Kickstarter Games I backed or purchased in 2014 (complete with philosophical insights)
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Another year is winding down and there isn't much left that I'll jump on board with in December, so it's time to post this year's list. This is my second year actually backing kickstarter games and I'm still learning about the pros and cons to kickstarting a game. So what did I learn:

1. Don't kickstart something to get a good deal. Lots of KS's are a mixed bag. Many have stretch goals that will get included in the production box. So if you just want a good game when it's released, you'll probably get the same things in the box for a better online discount price. But some things to consider:

a) Do you buy in bulk (or enough to get free shipping somewhere)? If so, it's still cheaper to buy it later on-line. If not, the free shipping with many KS's may be worth it to back them.

b) Are you a completionist? If so, you'll probably save on getting the KS package with everything rather than try and hunt things down later or hope that BGG will get the promos in their store. If not, on-line downstream purchase might still be cheaper.

c) Do you chase the prestige of owning it before everyone else? Usually this may only be a few weeks difference. In the case of some Essen timed releases though, you may get the game months and months before it finally sees US distribution.

d) Can you afford to wait? Paying bucks now for something later (or maybe never) is a major consideration. It's an investment risk on a hopeful return. The flip side of this is dealing with the fact that it may never get published if it isn't backed.

e) New for 2014, DON'T EXPECT THE KICKSTART RELEASE DATE WILL BE ANYTHING CLOSE TO WHAT THEY SAY. Maybe 10% of them hit the mark and those are usually from established companies.

Anyway, the games on this list were ones I though worthy enough to back (and lucky enough to have the money to back at the time, which isn't always the case). The last few on the list are KS games I didn't back but did purchase this year. For one's I didn't back this year, see this geeklist:

Kickstarter games I didn't back in 2014 and why (of course with more philosophical insight)

For a list of all my acquisitions in 2014 visit:
A Fool and his Money... My 2014 Boardgame Bunker Acquisitions
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1. Board Game: Argent: The Consortium [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:462]
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Well chalk this one up as the first KS I'm backing in 2014. I caved at the 11th hour and got on board knowing full well I could get this down the road for cheaper. So I guess I'm paying a premium for the KS box sleeve since they don't do exclusives. Got it with the "Mancers" expansion below. I'm curious to see if they pull off the melding of Euro worker placement and the "variable power" gaming they speak of. The theme is appealing and I like games where you're vying for points set by variable requirements.

KS LINK: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/level99games/argent-the?...-...

Expected Delivery: Jun 2014
Actual Delivery: STILL WAITING (see "e" above in my comments).
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2. Board Game: Tiny Epic Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:969]
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Brilliant. If you like the style of Eight-Minute Empire then you'll probably like the mechanics of this one. It looked like there was a great game in that tiny box. I jumped on this for the $24 deal to get the extra factions and special dice. That's probably what this will go for retail (maybe a bit more) but it's small making it easily transportable and looks like it would be a great filler game. My second KS of 2014.

KS Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coe/tiny-epic-kingdoms?r...

Estimated Delivery: Sept 2014
Actual Delivery: Oct 2014
 
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3. Board Game: Fief [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2666]
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Decided to back the Academy Games version of this on KS. I have the original version and it's a solid game but could use an improved English rules set. The treatment being given to this new version is incredible. The stretch items alone (which will be offered later as a package for $65) are worth the cost of the base game itself. I also like the expanded game board. Got in at the $65 level for a copy plus stretch goals. I've backed other Academy Games and they deliver a good product, and usually on time. Not in this case.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/617871702/fief-france-1......

Expected Delivery: Jun 2014
Actual Delivery: STILL WAITING
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4. Board Game: City of Iron: Experts and Engines [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
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Backed for $20, about what you can get it for now online. Interesting game that benefited from a few new cards. Conflict was more emphasized with some of the new cards. For such a small expansion, I doubt they'll miss the mark for release date. And in fact, they didn't.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/953146955/city-of-iron?...-...

Expected Delivery: Sept 2014
Actual Delivery: August 2014 ahead of schedule!
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5. Board Game: Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
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Jumped on this KS expansion to Viticulture. Only got in at the $45 level since I already have a full KS version of the original game and an extra retail copy I'm trying to sell/trade away. Anyway, this one comes with a ton of new expansion material (a few from the original KS). Still good value. Just saw the combined collector version of this and Viticulture for 144 CAD. I'd have to go back and see which was the better deal.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jameystegmaier/tuscany?...-...

