Kickstarter Tabletop Roundup

There are so many Kickstarter games that launch between Gen Con (August) and Essen (October) that it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I try to anyway. Here are a few current projects that I think are worth a look!

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STEM Epic Heroes

STEM: Epic Heroes

This game takes some of the giants of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and turns them into heroes. Your goal is to make discoveries (using the steps of the scientific method, of course), and you’ll call upon these heroes for their special abilities. I haven’t played the game myself, but I love the concept of taking historical figures and making giving them these exciting, dynamic portraits in a game.

Monster Dice

Monster Dice

Monster Dice are, well, monsters that are dice! Each one is a little tiny six-sided character that you can roll. There are also cards included for a couple of games: Sugar Rush, a speed-rolling game; Swipe Out, a dexterity game about knocking cards out of a tower without tumbling the tower; and Flip ‘Em In, a sort of Tiddlywinks-style game of flipping the monsters into the box. There are even glow-in-the-dark versions available through the Kickstarter campaign. I got a sample to try out, and I have to confess that the games themselves didn’t hold my interest quite as much, but the dice are pretty fun—I’d love to see some sort of game that used the dice as playable pawns, so maybe that’ll come next.

Dinogenics

DinoGenics

DinoGenics is a game about creating your own Jurassic Park! I mean, but not by that name, obviously. Build fences, gather DNA, and make your private island the most exciting dinosaur park—the more dangerous the dinosaur, the more people want to see it. But, of course, there are some risks to manage, too. This has a very similar theme to Pandasaurus’s Dinosaur Island, which Kickstarted earlier this year, but it looks like it plays the theme out more seriously, without the puns and the rides of Dinosaur Island. Depending on how you prefer your dino theme park, you might prefer one over the other.

Trench board game

Trench

This one caught my eye just because it looks gorgeous. It’s an abstract strategy game inspired by WWII’s trench warfare. There are two versions: a regular version that’s got a folding board and wooden pieces, and a premium version (pictured above) that looks like a piece of art.

Detective: City of Angels

Detective: City of Angels

Here’s one for fans of mysteries and film noir: a detective game in which the detectives are racing to solve a case, but one player, “The Chisel,” works against them, choosing responses when a character is questioned and trying to misdirect the detectives. Or you can play cooperatively, or even a solo game. It does sound like you can only be a detective once per case (because then you’ll know the answer) but you could play with a new group as The Chisel. I’m really curious to try this one out eventually!

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit.