Kickstarter: Interesting Projects. Or, More Ways to Spend Money.

I’ve been on a Kickstarter run lately, and I’ve been fascinated at how many great projects there are out there.

So, in order to get a few of them some more exposure, and to help you spend more of your hard earned money on games, I’m to be compiling lists of projects that I find interesting, and worth funding.

I myself may not fund all the projects I discover, but this article series will focus on the ones that have piqued my interest, and might find an audience with some of our readership.

By clicking on the title of the game, it will open a link to the Kickstarter project page.

This week, I’m going to really focus on two projects that I have backed. These are both awesome ideas, and deserve the funding they’re seeking. Not only are they both great ideas, and possess great themes, one of them will certainly make the little gamers in your life very happy. The other one has the coolest theme since zombies….except not every second game on Kickstarter uses them. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the first recent board games to even tackle the theme Awesome Enterprise has used with this game.

So, if you want to help out two very deserving companies and their projects, please back one of these two. Or, even better, back both of them!

Neither of these projects has yet reached their funding goal, and both of them very much deserve to get funded. These are also not projects that will proceed anyway, without the funding from Kickstarter. If they don’t get the funding from their campaigns, then neither of these projects will see the light of day.

 

Forge of Honor : Targimals and Bordor Blades & Shields

I checked out this project a couple of times, and thought it was a neat idea. I wasn’t really interested in backing it, but still thought it was pretty damn cool. Then, while I was perusing the Kickstarter page, my daughter came and had a look. It was then that the money flew out of my wallet.

Once she saw this image she said, “I want the purple sword, daddy.” Now what gamer dad in his right mind would deny their child such a request? I know I couldn’t. And next thing you know, she’s calling her little brother over and asking which one he wants. Now, my daughter is asking me to look at the Kickstarter page any time I’m on the computer.

Seriously folks, show these pictures to your kids, and you’ll be pulling out your credit card and backing this project. Well, I’m also a sucker for my kids….but that’s not the only reason you should definitely help this project reach it’s funding goal; read on.

Not only is it a cool, fun, and kid-friendly project for you parents out there, the owner Dale Taylor who’s running the project, sent me a personal email thanking me for being a backer. That’s the first time any Kickstarter I have backed has done that. A personal thank you? Even though there’s well over a hundred backers?

That’s what really made me unquestioningly keep my money invested here. And this is why crowdfunding is such an awesome enterprise. Never before has the customer-manufacturer relationship ever been so close, and personal.

Not only did Dale send me a personal thank you for helping fund the project, he asked if I knew anyone who blogged, and to help spread the word. After a few back-and-forths, he offered me some exclusive content for this article. I was busy looking after my two kids, and my neice for 4 days, so I didn’t get enough time to do-so before having to submit this article for deadline, unfortunately (sorry Dale!).

So, what do you get when you pledge? The campaign is based around the ‘Targimals’, which are fantasy based plushies, and each has a matching plush sword, and shield set. I find the plush sword and shield better than the cheap foam found in your usual mass market stores, and they have some flavour, and individuality. They come in a wide range of colours and shapes, suitable for both boys and girls.

There are several pledge levels which begin at $20 for just a Targimal. The $25 level is just a Bordor Blade, a $48 pledge will get your youngster a Targimal and Shield, and the $58 pledge will net you a Targimal, Blade, and Shield.

The $58 pledge is an Earlybird, and if you miss it, you’ll have to pledge $62 or $68 to get the full set. There are several other levels for two fulls sets, just a full set of Targimals, 3 full sets, all 6 full sets, a set for adults (rejoice LARPers!), and a couple more high dollar pledges that will reap benefits such as helping to design another Targimal, Blade, and Shield.

As you can see, for those conscientious parents that don’t want their kids playing with even plush swords, there are pledge levels without them.

The Kickstarter pledge will net you a significant discount over the retail price of the Targimal sets, even if you miss the Earlybird levels. The International shipping for this project is also very reasonable, sitting at $20 or less for all but the largest of pledges.

Also included in your pledge are several goodies, one of which is a door hanger ‘Monsters Beware: Room Guarded by Forge of Honor’.

If you want to get your kids something cool and fun, and they enjoy imagining fighting dragons and monsters, then help make Forge of Honor a reality on Kickstarter. There are even stories and books featuring the Targimals in the works, and Dale seems really passionate about getting this idea off the ground.Every so often, Kickstarter has a really special project that simply must see the light of day. This is one of them. The campaign runs for 18 more days, and they’re close to 80% of their funding goal. There’s plenty of time to back this project, and if you want the value pricing of the Earlybird pledges, there is no time to waste; the Earlybirds are going very quickly.

If you’re a parent that wants to promote inventive play, and help your gamer kids’ imaginations grow, then back Forge of Honor!

