Crowdfunding is great – a way for creatives to avoid the hassle of publishing companies and other bureaucratic obstacles, instead simply making what they want and delivering it to fans. And I am not the only one who thinks so. Over the last few years, the crowdfunding phenomenon has exploded, with sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Pozible becoming flooded with projects. To help you wade through this flood, I will share with you my pickings from the Tabletop section of Kickstarter, in the hope of providing an interesting and varied sample of projects you may find exciting.
Game of Blame
by Richard Wolfrik Galland
Game of Blame touts itself as ‘A cunning, confrontational card game for aspiring Tudors, Borgias and Lannisters’ – a fitting tagline for a game which looks as though it emulates what would happen if you found yourself in the unfortunate job of royal adviser to Queenie, from Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder II. The game’s premise is simple – you’ve recently been appointed royal adviser to the queen, but she is a generally furious person as her realm is in a perpetual state of chaos, and she needs someone to blame for the mess. Each player chooses a role – Viceroy, Spymaster, Archbishop, General, Treasurer or Wizard – and draws a hand of cards. Cards which have an emblem matching your role are your responsibility, and thus your goal is to get rid of them. During your turn, you may play between one and three issue cards, or play none and draw three cards. The number of cards you play triggers certain events – for example, if you play no cards you must draw 3, or if you play 1 card, you must draw 1. The game ends when the draw pile is empty, and the player with the least amount of points is the winner! The gameplay of this title looks pleasantly reminiscent of some of my favourite traditional card games (President and Shithead are some that come to mind) but with thoughtful, creative additions to the mechanics.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for court intrigue.
by Jordan Draper
Players take on the role of architects, competing to complete projects and earn more yen than their opponents. The game begins with all site cards being laid out in a grid, according to which Tokyo neighbourhood they belong to. It’s obvious that the game’s creator, Jordan Draper, has a passion for Japanese culture and architecture, as the names of the neighbourhoods and architects are not the only inclusion of Japanese culture in this game. To begin each round, the rules explain that you should say ‘hajimeyo’ (let’s go!), and ‘owari’ (literally ‘the end’) when your building is complete. Each round begins with each player choosing a building site. Then, all players build simultaneously, and the first to complete their building to its set parameters is paid for their work, keeping the site card in victory. Play continues until any player has completed four sites. Yen is totaled, and the player with the most, wins!
There are so many things I love about Jutaku – the tiny, compact box and components, the simplicity in concept and design, the Japanese cultural influence, the real-time competitive element of gameplay and, perhaps most of all, the fact that you get to build tiny architectural masterpieces using miniature building blocks. What’s not to love?
by Monocle Society
I was actually toying around making a game with a moving grid mechanic recently, so I was pleasantly surprised to see its successful inclusion in a family friendly game such as this. Dozen’s Donuts definitely leans more towards the ‘family’ than the ‘strategy’ side of the tabletop game spectrum, but a title that does a great and polished job of innovating a classic family game is a great achievement. The less time spent sitting around in awkward silence following family dinner gatherings, and the more time spent playing board games, the better!
by Gonzalo Aquirre Bisi
Traits, or Virtues and Vices are represented by cards, and a game of Overseers consists of 3 rounds. Each round has 3 stages. In the first, drafting phase each player is dealt six cards. Each player will choose one card from their hand to keep and then pass the rest of their hand along. When each player is down to only 2 cards they will choose one to keep and the other will be discarded. Similarly to Sushi Go, different cards grant points in different ways. Some work in tandem with others to score combo points, while others have special effects which activate during later stages of the game.
Next, is the judgement stage. All players place their cards in front of them with 2 face-down and 3 face-up. Players discuss and decide who they think has the strongest combination of cards based on the visible information and then vote according to their opinions. The voted player can either admit or deny their strength (regardless of the truth). If they admit, they must discard 2 cards. The final stage is the Showdown, where everyone reveals all their cards. If you were voted, but denied having the most points, you automatically must discard your two highest scoring cards. If you weren’t lying, you get to take an extra card from the discard. These are the base stages of play. Others would then occur depending on which Overseer characters are in play.
Overseers has a beautiful art style, highly reminiscent of the work of Alphonse Mucha, and it’s mechanics look to be a great blend of strategy and social bluffing. If you’re a fan of Entropy, Sushi Go, or Love Letter, it’s likely you would enjoy Overseers.