Kickstarter Weekly--Jan. 31 2014

Well another week has completely sped by here at TOG--and what a week it's been! kinds of stuff. Today as we finish up the week we once again bring you our old faithful Kickstarter Weekly piece, to help you navigate through the countless campaigns competing for your gaming dollar. Let's dive in!

Featured Campaign!

coverDraco Magi - Robert Burke Games

Well, we just published our review of Draco Magi yesterday, and since then they've unlocked their first stretch goal... Coincidence? Probably. Regardless this campaign is already a juggernaut, with lots of stretch goals that everyone will get to enjoy, but if you back the campaign you'll get to enjoy them for $10 less than folks who wait until it hits retailers.

The campaign ends on Feb. 21 and it's a mere $15 to get Draco Magi shipped to your door! The full campaign, stretch goals and details can be found right here!

four tribesFour Tribes - Grey Gnome Games

Four Tribes is a light strategic card game of influence and area control. It's driven mostly by cards, with some extra wooden bits thrown in. The buzz around this game is pretty positive and they've already funded and unlocked some stretch goals.

There's just a few days left to get in on this one--it ends on Feb. 6. A pledge of $30 will get you a copy of the game, and there are also some deals to be had with other titles as add-ons. You can find all the details of the campaign right here!

TortugaTortuga - Queen Games

Well, wouldn't you know it, another Pirate Game made it to Kickstarter Weekly. Queen Games, who brought us the Spiel Des Jahres winner Kingdom Builder in 2012, is Kickstarting Tortuga, a transport-and-plunder dice-roller for both young and old gamers. Or so they say. The images on the campaign page show a great, bright and colorful game with lots of custom bits & dice, player screens & boards. They've funded and unlocked all but one stretch goal already, so if you want to grab a copy, it's time to jump on board!

Ends Feb. 13 a few $41 level pledges left for the full game and stretch goals; then it goes up to $50. Find out all the details right here!


kittensKombat Kittens: The Card Game - Large Animal Games

The internet has--inexplicably--generated an obsession with kittens doing things. I (Jeremiah) seriously don't get it. (Firestone doesn't get it either!) Nor am I very often entertained by this phenomena. But for those of you out there who find no end to the amusement afforded you by... cats. This one is for you. Kombat Kittens: The Card Game, is... a card game. Featuring artwork that is half kitten half drawn in battle gear. And then you make them battle and stuff. The Campaign video epitomizes the underbelly of the internet's cat "thing".

The campaign ends Feb. 20.  And you'll cough up $25 for a copy. Find all of the "adorable" details right here.

Don't Miss Out!

Just a few quick reminders of some campaign we think you'll be sorry if you missed out on!

UltimateWerewolfDeluxeCoverUltimate Werewolf Deluxe Edition - Bezier Games

Another spin on Werewolf that touts gameplay for up to 75--that's seven-five--players! This campaign is making its final push and ends Monday Feb. 3. $25 Click here for the details!

ZepeldromeZeppeldrome - 12SP Entertainment

Come on! This is a great game that you can pick up inexpensively. We're not sure why Zeppeldrome isn't getting the love on Kickstarter we think it so deserveredly deserves! Click the link for all the details on this fun game that is great for players of any age and skill level!

This campaign ends Feb. 16. $29 for a copy of the game! HERE is where the details are!

Thanks for reading TOG, let us know what you're backing or if there's something awesome out there we missed this week!

In the meantime our contest for a free copy of Relic Expedition is still going!

Just follow, like or subscribe your way into the contest by clicking one or all of the following: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or typing your email in the box over on the right!

Thanks for reading, and play some games this weekend!

An Interview With Zeppeldrome Co-Designer Anthony Gallela

ZepeldromeToday we’re joined by Anthony Gallela of 12SP Entertainment, co-designer of the currently Kickstarting Zeppeldrome: a zany zeppelin, puzzle, race game.

Anthony, thanks for joining us today!

Thank you for having me!

So for those who don’t know much about you and 12SP, can you give us a little back story?

