Category Archives: Kickstarter

Kickstarter OGRE miniatures set one arriving


I’m happy to report that the Kickstarter package I backed, OGRE MINIATURES SET ONE, has arrived at the Casa, and it is everything I expected and more.

I backed this Kickstarter out of a desire to see Ogre miniatures back in production, even if for a limited amount of time.  I personally like this version of Steve Jackson’s OGRE far more in miniature form than in board game form.  OGRE Miniatures, the base game associated with the old metal miniatures, is without a doubt a workmanlike approach to the subject of a giant Cybertank being harassed by many flea-like smaller attackers. The OM rules reflect the board game OGRE origins very well, and are certainly easy, but not that sophisticated, either. I have used (older, metal) Ogre Miniatures with GZG’s Dirtside in the past and it works just fine. The important thing is to have the miniatures! That’s why I’ve purchased two sets with the recent SJG kickstarter– one with Blue Ogres and red small units and one colored in reverse.

The basic boxed set comes with 40 minis.. no, that’s not a typo or exaggeration.

The miniatures are plastic, the hard kind that uses Testor’s glue to assemble.  You’ll need an exacto to trim the smaller bits off the sprue and you’ll probably want to soak the finished models in soapy water to remove any trace mold release from the finished model before painting.  I think plastic is a good thing; the original, long out of print metal miniatures were not exactly cheap even in 1992.  With this kickstarter you get a ton of models, in just about the same scale, with just about the same amount of detail as the metal models.  It’s a win-win.

Large Red Ogre, a Mark III and a Mark V come in the box

For some reason Steve Jackson Games seems to think the color of the plastic is important. Thus it Kickstarted a basic red OGRE with blue small units set or the reverse, blue OGRE with red units. The red Ogre is shown above (unassembled). As I purchased two sets, I added the second set in reverse colors, e.g., blue ogre, red small boys.

Large BLUE Ogre, also a Mark III and a Mark V.

and here is the reverse….

GEVs, Heavy Tanks, Infantry, Missile Tanks, etc.  One in blue and one in red.

And here are the small boys, e.g., a sprue of GEV vehicles and a sprue of heavy tanks. (above)

Plastic Color really isn’t that important to me; my thought was I was going to field a force of Paneuropeans (which this set is) in yellow and one in red, much like the old Ogre Miniature rulebook depicted them. I know I did a BackerKit purchase of at least one more set (in green). I will probably paint them the Vatican colors.

Yes, OGRE miniatures set 2 did Kickstart recently and I took them up on their offer, but only one set (so far). I may expand this, as it is mostly Commune units and elements that got introduced in OGRE Shockwave. It’s a great time to get these kind of miniatures. I have always liked the OGRE visual design and it’s nice to have an option that isn’t too burdensome financially.

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OGRE Miniatures, Wave 2 spotted


As you may or may NOT know, I’ve been an enthusiastic backer of the OGRE miniatures project by Steve Jackson Games in the last year. The Kickstarter project funded almost immediately and when they made Backerkit offers, I increased the number of miniatures and bought two more basic sets above and beyond the two sets I started with (one all red, the other all blue, the backerkits green).

A bit of background. OGRE Miniatures have been around for a while in different forms. If I’m remembering things rightly, the defunct MARTIAN METALS may have made some original OGRE Miniatures. I remember seeing a few blisters here and there in shops, and adds for more, but these may have vanished from mortal ken now– even the lost miniatures wiki doesn’t have pictures of them. Well, if you’re an old guy like me you know Martian Metals went defunct long ago and that was a sadness– I liked their attitude, their sculpting was at least, ahem, enthusiastic, and they were very tied in with microgame publishers like Metagaming, which was unique. Sigh. All gone now!

OGRE miniatures didn’t come around for a second chance until the actual OGRE Miniatures game and accompanying (metal) miniatures in 1992. This was the old OGRE scenario without the hex map, and along with the rules, SJG themselves licensed out the production of many packs of OGRE miniatures, both Paneuropean and Combine, over the next ten years. You can still find these here and there on the Internet. They started at 19.95 new but now are going for a princely sum. SJG muddied the waters a little by releasing DELUXE OGRE and DELUXE GEV, sometime in the late 90s, which were essentially magnum sized versions of the old microgames, done with the same metal miniatures from OGRE Miniatures. I own the DELUXE OGRE set myself, but actually (ahem) never painted it. Now I wish I had!

