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Crowdfunding Round-up: Blood Rage, Thunderbirds, Between Two Cities, Above and Below & Far Too Much More

W. Eric Martin
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Maybe I'm late to the party with this line of thinking, but more and more Kickstarter feels to me like the new normal for game publication. Eric M. Lang's Viking-themed combat game Blood Rage from Cool Mini Or Not and Guillotine Games hit its $50,000 funding goal within three minutes of it going live on Kickstarter. (KS link) Sure, both designer and publishers have solid reputations and games with sweet miniatures always perform well on KS, but still.

Matt Leacock's co-operative game Thunderbirds from Modiphius Entertainment is another case of a seemingly surefire winner blowing it out on Kickstarter, although I can understand why Modiphius is using crowdfunding for the game since this is both its first board game and a game (with multiple expansions) that includes lots of miniatures, which adds big up-front costs for molds. (KS link)

What else is bubbling in the crowdfunding pot, stewing for the next six or twelve or eighteen months until it's ready to be served?

• Daniel Berger's Hands in the Sea from Knight Works is a two-player, deck-building wargame set during the First Punic War with players trying to capture the opposing capital or just score a bunch of points. (KS link)

Renaissance Wars from Karen Boginski, Jody Boginski-Barbessi and U.S. Games Systems is a trick-taking game in which players represent a "Renaissance Luminary", that is "someone whose influence and fame has transcended his own time" with William Shakespeare and Fillipo Brunelleschi being two such examples. Players use their cards to gain wealth and power, along with populace cards that grant special powers to you while they remain in play. (KS link)

• Dan Manfredini's Far Space Foundry from Terra Nova Games, publisher of the soon-to-be-released Ophir, features the somewhat trendy theme of interstellar mining, with the gameplay being divided into distinct halves of extraction and processing. (KS link)

Find It & Bind It is not, despite what you might first think, a Fifty Shades of Grey tie-in for which I'm sure we are all thankful; instead this design from Phil Cartagena, Josh DeGregorio and Cray Cray Games is a spellcasting-themed deduction game in which you're trying to locate The Book of Shadows, get your witches to it, and (with the book's permission and a safe word established) bind it. (KS link)

• Baltic publisher Brain Games is on Spieleschmiede to fund two expansions for Meelis Looveer's Om Nom Nom, a dice-based game in which players try to feed their critters, preferably with critters owned by the other players. These expansions add the possibility of poisoned food as well as different colored dice that make some food more valuable than others each round. (Spieleschmiede link)

Empires: Age of Discovery from Eagle-Gryphon Games is a new version of Glenn Drover's Age of Empires III, and all the talk about this item seems to be about the nature of the Kickstarter itself rather than the game in question. After all, the game itself remains mostly the same (I think?) while lots of other things have been revised or upgraded or rewritten or incorporated from an expansion. I could try to parse out all that's being added or changed, but instead I'll just move on. (KS link)

• EGG is also funding Jason Tagmire's Seven7s, title #7 in the publisher's E•G•G Series of tiny card games, with this game revolving around special powers on seven groups of seven cards — with the groups being famous sevens such as seas or deadly sins — and players trying to manipulate which cards, groups and colors will be worth the most points at game's end. (KS link)

• As has been his habit recently, Asmadi Games owner Chris Cieslik has produced a short, sample run of the company's latest release — his own card game Adorable Pandaring — in order to debut the game at a convention (PAX East) ahead of its actual release, assuming that it does get published of course. In the game, players take turns laying down panda cards, trying to have lots of adorable pandas according to the current rule for adorableness so that they can score bamboo to win. (KS link)


• "Halfsies Dice" is the fancy name for polyhedral dice from Gate Keeper Games that are half one color and half a different color. The possibilities are endless! But not all possibilities can be purchased — because they're endless! (KS link)

Stonemaier Games is once again doing a smash-up job on Kickstarter, racing to $130k in support for Matthew O'Malley and Ben Rosset's Between Two Cities, which has players drafting two city tiles each round in order to build a city with both left- and right-hand neighbors. A player's score is the lowest of the two cities around him. (KS link)

• Another KS regular, Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games, is at it again with Above and Below, a town-building/storytelling game that appears to akin to Tales of the Arabian Nights in terms of how players are confronted with different situations during the game. (KS link)

Plague: Land of the Dead, a potentially self-published co-operative game for 2-5 players from Iain Fletcher, bears this short description: "Survive an undead apocalypse and deliver the cure to eliminate the pandemic." Maybe I'm crazy, but I seem to recall one or two other games that bear that same description. (KS link)

