This week, there are a few interesting-looking solo-playable games on Kickstarter to talk about, but I've still got my eye on mid-October. By the time the middle of the month hits, we'll be getting blasted by so many awesome-looking campaigns that I am legitimately worried I won't be able to back something I really want. Budget carefully, my friends.
1. The Artemis Project
The Artemis Project is a game about colonizing Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. At its heart, this in engine building game, as players are trying to build the most powerful engine and thus the most successful colony. Europa is rich in resources if you know how to get at them. The main mechanic of Artemis Project is dice placement—place your dice cleverly, and you will yield the best results. The rules of this game are still subject to last-minute development/polishing, but Jeremy from Jambalaya Plays Games recently published an overview of the solo mode to YouTube. There are only about 4 days left in this campaign, so act fast if you want it!
2. Viceroy: Times of Darkness
Yet another Viceroy campaign is on Kickstarter, so if you're a fan of the game, rejoice! It hasn't pulled me in yet, but the art looks great, and it's clear this game is getting a lot of support from its publisher. This particular expansion is of note because it features revised rulesets for 1 and 2 players, so if you're into Viceroy and you're into solo gaming, it's clear you are being catered to in this campaign.
3. Heroes of Tenefyr
Heroes of Tenefyr is a cooperative deck building game, one that claims it can be taught in about 5 minutes. In my opinion, that's usually a good thing for a board game. In Heroes of Tenefyr, players will enter dungeons and resolve combat situations using a push-your-luck combat system. As you defeat enemies and clear dungeons, you will acquire coveted loot. But as you keep drawing cards from your deck to favorably resolve combat, you'll get into situations where you need to rest and recover expended cards—a move that brings a big boss closer to attacking you. It seems like a flexible and potentially fun mashup of deck builder and dungeon crawl, and it's only about $20 (...plus $9 shipping to the U.S.). If you like to support first-time Kickstarter publishers, then this is your chance--Heroes of Tenefyr is Broken Mill's first KS project.
Hey there solo gamers! As usual, Kickstarter has some interesting projects for you to look at—but hold on to your wallets, because there are some big projects coming in October that threaten to put us all in the poorhouse.
1. Lockup: A Roll Player Tale
I'm very curious about this one. Lockup is a worker placement game designed by Keith Matejka and set in the Roll Player universe. The premise is that you control a prison gang that is trying to amass power and influence, with the ultimate goal of winning a chance at freedom by being chosen to fight in the colosseum. You'll have to hire crew and build powerful items—but you'll also have to make sure not to alert the prison guards to your illicit activities. I love this theme! Way to make worker placement exciting again.
2. Set a Watch
Set a Watch is a cooperative puzzle game in which you and your friends try to protect nine seals—seals that hold back the Unhallowed—and prevent the world from being overrun by evil. In addition to tracking down and fighting evil, you'll need to manage your resources as you camp all over the countryside. This is definitely a puzzly one, so if you are into fantasy-themed puzzle games, this one might be worth a look.
3. The Stygian Society
This one is a cooperative dungeon crawl designed by Kevin Wilson (Descent, Arkham Horror...) and deliberately constructed to encourage cooperation among players. A large part of the game is sacrificing yourself to help boost others, which ought to be strategically and thematically interesting. The game is set in 1800s Austria, and heroes will fight their way, floor by floor, to the top of a wizard's tower.
October is bringing with it some wallet-destroying Kickstarter campaigns, but in the mean time, there are some interesting September projects that are currently active on KS!
1. Everdell: Pearlbrook
I didn't back Everdell the first time around, but the game was delivered promptly, turned out beautifully, and I'm hearing a lot of good things about it from solo players. It's definitely one of the prettiest games I've seen, and it seems like an enjoyable combination of tableau building and worker placement. I also love that the game has an AI opponent, which prevents it from becoming a beat-your-own-score game and allows the game to put up a bit of a fight against you. The Pearlbrook expansion will take the game beyond the forest and add some seriously adorable river creatures. Money is tight for me right now, but I have my eye on this one.
