Crowdfunding Highlights

Valhalla is a card game with dice placement mechanics. Each player takes the role of a Jarl who builds a team of warriors and equips them to fight. In battles, player roll dice to activate warriors and play special tactic cards. The winning party sends their activated warriors to Valhalla, and whoever has the most points at the end, wins the game.

The things that caught my eye about Valhalla is that the goal is to win a battle and send winning warriors to Valhalla. So your fighters die a glorious death to gain victory points. This game is designed by Łukasz Woźniak, who has created almost a dozen games including one of my personal favorites, King and Assassins. Valhalla has been crushing stretch goals (11 as of this post, plus they included the 26 from the successful Polish campaign for this game) and the art looks amazing. Are you ready to choose your Jarl and engage in battle?


When someone names their dice on kickstarter “Table Breakers” those have to be some heavy dice.  And with a tagline like “A Polyhedral Solid Metal Dice Set with a Size and Weight that will not only be game breaking, but also break your DM’s table!” they are not messing around! Several stretch goals have already been unlocked including a custom carrying case. Do your like your dice in Bronze? Gold? Silver? Black? All of these colors are unlocked and at your disposal. Check the campaign out here and roll you natural 20 with authority!

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Imagine that your favorite board game made you sick. I mean, convulsing on the floor, eyes rolling back, foaming at the mouth sick! That’s what recently happened to a 52 year old Chinese man while playing Mahjong. Still, who would have imagined a tabletop game causing seizures. But after a second incident mid-game, doctors with the Zhejiang University School of Medicine diagnosed Mahjong epilepsy.

Mahjong epilepsy is a rare reflex epilepsy syndrome, a type of condition in which seizures can be brought on by certain stimuli, such as flashing lights. Mahjong epilepsy most closely resembles a cognition epilepsy subtype, in which seizures are induced by decision-making, spacial tasks, and other thought processes. There have been cases of seizures induced by writing, drawing, and performing mathematical calculations.

In a 2007 study of 23 cases, doctors in Hong Kong, however, found Mahjong epilepsy sufficiently distinctive, noted that both playing and just watching Mahjong could lead to seizures, and ruled out stress or sleep deprivation as the cause. In the recent Chinese case, the man’s doctor hypothesized that a possible trigger could have been the patterns of circles and dots found on Mahjong tiles.

Other cases of game-induced seizures have been confirmed by medical professionals. A 1965 article in the Chinese Medical Journal documented four patients with repeated epileptic seizures playing and watching games of Chess and cards. Among these cases, the sufferers would find themselves uncontrollably gesturing with their arms, standing and spinning, and losing consciousness.

Case studies in the journal Epilepsia report on an Italian man who over a period of years suffered “arrests of thought” when playing cards or Draughts, three Asian patients for whom cards and Draughts induced tonic-clonic seizures, and an American woman who experienced generalized seizures when playing Checkers.

See also the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry for a report on a patient who’s jerking motions and loss of consciousness were evoked by attempts to solve a Rubik’s CubeNeurology for a study of 25 cases involving “activation of seizures by calculation, card, and board games“; and the Journal of Clinical Neurology (Korea) for information on 13 patients who experienced seizures while playing the card game Go-Stop and four patients who’s seizures were triggered by playing Baduk (Go).

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Crowdfunding Highlights

crowdfunding-highlights-iconBitbox is a game storage system for taking the components for your game — boards, rulebooks, and all those little pieces — and storing them, cutting down on the space required for all those game boxes. A unit fits within an IKEA Kallax cube space, and the video shows fourteen different games (Stone Age, Concept, Reverse Charades, Splendor, Power Grid, Telestrations, Machi Koro, Survive, The Lord of the Rings TCG base set, Ticket to Ride, RoboRally, Codenames, 7 Wonders, and Kingdom Builder were shown) stored in that single Bitbox. $50 gets you a Bitbox and a carry-to-game-night box. If we knew about this thing before it launched, you could have had that for $30.

The Prince Valiant RPG just came on Kickstarter last week. This game, set in the time of King Arthur and designed by Greg Stafford, is a storytelling game designed to be accessible to younger players. If you’ve wanted to tell stories about noble knights, you can get a physical copy of the game book filled with gorgeous full-color artwork from Hal Foster’s comic strip for just $30.

220px-TheWarriors_1979_Movie_PosterWell, after our last look at Crowdfunding Highlights, I think we’ve covered all the modular-board scenario-based standalone miniature battle games up on Kickstarter and — are you kidding me? There’s The Warriors: Turf War, based on the 1979 movie where a gang is set up for murder and all the gangs in New York City are hunting them down. Included in the base game are several miniatures, including the comical Baseball Furies (just called “Furies” here). Let’s do the rundown from last time: “early bird stretch goals not completely sold out (hurry!), more than three dozen miniatures (46!), second-ever KS from the company, $105 normal price tag. Come out to play.

