Tabletop Kickstarter Spotlight – September 2015

Tabletop Kickstarter Spotlight – September 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.

Cogs in a Machine

by Mikeware

In this push-your-luck style dice game, players take on the role of gnomes, eager to complete the day’s work by collecting five valuable Components. It was the slick and professional look of Cogs in a Machine that first grabbed my attention, and the interesting spins it applies to the press-your-luck genre that made me stay. The game features two different resources – Cogs and Teeth. Players begin their turn by rolling 6 dice, one of which will be unique to the gnome you are playing. Your rolls earn you cogs, teeth, and potential re-rolls. Both currencies can be used to purchase the Components you need to win the game. It is cheaper to purchase some components using Cogs, but when you choose to use this currency you must feed them to the central ‘machine’, creating a potential opportunity for other players to benefit from them during later turns, which adds a fresh element of strategy to the push-your-luck genre. A game of Cogs in a Machine goes for around 30 minutes, and the game can be played either in teams or ‘every gnome for themselves’, making it suitable for a wide variety groups.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game

by Tristan Hall

Gloom of Kilforth looks to be the work of a designer who clearly knows their stuff, at least so far as fantasy tabletop games go. A wealth of games are cited as inspiration, including Dungeons and Dragons, Runebound, Talisman, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Arkham HorrorDefenders of the Realm, and LOTR: The Card Game, and this wealth of knowledge and love for tabletop gaming experiences clearly shows in the thoughtfulness of Kilforth’s design. A lot of things impress me about this project, prime among them being the amazing high fantasy art (by Ania Kryczkowska), the modular nature of the game’s components, the soundtrack (which is included with the game), and the fact that it can be played cooperatively, competitively, or even solo. Played over 25 in-game days, players have action points equal to their health and take turns to choose from a list of nine actions each day. Play takes 50 minutes per player, and the game supports up to four. Gloom of Kilforth is a meaty but delightful looking dark fantasy board/role playing game hybrid, which looks highly customisable and more accessible than traditional role-playing games.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Less – Like Chess but Less!

by Invented4

Less is an innovative, abstract strategy board game that seems determined to reinvent the genre, and is well-set on the path to achieving just that. The Less board consists simply of nine modular tiles, which apparently provide over 100,000 possible games, as well as 4 wooden playing pieces for each of the 2 players. The entire thing fits in a box that looks roughly the size of 2 decks of playing cards. Unlike chess, Less aims to be quick to learn and easy to play. The aim of the game is to be the first player to move all 4 of your pieces into your opponent’s corner. Each player has 3 moves per turn and pieces may jump over opponent’s pieces or even over walls – although the latter costs extra moves. Playing with 4 players requires more tiles, expanding the board to a 4×4, rather than 3×3 grid. This theoretically requires two copies of the game, although, as all backers from the lowest reward tier upwards receive a print and play copy of the game, any backer could easily print the extra tiles required. Less is one of those trendy ‘micro’ games that we seem to be seeing more and more of with every month of projects, but one that looks extremely promising. I am excited to experience the gameplay myself and discover whether the deep strategy characteristic of chess and checkers has truly been achieved in Less. 

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 


by Patrick Leder

At first, Trove seems like a fairly typical fantasy tabletop experience – until you learn that rather than playing 4 adventurers journeying into a cave in order to defeat hordes of goblins and a dragon, the 4 players take on different roles. One plays the Knight, another Hordes of Goblins, another the Dragon, and the final player gets to play as The Cave itself. Each ‘faction’ has a different goal to achieve, and unique abilities to help them achieve that goal. On top of this, Trove’s components seem thoughtfully designed, gameplay is between 60 and 90 minutes, and the board is modular, pretty much a standard expectation in adventure board games today, but nevertheless an excellent feature. Trove can also be played with 2 or 3 players – in which case some players will be tasked with taking on more than one role. The game’s visuals are cartoonish and adorable, and the goals given to each role differ considerably – they certainly aren’t just ‘flavour’ or ‘fluff’. The Knight must slay the Dragon, the Dragon must escape the Cave, the Goblins must kill the Knight and the Cave must magically expand and then collapse upon the other players. A full print-and-play of the game in its current version is available for download, and the final print quality looks highly impressive. Trove looks to be an extremely professionally designed and produced board game that puts interesting twists on the fantasy board game genre.

Read more or back this project on Kickstarter 

Next in Command

by TAJ Games

I must admit, the heavy inspiration Star Trek has obviously provided for space-themed party game Next in Command was a big part of the appeal for me. Players are all competing to prove themselves the most worthy candidate for the position of Captain aboard an exploratory space vessel. Competency is proven by solving problems that arise either aboard the ship, in space, or while exploring alien planets. Each turn, somebody reads a new problem and each player must use one of their available solution cards to come up with a convincing explanation as to why their item would provide the most useful solution in this instance. Once everyone has explained themselves, all players vote for the solution they believe most convincing. This player receives a ‘promotion’, and whoever receives the most promotions by the end of the game wins. While the base concept of this 3-7 player party game takes obvious inspiration from successful titles such as Cards Against Humanity and Balderdash, the theme seems strong enough to create fun, new gameplay – especially if you are a fan of the sci-fi genre.

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.
  • Dave C Haldane

    Cogs in a Machine sounds damn interesting! 🙂
    Gloom of Kilforth looks interesting but potentially confusing.
    Less – I don’t even understand how this can be remotely compared to chess.
    Trove just looks astounding. I guess that’s reflected with their already achieving 400% of goal right? 🙂
    I love the idea of Next in Command but hope it gets some nicer cards. The black/white “Cards Against Humanity” look just doesn’t feel right for a space game 🙂

    • Dave C Haldane

      Not sure how they plan to address this but the transparency of solutions in Next in Command could prove problematic. E.g. say Frank, George and I were playing. Frank is one point away from winning the game. If he and George put down a solution won’t I just default to choosing George’s so the game continues?

      • Amelia Laughlan

        Yeah, but this can happen in lots of games – it’s like the end of Catan where everyone *knows* that one of the players is going to win and tries to block that player from getting those final victory points… you can decide to be a part of prolonged that process or not. How you play the game is up to you! I get what you mean though.

    • Thanks for the spotlight Dave!
      We’re glad Cogs caught your attention.
      If anyone has any questions, let us know.

    • Amelia Laughlan

      Pretty sure the Next In Command guys say that they’re planning on investing in art if they are funded!

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