Tag Archives: Kickstarter

John Carter Kickstarter from Modiphius

Modiphius Entertainment is a company I don’t know much about, to be honest.  After a little research I’ve discovered they were behind the successful Age of Conan kickstarter that I kick myself for not being part of.  I guess I’m not a boardgame hipster these days, I’m out of the loop!   They are also behind a series of recent reprises of the Mutant Chronicles, Fallout, and Star Trek boardgame licenses as well as a distinct Conan RPG line.  These accomplishments may mean little to you if you aren’t a fanboy of these franchises, but I have nothin’ but respect for managing to snare so many great intellectual property licenses for boardgame conversions.  Bravo, Modiphius.  The best part? Even if you have no intention of playing the boardgames, if you like skirmish games each game comes chock full of heroic scale miniatures.  Not bad.

One of the largest pledge levels is almost 400 USD. I’m just going to gulp and let them one pass by.

Which brings me to.. JOHN CARTER.  Now, if you’re a regular reader you probably already know I’m a big fan of things Barsoomian.   As my big cheerleading review of the 2012 movie indicates, I was on board for seeing Edgar Rice Burroughs on the silver screen.  I’d totally love playing miniatures games in the Barsoomian universe.  Which is fortunate, since the new John Carter Kickstarter from Modiphius is going to inundate us with what is clearly John Carter (movie) inspired minis.  This kickstarter is being presented as a roleplaying game– not a boardgame with vignettes like Conan or a skirmish game like Mutant Citadel.  That might be appropriate– I could see it as a small scale skirmish game OR a big mass troops miniature wargame on a grand tactical scale (but probably at 15mm or smaller).  It’s been done before.

The miniatures displayed all appear to be strongly influenced by the 2012 movie, and I suspect the deal Modiphius made was with Disney, not the Burroughs estate. Certainly many of the figures look very close to the movie cast with some exceptions. I have no real issue with this; with the glaring exception of the leading man, I had no problems with the Disney movie visuals. They will look spectacular on a table, all painted up. Right now, like a lot of kickstarters that display primarily 3D renderings as the art, it’s hard to get a feel for what these figures are going to be like. There’s a lot of them, to be sure. I hope this series takes off and they introduce the many species from the books that aren’t represented here, like the Yellow Men of Mars, the Thurns, and the Chessmen.

Good God almighty, almost 700 bucks to realize everything in the roleplaying game, all the books and all the figures.. GULP. (squeaky voice) “that’s eh.. quite an investment”..

I love the idea of this, love the sculpts (and don’t lecture me that they aren’t canonical, okay?  I don’t WANT to play with nude Barsoomians, alright?).  Like a lot of headlong jumps into Kickstarter land, I’ve learned to be cautious about committing this much cash up front..  So I may end up being an enthusiastic cheerleader from the sides, cheering on the guy who actually bought all this stuff and playing games when he or she runs it, yeah, that’s the ticket.

I have too many projects already, dammit.  Keep saying that…



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.

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.


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.


Ogre Miniatures Set 1 Kickstarter

Color me on board!  At long last, Steve Jackson Games is backing a project that brings back the long out of print OGRE MINIATURES LINE (out of print, incredibly expensive in after market) back as plastic miniatures.  The miniatures are designed based on the originals, match the originals in scale and look, and have been cleaned up and retooled for plastic molding process.  The only models currently in kickstarter are the basic OGRE set– it appears that you will be able to recreate the original OGRE scenario (with an Ogre III and an Ogre V to use).  The models are cast in a solid color, blue for the little guys and red for the OGRES.

As you can see they are doing a great job with the sculpts. The molds apparently have been purchased and the deal with China has been made.

You can even buy a reverse set in the primary plastic colors, courtesy of another funding resource


Reverse colored

I’m pretty excited about this one– and I backed it! I may add on a reverse set, as well. The mere fact that SJG is calling this SET ONE means they will likely expand the rest of the OGRE universe.. exciting times!

DETAILS HERE: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847271320/ogre-miniatures-set-1


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.

Language as a mechanic in Games– Src:Card puzzled over, but not reviewed [Kickstarter incoming]

And now for something completely different, well, maybe not that different, but at least a little unusual.