Estimated Delivery: Nov 2014
Actual Delivery: December 2014
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6. Board Game: Arcadia Quest [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:86] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
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Cool Mini or Not has come out with some, well, pretty "cool" stuff of late. High toy factor minis and good thematic gameplay. The latest I've bit on is this adventure campaign system. You get three heroes to play with but it's not just questing against monsters, you also get to hit your opponents for the rush to the win. The individual scenarios look like they play out fast and the campaign system does have some staying power. I pledged to get the following with it:

Arcadia Quest: The Nameless Campaign (free with the pledge)
Arcadia Quest: Beyond the Grave (extra expansion)
Arcadia Quest: Guildmaster Kickstarter Heroes (one of about 21 exclusive heroes that aren't listed on BGG yet)

Probably my best decision for a KS backing this year. Excellent game, excellent components, and timely delivery.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/arcadia-q......

Expected Delivery: Dec 2014
Actual Delivery: Oct 2014 EARLY! All except The Nameless Campaign
 
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7. Board Game: Steam Donkey [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:3676]
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It's pretty simple really. I like the name, and it has a "Donkey Boy". I also like Ragnar Brother games. Glad I backed this one.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2061897488/steam-donkey......

Projected Release: Sept 2014
Actual Release: Sept 2014 as promised, and from the UK at that!
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8. Board Game: Tokaido Collector's Edition [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
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Beautiful game. Lots of exclusive painted minis in the KS. The collector's edition is all inclusive with all the expansions and extra characters. Backed at the Samurai level. Will be worth it if the paint jobs are as promised.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/funforge/tokaido-collec......

Expected Delivery: Nov 2014
Actual Delivery: TBD, now looks like early 2015.
 
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9. Board Game: Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1490] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
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Backed this with a bunch of extra stuff that I'll add later for it. I like the original game despite some rules issues that will hopefully be cleaned up with this stand-alone version. Fully backward compatible with the original SDE. Lots of cool minis and two modes of play, one of which is co-op. Lots of updates from the publisher with this one. Production is going good but it won't make the expected Dec 2014 delivery.

KS link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1257458293/super-dungeo......

Expected delivery: Dec 2014
Actual delivery: TBD, early 2015 if all goes well.
 
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10. Board Game: Dogs of War [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:638]
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Euro politics Weuro style? Whatever it is, it looked interesting and I like the art in the box. Plus, it's one less Essen release for this year that I won't have to hunt down later. And, Paulo M. has some good games out already establishing a track record. Got luck and snagged an early bird KS pledge at $45.

Actually a good Euro. The figures in the box were fantastic. and there were lots of exclusives. CMoN is getting a good rep for releasing the game when they say they will.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/dogs-of-w......

Expected release: Oct 2014
Actual release: Sept 2014 a month ahead of schedule. Good on them!
 
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11. Board Game: Galaxy Defenders: Operation Strikeback [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
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A bunch of expansion stuff for Galaxy Defenders. At least they're realistic about the production/delivery date. Even then, we'll see if they hit their mark. As for the game, it's pretty X-COM themed, tactical fighting. Lots of good Xeno stuff to enjoy. I got in at the Moon level. I'll probably carry this one over to my 2015 acquisitions list when I make it. With everything promised I'll be surprised if it makes the release in February but there's always hope.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1402889231/galaxy-defen......

Expected Delivery: Feb 2015
Actual Delivery: TBD
 
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12. Board Game: Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:596] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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Third time's a charm. Lots of good stuff in the KS along with some exclusives. Overall, an excellent tactical Zed romp. If you don't know about this game by now, you're not a Z fan. Pledged in at the "Patient 0" level plus a bit extra for one add on figure.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/zombicide......

Projected Delivery: Feb 2015
Actual Delivery: Dec 2014. As CMoN mentioned to their backers in the US, a number of these came in early and filled their warehouse. So to make room, they shipped out the Z3 base game early. A nice surprise for all in time for Christmas. The rest of the items should ship out in February as originally scheduled.




 
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13. Board Game: Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2406]
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Sometimes I like to play a game with no redeeming value other than thematic fun. Too bad there isn't a Nacho Libre character in this game. There's still 7 0 days left on the KS for the 2nd edition which comes with a cool wresting ring. I like the small strategy window of deciding which die to roll in pushing your luck with going for the standard hit points or pulling off a special move for more points. Looks to be an excellent filler game playing out in less than 30 minutes.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/backspindle/luchador-me......

Expected delivery: Dec 2014
Actual delivery: early Dec 2014
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14. Board Game: AquaSphere [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:355]
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Hit or miss, it's A Feld. Got in on KS during the last day,not realizing it was a KS project. At $40, it's 33% off MSRP shipped so about the same as discounted online prices. No exclusives, no stretch goals, just the game, which looks interesting. Now I know that it was going to be at Essen and KS backers were supposed to get their copies in December. But what really pissed me off was online stores started getting these in November and we still haven't gotten our copies, nor will we now until January. IMHaBO, nobody should be getting the game before the KS backers get theirs.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaelmindes/aquaspher......

