Little Rock Games wrapped up its Galactic Scoundrels Kickstarter project this past July with funding $10,000 over the company’s goal for its first card game. Questions about certain issues remained, however, and in September Little Rock Games inquired of the State of Arkansas Department of Finance and Taxation the answers to these:

  1. Are we required to collect sales tax on money obtained through crowdfunding?
  2. If so, at what point would sales tax be due, when the project funds or when the game ships?

In response, the Department last week issued a formal opinion [PDF] stating that, yes, sales tax is due, both on funds obtained by Little Rock Games and the 5 percent service fee collected by Kickstarter, and should have been collected at the time the project funded. According to the Department’s legal counsel, that decision was based on an understanding that Little Rock’s crowdfunding project represented a transaction in which the company was paid by backers for copies of the game.

What seems like clear guidance usable by other creators in Arkansas, however, becomes less so with further consideration. The answer to the first question “assumes all sales were made to buyers located within the State.” But as Little Rock explains in its query, the location of buyers (or their shipping destination) is not known to Kickstarter project creators at the time a project closes. On this problem, the opinion specifically declines to provide further guidance, referring instead to Arkansas Code Annotated § 26-52-521. According to that law, if a seller in good faith has neither the purchaser’s shipping destination, nor the purchaser’s billing address, nor any other physical address for the purchaser, then the location of the sale for purposes of determining whether state sales tax applies is considered the address from which the item was shipped.

What happens then if the seller doesn’t know yet at the time a project funds—as they may still be evaluating fulfillment services and other options—where will be the shipping point of origin?

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Kickstarter Preview—Box of Holding

The Box of Holding from Aaron Cain is a hand-crafted wood carrying case for dice and miniatures—perfect as a gamer gift or self-indulgence. High-end and expensive it is but also beautiful and built with quality.

Inside the box is a caddy with slots for holding dice sets. Underneath the caddy is what Cain calls the mini chamber, a section for storing two or three miniatures protected in foam. Holding the parts together are some very strong magnets. This will definitely not come apart in your bag!

The pieces in my sample fit together perfectly. And Cain has incorporated some extra nice touches beyond the basics. Both underneath the foam in the mini chamber and above it on the underside of the caddy are layers of cushioned rubber for a further measure of protection. The box lid, lined with felt, also serves a dual purpose. Turn it over to use as a dice tray.

Is it weird to say I love how the box smells?

If I had any concern about the Box of Holding, it would actually be that the magnets are VERY strong. You’ll have to get a good grip on the box to open it or to remove the caddy.

If you’re interested in getting one of these beauties, Aaron Cain is running a Box of Holding Kickstarter project for another 22 days. Prices run $150-305, depending on the type of wood chosen.

A complimentary Box of Holding was provided for review by Aaron Cain.

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Kickstarter Preview—Ghostel

Not the least of my favorite things about Tinkerbot Games’ Ghostel is its ghost-shaped player pawns. The 3D pieces planned for a stretch goal are wonderful but even the 2D ghost meeples are super cute!

Ghostel Ghost Meeples

The game too gives me plenty to crow over, providing a nice balance of chance and tactical decision-making, as well as a wonderful representation of its light spooky theme.

Each night round, the players as ghosts roll and distribute Terror Dice in an attempt to frighten away guests staying at their hotel. In every guest room a ghost visits, its player place’s one of their dice. At the end of the night, any guest who’s courage value is exceeded by the dice in their room runs away, and the players who contributed to that spook collect points.

During the day rounds, guests who made it through the night recover some of their composure—dice previously placed in their room remain there but are reduced by one pip—and new guests arrive to fill up the empty rooms.

