It’s another packed week of Kickstarter campaigns! Around this time in a usual year, publishers would be prepping for Essen SPIEL, ready to show off their new titles, but of course that’s all on hold for now. So, instead, you can browse through these Kickstarter campaigns and pretend you’re browsing the booths and gauging how much you can fit into your luggage.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
This campaign is a two-parter. Dropped Too Deep! is an expansion to Dungeon Drop, a funny little dungeon crawler where you set up by dropping a pile of cubes onto the table. It’s a little bit dexterity game, a little bit observation and planning, and it’s pretty cute. The expansion adds new monsters, heroes, and more. Tavern Tales is a stand-alone card game set in the same world: you’re all heroes boasting about your adventures in the dungeon, trying to one-up each other.
Cartographers is a flip-and-fill game that was one of our Game of the Year finalists last year, and Heroes is a sequel that can be played either as its own standalone game or combined with the original. This time, the monsters who show up in the ambush cards have special abilities—but you can combat them with the new hero cards. There are also three new map packs, each with its own rules. Nebblis: Plane of Flame features a volcano that destroys portions of your map; Affril: Plane of Knowledge has six separate islands to explore; Undercity: Depths of Sabek has an aboveground and belowground, and your shapes must connect to the gate icon in the center.
Fantastic Factories is a dice game about building various facilities and powering them with your dice, originally funded in 2018. This campaign adds two expansions. Manufactions introduces player powers: each player chooses a company, giving them access to particular abilities. It also adds the “vitamins” resource that let you manipulate your dice, and (of course) a lot of new buildings. Subterfuge is for those players who wanted a bit more direct player interaction: now you can sabotage rival buildings to shut them down for a turn!
Weird Giraffe Games is back, this time with a Halloween-appropriate title (though of course you’ll have to wait for a future Halloween to play it). It’s a card game about the Dark Arts … and about getting your thesis done. Turns out magic school is a lot like regular school, I guess? Studies in Sorcery has a combination of press-your-luck, card-drafting, and engine-building.
Button Shy Games’ wallet series is a great collection of tiny games, each just a small set of cards in a custom vinyl wallet. Sprawlopolis is one of their most popular games, a solo or cooperative game about creating a city that conforms to particular rules. Agropolis is the followup, which can be played on its own or combined with Sprawlopolis, this time focusing on farms. If you’ve never tried a Button Shy wallet game, this may be a great way to get a taste of it.
Thunderstone Quest, one of my favorite deck-building games, adds two more chapters with this campaign, plus options to get the game in French or German. If you’ve missed out on the previous campaigns, the Champion tier lets you catch up with the base game and the first few quests. Otherwise, you can just add to your existing box to extend the story.
High Rise is a city-building game that I’d seen talked about but hadn’t gotten to try myself—it was kickstarted last year and delivered to backers this year, and then sold out. Formal Ferret is back on Kickstarter for a new edition featuring plastic buildings instead of cardboard standees, and new tenants. Also, if you own the original version, you can get a fix kit to replace some of the errors or typos in the base game.
Hanafuda is a set of playing cards from Japan, used to play a variety of games. The cards have a lot of symbolic imagery on them, representing the 12 months of the year and incorporating different plants, animals, and other icons. Louie Mantia is a graphic designer who fell in love with hanafuda cards and designed three decks featuring a dragon, tiger, and phoenix, pulling from traditional design principles to create modern-looking variations.
Love board games? And enamel pins? This set from Pollia Design incorporates all your favorite board game tropes, from types of gamers to a shout-out to the Kallax shelving units that you see in pretty much every tabletop YouTube channel. Whether you’re a rules lawyer or you like arguing about whether to sleeve your cards, there’s a pin for everyone here.
This one’s a book, not a game, but it’s a book about applying game theory to politics (and vice versa), written by Mike Selinker of Lone Shark Games. Now, normally I tend to avoid political content here on GeekDad, particularly partisan politics, but 2020 is nothing if not unprecedented, so here we are. Game Theory in the Age of Chaos is a series of essays showing how game theory can be used to explain the way that people have been behaving, both Republicans and Democrats, from Trump to the Supreme Court, and—of course—us voters. This is an updated edition of the book, and there are two ways to get it: back this Kickstarter campaign (which also includes options to send a copy of the book to a Congressperson), or complete some tasks on the Shark.Vote page to get a copy for free.
This last one isn’t on Kickstarter yet, but you can click the link to be notified when it launches next Tuesday! Kabuto Sumo is a disc-pushing game designed by Tony Miller (Fire in the Library). It’s inspired in part by those coin-dozer machines, and involves pushing a disc to displace your opponents. I follow Tony Miller on Twitter and it’s been fun to see the progress on this from an initial concept through its development, so I’m excited to see how it turns out.