Demand is a fickle mistress and all good miniatures lines have their day in the sun, then they kind of fade away. So it was for OGRE miniatures. SJG ceased production of the line back in the oughts, and that, we thought, was that. Until the Kickstarter for giant-ass OGRE showed up, that is. Suddenly, Steve Jackson Games was flooded with cash as hundreds of people pledged to pay 100 dollars for what was once a 2.95 microgame! Tier after tier after tier was reached and just what the heck extra could you give these people? Who KNEW there this many OGRE fans left alive? So Steve started looking back at this ancient chestnut (designed in 1977) and started coming up with ideas about how to ride that OGRE wave again. OGRE miniatures was obvious (along with a modernization of the ancient PC game, see last week’s post), but who wants to have a warehouse full of metal? SJG had tried that in the past. It didn’t work out. Instead, why not try plastics? Thus the OGRE Miniatures Set 1 kickstarter (mentioned above) was born, funded and over-funded. Interest with modern customers seems as intense now as it was back in the 90s. There is one problem, though. Set One is comprised of only all the units from the original OGRE game– Infantry, GEVs, Missile Tanks, Howitzers, Heavy Tanks and an OGRE MK III. There were several new units introduced in GEV, and further expansions in SHOCKWAVE. So there’s plenty of demand to fuel this train yet.

Today, the Kickstarter update posted a series of tantalizing pictures that indicate that work on SET 2 is already commenced and the first rough prototypes have been produced (in many colors, don’t pay attention to that quite yet).


Wide shot. As you can see, there’s a GEV PC, what looks to be an OGRE III, a light tank, a SuperHeavy tank, a light GEV and a mobile howitzer pictured here.

I’m not sure what will be included in Wave 2 yet, but it looks like it will emulate the units in GEV, on a guess. That works for me. GEV increases the tactical choices in OGRE exponentially, and gives us new terrain to play in.


GEV PC empty…


GEV PC with INF stands in it.

Light GEV. A bargain, you could get two for the price of one and it moves like a GEV.


Fencer variant OGRE; one main gun turret option.


Fencer, Second variant main gun turret.


Superheavy Tank. If memory serves this is a SHOCKWAVE unit, so perhaps there will be a mix of unit releases going forward?


Mobile Howitzer. I remember them looking a little different…


Light tank, introduced in the GEV game. This looks pretty close to the original sculpt.

So that is what has been released in today’s press release.  Keep in mind this is an early look and not remotely production model quality– production figures won’t be released in pastel and neon colored plastics, either.  There are some odd compromises here and there– I don’t care for the infantry figures quite yet, the light GEV has very little detail, and the Mobile Howitzer just looks, i don’t know, odd.  With that said, I’m encouraged because they’re putting out a FENCER for sure, and maybe even another variant OGRE other than the III and V.  Who knows?

The OGRE Video/PC game: not a rumor any more


Remember when the Kickstarter for OGRE Deluxe came out and Steve Jackson Games suddenly had a couple of millions of bucks in pledges over what he required and was thinking fast about what to do with all that boodle?  He gave away the original version of OGRE (the 2.95 pocket game), he promised he’d re-do CAR WARS, he promised he would reinvigorate the OGRE Miniatures line (and he’s coming through on that), and one of the niftier ideas being kicked around was “Hey, if there’s enough interest, we’ll get that OGRE video game done again”.  That .. what?

If you’re blessed with an imperfect memory and enough years, you might remember the old, very old, personal computer game of the basic OGRE III/V scenario.  This was an authorized SJG product produced under license by Origin Systems.  I remember this: I owned a copy.  Back in 1986.  I think it came out for Atari, Commodore 64 and IBM PC.  I have to say, you may be wincing at the graphics but it delivered surprisingly decent game play back in the day:

I think there was an illegal shareware version on early Macintosh computers but SJG lowered the boom on that one.

Not sure of the sales figures here but I’m guessing they were modest. The program never had an GEV material and it was never revisited in all those long years since. Until recently. According to hints here and there and some outright enthusiastic statements on the OGRE boards at SJG, a revisit of the OGRE PC/Video game is most definitely in the works. The production company is AUROCH DIGITAL and they just recently released some very early production visuals.

As SJG is quick to point out, don’t think this is even close to final, so there’s no telling what the final renders will actually look like, but I’m finding this encouraging. The original youtube put out earlier in the year pointed at an OGRE-only scenario:

The stills tell a different story– clearly, GEV and SHOCKWAVE units will be included in the mix. I’m very glad of that– I do like the basic OGRE game and played the living hell out of it in college, but it gets kind of predictable once you perfect what you call the perfect OGRE strategy. I find GEV much more challenging.

I’m not sure of deadlines or what not, but if this gets to kickstarter level, I’m sure the old fanboy in me will probably respond.

What the heck, who am I kidding, they can just shut up and take my money, I know my limitations.

Naturally Disastrous First Look


Here you go, I just received the first production copy of Naturally Disastrous by Silver Lake Games. This is a recent funded Kickstarter.

The premise, as promised by the designer, reads like so:

Naturally Disastrous is a 1-6 player co-operative dice driven game of peril and adventure. Your mission is simple enough. Arrive at your destination, verify the conditions and then set up a long range communication array to deliver your findings back to your superiors. Easy, right? Your visit to Earth is supposed to just be a quick investigation into how the planet is doing.