I’ve been in the game industry since the 80s. I started as a play-tester and a convention-runner (including KublaCon), and then moved on to being a game broker, game developer, and the like. I’ve managed a couple of game stores, run the Game Manufacturers Association (including Origins and GTS), and, of course, designed a couple of games.

12SP Ent is a new company I’ve started with my friend, and “Zeppeldrome” co-designer, Jeff Wilcox. We’re looking to publish a few titles that we’ve been working on over the years while we’ve been helping other folks get their games to market.

Tell us a little about Zeppeldrome.

“Zeppeldrome” is a humorous strategy game for 2-4 players where players race dirigibles through a silly and hazardous, floating obstacle course. The course is laid out next to a giant, floating zeppelin castle, and the dirigible pilots use anything at their disposal to help themselves, and to hinder their opponents.

The game is played with cards that are either your planned route for the turn (top half of the card), or actions that you play to hinder other players or to help yourself (bottom half of the card). “Zeppeldrome” has four sections that each have interchangeable boards. This modular board allows players to set a different courses each time they play.The core game comes with four boards for each of the four sections. The four for each section includes one blank and three with hazards. The blank board is for players to use with downloadable hazards that will be available on our Web site. These boards are both puzzling and challenging in game-play, and funny and lighthearted in theme and artwork.

Lately zeppelins have become a “thing” in the gaming world: There have been a few popular titles on Kickstarter featuring zeppelins, with a few more on the way. Did the theme come before the game design, or did the game design push you into the zeppelin-air-race theme? Or was it just because the name wouldn’t make any sense with another theme?

We’ve been working on “Zeppeldrome,” off and on, for about ten years. The idea came from a long-time love of, and interest in, airships. As we’ve worked on the game over the years, steampunk has become more and more popular. This is great for us, of course, though it might seem like we’re coming late to the party.

I think that the idea that you’re negotiating obstacles in a flying machine works quite well with dirigibles. Other kinds of flying machines feel too fast and uncontrollable to really have the silly fantasy of a floating obstacle course. I don’t think that “Zeppeldrome” would work with anything other than the “zeppelin-air-race” theme, and that’s great, as Jeff and I both love the idea of crazy airships.

zeppelboardWhy do you think steampunk is so popular right now?

I have no idea, of course, but I think that it’s because 1) science is popular, 2) science fiction and science fantasy are popular, 3) cosplay is popular, 4) many people like the idea of a seemingly more civilized society, and 5) it’s just so cool. I think that steampunk feeds nicely into several trends: those I’ve mentioned, the rise of geek culture, the hipness of stylized dress … it’s just the right time for it.

This is the second time you’ve launched a Kickstarter Campaign for the game; what’s the difference between this campaign and the last—what lessons did you learn?

We learned that we needed to give folks a thank-you -- a bonus -- for backing us right away. Rather than paying MSRP ($35) for a copy of “Zeppeldrome,” when you back us, you’re only paying $29. We also learned that our page needed to be more graphical, and that we needed some lower reward tiers. And that getting any press we can toward the beginning of the project was important too.

What are some of the fun rewards and stretch goals you have set up for the game?

First off, rather than paying MSRP for a copy of “Zeppeldrome” when you back us ($35), you’re only paying $29. Additionally, we’ve (mostly Jeff) designed a two-player-only, mini version of “Zeppeldrome” that backers get for free as a PDF.

Our higher backer levels let you get in the game by being able to name cards, the airships in the game, different characters in the game, and more.

photo (1)Why do you hate lemmings?

We love lemmings! So why do we have a hazzard board called the “Tragic Lemming Migration,” where the last-place player controls lemmings who slowly fall in the way of the racers? Well … we have no good excuse. They do fall slowly, though. They flap their little arms, and when their tokens falls off the bottom of the board, they do come back to the top to be used again …

So aside from Zeppeldrome, what else does 12SP have on the horizon?

