You should back this for the box art alone

Kickstarter Roundup: What’s hot in tabletop gaming on the crowdfunding front

Tabletop •

There are a million discussions out there about Kickstarter and its effect and influence on the world of cardboard gaming with both pros and cons in regards to the crowdfunding giant. Whatever side you may fall on, Kickstarter isn’t going anywhere soon and more and more publishers are finding the pre-order-esque system of Kickstarter a more risk-averse way of publishing than the standard route. From my vantage point the only downside is that many games are Kickstarter only, which means that if you don’t have the time or money to jump on a campaign when it’s live, you’re out of luck and will have to buy the game on the secondary market, which is usually populated by sharks with no interest in said game, only looking to profit and profit big.

Then again, it’s only a game, and missing one of the thousands of releases each year isn’t going to ruin anyone’s life. So, I thought it would be a good time to look at some of the games currently on Kickstarter and let you know what’s out there that looks good. I’m not sure if this will be a weekly or monthly feature (or a recurring feature at all), but I’m desperate for stuff to write about, so I’m using you as guinea pigs. Thanks!

Of course, there are a ton of games out there on Kickstarter and I can’t cover them all. Thus, I’m only grabbing a handful of the games that have piqued my interest.


  • Designer: Martin Wallace
  • Publisher: SchilMil Games
  • Players: 1-4
  • Time: 30-120 mins
  • Campaign: 7 Days to go, funded
  • Stately Play verdict: Backed!
  • Rules

Backing AuZtralia was a no-brainer for me first because it’s a Martin Wallace design and, secondly, because it’s set in Australia which is the place I wish I had grown up, only so I could have that awesome accent instead of this boring Midwestern one. Wait, scratch that, the true second reason is because it’s based on another Martin Wallace gem, A Study in Emerald, which is one of Wallace’s more polarizing designs. Some people can’t stand it, but I LOVE it. This game loses the Sherlockian theme that I adore so much, instead placing you in the middle of a zombie [I knew the Z stood for Zzzzzz….zzzzzzz -ed.] and/or Lovecraftian [I’m back and listening -ed.] nightmare.

It’s also for 1-4 players meaning I can play it solo which, these days, is almost an instant trigger for auto-buying a new game.

The campaign has already pulled in nearly $140,000 and has unlocked a bevy of stretch goals. Head on over and check out the campaign for all the gruesome details.


  • Designer: ゆお (Yuo)
  • Publisher: Daily Magic Games
  • Players: 1-4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Campaign: 15 days to go, funded
  • Stately Verdict: Leaning toward backing
  • Rules

Songbirds is a game I wasn’t familiar with at all until a friend of Stately Play whose opinion I tend to trust mentioned that it would be worth a look. I’m glad he did, because after a little research, it seems that Songbirds is a card game with more bite than its cuddly art would indicate.

As a forest spirit, you help your favorite songbird color prosper in secret. Each turn, you’ll place one songbird with a specific volume into the forest.

The volume of each songbird will add to those of the same color in rows and columns. The songbird color with the loudest volume wins the berry token in the respective column or row.

If there is a tie, the songbird color with the next loudest volume wins.

When the whole forest is filled with songbirds move on to end-game scoring.

At the end of the game, you reveal the last remaining songbird card in your hand. This is your favored songbird and you score the points that the songbird color collected in berry tokens and add in the volume of your favored songbird. The player with the most points wins the game!

The game comes with only 28 cards (2 extra promo cards if you’re a Kickstarter backer), which makes it sound like a perfect, light family game. The fact that there is also conflict and the secret scoring at the end makes it sound like a nearly perfect filler. On top of all that, it can be played solo and the art is great. Oh, and it’s only $16.

The campaign has raked in over $10K now, meaning they’ve pulled in more than 10x their goal of $1k. There are also some stretch goals that have all been unlocked, so if you want a “premium” version of Songbirds, head on over and back it.


  • Designer: Matthew Dunstan
  • Publisher: Funforge
  • Players: 1-4
  • Time: 90 mins
  • Campaign: 22 days to go, currently at $106K of $185K goal
  • Stately Verdict: Want it so bad, but not backing
  • Rules

Monumental is a civilization building card game but also a miniatures game all wrapped up into one very juicy package. They had me at civ-building, but throwing a ton of pretty miniatures on top of it is just mean. How am I supposed to resist? Let me tell you how.

First of all, it’s a civilization game but also promoted as a short civ game, playable in 90 mins. I’ve bought into this hype before and have always been disappointed by it. Civ games are supposed to feel epic and sprawling and give you the sense of the passage of time. That just doesn’t happen in a 90 minute title. I felt the same with games like Clash of Cultures and Nations. Blech! Give me a 3-4 hour civ game that I can live in for an entire afternoon.

