January Kickstarter Board Game Roundup

Dispatches from the Tabletop Trenches

 

We welcome Guest Moose Jae! Huzzah!

Since 2009, there have been over twenty thousand game projects launched on Kickstarter, with almost seven thousand of them successfully securing funding. A significant number of those projects were tabletop games, and with scores of new campaigns launched every week, keeping track of them all can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Killer Moose has you covered.

Each month, the vast assortment of crowdfunding campaigns will be sifted down to a handful of projects you might have otherwise missed out on. Ranging from the cute to the bizarre, as long as it’s noteworthy and looks like fun, we’ll cover the spectrum. So whether you’re new to gaming or a grizzled veteran, here’s what’s out there for January 2016.

 

CitiesUP

“Ooo! It looks like a SimCity board game! No, not that SimCity. The good one.”  

CitiesUp is a game of real estate warfare on a tiny scale, where players buy buildings, assign them utilities and services, and then tax them without mercy. It’s cool: they’re little wooden squares and don’t mind. Aspiring property moguls alternate turns, fulfilling the city’s demands by way of drawn cards and trying to accumulate the most points. Points in this case come from taxes, building placement bonuses, and upkeep for service buildings. The game ends when the last demand card is flipped up and the round is completed.

Sound simple? Well, for the most part CitiesUP is. Every player’s turn is comprised of five steps: pay upkeep, refresh the demand cards, draw a random event or “field” card, collect taxes, and perform three actions, like buying a property or two electricity tokens. But all’s not fair in real estate war. Not all buildings are the same and they occupy different sized spaces on the city board depending on its density. Different densities require different amounts of water, power, and city services. While any player can purchase water and power, city services must be built and have their upkeep paid by the player, who in turn has complete control over the service. Yes, you can shut the service down and put a damper on your opponent’s city planning.  Players must also contend with the five disaster cards lurking in the deck of random events, which as of this posting, have yet to be revealed. Expect them to be terrible, costing you some of your carefully acquired points.

CitiesUP has a sense of the familiar to it. The buildings are all color coordinated; green is for residential, blue for commercial, yellow for industrial, and sort of taupe for city services. Their corresponding components are made of wood, and the game boards are relatively straightforward. I absolutely love city builders, and what sets this one apart is how it looks like the city comes alive as you play it. The buildings differ in heights and sizes, creating a three-dimensional skyline that offers a different perspective than other city building games. I think it looks solid, with simplified game mechanics and easy to learn rules that offer a great replay factor.

CitiesUP by Spectacled Bear Games

Players: 2 – 4

Skill Level: Beginner

Base Pledge: $60

Project Ends: January 21, 2016

Ship Date: Estimate July 2016

 

Nemo's War

Nemo’s War: Second Edition

“Who doesn’t want to be Captain Nemo? Well, besides Ned. Nobody likes Ned.”

Nemo’s War is a game of nautical exploration and warfare, set within the world of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Designed for solo play, the campaign just unlocked a 2 – 4 player co–op mode, which means some poor player might be stuck playing as Ned, and nobody likes Ned. Taking command of the Nautilus, you travel the world pursuing Captain Nemo’s quest for knowledge and vengeance while avoiding the wrath of nations and losing your own sanity. With the aid of gorgeous artwork, you select one of four character motivations that have a direct influence on how the game is played.

While setting up Nemo’s War looks like it will take a bit of time, the rules are relatively straightforward. Each turn begins with the Event Phase, where you draw a card and immediately resolve it. Then you move on to the Placement Phase, you roll the dice and moving the Nautilus in search of excitement, adventure, and blowing up ships with no mercy. Finally there is the Action Phase, where you get to blow up said ships, explore underwater marvels, and maybe play the pipe organ. The game ends when either the final event card is revealed, or you die in spectacular fashion by failing one of the games tests.

The opportunity to helm the Nautilus doesn’t come around every day, and Nemo’s War looks to be a strong, narrative game. With several optional rules and three difficulty levels, and the unlocked co-op mode, the potential replay value of this game is off the charts. I’m definitely going to snag this game for $56. Shipping costs do vary based on your location, which probably has something to do with giant squids.

Nemo’s War: Second Edition by Victory Point Games

Players: 1 (solo play), 2 – 4 (co-op variant)

Skill Level: Intermediate

Base Pledge: $56

Project Ends: January 28, 2016

Ship Date: Estimate November 2016

 

Rumbleslam

RUMBLESLAM

“A fantasy wrestling board game? How was this not a thing?”

A fast paced, no holds barred, absolute slobberknocker of plastic mayhem, RUMBLESLAM is the fusion of professional wrestling and fantasy settings. Victory is decided by the roll of the die, utilizing the 18 different, upgradeable character profile cards. The resin wrestlers look fantastic, with high quality sculpts that are becoming industry standard. The base set contains two stables of wrestlers, The Heavy Pounders and The Green Bruisers, settling the score to finish the war between orcs and men. The options are endless, which can easily suck you down the rabbit hole.

Games like this get real expensive real fast, with eight additional stables for purchase that run about $37 a set. There are twenty superstars, each available for $11, or packaged in one of two sets for $89. So far there are three ring variants, going for about $15 apiece, or as a packaged set for $37. While you usually don’t need to purchase everything to have fun with a game like this, RUMBLESLAM does delve into the realm of collector’s territory. There’s a potential money pit here, buying so many minis for a game that isn’t even out yet that may inevitably end up collecting dust on a shelf. With so many options available for additional cost, it can seem overwhelming to anyone that’s new to the hobby, or can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on little, resin brawlers.

The base set isn’t cheap either. For $76 you get the base game, one superstar of your choice, and an exclusive board babe — that doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than being a little, resin woman. Considering there are three stables featuring a variety of female wrestlers, why they’d include a figurine that does nothing is — sigh. If she was the manager for orc Hulk Hogan, or could interfere in the matches, that’d be great, but as far as I can tell she does nothing. I love high quality, detailed minis, but they have to stand for something more than eye-candy. That being said, RUMBLESLAM promises to be a fast and fun game of over the top combat and comedy, and it looks really cool, but it’s hard to overlook the price.

RUMBLESLAM by TTCombat

Players: 2

Skill Level: Intermediate

Base Pledge: $76

Project Ends: January 14, 2016

Ship Date: Estimate June 2016