We will be republishing my (and co-designer Japji Khalsa’s) award-winning board game, “Dwarven Dig!,” with it’s yet-unpublished expansion, “Ancient Rivalries.” The expansion adds six more dwarf types, allowing you to build your party before the game. We’ll also be coming out with a brick bridge-building game called “Hoshi.” It will come with MEGA BLOKS- / LEGO- type bricks (though neither of those brands). Each player rolls dice in an interesting way, and uses the results to determine which bricks he or she will use each turn to build a bridge as expeditiously as they can.

And later, we’ll be publishing Jeff’s awesome adventure game, “Phantasy Realm.”

Okay, it’s time for the Rapid-Fire Section! We ask the questions; you answer them with one word (or super-short phrase)! And, GO!

Cannonball_runFavorite race movie?

“Cannonball Run”

Favorite Zeppelin song?

“Since I’ve Been Loving You”

Favorite hazard board in Zeppeldrome?

Four Old Folks Looking for the Farmer’s Market

Favorite steampunk novel?

Agatha H and the Airship City

As you’re walking through the woods one day, you pass an old woman struggling to make her way home. She drops her basket of bread just as you’re walking by, and you help her pick up the bread. She thanks you, and tells you that as a reward, she will cook you your favorite meal in the whole entire world—once-a-week, for an entire year. You just have to tell her (and us) what that meal is…

Italian Sausage and Sweet Peppers in a Red Sauce

Well that's it! We'd like to thank Anthony Gallela for joining us today. Zeppeldrome is on Kickstarter right now, and it needs some help to make it to the funding goal! A mere $29 gets you a copy of the game shipped to your door. And it's a good game--just check out our Double-Take Review and see for yourself. Thanks for reading!

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Zeppeldrome—A Double-Take Preview

ZepeldromeYes, they're chaotic, and unpredictable, and sometimes full of take-that mechanics, but race games are also pretty stinking fun. 12SP Entertainment has just launched a new racing contender on Kickstarter—Zeppeldrome: A Humorous, Hazardous, Dirigible Relay. So is it worth your money to back this project? Or will it crash and burn, Hindenberg-style? Let's find out.

The Basics

You're a dirigible captain, competing against other dirigible captains in a race. You'll have to fight your way through numerous hazards to claim the prize—all while messing with your opponents' plans, just as they mess with yours...

The Components

Please note that the copy we reviewed was a prototype. The final components will be better, and some may have changed.

● 10 Double-Sided Playing Board Sections ● 4 Dirigible tokens ● 4 Flight Plan covers in corresponding colors ● 4 Movement cubes in corresponding colors ● 70 Flight Plan Cards ● 8 Ballast Tokens ● 1 Chunk-Chunk Token ● 4 Old Folks Tokens ● 7 Lemming Tokens ● 20 Vector Chits

photo (2)The Setup

First you're going to pick which four hazard boards you'll be using. The boards are divided into A, B, C, and D sections, which indicates which order they'll go in. If you want a shorter game, you can choose to use fewer sections. Then you'll randomly choose the order players will start the race, and put each player piece on the starting spaces. Each player grabs a color, and its associated pieces. Then shuffle the Flight Plan cards and deal each player four of them, and place the rest as a draw pile.

Two things before we move one. First, you determine who is in the lead(or sequence) by looking at the dirigible closest to the finish line. If multiple dirigibles are in the same column, then it's the one that's closest to the top that is in the lead.

Second, each Flight Plan card has a top section and bottom one. The top one shows a flight plan, and the bottom shows an action. You'll be using each card for only one of those things, so whenever you get a card you'll be looking at each card and determining which section is best for you right now.

The Gameplay

On your turn you'll have four cards in hand. Each player will pick a card to play for the Flight Plan portion. That will constitute the "base" that you'll be flying. Everyone picks one, and then you simultaneously reveal them. Each player has a little card, that matches his or her player color, that you can use to cover up the bottom portion so everyone can quickly see your color, and what you'll be doing that turn.

