Crowdfunding Highlights

Quadrupedly-funded only five days into the Kickstarter: It’s the Conan RPG a/k/a Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of. Journey to the savage pulp adventure action of the Hyborian Age with this all-new roleplaying game. There’s a bewildering matrix of reward levels and what you can get with the stretch goals, but it looks like at about $58 you can get everything that’s unlocked as PDFs or the same pledge amount gets you only the core book (physical and PDF) plus an art book (as PDF) and map (physical) or maybe $44 plus shipping for just the core book or maybe $87 for both things but not the art book or… Anyway, delve into the madness of Conan’s reward tiers and see for yourself.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group is bringing the Weird War I setting to the Savage Worlds game system. This is a very short funding drive for the game: only ten days left. In this fourth installment of the Weird War series (WW2, Rome, and Vietnam), it’s crazy horror plus war action in the trenches of Europe. Get the player’s guide and the digital stretch goals as low as $15; GMs will want to pony up $35 for the player’s guide, plus GM handbook, GM screen inserts, a full adventure, and all the digital stretch goals.

les terrasses la boulangerie eng

Over on Patreon, Guillaume Tavernier is creating amazing location-based map artwork for fantasy roleplaying games. The city of Tahala is inspired by oriental and Indian architecture. Each month, Guillaume will be producing a new building or area, complete with setting and story hooks with the end goal of creating the entire city, building by building. He’s suggesting a $5 patronage pledge per illustration PDF.

Oh, hey, Argo is back! Flatlined Games brings Argo back to Kickstarter with a more-reasonably attained goal (which it already met!). It’s a Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget-designed game of astronauts waking up from suspended animation to find the ship is overrun with aliens and they’ve got to get to the escape pods. And just like in the movie Alien, there’s simply not enough space in the escape pods for everybody. Ah, cutbacks! 30 Euros for a copy of the game, which is around $33. Canadian, American, and European-friendly shipping options.


Van Ryder Games has Saloon Tycoon, a 3d tile laying game set in the wild west. As you play the game, you’ll be building a saloon by placing cubes and stacking floors, higher and higher, or expanding out along the road. It physically looks a bit like the setup in Rampage (a/k/a Terror in Meeple City), but here the game is all about creating the best saloon, not about knocking down the buildings with armed bands of outlaws (or irradiated giant lizards). It looks pretty darn cool and you can get a copy by pledging $40.

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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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Kodama The Tree SpiritsKodama: The Tree Spirits from Action Phase Games is a reimplementation of designer Daniel Solis’ Kigi, with a bit of added sophistication. Scoring points in the game involves growing tree branches with contiguous caterpillars, flowers, mushrooms, or other features. But rather than its strategy or mechanics, Kodama’s major draw has to be its overall aesthetic. Laying down branch cards is really about cultivating a beautiful and tranquil home for the spirits.

The first of its kind in our Crowdfunding Highlights series, Chess Boxing Global is an equity crowdfunding project that seeks to build an international sports league for Chessboxing. A total of 10 percent equity is being offered for approximately €390,000 (not open to residents of the United States).

The Mad Adventurers SocietyThe team at The Mad Adventurers Society wants to help you run a better game. The one who calls himself The Angry GM really just wants you to know you’re doing it wrong. For the privilege of reading their blog and listening to their podcasts they also expect you really should donate to their Patreon campaign.

Current Kickstarter projects Fathoms and Rivals are both tactical miniatures games set in underwater worlds. Fathoms has more of a modern military feel, Rivals more a mythical or fantastical one. Fathoms’ monster miniatures are frightening; Rivals’ are delightful. Fathoms has mechanics for flooding of submerged structures. Rivals has “aether” for purchasing troops and fueling special powers.

Prospectus Crystal BallProspectus from Mr. B Games pairs market economics with magical potion-making. “A mage has to know when to cash in his troll sweat for some owl spit.” It also has this neat crystal ball device for determining market movements in all of the various components.

