What’s Kickin’ on Kickstarter? 6/19
A Negative Trend on Kickstarter
Kickstarter has grown tremendously in recent times as a platform for game creation. This is great, as we gamers can sometimes find our game, and sometimes it may have been a game that would never make it into production without crowdfunding. But with the growth of the platform, negative trends are bound to show up from time to time.
In the last few weeks I’ve seen a number of games that were just asking too much for the quality they offered. One campaign was just asking for money with no real plan – it just offered the promise that it would come up with a plan with the money gained. Obviously, something like that is a red flag, and people will rightfully avoid it like the plague. But there are plenty of good games (and I’ve seen more of them pop up recently) that have no idea how to price their backing levels.
New designers may come to the Kickstarter platform and see all the miniatures games out there that run between $60-120 for the basic level. Suddenly, to these new entrepreneurs that is what a game fundamentally costs. Then, the Kickstarter market is flooded with a game made up only of cheap cardboard components that somehow is going to cost $70 to buy (without factoring shipping). I’ve eliminated a few really good games from my list this week, solely because the asking price was outrageous compared to what they promise to deliver.
My Top 4 Games of the Last Two Weeks
Blueshift is a 4x game with a modular board where players command a fleet through space exploration and conquest. 2-6 players compete to build their forces, grow their influence, and eliminate other players to reign supreme. The rules are simple, but the strategy in depth. Heightened player interaction and the random tile placement during setup provide for a unique experience each time, which seems like it would lend this game a lot of replayability. On top of that, the art is absolutely gorgeous.
Basic backing level: $48
U.S. Shipping: $6
Ends Friday, July 7th
Loyalty is a diplomacy, resource production and management, and war game. The thing that makes this game stick out to me is the victory mechanics. Games are for 3-6 players, and during the game, players will ally with other players as they expand, build, and clash with others. There may be backstabbing, alliances may be broken, and new alliances forged. In the end, two players can be victorious based on the successful alliance they brokered, even if these players were not allies in the beginning. The opportunistic nature of this game will likely lead to plenty of heated sessions, but seems like it will prove exciting and fun nonetheless.
Basic backing level: $40
U.S. Shipping: $5
Ends Monday, August 7th
Rabbit Island is a tile-placement civilization building game, where 2-4 players assume the roles of leaders of various Rabbit Tribes. Players will place two tiles a turn, move to one of them, and build on it to bring it under their control. When all the tiles have been placed, players will move along the paths they created, collecting resources and further developing their civilizations to gain victory points. Other players will also have the opportunity to take over their opponents’ territories and build on top of their settlements. The player with the most victory points wins. This game seems simple, fun, with great artwork, and plenty of replayability, as a different island will be built every time.
Basic backing level: $36
U.S. Shipping: Free
Ends Monday, July 17th
The art style and theme is fun and humorous (see: Killer Unicorn Robots). I think that speaks for itself, but if you need more, you need only look to the gameplay of this 2-6 player card game. Players will build an army of robots, apply upgrades to strengthen them, and play instants to further bolster their strengths. Each robot has both positive and negative damage effects which are decided by a die roll. The randomness may be a turnoff to some, but given the comic nature of the game, I think it fits the theme well and will provide an entertaining experience for those who enjoy competitive card battles.
Basic backing level: $25
U.S. Shipping: Unspecified
Ends Thursday, July 13th
Campaign Ending Soon, Not Yet Funded
I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock (see what I did there?), but Dwarves love gold. They’re also known throughout fiction as gifted craftsmen who smith some of the best weapons and armor around. Dwarven Smithy captures this essence in its crafting card game for 2-4 players. The game focuses on hand and resource management as players use various decks to mine the best minerals and produce the best goods.
While crafting is often an ancillary mini-game set within RPGs (often some of my favorite parts), this game provides for a full experience focused on it. If you have sat playing in a video game or one on the tabletop for hours just crafting stuff – this one may be for you.
Basic backing level: $29
U.S. Shipping: $10
Ends Thursday, June 22nd