Lords of Hellas, and Nine Other Winners!

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


MOST FUNDED NEW CAMPAIGNS

1. Lords of Hellas

Project By: Awaken Realms – Fresh miniature territory control game with adventure elements from creators of This War of Mine: The Board Game


2. Rise of Tribes

Project By: Breaking Games – Lead your prehistoric Tribe to victory through discovery, achievements, civilization and overcoming the odds. Choose how you Rise.


3. Deception: Undercover Allies

Project By: Grey Fox Games – An all new expansion to the hit game, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong


4. Archmage

Project By: Game Salute – Travel the lands, build an Order of Mages, and become the Archmage – weaving all forms of magic into one – in this exciting board game.


5. Groves

Project By: Letiman Games – Build beautiful groves, manage your elemental spirits and earn the most dominion in this board game for 1-4 players, ~60 minutes.


Notes about the most funded new campaigns:

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  • Most the of the video content was “just okay” this week, and a majority of that feeling is due to the audio quality and lengths of the videos. You can always invest in Fiverr for professional voiceovers. The best video this week is from Lords of Hellas, but it was actually three videos in one, so I would have just shown the cinematic trailer and put the other content in the campaign page.
  • Lords of Hellas is definitely the type of game which thrives on Kickstarter but Awaken Realms also have grown their projects organically. Look to their last campaigns to see their plotted growth. It is important to understand what the Kickstarter market wants, but also to build upon success of less risky campaigns.
  • I actually played Groves and Rise of Tribes before they even launched. Rise of Tribes was being demoed at BGG Con Spring, and Groves was available on Tabletopia. Both solutions are viable when it comes to getting more people to play the game before you ask them for money.
  • Pricing, it seems, is getting more and more aggressive compared to the MSRP. I think that is a reaction to most of these newer publishers anticipating not going into distribution, which allows them to tighten their own profit margins.
  • I think there are a lot of best practices being adhered to in these campaigns, but I have my eye out for more experimentation and breaking of the mold. I want to know what comes after GIF game play overviews, even though those just came out recently.

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MOST FUNDED (but not quite funded) NEW CAMPAIGNS

DISCLAIMER… I am not a time lord, so some of these campaigns may have funded in the time between my making the list and the post going live.

6. Covil: The Dark Overlords

Project By: Vesuvius Media Ltd – An area control game for 1 to 4 players. Unleash your minions and struggle for supremacy over the regions!


7. Savage Planet: The Fate of Fantos

Project By: Imp House, LLC – Fight for the Fate of Fantos in this beautifully illustrated, dark fantasy card game inspired by comics and cartoons from the 80s!


8. The Open Road

Project By: Open Road Games – The Original Bicycle Touring Board Game. Pack your bags, hop in the saddle, and enjoy the freedom and adventure of The Open Road.


9. Critters Below

Project By: Antler Games – Outlive the bombings – and your friends! Look for supplies in the dark and make it to the end of the war in this fast paced card game.


10. Blueshift

Project By: Nebulous Games – Take command of a unique alien civilization to explore the depths of space, expand your empire, and conquer the galaxy!


Notes about the most funded (but not quite funded) new campaigns:

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  • To back a game on Kickstarter, I want to see the components, the price, and the mechanics. It is the creator’s job to get me from A to B as fast as possible so I can make a perceived value judgment. The longer it takes to get from A to B, the taller the order for my perceived value judgment. I think these five campaigns can definitely improve in that regard. Help me to help you.
  • I think that each of these games in the final five, with the exception of possibly Critters Below, can expect to lean a little heavier on organic Kickstarter traffic. That is because their intro images start the worldbuilding process. Always have curb appeal to scrollers when you are measuring up against other campaigns.
  • Again, all of these campaigns are fairly competitively priced. I really do think I am witnessing a micro-adjustment of the overall industry’s transition away from traditional distribution. These folks are putting it on Kickstarter, fulfilling, and sending extra stock to Amazon FBA. That’s how I’d do it,
    anyway.

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1066, Tears to Many Mothers, and Nine Other Winners!

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. 1066, Tears to Many Mothers

Project By: Hall or Nothing Productions – Outwit your enemy & recreate the Battle of Hastings in this multi-award nominated, 1-2 player, 30-40 minute, non-collectable card game.