For all the talk of “platonic ideal,” “syntactical combinations,” and “Aristotelian categories,” Band or Album is just a social game that assumes any and every phrase works as either the name of a band or the title of an album, but never both. Back the project to receive a set of rules with some guitar pic-shaped coins, and argue to your heart’s content.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

patreon logoIt’s an all-Patreon episode of Crowdfunding Highlights! This week we’re looking at four gaming-related projects that you can back on a monthly subscription basis at a rate you choose. (Patreon lets you cap monthly payments to keep your budget happy.) As patrons sign up, funding levels hit milestones which might unlock additional goodies. Like other crowdfunding sites, projects might have tiers to unlock bonus material for backers.

Like beer and boardgames? So do Aaron and Matt of Blame Society Films. They drink beer with their friends, play board games, and record it for your entertainment. Games played range from the current hotness in party games to to obscure games that nobody really wants to play, like Dr. Ruth’s Game of Good Sex, Pretty Pretty Princess, or Party Mania (with VHS tape). It’s goofy fun with adult beverages that you can provide! Milestones for this project include better beer. Beer & Boardgames on Patreon.


Every Thursday evening at 9 PM Eastern, Liz Bauman organizes and hosts #RPGchat over on Twitter. The weekly hour-long chat is a guided discussion using the #RPGchat hashtag. By supporting Liz in this Patreon project, she’ll be able to have dedicated time to curate content and develop topics for the hour, and feature industry guests and co-hosts in the project. More information is at

If you like Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips newsletter, he’s opened up the ability to let readers support him via Patreon. The fifteen-year old email newsletter is free, but he’s moved to crowdfunding for the fans who want to support the newsletter. (And, as a bonus, patrons giving at least $5 a month get a monthly PDF compilation of the 4-5 tips newsletters.)


cardboard edison

Over at Cardboard Edison, Chris and Suzanne Zinsli have been working on aggregating news and information about the game design world for the past three years. In addition to reviewing hundreds of websites, dozens of podcasts, and tons of social media, the couple has developed several industry report infographics and held interviews about design with Chris Kirkman, Matt Leacock, Daniel Solis, and more. They’re looking for patrons to help them aggregate game design news.


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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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Dale-of-Merchants-contentsReaper Miniatures launched their third Kickstarter campaign for their Bones miniature line this morning. The Texas-based company originally held their first campaign for the miniatures in August of 2012, raising nearly $3.5 million to fund the miniature molds and move production of the line from China to the United States. The first campaign’s Vampire level at $100 originally included 100 miniatures but stretch goals took that over 225 miniatures. (I still have only a third painted!) Bones 3 is only running for 18 days, ending on July 25th at 8 PM EDT.

Dale of Merchants: The Guild of Extraordinary Traders by Snowdale Design (above) looks crazy cute. This deckbuilder has the players taking on the roles of animal (why? because.) merchants setting up stalls in a marketplace to showcase their wares and join the guild. The playthrough videos and artwork shared look fun (the campaign features a series of Rahdo Runs Through videos for you to check out). Game-level rewards start at $24. The campaign ends on July 31st.

map-throne-room-smallOn Patreon, Dyson Logos is creating cartography for fantasy roleplaying games. With pledge levels starting as low as five cents, it’s easy to support this mapmaker. All of his maps are available for free at his blog, Dyson’s Dodecahedron, but pledging $1 per map or adventure gets you 300 dpi versions of the maps before they make it to the blog. A $5 per work pledge unlocks the PDF versions of any forthcoming book and the Dyson’s Delves I & II books. Dyson’s stuff is really fantastic. (Currently, the Patreon is just under $25 in pledges from unlocking another milestone: releasing the back catalog of maps under a commercial open-license.)

