Kickstarter RoundUp 21/11
Sat at home, bored and want to throw some money at people in exchange for a something you'll have forgotten you ever wanted by the time it turns up?
Of course you are. Think of it like buying your future self a surprise, but actually good, present. I'm sure by the time whatever it is turns up you'll have earned it.
So here's the first of our, I'd like to say, weekly roundups of what's caught our eye over on Kickstarter. Bit of housekeeping first though, unless we say (and we will) we don't have any super secret advance knowledge of these games, we're just going by what we like the look of.
If they turn out to be rubbish, never get delivered or the people behind the project turn out to be monstrous wronguns that's not on us. OK, let's do this...
THE DEE SANCTION
Campaign ends: Sun, November 22
Right, this one ends tomorrow (assuming you're reading this on the day I publish this) so you better be quick if you want in. The Dee Sanction is a new RPG that puts you in the velvet slippers of an occult agent of the crown in Elizabethan England. Your job is to defend the realm from the supernatural forces that would see her fail and fall.
I'll admit I have a personal interest in this, in that for the last few years I've been working on what was originally a novel, which became a comic, which became an RPG with essentially the exact same premise. So my hope is that this is as good as it looks and I can take my big box of notes and set fire to them in some kind of iconoclastic pyre, freeing myself from this albatross once and for all.
Anyway the game describes itself as a simple, 3 attribute, system with an emphasis on always failing forward and seems to always generate a good response when its been played at conventions.
The Tudor period was an incredibly important time for what would soon become the United Kingdom, filled with a frankly astonishing roll call of misfits & malcontents that literally demand to be RPG characters so if you like the sound of that, get involved.
ESCAPE THE DARK SECTOR - EXPAND THE UNIVERSE
Campaign ends: Tue, December 1
Themeborne's Escape The Dark Castle has been one of our favourite games since it's release in 2018. Channelling the spirit of the old Fighting Fantasy game books, it's a lovingly designed, fun and easy to play game, whether on your own or in a group, that perfectly captures the grimy feel of its book based ancestor.
The recently released follow up Escape The Dark Sector transposed the action to outer space and now they're back with not only 3 expansions but also a lovely big box to fit everything into.
They did the same with the first game and honestly there are times when I've just happily sat there staring at the full set, everything filed away in its correct space, like the massive nerd I am. Easily pleased obviously.
Anyway it's the perfect game when you need to scratch the RPG itch but don't have the time, energy or indeed other people to do so, plus it's one of those games that remains playable no matter how much rum has been consumed, always a bonus (here at least).
As you may have gathered we're big fans here of Themeborne's Escape The Dark... games, so much so that we've interviewed one of the designers, Thomas Pike, in our debut issue.
THE DROWNED AND THE DAMNED
Campaign ends: Fri, December 4
Ever since I spent a wet fortnight in a caravan in Cornwall, forcing a series of entirely unimpressed adults to play GW's Space Fleet with me, I've loved ship-to-ship wargames. Whether set in space or in the age of sail there's something about these games that ticks my box.
I suspect it's probably watching all those old black and white war films that used to clog up the BBC's weekend schedules. The kind where stiff lipped officers would stand around, what I've been assured was called, a plotting table.
You know the kind, covered in little models representing various flotillas and squadrons inevitably led by the love interest of one of the wrens whose job it'd be to push them around with that big stick thing (is that the technical term? Aghast military experts please feel free to correct me in the comments).
Anyway I digress... So as it happens just this week I was musing to myself how much I'd like to play a ship based miniature wargame again and was starting to look at the options when, as if by magic, a Kickstarter for a brand new one pops up.
The Drowned & The Damned, is a new game from the makers of the Pirates of the Dread Sea miniature skirmish game and in the starter set pits maritime Dwarves against seafaring Elves. As you'd expect the elves are poncing about in elegant dragon ships whilst the dwarves go for a more stolid, industrial look - complete with spotter balloons.
It all looks a lot of fun, you even get a little lighthouse model which for some reason just made me pine for the 1st ed. of Mighty Empires. Anyway it's just launched last night and only runs for a couple of weeks so check it out.
Campaign ends: Fri, November 27
We mentioned somewhere around 5000 words ago that you'll probably forget you'd backed some of these games by the time they turn up and that's almost certainly the case with Bardsung which doesn't plan on turning up until at least May.
May 2022 that is.
Still that doesn't seem to have put people off as Steamforged's latest dungeon crawler is, with just a week to go, sitting pretty on nearly half a million pounds raised.
Anyway assuming we're not fighting each other to death for tinned goods by then what you'll get when it eventually turns up is a massive box full of something like a million plastic minis (66 actually), tiles upon tiles to create a vast sprawling dungeon to explore, 895 (yes 895) cards to do something with and that's just the basic set.
