Crowdfunding Highlights

“Oh little dice of Bethlehem…” Ok so I am fully aware that is not how the song goes, but in the Christmas spirit, Halfsies Dice has just a few days left in their Christmas edition dice. And unlike most kickstarters, you can get both sets THIS CHRISTMAS! You have two choices of dice sets red berry/ dark holly green or pine green, and snow white (these are my personal favorite) and every order comes with a holiday bag. Spread some holiday cheer to the gamer in your life with Halfsies Dice.

A slightly revised edition Claustophobia 1643 by Monolith has been put up on Kickstarter. 10,000 numbered pieces with no pledge manager and delivery in January (That’s two short delivery windows this week).  One player controls a small group of humans and the other an army of demonic creatures. The human characters are stronger, but the demon characters have strength in numbers. The game at its core is P vs. P combat/resource management. There are twenty scenarios in the book, which to me gives it solid replay value.  Whether you chose to play as the humans or by demons be driven, you can sign up for your preferred faction in Claustophobia 1643.

 

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?

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!

Crowdfunding Highlights

It is my belief that the cube tower is an underused mechanic in gaming.  Ape games must share this belief with me as it is the main piece of there new game The Styhian Society. The Stygian Society is a cooperative dungeon crawl designed by Kevin Wilson (A Game Of Thrones, Elder Sign and numerous other games).

In a very interesting twist, The Stygian Society often requires heroes to sacrifice themselves and their own actions for the good of the party. Battle monsters and fight the forces of evil in this dungeon crawl…errr.. ascent. As of this posting is has three weeks left and has well past it’s funding goal. You can find it here.

 

Next up is the card caddy triple decker. The triple decker Holds 100+ sleeved cards OR 4+ playing card decks. The thing I really like about this Kickstarter is the modular add-ons as stretch goals (although I wish it was a regular purchase option) that you can use it for mini-cards and/or to store dice, tokens, chips coins. The potential to use this storage system for multiple types of games makes it something a little different from your normal deck storage system. The kickstarter can be check out here.

 

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Puzzling Pixel Games have currently funded for their debut game The Abandons. Created by Michael Blascoe this solo game centers around a voice inside your head, calling you to go, to the abandons. In The Abandons, you start at the entrance to the abandoned, yet living labyrinth and hope to make it to the final card, the exit, by drawing a card each turn and navigating your way to the end, the exit. Along the way, you may encounter surprises or items to help you. What will you find there? Will you find peace and silence the voices inside your head? or will you spend your last days trapped? The game is $13 and is scheduled to ship May 2018. Soloists can check it out here.

Next up, as if it was raised from the bottom of the murky water from years of slumber is a reprint of Dragon Dice – Swamp Stalkers. Dragon Dice is a collectible dice game for 2 or more players. Originally made famous in 1995 by TSR, Dragon Dice has continued to expand and evolve under the reign of SFR inc. Players use colorful dice to represent armies of different fantasy races which battle to control essential terrain in this fast-rolling game. The first player to capture two terrains immediately wins the game. A total of 40 dice, two playmats and a copy of the 2-player starter set is $35. So begin your adventure. Shipping is scheduled for August 2019.

For the wargamer, I wanted to showcase this game I ran across. Glory Recalled: Hong Kong 1941 is a board wargame based on the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. This is a unique choice for a military game for sure. Created by David Cheng. In his Kickstarter bio, David says “we can do something to recall people’s attention to this precious history and commemorate the forgotten heroes who sacrificed their lives for Hong Kong.” The game uses a semi card-driven system. Players take turns to play cards from their hands to activate a formation of units on the map. Cards may also be used to provide combat support like artillery and air support or for rallying disrupted units. There are also historical and what-if event cards which add replay value to the game. The game will run you approximately $41 The campaign ends August 14th with a shipping date of December 2018. Your defense starts here.

And last but not least, it’s Trogdor!! The Board Game. Now full disclosure I am a massive fan of Homestar Runner, the online webcomic the character Trogdor comes from. To give you a little history, Trogdor was a man, he was a, a dragon man! For centuries, the legendary wingaling dragon Trogdor the Burninator has terrorized the peasant kingdom of Peasantry with his scorching flames and greased-up beefy arm. Now, he has descended from the mountains once again and will not stop until he burninates the entire countryside and all those unfortunate enough to get in his way! Your goal is to burn everything in Trogdors path. Some people shockingly are not good with this in the village and will be trying to stop you (BOOOO!) This co-op game is very true to the spirit of the character and has rocketed past it’s stretch goal of $75,000 (at the time of this article it has raised 10 times that amount). $40 gets you the version with wooden minis and $60 gets you the wooden mins + plastic minis. What are you waiting for? get Burninating!

