I’m taking off next week for a long trip to Taiwan with my kids, so I won’t be able to keep you informed about all the cool Kickstarter board games that are seeking funding. There are several that look promising but I won’t have time to get prototypes and try them out before I get back. So here are five games ending within the next few weeks that I think are worth looking into.
I don’t know how I hadn’t heard about Pirate Dice before this week, but I immediately pledged for a copy. Think Robo Rally, except with pirate ships instead of robots and action dice instead of programming cards. Your goal is to get to the treasure and back, but each player “programs” their ship with four action dice, and then movement occurs simultaneously. There’s the luck of the dice roll, trying to predict where your opponents will be by the time your ship moves, and a lot of opportunity for “take that!” in the form of broadside attacks. You can even use a barrel of rum to make your opponent veer off course.
Pirate Dice has already hit several of its stretch goals, so you’re getting a pile of double-sided maps to customize the game, plus the Ghost Ship mini-expansion, plus some other goodies. And it’s from Eagle/Gryphon Games, so I know the production quality of these will be top-notch. But be quick about it! This ends Friday, so don’t (heh-heh) miss the boat.
Ok, despite the rather cheesy video (you’re better off scrolling down the Kickstarter Page to Tom Vasel’s preview video) Kaiju City looks like a game that might be a whole lot of fun. It’s got the giant monsters of a game like King of Tokyo, but instead of battling each other you’re working together to destroy the city — and the other team of players works as the city to bring down the monsters. I haven’t had as much time to look into this one really closely, but they’ve got a few days left to raise quite a bit of their goal. (One thing to note: shipping is not included in the reward levels, so pay attention to that when you’re pledging.)
Bootleggers is actually not a new game — it was originally released in 2004 — but it’s been out of print. I actually got to play the original a few years ago because a friend of mine bought a copy, and it’s a pretty hefty game with a lot going on. Now, the theme of the game is running hooch during Prohibition, so you’ll want to consider that before playing this with your eight-year-old. The designers are working to improve the rulebook and tweaking the components to make things easier to read and learn. If you want a board game about the world of mobsters and moonshine, here it is.
Ok, here’s another one that has kind of a weird video, but don’t let that dissuade you. Fantastiqa is a deck-building game by Alf Seegert, who has also designed Bridge Troll, Trollhalla, and The Road to Canterbury. If there’s one thing I can tell you about Seegert, it’s that he comes up with some unique game mechanics that don’t play like anything else on my shelf. This one uses a nine-symbol “Circle of Subduing” that’s like a rock-paper-scissors mechanic, showing how any given card can be used toward defeating (and acquiring) another card. The game also adds a board, so that your location on the board makes a difference in which cards you can obtain each turn. And it’s another one from Eagle/Gryphon Games, which has consistently impressed me with the components in their games. You can read a bit more about the design process on the Mechanics & Meeples blog.
Serpent Stones is a card-based game that claims to be over 600 years in the making. You can read a bit more about the discovery of the game here (though so far there’s only Part 1). Personally I like the name Itzcoatl but I guess they figured they wanted something everyone could pronounce more easily. It’s a two-player game that involves sacrificing your own pieces to capture your opponent. This one has a little bit longer to go — nearly a month — but the campaign will be over right about the time I get back from my trip, so I thought I’d mention it now. I would like to know a little more about the history of the game, and how close it is to the original Aztec game, but it does sound intriguing. (Next, I want somebody to research and publish peletta, an even older game that Achilles and Ajax were playing during the Trojan War. A game that’s so absorbing you forget you’re in the middle of a battle? Now that’s engaging.)
Don’t forget to visit our Kickstarter curated page for more projects we like! I’ll be back in September with more board game goodness.