Why in the world would I put up $60+ for a game that wasn’t even in production? What is it about Kickstarter that urges us to give our money to budding game projects?

Warparty is a board game on Kickstarter that I support. The Kickstarter description aptly describes Warparty as a cross between Axis & Allies and Dungeon & Dragons. But this isn’t what prompted me to become a sponsor.

When I pledged my money to this game it wasn’t even clear at the time whether or not it would reach its funding goal. Today, with 90% of the goal achieved, it will certainly make its goal but that wasn’t what prompted me to agree to support the project.

Larry Bogucki, the game designer, asked me to do a review of the game and had it shipped to my house. But that isn’t what caused me to become a supporter either.

The prototype of Warparty is expansive. Lots of pieces, fairly good quality map, extensive rules, strategy guide, and hundreds of cards. It was obvious that this game had already been through some thorough play testing and Larry and team had put a significant amount of effort behind this project.

The game play is solid. I like to think of it almost like a bit of Age of Empires, the extremely addictive computer game that consumed many of my waking hours. You have a beginning empire building stage, with expansion and infrastructure investment, then depending on the direction you have taken with research and development, you launch into the more aggressive conflict portion, pitting your forces against the opposite forces. Like Axis & Allies, there are multiple ‘Nations’, with two ‘evil’ nations against two ‘good’ nations. Two players play two nations each, while four players would each control a single nation.

The D&D portion provides a second game track that allows character quests that begin to individualize your forces with heroes. These heroes are able to explore dungeons around the board, increasing their abilities and providing a nice divergence from a straight wargame.

But it isn’t the game play that caused me to become a supporter on Kickstarter.

What caused me to want to give my money to this project, even without a finished product, was not the game, but Larry and his team themselves.

I briefly met Larry at the World Boardgame Championships in Lancaster, PA in August of 2011. When I say briefly, I literally mean a few minutes of time were conversed. The first time was early in the morning on day 2 of the event. He had set up Warparty in the open gaming area and was running demos. On Day 3 in the late evening I passed through the hall and saw Larry again, tirelessly pitching, explaining, and inviting people to play Warparty.

I passed on the invitation at the time, but was struck by the sheer passion Larry had for his game. I was exhausted after days of non-stop playing, but Larry seemed to be feeding off of the energy that came from each person who walked up.

It left an impression. When Larry reached out to Purple Pawn and asked for a review, it was his passion that I remember and it was his passion that affected me when I opened the box and could literally feel that energy and effort that went into Warparty.

And there is one more thing that sets Kickstarter apart from your normal boardgame development process. During my review I made a suggestion to Larry about some changes to the game. My suggestion was only a light touch, nothing detailed or involved, but simply an impression about how it might help the game.

Larry contacted me back and explained that my idea had been suggested before and that enough people had also suggested it that Larry was going to make the changes and adjustments.

The surprise on my part was genuine. It was obvious that the game had been play tested, but Larry and Team were still listening to their fans and supporters and making adjustments to make the game better.

I have very high recommendations for Warparty. My review isn’t objective because I am emotionally tied to this project. My review is based on what I believe is an enjoyable game that has been developed by a team that loves their project. And that is why I’m a backer of this project and am happy to be a part of the Warparty success.

You can find the Kickstarter project here.