Oh man, I do love me some fantastic playing cards, and this month there’s some great-looking ones on Kickstarter. Let’s start with the Wasteland 2-inspired Wasteland Playing Cards, illustrated by Jackson Robinson. This has already blown past the funding goal and will be funded on July 31st. $12 for the basic deck of cards ready for the Apocalypse (seriously — I’d love to find a way to hack the Apocalypse World RPG to use this card set). Or perhaps you’re a fan of the golden age of piracy? Well, in that case, check out the Seven Seas Master Collection by Brain Vessel Creative. Pirates, sea creatures, and two different ship-themed decks await, with individual decks starting at $12.

z-in-game-playAnd look what I just stumbled across! 9 Kingdoms Publications are in their final days of a Kickstarter campaign to produce an expansion to ApocalypZe. (That’s the original game on the right.) You might recall a while back I reviewed the zombie survival card game (tl;dr: it’s pretty darn good). The original game came with pre-constructed decks and extra cards to build out your own deck. This expansion adds two more decks and six additional cards, and they’ve revisited the graphic design of the cards so they’re easier to read. In addition to the expansion, they also have booster packs to beef up your decks on offer. $25 gets you the expansion, the base game (plus the extra stuff from that game’s KS) is a $40 add-on. Or just go $75 for everything (base, expansion, and boosters).

Crowdfunding Highlights

magnetic war matDo you play Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing or Armada? The creators behind the Magnetic War Mats campaign on Kickstarter do, and they’re printing 36″ square and 36″ x 72″ magnetic rubber game mats to keep ships steadier on the playing field. The products that would be funded in this campaign can be ordered with or without printing; mats without printing can be placed under other company’s printed mats (such as Wings of Glory/War) to help prevent your ships from slipping during play. All of the currently-proposed prints are space scenes. Each set comes with either 20 or 40 neodymium magnets to attach to ships “completely flush with the bottom of [the X-Wing type] game base”. Mats begin at $20 unprinted, $40 for printed (with carrying travel case).

Tasty Minstrel Games is halfway through a campaign for two Eminent Domain-based products. Battlecruisers is a standalone game in the ED setting; Exotica is the second expansion to Eminent Domain. Already funded (over $70k as of this writing), TMG has added several stretch goals to the project. The base game was one of the first boardgame Kickstarter campaigns, launched in 2010, and is one of TMG’s flagpole games. Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers & Exotica‘s Kickstarter campaign ends on July 1st.


Meanwhile on IndieGoGo, there’s a papercraft car racing game called Papecarz. With a throwback 60’s design and plenty of Good Girl Art, Papecarz comes with track, stands, and six cars, all pre-cut and pre-creased. All you need is glue to assemble. Funding levels include a $29 for the game tier (with modern-day NASCAR-like cars), $10 more for six additional “vintage” race cars, and slightly higher tiers for custom car designs. This IndieGoGo campaign will only be funded if it hits the $5000 mark on July 14th.

kaitlynn peavlerOver on Patreon, Kaitlynn Peavler is creating stock illustrations. Her goal is to have weekly releases available to use by all patrons, with diverse characters “of many different ethnicities, genders, body types, and ages.” A $1 pledge gets you access to the images while a $10 pledge (limited slots) will let you suggest illustrations.

Lowell Francis is covering the history of roleplaying games, looking at a genre of games (like superhero, post-apocalyptic, and others) in a certain time period, describing how they fit into the culture of the time, and then listing games (with reviews, where possible) from that period. As an example, “History of Superhero RPGs (Part Four: 1993-1996)” beings with a personal look at the era and a review of the state of the comics industry at the time, followed by twelve different entries for the four-year period. Suggested pledge levels start at fifty cents.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

The publisher of Numenera and The Strange has a new RPG project, one meant specifically for children. Called No Thank You, Evil!, the game is low-complexity that also scales with the age of the players. Its setting is a generic fantasy-land in which the players help make up the obstacles that challenge their characters.