As you enter the atmosphere massively destructive storms make it hard to navigate. Giant volcanoes, earthquakes, thermal gas explosions and flooding are rampant and tearing the Earth apart and what happens next? You and your crew are shot at by some natives claiming that you are violating their air space. As your ship tears itself apart and plummets to the desert floor you know that your only chance of survival will be to pick up the pieces of your communications array that are now conveniently scattered across the driest most self-destructing climate you have ever seen.

All you have to do is find and set up the four parts of the communications array and signal the mother ship to come heal this planet and get you out of here. You will have to navigate around the perilous hazards, avoid snipers who want you gone, secret agents who are stealing your technology, crazy mad scientists who want to perform experiments on you, and a completely different alien race who may even abduct you. Work together efficiently as a team and you will avoid a Naturally Disastrous fate! If you become mutated, you turn against your former allies.

The game is played on a randomized map, with randomly placed tokens. Each turn, the active player must roll to activate a disaster, and then has 3 actions per turn (move, probe, etc.) Combat is resolved with dice. As each part of the communications array is found, it must be transported to one of the corners of the map.  — From Boardgamegeek, “Description”

So my take on this is that this will be a game from the alien’s point of view, a sort of “Forbidden Island” without the sinking part of it.. maybe.  Anyway, we’re going to find that out as I will be playing it against actual humans in the next two weeks or so.  In the meantime, here is my reactions to an actual unboxing– literally the day after receiving it, so I have no idea of what the contents are.

Enjoy, and I apologize for the somewhat shaky Ipad camera. Most of my gear is packed away while my house is being rebuilt. I should get an Ipad stand, as I definitely needed two hands for this thing.

Chariot Race by Matt Leacock


Okay, so technically speaking this isn’t a Kickstarter Incoming, it’s a Kickstarter Already Here.  Eagle/Gryphon games’ Chariot Race arrived about a week ago, and I’ve assembled it, stared at it on my desk for a week, and finally pulled it out and started playing it tonight. Bottom line up front, the results were pleasing, the game is simple and the mechanics are easy. If the designer, Matt Leacock, rings a bell, that’s understandable. Matt’s other big credit was a little game called PANDEMIC and another game called FORBIDDEN ISLAND. Both of these have sold in respectable numbers (for board games) and have appeared on the shelves of non-traditional retailers such as Target and Barnes & Noble stores in the U.S.


Negotiating the last turn.

Chariot Racing was a Kickstarter project (I backed it!). In terms of mechanics, the game bears a much bigger resemblance to an earlier game of Matt’s called ROLL THRU THE AGES. Both games have big, chunky wooden dice that have icons on them that trigger events that impact the game.  “Roll” was more Yahtzee-like, in that you were tallying goods and innovations on a peg board and scoring sheet to make your civilization grow.  Chariot Race uses similar dice, but the dice represent actions that affect your racing team for that turn only.


Ramming!

The rules are pretty simple, even simpler than Roll Thru the Ages, actually. Every racer keeps track of 3 characteristics in a game: Fate, Damage and Speed. This is done on a card with little pointers on it, like the old Mansions of Madness game (first edition). Speed starts at 4 in the basic game and the chariot sets initial speed higher or lower at start. Fate starts at 3 and go up to 10. Damage starts at 12 for an intact chariot and goes down to 0, at which point you die.


Attacking (Pointing for emphasis– blue attacks red!)

Every turn, the player can turn in 3 points of fate to clean up 3 points of damage for starters, then adjust current speed (not above the damage level) then Rolls dice and moves accordingly. There are five dice with assorted sides– a burst of speed of 2 that damages your chariot for 1, a plus or minus 1 speed for this turn marker, an attack by javelin or caltrop side, an “add one lady luck” to your luck score, and of course, lane changes. If you don’t roll the result, you can’t change a lane. You can, however, reroll by investing two lady luck points per every dice you reroll (which is similar to Roll through the Ages as well). You can see a picture of the dice sides on the Player’s Aid blog post for Chariot Race.  Then you MOVE.. moving in and out (lane changes) incur the same penalties as movement (one box per point of current speed).


This game probably plays best with four, we played this game with two plus an “AI” opponent. We took turns running the purple chariot, which started out as a runaway easy victor, but then he got up to speed ten, negotiated a turn wrong, lost tons of damage points, went over a caltrop (he had no lane changes– the faster you go, the fewer are your options), then his chariot disintegrated in the next turn where he almost lapped us.

