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Crowdfunding Round-up: The Sands of Time, They Are A-Runnin'

Dustin Schwartz
United States
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Get your slimy, webbed phalanges off ma boots!
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Board Game: The Great Dinosaur Rush
• I spent a not inconsiderable chunk of my Saturdays as a child sequestered in the local library poring over dinosaur encyclopedias. Thanks to designer Scott Almes, folks like me — whose hyperactive childhood imaginations were populated by dinosaurs — can tap into that aquifer of nostalgia in The Great Dinosaur Rush from APE Games. Players represent famous paleontologists at the turn of the 19th century. The game's mechanisms are meaty (or would that be bony?), but the game manages to accomplish being nearly as educational as it is strategic. (KS link)

• Designer Matt R. Parkes is part of the same group as Allen Chang and Alistair Kearney, the guys behind publishing outfit Rule & Make. The three of them have teamed up to bring Burger Up to market. (One can't help but wonder if the deal was struck over vittles in a Queensland burger joint.) The game has you attempting to build towering burgers with multi-use ingredient cards. Perhaps a viable before-the-food-arrives option for those brave enough to subject their games to the table grease at the local diner. (KS link)

Board Game: Monster Truck Mayhem
• "Four trucks enter; one truck leaves!" That's what I imagine the crowd, between swigs of Coors Light, would be chanting in the SuperMegaDome arena that is the setting for Monster Truck Mayhem, a real-time dice fest from the minds of Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle. After pulling the plug on a sputtering campaign in June 2015, Dice Hate Me Games is back for a second ride, hoping to drop the hammer with a significantly lower price point and a more traditional stretch goal structure. (KS link)

Small Box Games is fairly unique in the board game scene in that all of its products are manufactured on U.S. soil, and John Clowdus' Keep, up on KS for a succinct ten-day campaign, is no exception to that rule. The gameplay involves the ever-popular card-drafting mechanism with, as Clowdus puts it, "a pinch of take that". The release of this game coincides with a statement that Small Box will be returning to the design space of card-only, tuckbox-friendly games for the foreseeable future. (KS link)

Board Game: Islebound
• To my ear, some of the best-sounding game titles are those consisting of a single made-up compound word. (I'll wager you can name a few popular games that follow this formula.) This thought has been brought to you by Islebound, the latest KS project from Red Raven Games and designer Ryan Laukat, a.k.a. the Miyazaki of board games. Although Laukat didn't venture too far afield mechanically for this design, players will be venturing through a mystical archipelago filled with pirates and sea serpents. Bon voyage! (KS link)

ManaSurge follows the same nomenclature blueprint — with a mid-word capital letter, to boot! — that I referenced above. And that's not the only thing this project has in common with Islebound: They're both on the forefront of the movement to enable virtual online demos as a marketing tool (via Tabletopia and Steam's Tabletop Simulator). This Frank Sronce design, the second release from Daily Magic Games, is being billed as a "competitive magical card game", forging new territory in the heretofore unnamed CMCG genre. (KS link)

Board Game: Pandemonium
• Many people enjoy the horror genre but abhor how it's been whoring itself at the zombie altar as of late. Those people should be delighted to learn of Pandemonium, a 100% zombie-free scenario-based adventure game that first-time designer Marc Ripoll plans to self-publish. The plastic miniatures in the game are an interesting concept, somewhere between full-body sculpts and FFG-style busts. The illustrations include subtle nods to some classic horror films, including my personal favorite, John Carpenter's The Thing. (KS link)

• Another game on KS right now that pays homage to 1980s horror films (was it just Halloween or something?) is Crimson Creek from Toystorian Enterprises and designer Andrew Scott. This is perhaps the smallest game I'm aware of that has a hidden traitor element. Perhaps a nice game to have in your back pocket — literally — for the next time you go camping and want to add some atmospheric tension. Just remember: There are two sides (warning: some graphic content) to every horror story. (KS link)

• Designers Aaron Kluck and Jon Mietling are making their debut with Pick the Lock (né Among Thieves), a 54-card microgame of deduction and bluffing. Their own Portal Dragon label is on publishing duties, and they have plans to print the game domestically. The project video shows off the game's smart graphic minimalism. As a proud Michigander, I'm happy to see my home state producing more tabletop game designers and publishers! (KS link)

Tavarua from Far Off Games is perhaps the unlikeliest of sophomore efforts, coming as it does on the heels of designer Cody Miller's sandbox sci-fi epic Xia: Legends of a Drift System. This design is much smaller in scope, setting players up as surfers trying to catch some waves and show off cool tricks. Given the goodwill that Miller generated during his first KS campaign, there's little chance of a wipeout here. John Ariosa's illustrations add a tropical feel that leaves me only slightly bitter over having to endure harsh northern winters. (KS link)

From gallery of FreedomGunfire

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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