The ghosts, of course, are not active during the day but their players then have an opportunity to spend previously earned points on Scare Tactic, Terror Bonus, and Spookie Favor cards. Though earning up the most points is the way to win the game, spending them judiciously can provide significant advantage. Scare Tactics allow players to trigger guests’ phobias (such as snakes, spiders, and clowns), doubling the value of a die as they place it. Terror Bonuses give players extra dice to roll. And Spookie Favors are special one-time tricks, like walking through walls (which allows a player to move their ghost piece anywhere on the board) or the chills (which gives a guest every phobia at once).

In the end, Ghostel is super-easy to play, though also just a bit challenging turn-to-turn. The kind of game I love, where you can blame the dice if you lose but still have lots of opportunities to make the most of them during play. To help fund Ghostel on Kickstarter, as I hope you will, a copy will cost you £29 (approximately $41).


A complimentary prototype copy of Ghostel was provided by Tinkerbot Games for review.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

A campaign for a new version of Apocalypse World (my favorite RPG game system) went up on Kickstarter yesterday and it’s nearly funded two times over. It’s such a good system that several other games have been created using the same game engine. The skeleton of the setting is there — something happened to the world more than a generation ago, but not that far away in recent memory — presented in a way that drives the action. You decide what the apocalypse is: Mad Max-ian atomic wasteland? Nature run rampant? Global warming with drowned coastlines? $28+shipping gets you a physical copy.


Apocalypse World’s creator, Vincent Baker, also runs a Patreon where you can support him designing games (and, in his words, “watch them die”.) A three dollar monthly donation grants you access to contribute in discussion at his patrons-only message board, including a monthly private discussion. Interested in AW? There’s some early playtest notes in there.

Perhaps your apocalypse is more zombie-flavored? The Walking Dead: All Out War, is a miniatures battle game based on the comic book. But it’s not suvivors versus zombies, it’s survivors versus other groups with the walkers reacting to every move. Already unlocked at the $125 level: 11 survivors, 12 walkers, with more to come. Already funded, you have the entire month of February to pick this one up from Mantic Games.

shoesSpeaking of miniatures, Oathsworn Miniatures just has a few days left in their Heroines in Sensible Shoes campaign. These are fantasy miniatures of female adventurers wearing… sensible armor and clothing. Chainmail bikinis, boob armor that directs swords to the sternum, exposed legs, revealing cleavage, or jutting buttocks? Not here. Just women adventurers dressed how they would logically dress when suiting up to raid a dragon’s hoard. About $7 for a miniature, $19 for three.

Let’s talk dice. Trayser Metal Works creates cast metal gaming dice in their garage and they’re looking to upgrade their metal shop to handle higher production volumes. They feature nine impressive dice shapes and styles in four different metals. Take a look at this amazing album on imgur to see how they do it! Individual dice are available as rewards for about every $14 pledged to the project.

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Toy Like Me

Number 1 in this week’s Highlights isn’t a game. I’m not even sure the campaign is thinking about games rather than just toys. But it’s a cause worthy of our support. And that cause is #ToyLikeMe, an effort to have better representation of people with disabilities in children’s toys. The #ToyLikeMe campaign has already brought Playmobil around to the idea of producing figures with disabilities. And just today, Lego revealed a minifigure in a wheelchair. To help keep the campaign growing, though, its organizers are asking for £16,000 to develop a professional website and associated resources. Drop a little in the hat, will you?

Crowdfunding campaign number 2 this week is for a card game version of Manhattan Project, Minion Games’ title about developing and building nuclear weapons. I love the original and Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction looks to be a great translation. Of course all elements of the game—workers, resources, buildings, etc.—are now represented by cards. A more interesting difference, however, lies in the fact that at the end of each turn, a player has to discard every factory, every university, everything that’s not a resource or a bomb. This means that the industrial engines that players chain together will now constantly need to be refreshed.

Thief’s Market from Tasty Minstrel Games is about dividing and spending loot. The loot is represented by dice, which the players take turns either selecting from the center or grabbing from one of their fellow thieves. Then when the dice are all split up, they can be spent on finery, useful items, or henchmen, each of which confers some later benefit. At the end, the thief with the most notoriety wins. That is campaign number 3.