So I will probably give the advanced rules a shot, which add some variability to the basic game, which is, well, pretty basic. You roll, you resolve what your speed will be after adjustments, you execute your turn. It’s definitely not Circus Maximus. Nor is it even Ave Caesar.  Chariot Racing is very random and one could point out the decisions needed to affect the outcome are few in number.  However, It is fun, not very complex, and it has a lot of things going for it– it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  You can tell that from the name of the game, which conveys “this is a game about chariot racing. That’s all it’s about, honestly”. The standard elements I love in a chariot game– corner strain, ramming, flipping, etc. are all there in very simplistic form plus you can also drop caltrops and throw javelins.. heck, that should be in EVERY chariot game. I know they are in the one I designed, which you can get an epub of here. So where am I at with Chariot Racing? I’ll play it for a while. I might even buy tiny 10mm chariot miniatures and paint them in team colors, to make it look like a chariot race (I do NOT care for the standup counters for the chariots). There’s something about it that seems so basic, such a Yahtzee like roll and move type game, that I really wonder about Chariot Race’s staying power. This is not in the same league as Pandemic, Forbidden Island or even Roll Through the Ages.. it won’t stay with me and be the stuff of stories.. Or it might be. I’m a natural pessimist, what do I know?


Garrett pulls out a victory after getting ahead of my chariot which was slowing down rapidly from all the damage it took. He, also, was at 2 damage points left when he rounded the last lap, but he had come from behind and not engaged anyone, so he had more points to burn than I did.

In summary, Gar gave me a few audio comments that wraps this one up. If I discover anything more noteworthy about Chariot Racing I will amend accordingly– give it a listen.

Links out to BGG Post for Chariot Racing, and components picture from The Player’s Aid interview with Matt Leacock.

 

Two Big Kickstarter Projects Bite the Dust


Ending a few months of speculation, events surrounding the fate of All Quiet on the Martian Front have solidified.  The last official announcement from Robot Peanut Studios, aka Architects of War, aka Alien Dungeon, was posted on their Kickstarter site today.  Essentially it confirms what a lot of people were speculating had happened to the troubled game publisher ever since they went incognito at the end of 2015.

Our sales plummeted precipitously in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2015 and never recovered across our online retail operations as well as hobby shop and distributor sales. We could not maintain our business under these conditions and despite a continuing series of sales and marketing efforts, we have been forced to file for bankruptcy. The case has been filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania at case number 16-20247″

As predicted in Blaine Pardoe’s recent blog post, the models cost more than they projected to produce and they weren’t selling fast enough to generate income to keep the company going.  The operation didn’t have enough volume to keep the revenue stream in the black for any projected future.  Shipping was the other killer– which they were paying or out of pocket.

In other words, the Kickstarters LOOKED successful, but they were losing money on every pledge.  A sad ending for this franchise… which I had bought into but never contributed to the Kickstarter for.   Now I wonder what to do next– gobble up the fire sale Martian stuff or sell off what I have?  Sigh.  It’s the models.  The game itself, although worthy enough, was never a huge draw for me.  The miniatures, however, well, they kicked butt.

Another sad ending was the GOLEM ARCANA project, which announced today that it was ending production.   Golem Arcana was on my radar screen for a while, but I never bit.  This was a game (from the same folks who recently brought us the reprise of Shadowrun on Steam, Harebrained Schemes) that was digitally enhanced to sort of meld real time analog play with an app on Android or Steam that tracked the miniature’s progress in fights and displayed stat changes on the tablet.  Cool concept.

I actually was going to purchase this at Christmas time but got distracted.  Unlike AQMF, I don’t think I’ll be looking for a firesale here, because it requires an app to play, and eventually that app won’t be supported.  Still, I’m sad to see it go.

It’s ridiculous to call these developments a trend, but it is a sad ending for both of these high profile, innovative Kickstarter miniature gaming projects.  AQMF, in particular, really seemed to have potential for me.  I hope there is some form of followup to this from a third party, as has been rumored to be in development.  IF there is a lesson to be gleaned from all of this it would be: Don’t make the mistake of making a Kickstarter profit as a source of funds for operating your company.  Kickstarter is a means of transferring risk from the creator to the public for new products that otherwise might not get made.  So you have to communicate your passion and the virtues of your product to the investors to hope you’ll ever get the next project funded.  If these two Kickstarter fails have a common theme, that would be it– a failure to get sufficient momentum going to create something that could perpetuate itself.  I just don’t know.. it’s awfully easy to Monday morning quarterback something like this, a lot harder to create a working strategy for marketing breakthrough games to a public that might be a little jaded by big fanfare Kickstarter projects.

Kickstarter Incoming: Sultan’s Library


Disclaimer: This is a Kickstarter Incoming post.  That means the game does not exist in final form yet.  Therefore, any comments on design or components will only reflect what I have seen at the time this is written.

