What's Kickin' on Kickstarter

Brian Shabbott
May 04, 2017
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Series Overview

    There’s a lot of noise in the tabletop games section on Kickstarter. It is a great platform for game creators to fund the production of their projects. Some excellent indie games have come through the platform, and many big name companies have set up campaigns as a sort of pre-order system. But with dozens of games going up each week, there’s plenty of duds to be found too.

    My intentions with this article series is to cut through all the noise and present my top four Kickstarter campaigns started in the last two weeks. I will also review my favorite campaign that is set to end in the next two weeks that hasn’t yet been funded. I also intend on backing one of the games I review each month (just one, I’m not made of money), which I will reveal at the start of each new month. Unless mentioned in the review, the campaign lists U.S. shipping as free.

    Be sure to let us know if you take the plunge on backing any of these (or any other game)!

Disclaimer: As Kickstarter professes, there is no guarantee to these projects. Some will fail, some will not meet expectations. It’s a risk one will take to back what may be the next gem in their collection. While I will take the security of the campaign into consideration, I am mostly reviewing what I think will be a viable, fun game. Back at your own risk, as we all do!

 

Game Backed Last Month: The Grimm Forest

    The Grimm Forest is a resource collection and building game set in a world filled with fairy tales. Each player takes on the role of a niece or nephew of the three little pigs, and races to be the first to build three houses – of straw, wood, and brick, of course. Aid comes in the form of characters from various fairy tales, many of whom are exclusive to Kickstarter stretch goals. We’ve all grown up on these fairy tales, and the beautiful design of this game will be great for those who enjoy nostalgia at the gaming table. You can still be a late backer, check it out here.

   

My Top 4 Games of the Last Two Weeks

  1. Battle Monkeys

If you like trading card games but maybe don’t have the time or resources to stay competitive, Battle Monkeys is a nice alternative. Gameplay is simplified, the art and concept are both comedic and intriguing. Who wouldn’t want to wage battle with a wizard monkey? With gameplay for 2-4 this can provide fun gameplay for 1v1 or as a group game. And $15 will get you the full game and all stretch goals.

Ends Friday, June 2nd

 

  1. Fight Dice Clubs

Looking for a dice combat game where Cowboys, Aliens, Zombies, and Faeries can duke it out? This simple game plays in about five minutes, so what is there to lose? The dice are well-designed, and the gameplay is fast-paced. Each faction has special abilities, adding a unique gameplay for each set. This looks like it may be a riskier option to back, but if the promises can be delivered, this will be a fun one. If you get on as an early backer, $32 will get you all four starting factions, but if you have a few friends interested, you can each back and just get your own single faction for $9. The campaign doesn’t mention anything about shipping costs, so this may be a factor to consider.

Ends Saturday, May 27th

 

  1. Gardens of Mars

Abstract games are very hit or miss with me, but this one looks promising. Adding in area control and dice drafting elements makes for a unique gameplay style while players work to cultivate the best garden of Mars. Terraforming Mars was a huge game in 2016, and I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t seem like a duplicate theme. The art and mechanics separate it from its predecessor, however, and make it a game of its own. If you are interested in a heavier game than the previous two, Gardens of Mars is a reasonable $39 to back.

Ends Wednesday, May 24th

 

  1. Clans of Caledonia

I’d be foolish if Clans of Caledonia didn’t come up in this mix. This game met its funding goal in just a few hours, and has astronomically surpassed it since – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still back it. If you are interested in the themes of history or economy, this game may be the one for you. Clans implements area control / influence, and resource development / management mechanics to lead your 19th century Scottish clan along the road from farming to industrial society. Plus: Whiskey! The campaign is well put together, and I don’t feel too worried about contributing my $42 to back this. Don’t forget about shipping on this one, though, since it’s coming from Germany – but an extra $6.50 isn’t bad.

Ends Thursday, May 18th

Ending Soon, Not Yet Funded

    Competition Kitchen

   

    Ends Friday, May 12th

     67% funded

     I’ll be the first to tell you there’s an oversaturation of party games out there, but this one speaks to me. It’s a unique concept, and separates itself from the overdone themes such as the “use cards to make dirty jokes” platform. Chefs draw their ingredients to create their best dishes, while the judge decides on the challenge for the round. The judge decides who has the tastiest meal that meets the challenge parameters. Like other party games, the roles of chef and judge rotate. It’s a fun, fresh take on the party game, and one the whole family can play. $25 will get you the game and put Competition Kitchen closer to its goal. The campaign doesn’t mention shipping costs, so this may be a factor to consider.  

  

Brian Shabbott is a gamer, but not a very good one. His favorite pastime is to play board games with his wife, even though she always wins. He has turned his gaming misfortune into a creative outlet, reviewing their game sessions in his weekly article 'My Wife Always Wins. You can follow him on Twitter at heyshabbott