Published on October 1st, 2014 | by Luke Turpeinen0
October 2014 Kickstarter Updates
Today we have another round of board game Kickstarter projects that are active and waiting for your help to get funded! Like always, click on the title of the game to get to the project’s Kickstarter page. If you’d like us to feature your Kickstarter in a future article, please use our Contact Page.
This casual card game is right up our alley! You play as goblins fighting over breakfast food while trying to eat as much as you can. It sounds like the goblins took a cue from Ron Swanson:
I like food, I love manic goblins and casual card games are a great way to start off a night. The art is great, I love the comic book style to the game- it reminds me of the Pathfinder goblins in a lot of ways, which is a good thing. Also, at $16 for the full game, including stretch goals, this is a great deal. If nothing else it will make a great stocking stuffer for the gamer in your life.
The game High Speed Rail doesn’t have a lot of new game play ideas, as it mostly works as a cross between Carcassone and Ticket to Ride. The art is okay, but the photos aren’t at a consistent contrast and there is a lack of visual elements to tie the various cards together. That said, I was really impressed by High Speed Rail’s Kickstarter campaign.
The game itself is probably fun, especially for gamers who like tile placement or casual games, but what most caught my eye were the varied reward tiers. High Speed Rail has no less than six different reward tiers just to get a copy of the base game at different levels of quality. If you only want to spend $15 you can get a game with the transparent tiles printed on to overhead projector sheets that you have to cut out. The tiers go all the way up to $150 for a 30″ x 42″ play mat with glass tiles.
Projects on Kickstarter would do well to pay attention to business models like this. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to buy a game but the cost was too high because of all the minis involved. Having an option to buy that game with cardboard cutouts instead would be amazing! By creating differently priced tiers for different levels of quality, you can really open up your market. Who knows, maybe people who buy in at an economy price might buy a standard quality version from you later!
I really love classic card games. Maybe its because I was taught how to play Rummy, Cribbage, Hearts and Pinochle at a fairly early age and later grew fond of Bridge. All Hands on Deck is a Rummy style game that is about getting a winning hand and then declaring “All Hands on Deck!” and forcing everyone else to reveal their hands. The rules are easy to learn, the art is a great cartoony pirate style and the special action cards should help the game retain replay value. At $25 it’s still on the low end of the price spectrum as well.
The idea behind this game is very well done, and the different reward levels are well executed. King Down is based off of chess and can use a chess board and pieces to be played. For $18 you can get the rules, and card packs that allow you to use any chess set immediately to play the game. While this assumes you own a chess set, that’s not an unreasonable item to assume gamers have. If you don’t, then cheap ones are available at many stores new (and they’re easy to find used as well).
If instead you want to go all out and drop $40 on the King Down then you get a host of custom minis that represent the various factions in the game. The sculpts are different for each of the four factions, they aren’t just re-cast in different colors, and the design of the characters is spot on. What a great way to bridge the familiar with the new!
I don’t usually recommend minis games for the Kickstarter Updates because I generally feel that their cost is prohibitive to many and the price point would only be acceptable for a portion of our readership. With Galactic Arena that is not as much of an issue. As with High Speed Rail there are multiple versions of the game that you can buy, depending on your interest in plastic figures. You can get the game, minus figures, for $47 after shipping or $77 if you like minis.
The setting and art for Galactic Arena is kind of a space opera, with techno-romans, robot centaurs and alien lizard people. The story doesn’t seem too deep but the minis are fine looking and the character portraits are interesting looking. I appreciate the space opera setting, and I’m glad to see more non-fantasy settings.
Glorantha is an old fantasy roleplaying game, one of my favorites, and supposedly the setting is about as old that of Dungeons & Dragons though the game itself came afterwards. What makes Glorantha different from D&D roleplaying is its focus on myth and religion in the setting, and a focus on archetypal cultural groups (the anarchist, hunter-gatherer, hill people who worship the stone god oppose the imperialistic, agricultural, valley people who worship the sun and moon).
You DO need the 13th Age main book to play, as this is a supplement, not a stand alone product. $25 gets you the PDF and $50 gets you the hardcover printed version, which seems pretty steep to me. I am almost universally unwilling to pay for a PDF that costs over $10- I just can’t justify spending more than that on a digital book.
Likewise, $50 seems like a lot to ask for a single RPG book. I understand that Print On Demand books cost more because there is no economy of scale, and if that’s what I was buying than $50 would seem reasonable to me. If their print scale can’t make these books for cheaper then they should have made their initial goal higher to account for a larger volume that would have driven down costs- or taken less of a cut for their profits.
Kobold Press’ recent Pathfinder source book details the Southlands- a land of deserts and jungles, ruins of forgotten kingdoms and modern empires. The Southlands has a nice mix of influences, from the Golden Age of Islam to Ancient Egypt and Eastern Africa. While I tend to think of the Arabian Nights tales and Egyptian mythology as two entirely different things, that doesn’t need to be the case and the setting looks well thought out. I like that there was a focus on creating a world that is non-European fantasy, but still based in real world cultures, stories and myths.
What we can see of the art from the Kickstarter also looks incredible and is a huge selling point by itself. Let’s hope we continue to see more RPG books that focus on exploring fantasy elements from cultures that haven’t been rehashed by D&D forever (I was going to make a comment about Al-Qadim here but then I realized that the author of Al-Qadim is also a writer for some of the add-ons included in the Kickstarter- Jeff Grubb). I’m glad to know that there are authors and publishers who understand that #WeNeedDiverseGames.
Hey, remember three months ago when Ubisoft, the makers of Assassin’s Creed, said there were no female characters in their upcoming game because of “production costs“? Remember how well that went over? Apparently the makers of Fantasy Adventure Meeples never got that memo, because they just pulled that same card in their Kickstarter page. Just claiming that you aren’t “those guys” doesn’t make you not “those guys”.