I heard about SRC: CARD recently when someone (well, the designer) emailed me about it out of the blue.  SRC: CARD is an interesting idea for a tabletop game.  From the promo blurbs:

Src:Card is a standalone 2 player (2-4 with expansion) card game that challenges players to build their own super robot core while attacking their opponent by writing code.  Make your robot core as formidable as possible while creating code to attack and anticipate changes to your opponent’s robot brain. Src:Card incorporates real coding concepts that are challenging for experts and easy to learn for beginners. Anyone can learn the game in 15 minutes.

The robot fighting part?  Eh, that sounds like a tacked on theme to me.  I’ve played Robot Fighting games before, including the famous one.. you’ve heard of Robo-Rally, surely.  The interesting part?  The description of the key mechanic of this game.  You are programming in a language will launch attacks against an enemy computer core.  I don’t have a copy of this game in front of me and I’ll be honest– I’ve never played it.  It doesn’t really exist yet.  However, from the demo I saw on the Kickstarter Page, I was sufficiently intrigued to be interested.  You see, I like linguistic style games with a clearly defined ruleset and consistent, ironbound internal logic.   Somewhat like computer programming, come to think of it.   SRC:CARD is purporting to use a type of language as the means in which to play.  From what I’m seeing, the language is created by playing cards that represent either computer cores or programming statements.  The impetus is on the player to continue playing the statements to form conditional loops, if statements and variables to attack the enemy computer core before the either card “bootup” limit suddenly happens.  Honestly, I’m not sure how it would play– the vibe I’m getting is ERGO, from Catalyst Games, with maybe a little Robo-Rally thrown in.  That could be a good thing.  The only tabletop game that I know of that relies on a learned language to play would be Ergo, though there might be others.  In Ergo’s case, it’s the language of Logic Proofs, in the more abstract form.  Sadly this doesn’t seem to be a concept that attracts potential players– I’ve yet to play Ergo (which I own) with anyone but myself.

I think what might set SRC:CARD apart from earlier attempts at Linguistic Games like Ergo is the Win/Lose conditions of “killing the other robot”. With a simple goal like that, I think people might be willing to give the programming element a try. Let’s face it; either you like programming or you don’t– it’s not a pure sex and free beer kind of occupation. So anything that makes the subject less daunting and more valuable will have value.

In any event, give the KS Video a look and make up your own minds.

Kickstarter Link for SRC:CARD

Likely this will be a niche demand game, but I think there’s a lot of appeal there for the right geeky kind of person.

Cosmic Connector on Kickstarter…. cancelled

Update: (No need to write another post) In a surprise move, Future Pastimes, aka, the Cosmic Encounter design team, cancelled this project two days after I funded it, on 25 October 2014.  Well, that was fast.

I’ve often thought how great it would be to play Cosmic Encounter, my favorite game ever, on the Ipad.  It would seem like a daunting task, so many of the Alien card powers would need to interact with each other seamlessly– I couldn’t see an artificial intelligence Cosmic Encounter player as being an easy task to program.

What might be possible, I’m guessing, would be a program to facilitate a “game in real time” app for remote games, or a helper app for asynchronous play.  Sort of like a VASSAL for only Cosmic. It would appear some level of this wish is in the process of being granted (with some help from a lot of Kickstarter backers). Or might be. I’m an eternal optimist.

Cosmic Connector is, in the words of Peter Olotka, a ‘connector app’ that he would like to get financed.  It will connect remote players of the game Cosmic Encounter:

“Our vision for the Connector App

Think of this project as building a collaboration tool for social board game players. The goal of this project isn’t to build a game app in the classic sense of an online or mobile interpretation of a board game. The goal of the Cosmic Encounter Connector Project is to create an environment where you can hear other players clearly and play Cosmic Encounter.

We want to replicate the social experience and fun of playing a physical board game in a digital game environment optimized first for mobile touchscreen devices and then for desktops. This is different from a digital version of a board game focused on game mechanics and special effects. The Connector is focused on you as a player and on enhancing your experience of interacting with other players. Everybody will be able to talk to each other and have everything they need to play Cosmic Encounter, right at their fingertips. Connect, talk and play!”  — from the Kickstarter Page

Now, that’s market-speak to be sure, but what I’m seeing in the mockups and in the video is a real time or asynchronous PBeM game app, and that might be worth my hard earned dollars.

