W. Eric Martin
With a new year comes a new wave of board and card game Kickstarter projects because everyone's now finished with their holiday purchases and ready to spend some money on themselves. That's the hope anyway by all the designers and publishers who are now holding out the hat and explaining why their hat is the best destination for your money.
• Don Eskridge of Orange Machine Games invited us to Abandon Planet in 2017, and for 2018 he's heading out even further into in the universe with Black Hole Council, which like that previous title is a negotiation-based game for 4-8 players. (KS link) An overview:
Black Hole Council is a negotiation and deduction game about deciding the fate of 32 different planets. Players take on the role of Councilors on the Black Hole Council. Each Councilor has been paid off by shady organizations, and so has a secret agenda card they're trying to fulfill. During six negotiation rounds and three deductions rounds, players attempt to achieve their agenda and guess the goals of other players.
During negotiations, a leader chooses whether to settle, tax, mine, conquer, or "black hole" five different planets while the other Councilors attempt to influence the leader's decision. This happens while a two-minute sand timer is running, and after it runs out, all players except the leader vote on the proposal. If it passes, all players advance (or not) on the influence track, depending on how well they did during the negotiation.
During deduction rounds, players attempt to guess certain goals held by the other players. Correct guesses earn influence coins for you, while incorrect guesses earn coins for your opponent.
The more players can negotiate to achieve their agenda and deduce what other players' goals are, the more likely they are to advance on the influence track and become the new de facto ruler of the Council.
• Designer Jordan Draper of Dark Flight has set up an audacious challenge for himself: Publish a series of twelve games based on "real world simulations of the beautiful and overlooked life in Tokyo, Japan". What's more, Draper mentions that each title in the series is modular: "They can be played stand alone, in series (adding end game scores), or integrated with one or more other TOKYO titles for an expanded new experience!" That sounds like a ticket to the cuckoo house, but Draper is launching three titles now with an estimated release date of July 2018 for all of them. (KS link)
Tokyo Jidohanbaiki is a collection of at least twenty games playable with a "dice" tower in the shape of a drink machine and small bottles in six colors that serve as the "dice"you'll drop into the tower. Guest designers for this collection of games includes Rory O'Connor and Kenichi Tanabe.
The real-time dexterity game Tokyo Jutaku, which is for 1-8 players, comes with 69 unique wooden building pieces as well as 32 double-sided site cards on which you'll attempt to build structures.
Tokyo Metro is an economic worker placement game in which 1-4 players invest in train lines, ride the rails to locations where they can build new stations, and finagle their way to additional actions.
• Spirits of the Forest is a new version of Michael Schacht's Richelieu that now accommodates 1-4 players instead of only two. In the game, you remove one or two tiles from either end of four rows of tiles, attempting to gain majorities in nine symbols. Man, that description sounds dry, but I've always found the game incredibly tense, whether playing in real-life or online on Schacht's website where it's called Web of Power Card Game: The Duel. (KS link)
• This description of Dwar7s Winter from Luís Brüeh and Vesuvius Media is short — "Dwar7s Winter is a hand-building, resource management game with tower defense elements in the gameplay. Each player wants to achieve more victory points, but the only way to survive the winter is to work together." — but that probably gives you all you need to know whether to investigate further. (KS link)
• Joshua Mason's Outfoxed from Quirky Co. is a simple two-player card game of birds trying to surround fox and fox trying to eat all the birds. Weird to see the designer pitching fourteen other games in this same project, only one of which has a listing in the BGG database. Geekgold awaits whoever wants to mine this designer's vein. (KS link)
• Joseph Limbaugh's Postcard Dungeons from Modest Games is possibly the most minimalist dungeon crawl someone could design. Dice and tokens not included. (KS link)
• Ta-Te Wu's latest game from his own Sunrise Tornado Game Studio is Kung Pao Chicken, a quick-playing social deduction party game in which you attempt to determine whether you are a chicken or a fox. Seems like a good life goal. (KS link)
• Movable Type is a card-drafting, word-building game — Scrabble meets Sushi Go! in game equation terms — that has a second edition being funded by designer Robin David and publisher Uncanny Cardboard, with the main difference in this new edition being more cards to allow for play with up to six players at once. (KS link)
• Jessica Feinberg has run a couple of dozen Kickstarter projects related to her art and books, and now she's launched her first KS campaign for a game, with Dragon Watcher: The Card Game being a 2-5 player card game in which you must collect two of each type of dragon first to win. (KS link)
• Sean Han's Dogtag is a card game for 2-5 people that combines drawings of cute pups with social media-type goals that you'll complete through card play and the assistance of other players who might be looking for you scratch behind their ears in return. (KS link)
• As I've stated numerous times, I know next to nothing about wargames, so I'll just quote this description of Frank Chadwick's Thunder in the East from Victory Point Games, a 2-4 player that boasts a playing time of 8-12 hours (KS link):
Frank Chadwick's ETO (European Theater of Operations) is a series of linked games covering the land campaigns of World War II in Europe using a constant map and unit scale, and common rules.
Thunder in the East is the first game in that series, this one covering the titanic struggle on the Russian Front. This is a two-player game (although teams or even solitaire play would be just fine): one player assumes the role of the Axis (Germany and its allies) and the other player assumes the role of the Soviets (i.e., the Soviet Union).
The individual ground units represent Divisions of 10-15,000 soldiers, Corps (from the Latin word "Corpus," meaning body) of approximately 25-50,000 soldiers, or Armies of approximately 75,000 or more men. The Soviet ground units are mostly armies of approximately 40,000 men each, with a few cavalry and airborne corps of about 10,000 men each.
Air units represent about 200 combat aircraft early in the war, and gradually more as the war progresses. Each hex on the map represents 30 miles of actual terrain from side to side, and each Game Turn represents the passage of 7.5 days (or up to 15 days during inclement weather).
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