This month has seen a lot of amazing games launched on Kickstarter, way too many for me to review myself and too many to back all of them, but that doesn’t stop me from being really excited about them anyway. Here’s a bunch of current projects that I’ve been eyeing lately…
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Okay, I admit that I know very little about This Way! other than that it’s two brothers in France, but the artwork for I C E caught my eye as I was scrolling around on Kickstarter, and the gameplay looks intriguing: you’re digging away several layers of ice, represented by hexagonal tiles, and you have to move your character and archaeologists around to get them into position for various tasks. There’s a Tabletop Simulator module, but unfortunately my old computer wasn’t quite up to task of running it (there are a lot of components!) so I’ll have to consider whether to back it or look for it later on when it’s released without trying it out first.
Oink Games is one of my favorite publishers (though you haven’t seen reviews here because I’ve always bought the games myself). They’re a Japanese company that makes tiny box games that look great and have a lot of wacky themes. This campaign is to bring a couple of their games to the Nintendo Switch, with the potential to bring them to iOS, Android, and PC as well. So far there are plans for two of their most popular titles, Deep Sea Adventure and Startups, with a few more as stretch goals. I don’t have a Switch myself, but I’m excited for this campaign because any chance to get Oink Games in front of more people is a great idea, as far as I’m concerned.
This RPG zine for 1 or 2 players has an interesting theme: it tracks several families over four generations who pass through one house, which itself changes over time. One player plays as the families, and the other plays as the house, and they interact with and affect each other both physically and emotionally.
Tussie Mussie is a tiny game—just 18 cards in a wallet—about passing flowers that have different meanings. It’s a delightful little game that uses an “I cut, you choose” system, designed by Elizabeth Hargrave with lovely floral artwork by Beth Sobel. The original game was Kickstarted back in 2019, and this campaign adds three new expansions, plus a chance to get the original in case you missed it!
I’d seen the Kickstarter campaign for the Path of Light and Shadow base game, but didn’t back it, and ended up picking up the game later—but this time I’m in for the Solstice expansion! Path of Light and Shadow is a deck-building game that lets you choose whether you take a path of cruelty or mercy, which affects how you can build or weed your deck. It’s a great mix of deck-building and area control, and I’m excited for this expansion, which adds a new region, new factions, and some other treats. Plus, the artwork by Beth Sobel (again!) in the base game and Naomi Robinson in the expansion is beautiful.
This set collection game about building ecosystems and discovering the various animal species is the first project from Rose Gauntlet, though both Lindsey Rode and Isaac Vega have had a good bit of experience with game development and managing Kickstarter campaigns for other publishers. There’s a multiplayer mode, but the solo mode is a narrative campaign that lets you follow a field biologist across the continent. I also appreciate the fact that Rose Gauntlet will be providing free copies of the game to some selected educators—it looks like it’ll be a great learning tool, too!
Space Kraken is a solo or cooperative sci-fi game that’s a bit of a role-playing game, a bit of a dungeon crawler, but doesn’t require a game master. One cool aspect is that the whole thing comes in a self-contained book (from which you’ll cut out some of the enemy cards and character sheets). I’ve just gotten a prototype version of this so I’ll be digging into it soon!
Deck-building with adorable battle bots! This game, from the makers of Star Realms, is an arena battle where you build up your robots, trying to attack others and defend yourself at the same time. It comes with some fantastic-looking pre-painted miniatures, and there are options to get a few more robots as expansions as part of the campaign, too. Even if you don’t back the campaign, be sure to watch the awesome video, which looks like the intro to an animated TV show.
Um, Actually is a geeky game show from CollegeHumor, and they’ve worked with Wiggles3D to make a trivia card game. The “host” each round reads a statement about pop culture—fantasy, cartoons, sci-fi, comics, you name it—that has an error in it. The other players have to jump in with an “Um, actually…” and explain what’s wrong about the statement. If you love geeking out about technicalities and details, this may be just the party game for you.
This campaign is for the setting book for an Afrofuturist RPG, with a team of people of color. It’s set in a world where an expedition from Africa was somehow transported to Musalia, a faraway planet; a thousand years later, the descendants of those humans now live in this world alongside the original inhabitants of the planet and have a complex society. You can read more about it on the campaign page, which promises that “fans of Wakanda and Star Trek will find a comfortable fit in this universe.”
This is the third title in the “Dice of” series, after Dice of Crowns and Dice of Pirates. The games come in a small tin, and have similar press-your-luck rolling mechanics, but this time it’s a cooperative game about stealing gold from a dragon before it knocks all of you out. You have special abilities used to attack the dragon or support each other, and meanwhile the dragon gets angrier and more powerful as the game progresses.