2. Tiny Epic Mechs
If you're a fan of Tiny Epic games, then there's another one out and awaiting your support. Expect mechs with ITEMeeples, action programming, and lots of combat. The deluxe edition of the game is only $25, which is extremely reasonable. The current KS videos and rules do NOT include information about solo play, but Gamelyn Games has traditionally supported solo gamers, and Michael Coe has announced that a solo version of the game is in development.
3. Warfighter Modern — Shadow War
I have been itching to play Warfighter for a long time now, and this does look really good. This Warfighter game will pit U.S. soldiers against North Korean enemies, and you will need to choose the best soldiers and gear for the job as you complete the game's missions. It looks great, and I'd be very interested in backing the base game at $60—EXCEPT that I have some issues with the way this Kickstarter is being run. At the $60 pledge level, you can purchase add-ons but you do not get stretch goals. If you want stretch goals, you have to back at the next pledge level to the tune of $110. That is a HUGE jump, and I can't say that I consider that good Kickstarter practice. Companies want to make money, I know, but I wouldn't want to back a game and then feel "not good enough" to get stretch goals.
Hey solo gamers! There are plenty of projects to admire on Kickstarter this week, including a couple that I'll be backing myself.
1. Football Highlights 2052
If you have been reading my site for a while, you know that I love a game called Baseball Highlights 2045. Now there is a Football Highlights 2052 from the same designer, and I am all over it. Cyborg football players? Drafting your dream team? Quick and clever cardplay? Football Highlights 2045 will include all of these things, and while I am looking forward to playing it two-player, I also trust Mike Fitzgerald to have a solid solo mode for this game. And at $33 for the base game, the price is right.
2. Draconis Invasion: Wrath
I haven't played this deck builder myself, but I have heard plenty of buzz about it. Draconis: Invastion is a fantasy deck building game that is raising money for a reprint as well as for an expansion. You (and up to 5 other people) will need to fend off the forces of evil, while also managing fear and fatigue. From what I can tell, Draconis: Invasion is a pretty typical deck builder with a nice fantasy theme. If you're into that sort of thing, it's probably a good one to look into.
3. Machina Arcana: From Beyond
Cooperative steampunk horror dungeon crawl. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then Machina Arcana is for you. The core game is $50, and the premium one is $75. I will be honest, I don't personally see anything in it to make it different from all of the other dungeon crawls sitting on my shelf that offer campaign play and that never see enough table time. But if you particularly dig steampunk themes, this may scratch an itch that all of the fantasy games out there can't quite reach.
After a couple of low-excitement weeks, Kickstarter is picking back up. Hold onto your butts—especially if you keep your wallet in your back pocket!
1) Pax Pamir, 2nd ed.
Pax Pamir is a game set in Afghanistan and that focuses on Afghan struggles for power after the fall of the Durrani Empire. It's semi-cooperative: Players will need to work together towards common goals, but there is only one winner. Ricky Royal designed the original solo mode, and will also be working on the solo variant for the new edition of this game, which automatically catches my interest. The second edition of Pax Pamir is also supposed to be much more streamlined than the original. Cole Werhle, who is also the designer of Root and John Company, has made it clear that he is revisiting one of his earlier designs and applying what he's learned over the years. I'm interested in this one, and would have already gone for it if the price weren't so high. (Think $70, dang.)
2) A Thief's Fortune
A Thief's Fortune is a card drafting/engine building game that involves both thievery and time travel, as well as a cool Aladdin vibe. Each player in a multiplayer game represents a different possible future of the same character, which is conceptually quite interesting. The solo version of A Thief's Fortune involves pursuing specific achievements within a solo game. Slickerdrips has a nice playthrough on the KS page, and I generally like his taste in games. And at $36, the price is right for this game. (Although shipping will run you an additional $10.)
Kickstarter is still pretty slow for solo gamers right now, at least in my opinion. But there are a couple of projects I'm excited about!