It may be that none of the cards have a flight plan y0u want to follow. In this case you'll just leave the card facedown on the "reveal." Each card has a single-movement-in-any-direction icon on it, and you'll be doing just that for your flight plan.

Now, in sequence order each player has the option to play one of the three remaining cards in his or her hand for its action. Some of the actions hurt, and some helpand some do a little of both. As such, you can choose to play the action on yourself or on another player.

Most cards will affect a dirigible's movement during the regular movement step. The game comes with extra chits with directions on them that you can grab and add either before or after your Flight Plan, depending on the action played.

photo (3)Some action card effects happen immediately. If that happens, move the dirigible immediately, and this might affect the sequence for the next round of cad play. Once each player has had a chance to play one action card, or passed, you'll start a new round. Because things on the board have likely changed, players who passed previously can jump right back in and play a card this round. These rounds of card play continue until every player has passed.

Now the movement phase begins with the person in the lead. Movement is the only "tricky" part of the game, but because of the mechanisms it has to be. First, you take a cube and move it onto the farthest left vector of your Flight Planwhich might now have extra vectors attached to it, thanks to action cards. Once you've done that, then you'll attempt to move your dirigible piece on the board. If your dirigible runs into a hazard, or another player, it simply bounces back to the space it came from. But the cube remains on the vector, because you've attempted that move. Some Flight Plans have alternate routes, designated by an open arrow (rather than the solid one you'll usually see). In order to take that route, you'll need to discard a card from your hand.

Once each player has movedor attempted to moveon the first vector, then you go to the next one. But player order may have changed now, and you use the new player order. This might change after every single vector, but that's just part of the game.

People will start running out of vectors on their Flight Plan, and as they do, they're just done. Others continue moving until they run out of vectors, too.

Once everyone has moved, each player can discard any unwanted cards, and then draw up to four cards.

Once someone crosses the finish line, he or she is declared THE WINNER!!!

photoThe Hazard Boards

We'll just highlight a few of the hazard boards. Again, some of these might change, or become promos, or whatever. This is just to give you idea of what sort of things are on the boards.

A Bit of BallastOn this board are a number of tokens depicting anvils connected to balloons. If you stop on a space with one of these tokens, you can pick one up and keep it with you. You immediately move one space down. At any time you can drop one of these ballast tokens to immediately raise up one space. You can have (and drop) multiple tokens at the same time.

Inspiration PointIf you end your move on this board, you can draw up to five cards instead of four.

Slalom 1There are four gates on this board, each in one of the player colors. You HAVE to move through your color of gate in order to proceed to the next board.

Slalom 2This is just like Slalom 1, except there are gates at the start and the end of the board. And the colors aren't lined up...

HeadwindsDirigibles cannot move straight forward on this board. All other movement directions are okay, but any straight forward move results in a bounce.

Four Old Folks Looking for the Farmer's MarketThese are four balloon tokens that start on the board in predesignated spaces. After action cards have been played, but before movement, the player in last place gets to move each on of the tokens to any adjacent open space. They block movement just like any other obstacle, and dirigibles will bounce.

There are others, but you get the idea...

photo (1)The Verdict

Firestone—Two turns into this, my 9-year-old said, "This is a really fun game!" And that pretty much sums up my thoughts, too. This was fun. While I'm generally not a fan of take-that, and mess-with-your-opponent games, it fits the theme here. It reminds me of the old Hanna-Barbera "Wacky Races" cartoon—except everyone is Dick Dastardly and Muttley, trying to jockey for position by sabotaging opponents.

JeremiahYeah, this is a fun take-that game with some great puzzle-solving strategery involved. The art and theme constantly reminded me of a Monty Python-esque universe in the animation style of Terry Gilliam. Pretty outrageous, and absurd all at the same time. It made for a lot of fun. I will say that my 5-year old did have a tough time getting through this on;, it seems like it's a game he would hang in there with, but I had to give more than a moderate amount of advice to him each turn.