Why did this game make the list?

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The number of components and art quality matches what looks like a fair price.

It is fascinating that the team chose to use Paul Grogan’s rules video as their main Kickstarter video. I think that as we move toward quick onboarding of customers understanding the rules of the game, you may see this start to happen more and more for low-budget productions. I am still for 60-second thematic overviews up top, but we will see what happens later.

There was a Kickstarter Live broadcast when I got to the campaign, which I think is the perfect end-of-week boost.

The page is slightly more text-heavy than I would like, but they make a lot of use of their card art throughout the campaign, which is what you want. And the cards themselves are beautiful and polished.

As you scroll down, you see the game has won many awards, building that trust you need. Search endlessly for ways to get your game recognized and call attention to earned accolades in the campaign.

This game has solo gameplay. The team took an entire section to draw attention to that solo option! If you have this in your game, give it some real estate on the page. Your backers will reward you.

We’ve got an actual soundtrack for use in the game. That is awesome and humanizes what you are trying to do. You want to always posture your project as a labor of love, and this soundtrack idea seals that ideal for me.

The stretch goals could have been dramatically improved with graphic design. I would have wanted that to be cleaner. I think less space on the third-party reviews could have allowed for that. Ricky Royal would be enough for me to trust that the game is worthwhile. I might even highlight one of his quotes at the top.

Avatars were a shining light for creators about a year ago, and they quickly faded into oblivion. If you have the time, I say, go nuts! But don’t feel crippled by needing avatars available in the campaign.

I would like them to invest in an actual team graphic in the future, with some faces and font work.
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2. Zombicide: Green Horde

Project By: CMON – The medieval fantasy Zombicide saga continues with a horde of undead orcs, new environment features, resources and challenges!


Why did this game make the list?

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It is important that I open up Zombicide: Green Horde by encouraging you to not write them off as untouchable. Yes, success breeds success, and CMON is at the top of the food chain, but there are still a ton of lessons to learn from their campaigns. Namely, simplifying your campaign to a finely tuned machine.

Look at the single pledge level. There is no confusion on which tier if you only offer one. It didn’t use to be that way for CMON if you look at old campaigns. They developed that strategy.

They are also using a known IP and game, so they don’t need to open up with gameplay. Instead, they focus on the new components before getting to Watch it Played to explain the gameplay. If you can get Rodney to do your Kickstarter video, by the way, I imagine you are doing fairly well, but the lesson is to have a gameplay video available somewhere in the campaign.

The biggest lesson you can gain from CMON Kickstarter campaigns is how they price out stretch goals. Because we don’t know the exact shipping, let’s ignore it for this example. The game is $120 before shipping. That means that the manufacturing cost per unit would be in the realm of $20-25 or so at the minimum production run CMON might do in the future. Even though that is a lot of wiggle room, what you don’t see is how much all of the miniatures in the stretch goals would increase that cost over and over again. So what they did was say, how many things can we legitimately put in this game as a pie in the sky objective, and what do we want in the core game? With those two versions of the game known, they could accurately price the game to work on the margins and the scales of economy at $120. Again, we ignored shipping, which publishers will always factor into the landed cost of a product.

Let’s do what CMON does for retailers and get them off the Kickstarter page and out of the pledge levels. If you click on their link for retailers, you will see what CMON does with retailers, which seems like a great system and is something they have done for the last few campaigns. The point is to get them out of the campaigns.
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3. Take The Galaxy

Project By: Catch Time Studio – Take The Galaxy is an empire building card game set in the bright future of space exploration.


Why did this game make the list?

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Take the Galaxy is a very fun concept with a lot going for the IP. The name, artwork, gameplay, and graphic design reminds people of Race for the Galaxy, which is not a bad thing. Very much a marketing win for people to see something familiar if they like those games.

I know the gameplay is similar to Race for the Galaxy because they had an impeccable GIF of the gameplay in the campaign. It is very smooth and informative.

I would imagine their view rates on the video could improve. I would shorten this type of video to 60 seconds or less.

