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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Crowdfunding Highlights

Cam Banks’ Magic Vacuum Design Studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Cortex Prime, the newest version of the Cortex Plus system. Cam was the lead designer and developer of the Cortex Plus system, which was used in the Smallville, Leverage, Firefly, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying games. Two different books are offered, a 152+ page roleplaying game, and a basic system reference guidebook. A $10 pledge gets you pdf versions of both books in January while physical copies begin at $25, arriving in April of 2018, with a hardcover Cortex Prime book only available during this campaign starting at $35.

Posthuman Studios has announced a second edition of Eclipse Phase, launching a funding campaign last week. The science fiction roleplaying game is set in a quite advanced future: your mind can inhabit different bodies, death is something that can be easily avoided, and need is alleviated. However, transhumanity has fled Earth following a war against artificial intelligences, dispersing thoughout the solar system (and beyond) for survival. The new edition features faster character creation and resleeving (switching from body to body), an updated ruleset for quicker and simpler play at the table, and a redesigned layout to minimize flipping through the book to find relevant rules. Already funded, a $60 pledge gets you a copy of the physical book around October; a pdf-only reward is available down at a $20 pledge.

The story of Brass is a long and troubled tale, but finally Brass is being reprinted in an updated version from Roxley Games. Brass, now titled Brass: Lancashire, is part of a funding campaign that also is producing a sequel game, Brass: Birmingham. Both games have updated artwork (the best art I’ve seen in any edition of Brass, frankly). Lancashire features updated 2- and 3-player rules to “provide an experience more consistent with [the 4-player gameplay]”. Birmingham has a dynamic board setup with new canal and rail scoring (plus an evocative nightscape map). Crazily over-funded and with several upgrade stretch goals already unlocked, you can get either one of the games for about $60 or both as a reward for backing at the $100 level. (Funding levels are in CAD.) Final versions of the games are expected in January of 2018.

Back when I was heading up a rather large monthly game day event, it seemed that every third attendee was a budding game designer. Gameplaywright and Atlas Games are creating a great product for these designers: The White Box. This project comes with components for prototyping and development, a book of essays about how to make games, and a gift certificate for The Game Crafter, a small press board game printer that is commonly used for prototyping. A $30 pledge gets you a copy of The White Box in October. Higher level pledges get you a consultation on your game design.

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Cheapass Games has just announced the Button Men will be rising from the ashes in a new Kickstarter campaign that upgrades the classic James Ernest game from pin-back buttons to deluxe cards. Set in Fight City, a fictional 1950’s gangster town located somewhere on the Gulf Coast, the new Button Men game features four warring factions, each with their own style of play. Even though Button Men is now a card game the name still works since a “button man” is a low-level gangster.

While the game is getting a facelift, the rules are pretty much the same. This means that the new card-driven game will still be compatible with your old button collection.

The new campaign should be up sometime today and will have reward levels from $15 all the way up to $485.

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An early adopter of crowdfunding, Tasty Minstrel Games is now looking to raise general operating and marketing funds through equity crowdfunding portal MicroVentures. The company says it has three games in development, 15 in production, and has sold over 400,000 units since 2010. It appears that any return on a crowdfunding investment could only come about through the sale of shares back to the company or if the company as a whole was sold at some point in the future. But equity crowdfunding is significantly more complex that your typical game project. Read those documents carefully.

Calliope Games has been doing a great job with its focus on easier-going strategy games. Next in that line is to be Dicey Peaks, currently funded and aiming for stretch-goals in its final hours on Kickstarter. I got a brief preview of Dicey Peaks at Toy Fair. It’s a push-your-luck dice game of mountain-climbing. To win, players must make their way to the summit while managing their oxygen and avoiding yeti attacks.

With Commands & Colors: Tricorne from Compass Games, designer Richard Borg takes his C&C card-driven system to the American Revolution. The game will include more than 300 wood blocks, printed dice, a mounted map-board, and separate decks of combat cards to represent the differentiated strategies of the British and Colonials.

On the verge of funding is another block war game, Combat Infantry. Columbia Games’s version of squad-level combat in World War II, this one emphasizes fog-of-war with blocks that are single-sided and rotate to record current strength. The box will include six historical scenarios from the invasion of Normandy, as well as four additional generic scenarios.