Jackson Robinson does cards. You’ve got less than 19 hours to get some awesome currency-inspired playing cards. The cards are based on American and Chinese currency. (I’ve got one of his Wasteland decks and they’re really fantastic.) $14 gets you one of these decks, $28 gets you two. Stop reading and go now! There’s just *gasp* 18 hours left now! Go! Go! Go!


not cahHonestly, I can’t wait for the US Presidential election to be over. There are soooo many Kickstarters that are trying to capitalize on Trump or Hillary that we just know aren’t going to fund or, god forbid they actually do fund, won’t be fulfilled any time before the election. Case in point: What the Drumpf, which is Apples to Apples with questions and Trump-like quotes “and the debate leader picks the funniest, most racist or most insane answer”. They want 3500 GBP for this thing.

Last week: People Vs. Politics, the “CAH with uncomfortable political discussion” game — how did it do? Unsuccessful, with just under half of the $4800 goal made.

Crowdfunding Highlights

The rest of the staff is at Toy Fair New York this frigid weekend and this coming week we’ll be flooded with news from that event. So until then, let’s look at some crowdfunding stuff!

The Cyanide & Happiness folks have created NSFW party game based on their random comics generator. In a world of Apples to Apples derivitaves (and Cards Against Humanity knockoffs), Joking Hazard adds a new twist to the formula. To create a three panel strip, a random panel is drawn from the deck and the judge arranges that with a panel card from their hand. The other players sumbit a final panel for the comic strip. A $25 pledge gets you the base game while ten bucks more gets you an extra fifty-card expansion.


It’s more metal coins! Drawlab is back with their second Legendary Metal Coins campaign with a surprisingly low buy in. About $19 gets you either a set of 24 coins or one of each coin in the lines they’re producing. You’ve got Roman, Egyptian, Spartan, and Viking-themed coins, as well as Cyberpunk coins (which I would think would be a bag full of 0s and 1s) and Cthulhu coins because they use currency in Ry’leh? Honestly, I’d just use them in games as tokens that members of a crazy cult would use to identify each other. There’s also a Units set with coins marked as 1, 3, 5, in an art deco typeface for your non-thematic boardgames. (Plus you can get some of the last campaign’s coins in some pledge levels.)

You really want to play a professional wrestling role-playing game, don’t you? Well, yay, because with Nathan D. Paoletta’s World Wide Wrestling: International Incident campaign on Kickstarter, you can get the base game and this new expansion for just $15! Those of you who play RPGs may have noticed the game as the word “World” in there, and yes, it’s using the Apocalypse World RPG engine to drive all the action in the ring and backstage. LET’S GET READY TO [NOT USE A REGISTERED TRAAAAAAAAADEMAAAAAARK]!


Cool playing card decks grab my attention, and this one — while pretty in its own way — is something that really should be funded. Therapy Decks for Speech and Language by Megan Berg (Slp Insights) are a standard deck of playing cards, but that have large graphics and text to help in speech therapy sessions. Decks include R-blends (words with double or triple constanants that include the letter R), idioms, front/back minimal pairs (words with similar beginning and ending sounds like key and tea), categories, and Initial B (words starting with B). Unlike most decks that are crowdfunded, these aren’t just pretty things, they’re functional and done with a purpose. Deck packages start at $16.

More cards, but not really: Josh Krause from Original Magic Art is offering classic artwork cards as tokens for various TCGs and CCGs. Taken mainly from masterpieces in the public domain, the card-sized tokens are naturally beautiful with basic sets beginning at $18, full 54-card themed sets at $25, and playmats at $25. While I don’t play many games that require playmats, I’m tempted to get the one based on The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

coinsThe “core part of the team” of Conquistador’s The Best Damn Gaming Coins Ever! campaign are back with a new metal-coins-for-games accessory they’re calling “The Best Damn Gaming Coins Ever! Two”. Included in this campaign are seven new coin sets, plus the original campaign’s thirteen sets: Chinese, Mongol, Perisan, Indian, Anglo-Saxon, and more. Already funded, if they hit the $30k mark, they will have paper (cardstock) bills with “famous women of history”. Also on the campaign page, a suggested pairing of sets and board games: Fresco with the Renaissance coin set? Don’t mind if I do! Five bucks gets you a handful of coins, twenty-five gets you an entire set of 78 coins, and fifty dollars for the deluxe collection of 117 coins.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned Will Hindmarch’s Patreon. Nathan D. Paoletta, Will’s co-host of the Design Games Podcast, also has a Patreon for people that wish to support his ongoing game design process. Nathan has developed indie roleplaying games like Annalise, carry, World Wide Wrestling, and more. “It’s part design journal, part Patron-participation, and part early bird access to all of my published work.” Suggested patronage levels begin at $1 per month.