The reason why the campaign has not funded yet is that they did not figure out efficient shipping solutions, so the US is paying $22 in shipping for a $28 game. Because the US is still the largest market on Kickstarter, it makes the most sense to frame your price around the product landing in the US. There is a method to doing this properly.
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4. Turing Tumble

Project By: Paul Boswell – Build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. Escape planet Eniac and discover how computers work.


Why did this game make the list?

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What a beautiful contraption. What an even more beautiful mission. Bottom line, the novelty of this cool thing is driving this to fund. And that is okay!

Plastics is where I hope educational games will start to go in the following years. Tangible plastics are a very solid component which I think helps bridge the gap for younger gamers. The cardboard I don’t think captures younger players in the same way unless we are discussing forts.

As for the campaign itself, the video is long but entertaining, so it gets a pass. The page is very stark with text and no graphic design. This campaign relies entirely on the novelty of the product and is rewarded for doing so, so again, the lack of shining lights and ambiance gets a pass.

I love the GIFs of the machines in motion. I would prefer that the creator carried the GIFs into the explanation of the gameplay, but the videos do a decent job of this as well.
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5. Zero Hour

Project By: Split Second Games – A cooperative press-your-luck survival game, from award-winning designer Jay Little


Why did this game make the list?

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This campaign is rocking a single pledge level, which would be great except for some issues holding them back. Namely, they need 571 backers to make their goal. That shows me they may have needed to trim the fat to lower the MSRP and funding goal. We can’t know on the outside, but I suspect that is a core issue in this project.

I don’t doubt the creator’s credentials, but I think the campaign is leaning too heavily on Jay Little. The game still needs third-party reviews even if you have a celebrity on board.

This is a very text heavy campaign. Shipping charges are hidden there in the text instead of in their section. I might have discarded a lot of the text.
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6. Minerva

Project By: Pandasaurus Games – A new strategic board game from Hisashi Hayashi the designer of Yokohama and Trains! For 1-4 players in 60-90 minutes.


Why did this game make the list?

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This is another example of gameplay videos taking the place of a marketing video. But this one is not done by a third party trusted voice like Paul Grogan. One of the creators does it. I think that was a mistake.

The campaign is very text heavy. Distractingly so, in fact.

When you build a deluxe tier, you are selling not a $40 and $60 game, respectively. You are selling a $40 game and a game that is only $20 more. It is important to take note of that consumer psychology trick, and it is why publishers come out with deluxe tiers. It helps pad the bottom line to work toward funding and stretch goals. Also, Kickstarter backers are completionists if nothing else. So big win there.

Knowing better, the creators fluffed the stretch goal section quite a bit. Thicker cardboard, foil, linen finish, etc. are all cardboard upgrades and cost literal pennies during production. I think this campaign would have been served better with new tiles as those stretch goals instead of cardboard upgrades, but those are probably on the horizon.
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7. Hammered Heroes

Project By: Kinetic Energy Productions – A balanced strategy game, with attitude, that’s designed to get your drinking friends into card games and your card game friends drunk.


Why did this game make the list?

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It isn’t a good week on Kickstarter without a solid party game on the market, and Hammered Heroes delivers, sort of.

The video is too long, but I suggest watching it anyway as well as any party game video. You are likely to be entertained, or offended. Both are good in my book. Creators should at least borrow the entertainment value from these videos.

I probably would steer away from big ticket stretch goals which are probably raising the funding goal on this campaign. Speaking of pledges, for these particular components, $33 is very high. I wouldn’t go above $19 for this specific game, so it looks like they didn’t price accurately with a manufacturer/shipper. It is causing their funding goal to be sky high and require more than 600 backers.

I would not have put the video at the end. It is the gameplay video for the game they are trying to sell, so it belongs higher in the campaign.
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8. 12 Realms: Dungeonland

Project By: MAGE Company – 12 Realms returns as a standalone dungeon crawling game for 1-4 heroes including 46 highly detailed miniatures!


Why did this game make the list?

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The video in 12 Realms: Dungeonland is close to the right length, but they do so by rushing the bottom text, which wouldn’t be a big deal if they had invested in a voiceover on Fiverr.

MAGE used an early bird tier, which is now not available. I think that they didn’t benefit from this at all. They simply gave away $500 out of their funding amount, given the popular IP.