Tesla vs. Edison: Duel is an abbreviated, two-player card game that covers the same history of early electric utilities as Artana’s full Tesla vs. Edison board game. Most importantly, the company finally included Samuel Insull, my favorite personality of the period.

Kenzer and Company is on Kickstarter for the first time with Aces & Eights: Reloaded, a revised edition of its wild-west roleplaying game. Kenzer promises a second edition “chock-full of new rules, tweaks, art and other enhancements,” while maintaining the game’s unique shot-clock, a targeting overlay for fun old-west style shoot-outs.

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Phil Reed, CEO of Steve Jackson Games, published the company’s annual Report to the Stakeholders today. In it, the company revealed that they had a second year of decline from 2014’s high of $8.5 million to $6 million. The main reasons cited for the income slowdown were delays on planned releases of Car Wars Sixth Edition and the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. With the delay on Car Wars, Mr. Reed writes it was due to “an insistence on making the game exactly the way we want it. We would rather not ship the game than ship a game that doesn’t meet our standards.” They are also seeking to get the Munchkin CCG ready to print by the end of the year.

The company looks to have a difficult year ahead for it, with the Ogre Kickstarter campaign from 2012 still not completed. “We are still sinking time into the project,” he writes, even though “we’re seeing real progress; several outstanding pieces of the project are finally coming to a close. Whew.”

Issues with the GURPS line have been problematic for the company as well. Two hardcover books for the GURPS line, Discworld and Mars Attacks, were released but performed poorly at retail. “Today’s cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there.” Also tying up resources at the company is the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS introductory box set. Reed writes, “what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss.”

But it isn’t all doom and gloom: Munchkin continues to do well with reprints, Guest Artist Editions, and expanding into Walgreens. In the top twenty products sold by dollar volume, all but three were Munchkin related. The company released five new games which appear to have done well at retail, and Zombie Dice had to go back to reprint due to “unexpected demand during the fourth quarter” of 2016. “A game from 2010 that keeps outselling our forecast is good and bad, but we’ll take this situation over the opposite problem any day.”

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Currently on Kickstarter: two review(ish) boardgame shows looking to do awesome stuff in their sixth year. Rahdo Runs Through is looking for funding for a sixth year of production, with most of his $30,000 goal reached. Rahdo’s funding comes through yearly campaigns like this: no YouTube ads are on his channel of gameplay videos. The Secret Cabal, a gaming podcast, looks to expand their offerings to video, additional programming, and more by making co-host Jamie Keagy a full-time media producer for the group. They’ve already hit this goal and offer several promo packs for a variety of games at a $45 pledge level.

I’ve always liked the games with transparent cards (see Gloom and Ren Faire from Atlas Games and Gamewright’s Imagine). XYbird is a monster-makin’ game that uses these cool components. Following your diabolical secret agenda (well, secret “breakthrough” cards), you build monsters from the lab with a combination of the 116 transparent cards to become the most infamous mad… no, genius scientist extraordinaire! The world will be yours! Or at least this cool game will be yours in November, for a $29 pledge.

Now I like the design of the ships in Star Eagles, a miniature spaceship combat game, and at $60 for a physical starter set good for two players, I don’t think the pricing of the game is off. But the lore or setting of the game is an original IP and isn’t spelled out on the campaign page apart from “here are some humans” and “here are the aliens” and “they fight”. The sculpts look great and the game system is said to adapt most small-ship fighting battles, so if you have some Cylon Raiders and Colonial Vipers handy… The pdf of the rules will be available in July along with files for your 3d printer, physical copies are to be available in September.

I have to recommend Lizard People: Lords of the Media for an interesting party game. I’m having a difficult time deciding if I should put it next to the “It’s just like Cards Against Humanity, except _____” graphic, because while it plays like Apples to Apples combined with Texas Hold ‘Em, somehow it looks… good? Like there’s an actual game here and not just like a fresh coat of paint on an already-acclaimed game design?

Here’s the deal: we’re all lizard people and we’re manipulating the media by pitching headlines for articles in the hopes of gaining favor with the editor so he’ll give us a human meat-suit disguise so we can walk among the humans and be One of Them. The editor plays three word cards from their hand (Horse, CEO, Uncovers) then the other players use at least two of those words in combination with their cards to create an article headline (Human CEO Discovers Teen Were- Horse). Editor picks the best, awarding a human body part covering to the winner. A $16 pledge will get you a copy of the game in December.

