Hi everyone, as you can see from my previous articles I refer back a lot to Kickstarter and also try to keep up with what is available on the platform. I am not going to lie, I check it several times per day and also spend quite some time going over Youtube channels about board games. All this gives me a pretty accurate view on what is available and what could be bad for my wallet ! However, I do know this can be quite overwhelming given the number of projects going live every month so I thought of writing up every month a quick round-up of Kickstarter games every month.
Every month, I will mention which games I back or am backing, which games I am still undecided about, what are the upcoming projects I am looking forward to and also some special mentions (good or bad). For my first article, I wanted to go over the last month and give my top 5 Kickstarter games I backed and am still expecting.
Number 5 – Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game
Genotype is right down my alley. I love when games manage to blend complex mechanics with a fresh theme. This game just does that with an incredible art style and layout. This was a breath of fresh air in early 2020 which was announcing quite a qualitative beginning of the year for the platform.
This game has several elements I found interesting and which made me back it:
- Love Genius Games but always thought their works felt a bit dry and whilst I admire the passion and concept of learning while gaming, the former should not be at the expense of the latter. Not saying it is for the other games but they appeared that way and I therefore know they would not hit the table often enough.
- Illustrations and art, this is why I pledged the deluxe version and every time I check out the Kickstarter page I get even more excited about it. Clean, fresh and precise. There is something about the natural theme and artistic direction which just draws me in
- Drafting and choices. This game seems to be a lot about tough decisions. I love when a game asks you to choose amongst different paths. The worker placement aspect of Genotype seems complex enough without being overwhelming, and entertaining as you add the dice drafting element to it.
This “only” comes at number five as I am curious to see how balanced the game is at all player counts and also with the solo mode. Quite confident about that aspect though
Number 4 – Return to Dark Tower
Complete change of scenery for this one but OMG this looks fun! Did not know anything about the original game and therefore was not really expecting much from the campaign. I am not a big fan of electronics in a board game because they are usually some gimmicky add-ons that you find in children’s games (the only fun game with this as a kid was Omega Virus).
Here are why I gave this one a chance:
- Fun and storyline. It is actually by watching a Dice Tower video (here) that I really got excited about the overall project. Seeing how smooth the game was, how fun it looked and how it got players talking whilst creating a real sense of cohesion just ticked all my boxes and lifted a lot of initial doubts I had
- Component quality. Of course the tower looks cool and yes I understand how it’s integrated nicely into the gameplay but what really blew me away is how neat and clean the components look. I do feel the miniatures are just a tad overproduced and would clutter the board so I did not go for the add-on; but just check out the player boards and tokens! Definitely makes you want to play and as a bonus also streamlines the overall gameplay with clear instructions
- Art Direction – I do not think there is much to explain here, I just find the characters and monsters beautiful. Such a neat atmosphere to create this eerie but not too standard look.
One uncertainty is how often it will hit the table and in case I cannot convince people to play, how sturdy the solo mode is. But I think the table presence of Return to Dark Tower will help get some friends to play with me.
Number 3 – Micro City
This game really impressed me by the tightness of its concept and its deceptive simplicity. I did not know anything about it before the campaign and had never played the original PNP version.
What is getting me excited:
- Depth in gameplay – many elements that I love: resource management, some dice rolling/drafting and worker placement. All this looks rather nicely balanced and is quite impressive given the size of the game
- Solo mode and modular board and game difficulties therefore ensuring replayability
- Compact format and efficient art – nothing particularly novel but everything has been carefully crafted and just works as a whole
Micro City is rather high in my top 5 and has been growing on me especially given the last few months and the fact that I found out about PNP games such as Orchard or Sprawlopolis. These have really impressed me and I feel like this one is taking it a step further.
Number 2 – Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
I was so pumped to read the publisher was running a second printing on Kickstarter. I had been chasing this one online for quite a while but prices were just skyrocketing. I had watched hours of videos going through the gameplay (which is needed given the complexity) and also admired so many times the wonderful game and storyline described by Pax Pamir.
This game is in a league of its own and deserves even more attention. Here is why I am hooked:
- The game itself: components, layout and art style, this is craftsmanship for a board game but also careful thinking as to how to represent geopolitical rivalries within this medium. Pax Pamir is clean, polished and breathtaking
- The topic and reflection behind the game is what I love about the hobby: sky is the limit, and boardgaming can also be used to introduce very complex topics or issues.
- Mechanics are so intricately intertwined that it makes every move count. More than just a game, this will offer you an experience and feel rewarding (when you succeed of course)
- I also like when a game challenges me and offers a nice learning curve. I am just not sure how steep this will be and how many of my friends will actually have the patience to go through this. I am certainly pumped about it but might need to find new people to play this one and also to study the game well to make teaching it as smooth as possible
Number 1 – Viscounts of the West Kingdom
I am so pumped about this one, I cannot believe it! Also explained by the fact that I backed it all and therefore am waiting for 3 games with all additional content! Which also means that I have to wait until the end of the year to play any of them. Well I have played Architects and Paladins already but do not own them.
If this needs any explanation at all, here is the why I cannot wait!
- Trilogy aspect of the game and how they feel similar whilst building up on different game mechanics and also increase in complexity. This means a ton of game nights with different players who can be eased in one or the other depending on their tastes and experience.
- Meatier experiences than the previous North Sea trilogy (which to be fair, only the Raiders really excited me as the other games were mainly introducing mechanics but felt a bit dry)
- The overall artwork on both the cards and the player boards. I love the quirkiness of it all and how it does not feel like something we have seen over and over again. The balance between a cartoony art style and a more mature composition is spot on and whilst it may not be to everyone’s tastes it is spot on what I love both in games and in comics.
- Viscounts is based on deckbuilding and resource + hand management whilst throwing in some other mechanics and plenty of choices making it a real brain-burner but also ensuring plenty of paths to victory and a massive amount of replaybality
- Tons of content and KS exclusive: yeah … mainly my FOMO speaking here
Honourable mention: Cloudspire
So why creating this specific entry? It’s not that I am not excited enough about this project but this is quite an odd one. I basically started researching about Chip Theory Games in early January when I started reading about Cloudspire and an upcoming campaign. Was totally pumped about it but also quite overwhelmed with all the content available (for Cloudspire and their other games). I watched hours of videos on Cloudspire and was then convinced that I would back it instantly.
The project launched in April and I was soon brought back to reality with the hefty price tags. I still decided to pledge enough for the base game. However, when I received the pledge manager, their different options looked very appealing. After much research into solo modes and various reviews and feedback, I finally decided to cancel my pledge all in all and to order from the Chip Theory Games website their game Too Many Bones
Hope you liked this article and don’t hesitate to share what are the projects you are most looking forward to receiving in the next few months?