1) Dungeon Alliance (Second Printing + Expansions)
I am a definite fan of Dungeon Alliance, and positively reviewed the base game earlier this year. If you like deck building, puzzling out optimal moves, and building interesting teams of heroes, then Dungeon Alliance is the game for you. Now it's available for reprint, and there are some adventure pack expansions that add campaign play and additional challenges to the base game. This KS campaign also allows you to preorder rubber playmats for all player counts, which I am pumped about because that is one less step to deal with during setup. This was an instaback for me, and I look forward to having even more interesting stuff to add to my Dungeon Alliance games. I play a lot of games, and this is one of the ones I find myself thinking about and itching to get back to the table.
2. Hellenica: Story of Greece
I am a sucker for all things ancient history, so I definitely want to keep an eye on this one. Hellenica is a civilization game in which you control one of several city-states and vie for power and influence throughout the Greek world. There are also several different things to focus on, so you can choose to be warlike, peaceful, pious, philosophical, or a number of other things in your quest for greatness. Some draft rules are available online, and there is definitely an AI deck that can be used to control the movements of multiple non-player city states. I'd be interested in seeing just how complex that AI is—especially since a solo player would be handling all of the upkeep. At $90 for the base game, the price is steep, and I'd want to be entirely sure I was buying an experience I really wanted.
My wallet hasn't been hurting too much for the last couple of months, but with Snowdonia and now some of the projects this week, that is about to change....
1. Thunderstone Quest: Back to the Dungeon
Thunderstone Quest is an updated version of earlier Thunderstone games, which are basically deck building dungeon crawl/adventure games. Although previous editions of Thunderstone have been much-loved by solo gamers, Quest was not released with a solo mode—but it's about to have one. The second printing of Thunderstone Quest will allow you to pick up the base game, as well as rules and extra components for a solo/co-op campaign. Based on pedigree alone, I'm interested in this one. It is, however, ridiculously expensive. It'll run you $150 for the base game plus solo expansion.
2. SiegeStorm: The Siege Mode
Although it is primarily a 1v1 card combat game, SiegeStorm is offering a solo mode and a two-player co-op mode. In both solo-able variants, you will play your cards against one of several interesting-looking bosses to see who comes out victorious. This game advertises itself as learnable in five minutes and playable in 20, but also seems to offer interesting gameplay and deck construction choices. Each card is playable in three different ways, it's possible to build up impressive combos, and there are several factions to try. I'm definitely intrigued. If you want to see more, Ant Lab Games did a playthrough video that should give you a good idea of whether SiegeStorm is for you.
3. Black Orchestra Conspirator Packs
I have not personally played Black Orchestra, a co-op game about assassinating Hitler. I've been hearing a lot of buzz about it, though! If you've tried and enjoyed Black Orchestra, there are some expansion packs being Kickstarted right now. If you want to pick up the base game + conspirator packs, you can do that as well by backing this campaign. The base game is, however, also available at retail for the moment, so plan accordingly.
I'm back from Dice Tower Con and will probably spend my day recovering from a weekend that was entirely too much fun, but I still checked Kickstarter to see what was what in solo-friendly board game campaigns! Here's what I found:
Snowdonia, designed by Tony Boydell, has me really excited. I've wanted to get my hands on a copy for a while, because it's a solo gaming classic that has seen several expansions and new scenarios over the years. Now NSKN is publishing a deluxe edition that contains everything ever published for Snowdonia, plus an all-new scenario. If you like worker placement games, odds are you'll enjoy this one, which is about building railway lines in Wales. The price point is pretty high—$88 plus shipping—but you're getting a great game, plus deluxe components and a ton of expansion material. This one is a definite yes for me.
2. The Abandons: A Solo Labyrinth Escape Game
The Abandons is a solo-only game about exploring a labyrinth. You will draw and place cards to help you navigate to the exit, encountering items and hoping not to dead end along the way. To play, you draw cards from a deck and attempt to place them in ways that prevent you from hitting too many dead ends and never managing to escape the labyrinth. There are also a few items that could help you if you get stuck The Abandons is inexpensive at $13 plus shipping, but I'm not sure how riveting a game it actually is. It's possibly worth a look if you like cheap solitaire games.