 

Shuriken

Ninjas. Ninjas. More Ninjas. Ninjas Battling.

Do I need to say more? I personally don’t think so, but I’ll elaborate anyway.

Shuriken is a fast and furious head-to-head battle game for 2-5 players. Each player controls one Ninja Clan that you will place, move, and upgrade on a modular tile board.  There are several different kinds of Ninja, different tiles with different benefits, depending on the type of Ninja occupying the tiles, and the board itself can suffer destruction due to the warfare taking place on it. There are several scenarios, and two exclusive Kickstarter scenarios, and associated cards will ship with the game when it is funded.

This means the game has a very high replay value, and the thing that sold me on it was the fast and furious game play. The very interesting thing here is that it’s not just a ‘smash your opponents to bits’ type of game. The game ends after a set amount of time, and whomever has the most victory points at the end is the winner. Interested yet? Keep reading.

All four Ninjas Clans have a special ability, unique to each. The ‘Hour of Night’ cards, of which, 8 are chosen for each game, have different effects for each round of play, and each player draws ‘Mission’ cards throughout the game.

Missions, when completed can provide benefits, or special one time uses, and will be scored for points at the end of the game. So, your VP score is largely affected by how well you carry out your Missions, and how many of the other clans Ninja you’re capturing.

In addition to all that, the board can be set up unique to each game, adding even more to the replay value. There’s nothing worse than a game that devolves into the same optimal moves, over and over again.

Shuriken uses an action management system, where you have only 3 actions per round, and 4 different actions to choose from. So, you’ll be deciding whether to move your Ninja, confront your enemies, upgrade Ninja currently on the board, or by expanding your forces by bringing more Ninja onto the board. This makes for fluid and dynamic play, and will provide a constant flow of action/reaction against your opponents.

The game uses 10 custom dice for combat, and the combat resolution is very quick and easy; a hit removes one opposing Ninja from the tile. If too many ‘destruction’ hits are rolled, the tile itself takes damage, and is flipped over, removing all Ninja on it. Once that happens, the tile no longer has any benefits, and may instead hinder any ninja entering it thereafter.

The Kickstarter page has a link to the PDF of the current rulebook if you want to check it out yourself. You don’t have to take my word that this will be a fun game. Three independent reviewers have played the prototypes of the game, and all have said it’s tons of fun. They’re linked in the updates, and Kickstarter front page, so you can check them out as well.

Did I mention yet that it has NINJAS?!

Yeah, ok, so the Ninja Clans going in an all-out war overnight may not be 100% historically accurate.

But, the idea is awesome, as is the execution of the game mechanics. It’s no surprise why the game play feels solid, and fluid, as it’s designed by former Fantasy Flight Games designers, Brian Wood, and Jon Cazares.

The Kickstarter page touts 250 plastic ninja as a selling point, but that’s not what really sold me on this game; the mechanics, modular customizable board, and gameplay did.

Sure, it’s awesome that it comes with piles of plastic ninja as well, but this games’ customization and theme is what really sets it apart from the other projects constantly popping up on Kickstarter. Even though it’s lacking a production prototype, it’s easy to see that this is a fantastic game inside that awesome looking box. Plus, it has a unique theme that you don’t see too often in board games, if at all.

The campaign has several levels to back, with the lowest being just a Bag of 100 Ninja for $25.  You can pledge for the game itself for $75, or with some extras; 100 Black Ninja (for custom scenarios) and the game for $100, $115 for the former, and an extra 10 dice. There’s also pledges at $125 for the game, extra dice, black ninja, and a leather foil stamped bag, or the ‘All in’ pledge for the game, extra dice, 100 black ninja, and 5 leather bags, each stamped with each Clan’s colour in foil.

The only down side for International backers is the shipping cost, which falls in the $25-50 range. Canadian backers get it for a little less. But, Awesome Enterprise is working on solutions to getting the shipping down in price for everyone else. It’s also a very heavy game, shipping with a ton of plastic and cardboard from a new, and independent publisher. So, I can undertsnad at least why the shipping cost is on the high side.

The best thing about all of this is how transparent and communicative Awesome Enterprise is with their backers. They’re very open to feedback, and this being their first Kickstarter, I can honestly say they’re doing an excellent job so far. There’s a month left in this campaign, so there’s plenty of time to hop on board, and before long, you’ll be trashing the Tea House with your clan of silent killers.

Do you like Ninjas? Do you like fast and furious game play? Difficult decisions? Then I’d definitely say Shuriken is a project you should back.

Remember folks, this is another project that won’t happen without Kickstarter. If you’re sitting on the fence, or thinking that you’ll just get this when it hits retail, it may not have that chance without you helping to fund it!

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