Sunday, 6 July 2014

How We Get (more) Kicks...

Last year we did a short article entitled "How we get our kicks", just talking about some of the projects we were backing on Kickstarter at the time.  Well since that time we've thrown in support for a few more games; the very nearly due 404: Law Not Found, the resource managing Argent: The Consortium, the highly anticipated miniatures game Guild Ball, and the pirate card game aptly named Pirates! The Card Game - which we had the pleasure of previewing back in April.
We haven't been backing too much lately, as we're currently saving our hard-earned pennies for a Games & Tea trip to Amsterdam to meet the team behind Pirates! (which we will be bringing you full details of), however we have been keeping an eye on the Kickstarter horizon.  With this in mind, we thought we'd put together a little compilation of games which have caught our attention on Kickstarter - some for the right reasons, and some for the wrong.  These are all live projects at the time of writing, but obviously these will all be completing soon.

First up, we have Ophir: a resource management game from Terra Nova Games.  The first thing which attracted us to the project was the box art - it may sound shallow, but there are so many Kickstarter projects going on at once that we skim them as though we're browsing shelves in a game store.  When you're browsing games the fact is a nice box will make you stop and take a look at the game, and Ophir succeeded in grabbing our attention.  Once it had done that, the lavish artwork across the board and game components continued to impress us - and a nice touch (which wasn't instantly obvious) is that it's all done in colourblind-friendly colours.
In the game, players assume the roles of influential merchants, who must work and manage their resources to fund the building of a temple in the titular Ophir.  There seems to be a decent amount of depth to the game, with players having to plan efficient trade routes and make use of their influence, before pushing on to build the temple and clock up all-important victory points.  It's been generally met with very positive reviews, applauding its strategy, and it seems to have managed to avoid the pitfall of becoming unnecessarily overcomplicated.  Sadly we don't have the funds available to back this project ourselves, but if we did then we definitely would, and we sincerely hope to see it on the shelves of our FLGS next year!
Ophir's funding period ends on July 14th, and more details can be found here.

Next up: The Captain is Dead from The Game Crafter.  Now we have to admit the artwork doesn't do much for us, but on this occasion it was the name of the game which grabbed us.  We've always been fans of shows such as Star Trek, and love things which take a light-hearted look at the genre as a whole.
The Captain is Dead is a co-operative game - and we do like our co-op games here at Games & Tea - wherein the captain of your starship has been killed (obviously), and it's up to the varyingly competent remaining crew to get the ship to safety.  Our first thought was that it reminded us of the awesome Space Alert, and so had some fairly large shoes to fill.  The board and components do look nice, although the in-game shots from the Kickstarter page do make it look a little busy.  We're also not too impressed by the way they're tagging two extra, unrelated games onto this game's campaign - we've seen a few companies do this in the past, and it's always felt as though they're not giving their all to the actual advertised project.
That said, we would love to give this a go, and seeing as it's already smashed its funding goal we're hoping we'll have a chance to pick up a copy when it hits the shelves.
The Captain is Dead finishes on July 12th, and its project page is here.

Castilion is next on our list from Castili Games, which you may remember from our recent preview here.  In Castilion, players take on the roles of warring factions, starting with a royal, a general, a castle and an army, and given the task of wiping their opponent off the face of the map!
In the early preview copy we received, Castilion did feel a little rough around the edges, but certainly had a lot of potential.  Our feedback to Castili was well-received and taken on board, and the game has now launched with a few revisions from our copy - the most significant being an increase in the number of players.  Castilion boils down to a game of strategic hand-management, were either outmaneuvering or out-punching are viable methods to secure your victory!
Castilion is open for funding until August 2nd, and its full page can be found here.

Next to grab our attention: Clash! Dawn of Steam from Mad Ape Games.  Now there's no point lying, we clicked on the project because it contained the word "steam" (and we do like a bit of steampunk) and there was a pretty girl.  We're shallow, shallow people.  That may have just been enough to warrant a passing glance, but when we took a closer look at it our collective jaws dropped.  The artwork and overall aesthetic of this game is absolutely gorgeous.  In fact, we'd be happy to back this game just to have something nice to look at, regardless of how well it plays!
Anyway, underneath the lavish artwork there is actually a game, so we really should mention that.  Clash! Dawn of Steam is a duelling card game, but it's a non-collectible card game.  We've been fans and collectors of Magic: The Gathering for around 4 years now, and whilst we do enjoy it, it is often overshadowed by the fact that it can be won or lost at the deck-building stage before any cards are even drawn.  As a result, games like Clash! have fallen further and further into our favour, giving a balanced duelling game out of the box, where battles are won by skill and strategy, rather than by the player who spent more on eBay last week.
Clash! Dawn of Steam finishes on July 16th, and we certainly hope it reaches target so that we might bring you our thoughts on it next year!  Its page can be found here.

And finally we had to give a mention to Zombicide Season 3 - a game which has got our attention for all the wrong reasons.  Now the hardcore Zombicide fanbase have already bashed us on Facebook for our opinion on this matter, but that's not going to keep us quiet.  This is a game which we absolutely don't believe should be on Kickstarter.  The first two Zombicide games were tremendously successful, and as such Cool Mini or Not should be able to produce the latest incarnation without resorting to crowd funding.  The very point of Kickstarter is to get independent projects off the ground, not to be a lazy pre-order system.
Of course it is tempting to back - the fact of the matter is Zombicide Season 3 will hit so many stretch goals (having hit its $100k target in 6 minutes) that any backer will end up with more free stuff than they'll know what to do with.  However, the fact that Zombicide is now a game that everyone just buys at the Kickstarter stage means that very few real gaming stores stock it, and the knock on of that is that in our experience no one wants to play it!  We bought the first Zombicide off the shelf post-Kickstarter, and have only been lucky enough to squeeze in two games - and the fact of the matter is, it's not a great game.  It's above average, and the miniatures are lovely, but it's very repetitive, has a lot of set-up and packing away, and comes with a high price tag.
Putting Zombicide Season 3 on Kickstarter feels a bit like if Disney decided to crowd fund the new Star Wars trilogy - they have the resources to do it themselves, and they know it's going to be popular, but they'd rather not dip into their bank account.

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