I’ve been backing Kickstarter games for more than 3 years. In that time I’ve backed over 50 games and spent more money than I’d care to admit. You may think I would be bored by now, but I still love finding that new shiny Kickstarter project. And I still wait with baited breath which turns to excitement as the games arrive.
Somehow, I’ve convinced my wife that backing Kickstarter projects was research for my own game design. To help this research, I wanted to see what worked and what failed to incite excitement. Kickstarter’s algorithms help promote the most popular games, but it leaves unpopular games behind. So in time, I found my method.
Rather than looking at new or popular projects, I search for projects according to End Date. Once a week, generally on Saturday or Sunday, I browse every project ending over the next 10 days. As long as I don’t miss a week, this makes sure I see every project and I can do research on what they’ve done to succeed or fail. Hearing about this, Alex from Delvecast suggested I write a weekly post summarizing my findings.
In these posts, I’ll write about what projects have caught my eye that are ending in the next 0 to 10 days. In general, here’s a list of criteria I’ll be looking for:
- Tabletop Games. Not activities, accessories, playing cards, RPG scenarios, etc.
- Games that are funded, or are likely to fund before their end date.
- Solid, innovative mechanics that add to the hobby/my gaming knowledge/collection.
- An eye catching project image, art and graphics.
- I avoid NSFW and themes too scary for my wife.
And occasionally there will be exceptions that prove the rules. Ok! Let’s get this started:
Masters of the elements is an expansion campaign for Vikings Gone Wild. The campaign offers the titular expansion as well as a slew of add-on expansions that can be added to the base game. The main focus of the expansion is to create combos beyond the traditional attack/defend actions of the base game. The expansion also adds gods, artifacts and a druidic master to create further asymmetry and replay-ability to the game.
Verdict: not for me, but I can see the appeal. You should check this out for yourself and watch a few of their videos.
Radiant is a unique melding of mechanisms: drafting, area control, trick taking and set collection for 2-4 players over 45 minutes. The game takes place over 3 Ages. Each Age begins with a draft of cards, players can then reveal sets of cards from their hand to earn points. Then players War across the 4 Realms through traditional trick taking mechanisms: highest trump suit > highest non trump suit. Each trump suit is determined by the Realm of the battle and by a marker that rotates each age. Finally, whoever controls the majority of each realm earns points.
Verdict: I’m backing this. The combination of mechanisms is too interesting to pass up. I want to see for myself how it all fits together. It may fall flat, but I feel like it will be interesting enough research and it may end up being great. We’ll see.
The Little Flower Shop (4 days to go)
If you like flowers, relaxing games or card drafting the little flower shop is for you. Players represent the owner of a flower shop. Your goal is to earn money by fulfilling flower orders, using that money to buy flower baskets and have the most appealing store window at the end of 3 rounds. It appears to be a relaxing, albeit non-innovative, approach to the card drafting genre.
Verdict: I want to want this, but I don’t and won’t be backing it. I find “relaxing” games don’t fit well in my collection (Tokaido is a snorefest) and I already have a few loved drafting games (7 wonders and Blood Rage). I may not want this, but if you want this you better act fast.
Unstable Unicorns (5 days to go)
30-45 minutes of high chaos, highly random, take-that action for 2-8 players. On your turn you draw a card, then play a card, and the first with 7 cards in front of them wins. Players will race to complete their stable, protecting their unicorns and hunting other unicorns. And if you lean that way, there’s a NSFW expansion… about unicorns…
Verdict: So very not for me. Let’s face it, you should already know if you’ll enjoy this game. If you want a game with very little choice, king making, and watching your hard work tumble apart when others gang up on you, then look no further. Have fun knocking out your friends and stealing their unicorns.
Now Boarding (8 days to go)
Now Boarding is a real-time cooperative boardgame for 2-4 Players which plays in 30-60 minutes. Each player has their own airplane they will be using to pickup and deliver passengers. Every round, more passengers show up. Players will need to plan together to make sure everyone gets picked up and taken to their destination on time.
Let’s just stress this, real-time. So players can coordinate beforehand, but then a timer starts and new objectives are revealed. Then everyone needs to accomplish their tasks without getting in each other’s way. Be prepared for a fast, hectic challenge as you work together.
Verdict: I’m on the fence on this one. It could be really fun, and the real-time aspect will help mitigate the Alpha gamer in me, but I just don’t know. Luckily, I have another week to consider this one. I’ll have to do some soul searching on this one.
Wanted Earth (9 days to go)
Wanted Earth is a miniatures strategy board game for 1-7 players that can be played in 60-120 minutes. Players use asymmetric heroes to defend a map against an invading alien race. It offers multiple modes of play and has a relatively love cost for entry into the ever popular ‘Zombicide’ style of game.
Verdict: not my type of game. If you like luck based combat mechanisms, asymmetric heroes and overpowered enemies then this is your type of game. And $69 is a very decent cost for what you get, although there are cash grab add-ons for additional playable characters.
Ok, thanks for reading the post! If you’d like to stay current with the Kickstarter games that are ending soon, please subscribe to delvecast. Happy Gaming!