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Kevin Siembieda, President of Palladium Books, posted a public update to the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter stating they will not be able to produce the Robotech RPG Tactics Wave Two rewards following the expiration of the Robotech license. The campaign for the Robotech RPG Tactics game raised nearly $1.45 million in 2013 to produce a miniature wargame based on the version of the Robotech anime owned by Harmony Gold USA. The license, which was held by Palladium for thirty years, has expired and is not being renewed.

As part of the loss of license, Palladium is liquidating all Robotech products, including their roleplaying game book line and all pdfs of the original game line’s material on DriveThruRPG.

Siembieda writes about the many delays and the unseen costs Palladium encountered while attempting to fulfill the project: recreating 3d sculpts that were incompatible with the manufacturer’s production process and increased shipping costs. In January of 2014, the company decided to split the numerous sculpts and rewards into two waves of project. After having delivered the planned first wave, “the Kickstarter money was gone.” Palladium Books estimated that producing the second wave of rewards would have cost them up to $625,000.

The company is offering to substitute already-produced product in place of the second wave rewards they did not create, but say backers would have to pay for shipping. “We estimate shipping to all 5,000+ backers around the world will cost $120,000-$160,000; and, at this point, Palladium Books just does not have the resources to cover that expense.” This exchange is offered only while supplies last or March 20, 2018, whichever comes sooner.

In an earlier update to the campaign, Palladium wrote “By Kickstarter’s terms of service, we are obligated to deliver on the rewards we have promised, and we will do that…. If the time should ever come that Palladium Books cannot fulfill the terms of our Kickstarter project, we will of course offer refunds, as we would be required to do by Kickstarter.”

Expect a Sonic the Hedgehog board game on Kickstarter soon. The game was announced by Shinobi 7, previously a joint venture with Ninja Division Publishing but recently acquired in its entirety by Seven Seas Entertainment. Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers, based on the SEGA video game series, will allow players to choose between Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Tails, and Dr. Eggman, each represented with 40 mm painted figures.

Up on Kickstarter now is Highlander: The Board Game from River Horse. This one naturally comes with a 32 mm figure for each immortal and has players dueling to the last.

All Things Equal, publisher of Loaded Questions, has acquired a license from NBC Universal to produce The Big Lebowski board games. At least two are planned, with details expected around New York Toy Fair.

Billing it as the first in a series of X-Files games (even though the company previously published one in 2015), IDW recently announced Everything is Connected: The X-Files Conspiracy Theory. As a story-telling party game, Everything is Connected has players inventing theories to explain case evidence and then attempting to convince the others of their theory’s plausibility. It’ll also include an alternative game mode, based on the episode “From Outer Space”, in which the players take turns trying to weave together in to a sensible narrative the invented eyewitness testimony provided by the other players. Everything is Connected is supposed to ship in March.

Pegasus Spiele has announced plans for a series of four new games based on Games Workshop’s classic title, Talisman. The first, due later this year, will be a children’s game. Following that, are planned an expandable card game, a roleplaying game, and a dice game.

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It’s Rambo. It’ll have miniatures. For many people, that nostalgic excitement will be enough. Frankly, that was all I needed to volunteer for this preview. But the question, of course, is will the final Rambo: The Board Game product live up to the expectations of potential backers?

I, at least, expected a miniatures combat game. And while fighting is certainly the focus of the game’s mechanics, I was pleasantly surprised to find it more a cooperative adventure game. In fact, the highlight for me was how well the game differentiates and personalizes the individual characters—including Rambo himself—which players adopt to complete various missions. Successfully achieving objectives is not just a matter of plunging forward shooting at enemy soldiers. Instead, it requires players to coordinate and make use of their heroes’ unique talents.

Another nice aspect of the game is the scenarios, which not only advance the story but also provide players further development for their selected characters. As each scenario is completed, the players are afforded additional choices of gear and tactics.

In terms of gameplay, I particularly appreciated the individual “alert meters” and other features that focus players on keeping their heroes hidden from the enemy while moving about the board. Also special is the more cinematic approach that the game takes to combat. There are no dice or other random factors. If someone shoots, they hit.