Company: Photon Games
Funding Status:
Unknown
Current Status: “artwork about 50% finished” — from publisher
Launch Date: 02 June 2015
 Publication Date if Funded: January 2016

Today’s Kickstarter Incoming is SULTAN’S LIBRARY, a (mostly) card game design by Ryno Laurens. Players assume the role of an Envoy of the Sultan, sent out by their bibliophile employer to gather certain rare books and return them to his Library. Each envoy (see below) has a special action that is printed on their card. These special actions can be used during Action Rounds during the player’s turn.


Sultan’s library Envoys (From the PNP, may not be final images)

Each turn, a player has two actions for exploring the world and looking for books. Players need to pick up any books they find and bring them back to the Sultan’s Library for scoring. Once any Envoy has deposited 3 books, the remaining players finish out the round.

A turn (which  I think is the same thing as a round, I’m not sure) starts with players drawing 2 cards.  They then take two actions from this list:

  1. Explore the Area: ​You can pay the Explore cost of the Location you are in to look for a Book in that area. Flip over the top card of the Location Deck. If it is a Book, put it in your Location. If its a Location Card, you Travel to that Location. Discard your old Location Card.
  2. Pick Up a Book:​ When you are in the same Location as a Book, you can pick it up. When you pick up a Book, your Character is Holding that Book until you can Deposit it. You can only Hold 2 Books at once.
  3. Deposit a Book:​When you are in the Sultan’s Library, you can Deposit a Book that you are Holding.
  4. Play an Action Card:​You can play any Action Card that you have in your hand.
  5. Perform your Special Action:​You can perform your Envoy’s Special Action as noted on their Character Card.
  6. Travel to a Location:​You can move to any face­up Location by paying 2 more Explore points than is shown on that card. Discard your old Location Card.  Note: Location Cards have special powers that may limit player’s actions (see below).
  7. Scrounge: ​You may spend 2 Actions to draw 1 Card from the Action Deck.


A Location Card (from PNP materials, may not be final)

The turn/round ends when the player scores by placing books in the library.  The player also discards his hand down to 5 cards at this time.

Sample book cards from the PNP materials (may not be final)

I am not clear after reading the rules how the game progresses around the table, or how cards are played against other players, although the text on the card suggests what to do, but not really how.. play it like an interrupt?  Can the target player defend?

Journey Cards (may not be final)

I’m sure that will be clarified somewhere– again, I’m drawing conclusions from a vague description, some youtube videos and the PNP rule book, so I’m not clear on the inter-player dynamics of Sultan’s Library

Conclusions

I like the Arabian Knights style theme; it seems to fit the mechanics reasonably well.  The artwork (what is accomplished so far) is pretty well executed.  I think they are going for “Whimsical” here, and for the most part they achieve it.  The mechanics seem reasonable enough, but I’ve never played it, so I’m not entirely sure– there are elements of interaction that seem missing from the rulebook.  I liked the way the location cards added to the game narrative.    There’s potential here, I sense it.

ARES #1 has arrived


One Small Step’s KICKSTARTER ARES #1 arrived last night. I really didn’t have time to do a thorough examination of the contents, but it broke down like this:

MOSTLY science fiction short stories and articles. Nicely laid out, perfect bound. Haven’t read anything yet, Hope there’s some talent in the stable.

ARES #1 cover

One gaming insert, WAR OF THE WORLDS by Bill Banks.  Not much on this yet, either.    It’s hex-based, individual units of the standard Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry mix versus units of Tripods– hard to say what size yet.  Hexagonal counters.  Large hexes. Folded map insert, counter insert.

Cover page of insert game, WAR OF THE WORLDS by Bill Banks

Overall a very nice first effort. They’re really pushing to get a subscription (which is in the neighborhood of a hundred bucks). I may just purchase the next one to see if they can continue to keep up the standard and decide then. I’m a big fan of the idea of a SCIENCE FICTION based magazine with game in every issue, and this is the first one of these since, well, since OSS’s own GAMEFIX was being published (most of their games were SF, near future or just kind of silly).

I’ll try to get some time in to do a solitaire game review of War of the Worlds next week, God Willing and the creeks don’t rise.

Ogre Pocket Edition– the 1977 game at a 1977 price!


Back in the day, we played the living hell out of OGRE, the first great microgame from Metagaming (then Steve Jackson Games).   If you’re familiar with OGRE, you already know the scenario– giant cybernetic tank “Goliath” against a small horde of ground unit “Davids”.    As I’ve reported on here (and has been mentioned elsewhere repeatedly), SJG accomplished its famous Kickstarter campaign to produce a giant 100 dollar deluxe version of OGRE.   It’s a beauty, no doubt about it.. but I started my long experience with OGRE playing the old microgame, so I didn’t buy one.  Not sure if I’ll regret that, either…

The POCKET edition.. the old microgame in everything but name!

