Since the release of Sentinels of the Multiverse on iPad way back in 2014 Handelabra, has established themselves as one of the top board game devs in the biz, right up there with Playdek and Czech Games. While I get that Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and One Deck Dungeon aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, you can’t deny that everything they touch is polished to a blinding sheen. Thus, when they announce a new project or, as is the case today, launch a new Kickstarter, we listen. We already knew they’re working on digital versions of both Spirit Island and Aeon’s End, and it’s the latter that is now available on everyone’s favorite crowdfunder.
Aeon’s End is a deckbuilder/cooperative game mashup that somehow manages to work. Players work together building decks to ultimately defeat the Big Bad.
Aeon’s End is a cooperative deck-building game where you struggle to defend the city of Gravehold from The Nameless and their hordes using unique abilities, powerful spells, and, most importantly of all, your wits.
Luckily, I’ve been told I’m full of wit [no, you’re full of “shit”, not “wit” you idiot -ed.] my entire life, so let’s go!
The game’s Kickstarter is specifically for the Steam version (PC/Mac/Linux) with no mention of a mobile, which might sound like a bad thing. It’s not. Mobile rewards on Kickstarter have been a terrible combo since way back when the iPad was a new toy. There’s no good way to deliver mobile rewards (especially for Apple devices), so offering them via Kickstarter only results in both patrons and devs getting angry and looking like tools. Handelabra knows this and targets the easy to distribute platform (Steam) in their Kickstarters. That said, a mobile version of Aeon’s End is coming, but won’t be available until after the Kickstarted version goes live. If other recent Handelabra projects are any indicator, it won’t be more than a few months after the Steam version that a version of Aeon’s End arrives on your tablet.
Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk more about Aeon’s End, specifically, what they’re planning to include. The game will cost $20 when released, but backers can hop on now for only $15. Of course, there are higher level pledges as well that let you into the beta or alpha tests, if that’s your bag. Let’s blurb this out:
- 8 playable mages, each with a unique starting card
- 4 nemeses to defeat, each with their own mechanics
- 27 unique player cards (gems, spells, & relics)
- 22 general nemesis cards
- 53 nemesis-specific cards
- Local co-op play with 1-4 mages
- Interactive tutorial so you can learn the game while you play
- Brand-new music composed by Jean-Marc Giffin
- Steam Achievements
- Steam Cloud Saves
- All unlocked promo cards and mages from stretch goals
Speaking of Stretch Goals, those include new cards created by the physical game’s designer specifically for digital, as well as Aeon’s End slew of expansion packs. There are a bunch of expansions for Aeon’s End, and getting them all is a must if you want the full experience on your laptop or, eventually, iPad. You’ll also notice there’s no mention of Online Multiplayer. As is the Handelabra way, version 1.0 of most of their titles are local play only. They have said that they hope (plan?) to bring online multiplayer to the game after launch, but getting the game out there first is more important from their point of view. As someone who likes playing my cooperative games solo anyway, I concur.
One of the cooler things about this Kickstarter is the release of a playable demo. Yep, you can log on and play right now. It’s not the full game (it should only last for 5-10 mins) and, of course, things between this online demo and the final product will most likely be vastly different. That said, you can read up how to play on the Kickstarter page and then head over here and give it a go right in your browser.
We’ll keep checking in with the Handelabra guys to see if we can snag any other details or screens as development moves forward. As for you, head to the Kickstarter and give it a gander. They’re asking for $30K over the next 29 days. I think we can handle that.