Firestone—The hazard boards are a great way to introduce variability, replayability, and humor into the game. I generally like racing games, but the only real variability in games such as Mississippi Queen and Snow Tails is that sometimes the track will go this way, and sometimes it will go that way. That's good, because static tracks get boring quickly, but these hazard boards make every game really feel different. And it's ripe for expansions—either from 12SP themselves, or fan-made boards people post on Boardgamegeek. That's going to give Zeppeldrome legs...

Jeremiah I totally agree: The board and card concepts make this game exponentially expandable, and multitudenally (that's not a word) re-playable. I also enjoy the fact that you can create a custom length to the game by adding or subtracting game boards, without completely breaking down the game and how it plays.

Firestone—The programming can be a little complex, as you're trying to figure out where your zeppelin might end up, and when that might happen. You also have to look at what other people's programs look like, because someone moving to a spot before you will cause you to bounce back to where you were, and that will affect your programming. That puts it on the upper end of the Nongamer Complexity Spectrum (tm) for me. Not a dealbreaker at all; just be aware.

Jeremiah—Yeah, like you said, whereas most race games are very non-gamer friendly, this one can lead to tons of analysis paralysis, and many, many threats of the cutting off of hands, or other forms of bodily harm in order to get the game moving again. I think the general rule of thumb is either play every action card on yourself, or every action card on someone else to try and mess them up. Splitting your strategy seems to be a bit confounding.

Firestone—I like how you can strategically fail a move, just to allow you to do what you want. You're limited by what the cards in your hand will allow you to do, but there are ways to manipulate it in your favor. That adds a lot for me. There's still chaos, mind you, but also some strategy.

Firestone—The only word of caution here is one of the cards: It's called "Captain Ernst's Cheapass Engine." This is a nod to James Ernst, who founded the game company Cheapass Games, which has small, cheap games that simply provide you with a set of rules, and you cobble together the needed pieces from other games. There are two of those cards in the game, and I simply took a pen and drew over the word "ass." It was a simple fix, though I wish I hadn't had to make it—especially since everything else about the game is so perfect for playing with your family!

Jeremiah's Final Verdict— Go back this game! Zeppeldrome is a fun family game that will get you some great replay value; it's a fun theme that will engage both gamer folks and non-gamers alike! There's plenty of fun, decision-making, an,d of course, a touch of chaotic take-that, which leads me to say, put this game on your table!

Firestone's Final Verdict—Zeppeldrome is a fast, fun race game. The programmed movement works well. The variable boards mean most games with be different. And the ability to mess with your opponents feels right in this sort of racing game. My family has had great fun with this one, and you should definitely put this game on the table! (After you back it on Kickstarter, of course!)

We'd like to thank 12SP Entertainment for providing prototype copies of the game for us to play. This was NOT a paid preview.

Stay tuned for more on this game—including an interview with co-designer Anthony Gallela next week! Thanks for reading!

Kickstarter Weekly—January 17, 2014

ZepeldromeWe're wrapping up the week with a new podcast, and some new Kickstarter projects. So what are they? I'm glad you asked. Featured Kickstarter Campaign: Zeppeldrome: A Humorous, Hazardous, Dirigible Relay. It's a race to the finish, and there are all kinds of hazards you can play with, which ups the replay value. Look for a review of this game next week, and an interview with designer Anthony Gallela in a week or so. A mere $29 gets you copy of the game.

Zombie15coverBecause the world needs more zombie games, here's IELLO's latest offering: Zombie 15', which is a real-time cooperative take on the tired, old genre. You play in exactly 15 minutes, and follow a soundtrack, like Escape: Curse of the Temple. A "mere" $70 gets you a copy of the game.




Fresco Big boxFresco Big Box is a big box of...Fresco. Because the world needed that? Again, $70 gets you the game.



Village in a BoxVillage In a Box is a micro game where you're trying to build the best village. There are lots of extra games you can add on to this one. Check it out here!



CountdownCountdown: Special Ops is brought to you by Game Salute. There aren't tons of different tiers: $35 gets you the game. Boom.


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