kickstarter tagged posts

Kickstarter Round-Up: March 10 – 15

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.

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Ascension Rise of Vigil Kickstarter Previews

With the new Ascension Online Kickstarter in full swing (but ending Thursday at 9 pm), Stone Blade Entertainment has turned it into a preorder-stravaganza as well! After Rise of Vigil was accidentally leaked, SBE is now previewing the upcoming set – which you can preorder through the campaign!

Rise of Vigil is looking to be a new block that expands Ascension in a different direction. Chronicles of the Godslayer and Return of the Fallen introduced core mechanics, Storm of Souls and Immortal Heroes brought us events, soul gems and trophy monsters. Now Rise of Vigil drops events and soul gems for treasures and energy.

Those probably need some explaining. According to SBE:

Treasures are cards that do not take up space in the center row. Whenever a treasure card enters the center row, you continue to place cards on top of it until you hit a non-treasure card. Whenever a player acquires or defeats a card with treasure under it, that player also acquires all of those treasures.

The Energy Shards are treasures, and they generate a resource called Energy and draw a card whenever you play them.

Energy is a new resource in Rise of Vigil. Unlike Runes or Power, Energy is not spent. Some cards have Energize abilities which turn on when you reach a certain Energy threshold. The Energize text on a Hero, Construct, or Monster reward is active if you have gained energy equal to or greater than its Energize number that turn.

So what does this energy do? Absolutely crazy things!

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Evil Intent, Kraken Games, and How to Revive a Failed Kickstarter

The world of Kickstarter is rife with opportunity and tragedy. The independent crowd source funding site has gained widespread attention and popularity for the staggering money that developers across industries have raised by appealing directly to consumers.

Yet for every Double Fine Adventure and Zombicide there are dozens of projects that barely raise any money at all, and fall well short of funding goals. According to a study by Ethan Mollick of UPenn in 2012, only 3% of projects that fail get even 50% toward their goal. With all of the odds seemingly stacked against projects that don’t take off, it seems crazy to think that a company would go back to Kickstarter a second time after failing.

Enter Evil Intent, the first project from Kraken Games, a small Houston based gaming company currently operating out of a home office. In it you play as an evil mastermind with plans to takeover the world. Trouble is all of your opponents have the same idea. Players take turns trying to accumulate resources and assets to achieve their secret evil scheme all while trying to prevent their rivals from doing the same. The game calls for 2-6 players and scales in duration based on the number of players.

Evil Intent first was posted to Kickstarter in the latter half of 2012. It had a funding goal of around $55,000, but by the end of fundraising it hadn’t even reached 50% (the final tally was $23,439). Many people would have given up, perhaps moved on to other projects. Instead Kraken Games re-tooled, fueled by feedback from backers, and returned to Kickstarter with a vengeance – and a funding goal that was cut by more than half!

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Kickstarter Alert: Ascension Online

We love Ascension here at Castles and Cooks. Personally, I play the game a dozen or so times a day and am eagerly waiting for Immortal Heroes to come out on the iOS version (speaking of which, expect a full review of that expansion this week).

But a lot of people wanted Ascension on Android – and now is your chance! This super limited Kickstarter (it ends 2/28) has something for everyone – even those who don’t have a Droid device. It also doubles as a preorder for the new Ascension expansion, Rise of Vigil!  The goal of $125,000 is a big one, but hiring a new programmer or two isn’t cheap. And they are working on a PC port too!

The levels of support range from simple ($10 for all expansions in digital form) to absurdly awesome ($10,000 to become a god in Ascension). If you haven’t played Ascension, it is one of the best deck building games on the market and it is even better in digital form.

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Arena Review: Mummy the Curse


I finally did it. I Kickstarted something. Seems like the internet has been abuzz with Kickstarter for a while but I wasn’t sure how to get started. However, White Wolf‘s new electronic distribution arm the Onyx Path has been doing a series of Kickstarter campaigns to finance the production of new sourcebooks and I’ve been getting really excited about this business model. The first project I backed has finally come out and it’s pretty amazing: Mummy: the Curse.

A lot of people probably see the title and think it’s either A) a joke game, B) suited for just one story, or C) both. I’m not going to lie, there is less room for breadth-of-play here than with other World of Darkness Games but it’s still pretty amazing. I’ll let the Introduction get you excited instead of explaining myself:

Inhuman immortals—some called the “Arisen,” others “Shuankhsen”—walk these crowded streets, as they have since before Rome ever paved her own. They are the last remnants of a bygone age and empire, refusing to let slip their grip upon a world that has long since moved on. They are at once ancient and terrible, innocent and proud, isolated, tragic, and obscene. And at their very core, they are relentless.”

Genre: Occult horror
System: New World of Darkness
Potential Library: Small (just the core book so far but six sourcebooks planned)
Publisher: White Wolf / Onyx Path

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Kickstarter Round-Up Epic Kitchen Edition: A Sword-Pan & Horn Goblet

Usually when we do Kickstarter rounds up, it is for great looking board games. This week though, we’re going to the kitchen for two that I automatically pledged my support for.

Combat Kitchenware

Status: Funded!
End date: December 13, 2012
Minimum Pledge to get it: $45 for a pan
Expected release date:  January 2013

What is it: A frying pan with a sword handle. And it it’s dishwasher safe! IT IS A SWORD-PAN!

Why you should pledge: What part of IT IS A SWORD-PAN didn’t you understand? I originally thought our Baker’s battle-whisk and our Chef’s frying pan buckler were good, but a sword-frying-pan? That is absolutely absurd but so incredibly perfect.

