Ladies and Gentleman! Boys and Girls! Welcome, one and all, to the grand re-opening of our travelling Kickstarter circus. With more than a year of sharing the news of exciting Kickstarters with you all and some 60 exciting shows (/articles) it was time to give Kickstart Your Week a fresh coat of paint, patch up the clown car, and update the format a little…
So welcome to our leaner, meaner, more exclusive Kickstarter coverage. Settle down into the plush velvet seats, help yourself to the complementary champagne and enjoy a performance featuring only the absolute most exciting Kickstarters from the coming month.
Yes, that’s right! We said month! Kickstart Your Week has become Kickstart Your Month. One article bringing together the disparate weeks, concentrating that gaming awesomeness into one valuable resource for you discerning Kickstarter fans! We’ll be keeping these lists updated as new projects get announced and finish, re-sharing it at regular intervals via our chain of media outlets (Twitter), doing our level best to make sure no top class project is left out.
Once you’ve enjoyed the aria and celebrated the curtain call, be sure to fill out the comment form at the bottom to let us know what you think of the new format. Your opinions are important to us and only with your feedback can we hope to keep improving the site! And with that, on with the show!
We’ve got our stethoscope on and pressed up against the cool steel vault of Perfect Crime, a cooperative heist board game demonstrating a suspicious knowledge of bank robbery on the part of the UK designer team, Grublin Games. A team of players will be sneaking into the bank to steal its goodies, overcoming or avoiding the bank’s security systems through all manner of cunning gizmos and skills, while one player tries to martial the bank’s defences against them. Raise enough suspicion while you plan your heist and the bank can call in the cops, or be given more control over their roaming security guards.
This is not a great Kickstarter page but I got to see the prototype at the UK Games Expo last week, and this comes from an experienced Kickstarter publisher. Its got a great theme and a wonderfully balanced asymmetry: the longer the robbers plan their heist, the more time the bank has to beef up its security, building up the tension for the actual heist attempt! Do check this one out and, because I’m feeling generous, this 1st impression article from Polyhedron Collider.
The Perfect Crime goes down June 28th.
Tramways takes the route building and thing-transporting of classic train games and makes it awesome-r by making it about trams, the coolest of the rail based transport networks. Deck building drives your available actions, but ultimately it is about building the right networks and cramming as many passengers into your carriages as you possibly can. The city itself is developing as you play too, with new destinations being added and upgraded as the game goes on, all on a modular board that, with all the will in the world, looks a little bland even with its twee art deco building tiles, but allows for variable set-ups with every game you play.
Tramways comes from the designer of Small City, Alban Viard, a game we loved the look of last year and one that has been very well received by the gaming public. It combines an elegantly simple set of mechanics (there are only 3 actions) and option limiters (you can only do what you have cards for) with a deep array of choices, from how to build your networks, when to do your actions and how much to bid on the card auctions. This is a very clever looking game. Plus everyone loves trams right?
Tramways terminates on June 15th.
Trick of the Rails gives us another classic element of 18XX games: stock markets! Portfolio management! Oh God! It sounds so dull – keep it together we can rescue this! Trick of the Rails is a an elegant card game, a trick taking game, that doubles as a game of stocks and shares, of growing rail companies and being shafted by not having the right trains to run on them. Certain tricks will be about investment, some will be about growing the rails in each company, and some will be about buying the trains that will run on those rails. Those last two tricks will be key in determining the value of the shares you collect from the first type of trick.
Trick taking games are inherently simple, yet often challenging. This looks to be of no exception and the combination of elements you will want to control as you play makes this a unique prospect! Playing your hand to its best potential, while damaging your opponent’s prospects is the core challenge, but managing the multiple ways you want to use your cards will be the real trick.
Trick of the Rails reaches its destination on June 16th.
Nestled within this hoard of fabulous games is a beautiful Hoard of gems and gold you’ll be trying to steal from under the wing of a sleeping dragon, wonderfully illustrated across three cards in the centre of a ring of treasure cards. Your stealthy adventurer will be slipping from pile to pile, grabbing up the gems they like and leaving the gems they don’t as they try and collect the best scoring set (gems are worth more in sets as we all know). There is push your luck as the dragon stir, illustrated by flipping his cards to their lively side, as you don’t want to be trapped in there when he realises you’ve been pinching his treasure, and also a memory element as you get to peek at cards as you visit them and add them from the deck.
This is a game with some luck (and a roll & move mechanic of all things) and take-that elements (players can attack one another to steal cards, and choose to wake the dragon at certain points) so might not be for everyone. But it does have a strong theme (Dragons!) and is played over multiple rounds to help mitigate the luck. Check it out for a light piece of family friendly fun.
Hoard collects on June 17th.
A return to the warring city-states of Renaissance Italy, in a brand new reprint of this Martin Wallace classic. You’ll get the chance to become a Condottiere Prince, in full prancing military regalia as you try and gain influence in the various major cities of Italy, and ensure your favoured cities gain value by seeing them win key battles. However, only one player will be selected to lead a city to battle so a cunning Condottiere might claim leadership to intentionally lose the battle. He gets paid either way after all…
There are powerful characters whose aid you’ll enlist and plenty of dirty treacherous plays to pursue. Someone even gets to become Pope! An unusual feather for your gaming hat. I recommend referring to all players as “my son” or “child” from that point on. This is not a light game, but it is a classic and well worth checking out!
Princes of the Renaissance ends June 17th.
The game that made running and hiding behind a pillar a tense game of skill and pressure, Catacombs returns with a new stand alone experience: Catacombs & Castles! This is one of gaming’s stand out dexterity games, turning dungeon crawling into an action packed game of disc flicking and laughing at your friends. Flicking your heroes at monsters deals damage, archers and wizards take long range shots with tiny discs from their positions of relative safety, and the infamous gelatinous cube hurtles around eating people.
Catacombs and Castles adds a pile of new discs featuring both noble castle defenders and monstrous catacombs monsters, allowing the classical all vs one play as well as a team competitive game pitching two forces of heroes against each other. Intended for shorter games, this is a great introduction to the world of Catacombs, and a pile of new stuff for fans of the 3rd Edition.
Catacombs & Castles battle it out till June 27th.
Yar-har-hoh sod it. It’s difficult to whip up enthusiasm for pirate games nowadays with so many plying their trade on the Kickstarter seas, but a beautiful board here has caught my eye and sailing in for a closer look we discover a lovely streamlined piratical experience. Yes, Captains of the Golden Age is trading in the Caribbean, but with a number of routes forward and no luck to worry about this is neat little package.
You’re aiming to collect valuable Pepper from the orient to trade in for shares in the various trading companies, but how you get there is up to you. Each ship can be upgraded to carry more cargo, or sail faster, or hit harder in combat in which the winner can steal cargo from the loser. Yet some unpredictability is available from each players hand of cards that add one time bonuses to one of their ships stats, possibly swinging a tight combat or boosting an extra space or two. Captains of the Golden Age is not redefining a genre, but it is simplifying it and offering a game with less brutal punishments for failure than comparable games like Merchants & Marauders. Worth a look!
The Golden Age comes to an end June 28th.
And thus, with a flourish, we close. What do you think of our new Kickstarter article format!? What do you think of our choices? Let me know in the comments!