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The people who created TSR’s Alternity roleplaying game are looking to bring the game — well, a new game inspired by their earlier work — kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. “The ‘tech’ of RPG system design has moved on a bit from 1997,” writes Sasquatch Game Studio’s Rich Baker, “and we’re looking to create a system that captures the spirit and the key table experiences of the original game with an updated approach.” Advertised as its own game, not a second edition, reboot, or remake, the creators have a free beta playtest available on DriveThruRPG. Various reward tiers are available, but you’ll really want to start at the $45 level which gets pdf versions of the core book and all sourcebooks and adventures unlocked during the campaign. Estimated delivery is in December.

If you run a game store or game cafe, or do video reviews of boardgames, Massif Displays offers collapsible stands for displaying those games. Sets (one large display, two medium, or four small) start at $8, but pricing drops with multiple sets — twelve display sets are down to $4 per individual set. Delivery is scheduled for August.

Oh, and something called Gloomhaven went live yesterday. It was at $1.15 million when I started writing this sentence, but wound up at $1.16 million when I ended it.

Huh. Still no full-on Cards Against Humanity knockoff this week. But hey, look at this, it’s another dirty words Charades.

But wait, Dirty Lines A Game For Dirty Minds isn’t just a straight charades photocopy! You gain points extra points if you can get the others to guess some key words before they get your main word. So you’re really trying to charade up to five words in a short time. Oh, and hey, the sample card on the kickstarter campaign isn’t really a naughty word, it’s just racist! Five days left!

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For those who missed out on Gloomhaven the first time around, it’s now back on Kickstarter and already funded.

$99 will get you a copy of the game once the campaign ends.

This second edition features new health and experience trackers and a revised rule book and scenario book.

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Announced last year, Restoration Games was created to breathe new life into classic games, updating them to our modern world. One of the first games mentioned was Stop Thief!, a 1979 board game with an electronic element: a handheld device that made sounds of a thief walking, smashing through windows, and opening doors. As detectives, you pieced together where the villain might be and move in for the capture. The new version moves the handheld tracker to an app for phone or tablet and swaps the roll and move mechanic to a point-to-point movement system based on a small handful of cards with abilities. Currently funded, Restoration Games expects the game to be ready in August, this year.

One of my favorite creatures from my Dungeons & Dragons days was the mimic, that master of disguise. And now Forge Prints is kickstarting a whole bunch of mimic miniatures: trap doors, books, wooden barrels, sleeping bags, graves, and even a wizard’s cap. Most of these come with two or three versions: actual props and toothy tongued mimic monsters. The campaign has some confusing reward structures, but you’re really going to want to get in at the $35 level to get the stretch goal minis. Extremely overfunded at this point, just over a week into the campaign, they expect to deliver in July.

I love me some post-apocalyptic gunshooting vehicular-combat madness, and Badass Riders looks like a fun card-based boardgame to scratch that itch. Build a track, choose a driver and vehicle, and during the game start playing cards to rush, race, and attack other vehicles in this Mad Max-like sprint to the finish line. Currently funded, 20$ (plus shipping) nabs you a copy. Expected delivery is December, 2017.

The Adventurer’s Collection Tabletop Soundtrack is a “nearly fifty track collection” of background music tracks for roleplaying game sessions. The designer is planning on using funds for the campaign to create a website that streams music using a simple interface. AU$15 (about $11 USD) gets you early access to the audio tracks in April, slightly less gets you access to them on the official launch date in August.

I was looking forward to this Crowdfunding Highlights article so I could write about what new Cards Against Humanity knockoff was being offered, but… there weren’t any. Maybe it’s a weak week for CAH off-brands.

However, I did come across Bad Words, which is an exteremly NSFW version of Taboo. You get a card that has a phrase or word that other players have to guess, but also on the card are five forbidden words that you cannot use. Can you get your teammates to guess “Eiffel Tower” without you using the words “Paris”, “threesome”, and “high five”? This is the company’s third attempt at launching the game on Kickstarter, originally shooting for a $30,000 goal, then a $12,000 goal, and now with a modest $1,000 goal, they’ve succeeded in funding! For every $100 raised, there’s four more words added to the game — right now, a $15 pledge will get you the base 208-word deck plus the (currently) 92-word expansion.

Oh, and check out the video for drunk people eating snacks and trying to talk about the game.

Edit: Updated the article to reflect the number of words in the Bad Words game per the creator’s note below.

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