Expected delivery: Dec 2014
Actual delivery: TBD Thanks for your money KS backers, we'll ship it to you later after the retailers get their copies. Hope your ass isn't too sore.
 
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15. Board Game: Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game – Adventures in Hyboria [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
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I'm excited they've finally KS'd an expansion for the game but disappointed that they didn't add an Eastern map extension. Still, I'm on the bandwagon for at least the expansion portion at $25. I'll carry this over to my 2015 acquisitions.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1402889231/age-of-conan......

Estimated Delivery: APR 2015
Actual Delivery: TBD
 
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16. Board Game: The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1907] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
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CMoN has had a slew of entertaining games that I've been pleased with and happy to support through Kickstarter. Their quality is excellent and their games are fun and uniquely themed. Even more important is they usually make their delivery on time, as promised.

I watched the play-through video and found it intriguing. This one reminds me of SATOR where the board is ever changing and the strategy is finding the best action when your turn comes around. The price through KS will probably be about the same as retail by the time they add the shipping, but you do get the exclusives which is nice to add variety in a game like this.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/the-world......

Planned Release: Jun 2015
Actual Release: TBD (given it's CMoN, it'll probably be on time.)
 
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17. Board Game: Sunrise City: Nights! [Average Rating:6.18 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.18 Unranked]
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Well this one just made funding in the last minutes by the skin of it's teeth. Sunrise City was and is a solid 7 game, light to medium weight. It had great production value and good play. I decided to get on board with this KS as it not only provided the expansion but also all the premium exclusive promos from the first KS (which I missed). Sometimes it's hare to commit to a project that's almost a year out for delivery, but for $25 the package is a pretty good deal.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/clevermojogames/sunrise......

Projected Delivery: Oct 2015
Actual Delivery: TBD
 
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18. Board Game: Rum & Bones [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1130] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
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This is probably the last KS I'm backing in 2014. With a week left on the KS, I finally committed. There was no doubt that I was going to pledge this and it'll probably roll over to my 2015 acquisitions list. For me, this is another cool and fun looking game from CMoN. I'm not going to miss out on this like I did with Rivet Wars: Eastern Front. They've been putting out a consistent product. Managed to snag an Early Bird that popped up but backed at $250 to get the KS exclusive expansions and two sets of dice in the colors I want (yellow and purple). And there are a LOT of exclusive figures in this KS.

The game reminds me a lot of Broadsides and Boarding Parties. In fact, I'm already thinking of ways to create a variant that would allow the pre-boarding movement and fire from B&BP to this game, and let this game commence when a boarding action occurs. I'm not expecting a lot of strategy other than throwing your figures into the fray but just the dice rolling from hack-n-slash sounds fun.

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/rum-and-b......

Expected Delivery: Jul 2015
Actual Delivery: TBD
 
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19. Board Game: Battle For Souls [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2127]
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Not backed but purchased. This came out at the end of 2013 and was a KS project. I read the rules and they seem very solid for a 2 player game. It's all about using the angels or demons on your side to steal the souls for points. It's a great 2-player game with the ability to play 2 teams working together. The graphic art is stunning which put me over the top to get this one.
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20. Board Game: Rivet Wars: Eastern Front [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1738]
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Another one not backed but purchased this year. I missed out on the KS somehow and regretted it. I eyed this since the KS and finally watched a full video of a game being played. It's really simple fare with buckets-o-dice rolling and luck of the draw. If you can live with that, it's a fun game that plays fast. The minis give it a high toy factor but they look cool and rather "steampunk". What's one more wacky themed game to the collection... Did I mention the minis look cool?

Here's an example of where getting things after market can be both cheaper and more expensive. I managed to pick up a bunch of the KS exclusives for cheaper than what they went for on the KS. But a few of the others ended up costing me more and I still don't have everything I would have had I backed it initially.

 
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21. Board Game: Quicksilver [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:7574]
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Well I like racing games of one sort or another and missed this when it was Kickstarted. The boards look great and it has been a while since I like the racing theme in this one. I find the cards both chaotic and interesting. But here's an example where you can just wait and get it on sale cheaper. I saw this a few times this year on CSI's deal of the day.
 
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22. Board Game: Krosmaster: Arena – Frigost [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
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I intentionally avoided the KS for this one because I knew I could get it cheaper down the road, and did. Got this one online for $31.50 at MM. Decided not to get onboard with the KS for this one despite all the tidbits they were throwing in. It was just too much of a money pit and everything has been available cheaper through online discounters. It's Chibi fun and high on the cute factor, yet okay for a tactical miniatures game with a fantasy theme. Decided to get the Krosmaster: Arena – Duel Pack 1 which has just come out also through MM as it works with the original set as well. And now the Duel Pack 2 is out as well. These acquisitions help keep up the eclectic side of my collection. After all, life's not all Euro's and wargames.
 
