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Crowdfunding Round-up: Around the World in 10 Projects

Dustin Schwartz
United States
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Get your slimy, webbed phalanges off ma boots!
It wasn't that long ago that Kickstarter was restricted to U.S.-based project creators, but as it slowly opens up to more of the rest of the world (18 countries and counting), board game publishers and entrepreneurs from all over are wasting no time using the platform to get their crowdfunding projects in front of board gamers' eyes and wallets. This week's selection of projects is a veritable world tour, so grab your things, Passepartout, we've a schedule to keep!

• Let's start in the midwestern United States, shall we? Nat Levan's New Bedford was originally put up on KS back in a damp, drizzly November 2014 by U.S. publisher Dice Hate Me Games, but the campaign was cancelled after a disappointing start. After a few months in drydock, the game is back on KS for its second voyage and appears to have really got the wind in its sails this time. The theme seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair; I'm in the former group, given that Moby Dick was my favorite classic novel when I was a kid. (KS link)

• While we're in the US, let's head north and check out Fleet: Wharfside from Eagle-Gryphon Games, a spinoff of the award-winning card game Fleet from Michigan-based designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback. Wharfside is #8 in the publisher's new E•G•G series. Mechanically speaking, it's set collection; thematically, it's about the bustling dockside activity that occurs when your fishing fleets return from plying the waters of Ridback Bay. Riddle and Pinchback continue to be one of the most prolific design duos in the industry. (KS link)

• The final project on the U.S. leg of our tour is Ninja Camp, from Action Phase Games and designer Adam E. Daulton. The art style follows the trend of anthropomorphized animals as ninja-in-training, Kung Fu Panda style. It's a familiar narrative, too, as the wizened martial arts master is trying to knock some sensei into his young apprentices. Players are competing to be the last ninja standing on an ever-shrinking modular board. I really have only one question: Would a time-lapsed gameplay video qualify as a training montage? (KS link)

• Northward and across the Atlantic Ocean lies Denmark, reportedly the happiest country in the world. Danish designer and self-publisher Jacob Lindborg is bringing you Hipster, his card game of anti-trendiness. Hipsters are the butt of jokes the world over, it seems. (I'd include a hipster joke here, but you've probably already heard it, on vinyl.) Will you play as John-John the foodie or Pepper-Maria the blogger? Throw your kroner at this project if you're into irony. (KS link)

• A plane flight due east will land us in Winnipeg, Canada, for a visit to Sean Scott Garrity and Baksha Games, his publishing outfit. Garrity's fifth design, Time Jockeys, is his latest KS venture. The project video takes the mockumentary approach, with Garrity looking believable as a weathered time traveler laying bare the secrets of his invention. A year ago, there was no time travel "genre" in board games, but it's been exploding of late. If you decide that getting all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey is your cup of tea, I wish you an Excellent Adventure. (KS link)

• Finland is hardly known as a hotbed of spy action, yet from there it is that Finnish publisher LudiCreations has launched its new global offensive — err, KS campaign — for Garden Party, the second expansion for [redacted]. The expansion adds a seventh player along with other new game elements. The base game, which has been hard to obtain in Europe, is also being made available through the campaign, as are the obligatory Nutella recipes. (KS link)

• A 2,000-km drive southeast and we're in the Czech Republic, home to publisher Czech Board Games. If you know what the term "shuffle-building" conveys, then you likely have a good idea of the premise behind Jan Vaněček's two-player card game Shuffle Heroes. Similarities to Smash Up aside, there's a deck deconstruction element that allows you to remove cards from your opponent's deck. Lovecraft would be proud. (KS link)

• The penultimate stop on our jaunt through Europe is Madrid, Spain. Lisandro Nembrini and Gonzalo Rodrigo, a pair of soccer enthusiasts living in the home city of one of the sport's best teams, have designed Soccer City, which promises to be a detailed soccer sim. The game's been available in Spain since 2013, but the KS campaign is for a revised edition available in both English and Spanish. (KS link)

• Madrid is also the home of Alchemical Crystal Quest, the lone miniatures project in this article. The game is from publisher Mystical Games and designer Pablo Miras. Interestingly, the project reached its funding goal early in the campaign, but a string of cancellations brought the pledge total back well below the funding goal and the project was cancelled. This points to an interesting trend in consumer behavior — insta-backing to ensure an early bird slot, only to later evaluate the project on its merits and reconsider the pledge. (KS link)

• Of all the sights on the trip, none are quite so novel as what we'll encounter in Warsaw, Poland. Artur Olek decided to blend game design with functional utility by creating beach towels that double as playing surfaces for minimalist dexterity games. Thus was born Gato, the gaming towel, which comes in four styles. The only components needed for Football/Soccer, Motor Race, Curling, and Gladiators' Fight are a handful of bottle caps. "Find your beach", indeed! (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. 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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