Kickstarter Tabletop Roundup: Reach High, Dig Deep

Titan Prototype
Prototype of Titan from Holy Grail Games, seen at Gen Con 2019. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

It’s time for another Kickstarter tabletop roundup! I mentioned in my September roundup that Kickstarter was in the midst of some tension between management and some employees who are working to unionize. Things are not resolved yet, but I’ve been following updates from Kickstarter United, the workers who are organizing, and they are still encouraging project creators and backers to continue using the platform. Instead of boycotting Kickstarter, they are asking for support in the form of solidarity and sharing your opinions with Kickstarter management and your own social circles. There are a number of projects that have been including the Kickstarter United logo with messages of support on their project pages, so if you’re in favor of workers being able to unionize at Kickstarter, seeking out and backing those projects is one way to do so! While I don’t speak for all of the GeekDad team, I’m personally supporting Kickstarter United in their efforts and encourage Kickstarter management to allow things to proceed without further interference or discouragement.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

Strike! The Game of Worker Rebellion

It seems appropriate, then, to begin with this game: Strike! It’s a cooperative game about a mega-corporation trying to take over a metropolis, and workers uniting to prevent it. The game is designed by TESA Collective, which has also published games like Space Cats Fight Fascism and Rise Up, a game about building a social movement, so that gives you a sense of the team’s values. They’re also partnering with Jobs with Justice, a labor-rights organization, to make sure that the concepts in the game support the ideals they’re striving for. I haven’t gotten to play it, but I like the concept, and the strong support they’re showing for Kickstarter United as well.

Fossilis

The latest title from Kids Table Board Gaming (which also published Wreck Raiders and Haunt the House), Fossilis is a game about digging up fossils, and it uses a clever board design to hide little plastic fossils underneath chunky tiles representing sand, clay, and stone. There’s just a couple days left on this campaign, which is well-funded and has been blasting through stretch goals!

Titan

If you like your games to have an impressive table presence, Titan certainly lives up to its name. I saw prototypes of this at Gen Con—a cardboard version last year, and then a plastic version this year—and it’s an enormous 3D disc that looks like a giant pit, with concentric rings that get deeper in the center. It’s a complex Euro-style game about mining a distant moon, and it looks pretty spectacular. It’s another one that I haven’t actually gotten to play yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get a chance eventually. (Save up your pennies, though: the price also lives up to the title.)

Sub Terra II: Inferno’s Edge

This stand-alone sequel is a cooperative tile-laying game about exploring an ancient temple—conveniently built in a volcano, of course. You’ll work together to carry the keys, unlock the chamber, and grab the artifact. But beware: when the volcano erupts, the passages will start filling up with lava! I saw a prototype of this at Gen Con, and it looks like a fun challenge, especially if you’re a fan of tile-laying games.

Beyond Humanity: Colonies

One of the things Kickstarter makes possible is pitching some wild, out-of-the-box ideas to see if there are enough people who are interested. Beyond Humanity: Colonies is a good example of an ambitious concept: it uses miniatures with built-in electronics that automatically track the layout of the space colony via a connected app. Players can focus on the strategy of keeping the colony running instead of doing calculations, and the app also does things like simulate the status of thousands of virtual colonists. I haven’t played this myself, so I have no idea if the game itself is fun to play, and I always have some concerns about the long-term viability of app-driven games because of potential obsolescence, but there’s no doubt that it’s an intriguing, innovative project. (My other caveat: if you do decide to back this one, build a good amount of delay into your expectations because I imagine a project of this nature may have a lot of unforeseen difficulties in production.)

Talenticity

Here’s another project that is doing some fascinating visual things with game components. Talenticity includes tiles with different locations on them, and there’s a “God’s Eye” viewer that lets you peek at what’s on the other side of the tile—I’m not sure if it’s a polarized lens, but it’s a neat effect. The other fun visual is that the dollar bills have patterns of holes in them—if you get the right set of three bills, the holes overlap to reveal a keyword, which then lets you claim the corresponding artifact. I have to admit that the theme of the game and the appearance don’t really appeal to me personally, but I’d be curious to see whether these components may make their way into other games in the future as well.

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