If you don’t want a Teflon coated pan, stainless steel and cast iron are available – and there are two different handles to pick from: the hero and the villain. As a project, I give them my highest praise: I wish I had thought of this.

As an added bonus, there are a limited number of cast iron Christmas pans available for a holiday release.

Das Horn: the Definitive Drinking Horn

Status: Funded!
End date: December 12, 2012
Minimum Pledge to get it: $35
Expected release date: February 2013

What is it: a plastic horn goblet with a stainless steel rim

Why you should pledge: I can’t be the only one who wants to be a viking. While I regularly feel like I was born in the wrong century, this is  the kind of chalice that deserves to be in your kitchen. Besides the fact that it holds almost two beverages (and it is shaped like a horn), it’s genius in its execution. Oh, and it comes with a neck strap since you can’t set it down.

With enough support, it will also include a display stand that will make this an epic accessory on your mantle. So go pledge your support!

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Kickstarter Round-Up: Cards, Dice, Tiles and… Salmon?

There is no denying how absurdly popular Kickstarter has become in the gaming industry. But while anyone can toss up their idea, it takes something truly unique to catch my attention and earn my pledge. Here are four projects that Castles and Cooks will be backing.

Salmon Run

Status: Funded!
End date: Sunday October 28, 11:00am EDT
Minimum Pledge to get the game: $36
Expected release date: March 2013

What is it: A fast-paced racing game for everyone! Rapids, waterfalls, bears, & eagles all await the salmon on their quest upriver to spawn.

Why you should pledge: In the few years I’ve been active in the board gaming community, I’ve seen a handful of trends come and go. Orcs and goblins are always popular, and Zombies took everyone by storm. But when was the last time you got a game with a theme that is truly unique? Eric and Scott at Games and Grub (they are either our archnemeses or clones of Tom and myself, I can’t tell) did a fantastic interview with the game’s designer, Jesse Carton, about the game and also got the chance to test out a prototype. I’m interested in it because this looks like a fantastic way to introduce people to board gaming with a theme that isn’t quite as off putting as driving around as a deputized hobo punching shut portals in Arkham.

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Three Kickstarter projects to consider: SolForge, Drunk Quest & Relic Knights

There are three Kickstarter projects that are winding down and a worth looking at:

SolForge is continually ramping up their content with this all-new digital CCG designed by some of the most legendary names from Magic: the Gathering like Richard Garfield, Justin Gary and Brian Kibler! They need a bit over $40,000 to meet their goal as an iOS/Droid release. We’ve talked about it a lot already, but if you enjoy Ascension, you’ll probably enjoy this one. SolForge’s run ends Monday September 10th at 7:07 pm EST.

Drunk Quest is what happens when you take a game like Munchkin, but tighten the rules and add some extra drinking. A card combat game for three or more players, I was sold as soon as “Brewmaster” was listed as a class. This project is fully funded and the stretch goals are getting nice. While I wish I had the extra cash for the officially marked beer steins, I’m looking forward to sharing drinks and battling an army of drink pun monsters! Drunk Quest ends Friday September 7th at 6:30 pm EST.

Relic Knights looks absolutely terrifying but also incredibly awesome. Another fully funded project, Relic Knights is being done by the same group that broke Kickstarter in half twice already with Zombicide and Sedition Wars. Relic Knights is a blend of sci-fi action, anime style and miniature combat. They seem to be unlocking content at an alarming pace, but the real kicker is Gabe and Tycho have signed on as well. Relic Knights will be fully funded Sunday September 9th at 9 pm EST.

All three of these projects are worth looking at. Whether you’re after a party card game, a new and innovative digital card game or some of the most stunning miniatures I’ve ever seen, check them out before it is too late!

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Interview: Justin Gary returns with Ascension: Immortal Heroes, SolForge and more!

Once again we got the chance to talk to Justin Gary about the future of Gary Games. I started following Justin’s career while reading about his Magic tournament wins in Inquest and have been playing Ascension viciously on my iPhone for months straight now. With the fourth Ascension expansion getting released this week and the recent launch of their Kickstarter campaign for SolForge; to say they are busy is quite an understatement.

The last time we spoke with Justin, they were gearing up for the the release of Storm of Souls, but in the last year a lot has changed. Justin actually interrupted my best game of Ascension ever when he called, but boy was it worth it!

Jesse: How’ve you’ve been? I’m assuming very busy with Gen Con, SolForge and Immortal Heroes.

Justin: Oh yes. It’s been one of the most insane times in my life. Between Ascension, obviously and SolForge is a huge part of the convention plan, plus a few other things we haven’t even talked about yet. We’re certainly keeping busy.

Jesse: I noticed you guys just broke $100,000 on Kickstarter!

Justin: That’s right; we had a little celebration this morning. We’ve been having fun showing off the screen shots of our recent build and announcing our newest freebie promotion giveaway. If you pledge at least $25 to the campaign, before the end of Gen Con on August 20th, you’ll get a free starter deck when the game launches. It’s just another incentive for all the people out there we are trying to reach.

Jesse: We saw that up on Facebook! And I’m assuming the next few update videos will be better than Kibler’s example of using his desktop icons to show how the game works.

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Arena Review: Zombicide

I’ve been actively trying my best not to get too taken over by Kickstarter campaigns. That would work really well, except for the fact that game designers keep releasing awesome products again and again. But when it comes to Zombicide, I really owe all of it to Tycho over at Penny-Arcade for adamantly pushing it in the spring. Who can say no to hordes of undead endorsed by Tycho?

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