Anyway, Steve Jackson is now servicing the other end of the market bell curve, e.g., cheapskates like me.  The “Pocket Edition” of OGRE, meaning, the paper version, with counters and map and all, is now available through WAREHOUSE 23 (or at local stores) for.. guess what?  2.95.  That’s 2.95, the SAME PRICE IT SOLD FOR IN 1977.

SJG Product description:

Now Ogre Pocket Edition takes the game back to its roots. A small rulebook, 140 counters, and the same bare-bones map Steve drew himself for the very first printing. And the price is the same as it was in 1977: $2.95. ($2.95 in 1977 dollars translates to be over $10 today when adjusted for inflation; this is Steve’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for your support for Ogre over the last three decades.)

Despite its “pocket” size, Ogre Pocket Edition will have more than enough counters to play all five of the “Ogre vs. Command Post” scenarios. It includes two different conventional forces (a Black force and a White force), with a whopping eight White Howitzers! That’s a whole lot of gameplay for $2.95.

For once, Marketing hyperbole is accurate.  That IS a whole lot of gameplay for 2.95.  Me? I own about 3 versions of OGRE, all of them over 15 years old at least.  But if you’ve never played it and want to introduce them to a great game that could easily tuck into a paperback book as a bookmark, this is the game to purchase.  Link below.

Warehouse 23 – Ogre Pocket Edition.

Why I’m all in for GMT’s TWILIGHT STRUGGLE (Digital Edition)



GMT’s Twilight Struggle boardgame is a great design from GMT Games.  Twilight Struggle focuses on the growth of Superpowers in the wake of the Second World War, and the emergence of modern geopolitical doctrine.  It is an event-driven game, and probably the least warlike war-game I know.  Meaning, yah, it’s a conflict simulation, but the conflict isn’t on a hexagon with a cardboard counter sitting on it.  This has been a favorite for a very long time and a consistently high placing game on the Boardgamegeek top 100.  For years, it was THE top game in the “Hotness”, or the most liked games in the top 100.

GMT was going to make a PC game out of this design and had an outfit gainfully employed working on it for almost two years.  That effort collapsed, as I have posted on elsewhere.  Bravo Zulu to GMT for recognizing they weren’t backing a winner and starting over.

Today, GMT announced a Tablet (Android and IoS) version of Twilight Struggle is in the works.  They are partnering with Playdek, who have brought us some off the best boardgame conversions for the Ipad and Android ever, but they need some seed money.  About 50K.  They are already halfway there, so I have every confidence this project will crowdfund nicely.  Still, if you are interested in supporting the effort and kickstartin’ for your share, here’s the relevant information.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559431060/twilight-struggle-digital-edition  (it went up 10K while I was typing this.  True fact).

Click on JFK to see the video.

CLICK ME TO SEE VIDEO (WordPress doesn’t like the embed tag)

I’m in for a modest amount.  I hope you might consider supporting this, If you like boardgames, you won’t regret it.

Video

I’m sure there are honest Kickstarter promotions..


The thing is, I’m one of those naive UP FRONT backers on Kickstarters. It’s totally on track with that comment about empty promises and lots of G-D D-mned emails. So I don’t want to be cruel or anything, but this is funny!

Ares Magazine Returning: that is, if all goes well…


Remember my uber-enthusiastic “The Return of Ares Magazine.. sort of” post?  Well, this is the follow up.  One Small Step’s crowdfunding campaign that was being planned to relaunch the magazine has commenced. I’m excited about the Bill Banks WAR OF THE WORLDS game. Great topic, considering Alien Dungeon will be releasing something similar as a miniatures game in 2014, it would make a good tie in.

Here’s the pertinent information (source: OSS Press release):

NEW TRAILER RELEASED FOR ARES MAGAZINE KICKSTARTER

REVEALS GLIMPSES OF NEW SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE WITH A BOARD GAME IN EACH ISSUE  

Mission Viejo, California (28 December 2013) – One Small Step Games released a new trailer today in advance of its crowd-sourced funding campaign for Ares Magazine at Kickstarter, which launches next week.

The full-size magazine will publish bi-monthly and each issue will include 80 pages of fiction and other content that will wrap around a pull-out, complete, and ready-to-play board game.

The two-minute trailer not only gives glimpses of what the magazine will look like but also reveals images from the game to be included in the first issue, War of the Worlds by independent game designer Bill Banks (Ancients, Imperator).

The Kickstarter launches on 01 January 2014. The success of the Kickstarter campaign will put the magazine’s production into gear with a target delivery date of 01 May 2014 for the first issue.

More information is available on the Ares Magazine website www.aresmagazine.com. The new Kickstarter trailer is available here:

ABOUT OSS GAMES

One Small Step Games has been around since 1996 and has published dozens of games, including Millennium Wars and Politics as Usual. More information is available on the OSS website www.ossgames.com.