Fabulous BeastsNumber 4 is Fabulous Beasts. This one, at first, looks like a typical stacking game. Three-dimensional animal figures are placed on top of each other until something gives and everything falls. But that’s not actually the whole deal. Fabulous Beasts also integrates a sensor platform, such that as the animals are stacked a unique virtual world and story unfolds in a linked tablet app.

Finally, at number 5 is Olympus Inc, an urban fantasy setting book for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. Olympus Inc is the story of a magical war between Titans and Olympians taking place in, but hidden from, modern society. With Olympians developing their power through corporate intrigue and the magical war hidden from the perception of ordinary people, Olympus Inc has a distinct cyberpunk element as well.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Simple but highly appropriate for its straightforward educational purpose, Chemical Spill is a card game meant for high school students. Players draft a hand of element cards then assemble them in to molecules, along the way learning about covalent bonds, Lewis dot structures, and electron sub-shell configurations.

Nemos WarBased on Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Victory Point Games’ Nemo’s War is a solitaire adventure board game where the player, as Captain Nemo, pilots the Nautilus about the oceans’ depths. Exploration, scientific discovery, war, and anti-imperialism are the priorities from which the player may choose, and against which actions such as refitting the submarine, inciting local uprisings, and attacking surface ships are judged for victory points.

Empires: Galactic Rebellion from Eagle-Gryphon Games treats players to an epic-scale game set in conflict among the stars. A follow-up to Glen Drover’s Age of Empires, Galactic Rebellion incorporates development on economic, political, military, and technological fronts, as well as worker placement, in to gameplay. As a new feature, those workers are differentiated between rebels, scientists, troopers, smugglers, and diplomats, each of which is represented by a different miniature figure.

Calling it a “skill-building game”, Lone Shark’s The Ninth World is an adventure card game based on the Numenera RPG. Each player’s hand of cards represents their current set of skills. As better skills are developed, new cards replace old ones. Players then use the cards in bidding against each other to explore, collect relics, complete quests, and further improve their skills.

In CitiesUP, building is just the first step. Every structure, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, must be supplied with water and electricity. In return for that support, players are able to collect taxes for victory points. Field cards represent special events, including some natural disasters. And building out the city is market with vertical wooden cubes, so you get the image of a growing downtown as game progresses.

Cities Up

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Crowdfunding Highlights

We’re nearing the end of the year and are just before the Christmas holiday, a time when gamers around the world are spending money on gifts for loved ones and themselves. Why then, would one think this week — of all weeks — is a good time to launch or run a limited-time crowdfunding campaign? As I scroll through the games section of Kickstarter there’s not much on there this week. There’s something whose only description is “the card game that will save mankind”, more Cards Against Humanity knockoffs, and several other gamelike offerings that have less than 7% funding (and it’s rather surprising that some of them have that much pledged).

The week before Christmas really doesn’t seem to be a good time for Kickstarter campaigns.

Instead, let’s look at Patreon, where you can sign up for a monthly payment of however much you want to let someone create a thing. Kickstarter seems to be more of a pre-order system for stuff, no matter how much KS tries to deny it. Patreon comes across as a gift of thanks to a creator.


Tabletop Audio is creating ten minute “audio ambiances” for tabletop RPGs and boardgames. Want a soundtrack for your game night? Give Tabletop Audio a try.  The audio at the site is free, but you can show appreciation at the Patreon page in the form of money.

Gareth Graham has a video series where he covers unboxing videos, game overviews, and tutorials. While there are only a few tutorials in that lineup, two that stood out for me were tutorials about using BoardGameGeek and navigating The Game Crafter. Take a look at his YouTube channel and support him at his Patreon page.


Perhaps you’re into wargames? Mike at TerranScapes has a fantastic video series about creating wargaming terrain. (Also good for RPGs!) Several milestones have already been met which have upgraded his recording studio. Visit the site; throw a buck or two at the Patreon.

