Monday, 2 September 2013
How we get our Kicks...
Hello there, fellow gamers, we just thought we'd bore you all with one of our rare non-review posts (don't worry, more actual shiny reviews are right around the corner).
First of all we just want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts. Games & Tea is going from strength to strength, with August not only being our busiest ever month hit-wise, but in fact receiving more hits than the previous 3 months combined! There's even a link to our Monty Python Fluxx review on the Looney Labs product page for the game, so we certainly hope we're making in-roads with the gaming community.
Our original mission statement was to try and bring you reviews of any games we could get our hands on. Having real lives to juggle alongside this game-love has made this a slow process, but we're still getting through our review pile. At the moment our next two scheduled reviews are Pirate Fluxx and Letters From Whitechapel, so stay tuned for both of those! However we don't just want to be a blog which brings you reviews of well-known games, but we'd also like to shine the spotlight on little-known games, which we like to hope we accomplished by reviewing the wonderful board game Felinia a few weeks back.
As an extension of this we've decided that we'd like to start poking our nose into Kickstarter territory, in the hope of not only bringing more indie games to light, but also giving ourselves a warm, fuzzy feeling from helping them to see the light of day in the first place! Obviously Games & Tea is not something we receive any money for, it's entirely done for the love of the hobby. We don't have some kind of magical games budget to dip into, and all of our reviews are of games in our own collections, bought with our hard-earned cash from our real-world jobs once bills have been paid (food is often optional, and has been known to take second-place to games). This also means we don't have an infinite Scrooge McDuck-style pool of money to throw into projects, but when we see those which interest us, we'll happily do our part to see them to completion.
So this weekend we've backed our first 3 projects on Kickstarter, and here they are...
First up, Amg! Ice Cream! by Tessa Kennedy. A card game of ice-cream battles on the Planet Dubious. The first thing to attract us to this project was the name, which we admit might seem shallow, but you know what they say about first impressions! But on closer inspection we saw a lot to make us want to back the game. We universally loved the artwork, what can we say other than we're suckers for cute things? The nature of the game sounds like a good laugh, and it looks to be a good wind-down or warm up game for a long games night. It's advertised as a game for little and big kids alike (and let's face it, all gamers are big kids!), and any family-friendly games which will inspire a new generation of gamers can only be a good thing. It's very good value compared to a lot of other Kickstarter games, with a copy of the game costing just a £6 pledge, or for £8 getting the game complete with a box, and further pledge values are optional coming with further rewards. And the last decider was the fact that Amg! Ice Cream! is a home-grown project from a British designer, so it's always nice to back local talent (and nice not to have to pay international shipping!).
So take a look, and if you want to see a review on Games & Tea in the future then you'll have to help make the game happen! Funding closes for this project on September 24th.
Next up, we decided to back Tessen by Chris and Suzanne Zinsli of Van Ryder Games. On this occasion we were attracted by the price initially, costing us just $25 including international shipping. Obviously we weren't going to throw this money in just on the basis of a low price, so we started having a good peek at the game. Tessen is a combat-based card game set in feudal Japan, where players battle eachother across a series of rounds with up to 5 creatures on each side. The cards themselves look nice, with complete lack of rules text to clutter them up, and it's advertised as quick to play, making it another game which could be good for breaking up long game nights, rather than hopping from one 2-hour epic game to the next.
If you want to get involved with Tessen then time is short, as the funding period ends on September 3rd, however it has already met its target, so if you don't pledge now then you may be able to order it in to your local hobby store or track it down online in a few months time. Needless to say Games & Tea will be reviewing it as soon as our Kickstarter copy arrives early next year.
Then our final project was WarFields by Menaveth Games, another 2 player battle-based card game. In WarFields both players start with a King, a Knight and a Worker, and have to build an army to slay their opponent's King. The big appeal to us (and the mechanic which prompted us to pledge) was the resource-collecting element. Both players draw cards for their army from a communal deck, but to buy the units you need gold, and this is produced each turn by the Workers or can be gathered by selling cards from your hand. This reminded us of old real-time-strategy games on the PC such as Command & Conquer or Age of Empires, and was instantly appealing. The second aspect which clinched our support was a multi-tiered battle system. Each player's battlefield consists of three rows, and troops on each side can only attack the next row along with melee combat, or two along with ranged combat. This means that not only do you have to build your army from your own resources, but tactically advance it towards your opponent's rear line in order to kill their king and win the game. All this is presented in a professional-looking package and has made us very eager to see it as a completed project.
As soon as we'd pledged our support to the project we were given a link to a print & play copy, so we'll hopefully be able to bring you a beta review very soon!
To secure a copy will cost a $25 pledge in the US, Canada or China, or $39 to the rest of the world. Funding closes for WarFields on September 29th and they have quite a high funding target, so if it looks like it could appeal then we'd urge our readers to show their support. Hopefully once our review's up and running it might sway a few undecided minds!
So those are the first 3 Kickstarter projects to get our support, but they certainly won't be the last! We'll just have to wait and see what takes our fancy next time!