CONTACT DETAILS

Website: www.aresmagazine.com Inquires/Press: rules@ossgames.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AresMagazine
Twitter: @AresMagazine www.twitter.com/AresMagazine
Press Kit: www.aresmagazine.com/?page_id=188

PROMOTIONAL TRAILERS

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

Legions of Steel, back from the Past.


I’m familiar with LEGIONS OF STEEL by the Global Games Company. It was published in the early 90s and had a dedicated, almost fanatical following, mostly in Europe, but it was played a lot here in the States, too. My good friend Steve Gibson, routinely runs gigantic Legions of Steel games at the GENCON gaming convention, usually with 20 or more people playing. HERE he is running “Bug Hunt” back in 2009. He considers a flea market trip well spent if he can get his hands on somebody’s old LoS collection. Heck, I even have a copy of the basic blue box set, myself, but never did anything with it.

The “Blue Box”. I have one downstairs in the basement.

The premise of the game is very much similar to SPACE HULK or SPACE CRUSADE. The humans are a squad of super soldiers from “UNE“, a peacekeeping force invading a robotic complex housing the Machines. The Machines have a horde of man-sized robot soldiers to throw at the invading UNE unit called “Fiends”. Like Space Hulk and other tile map games, the humans have imperfect intelligence and don’t really know where the threat is coming from until it shows up. Mechanics were very simple, as I recall, and a lot easier and faster to resolve than the other two Build your Own Space Crawl games. I liked it, but when you have a friend who has a set all painted up and who has spent so much time and energy working on it, one has no resolve to paint his own LoS miniatures. 😀

With that said, I usually don’t do a lot of Kickstart testimonials on this blog. Why not? Because I get a ton of requests and it’s hard to be fair to everyone, even the guy who wanted me to endorse his new poker game on Kickstarter (Hah! Good luck to you, sir!). Stilllll, every now and then I can unbend a little. I got this in the mail from an outfit called “Studio Nyx” recently:

My name is Romain Soulie, I am a video game producer. I just wanted to inform you about the crowdfunding campaign our team will launch tonight. We want to produce the digital adaptation of an old board game licence, and I thought the combination of wargame, miniatures and Kickstarter may catch your interest.

We are adapting Legions of Steel on Android, IOS and PC platforms. This is a miniatures wargame released at the beginning of the 90s, and we believe it would be a great fit on smartphones and tablets. Our version will be a faithful adaptation with an asynchronous multiplayer mode, in a bird-view fashion.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in knowing more about our project. I also invite you to visit our website and social network pages.

(I cut out the flattery bits, I know when I’m being played)

So I visited the Kickstarter page, and I actually like where they are going with this thing. They appear to be making a cross platform release of an arcade game that plays like a Legions of Steel game. With Android and IoS releases. Not bad at all. Honestly, the dungeon crawl style experience rapidly bores me on an Ipad– dunno what it is, but haven’t felt compelled to play Warhammer Quest all the way through to the end, and I”m not sure this game will grab me or not.. but I will probably try it nonetheless.  I like what they are doing with the interface.

Here’s the Kickstarter video:

And the Kickstarter Page itself is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nyxsquad/legions-of-steel-the-video-game

If it’s not incredibly exorbitant, I just might give this a try.

Other links:

Legions of Steel Forum

The Goon got Kickstarted! YAY!!


Eric Powell’s THE GOON is a rare treat in life. The adventures of the slab muscled, scar faced Goon and his weasly partner Frankie (aka “knife to the eye!”), and the denizens of Eric Powell’s seedy, down at the heels Gooniverse, replete with armies of zombies, mad scientists, evil cults, and a barkeep that don’t give credit have kept me in stitches for a long time now. There’s been talk of an animated movie for years– but none of the big studios wants to touch an adult themed, violent cartoon right now. Eric Powell went a different direction, and Kickstarted it. I’m impressed with the talent on board already– Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown as voice talent, working below scale, just because they believe in this project.

Sadly, I found out about it way after the fact, while listening to a HOLLYWOOD BABYLON podcast. I’m bummed I didn’t back it, but I’m elated it is going to be animated. Deal me in with gusto! and…
KNIFE TO THE EYE!

Seriously, I recommend picking up THE GOON graphic novels from Dark Horse Comics straightaway if you are unfamiliar with them. Everyone I have recommended the Goon to has loved it and everyone got hooked. Try it!

IN HER MAJESTY’S NAME.. oh nooo, another project!