John Wick has a gaming ‘zine he publishes called Wicked Worlds! Magazine. Included are Play Dirty (GM advice, Wick-style), adventures, fiction, little games, and/or whatever else John wants to discuss each month (or thereabouts). Check it out!

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Runequest ClassicNostalgia continues to reign on Kickstarter. This time, it’s a reprint of old-school Runequest that’s ruling gamers’ hearts. The project has reward levels for PDF, hardcover, and leatherette versions of the book, which other than incorporating errata will be a straight-up copy of the classic second edition from 1979. Several stretch goals in the form of PDF supplements have also been added.

New school, Fate-based Mindjammer seeks to fund a series of sourcebooks, an equipment book, adventures, fiction, and more. Interestingly, a stretch goal already reached promises a Traveller version of the transhumanist RPG. How those will work together, I don’t know but I look forward to finding out.

Like Dominion did with the deck-building element of CCGs, Roll Player takes the character creation process of RPGs and turns it in to a complete game. The idea is to roll and draft dice to fill out the basic attributes, purchase equipment, and develop skills. Backstory and alignment are also factors. The winner is the player with best character as determined by reputation.

Roll Player Components

In Wongamania the players are business elites attempting to expatriate money while their native Banana Republic is under attack by literal financial monsters. It’s a game that Capital Gains Studios out of Singapore hopes will teach players the principles of economics and wealth management. It’s not supposed to promote draining a national economy for personal gain.

65 counter’65 is a tactical, squad-level, card-driven, hex-and-counter war game about the Vietnam War. The game comes with geomorphic map boards and a variety of historically-based scenarios. Many units in the game also have special capabilities, which can be activated when a card is drawn with the word “power” on it.


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Crowdfunding Highlights

This week, no elaborate miniature-filled productions or complex campaign backgrounds, just three games that struck me as different…

Deep Space D-6 is a solitaire worker-placement dice game inspired by choose-your-own-adventure books and early science-fiction RPGs like Star Frontiers. With a minimalist graphic design, the game has its player commanding a spaceship trapped in dangerous territory, fending off attacks, troubleshooting emergencies, and generally trying to survive until help arrives. Gameplay involves rolling the custom dice and allocating them to various crew positions.

Deep Space D-6

Monster Truck Mayham from Dice Hate Me Games is roll-and-move played in real-time. Fast as they can, players roll dice to race their trucks around the modular dirt-track board. Along the way, of course, there are cars to crush, slicks to escape, and buses to jump.

Monster Truck Mayhem

The Great Dinosaur Rush is a game of competitive paleontology, where the players are as much concerned with recognition as scientific integrity. In the dig phase of each round, players collect bones, manipulate museums, and sabotage or even steal from other scientists. In the build phase, players assemble bones in to dinosaur skeletons. Matching recognized species is worth extra points but definitely not required to get ahead.

The Great Dinosaur Rush Skeleton Configuration

Hasbro Gaming LabHasbro Gaming Lab has selected the five finalists in its search for the next big face-to-face party game. More than 500 entries were submitted to the competition launched in August and the chosen games, now soliciting funds on Indiegogo, are:

Warning! Signs—Which has players coming up with funny explanations for difficult-to-interpret pictographs.

Irresponsibility: The Mr. Toast Card Game—In which players get points by playing cards that allow Mr. Toast to have fun but lose points when others play cards that burden Mr. Toast with typical life responsibilities.

Hexes!!—An action game for adults. That means for example, play a particular card on someone and force them to sing everything they want to say or be out of the game.

Sunk!—Which combines an action game with a physics/dexterity thing. Players on their turns pour drops of water in to a floating cup and hope it doesn’t sink.

Touchy Feely—Also an action game but played in the dark. Cards with action challenges (like standing on one’s head) are passed around while the lights are still on. Then someone flips the switch and everyone has to complete their actions in a way they’ll be able to prove when the lights come back.

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