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23. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1403]
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For some reason I thought I had backed this on Kickstarter. Well after doing some checking, I initially did back it then pulled my support. IIRC, they were throwing in a bunch of stuff from another game which I could care less about and for what they wanted figured I'd pick it up later cheaper. I was right as I got it for $24 at a FLGS. It only plays 4, but makes a fun filler dice roller.
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24. Board Game: Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:274] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
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Well I didn't back the KS for this game and I'm still standing by that decision. Yes, the KS came with lots of extra goodies but you did pay the extra price for them. Yes, the mine cart level is giving for over $500 now on EBay, but I'm not a buy-for-profit collector. I expect to play this game at some point. And in part, that's where my decision to wait came in.

First off, it's an RPG boardgame. So to get the full experience of leveling up and continuing a campaign, you need to play with a regular group, and likely, often. I'd rather prefer a once and done scenario, pull it out with another game group months down the road and repeat. Still, there's a lot of gaming theme in the box that's too good to miss. The saving grace is the solo mode which is available in many FFG games. I could see starting my own character and soloing them up through a campaign. But even then, I don't think I'll ever need the extra glut of material the KS provided to enjoy this game (like alternate character poses and new character types). There's enough game in both boxes to last me until I'm in a pine box. And finally, I've enjoyed reading all the session reports on the game. Sounds like folks are really having fun with it.

And so it goes, I decided to get this at the price point I wanted. Cardhaus had them for $63 if you pre-ordered it. That's a price that even beat CSI with their top tier member discount. So depending on what you're getting charged for at retail, it's between 30-40% off. All things considered, it's still cheaper for both coffin boxes than buying a copy of the new Space Hulk (fourth edition). But I will have to live with the lack of exclusives that came with the KS.

And my one gripe up front is I'll have to take minis off sprues and glue them together. I can live with that.
 
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25. Board Game: Guardians' Chronicles [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:5557] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
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Not backed but purchased on sale.

So just for the record, I know full well what to expect going into this game. But for $30 now on sale (57% off MSRP), there's a game in the box that's playable, even without any KS extras. And here's a case where I don't think I'll miss the extras.

Okay, so the KS backers are pissed. I get that. Here's the bad:
1. The plastic models are poor quality with poor detail. I can get by that as I'm just happy to have plastic on the board to represent my units. That, and I'm never going to paint them anyway. I can understand that if I KS'd the game expecting better, I would have been disappointed. This one is a non-issue for me.
2. The rules are written ass-backwards. Everything is pretty much there with the exception of clarification on using mental ability to accomplish value checks. That's been explained here on BGG, and there's now a nice English FAQ on their website addressing other rules questions that have come up. I read the rules, read the FAQ, and watched a game play video. I agree that there are areas that need clarification and they could be presented in a better sequence. But the game mechanics are relatively easy and reviewers are correct in that the rule book make things out to be much more complicated than they really are. I can put the extra effort and research in to get the rules right. So really a non-issue for me.
3. KS delays, broken promises, delivery issues? Not my problem. I've had both good and bad success with KS games. I'm buying a discounted off-the-shelf product with what's in the box. I know what I'm getting.
4. Some folks are upset over the scantily clad female hero. Seriously? I might as well burn any Boris Vallejo art I have. Probably the same whiners that would find Busen Memo offensive. The female hero in this game can fight injustice naked for all I care, so this one is a big non-issue for me.
5. There is a player elimination aspect (okay, your hero can be knocked out which effectively eliminates them from the game, but you can easily mitigate that from happening with good card play). Since this can be avoided with reasonable play, it's also a non-issue for me.

The good as I see it:
1. There's a playable game that thematic and fun. Stop the villain.
2. The game is relatively easy and doesn't take too long to play out.
3. There are interesting mechanics that make card decisions important as well as where and in what sequence to focus your efforts (for both sides).
4. It's one against all. Someone gets to be the villain.
5. And if I understand it correctly, the newspaper clippings will eventually determine which side wins. So if one side gets more press but still fails their objectives, they can still take the win. More likely though the win will go to the villain if he succeeds or the heroes if they stop the villain. I need to get a better grasp on this newspaper win issue though.

FWIW, I almost backed the KS on this one. There was a lot of toy and RPG appeal to it. For some gut instinct (or more likely trying shave down the number of games I was KS'ing) I decided to give this one a pass. Still, it looked very appealing with the superhero theme and all. Given the bad press this game has gotten, I can see it being cleared out at an even lower discount. If so, my recommendation is grab a copy if this type of game is your bag. They may even get things turned around and improve it with additional scenarios and improved sculpts. But even if not, I think it's a good gaming deal for the price point I got it at. Of course, YMMV.
 
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