3. Gorus Maximus
Gorus Maximus is an adorable—yet bloody—trick taking game with a gladiator theme. I definitely love the art and would be interested in trying it with a group. The price is right ($15 for the basic edition, $20 for the special KS edition). But the solo rules are a recent addition, and I always have my doubts when a solo mode gets added on in the middle of a KS campaign. Also, the fun of a trick taking game is making decisions based on counting cards and contemplating what other people are going to do. For solo, this one seems like a risk.
There are some big projects to talk about on Kickstarter, with even more coming soon! (I know, I do KS updates on Monday, and a lot of big campaigns drop on Tuesdays—it gives me stuff to think about all week!)
1) Dungeon Degenerates
This is a reprint of a previously successful campaign from Goblinko. Dungeon Degenerates is a weird fantasy adventure game in which your party members are escaped criminals. Throughout the game, you'll try to strike the right balance between staying under the radar—you are fugitives after all—and making quicker and more aggressive moves to achieve your goals. The most notable aspect of Dungeon Degenerates is its art, which will be a huge selling point for some, but a turnoff for others. I'm definitely not attracted to the art. In fact, it kind of stresses me out. I am intrigued by some of what I'm hearing about gameplay, but I am not getting a strong feel for the game from the gameplay videos on the KS page. For me, the jury is out on this one.
2. Coldwater Crown: The Sea
The Sea is an expansion for Coldwater Crown, which is a game about competitive fishing. If you don't have the base game, you can pledge to receive it along with The Sea. In Coldwater Crown, your goal is to catch the most and the heaviest fish from different locations. You also have to make choices about which bait to deploy in pursuit of the most impressive fish The solo variant of this game allows you to pit yourself against a dummy player who will give you a run for your money. The Sea gives players the option to take bigger risks in search of better fish. The ocean is unpredictable and means that turns are taken away from the shore, but can yield some impressive catches. I haven't played Coldwater Crown myself, but Jeremy from Jambalaya Plays Games absolutely adores it.
3. The Hunters AD 2114
If you're into big box games with a lot of miniatures, here's another one. This is a cooperative, post-apocalyptic game in which players are "machine hunters" completing missions in an open world. I am intrigued by the promises of "open world" gameplay with a "gripping story," which might be selling points. But I am not getting strong enough vibes to be convinced that it's worth the $100 price tag. Cooperative, post-apocalyptic games with open worlds, story cards, and minis are pretty common these days. If you like the theme, though, it might be for you. I think I'll be saving my cash for my hundredth generic fantasy board game instead.
Hey gamers! As usual, I have a few interesting Kickstarter projects to report on. And an onslaught of new projects is coming! We'll concentrate on this week for now, though.
1. Knot Dice
Knot Dice is a game in which you roll and place gorgeous custom dice to create beautiful Celtic knots. It's a puzzle game that has several modes, including some that accommodate a single player. There are only 3 days left in this Kickstarter, and I almost missed it entirely. Fortunately, Colin from the One Stop Co-Op shop mentioned this game on a podcast and clued me in. His playthrough is here. Those pretty green dice are mesmerizing, and justify a closer look.
I love a good tower defense game, and Goblivion combines tower defense with deck building. It's a cooperative game that can be played solo, and it also has a solo-only mode. Goblivion offers a number of card combinations for variability. The illustrations are cute and family friendly, and the game only takes 30 minutes—but it also cites Dominion and Stronghold as influences, so it seems to promise an engaging strategic experience as well. I am thinking about this one for sure.
You may already have played Trickerion, which is a sumptuous worker placement game about competing magicians. It hasn't had a solo mode until now—the KS campaign is for the expansion, which includes rules for solo play. If you already liked Trickerion and wished that you could play it solo, the time is now!