Secondly, the game veered into silly as they revealed more civilizations via stretch goals. While the miniatures are all gorgeous and they’ve added some creative and beautiful civs like the Aztecs and Mughals, they ruined all that by then adding the Atlanteans and Amazons which, if you aren’t paying attention, aren’t real civs. Sounds fun, but I prefer my civ games to be based in reality. Yes, I’m fun at parties.

That said, it’s hard to not pull the trigger on this one. It just looks so damn cool, plus Funforge has confirmed that Monumental is a Kickstarter exlcusive meaning it will never make its way to retail. Buy it now or forever hold your peace.

The other downside is that the base game will run you €95, and that doesn’t include the extra civs of the Mughals, Aztecs, Atlanteans, or Amazons. If you want everything they have to offer (and, remember, if you don’t get them now you’ll not have a chance to pick them up at your FLGS later), you need to drop €220. That’s a lot of coin, and a little too rich for my blood. Your pocketbook may vary.

The current backer total is $106K, but they’re looking for a total of $185K. Luckily, they still have 22 days to reach that number which, I’m sure, they’ll have no problem getting.

Edge of Darkness

  • Designer: John D. Clair
  • Publisher: AEG
  • Players: 2-4 (solo rules included via stretch goal)
  • Time: 60-120 mins
  • Campaign: 31 hours to go, funded!
  • Rules
  • Stately Verdict: About to push the button… [spoiler, he pushed the button -ed.]

I don’t know much about AEG’s latest foray onto Kickstarter, Edge of Darkness, but I know that I want it. It’s pulled in nearly half a million bucks, and the stretch goals and Kickstarter exclusive bling is enough to get a lemming like me to pull the trigger. ALL THAT FOR ONLY $100??? KILL ME!

The only thing I can tell from a perusal of the Kickstarter page is that it’s a euro game with a fantasy veneer, and I’m okay with that. Unfortunately, it’s not a solo game [I take that back…the first stretch goal unlocks solo play. Consider it backed. -ed.], but we can’t all be perfect. Watch the video above and see if the lovely Becca Scott [proof that Dave’s a filthy old man -ed.] can help convince you. I know she’ll do a better job of it than I’m doing right now.

Players are the heads of powerful guilds in the city of Aegis. Each Guild vies with the others to become the leaders of the Aegis in a desperate struggle against great evil. But the Guilds must also work together because the dangers facing the city can harm them all.

The Guilds exert their control in the city by sending Agents to various locations where they can generate resources or abilities and enable the Guild to take actions. Guilds grow in power as they maneuver their agents and loyalists into positions of importance in the districts and organizations of Aegis. Over time the Guilds can seek to create synergies between the places their agents have been assigned and the tendrils of influence the Guilds have connected to Aegis’ infrastructure.

To win a Guild must have the most power in the city when the game ends. Power is gained having the allegiance of important citizens and nobles, by accumulating wealth, and by undertaking actions beneficial to the city such as defending it from external and internal threats.

If you’re looking for other reasons to back, the game has transparent cards that you build during the game as well as a Shogun-esque tower to chuck cubes into. What more do you need, really?

The campaign is already funded many times over, and there are a ton of stretch goals to gobble up. To get all that stretch goodness, however, it will cost you $100. There are also add-ons that suckers like me will probably pick up when the pledge manager rolls around. Things like an expansion, metal coins, and super-duper big card sleeves. This is the Cool Mini or Not Kickstarter model that I hate, but my willpower is so low I’m powerless to stop myself from pulling the trigger.


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Notable Replies

  1. Man, I had just about concluded that I didn’t need any more solo board games, but Edge of Darkness looks tempting indeed. Eh–all I need to do is dither for a day and a half, and it’ll be too late. One thing I do like about kickstarter is that it lets me judo the vice of procrastination into the virtue of thrift.

  2. You’ll have to teach me that skill sometime.

  3. Given that I just mentioned my procrastination, this sounds like an Augustinian “…but do not give it yet” sort of request.

  4. I backed AuZtralia, but I just cancelled it.

    I really want it and want to play it, but I just couldn’t justify it. It’s going to be $85 CDN after shipping, which is just around what it will cost retail when it comes out.

    I already have two Kickstarters funding shortly, and I just didn’t want a third.

    So the games I am backing now are Werewords from Bezier Games and Architects of the West Kingdom from Garphill Games.

    I love Raiders of the North Sea from the same publisher, and this sounds like it will be really great too.

  5. Group buy any good to you for Auztralia?

  6. It may be. I’m already in a group buy for Architects.

    I’d have to look at the group buy options.

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