I like the notion of being able to play CE online in RT or asynchronously.  I’m not AS crazy about their pricing scheme, which appears to be– “big hunk of aliens possible at lowest level, then about 1/4 of that more at the next level.. then 1/4 more at the next level, and if you donate 1000 dollars you’ll get the whole shooting match”  If it’s an in-game purchase to get more aliens later, then say that up front in so many words.   I’m a little confused on how this is going to work.  I do know my pledge level will give me enough aliens to play with for a long time.  What’s going to happen when I encounter a player with deeper pockets than me, who wants to start a game with an alien I don’t have?  I wish that was spelled out a little bit.

Oh well, it’s Cosmic Encounter, I know the game well enough to know I’m going to have a good time with this thing.  If you’re interested, see the Kickstarter Page here. One of my fantasy matchups would be to play Tom Vasel some day in Cosmic Encounter– its’ our mutual favorite game. Perhaps .. who knows.. it will now be possible?

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.

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.


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 funded by Kickstarter 03 Feb 2014

Press Release:


Mission Viejo, California (February 3, 2014) – Backers pledged $26,185 to the Kickstarter campaign for Ares Magazine, sending the One Small Step Games project $1,185 over the goal in its final hours on Sunday.

“Last night was amazing,” says OSS Games owner Michael Anderson, who is also editor-in-chief. “We learned a lot this month—not the least of which is that there are a lot of people out there who share our enthusiasm for this project. Our backers are our heroes.”

Anderson says the project team has already begun production for the full-size, science fiction magazine combined with a ready-to-play board game.

The magazine has more than enough short fiction stories to fill the first issue, ranging from horror and fantasy to hard science fiction. Design details are being finalized for Bill Banks’ War of the Worlds, the flagship game.

“We send the files to the printer in April,” says Anderson, “and it should ship to subscribers by May 1.”

Anderson says the project team has also begun work on the future issues, selecting stories and games. Submissions for games are being accepted on the magazine’s website.

For those who missed getting in on the Kickstarter, OSS Games is offering pre-orders for subscriptions at reduced rates on its web site.
More information is available on Ares’ Facebook page and the Ares Magazine website.


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 at http://www.ossgames.com.


Website: http://www.aresmagazine.com
Inquires/Press: rules@ossgames.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AresMagazine

Twitter: @AresMagazine http://www.twitter.com/AresMagazine
Press Kit: http://www.aresmagazine.com/?page_id=188



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):



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:


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.


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


Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

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…

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!

Kickstarter: The Short, Sharp Shock of Reality

By happenstance I came across this great graphic via Mashable yesterday, and it really sang to me.  You’ll have to blow it up to see it all (links to the graphic itself, just click on it).  Why is this interesting?  Kickstarter has become a viable publishing alternative to traditional, professional routes in the last 3 years– especially for niche hobby items like boardgames and computers games (two endeavors that were never anticipated by the founders of Kickstarter, who envisioned it would be an effective way of crowdfunding film, video and book projects).  Nevertheless Kickstarter was something of a success story for two games, ALIEN FRONTIERS (2010)  and OGRE SIX (2012), plus, possibly, some smaller projects like OH MY GOD, I’VE GOT AN AXE IN MY HEAD! (2012).   All of these were funded projects (in OGRE SIX’s case, overfunded by a wide measure).  What isn’t mentioned is just how many of these projects don’t make it, or even come close.  And if they DO make it, how long will it take between funding and delivery?  That’s where this chart comes in.

KICKSTARTER STATISTICS. Click graphic to embiggen. Image copyright Jeanne Pi and Ethan Mahlick 2012

Some interesting reality in that graphic. It derives from Kickstarter’s own statistics (which they are somewhat reticent about revealing, see reference 4 below, in “Related”) and this article.

Interesting factoids to take away: 44% of projects succeed. By inference, that means 56% of them fail. 9 out of 10 failed projects ever reach 30% of their funding goals. 97% of failed projects even make 50%! Only 25% of projects deliver on time. That’s not a rate of return I’d bet my future on, but that’s the beauty of crowdfunding– it’s not your money. From the empirical evidence, the smaller projects with more connected producers are the ones that tend to succeed, which is why we see a lot of board game Kickstarters, I think.


  1. Why Kickstarter is ripe for Scams
  2. Nearly half of all Kickstarter projects fail
  3. Kickstarter Failures revealed!  What can you learn from Kickstarter Failures?
  4. Kickstarter hides failure