Here is a weekly update for Kickstarter projects worth checking out for the week of May 29th through June 4th. In the description, I will tell you what I think of each project, and why I did or did not back each one.
Death Wish is an interesting game of dark humor. You race to be the first player to die by
contracting various diseases and accumulating skulls. The player who collects ~10 skulls first is the first to die and therefore the winner of the game. This game is unique in its goal, and hits a good level of humor for its subject matter. I don’t necessarily enjoy this type of humor, but for someone who might it could be worth it to back this project. Unfortunately at $29 USD ($35 USD after shipping) for the lowest pledge level, this card game has an unusually high asking price for its simple art design and card-only contents.
Dice of Crowns is where king of the hill meets Yahtzee. Simple by design, this game challenges you to use combos of dice to gain ‘claim tokens’ to become the next in line of succession to the crown. You can also use your dice outcome to keep your opponents from gaining these claim tokens, which adds a bit of strategy through teamwork or betrayal. At $10 USD for the lowest level ($15 USD after shipping), it might hit that sweet spot of cost vs reward.
Clandestinely developed by Lionhead Studio for the past 18 months, this free to play collectible card game uses the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ mechanics of Fable to create interesting game play centered on mid-match decision making to defeat your opponents and complete alternate objectives. As Lionhead was shut down by Microsoft earlier this year, the developers of the game decided to come to Kickstarter to get the funding necessary to finish this project and continue as an independent studio. Many people might be feeling as I do, that any investment into the Fable franchise at this point seems unmerited or a waste of money. This is mainly because Fable is synonymous with Peter Molyneux and his penchant for chicanery. However, I know that this project is not under Mr. Molyneux, nor does it promise a whole lot it doesn’t have alpha footage for. All of that aside, the game looks to play smoothly with a decent art style and unique mechanics. As this is funding a free to play game, any pledge tier nets you extra in game content upon release, as well as physical rewards at higher tiers.
If you need quality metal fantasy themed coins for a tabletop roleplaying game (such as the upcoming coin-centric Crucible), this project may offer a fairly affordable option. Several European and historical fantasy themed coin sets such as Draconic, Orc or Dwarven are offered with various denominations available as well. The lowest pledge level is $15 USD (before shipping) for 30 coins, which is honestly cheaper than many metal fantasy coin collections I have found.
Moonlighter is one of those video games that exploded onto Kickstarter. Within 2 days, this project met its $40,000 funding goal, and with good reason. The people who make up the development studio, Digital Sun Games, all have various levels of experience in the industry, and the game play on their project page showcases a love for detailed pixel art and interesting game mechanics. What most probably attracted many people to this project was its mechanic of owning and managing a shop, while dungeon diving for unique weapons and artifacts in your spare time. Each of these mechanics furthers the goals of the other. Hopefully this, combined with the character progression and plot keep the backers playing the game well after release. At $15 USD for the lowest pledge level, this game seems well worth it if the final product is able to live up to everything they promise. My only real concern is the almost wholly white or light-skinned cast I’ve seen in the footage available for this game, and if you choose not to back this game because of it, I certainly don’t blame you. Let’s hope that projects in this studios’ future are a lot more diverse.
This project by Bitmap Books bring you the fourth installation in a series of compendiums about retro video game consoles. It’s a simple coffee table book with various facts and images about the Famicom/NES that looks great and is sure to entertain your guests. At around $50 USD for a softcover and $65 USD for a hardcover (both with shipping included), this book is a bit on the pricey side for what amounts to a decoration, but if it’s something you’ve been wanting, the team’s successful past Kickstarter projects should be indication enough of the quality.
Subtle Much is an add-on meta game for just about any other game you might own. It is a set of cards that gives you alternate objectives to complete throughout your time playing the primary game. Whoever completes the most objectives wins the match of Subtle Much. There is an interesting mechanic where other players can call you out on your objective, which stops you from earning points, and adds a layer of challenge. This seems like a very interesting idea for a game, and might very well add some thrill to your base game until your players become savvy on the different objectives that there are to complete. At $25 USD (including shipping) I cannot justify buying this frankly lackluster game to add to my library despite its interesting premise.
Summit is an interesting competitive board game where the goal is to climb up and then down an obstacle covered mountain before your opponents. The size of the game board seems to lend itself to many configurations of the obstacles, which adds to replayability, and the game pieces seem to be of fairly high quality. All in all, this seems like a very fun party game, and certainly worth it’s lowest pledge level of $38 USD (shipping included).
This game pits you against several other players to see who can invest the best in railroad companies and make the most from their stock portfolio. There are many ways to increase the worth of each company’s shares to become the wisest investor such as adding cities to the train route, or increasing its total distance. Trick of the Rails is a fast-paced game of fierce competition which will be a welcome addition to my collection. At only $16 USD (including shipping), its a steal.
Non-Gaming projects worth mentioning:
Pebble watches were some of the very first smart watches ever made, and they have one of the largest communities of users to date. With an e-paper display and battery life of up to seven days, the Pebble 2 is a bargain at $109 USD (after shipping) if you back their Kickstarter now. They also offer a premium watch with a color screen and a battery life of up to ten days for $179 USD (after shipping), if that is something you’d like. This smart watch is likely the highest quality you’ll get at this price point, and works with all android or iOS devices without the need of a carrier.
If any of these projects pique your interest, I highly recommend checking them out for yourself. Even backing a project at a $1 level helps to encourage the creators to continue their dream, and gets them that much closer to their goal.
*=Projects that I have backed.