There hasn’t been a lot of action here lately on Strange Assembly as all of my free time has been consumed with an inter-state move (and the house-selling and house-buying that goes with that). But I did want to take a moment to point out some tabletop games currently on Kickstarter – the return of a classic mid-range dungeon-theme deck-builder, an Arkham-themed social deduction micro-game, and LAST-MINUTE ALERT on a Planescape-inspired RPG.
Thunderstone Quest: If you check out the word cloud on that drop-down menu on the top right of the screen (well, unless you’re on a mobile device), you may note that one of our more commonly used tags is “Thunderstone,” with posts going back to January 2011. Hot on the heels of Dominion, the original Thunderstone from AEG presented a deck-building game where you did more than just build your deck – in this case, building a cadre of fantasy heroes to defeat monsters in a dungeon. Thunderstone was revised to Thunderstone Advance, and now has become Thunderstone Quest (at about 10 minutes into the campaign, I think this is the quickest I’ve ever backed a Kickstarter). New to Thunderstone Quest is actual movement in a dungeon (rather than a card row representing the dungeon) and the addition of the eponymous quests, which let the players advance through a story over various scenarios. Deck-building is also intended to happen more quickly, with more time spent fighting and fewer turns dedicated only to shopping in the village. Thunderstone Quest will be released as a base game (it’s currently a pretty small number of “base” cards, but it seems to be one of those things where the normal base game quantity comes through stretch goals), and quests with about 250 cards/tokens each. The base pledge level (which relatively few folks will back, I’d wager) comes with the base game and the first quest for $60. The real pledge level is $100 for that plus two additional quests. Thunderstone Quest has another month to go, wrapping up on March 24, 2017, but has already quadrupled its target as is now adding stretch goals at a fair clip (although, as noted above, at the time of writing the stretch goals are more about rounding out the expected base game experience than about adding truly extra content).
Arkham Ritual: In this highly affordable small-box game from Ninja Star, players take on the role of investigators looking into a Lovecraftian cult. Drawn into a ritual, the players must struggle to retain their sanity as their fellows fall to madness. In each round, each player is dealt one card, which they cannot see. The players, however, know what cards others hold, and can see what actions others have taken. Based on the information available, players must deduce what their card might be, and decide whether to stick with it or seek a replacement. When a round ends, players holding a sanity card that is distinct from any sanity card held by another player are safe – everyone else inches closer to madness. The game unfolds over multiple rounds as the investigators lose their hold on reality. The Arkham Ritual campaign ends on March 9, 2017, and is currently funded. The standard pledge level is a miniscule $9 (with free shipping in the U.S.).
Sig – The Manual of the Primes: LAST-MINUTE ALERT: It doesn’t come up as much as Thunderstone, seeing how it hasn’t been in print for a length of time I don’t really want to think about right now because it makes me feel really old, but if you read my Dungeons & Dragons reviews, you’ve probably noticed some repeated references to the old Planescape Campaign Setting. At the literal and metaphorical center of the Planescape setting was Sigil, the City of Doors, a metropolis of planar portals, factions, and beings. So I got a little bit of a brow furrow going on (luckily, my wife wasn’t around so I didn’t get an earful about wrinkling my forehead) when I saw Sig, a roleplaying game about a multiversal city that is connected to everywhere and is a melting pot of creatures and beliefs (note: Planescape is explicitly credited as an inspiration for the setting, so this is not a situation where Genesis of Legend is trying to copy on the QT). Sig started as a campaign supplement for the Spark RPG (I know nothing of Spark, so do feel free to educate me in the comments), and this Kickstarter is bringing it out as a stand-alone game. A standard pledge gets you one copy of the 240-page, 6″ x 9″ book – $11 for digital, $26 for hardcopy, or $38 for both (those are rough conversions from Canadian dollars, which is what you’ll actually be pledging in). The campaign ends on Friday, February 24, 2017 (so less than two days as of the time this article is published). The campaign is funded, but not by a lot, so I wouldn’t expect to see many physical copies of Sig floating around after the Kickstarter ends. There’s a pending stretch goal for a slightly fancier hardcopy version if (as of the time of writing) another 6 people back the project.
P.S. While we’re talking about Planescape, let me throw in that Torment: Tides of Numenera, the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment (one of the greatest digital RPGs ever), releases on February 28, 2017.