Finally, though Rambo: The Board Game requires players to track a fair amount of detail among character skills, stances, tactics, and gear, plus a variety of enemy units, each type with its own programmed battlefield actions, the structure of the game and most of the rules are pretty straightforward. I rarely play this kind of game, yet one quick read through the rulebook was all I needed.

Still, my generally positive experience with Rambo: The Board Game comes with a significant caveat. The game I played was a prototype. Though I’ve seen much worse even in published games, the rules to this one are still rough around the edges. Some ambiguities and language issues remain. The graphics and design will improve, I’d hope. More scenarios should be added (the prototype only had three). And instead of standees, there are supposed to be plastic miniatures in the production box. The number and quality of those, I expect will be a significant factor for potential backers.

Rambo: The Board Game from Everything Epic Games launches on Kickstarter January 23rd.

A complimentary partial prototype of Rambo: The Board Game was provided by Everything Epic Games for review.

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Hot Jobs

Kickstarter is looking for a Games Content Strategist to work at its office in Brooklyn, evaluating games projects, writing about them, and promoting them through various online outlets.. The company is also looking for a Games Intern for a 3 month research project. There’ll be a lot of detail work online and either previous academic study of games or 3-4 years of professional experience with games is required.

Recruiter Aardvark Swift is searching for a Marketing Manager to work at The Pokemon Company in London. The successful applicant will familiar with media for 4-14 year olds across Europe.

Steamforged Games (Guild Ball, Dark Souls) is looking to fill two positions: Commercial Brand Coordinator and Retail Support Manager, both in Tukwila, Washington. The former will focus on marketing, the latter on retailer account management.

Esdevium Games, part of the Asmodee Group in the U.K., has openings for a Finance Manager, an HR Officer, and a Sales and Customer Service Account Handler. The last of those is about sales to the hobby channel.

University Games, located in the Mission area of San Francisco, needs someone to fill the dual role of Receptionist and Office Manager.

The Stars Group is working to develop a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence that could learn to play a variety of games. Toward that end, the company is recruiting for a Poker AI Research Engineer and a Graduate Poker AI Research Engineer.

Cubicle 7 needs an Office Assistant in Swindon, U.K. to help with customer service, order handling, and administrative tasks.

Tabletop Tycoon (Game Salute, Myriad Games, Ship Naked) is staffing up in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The company has job openings for an Account Manager, an Assistant Account Manager, full and part-time Fulfillment Staff, and a General Manager. The Account Manager and Assistant Account Manager will be responsible for sales and logistics for Ship Naked. Fulfillment Staff will handle packing and shipping. The General Manager, who will run everything, is expected on-site 7:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Scott Almes’ Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is much bigger than the Tiny Epic games he’s designed, but retains the epic-ness. In this 4X boardgame set in a fantasy world, 1-4 players try to take over as much as possible, collecting resources, building structures, and conquering regions. The base game from Gamelyn Games comes with four factions, the 5-6 player expansion comes with four more factions. The base game is a reward for a $79 pledge while a $139 pledge gets you that and the expansion next March. Is it already funded? Each box comes with 80 miniatures: of course it’s already funded.

Are you a fan of the series of games where villagers trying to uncover werewolves in their midst? You’ll want to check out Werewolf Coins by Home Run Games, where roles are stamped onto twenty-eight (base set: more added as stretch goals) different quarter-sized coins, fitting in a synthetic suede pouch. Um. That’s pretty much it. They’ll retail for $30 for the base set, but you can get one as a reward this summer for a $22 pledge to make the product happen. Will it happen? As I type this, they’ve blown past their goal by 2500%.

Dude. Ties. With d20s on them. Do I need to write more? A $15 pledge gets you a d20 tie in red, black, or blue in July. Again, already funded, with about $2500 of the $1000 needed to make this product happen. If Kaleb Mankey gets up to $3000 in backer support, they’ll add yet another color to the line. Unsurprisingly, we’re hoping for purple.

Looking to upgrade those wooden shapes in your games? Meeple Source (a past advertiser on Purple Pawn, although that doesn’t weigh into us highlighting them this week), has painted upgraded wooden tokens and custom-shaped pieces for games such as Camel Up, Pandemic, Colt Express, Above and Below, Catan, Carcassone, and more. Reward levels start with pledges as low as $10 for a single-color set for some games with expected delivery times of October and December of this year.

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