Kickstarter Tabletop Roundup: Steampunk, Spies, Dragons, Dice!

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Well, it’s happened again: I’m drowning in board game prototypes and if I wait until I have time to write a proper review of each one, the Kickstarter campaigns will be over and you’ll be wondering why I never told you about them. So, without further ado, here are several Kickstarter board games currently on deck. I’ll followup with full reviews as time permits!

Steampunk Rally
How far can Tesla go with his penny farthing wheel AND spider legs? (prototype shown) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Steampunk Rally

Famous inventors like Nikola Tesla and the Wright Brothers face off in this madcap race. You’re building contraptions as you go—which is good, because pieces keep falling off, too. A combination of card-drafting and dice placement with a good helping of steam. I’ve played a prototype of Steampunk Rally a couple times and have enjoyed it—piecing together these crazy machines is a lot of fun.

Desert Island
This Desert Island may be unpleasant, but the biggest threat may be the other survivors. (Prototype shown) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Desert Island

The twisted minds behind Lifeboat, the backstabbing game of survival, now have a standalone sequel: Desert Island. It features the same characters and a few similarities to Lifeboat, but with several new twists like locations and the calamity rules, you have all new things to fight over. Not for the faint of heart. I tried this one out and it has a lot of the same feel as Lifeboat, but with some tweaks that I think improve the game.

Truths Too Terrible
Prototype cards for Truths Too Terrible. Image: Protean Games

Truths Too Terrible

Here’s a quick-playing deduction game with a Lovecraftian spin: each of you is trying to figure out whether each type of evidence is pertinent, irrelevant, or unknowable. Revealing evidence to other players gains you credibility, which can then be spent on dirty tricks. Make your case before your opponents pick up enough clues! I played an early prototype that didn’t have all the cool artwork on it—it’s not too heavy but still lends itself to some interesting tactics.

Roots
Building words in Roots. Image: Predicate

Roots

I love language and etymology, so Roots looks like fun. It’s about building words using prefixes and suffixes to best match a subject card. Sort of a mashup of Balderdash and Apples to Apples, but with pieces of words. I haven’t played it myself, but it looks like a cool idea.

Bring Out Yer Dead

Bring Out Yer Dead

For you morbid types, Bring Out Yer Dead is about trying to secure the best places in the graveyard for your dearly departed. Or, failing that, just try to get yourself some riches by grave robbing. Be warned, though: the lazy gravedigger will just dump bodies into the river if he’s got too many in the cart, so you want to make sure you get there first. It’s another one I haven’t played personally, but I’m watching it with interest.

Web of Spies
Prototype cards. Image: Cole Medeiros

Web of Spies

I just got a prototype of Web of Spies in the mail yesterday so I haven’t played it yet, but it mixes deck-building with a race around the board to collect assets and eliminate enemy spies. You have to grab an asset in order to add it to your deck, but you’ll also be spending cards to move around the board and for attacking and defending.

King's Forge

King’s Forge and Apprentices Expansion

I wrote about the first edition of King’s Forge in a roundup post last year, and the finished game turned out looking gorgeous. There’s a Kickstarter up now for the second edition (some minor corrections) plus an expansion that adds apprentices to the mix. The expansion lets you play up to 5 players, and hiring apprentices gets you ongoing abilities during the game. If you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to pick up a copy.

Dragon Flame
A two-player game of Dragonflame. (Prototype shown) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Dragonflame

Dragonflame is launching on Kickstarter next week, and I’ve played a near-complete prototype version of it. It uses a base mechanic a little bit like Coloretto, where you’re stashing treasures in castles and then picking a castle to take. But on top of that, you get to use your dragonflame to burn down villages. Oh, did I mention that all the players are dragons?

Check out the campaign pages for more information about each game.

New to Kickstarter? Read our crowdfunding primer.

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