Tabletop Kickstarter Spotlight – November 2015

Tabletop Kickstarter Spotlight – November 2015

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.

Endure the Stars

by Grimlord Games


Endure the Stars is a strategic tabletop title that’s likely to appeal more to the core than casual boardgame crowd. However, its impressive quality and thoughtful, complex design means that its appeal for the core market is likely going to be very high – it certainly caught my attention! In Endure the Stars, 1-5 players assume the roles of the surviving crew members of the N.W.E Hikari spaceship. On their quest to expand human civilization on an interplanetary scale, mankind has engaged in experiments aiming to create lifeforms capable of exploring frontier planets safely. These secret experimentations, which were conducted by scientists aboard exploratory vessels, are called Genetically Engineered Planetary Explorer Candidates, or GEPs. However, things have gone horribly awry, and the Hikari’s crew must now fight to salvage and survive – trapped aboard the Hikari by the GEPs.

The game features five different characters classes – Captain, Medic, Psychic, Marine, and Engineer, all of which have been brought beautifully to life via concept art and miniatures, and each of which possesses three unique abilities. Each player has a ‘Resolve’ stat, as well as hit points, meaning that monitoring your character’s mental health is just as important as physical. The game’s board consists of nine modular tiles, which can be used to construct a large variety of different maps. The game also features ‘Event’ cards, which represent various calamities that take place as the neglected Hikari continues to decay throughout the game. The gameplay of Endure the Stars looks to be on the same kind of level in terms of difficulty and complexity as XCOM: The Board Game, but with significant RPG-board game influence, that can be found in such titles as HeroQuest and Dungeons & Dragons: The Temple of Elemental Evil. A high investment title, but one that looks to be worth your time and money.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Blade and Brush

by Arcana Games

Blade and Brush is a party-style, quick and intriguing tabletop game in which players must construct haikus in order to win. At the beginning of the game, each player chooses from one of the twenty beautifully illustrated character cards and composes a haiku that describes what their character is about. Then, each round, one player – known as The Guide – picks a card from the deck of Dilemma Cards. This will contain a haiku that depicts a problem. Each player must then compose another haiku to describe how their character would deal with this situation. The Guide will then decide which haiku is best, based on any criteria they prefer, and that player will win the round. Blade and Brush features a, now extremely common, Cards Against Humanity style of play, but its endearing art – clearly inspired by the Avatar television series and the films of Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbour Totoro), and the spin of rewarding creative skill, rather than skill in choosing the most profane card from amongst your hand, feels refreshing. Blade and Brush can be played with 3 – 8 players and games take 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the size of your group.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Cattle Battle

by Melchior Schöller

If there’s one thing I know about popular, Euro-designed card games from the ’80s, it’s that they all have fantastic, fun base mechanics, which is why I couldn’t pass up Cattle Battle. The gameplay of Cattle Battle features two phases. The first is The Auctions, during which players take turns to draw animal cards, which are then auctioned off. Each player starts with an even amount of money cards and your end goal is to collect as many completed animal families as possible in order to score points, meaning you must strive to buy low and sell high. Once all cards have been drawn and auctioned, the second phase, The Battles, begins. In this phase, you bluff and barter with other players in order to collect the animal cards you need to complete your collections. Simple, yet delicious fun. Cattle Battle features a colourful, minimalist aesthetic that was designed using cut-out paper prototypes, creating a crafty, zany look.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Draconis Invasion

by Jonathan Jeffrey Lai

The story behind this strategic, deck-building card game feels pretty stock standard. In the “dynamic, medieval, fantasy world” of Draconis Invasion, you take on the role of a noble hero, employed by the king to defeat the “malevolent armies of Draconis” who are edging their way into your kingdom, bringing death, doom, and destruction down upon the populace. However, Draconis Invasion’s campaign clearly demonstrates that the game has been thoughtfully made by someone who loves deck building games and was keen to put their own spin on the genre, and also bring a really quality product to the public. The game features plenty of variety. Each player is dealt campaign cards, which contain secret missions through which they may earn extra glory points. There are events, two tiers of enemy difficulty, over three-hundred cards included in the base game and an interesting ‘Terror’ mechanic. In fact, game creator Jeff Lai has created a short video to explain the key points of what makes Draconis Invasion different from other deck building card games, along with providing a succinct summary of these features at the Kickstarter page. However, all this depth and variety does not seem to come at the cost of needless complexity. Draconis Invasion is semi-cooperative – you work to defeat a common foe, but each player is individually awarded glory points, and whoever has the most at the end of the game wins. This, plus the fact that the number of glory points each player has is not revealed until the very end of the game, indicates that Draconis Invasion will be a tense, strategic, and fun deck-builder.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

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Since first travelling to Japan at the age of fifteen, most of my life has revolved around trying to learn Japanese, and unravel the mysteries of the country’s culture. Gaming ranks just behind this obsession. I enjoy video games – particularly RPGs and Strategy – but my main interest is in tabletop role playing games and board games. Writing ranks third – luckily I get plenty of opportunities to write about Japan and games, so it all works out.

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