Lockdown restrictions have made it difficult to play board games in person for a while, but it’s clear that many publishers are hopeful that we’ll eventually be hosting game nights again, because there’s a big batch of board game Kickstarter campaigns to check out again. Since it can take up as long as a year between funding and delivery of a board game, it makes sense that publishers are running campaigns now—we’ll see how soon we get to sit down together and play games face-to-face. In the meantime, here are several tabletop projects that caught my eye!
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
Bullet♥︎ is a fast-paced puzzle game inspired by shoot-’em-up video games: “bullet” tokens are added to your player board, and you must use your various abilities to clear them off before they pile up too much and you take a wound. The bullets you clear are then passed along to your opponent, and the last player standing wins. I’ve gotten a chance to try this over Tabletop Simulator, and it’s a clever system with a few different gameplay modes, like a cooperative boss fight or team fights. I’m looking forward to playing this with actual physical components, though, because I’m terrible with the TTS interface.
Role is a digital platform for role-playing games, incorporating video chat, modular character sheets, and a marketplace of games from independent designers. It’s an ambitious project and I haven’t seen it in action—as with many digital projects, it’ll be hard to evaluate this until it’s actually delivered, but if you’re looking for tools to play RPGs with remote friends, this may be a project to keep an eye on. (My disclaimer is that I’m not an RPG player myself, so be sure to do your own research on this one to see if it’s the sort of thing that you’d find useful!)
This one’s for fans of escape room games—it’s a “narrative puzzle adventure,” with a story that unfolds as you piece together various clues. The components look varied and gorgeous—maps, illustrations, physical puzzles, and more. There was even a collector’s edition that upgraded some of the components, but unfortunately that one is sold out already. I’m backing this one and am excited to play through it with my family when it arrives!
A couple years ago, I reviewed BarBEARian Battlegrounds, a dice game featuring adorable, violent bears. Tales of BarBEARia is the next game in the series, and it adds adventures, giving you another option for where to send your bears, which adds a little more depth to the game. Curiously, it’s a stand-alone game, not an expansion, even though much of the core gameplay remains the same as the original. The Kickstarter campaign also gives you the exclusive Candy Horde expansion.
I enjoy the puzzle aspect of tile-laying games, so this city-building game title from Inside Up Games intrigues me. I haven’t gotten to play this one, but I like the way that the city layout is at a 45-degree angle to the tiles, so that you’re building out districts diagonally. There are competitive, cooperative, and solo modes available. I’m interested to see how this one turns out.
I mentioned in my recent review of The Whatnot Cabinet that the shelves look a lot like the Kallax units that many gamers use for their board games. Well, Shelfie Stacker is a game that’s actually about arranging games on your shelves, designed by Shem Phillips (of the North Sea and Western Kingdoms games). I like the meta theme and the delightful artwork, and I like games about collecting and organizing things, so it looks like it may be a fun fit for me. But, hmmmm, which shelf will it go on?