Kickstarter Round-up: March 25 – 29

Kickstarter is quickly becoming a favorite place for us here at Castles and Cooks to mine for our next great game or piece of cooking equipment. While the risks are well established, the chance to discover something truly unique is one of the things that keeps us coming back for more. From time to time we’ll aggregate our favorite Kickstarters here and tell you why they are worth supporting.

Methodology: We do not actually back every project listed in this round-up (though we do specifically indicate those projects we have helped fund). The projects that we choose are based on several factors, but we tend to gravitate toward projects that have low risk, great value, and where there is excellent communication about the economics. It also helps for the product to just be awesome, something that we would want to play or use.

Relic Expedition: A Jungle Adventure Game
What is it: An adventure board game where players compete to navigate a dangerous jungle, looking for treasure and trying to escape while fighting each other and dangerous animals.
For fans of: Forbidden Island, Carcassonne, Meeples
Why we love it: What immediately jumps out at us is that this is a PvP version of Forbidden Island, which we love. The variety to the map and unpredictability are a big sell as well, since it’ll increase the shelf life of the game. The artwork is simple and clean, but looks great, especially the merit badge-esque item tokens. Oh, and animal Meeples will get our attention every single time. There’s some risk, since this is Foxtrot Games first effort, but their publishing and distribution partners are solid (and nicely listed in the risks section).

Rockaway Shore Relief Restaurant
What is it: Two individuals who started “Shore Soup” to help feed victims of Hurricane Sandy in Rockaway NY are now looking to create a “pay what you can” kitchen to continue their project of delivering healthy sustainable food to individuals affected by Sandy.
For fans of: Helping people, sustainable food initiatives, good soup.
Why we love it: Supporting food projects on Kickstarter is tough. Generally you don’t get any benefit besides the reward for backing, unless the company or restaurant is local. In this case the decision is easier, since all the money goes to the great cause of helping hurricane victims, but instead of just donating money to a larger relief fund, your support goes directly toward helping to feed those in need. The amount of meals that Lillian and Robyn have served (50k in 3.5 months) with just their Shore Soup program is staggering. Yes, they are looking for a large capital outlay, so this might appear to be a riskier Kickstarter, but the potential benefits seem worth it.

We’re also really impressed by the commitment to healthy and sustainable food, which is often times a bit harder to accomplish especially if the supply chain isn’t there. Based on their track record with donations, it appears that with the right capital they are in a position to deliver.

Fairy Mischief: A Fairy Charm Challenge
What is it: A card game designed for young people (specifically young girls), to teach them various game mechanics. Taking cues from the popular (but tedious) card game “war”, the game involves players dueling as they attempt to collect a series of gems for a magic bracelet.
For fans of: Miskatonic School for Girls, Great games to play with kids
Why we love it: We’re in favor of any project aimed at helping kids transition into the world of gaming. It can sometimes be difficult given the short attention spans of kids and the complexity of many games. Fairy Mischief looks to be a great bridge game. It also helps that Jasmine Becket-Griffith has joined up to do all the artwork for the game. Be sure to check out the intro video on Kickstarter, we dare you to not find it adorable.

Dwarven Forge’s Game Tiles
What is it: An adaptable set of dungeon gaming terrain, extremely durable and meant to be rearranged in an instant.
For fans of: Dungeon Delves, tabletop terrain, miniatures combat
Why we love it: The combination of incredible value and meticulous design make this a near must own for any Dungeon Master or gamer who finds the need for dungeon terrain. Even with just one set of game tiles you’ll be able to create a multitude of rooms and hallway setups for your players. It’s already been fully funded and wow, the stretch goals that have been announced are great. They’re basically giving away tons of free and extra game tiles with each set. There are a few choices for styles, including a hand painted set that looks incredible.

Zombicide Season 2
What is it: An expansion and full sequel to the hit board game Zombicide, along with tons of extras. The sequel adds “toxic” zombies and moves the game to the genre defining locale of a shopping mall. While the next game in the series has players facing down berserker zombies in the close quarters of a prison. New mechanics like locking doors, elevation, and barricades are just some of the changes and improvements.
For fans of: Zombicide, the Walking Dead, DayZ
Why we love it: The original Zombicide is one of our favorite games and was the project that made us stand up and take notice of Kickstarter as a legitimate place to find great board games. We love the expansion of locales, zombie types, and gameplay options in the sequel. As with the original game, there are tons of stretch goals and extra optional characters. While it might seem that all the extras are causing backers to increase funding for minimal value, backing the game on Kickstarter is still miles ahead of the retail version, and well worth the potentially high initial investment.