I do like a dungeon crawler, so despite feeling tired just reading the Bardsung description I can imagine it being the herald of good times. They've even roped in some big names, like everyone's favourite RPG uncle Ian Livingstone, to create adventures for it.
I just wish I didn't hate the name so much. Bardsung. Awful. Anyway nearly 6000 people have backed it so they don't need my blessing but if you fancy betting on humanity's continued existence then go for it...
OLD SKULL ZINE RPG TRILOGY
Campaign ends: Sat, December 5
Social media may be the 5th horseman of the apocalypse but when not providing the absolute worst of humanity with the tools to wreck of civilisation it has it's occasional decent moments.
One of particular, much needed, tick in the win column has been allowing us to discover and actually interact with fellow gamers from all around the world. The rise of the RPGSEA scene for example has been a joy to watch play out, and anyone that wants to dive into that scene should pause reading this and go and buy Zedeck Siew's incredible A Thousand Thousand Islands books.
Ok, that brings us to Brazilian games writer Diogo Nogueria, who is currently rallying his fellow South American creatives under the RPGLATAM hashtag. If you follow Diogo on his social media sites you'll know he's as compulsive a buyer of RPG zines as we are and now he's releasing 3 of his own.
All based on Chris McDowell's Into The Odd/Bastionland system the three books on offer here are post apocalyptic zombie horror The Dead are Coming, weird cosmic horror in space Scream Amongst The Stars and dystopian cyberpunk Running Out of Time.
So not exactly My Little Pony the RPG but if you like weird minimalist games and spending a few hours in the company of grotesque eldritch horrors then maybe these are just what you're looking for.
THE BATS OF SAINT ABBANS - AN OSR ADVENTURE
Campaign ends: Mon, December 14
As Nick Cave once sang, and I and many others have bellowed tunelessly since, "Release The Bats!"
Anyway The Bats of Saint Abbans is a set of books designed for the Midderlands setting, something I've yet to play but those whose opinion I trust are all over. I'm a big fan of adventures that don't threaten world ending outcomes and The Bats of Saint Abbas has got a nice low stakes feel to it, bats have taken over the belfry of the titular abbey and the Abbess is in need of brave souls to go get rid of them.
Whilst that sounds easy enough I'm sure there will be complications along the way, at least enough to justify the 4 books here which include an intro and set of NPCs, the adventure itself, a bestiary and set of maps and handouts.
It's written with the Sword & Sorcery system in mind but you know what OSR games are like, I imagine it will be relatively painless to convert to whatever form of grogery most appeals to your table.
NEON LORDS OF THE TOXIC WASTELAND
Campaign ends: Sun, December 6
Everything so far we've recommended seems worryingly tasteful so let's end this with a couple of more gonzo offerings. First up is Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland, which sounds and looks like the kind of Troma film we'd rent from our local video store back in the early 90s.
Based on the BX rules it's a game of mutants and mayhem in a post apocalyptic world, it's garish, promises ultra violence and includes classes such as DEATH BRINGER, SKULL JAMMER and BRUTACORN.
Character creation even involves picking your hairstyle.
Dumb fun at its dumbest and funnest we're guessing.
THE SCOURGE OF THE SCORN LORDS
Campaign Ends: Thu, December 10
In any other round-up The Scourge of the Scorn Lords would probably have been a shoe-in for our most metal title of the week. But unfortunately it's up against some pretty stiff competition here.
Anyway as you can probably guess what we have here is yet more post-apocalyptic fun. You know the drill by now, psionic mutants battling over an irradiated landscape whilst riding around on armoured war-elephants.
(sidebar: can anyone recommend a pre-apocalyptic setting? One where the death of all things in fiery ruin is just on the horizon, but life as nearly normal goes on obliviously. Could be interesting, could also be a bit on the nose for our times, hmmmm).
The concluding part of the Meatlandia trilogy it's designed to be compatible with Necrotic Gnome's brilliant Old School Essentials, so just the ticket if, like us, you recently dropped a wedge on the new version of that.
100+ pages of old school fun, packed with tables aplenty and a tonne of amazing art by Wind Lothamer that's probably worth the price of admission alone. Go back!
Right that's it... Or is it.
We might as well plug our own Kickstarter so here we go...
WYRD SCIENCE - SESSION ZERO
Campaign ends: Fri, December 11
It's our debut issue, 80 pages of hot RPG, wargame & board game content including interviews with Kieron Gillen (Marvel/Image), Cole Wehrle (Root), Chris Spivey (Call of Cthulhu: Harlem Unbound), Banana Chan (Jiangshi), Themeborne (Escape the Dark Castle), Johan Nohr (Mork Borg) and much more including a short story from Josh Reynolds (Black Library/Aconyte)!
We funded in 3 hours but there's till 3 weeks to go so if you want to be on the ground floor and help us make more issues, then please give us money, we'll spend it on the next issue not any of the stuff above, we promise!