Fujian Trader from designers Robert Batchelor and Sari Gilbert and publisher Thinking Past is a network-building and delivery game based on a Chinese maritime merchant map that dates to the 17th century. (KS link)

• Andreas Katelanos' The 5th Land from Prime Alien Watch Squad has players competing for land in a world where the ice caps have melted, food shortages abound, and those who survive have conveniently divided themselves into five alliances, with each having a unique power relevant to the current world situation. (KS link)

Okay, this is way too games to absorb all at once, so it's time for an interlude of an octopus learning how to open a tricky box by watching another octopus that already knows how to do so:



Space Dandy: Galactic Deck-Building Game from newcomer Seven Seas Games, a division of manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment, with this game being based on the Space Dandy anime from ADULT SWIM. I think you build a deck of cards in this game. (KS link)

Project Dreamscape from Sarah and Will Reed and Undine Studios bears an appropriately dreamscapey cover, and in this card game players try to chain dreams together to use the special powers of those dreams to drive the other players mad — and to score points. (KS link)

Vault Wars from Jonathan Gilmour and Ben Harkins and Floodgate Games takes the premise of A&E television's Storage Wars and wraps it in a medieval setting, with players competing in auctions to claim goods left behind in vaults by adventurers who failed a saving throw. (KS link)

• Spring training started in early March 2015 for Major League Baseball in the U.S., and to coincide with the launch of every baseball fans hopes and unrealistic dreams, Dice Hate Me Games launched a Kickstarter for Bottom of the 9th from Darrell Louder and Michael Mullins, a quick-playing dice-and-card game in which one pitcher squares off against a team in its last at-bats. Allow one run and you lose the game; prevent any runs from scoring, and you'll have to wait for Louder and Mullins Extra Innings follow-up game to continue playing. (KS link)

• Are you ready to explore the world searching for rare books in order to satisfy the odd demands of a sultan? No? Well, would you care to pick up Sultan's Library from Ryno Lourens and newcomer Photon Games in order to do something akin to that without leaving the comfort of your own home? (KS link)

IF Association, a Swiss non-profit that attempts to bring creative projects to reality while simultaneously funding other associations, is attempting to fund a new edition of David Kalmes and Daniel Quodbach's Pitch'n Dunk, a disc-flicking game that simulates basketball by having two players use five player discs to flick the disc ball through the hoop. (Ulule link)

First edition of Pitch'n Dunk

• Calvin Nelson first released the goblin-bashing adventure game Character Quest: Heroes TCG through The Game Crafter and is now attempting to fund a new edition of the game, along with a second standalone/expansion game, through Kickstarter. Despite the name, this is not a collectible card game, but rather a card game that bears the appearance of being collectible. (KS link)

• Newcomer U.S. publisher Happy Mitten Games is attempting to launch its publishing dynasty — okay, publish at least one game — with Aether Magic from Matt Worden, a game in which player magicians attempt to transform aether in order to collect runes and cast spells. (KS link)

How to Serve Man from Gateway Games has you working as an intergalactic chef to create tasty human-based dishes. (KS link)

Cardboard Fortress Games has launched its first title on Kickstarter, the unfortunately named RESISTOR_ from Anthony Amato and Nicole Kline, and I say "unfortunately" because if you look for "resistor" on KS you won't find this game; you need to include the underscore in order to hit this game about supercomputers trying to egg one another on to DEFCON 5 in order to end the world and win the game. (KS link)

• I recorded an overview video of Aaron Lauster's solitaire card game Airborne Commander from StrataMax Games at Gen Con 2013, then a limited edition of the game debuted at Spiel 2014, and now StrataMax is gunning for a larger print run via Kickstarter. (KS link)

• Dominic Huang's Hitman Holiday from Medieval Lords puts 2-10 players in the role of assassins who have gathered at a paradisiacal resort to off one another and prove who's the best at doing said offing. (KS link)

• Meeple Source is raising funds for — no, taking preorders for — no, selling upgraded component kits through Kickstarter for games such as Lords of Waterdeep, Pandemic, Robinson Crusoe, and Imperial Settlers. (KS link)

Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents bears the Conquistador Games logo (for now), but apparently the game will be released by newcomer Artana, which was founded due to changes as to who was involved with Conquistador Games. This design from Dirk Knemeyer puts players in the role of inventors from the 1880s, with them both inventing things and trying to run companies, which can sell stock to raise funds — but those stocks will be purchased by other inventors, possibly enriching them in the process. (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. I mean, this isn't enough for you?! Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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