This October is an intense month for Kickstarter, especially because so many of these projects are games that I already know and love, or from designers/publishers whose work I enjoy. I hope for a quiet holiday season, since my Christmas gift budget is already in grave danger...
1. Spirit Island: Jagged Earth
I previewed Jagged Earth last week, but I want to mention it here as well--Spirit Island is one of my favorite games, and one of the few I have reviewed on this site to receive a five-star rating from me. If you already like Spirit Island, this expansion is a no-brainer, with more spirits and also cards that allow you to play old spirits in new ways. Additionally there are new island tiles, new adversaries, and new scenarios—in other words, more ways to keep spicing up an already-excellent game. Two thoughts: 1) You need to have both Spirit Island and the first expansion, Branch and Claw, to enjoy Jagged Earth. 2) If you need to wait for retail rather than back now, I think it's totally fine to do so—this is not the kind of game that won't be available on store shelves after it goes to KS backers.
2. Street Masters: Aftershock
Street Masters: Rise of the Kingdom has indeed risen into my personal Top 20 solo games. It's an arcade-style beat-'em-up with interesting levels, fighters with different playstyles, and a modular deck system influenced by another favorite game of mine, Sentinels of the Multiverse. My original review of Street Masters is here, and as you can see, I am a pretty big fan. Aftershock promises even more—more fighters, more enemies, more scenarios... I can't wait! No game is for everybody, and Street Masters gets a little cramped at higher player counts. All the same, I think every solo player should at least give this one a look.
3. The Romans: Kingdom—Republic—Empire!
The Latin teacher in me just can't resist having a look at this one. The Romans is being billed as the final game designed by the Ragnar Brothers, and it promises what looks like an especially solo-friendly experience. It's a combination of worker placement and area control, but each player has his or her own individual Roman Empire board to develop. There is also an AI system in place to simulate enemies fighting back as Rome expands. Players will need to shepherd their empires through multiple eras and developments, and increasingly powerful buildings, leaders, and abilities will become available as the game progresses. If you like games with historical themes, this one looks fun—the art is lighthearted, and who doesn't love the Romans? Also interesting is that this campaign is not offering stretch goals. The Ragnar Brothers have made the best game they can possibly make, and they stand by it as-is. I find that refreshing after so much Kickstarter craziness this month.