I’ve been trying to ratchet back on new periods .. okay, lets’ be honest.. I certainly think ratcheting back on new periods would be a good thing, I guess. It’s hard to achieve that goal lately, with the onrushing cult of the new that affects miniatures as well as boardgames. Latest example: IN HER MAJESTY’S NAME, imminent from Osprey Publishing. This has been a crowd-funded item from NORTHSTAR miniatures, but not, for once, from Kickstarter. In Her Majesty’s Name is a steampunk skirmish miniatures game by Craig Cartmell and Charles Mutton, to be published by Osprey Publishing in their “Little blue line” of odd period rules (I have two, as I have mentioned before– Dux Bellorum and A World Aflame). The descriptive blurb reads as follows:

It is 1895 and the world is in turmoil. In the decades to come, historians will reflect upon the cause of this state of affairs and many will point squarely at Charles Babbage. The perfection of first his Difference Engine, and then his Analytical Engine, gave the new scientific establishment in the Great Powers the tool they had so long needed in order to make a dramatic leap forward. The ability to make huge and repeatable sets of complex calculations revolutionized the world.

Within twenty years came the ‘invention’ of Cavorite, the perfection of miniaturized steam engines, electric light and motors, Radium Bricks, Arc weapons, Hydrogen and Helium Dirigibles, Road Trains, Calculating Artillery Engines, Sea and Land Dreadnoughts – the list is almost endless. Nothing is impossible when the wealth of a Great Power is coupled to the unlimited imagination of educated men of science and their engineers.

The one thing that all these marvellous advances have not brought is peace. Every Great Power has been jostling its neighbours for resources and more importantly, the latest technology. None can afford to stand still and allow its neighbours to advance their science and engineering unmolested. If they do, they risk being overwhelmed as the French were in 1861 by the Prussians’ mobile Calculating Artillery Engines, or as the Union was the year after that, with their ports put to the flame and successfully blockaded by the Confederacy’s Armoured Sea Dreadnoughts.

Some nations have also been tapping into older, more sinister powers, in order to produce an unholy combination of the mystical and the mechanical, such as the Prussian Todt-truppen.

Although there have been relatively few open conflicts between the Great Powers, a state of undeclared and secret war exists between them all. This is where the Adventuring Companies come in. These are the deniable clandestine agents of the Great Powers (and of other globe-spanning organizations). They act in the shadows pitting their skills, their wits and the latest technologies against each other, to obtain the latest scientific formula, artefact or other vital component.

Small groups of highly skilled and specialized operatives are brought together for each mission under the command of a trusted ‘Captain’. In Great Britain they work out of the Explorers’ Club in London. In Prussia their patron is the highly secretive Thule Society. In the USA they are mostly sponsored by the Secret Service. There are similar organizations in each of the Great Powers. They each have the choice of their nation’s latest arms, armour and other equipment with which to perform their missions. — From the North Star Website

If you’ve read any Victorian Science Fiction (especially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), this is pretty standard stuff. Except this is a skirmish game set in that kind of universe. Not bad! I have traditionally used GASLIGHT or THE RULES WITH NO NAME when I wanted a go-too game for playing VSF battles. The skirmish scale suits me right down to the ground.

The book alone would be pretty interesting in itself (and I admit, I pre-ordered it), but there are all kinds of miniatures being released at the same time as the rules. Hence, the fundraiser. I am very impressed and find myself weakening.

The ranges are:

Lord Curr’s company:

Lord’s Curr’s Company

The Society of Thule:

Society of Thule

The Black Dragon Tong:

Black Dragon Tong

The Servants of Ra:

The Servants of Ra

Scotland Yard:

Scotland yard

An extra figure

Plus, a whole mess of nifty extra figures for different funding levels. This appears to be a common crowd-funding practice, adding incentives and bonus nifty things that the folks with deeper pockets get that the basic donors don’t. I have quite a few steampunk/VSF figures already, mostly from Eureka Miniatures and Old Glory (repurposed for VSF). I hope these match but I’m not concerned if they don’t. They look a tad bulky. The attraction of these rules and these figures is that the game will never require large armies of figures, from what I’m reading. It’s a straight skirmish game with individual figures. That means a low figure count and I won’t be breaking the bank.

What am I interested in buying? Well, all of them, really, but if I had to narrow it down to some good guys and some bad guys, I’d select Scotland Yard for one side (which is a traditional choice, I admit) and for the bad guys I’m conflicted. Prussians make wonderful bad guys, so I’m attracted to the notion of using the Society of Thule, but the Black Dragon Tong look wonderful. So I’m probably going to go with them, maybe supplemented with a few great Rail Wars figures that should match. In order of precedence I’d buy the Tongs first, Thule second, and the Ra Worshipers third. I don’t think one set is made any better than the other, I just am more interested in the Chinese mythology.

Terrain, ideally, should be fairly urban, and that’s always a problem in 28mm, as the bigger buildings take up lots of space on the table. I might be able to resurrect some of my Cow Town buildings but I don’t want to rely on that, they are far too American looking for this setting.

Anyway, I’m impressed. I’ve only purchased the (very reasonable at pre-order prices) rulebook so far on preorder so far and I probably won’t buy them until I finish a couple more projects for this Summer first. Still, this is VERY tempting!!!