The hot game these days seem to be Eminent Domain, which was funded on Kickstarter in November 2010; since then, it seems as if designers are racing to fund their latest creations the same way. The way Kickstarter works is that people post projects they want to do, and how much money they need to do it; anyone with an Amazon account can then pledge any amount of money towards the project. If enough pledges come in by the deadline to fund the project, everyone gets charged and the person posting the project gets the money (minus Kickstarter and Amazon fees, of course). Backers get different ‘prizes’ for contributing different amounts; for board games, this will generally be an early copy of the game, possibly at a discount or with an exclusive bonus.
The following is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all the board games available to kickstart; it’s just the ones that I’ve either funded or found interesting.
Kings of Air and Steam
By Michael Mindes
Minimum contribution to get the game: $45
Kings of Air and Steam is a cyberpunk-themed train game (From glancing at the rules, I would describe it as a cross between 18XX and Roborally) put out by Tasty Minstrel Games, the same publisher who did Eminent Domain. The game design has already been completed and the game will be published; the Kickstarter project is actually to fund improvements, such as additional characters and molded plastic airships.
Backers get the game a month in advance of the release, and there’s talk about possibly adding some type of exclusive components. The discount off one copy isn’t much ($45 vs $50 retail) but apparently the company has contracts prohibiting the game from being sold at a discount before June 2013, so you’re not paying more than someone who waits. The Kickstarter copies are expected to be in the mail by July 2012.
This is listed as having a 1-2 hour playtime, and takes 2-6 players.
Current status: Will fund on Dec 14
Zong Shi – Earn the right to be named Grand Master Craftsman
By Keith Blume II
Minimum contribution to get the game: $50
Another offering from Gryphon Games, the publisher of Pastiche and The Road to Canterbury, this is a worker placement/set collection game for 3-5 players. My first impression is that this reminds me of At The Gates Of Loyang. Each player gets two workers: a master and an apprentice; a master can fulfill any role, while the apprentice cannot create works and cannot do other things as well as the master. Your goal is to create the greatest works in order to be recognized as the Grand Master craftsman. Of course, before you can begin work on your designs, you’ll need to barter for materials at the marketplace..
Anyone who purchases at least one copy will also get a coupon for $20 off a $50 purchase at the Gryphon Games website, plus free shipping. You can also get a copy of the game by pledging $75 in Keith’s Pizza Theory Kickstarter project, which ends Dec 30.
Current status: will fund on Dec 9
By Bezier Games
Minimum contribution to get the game: $45
You’ve probably played Rocochet Robots: you need to get one of the robots to a particular spot in the factory, but since the robots have no brakes, once one starts moving it doesn’t stop until it runs into something. How do you get the robot where it needs to go in the fewest number of moves?
Mutant Meeples is an update to that: you need to get a superpowered mutant to a particular point in the city, and the meeples don’t really know how to control their super speed, so they can’t stop until they run into something. This time, however, it doesn’t matter which meeple makes it to the spot, and each one has a superpower to help them get around. Once you’ve made it to an emergency using a particular meeple, however, you’re not allowed to move that meeple again for rest of the game..
I have to say that this game looks really intriguing; it’s basically a more complex version of Ricochet Robots. I’m not sure I approve of how the funding is being done, however; the game is already finished and Bezier certainly has the resources to put it out, so this seems to be mostly a way of getting pre-orders (as well as bringing in extra money by selling off street names). At $45 for the base game or $60 with the expansion, you’re not really saving anything off the likely cost of the game, and it doesn’t appear there’s any bonus for being part of the project, aside from having your name in the credits.
Current status (as of 11/8): $6,889 pledged of $10,000 goal, 25 days to go
Eaten by Zombies
By Seth Hiatt
Minimum contribution to get the game: $25
Seems like Dominion-inspired games are coming out of the woodwork these days, doesn’t it? Eaten by Zombies is really more of a desk destruction game, though…while you may work at carefully building up your deck, the first time you fail to kill off the zombies you’re facing, you start losing cards! Whoever survives the longest wins, although if you die you can still potentially win the game by driving your friends insane..
Supporters get the game, a promo card, and a special die for keeping track of how many zombies are coming out each turn.
Current Status: successfully funded on September 19 for $47,874