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Defeat the Villains, Run the Court, and Become the Dark Knight

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: KAPOW! Volume 1
Board Game: KAPOW! Volume 2
Game publishers are launching crowdfunding projects left and right during November 2020, something that seems to happen every year once the convention season comes to a close, so I thought I'd skim some of these games-to-be while trying to empty my inbox.

• At SPIEL '19, U.S. publisher White Wizard Games announced that it had picked up KAPOW!, a dice-building game in which superheroes and supervillains beat up one another that was originally Kickstarted in November 2017 by L4 Studios.

One year later, White Wizard is now funding a KS campaign (link) of its own for delivery of KAPOW! Volume 1 and KAPOW! Volume 2 in December 2021. Each game is a two-player-only title that includes three heroes and three villains, with the combined sets allowing for games with up to four players. Here's an overview of the game from SPIEL '19:

• And here's another game that first appeared from one publisher, then was reborn from another: Atlantis Rising, which debuted in 2012 from Z-Man Games to a decent reception, but which has received far more acclaim for the second edition released by Elf Creek Games in 2019. Now designer Galen Ciscell is upping the challenge of saving your island people from sinking beneath the waves in Atlantis Rising: Monstrosities, with new threats like Medusa and harpies, new tools like magic items and allies, and new content for games with 1-3 players. (KS link)

Board Game: Atlantis Rising: Monstrosities

Board Game: Vabanque
• Let's continue the pattern established: In 2001, the German branch of Winning Moves released Vabanque, a bluffing and gambling game from Leo Colovini and Bruno Faidutti. Over four rounds, 3-6 players increase the amount of money available at the casino tables, trying to grab the cash without falling into an opponent's trap and giving them the money instead.

Here's an overview of the new edition being released by Igiari in 2021 from a preview BGG got at FIJ 2020:

Hoop Godz is the second title from designers Hamu Dennis and Omari Akil and publisher Board Game Brothas, with this two-player game being a simulation of 3-on-3 street basketball, with players spending juice to move, pass, boost, play action cards, and grab G.O.A.T. rule-breaking cards — although juice you spend on these latter cards is locked until you score, so if you spend fruitlessly, you'll need to rest more to keep your juice in circulation.

The Kickstarter campaign (link) is also helping to fund a reprint of Rap Godz, BGB's first release in 2020.

Board Game: Hoop Godz

• To swing into news of titles just announced, here's a trio of games that Cryptozoic Entertainment is bringing to market, with the concepts for these designs apparently being based on the work of Australian illustrator Steven Rhodes, who creates parodies of children's books from the 1970s and 1980s, then sells those designs on T-shirts and other items.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• To end with the same subject matter with which we began, Cryptozoic is also planning to run a Kickstarter in early 2021 for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Board Game, a solitaire game designed by Morgan Dontanville (a former editor at DC Comics) and Daryl Andrews.

Here's a summary of the game's setting, which seems to come directly from the Frank Miller comic book series The Dark Knight Returns from 1986, a series that together with Alan Moore's Watchmen upended the superhero genre:
In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Board Game, you play "The World's Greatest Detective", who's been pulled back from retirement into a gritty Gotham. Do everything you can to beat back a relentless tide of ruthless mutants, cops, and press looking to bring you down. Instead of traditional leveling up, this is a game of attrition. An old Batman tries to survive one final gauntlet, facing old and new villains — such as Two Face, Billy Berserk, and The Joker — and even his most powerful ally, The Man of Steel himself.

Board Game: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Board Game

The game is playable as standalone "missions" or one epic playthrough in which the results of each mission carry over to the next.
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