You slowly wake up, your head pressed into the warm sand of the beach. The last thing you remember is your ship smashing against the rocks, and falling into the turbulent water. It’s a miracle you’re alive.
As you groggily pull yourself up, you hear a rustling from the treeline. You catch sight of dark, reptilian eyes gazing at you, and sharp dagger teeth set in a scaled muzzle. Maybe it’s too soon to celebrate surviving that shipwreck…
What Are Kickstarter Quick Picks?
Kickstarter Quick Picks are short looks at projects currently on Kickstarter that are of interest to me, and by extension, many of our GeekDad readers. A Quick Pick is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter campaign, nor have I (as yet) received any product copies to review. If you like what you see here, go check out the campaign and decide for yourself if you’d like to back it, or wait until GeekDad has had a chance to go hands-on. As always, caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
What Is Ulaya Chronicles: Raptor Claw Island?
Ulaya Chronicles is a hybrid dungeon crawler/wargame for 1-4 players. It’s a co-op game set in the post-apocalyptic tropical setting of The Drowned Earth, a skirmish-level tabletop miniatures game that was previously funded on Kickstarter in 2017. Ulaya Chronicles is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with multiple pledge levels. The lowest pledge with a reward is the “Ankle Deep” pledge for £39 (approximately $49 USD at the current exchange rate) which includes a core copy of the game with standees. For those who prefer playing the game with miniatures (which are also usable with The Drowned Earth), there are several different pledge levels available. Finally, there is an extremely limited “Gene Splicer” pledge, which allows the backer to design a character or dinosaur that will become a permanent part of the game.
All pledges come with a copy of the core game, stretch goals, and a free copy of Olmec Games’ “One Page One Shot” RPG system that will be emailed to each backer. The core box includes the following:
- 24″ x 32″ Board Map
- 14 Scenery Tiles
- 200+ Cards
- 3 Custom Dice
- 21 Standees
- 80+ Tokens
- 36 Page Rulebook
For £69 you can move up to the “Get Wet” pledge level, which adds in miniatures of the four heroes of the game. £99 adds a basic dino pack to that (6 miniatures), while the £189 “Drowned” pledge will upgrade the basic dino pack to deluxe (16 miniatures). For those interested in painting miniatures or also playing The Drowned Earth tabletop miniatures game, I suspect the “Drowned” pledge level will be the most popular. But if you’re just looking to enjoy the game and don’t care about miniatures, the basic “Ankle Deep” pledge provides you with everything you need to play.
In Ulaya Chronicles: Raptor Claw Island, you will be looking for a way to get off the island where you’ve been shipwrecked. You will encounter pirates and dinosaurs, which are controlled by an A.I. deck of cards. As you play through a series of card-driven, narrative scenarios, you level up and progress your characters. Can you discover the mystery of Raptor Claw Island?
From the Kickstarter:
Each scenario features a unique set of cards which drive both your objectives and the dangers of your environment. Discover interesting events and personalities, make decisions, avoid pitfalls, and overcome enemies. Race to complete your objectives before the dangers of the “Heat Deck” overcome you.
These events, and how you respond to them, affect both the course of the game and the future of the campaign. Do you befriend the merchant you meet on the road or rob them? Choices steer the game in a different direction, but many decisions will have repercussions later in the campaign. Additionally, inter-game sequences introduce a number of “choose your own adventure” style choices, which also significantly affect the story.
There will be several add-ons available during the campaign including The Corsairs, the pirate NPCs from the game which are also usable as a new faction in The Drowned Earth. All of the current miniatures from The Drowned Earth range will also be purchasable in the Backerkit once the pledge manager launches.
Why Check Out Ulaya Chronicles: Raptor Claw Island
The majority of dungeon crawlers are exactly as they sound: you make your way through a fantasy dungeon, fighting various fantasy creatures. It’s a tried and true trope, and so it’s no surprise that many game designers return to this well over and over again. It’s somewhat the comfort food of the genre, and so the trappings are made familiar (though the best of these games use innovative mechanics to rise above the rest).
But it’s nice to break out of the mold sometimes and “dungeon crawl” someplace far removed from a trap-filled, Tolkienesque lair. Ulaya Chronicles, with its post-apocalyptic, saurian and pirate-filled setting, seems poised to do exactly that.
If you back Ulaya Chronicles, you’re not just getting a board game. You’re also getting a game that’s fully compatible with The Drowned Earth, as you can not only use the miniatures from Ulaya Chronicles in that game, but also the A.I. card system for the dinosaur enemies. While this doesn’t really hold any benefit for those not interested in playing a tabletop skirmish game, it’s nice that the designers created a standalone board game that can also be used to expand their previous game set in the same universe.
I haven’t had a chance to play Ulaya Chronicles yet, but I’m very much looking forward to trying it out. I have some friends that have played The Drowned Earth, and they had only good things to say about both the multi-part metal miniatures and the cinematic gameplay. I’m sure that as the Kickstarter campaign for Ulaya Chronicles progresses, you’ll be able to see plenty of examples of how that game plays.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Ulaya Chronicles: Raptor Claw Island, head over to the Kickstarter campaign page. The campaign runs through June 2nd.
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