up) with the introduction of real players we could have a thriving little community.

Unfortunately Gwent is currently stuck in the Witcher, which is a shame as its a game I would like to continue outside of my PC screen and preferably on [INSERT GENERIC TABLET DEVICE HERE].

 

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What’s New Kickstarter??????

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!

Lobotomy Boardgame

Lobotomy Board Game

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1084608523/lobotomy-board-game?ref=category

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.

Kittens Mafia

Kittens Mafia

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1093389193/kittens-mafia?ref=category

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

Dingos Dreams

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/953146955/dingos-dreams-city-of-iron-2nd-edition?ref=category

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

Cultists of Cthulu

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sixpencegames/cultists-of-cthulhu?ref=category

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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