Just in time for the season of giving, here are a few gaming projects on Kickstarter that require your generosity to get off of the ground. And in case you’d rather receive, you’ll find your pledge dollars rewarded by some cross-medium surprises, a few wiggly star whales, and your very own personal robot assistant (arm cannon included). That’s what Geek Haven holidays are all about!
Mega Man The Board Game: I know you’re bustling with last-minute mall incursions and gift label switcheroos, so here’s the big news of the season up front: an officially licensed, 2-8 player board game adaptation of Mega Man, in celebration of the Blue Bomber’s 25th birthday. If you’re a Mega Man geek, you’ve probably already pledged your money (the campaign launched on Dec. 12 and already has almost 2,000 backers). For everyone on the fence, what makes this project look cooler than Ice Man’s robo-parka? How about detailed plastic playing pieces featuring Mega Man (now with a selection of alternate poses), classic robot masters, Dr. Wily, Proto Man, Rush, Roll, and more, with the very real potential of coming fully painted in the box? The ability to play through stages devoted to those robot masters, defeat them, and claim their special powers? Doing all of the above in a fast-playing, simple game that lets you participate in the action even when it’s not your turn? That’s the power of Mega Man.
War of Omens: If digital-to-analog crossovers aren’t your thing, what about the other way around? War of Omens, by Fifth Column Games, is the latest digital-only game mimicking the mechanics and addictive quality of CCGs (collectible card games) like Magic: The Gathering. So what makes War of Omens unique? In addition to being a CCG, it’s also a deckbuilding game in the style of Dominion or Thunderstone. Like a CCG, players will construct and tune their own unique decks between games, vying for perfect synergy and control over one of three distinct factions. Like a deckbuilder, each player’s deck will also grow within the game, starting out small and unlocking more powerful cards as the game progresses. And in a purely digital touch, the cost to unlock these cards decreases as you as you upgrade your favorite cards via booster packs. It’s an interesting experiment, and although War of Omens will be free to play in the long run, it won’t happen without your initial support.
Secrets of the Lost Tomb: If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like getting peanut butter in your chocolate or chocolate in your peanut butter, Secrets of the Lost Tomb by Everything Epic Games might be the flavor you’re looking for. Drawing from recognizable inspirations, both mechanically and thematically, Secrets of the Lost Tomb is pure board game, through and through. A 1-6 player cooperative game, Lost Tomb casts players as members of the Eternal Order of Perseus, a global secret society who are exploring a hidden tomb in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle (known variously as Atlantis, El Dorado or Valhalla) in which an ancient, powerful force is awakening. Just what this force is depends on the script: the immortal pharaoh Rhaz Azul? The lycanthropic Lion King? Herathulhu, the Herald of Cthulhu? George Washington’s very own pet Colossus? With characters and abilities that inspire strong memories of Arkham Horror and tile-based exploration straight out of Betrayal at House on the Hill, Secrets of the Lost Tomb isn’t winning any points for originality…but for those looking for pulpy, thematic adventuring with a high potential for expansions (7 Adventure Packs, offering new scripts and other goodies, are already available), you’ve found your treasure chamber.
STARWHAL: Just the Tip: Or maybe you’re looking for simplicity and board games aren’t your thing. In that case, I’d like to introduce you to STARWHAL: Just the Tip. A wigglier, spacier take on the arcade classic Joust, STARWHAL drops you in the middle of an absurd arena battle between horned, aquatic space mammals. Aside from having the best title and description of this month’s Geek Haven selections (“Retro, epic narwhal battle in space! The heart-piercing action is furious and unrelenting. STARWHAL will change your life.”), STARWHAL is also the type of easy-to-pick-up, difficult-to-master fare that classic tourney-style party games were made from. To put it simply, each narwhal has a horn (natch) on its face and a heart on its soft underbelly. Your goal is to maneuver yourself around the low-gravity environment in such a way as to pierce your opponents’ hearts with your horn while guarding your own. You can try the demo right now, which gives you a taste of the “poetry in motion” of space narwhal combat, but the real reason to back is that this game needs MOAR CONTENT!! And because you can manipulate the narwhals to easily recreate your favorite Kama Sutra positions–who doesn’t love that?
Argent: The Consortium: Level 99 Games is no stranger to digital-analog crossovers. Heavily inspired by anime and JRPG archetypes, their Pixel Tactics may be the definitive tabletop take on the Japanese strategy RPG. Argent: The Consortium (in the World of Indines) isn’t quite as blatant about its inspirations, but the character design and strategic politicking could easily fit into something published by Atlus Games (the Disgaea series comes particularly to mind). As a member of Argent, the premiere university of magic, science and technology, you and up to 4 other players will jostle for votes from a secret consortium tasked with electing the next Chancellor of Argent. Careful planning will be required to gain the spells, students and items needed to succeed, but the consortium’s criteria are unknown at the start of the game, and your opponents’ behavior is always unpredictable, meaning you’ll have to react tactically to an ever-evolving situation. Just like life at a real magical university!
As always, this is but a small, curated sampling of what Kickstarter has to offer this month. To voice your opinion on the selection and give a shout out to projects left behind, be sure to leave your comment below.