For this rendition of our irregular series of spotlights on ongoing Kickstarter projects, we’re going a bit off of our usual path, highlighting projects that are all tabletop games, but most of which are from outside the U.S. and several of which come in at fairly high price points (I know, Cool Mini or Not rakes it in off of those miniatures/exclusives/expansion heavy Kickstarter projects, but they aren’t something we’ve usually spent a lot of time on in these columns).
This War of Mine: This War of Mine is a fully co-op game where the players take on the role of citizens of a war-ravaged city, struggling to stay alive amid the ruins. A lot of the components (miniatures, lots of tokens, lots of little cards) and some mechanics are reminiscent of adventure games like Eldritch Horror or other Kickstarter miniatures-focused board games, but This War of Mine has a completely different theme that’s a lot more unique, and that I find more compelling. In addition, the game features narrative elements such as storybooks, and a “save game” feature to run a full campaign. It looks really amazing and it has with a ton of content. It does come at a (literal) price, however, with the base game + standard Kickstarter unlocks (including four expansions) clocking in at £50 ($73) and another £18 if you want the non-automatic expansions, plus shipping, for a total north of $110. The War of Mine is currently funded many times over, and the Kickstarter runs through May 31, 2016.
Outlive: Outlive features the players trying to lead the way to survival and possibly prosperity in a post-apocalyptic world. There’s no co-op here, however, as each player leads a tribe of their own. Characters emerge from their Vaults (or whatever they call the shelters so that Fallout won’t sue them) to search and explore during the day, then return at night. While on the irradiated surface, a “worker displacement” mechanic is used to gather resources, with the threat that a stronger group of workers will scare yours off their find. In the night phase, players upgrade their shelters, attract more survivors to their cause, and (of course) make sure to feed their people. The normal components for Outlive are custom meeples for your workers and a lot of tokens. But there’s also an upgrade pledge level that comes with 326 pieces of plastic, including fancier versions of the workers, 100 plastic miniature survivors, and a couple hundred plastic resources. Plus a series of custom tuck boxes to store that all in. The fancy version costs €79, with €7 shipping to the U.S. (about $95 total), or only €42 for the standard version. Outlive is also fully funded, and the project is live through June 1, 2016.
The Dark Eye: Another European entry today, this English language version of longstanding German roleplaying game The Dark Eye at least won’t hit you with any currency conversion fees. Between Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, you already have two excellent fantasy RPGs to choose from, but I perk up when a game that’s been chugging along for three decades makes its first appearance in a form I can read. You can find a link to the quick-start rules on the Kicstarter page. There are a variety of pledge levels, with the most noteworthy being $20 for the core book in PDF and $50 for the core book in hardcover (plus unlocked stretch goals). The Dark Eye is fully funded, and the project runs through June 2, 2016.
Anachrony: Here’s where we get back to some of my more standard fare, with a good old worker placement game. Although that’s probably being unfair to Anachrony, given how unique the concept of the game is. In Anachrony, the world is facing destruction from an oncoming meteor strike (yes, yes, that’s three board games with somewhat post-apocalyptic themes in one post, apparently both I and Kickstarter are enamored of this theme at the moment). But you know that the end is coming, because technology was developed that has allowed the future to send this information back to you. And not only can the future send information, but it can also send workers, resources, and technology back as well – but, of course, that means that later in the game, you will need to send those goodies back in time, or else risk causing rifts in the space-time continuum. During the game, the meteor will strike, changing how many of the actions work. Each player controls a faction (both before and after the strike), trying to ensure that faction’s dominance in the post-strike world. The standard pledge of Anachrony is $59 (comes with some of the stretch goals), with the option for $79 for a “leader box” that comes with miniatures (wow, I really can’t avoid miniatures today, can I?), a mini-expansion, and all of the stretch goals (free shipping to the U.S. either way). Anachrony is fully funded, and the project runs through June 7, 2016.