I love board games (obviously) but I admit there are some difficulties with the hobby. First, boardgaming is expensive: die-cut cardboard tokens, game boards, plastic or wooden bits, cards, boxes and dividers — this doesn’t come cheap. (Neither does the traditional distribution model, though Kickstarter is shifting that around a little for some folks. Secondly, it takes up a lot of space — the majority of game boxes tend to contain a large volume of air, and if you have a large board game collection then you know that storage of board games can be a major headache. And this problem also extends to portability: if you want to take a bunch of games with you, expect to have a suitcase, a big plastic tub, or some other unwieldy solution.
Brad Talton Jr. of Level 99 Games has a fun project on Kickstarter that addresses these concerns: 4½ games that come in small pocket-sized boxes but still offer depth of play. It reminds me of the Cheapass Games philosophy, too: sell the rules, eliminate the extra bits that you probably have lying around anyway, and drop the price.
I haven’t gotten to play these games myself, so caveat emptor. However, Talton is also the guy behind BattleCON, a fighting card game that ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and I’ve played the iPad version of Noir, a killer-versus-inspector game of deduction. The idea here is that you can buy any number of the games of your choice, or back for the entire library. The “½” refers to Infinity Dungeon, which is twice as big and comes in two (little) boxes, but since they hit a stretch goal there’s actually a fifth full game (Blades of Legend) which has been added to the library and will be available to anyone who backs at that level or higher.
It’s a pretty cool deal: for roughly ten bucks a game, you can pick and choose the ones you want. You’ll also get five “microgames,” tiny games that fit on a postcard, thrown in at any of the reward levels — some developed by Daniel Solis.
Here’s a list of the games:
Grimoire Shuffle: a team-based puzzle game for 4 or 6 players: get your team across the magical library while wreaking havoc on the other team. Sort of like Amazing Labyrinth but with magical books.
Noir: a game of hidden movement and secret roles for 2 to 5 players, with a couple of variant rules included. The iPad version was just for two players, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in with more players and how this translates to a card-based game.
Pixel Tactics: a 2-player tactical combat game with a classic videogame style. Build a team and attack the other player — this one looks like it has a bit of complexity to it.
Infinity Dungeon: a storytelling game for 4 to 8 players (I think — I’ve seen as low as 3 and as high as 10) about raiding a dungeon but with lots of humor. Players take turns as the GM and active player, coming up with bizarre schemes to escape from various dungeons.
Blades of Legend is the bonus game from the stretch goal, a party game for 6 to 11 players with hidden identities. There’s another stretch goal at $40k for Master Plan, a wacky supervillain game-show game for 3 to 6 players.
Nearly all of the games have preview videos (or beta rulebooks) available on the Kickstarter page, so take a look to see if any of them might fit your gaming group. But be quick about it: there are just two days left in the campaign.