Free worldwide shipping doesn’t exist. Here is what they are doing. The US pledges actually will subsidize the rest of the world. The way you do this, you charge a lot more for the game for everyone, maybe $15-20 in this case. Then you save on shipping to the US, and the fewer people around the world who back the campaign, the more profit MAGE makes.

Again, you do not need to open with the gameplay when you are dealing with a known IP. So they did well to show off the new art and components beforehand, but it was a bit text heavy so I would find a way to reduce it.

I would have preferred a core box components graphic, versus a text list.

I am very excited that they went the route they did with stretch goals. Chasing that CMON model is not for the feint of heart, but it will reward these guys as they approach stretch goals.
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9. Osprey Adrift

Project By: Plucky Robot – A card game of deduction, deception, and cannibalism on the high seas, for 4 to 12 players.


Why did this game make the list?

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Osprey Adrift is my underdog of the week. They are doing a lot of things right but falling into some new creator mistakes.

The video is too long, but it is engaging, so give it a watch.

The pledges are too complicated. This game did not require more than 2-3 pledge levels, tops. If you give people too many options, they usually don’t pick anything for fear of making the wrong choice. I think the price is too high for 140 cards and a rulebook, but not by much, so they may have just played it safe with padding cash. That is completely fine to do, by the way.

The GIFs in this are perfect! I almost immediately know how to play.

Social stretch goals tend to work better with silly or drinking games. Same issue with the avatars. They were great about a year ago, but that ship has sailed, so not worth the trouble.

Great team section! You always want to root for faces to succeed, not just names. Creators should always invest in their team being featured.
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10. Escape the Dark Castle

Project By: Themeborne – A simple, co-operative tabletop game for 1-4 players, with a stylish design inspired by 80s fantasy nostalgia.


Why did this game make the list?

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Watch the video. It is the best one produced this week, hands down.

The text severity is exacerbated by the white on black art direction, which I love. The main issue is the very long story section. They could have squeezed that up quite a bit I think.

They used a time-based early bird, which led them to fund. My concern is that the team may have simply given up $5000-6000 just to have that early bird pledge. I think the project would have been successful regardless without an early bird, so it appears as if money was left on the table.

The how to play graphic is not doing the job, honestly. Even for the theme and even for the art direction, it needs to be clearer. I would have opted for GIFs explaining each part of a turn, but it’s funded so unlikely the creators will revisit this. Something to carry into the next campaign though!
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Street Masters Rise of the Kingdom, and Nine Other Winners!

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. Street Masters Rise of the Kingdom

Project By: Blacklist Games


2. Roll Player & Monsters & Minions Expansion

Project By: Thunderworks Games


3. Halloween

Project By: Quined Games


4. Hand of Fate: Ordeals

Project By: Rule & Make and Defiant Development


5. A Dog’s Life Game

Project By: Beton Games


6. Deep Space D-6 and New Mini-Expansion

Project By: Tau Leader Games


7. Badlands: Outpost of Humanity

Project By: Jet Games Studio


8. Kitchen Rush

Project By: Artipia Games


9. The War of the Worlds

Project By: Dan Verssen Games


10. Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion

Project By: Van Ryder Games

Legendary Showdown: Presidential Edition, and Nine Other Winners!

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. Legendary Showdown: Presidential Edition

Project By: Killer Robot Games


2. Sine Tempore

Project By: Ludus Magnus Studio LLC


3. Rise of the Necromancers

Project By: Sore Loser Games


4. Clash of Rage

Project By: La Boite de Jeu


5. Ravage – Dungeons of Plunder

Project By: Beardy Brothers


6. Manhattan Project 2: Minutes to Midnight

Project By: Minion Games


7. Tournament of Towers

Project By: Iron Hippo Games


8. Aviation Tycoon

Project By: Mr. B. Games


9. ELO Darkness

Project By: Reggie Games


10. CARTHAGE

Project By: SAS Creative

Wanted Earth, and Nine Other Winners!

