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Crowdfunding Round-up: Embrace the Chaos or Find Your Zen

Dustin Schwartz
United States
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Get your slimy, webbed phalanges off ma boots!
• Publisher Cool Mini Or Not had a banner year in 2015, raking in over $8.7 million in pledges across five projects, and the publisher is out the gate in a hurry already in 2016 with XenoShyft: Dreadmire, a standalone follow-up to XenoShyft: Onslaught, its co-op deck-building title. Designer Michael Shinall has accomplished two goals with this set: 1) expanding the game mechanically by way of a cycling weather deck that triggers additional card abilities and 2) balancing the difficulty curve that Onslaught players experienced in a way that can be backported relatively painlessly. (KS link)

Letiman Games is bringing you Dirigible Disaster, a frenetic real-time co-op with a quirky sense of humor in which players are tasked with keeping a dirigible afloat as disasters strike left and right. If that sounds somewhat like Red November transposed into the skies, that's because designer Daniel Grek drew inspiration from that Faidutti/Gontier release of yesteryear. When I hear "dirigible disaster", my mind automatically goes to this posh movie scene. Could this game be a retelling of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from the perspective of Baron Bomburst? (KS link)

• Somehow I can't seem to shake this bad analogy I've cooked up in which rival publishers snapping up the rights to all the out-of-print Reiner Knizia designs on the market is the new space race. Indeed, the good doctor seems to be in the middle of a renaissance. This time it's Grail Games bringing back fan-favorite and former SdJ-recommended title Medici. The game, originally published over two decades ago, was the second in Knizia's famed "auction trilogy". Vincent Dutrait is on art duties this time around, taking the torch from another legendary illustrator, Franz Vohwinkel. (KS link)

• If you were to compare games by number of dice relative to the box size, King's Forge would probably rank near the top of the list. The 2014 Game Salute title from designer Nick Sibicky recently received an updated second edition (scheduled to hit store shelves two days ago on Jan. 22) and is also getting a new expansion, King's Forge: Glassworks, which adds glass as another resource with which to craft items in the smithy of the titular Adolphoson Sedgwickson III. (KS link)

• Most games designed with an educational thrust will cause gamers to back away slowly, but Martin Looij is both a game designer and a scuba diver, which may mean that Scuba breaks free of that dangerous reef. Looij is bringing the game to market under his Keep Exploring Games imprint, which has one of the coolest logos I've seen. Managing your air supply is a unique take on the infamous "feed your people" mechanism, balanced by the zen experience of spotting underwater wildlife. (KS link)

• Probably the last theme you'd expect to find in a tile-placement game is communal beard braiding, but the KS landscape never ceases to surprise. I'm talking about Beardsmith from HaleFire Games and designer Benjamin Hale. Things are bound to get hairy when up to six stylists all compete to leave their mark on one unfortunate dwarf's beard — even if that means adding some gum to prevent the other stylists from getting all the glory. Who knew that the barbershop could be home to such a cutthroat experience? (KS link)

Pocket N30N City RUMBLE from Booyah Games and designer Davy Wagnarok is refreshing in that it's clearly throwing back to the heyday of arcade games, but without crutching on 8-bit graphics. This is, of course, a pocket version of N30N City Rumble, which was crowdfunded in August 2014. Booyah has teamed up with Level 99 Games to offer crossover content, with several fighters from the World of Indines putting in an appearance. (KS link)

• The award for most unorthodox title of the week goes to Gob'z'Heroes. Where orcs signal a serious tone in fantasy, goblins have always been the silly half-siblings, and this two-player tactical board game from Skulls Mini and designers Fabien Friess and Antoine Roffé amps that silly up to eleven. You have major stats (movement, strength, stamina) that matter in this duel, but you can really bring the vinegar with maneuvers like "Good Joke" or "Acid Fart". (KS link)

• Sometimes, when you find a game you like, you'd rather spend a chunk of change upgrading that game's aesthetics than sinking that same amount of cash into purchasing another game. That's what Cynthia and Chris Landon of Meeple Source are banking on, anyway — likely a safe bet, considering their five previous successful KS campaigns. Rather than simply offering a wide variety of generic resources, they've grouped them into efficient upgrade kits for a variety of popular games. (KS link)

• The thread linking Club Zen and Don't Get Eated is that they share a designer, which is why they're being bundled as a two-fer in "The T.C. Petty Experience", a campaign from Dice Hate Me Games. It's a unique approach to marketing; come for the intentionally ironic faux-celebrityism, stay for the games (or, if you're an art junkie, the illustrations of Adam Rebottaro and Kwanchai Moriya, respectively). Club Zen promises a new and relaxing approach to worker placement, while DGE is remarkable in that it has salvaged the much-maligned spinner from the tabletop slag heap and given it new life. (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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