The original Manhattan Project was the first (we’ll say) big successful government conspiracy–teams of scientists worked in secret for years to build the ultimate bomb. Nowadays, the government’s kinda strapped for cash, so if they want another big project, perhaps they’d go Kickstarter too. If so, they’ll have to pick a different name, because the Manhattan Project Kickstarter is already underway. Actually, this is the second Manhattan Project Kickstarter, the first was for the board game expansion.
The new Kickstarter is to bring the game to iPad, PC, and Android, which is where many other boardgames end up, sooner or later. As you can guess from the title, the game is about building a nuclear bomb. Players have to mine and refine radioactive material (yellow cake), train workers and set up factories, as well as do what they can to keep the other players from doing the same, with the end goal of setting up the best atomic bomb program.
Manhattan Project is mostly like a Euro-game, but with some American influences. The Euro part is the subtle strategy and absence of dice–there’s some luck in the form of randomness, but that’s not quite the same thing. Key to victory is taking best advantage of the randomness. The American influence pops up in the level of competition. Players won’t actually drop nukes on each other, but conventional air strikes (not something I’ve seen in a Euro game) aren’t out of the question, along with lower key espionage to help a player catch up.
Kickstarter, along with the ease of modern printing, has definitely created something of a board game revolution; instead of trying to convince a big player like Hasbro, anyone with a good board game idea can just set up a Kickstarter and try to convince the public (ultimately, the ones who should decide if a game is any good), both cutting out an oversize middle-man and giving the inventor a better deal for his ideas. Now that Manhattan Project is established as a good game, it makes sense to take the revolution to the electronic world.