July’s Kickstarter Board Game Round Up

Dispatches from the Tabletop Trenches

With GenCon approaching, the onslaught of new tabletop board games is at hand. Designers and developers from all over the world will gather, promoting their upcoming releases and offering a few lucky attendees the chance of playtesting what is just around the corner. With eyes towards Indianapolis, Indiana, and GenCon’s wonder and glory, it can be easy to miss out on what’s currently funding Kickstarter. With that in mind, here are a few I feel are worth your consideration.

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Cantankerous Cats

Every cat wants to rule the world, if only they could get past the need for naps, nip, and lack of opposable thumbs.

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a little mayhem. While such things are frowned upon in real life, in Cantankerous Cats it’s all part of the fun. Yes,in this competitive card game you play a cat, a being who revels in aggravating their pet human, while remaining the sole focus of their love and devotion. I speak from experience here, as I am owned by three feline frenemies who are a constant threat to my productivity.

As a cat, you build up the Affection of your pet human, doing all the cute, adorable things your human has come to enjoy. This acquiring of Affection is not without purpose, as it serves to shield you from the consequences of Mischief, and Cantankerous Cats is all about Mischief. You are not alone, as the other cats are trying to create the most Mischief as well, and you must protect yourself from their underhanded tricks. The first cat to reach a score of nine Mischief Points wins, but be warned, cause too much Mischief, and you’ll be kicked out and abandoned to a life outside your house.

I really love the look of this game. The art is comical, yet malicious, which sits right in my wheelhouse of dark whimsy. The developers have shared the rules, and from what I’ve read, the game’s mechanics look relatively simple and straightforward. At $35, Cantankerous Cats is a little higher than average compared to other competitive card games, but with all the components, and opportunities for stretch goals, it looks like a solid investment. I’ll be backing this one before the campaign ends, with the hope they unlock the Shitty Kitty edition.

Cantankerous Cats by Mentha Designs

Players: 2 – 6

Skill Level: Beginner

Base Pledge: $35

Project Ends: August 9, 2016

Ship Date Estimate: December 2016

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Temp Worker Assassins

You know, Bob the Ogre in accounts payable is a terrible bastard and his death by fairly sharp pencil is weirdly satisfying.

Worker placement games tend to lean towards cute, happy meeples doing cute, happy mundane chores. Temp Worker Assassins is looking to change that, in a game of cute, happy murder. Every player controls a league of assassins who have infiltrated a fantastical corporation, pursuing the dreams of every part time wage slave in wiping out the full time employees. Unfortunately the corporation has rigid security measures in place, so your means are limited to what can be uncovered in the Forbidden Supply Closet. Ok, the designers are British so they refer to it as the Forbidden Stationary Closet, but it’s still forbidden alright?

Players infiltrate the corporation’s various departments, searching out potential victims. After picking your target, like the Barbarian Accountant, you play cards from your hand to until they are equal to or are greater than the target’s defense number. Every full time employee has a set bounty, so choose carefully, as whoever has the highest amount of bounties after five rounds is the winner.

Temp Worker Assassins looks to be a cute and brutal game, with a heavy reliance on humor. Playing around with fantasy elements in a corporate setting amuses me to no end, and I particularly giggle everytime I see the Typing Pool Zombie. With a five round time limit, every game should run under an hour and definitely will appeal to gamers looking for shorter fair. With free shipping offered from the U.K., this is definitely one to pick up is you’re looking for a fast paced, light hearted game of assassination.

Temp Worker Assassinations by David Newton and Adam Bolton

Players: 2 – 4

Skill Level: Beginner

Base Pledge: About $27 U.S.

Project Ends: July 28, 2016

Ship Date Estimate: December 2016

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Lairs

In a game of heroes, monsters, and royals, always bet on the cat wearing chainmail.

Every mountain holds a secret, and in Lairs these secrets often turn deadly. Players take on the role of a creature trying to establish their homestead inside The Mountain, while keeping a careful eye on their competition. For every mountain has a Legacy deep inside, and once it’s discovered, opponents become unlikely allies as their very lives are on the line. Sound dramatic? Well, it is, because the designers have created a game that really appears to be something special.

Lairs is a game of two phases. The first phase, the Build Phase, is all about constructing your individual lairs to the center of The Mountain and uncovering its Legacy. Each player keeps their character a secret as they bid on different tiles, spending that precious loot that powers their individual spells and abilities. This is important, because that loot will come into play heavily in the second phase. Once a player reaches the Legacy, they become the Enemy, and the gameplay shifts to the second phase. Welcome to the Dungeon Crawl, where the remaining players band together as The Allies, and must now fight their way through every tile they just laid. Waiting at the end is The Enemy, who triggers every tile’s traps and spells as The Allies close in.

I didn’t know I needed this game until I discovered it on Kickstarter. Lairs is a game that builds off player’s tension and mistrust. Keeping your character hidden creates a guessing game as you vie to claim the mountain’s Legacy, and prepare to take down everyone once the game reaches the Dungeon Crawl. With limited resources, you must choose between building a masterful dungeon of death, or saving those resources to battle The Enemy or defend yourself against The Allies. This game is a steal for $27 if you consider the high level of playability, and I may end up paying extra for The King of Caverns shirt.

Lairs by Naturalist Games

Players: 2 – 5

Skill Level: Intermediate

Base Pledge: $27

Project Ends: July 16, 2016

Ship Date Estimate: December 2016

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So there’s this books series written by this guy, who all my friends pretty much rave over, that now has an official game. The guy is Brandon Sanderson, and the series is Mistborn, and if you haven’t checked out Mistborn: House War, then check it out now. Kevin Wilson, the man behind the hugely popular board games Arkham Horror and Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Alex Flagg who developed the Mistborn Adventure Game are the game’s designers, and the art is spectacular. If you’re a hardcore fan of the series, and have a hundred dollars to burn, check out the Prestige Edition. You’ll thank me for it later.