June has been a bit of a slow month on Kickstarter for us, with the UK Games Expo and my trigger happy card usage we came back with a boot full of games and pot noodles for the rest of the month...
However! Two awesome games caught our eye and demanded a pledge...
Developer: Tau Leader Games
Age Range: --
Avg. Playing Time: 30 mins
Deep Space D-6 is a reprint with an included expansion of a solitaire crew assignment game. With a spacey theme resistance was futile! The game progresses through a series of dice rolls allowing you to place crew, fire weapons and ultimately survive bombardment from enemy ships. Released commercially in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign Tau Leader Games felt compelled to run a re-print of the game after seeing copy prices soar due to its limited availability.
Tau Leader Games really sold the project to me through his frank honesty and down to earth project mantra:
“As with all my Kickstarters, you won't find crazy positive video reviews/previews or extensive marketing campaigns with stretch goals where I try to maximise funding by over promising. As an independent publisher, I believe in investing in a solid product, and not my ability to convince you to back it.”
As a visual player I love the aesthetics of this game, the simple lines, blocky graphics and box art reeking of nostalgia! Our collection lacks any solitaire only games so I’m quite excited to get my hands on this!
Developer: One Free Elephant
Age Range: 14+
Avg. Playing Time: 45 mins +
As soon as Carcosa launched it was an automatic back for us.
Don’t shun us but as we don’t own a copy of Carcassone ourselves but enjoy playing it we knew we’d enjoy the mechanics of it.
We got a brief look at the game during the Press Preview at the UKGE and had a chat regarding some of the concerns other backers had. They assured us the artwork was going to lightened considerably and the tiles will be clearer in the final edition. Unfortunately due to the overwhelming popularity of the game at the Expo we never got a look in to actually play a demo BUT everyone looked like they were having a blast playing!
One Free Elephant have previously launched a successful Kickstarter campaign with their game Ore-Some, a wild west themed strategy game aimed at a younger demographic whilst Carcosa is a Lovecraftian themed strategy based tile placement game. Tiles can be placed face down in a game of bluff whilst your meeples have a novel mechanic whereby they go 'mad' after succeeding in their efforts and must rest before being played again. One Free Elephant offer a virtual version of the game on their Kickstarter page so if we've peeked your interest download TableTop Simulator and give it a whirl before backing!
Developer: Mushroom Gaming
Age Range: 8+
Avg. Playing Time: 30 mins
By Day 3 of the Expo we were resigned to the fact we were never going to see everything we wanted to and so were pleasantly surprised when we took our chances visiting the Mushroom Gaming Co. stall and found two spots for a quick demo of Scuttler’s Island. I had saved this project the moment it was announced, both of us really like to invest our money and time in promoting UK Indie developers so were thrilled to get a chance to see it up close.
Scuttler’s Island is tile placement game for up to 8 players. You, as pirates, must try to work your way towards the booty, placing traps to thwart your competitors and being forced to cooperate should your paths cross! There’s no 1st, 2nd or 3rd place with Scuttler’s Island – you win or lose! Demoing this game first hand I can tell you it’s a nice party game, as a little social hermit I got fully stuck in with the other players, laughing and joking as we blocked each other’s paths. The novel concept of the game is that it has no board, just a specially printed table cloth which nicely reduces the box of the game and adds in that travel game aspect some other tile placement games lack. Our game was quick but I can see if you’re very unlucky with the tiles you pull it could last up to 45mins with the maximum amount of players.
With simple rules it’s a nice and relaxing game to pick up and play with the family, the only criticism I have of the game (and this is just personal preference and may be changed if stretch goals are reached) is the current thickness of the tiles and the pawns used for the game. The tiles were by no means flimsy but when playing with children thicker linen tiles would really prolong its life. The plastic pawns were also completely fine for game play but just from an aesthetical POV pirate meeples would make the game 10x cuter!
At the Expo we couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the amount of offerings that were funded solely through Kickstarter. It was great being able to talk in person to these developers and see their passion first hand! If you’ve never backed anything on Kickstarter or have thought about it I’d thoroughly recommend it – after speaking to the developers and teams they are so incredibly grateful for each and every pledge that makes their games a reality. Being part of project and watching it grow is so satisfying!
Developer: Tom Hall
Age Range: 7+
Avg. Playing Time: 30-45 mins
Bug-Off was the game that most took us by surprise at the Expo. On the first day as we entered the Press Preview area as we walked up and down the aisles we passed what we both assumed was a game developers son sitting in while their parents were away. However it turned out to be 14 year old game developer Tom Hall.
Now don’t get me wrong Bug-Off isn’t our cup of tea, as childless millennials we both rarely play child friendly games unless it involves a fair amount of wine, PvP elements and a little break between a three hour indoor, curtains shut, gaming marathons.
What we love about Bug-Off is the story behind in and what makes us want to back all of these projects. Tom at the age of 14 wanted to do something and he just went and did it - that whole ‘you can be whatever you want to be spirit’! Tom and his mum were so enthusiastic throughout the whole Expo, their stall was quaint and didn’t scream ‘Hey! Look at me!’, it was simple – this is my game, this is who I am, let me show you how to play.
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