Kickstarter has created a golden age of board games: now anyone with a great idea can his own game published, by raising money directly from the public. These games vary in quality, but Hegemonic is toward the high end, and may be the first truly classic game in its genre to be funded by Kickstarter.
Lords of Waterdeep is a good game, with a nice Dungeons and Dragons theme without the burden of Dungeons and Dragons rules. It’s biggest weakness by far is that it plays best with as many players as possible. The game models a bustling fantasy city, and few players means little bustle.
Baldur’s Gate really rocked the gaming world when it first came out. It wasn’t simply the sweet (for the time) graphics, decent storyline, and reasonable adherence to 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) rules that made it a must-play, it was the first game that really gave depth to the non-player character (NPC) henchman. Before this game came out, party-based role playing games had the player control the whole party, there was nothing to distinguish the characters; they were all completely created and controlled by the player.
Base Raiders is a Kickstarter funded role playing game (RPG) with the best premise I’ve ever seen for a superheroes game: all the superheroes and supervillains have vanished, leaving their secret bases and the secrets to their superpowers behind. The players of the game are, , lwell, base raiders, looking to find these hidden troves of loot and knowledge.
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.
Robert E Lee may have been a “rebel,” but he is one of the most beloved generals of American history, and lived his life as the very definition of a southern gentleman. Even today, his name commands respect, and I have several friends (male and female) named after him–or, more accurately, named after relatives named after him many decades ago. As the man who very nearly liberated the Southern Confederacy from Lincoln’s enforced Union, no Civil War game is complete without a representation of this icon. There have been many games based on the Civil War, and Bobby Lee is a classic in this large genre, although out of print nowadays. If the Kickstarter funds, Bobby Lee will rise again, upgraded to third edition rules.
The Dominions series of games is a classic like no other: it isn’t just a serious fantasy strategy game, it’s a labor of love for the designers. After 15 years, the next sequel, Dominions 4, is finally out. In addition to the usual “more of everything,” the biggest change is a new way to play: Ascension. Instead of playing to annihilate or “tinkerbell” your enemy, you can also win by claiming Thrones of Ascension, landmarks that give the owner all sorts of odd bonuses.
Star Trek Attack Wing is yet another game set in the Star Trek universe. Unlike Star Trek Catan, Attack Wing is set in the Next Generation universe, and is focused around a more exciting topic: space battles. As a miniatures game, a player is expected to buy more than just what’s in the box, which is merely just a “starter kit” containing the minimum necessary for a playable game.
Lone Wolf, a character from the series of the same name, is at long last coming to the electronic world (iOS and Android, anyway) this November. While certainly Lone Wolf isn’t among the more famous fictional characters known to gamers today, he was quite well known as the star of a long running series of “pick your own adventure” books.
Battletech. Shadowrun. Mage Knight. These games have left their mark on the face of gaming, with imagery and concepts (like “big fighting robots”) that even my non-gaming friends have no trouble identifying. They also have a common name behind them: Jordan Weisman, and if he has his way with Golem Arcana, he’ll put a boot stamp into gaming’s face that will change miniatures play forever.
When it comes to an “entertainment app” on the iPad, that’s pretty much just hi-falutin’ language for a game, but The Winston Show takes entertainment in a new direction. Winston is a talk show host, with a sidekick (of course) Ellington, and he talks to and interacts with the iPad user. Yes, it’s been sort of done before, with toys like Teddy Ruxpin or even on the PC like with Seaman, but only takes a few moments to see that Winston is several cuts above what’s been done before. Part of this is almost certainly the Pixar effect, as developers ToyTalk employ a number of former Pixarians (as they call themselves), including ToyTalk co-founder and hair model for Mr. Incredible, Martin Reddy.
Well, it’s official. Carcassonne is an official toy, or at least officially at Toys “R” Us. While generally a game being at Toys “R” Us isn’t much of a news story, this is as big a deal as when Dungeons and Dragons could finally, after years of popularity, be found on mainstream store shelves.