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Crowdfunding Round-up: Rambo and the Scarlet Pimpernel Mystery Draft Status Reports

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Draft City
Another week, another five hundred board game projects launched on Kickstarter. Well, it seems that prolific sometimes, but the actual number is probably no more than a few dozen — which is still a lot to absorb on top of the dozens of other games being announced this month in the run-up to February's three main conventions: Spielwarenmesse, NY Toy Fair, and FIJ. Let's see what there is to see, months before you can actually see it:

Ross Graham's self-published Draft City is a drafting and tableau-building game for 3 to 5 players that sounds like it's aimed squarely for Glory to Rome's audience, with graphic design that hearkens to the early editions of that much beloved game. (KS link) Here's an overview of gameplay:

During the game, players have five rounds (or four rounds in a five-player game) to harvest resources, issue commands, store goods and acquire buildings, contracts and workers from a deck of one hundred unique cards featuring different abilities. Each card can be used in several different ways, and there are many strategies to discover. Every card relates to one of five resources, and each resource has two separate themes represented by card abilities. Focusing exclusively on one resource provides the ability to play powerful buildings, while gathering multiple types of resource provides the ability to play a much greater variety of cards and combine their abilities in unexpected ways.

Do you have what it takes to become the new mayor?
I can assure you that while I'd likely be a decent mayor, I do not have what it takes to become a mayor. Have you ever looked at the fundraising needs for positions even at that "low" level? Not something that I'd want to burden myself with.

Board Game: Dead Men Tell No Tales
• To kick off the miniatures section of this round-up, Kane Klenko's Dead Men Tell No Tales from Minion Games now has an additional challenge thanks to The Kraken expansion that gives you something else to overcome aside from the enemies and guards that will thwart your efforts to loot a burning ship. The KS campaign also allows you to pick miniatures of the characters in the base game should you want to replace the wood figures. (KS link)

• I would not have guessed that the app-driven, real-time co-op UBOOT: The Board Game from Bartosz Pluta, Artur Salwarowski, and PHALANX would rack up $600k in support, but I hadn't looked at the game to see what I might be missing. A dual-level 3D game board that resembles a submarine, with 1-4 players each taking individual roles with unique powers and responsibilities? Okay, I can see why some folks would be interested in what might be described as a one-sided Captain Sonar with more depth. Yes, I just said that. (KS link)

• Another cooperative game with minis set during wartime that's on Kickstarter right now is Rambo: The Board Game from Samuel Bailey, Christopher Batarlis, Jim Samartino, and Everything Epic Games, with the game including multiple missions based on various movies in the series, but probably not the Hindi-language reboot featuring Tiger Shroff that's due out in 2018. Maybe that's in the stretch goals somewhere... (KS link)

• Yet another coop with minis on KS is The Pit: The Board Game, this being (as best as I can tell) a meatspace version of the digital game Sword of the Stars: The Pit from Kerberos Productions, with players needing to infiltrate the pit and destroy the mastermind. (KS link)

Board Game: Lucky's Misadventures
• For something that's a bit more out there — and yet familiar — in terms of subject matter, let's look at Lucky's Misadventures, a deck-building game from Jay Meyer and Great Northern Games that includes a "Dorothy Edition" as one of the backer levels (KS link):

You and your dog Lucky should not have taken that shortcut through the woods that night. How were you to know that you would be taken through a portal to Oddtopia — a surreal world of Tinkerers, Wickeds, and Oddlings? The Great Mechanical Toad reveals the fates to all.

What is your fate? Will you and Lucky find a way home, or will you stay, build your power, and become the Witchard of Oddtopia?
• The deck-builder Valeria: Card Kingdoms from Isaias Vallejo and Daily Magic Games is getting an expansion in Shadowvale, which has a set of citizens, domains, dukes, and monsters that you can also play with on their own if you use components from the base game. (KS link)

• The weirdest thing about Kickstarter projects for me is that sometimes I hear about a game's launch, and I think, wait, that game isn't out yet? BGG recorded an overview of Brian Kelley's The Scarlet Pimpernel from Eagle-Gryphon Games at the GAMA Trade Show in March 2017, and the game has only now hit the KS circuit, with a delivery date in November 2018. (KS link) I know that development takes time, but nowadays it seems like the promotion and marketing of a game lasts longer than the amount of time it will stay available on retail shelves.

In any case, here's an overview of this mission-driven game:

Board Game: Mystery of the Temples
Sweet Lemon Publishing is trying to fund a German-language release of Wei-Min Ling's Mystery of the Temples, a programming-set-collection game that debuted from Taiwanese publisher EmperorS4 at SPIEL '17. (KS link)

• Patrick Brennan's Status Report! from offcut games is another take on the hidden identity genre, with one player taking on the role of a spaceship captain in this 3-7 player while everyone else takes the role of the ship's AI. Problem is that all but one of the AI players is trying to kill the ship's crew and sabotage the mission. To win, the captain needs to identify the one properly functioning AI or keep the crew alive long enough to remove the rogue AI. (KS link)

• You can take Antoine Bauza's Tokaido from your game shelves to your bookshelves with The Art of Tokaido, a 240-page hardcover book that features tons of work by Naïade. Publisher Funforge says that the hardcover edition, as well as the "prestige" slipcover edition, will be exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign, with a softcover book possibly appearing in the future. Alternatively, you can wait five years for the release of The Art of the Art of Tokaido. (KS link)

• Stefan Risthaus' Gentes has followed what now seems to be the standard model for a title from German publisher Spielworxx: Be announced, sell out one thousand copies on a preorder basis, start selling for more than MSRP on the secondary market because one thousand copies wasn't enough, then have a new edition announced to great fanfare from another publisher, which in this case is Tasty Minstrel Games, which is promising to "deluxify" the game with gold spinners and a neon undercarriage. (KS link) As for the gameplay, here's an overview that BGG recorded in February 2017:

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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