May 14, 2017 Board Game Badger

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. Wanted Earth

Project By: Shadow Squirrel Games


2. Deadly Premonition: The Board Game

Project By: Rising Star Games


3. Magitics Premium Edition

Project By: A-games


4. Path of Light and Shadow

Project By: Indie Boards & Cards


5. Chronomega

Project By: Vorpal Chainsword Games


6. Flow of History

Project By: Tasty Minstrel Games


7. Gyrating Hamsters

Project By: Gyrating Hamsters LLC


8. Zombie Tsunami

Project By: Lucky Duck Games


9. Frutti di Mare

Project By: Black Box Adventures


10. AEGIS

Project By: Zephyr Workshop

#1 – Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914

May 7, 2017 Board Game Badger

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914

Project By: Gladiator Games


2. Heroes of Land, Air, and Sea

Project By: Gamelyn Games


3. Tradewars – Homeworld

Project By: Outer Limit Games


4. Galaxy of Trian: New Order

Project By: Creativemaker


5. FRIEND or FAUX

Project By: Easily Amused Productions


6. Load

Project By: Archon Studio


7. Chessplus

Project By: Chessplus


8. Alone

Project By: Horrible Games


9. Skyways

Project By: Eagle-Gryphon Games


10. Card City XL

Project By: Alban Viard Studio Games

#1 – Farsight

April 30, 2017 Board Game Badger

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to learn more about these campaigns!


1. Farsight

Project By: Brain Crack Games


2. Clans of Caledonia

Project By: Karma Games


3. Bullets and Teeth

Project By: Last Ditch Games


4. One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows

Project By: Asmadi Games


5. Diceborn Heroes

Project By: Diceborn Games


6. Barbarians: The Invasion

Project By: Tabula Games


7. Ivion

Project By: Luminary Games


8. Button Men

Project By: Cheapass Games


9. Sedis

Project By: Nefer Games


10. Feudalia

Project By: Abba Games

#1 – Rayguns & Rocketships

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to check out these campaigns!


1. Rayguns & Rocketships

Project By: IDW Games


2. Brass

Project By: Roxley Games


3. Interaction

Project By: Manfred Lamplmair


4. Hannibal & Hamilcar

Project By: Phalanx


5. Chariots of Rome

Project By: Victory Point Games


6. Sentinels of Earth-Prime

Project By: Green Ronin Publishing


7. Battle for Biternia

Project By: Stone Circle Games


8. Warforged: First Contact

Project By: Reforged Studio & Ninja Division


9. Jane Austen’s Matchmaker: Chapter Two

Project By: SabreWolf Games


10. Morels Foray

Project By: Two Lanterns Games

#1 – Magitics

Here they are! The top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow! Be sure to watch the videos below and follow the links to check out these campaigns!


1. Magitics

Project By: A-games


2. Dungeon Dice: THE LOST KING and Boxed Game

Project By: Potluck Games


3. Enemies of Rome

Project By: Worthington Publishing


4. Dead Man’s Doubloons

Project By: Thundergryph Games


5. Wages of War

Project By: Mora Games


6. Bios Genesis

Project By: Sierra Madre Games


7. Top Hats And Treachery

Project By: Rogue Artist Creations


8. Burn Out

Project By: Happy Games Factory


9. Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce

Project By: Sentient Cow Games


10. Petrichor

Project By: Mighty Boards

#1 – The 7th Guest: The Board Game

Special Mention!

Rahdo Runs Through is incredibly important to the hobby of tabletop games and, more notably, appears often in the very Kickstarter campaigns I rate here. It is super important that we celebrate the content creators who serve budding publishers selflessly and endlessly, such as Rahdo does. Please give his campaign a look and, if you can, please support his sixth year.


And now, here are the top 10 Kickstarter tabletop game campaigns launched this week I think you should back and/or follow!


1. The 7th Guest: The Board Game

Project By: Trilobyte Games


2. Gloomhaven

Project By: Cephalofair Games


3. Mothership: Tabletop Combat & Expansion

Project By: Peter Sanderson


4. Hardback

Project By: Fowers Games


5. Cheer Up!

Project By: Chris Rio


6. Rise to Nobility

Project By: Final Frontier Games


7. Humans Being

Project By: Amey Goerlich


8. Centauri Saga: Season 1

Project By: Vesuvius Media Ltd.


9. UNIMO

Project By: Mo’Games


10. Peak Oil

Project By: 2Tomatoes Games