We continue to have a good number of campaigns on Kickstarter’s tabletop section, and plenty of them are doing very nicely. However, for some reason I’m just not feeling very inspired by the last week’s crop.
It’s not that I think none of them would be fun to play, or that they aren’t nicely illustrated or presented. It’s not even that their campaigns are poorly run. At least, not all of them. In the end, it’s just that they lack that magical something which marks a project out as one for me. You know what I mean. It’s different for each of us, and it’s impossible to bottle.
There are a few things I’d like to point out as interesting though. As we’re talking about capturing magical essences, let’s start with Familiar Alchemy. it’s not really offering anything new in terms of the game itself, but you’d have thought that they’d do a bit better than they are. I’m hoping (and not believing) that it’s not related to their incomplete artwork. Asking for the crowd’s assistance in funding this sort of thing is, after all, why Kickstarter is here. Unfortunately, these days you’re not likely to soar very high if you aren’t doing a passing impersonation of being finished and ready to print before you start. Visually, at least.
I think their plan of showing a finished example and then sketches for the rest is not unreasonable and is a prudent use of resources. Why pay a lot for art you can’t use if the project fails to fund? And the finished art looks well done too. The game itself looks fine if not anything new, but competently done and if I hadn’t already got a dozen things that could fill this slot in a gaming night I’d be tempted. Anyway, just thought it was interesting for the art question. Does this mean that your campaign needs more finished art, or at least to hide any that isn’t? Sadly, I think it does.
You Get What?
Occasionally, people cram all manner of extra gubbins into a higher tier pledge. This is stuff like coasters, badges, T-shirts, and posters – none of which is part of the game and all of which tends to pass me by entirely. Give me the game play and keep the tat, thank you.
This week I saw something that’s a new one on me – at least bundled into a game tier: a robot bully to call on to help win your online arguments.
The text speaks for itself.
I don’t think this is bad per se; it’s just weird. The campaign it’s from is Antematter, which is otherwise moderately interesting and could be entertaining to play. I like the idea of planets moving. I’ve tinkered with that idea too, and it creates some interesting effects on the board, especially if several planets orbit at different rates and you therefore have to plan with their various future alignments in mind. In fact, I’m expecting the imminent arrival of another KS game that uses this idea, though with a very different game: Solar Dominion Fleet Commander.
I’m always drawn to dungeon scenery, and this means that I’m also always needing to stop myself from buying sets I’ll never use. The latest in this line of tasty morsels to resist is Dungeons & Lasers.
This looks like a solid and practical set, and I can definitely feel the gravitational attraction between it and my wallet. Even so, I have resisted because I think it’s the 16-year-old me wanting it to tart up the D&D games he’s running, not the slightly older version who’s not likely to be doing so for some time, if ever. Skirmish, you say? Yeah, maybe. If I could get my solo skirmish rules to work the way I want them to, then maybe…
Dia de Muertos
I’ll finish with a very striking game called Die of the Dead.
This is boldly illustrated with the characteristic skulls and flower motifs of the Dia de Muertos, and the overall package is strongly themed. Unless I’m missing something, the game seems a bit random for my taste, and while I used to go to a gaming group that this would have fitted perfectly, that was many years ago. These days I don’t see it getting on the table. It’s a not-uncommon reason for me passing on games that I would have wanted years ago. Not so much that my tastes have changed or that I’m no longer willing to play X or Y, but that the opportunities to play them have changed as I moved to a new city, house, job, or whatever. The pandemic has pushed me towards solo play, true, though I’m still looking forward to (and buying things for) playing with friends. It’s just that you need the right group of friends for each game…
I call it the X-Factor. That thing that sparks interest in something in such a way that you zero in on it for a reason unknown. Like seeing that girl across the coffee shop and you can’t take your eyes of her.
For games, that translates to not only the initial attraction as above, but also the difference of, “That was a great game, what do we want to play next?”, And, ” That was a great game, let’s play it again!”.
I agree, it is kinda sad that there seems to be a push that people want a finished product, or atleast the illusion of it, on the Kickstarter before they’ll support it. It looks like it is more of people wanting to pay for production costs, not development? Some companies handle it better than others I guess, like Mantic, who make the creation of models and other parts part of the stretch goals and following updates. Those were wildly popular so maybe my premise is all wrong. 😆
Some companies do a great job of involving the backers in the process and others just make it and ship it regardless of what is said. If you go by cash alone, then both approaches can work.
What, 2 posts already and I haven’t commented???? This must be rectified post-haste.
Though I haven’t got much to say on this one. The projects mentioned are all your typical mediocre kickstarter fare. Boring, just so boring. Who needs yet another dungeon builder set incompatible with the 4 or 5 you already have. Not me, that’s for sure. The only one mildly tempting is that insult bot. That should come in handy on twitter for a guy like me. Oh wait, it’s facebook, a dismal place I do not frequent.
I do agree with you on the extra gubbins. Keep your tat! Spend your money on your game, not on some crappola t-shirt or stupid badge!!!
Oh, btw, remember my advocay of public domain artwork? Here’s a nice little game that shows what can be done with it: