It’s been a while since our initial Kickstarter Projects post and we’ve received several of these games now. Here’s a follow-up post with our thoughts on some of these now released games. I am not doing full reviews of each game here (though we may do full reviews later), just a brief summary of thoughts.
Serpent’s Tongue was something that had me highly intrigued last summer. Unfortunately they still have not shipped yet, but this isn’t all bad. They have been updating their backers regularly with what is going on and the delays seem well worth it from what I have seen. This is expected to ship soon so maybe I can have more information once it does. For now I can say that the production quality on this game is looking great from the previews we’ve seen.
They did release a print-and-play version for backers to test, but I did not get a chance to try it. I did, however, read through the rules. The rules sound pretty interesting but it’s hard to get a grasp for how it will play with the hand gestures and words of power until it’s on the table.
Tammany Hall went through a bit of a delay getting out, but it’s all shipped now. The first thing I noticed on receiving it was the high quality components. The board is very thick and sturdy and all the pieces are just great. I was incredibly pleased with the overall production quality (though I wish the stickers came applied as I spent an hour or two just doing that).
The gameplay is also something that I greatly enjoyed. This is perhaps one of my favorite games I’ve received from Kickstarter so far. It’s something that’s very easy to learn and pick up quickly, but something that can take quite a while to master. The turns consist of simply placing your wardens (which determine areas you control) and/or the immigrant cubes (which give you favor tokens) in sections of the city. At the end of every round (4 turns) players go through each section one at a time adding up their wardens and secretly bidding favor tokens to determine who wins that sector (thus scoring VP and starting with 1 warden in that sector for the next round). The player with the most sectors is the mayor and earns 3 bonus VP and then has to assign out an office card to each player giving them a special power for the next round. It’s very strategic and a ton of fun. I highly recommend picking this one up.
First of all, Disaster Looms is a project that has had some issues. There were some complaints about the quality of the components. I ran into two issues. First, one side of my CEOs and Corporations expansion rule sheet was blank. Fortunately this didn’t contain a ton of important information and was available on Board Game Geek to download. The other issue is that the player dashboard wheels had connectors that don’t quite fit right. This is something that is being remedied and we are waiting on replacement connectors still. The game is entirely playable without them, though.
The game itself is a lot of fun. It runs a bit long (somewhere in the 3-5 hour range from my experience, but that’s playing with new players so it could be shortened a bit). The rulebook I found to be a bit lacking and laid out poorly. Since release they have re-written and released the rulebook v2.0 which is much better. Things are explained a bit more clearly and there are more examples. The game itself is about players gathering people form earth and colonizing planets in a randomly generated hex grid.
The most interesting part of this game for me was the technology setup. Each player can research technologies on his turn, up to a maximum of 3. A player can also sell any technologies he owns to the public domain. The player who owns a technology has free use of it, but once it is sold to the public domain anyone can use it. Players may pay the owner of a technology to license it for that turn. This allows players to hold on to the highly sought after technologies and earn some income as the other players use them each turn. Since you can’t have more than 3 technologies there is some strategy in which technologies to hold on to and when to sell a technology into the public domain for all to use.
Exile Sun was the first board game I backed and the first to arrive. The production quality on this was very good. The rulebook was pretty well done for the most part, though there were a few pieces that didn’t really fall into place until we actually played the game (though that is to be expected of most board games I think).
This is another game that has an incredibly long play time, likely around 4-5 hours for a full game. I really like the ideas used in the game and how everything meshed together. However, I do have a big complaint with the round setup. The game is played over 3 rounds and at the beginning of each round the players complete a Supplies action to assign their resources out to move new cards (better ships) into their main deck, draw cards from their deck, build ships, or obtain tech cards. Since it’s hard to do more than two of these on a given round the deck-building type mechanic of adding new ship cards to your main ship deck feels very weak. I feel like the game would greatly benefit from more rounds or more frequent uses of the Supplies phase to allow for some more interesting strategies.
Where the game shines is in the combat setup. You have various size fleets, with the sizes being hidden from other players unless they scan your ships, that you move around the board until entering combat with another player. During the battle phase each player plays a number of ship cards equal to the size of the fleet (3, 4, or 5 cards) into different lanes. Rather than any random mechanics here the players count up the power on their ships and assign that power to both offense and defense across all 5 lanes. It is a lot of fun trying to outsmart your opponent with the placement of your offense and defense. Do you go all out offense and hope to obliterate your opponent in a round or two? Do you protect your big ships expecting a big attack or your weak ships expecting your opponent to try and pick them off? Overall this is a decent game if you are looking for a space game of mostly combat, but there may be better alternatives.
Unfortunately I did not have the funds to back everything we posted about so I can’t comment on Ground Floor or Defenders of the Realm: Battlefields. I have backed quite a few other games, which if you’re following us on facebook or twitter you might have seen us posting about. We’ll try and get some reviews up of these new games, including City of Iron (which I am very excited about), Monolith, Fallen City of Karez, and CoolMiniOrNot’s Guilds of Cadwallon. I have learned quite a bit about Kickstarter from all of these projects and the one thing you should keep in mind if you do decide to back any games is that they will rarely hit their target dates. I have had mostly positive experiences with Kickstarter, though, and will continue to back any interesting new games.