No Thank You Evil

Already with a strong reputation in the genre for its Deadlands game, Pinnacle Entertainment is developing a weird-west RPG based on The Sixth Gun comic books (of course employing Savage Worlds). The story follows six ancient pistols with mystical powers, including the ability to remake the world. Backers can get a book, inserts for Pinnacle’s generic game-master-screen, and Sixth Gun miniatures.

Twizmo Games’ bold claim of “the next big strategy board game” aside, Tak Tak does appear to be an abstract worth exploring. Played on a 6×7 grid, the game takes the traditional approach of having players try to move their pieces to the opponents side of the board. With 10, 20, 30, and 40 point pieces in each of three colors, though, a player is able to capture and bring along for the ride any adjacent piece (their own or their opponent’s) that has a matching number or matching color.

Il Gioco del PonteIl Gioco del Ponte (The Battle for the Bridge) is a board game based on a festival and challenge held annually in Pisa, Italy. The event pits teams from the north and south sides of the Arno river against each other in a shoving-contest to move a 7 ton cart. The board game based on the event appears relatively simple to play but carefully handcrafted to be as much an art-piece as a game.

Simon Foster’s Patreon project supports his map-making for fantasy roleplaying games. He’s scheduled to produce 2-3 per month, which along with some information on the monsters that live in the illustrated locations, he intends to assemble in to a Book of Lairs.

Dino Dude Ranch is an introductory strategy game about ranching dinosaurs. The game features simple resource-management and set-collecting mechanisms appropriate for light family play or as a stepping-stone for children to more complex games. Players roll dice to collect different types of food, which in turn allow them to attract and feed various species of dinosaurs.

Crowdfunding Highlights

It is natural to think of Kickstarter when hearing “crowdfunding”, especially for people who love to play games. As a platform to raise funds for a project, Kickstarter is great, but what if you want to support a creator in his or her ongoing work? For that, we turn to Patreon. At the site, creators can list what they’re creating and what they’ll be paid for. Patrons choose how much they’ll give per work created, which is paid monthly, and can cap their monthly patronage.

3d printed archwayBrent Newhall is creating 3D printable miniature files. Each release includes at least “one 3D-printable miniature as an STL file” that can be used to produce the miniature(s). The files will be released free to download and edited by other 3D modelers. Don’t have a 3D printer? At the $5 per miniature patron level, Brent will print and mail you miniatures.

James E. Shields is creating stock art for RPGs. In this Patreon, he’ll draw quarter-page illustrations based on submissions suggestions from his patrons. Once created, the artwork is available for use, royalty-free. All of James’ listed patronage levels include the ability to suggest subjects for future illustrations.

Daniel Solis is creating vector icons for use in board game and roleplaying game design. He releases a set of black and white icons in .eps format under a Creative Commons CC-BY license allowing you to do what you will with the icons. (“Be free, icons!”) Daniel suggests a $5 patronage level, but at $20, he provides access to several “tips, tutorials, and templates to make your layout jobs a bit easier”.

daniel solis game icons

Tracy Barnett is creating small games and stories. With a goal of 2-4 creations a month (“microgame, short story, or collection of a few flash stories”), Tracy also provides audio files to support the creations: actual play recordings and audio commentary tracks. Also included is a look at the development of the Patreon’s creations. Tracy suggests a $2 per creation patronage level.

Starlit Citadel is using Patreon to fund their board game review series. The video series comes from a Canada-based online game store and has become rather popular as a gaming review series. However, that’s worked to their disadvantage as the majority of viewers (85.7%) are outside of Canada, and “the amount of sales the videos have generated for the store does not justify the expense of the videos.” Rather than end the series, the store turned to Patreon to fund a season four. While the company has reached its funding goal of $450 per episode, any additional amount pledged will go directly to improving the series by purchasing better equipment, arranging for a special episode with a guest star, or being able to improve the production values. They offer a $1 patronage level.

Are you a Patreon creator and would like to let us know about your project? Contact and tell us about it!