IGG_Logo_Frame_GOgenta_RGB-display-9e89b0ee4ed6955cbc2ad46bd6e3f906I can’t count the number of times I found out about a crowdfunding campaign too late. Thankfully, IndieGoGo has an interesting feature called InDemand: campaign creators can opt to have a successful campaign extend past the campaign’s end. If you’re like me and miss a campaign’s funding period, you can still jump in on a successful campaign after that campaign has ended. Here’s two playing card decks that have ended but are still offering perks to backers.

carsonHow many male scientists can you name? How many female scientists — besides Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace — can you name? Any? Women in Science is a card game featuring 44 female scientists. Doubling as a standard playing card deck, the game itself features scientists, engineers, and astronauts with mini-biographies. It’s a simple rummy-like game with players creating labs (“melds”). $20 gets you a copy of the game.

EduStack Playing Cards for Math and Astronomy sounds like a very dry title for an extremely dull educational project disguising itself as a game, but no — these playing cards are really nice. There’s a deck about some math concepts for $10, but what really caught my eye was the Star Stack, a deck about constellations for $12. Bump that up to $42, and you get a lovely book with stories about the constellations (and scientific facts), a poster star map of the northern and southern hemisphere, and a sticker featuring the design on the card backs. Shipping to non-India locations is $8.

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The Family Arcana Card DeckWhat do you get when you mix a ghostly novella with a deck of cards? You get “The Family Arcana,” which is a deck of 52 cards (plus two Jokers) that can be played as any traditional card game, like Go Fish, Poker, Old Maid, or whatever.

The uniqueness comes with the fact that each card includes a snippet of a the life of an excruciatingly dysfunctional family, as told by the children living inside the decomposing farmhouse.

As you play the game, you read the snippet aloud. It doesn’t matter what order they are in. It doesn’t matter what the rules for reading cards are. Snippets consist of secrets, confessions, accusations, and other independent pieces of the story.

Author Jedediah Berry created his family from a dream. He regularly wrote ideas for this unfolding family tale on index cards. He soon discovered that he could shuffle the pieces and still manage to make a somewhat comprehensive story out of it.

Thus The Family Arcana came to be.

You can preorder a full deck for $12 from Ninepin Press’ Kickstarter campaign with additional gifts included at higher pledge levels. The campaign ends on March 19 and shipping is expected by August.

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Second Look—Untold

Untold is an RPG system that uses nothing but cards. You create your characters using cards, the GM has a deck of cards for encounters, and you even keep track of status ailments, etc… with cards. The Splintered Serenity starter pack comes with enough cards for 6 characters and a GM. A pretty impressive thing. The only extra thing you’ll need to play is dice.

The set comes with quick start rules to get you going, but I’d highly recommend reading the free primer on their website for a more in-depth look at how the game is played. There’s even some videos you can watch.

So on to the review. Let’s start right off with a gut-check. I really like Untold. I love the simplicity, I love the portability, and I love how you can easily adapt just about any setting you choose for use with Untold cards. I like the idea of buying extra cards to flesh out your game, but really not needing to. I even love how easy it is to create your own cards to use with the game for in-depth customization.

The first thing you need to do when playing Untold is create your character. This is done by the GM letting you know how may UP you can spend to create your character. Once you have this number you can have a character ready for play in around 5 minutes. You select a race, then start adding Aspect cards and Power cards. Aspect cards describe your character basic stats: Body, Mind, and Spirit. Power cards are the real meat of character creation, allowing you to add weapons, special abilities, spells, and more. Each type of card, including your race, has a cost that adds up to the total UP allowed by the GM. Any unused points you have go into a swap pool for later use in the game to be spent swapping cards into your character.

Note that a GM will also be building their own deck with Minion cards.

Combat plays pretty quickly, and flows well. Characters end up losing cards from their character deck when they’re injured, which is a really cool way to handle things. Experience is handles by giving out UP, which can be used to beef up characters with more cards.

There’s a wealth of information to be had on the Untold website. They’ve got plenty of fiction and information about their settings, rules for playing a battle game with your Untold cards, and more.

In the end, you get a lot of value out of the approximately $30 you’ll spend on a starter box of Untold. If you’re into RPGs, I highly recommend picking it up and at least giving it a shot.

*A copy of the Untold: Splintered Serentiy starter pack was provided by Wandering Man Studios for this review.

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