Ahoy, gang! The dog days of summer are almost upon us here in the northern hemisphere, and despite all the outdoorsiness that’s happening, I’m still getting some time in for gaming and gaming-related shtuff. I know it’s more of a true miniatures game than a ‘tabletop’ game, but I’ve been playing a ton of the new Necromunda lately. I feel like a kid again, sending my gang across catwalks to shoot up their rivals. In fact, I”ve spent so much money on the Necromunda reboot, that I haven’t been backing many Kickstarter games. HOWEVER. I have been following quite a few (I can look, can’t I?), and I wanted to share with you guys some of the ones to watch this month. So without further ado, here’s June’s Kickstarter Roundup!
1. Art Deck: A Collaborative Drawing Game
This is one of those delicious party games that really shines when you’re with a group of your closest friends – similar to boozy titles like Cards Against Humanity. In Art Deck, you and up to five other players receive cards that instruct you what to draw and how to draw it. The catch is, everyone is drawing on the same sheet of paper. You might draw a face that you think is your greatest masterpiece, only to have your cousin Ronda draw squiggly lines all over it. I’m always intrigued by innovative party games like Art Deck, because when you play as many games as I do, there are very few that seem fresh and exciting. (There’s nothing wrong with adaptations and iterations! I just love it when something truly special comes along.) The best part about Art Deck is how the game ends. Each player receives a “Signature” card that they can play whenever it’s their turn. When you play it, you sign the collaborative artwork, and that’s it – it’s done. The artwork belongs to you, and you get to keep it. At the end of the game, whoever owns the ‘best’ artwork wins. I’m excited to see Art Deck funded already on Kickstarter – if it sounds like something you’d be into, be sure to check it out.
2. Dream Askew // Dream Apart
I rarely feature roleplaying games on the blog – it’s not that I don’t like or play my fair share of roleplaying games. I just try to maintain focus on ‘tabletop’ titles. But I’m breaking my own rule for Dream Askew & Dream Apart – two roleplaying games that look downright phenomenal. Dream Askew is about an enclave of queer folks who are surviving and thriving after a post-apocalyptic collapse of civilization. It promises “ruined buildings, haunted faces, strange new psychic powers, fierce queer love, and turbulent skies.” Um, yes. Sign me up! Dream Apart takes on a different angle, but still focused on outsiders. It takes place in a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe – and from the Kickstarter description, boasts “demons and wedding jesters; betrothals and pogroms; mystical ascensions and accusations of murder; rabbi’s daughters running away to be actresses or bandits or boy soldiers; the sounds of the shofar ringing through cramped and muddy streets, of cannon fire, of the wolf’s footfalls in the snowy pine forest…” I’m a bit of a sucker for unique worldbuilding in my roleplaying games, so it’s not shocking to me that I’m so smitten by Dream Askew and Dream Apart. Oh, and did I mention how great the artwork for these games looks? Here’s a taste – you’re welcome.
Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page for these amazingly fresh roleplaying games.
3. Goblin Grapple
I hadn’t heard much about this game prior to it going live on Kickstarter, and I was happily surprised when I checked it out! Goblin Grapple takes the reins from classic games like War and Stratego, and gives them a fresh coat of polish and a whole lot more meat. Players have a hand of Goblin cards which they use to build an army, challenge their opponents, and score points in combat. Each Goblin has its own strength and abilities, similar to the soldiers in Stratego. There’s an element of secrecy in Goblin Grapple, too, because players build their armies by placing their Goblin cards face-down. The Rules Girl has a pretty great (and snappy) video explaining the gameplay of Goblin Grapple! I also just adore the artwork for this game. It’s just tongue-in-cheek enough, and just dark enough to appeal to younger gamers, as well as more ‘serious’ gamers – a fine line to walk, but Goblin Grapple does it well. If you have as many memories pulling that old, musty Stratego box from the closet of a grandparent’s house as I do, be sure to check out Goblin Grapple on Kickstarter for a fresh take!
4. Heroes of Land, Air & Sea (2nd Printing and Pestilence)
Y’all. It’s here. If you live under a rock, you might have missed Heroes of Land, Air & Sea the first time around. This is THE 4x game to have in your collection, imho, and it’s become quite a phenomenon in and of itself. This campaign reprints the acclaimed game – and also allows you to get your hands on the all-new Pestilence expansion. For those of you not in the know (sorry to barge into your under-rock dwelling and solicit my wares), Heroes of Land, Air & Sea pits you and your opponents head-to-head in a war to build your army, amass and manage resources, wage battle, conquer territory, grow, and destroy. One of the best aspects of Heroes is how it manages to capture the feel of a real time strategy video game – something that’s so, so difficult for board games to do.
I won’t go on to list all the amazing components the game comes with, but instead just highlight a few and let you guys check out the entire game for yourselves – because this game is massive! Not only do you get over 40 awesome miniatures, structures, and boats, but some of them also hail from two brand new factions – Birdfolk, and Merfolk! Go check out the Kickstarter page for Heroes of Land, Air & Sea for yourself – old veterans of the game, and newcomers alike. You won’t be disappointed.
5. Vast: The Mysterious Manor
From Leder Games (the makers of Root and Vast: The Crystal Caverns), comes this amazing and downright charming adventure game. Vast: The Mysterious Manor follows Leder’s philosophy of asymmetrical gameplay – something that’s difficult to pull off – but something that Leder does a fantastic job at. In Vast: The Mysterious Manor, you and up to four friends make your way into a spooky haunted house. But, of course, this is no ordinary adventure in a haunted house… that would be too expected. Instead, players will choose between the Paladin, the Skeletons, the Spider, the Enchanter, or the spirit of the Manor itself. Each role has its own actions, objectives, and completely different way of playing the game. I’m so excited for this game – if it’s anything like Root in its beautiful asymmetry, then The Mysterious Manor will be a game at the top of my collection. Check it out on Kickstarter now, and do yourself a favor and check out Leder’s other fantastic games as well!
Villagers is a small box with a lot of punch and appeal. It’s a tableau-building card drafting game, somewhat similar in its mechanics to favorites like Sushi Go Party and Machi Koro – except this one boasts a solo play mode in addition to competitive play! In Villagers, you’ll have to recruit colorful characters to build a prospering settlement. You’ve got to attract the right people to produce a burgeoning economy, all while balancing your food production and capacity. This game looks downright beautiful, featuring bold and vivid artwork of all the villagers. In the solo mode, “a lone village must prosper against the machinations of the very ill-tempered Countess.” If you like smaller games, or just want to add one to your collection, be sure to check out Villagers on Kickstarter!
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky!