Games News! 29/07/13

Quinns: No questioning what the big story is this week. Board game and erstwhile Kickstarter success story The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! has imploded like a great tower block made of dreams and balsa wood. Following 13 months and $122,874 of investment (less Kickstarter’s fee), Forking Path Co. has declared the project is now cancelled due to “Every possible mistake [being] made.”

It only gets sadder from here. In the same update project founder Erik Chevalier states that, despite having quit his job for the game, will now do his best to seek employment and steadily repay the project’s 1,246 backers. Not that this was enough to stop many of the backers from creating a bubbling lake of fury and vitriol in the comments.

On the subject of Kickstarter, GameBugle, the news organ of GameSalute (a publisher that works extremely closely with Kickstarter who we interviewed just last month), has published a survey of board game Kickstarter backers.

44% of those surveyed said they’d now experienced some format of horror story with a game they’d backed, and 49% of backers stated an intention to start using Kickstarter less. While the Kickstarter kart might not be slowing down, it’s perhaps safe to say that the wheels are looking a lot more wobbly.

A friend of mine who works in videogame publishing has a fun take on crowdfunding. To begin with, he points out, everyone thrilled at the opportunity to pry game development from the profit-focused publishers, to simply fund beautiful stuff.

Every month that passes, though, sees Kickstarter backers becoming more cynical, and more informed. They see twenty games that want their money each week, and now they’re interested in the designers credentials; in whether they’ll actually get their game.

Meaning that in a kind of capitalist lycanthropy, they’re becoming the very jaded businessmen they despised. Spooky!

The Oleg Story™: Survival

Is now a good time to talk about a couple of high-profile Kickstarters that appeared this week? No? The Oleg Story™: Survival has an excellently bonkers concept, at least.

Players each control a gang of 4 prisoners in a maximum security prison that seems to be a little… lackadaisical in its rehabilitation. Basically, you’re all under lockdown for 23 hours a day, and each round of the game occurs in the single hour when gangs are free to stretch their legs, have a chat and shank the bejeezus out of one another.

I’d definitely play this one. All the negotiation and high-stakes grumping of a good wargame, but on a more human scale, with cards reading “uppercut” and “cigarettes”. At a criminal £63 for just the base game, though, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to. A base price that high has killed better Kickstarters.

The King's Armory

Don’t want to play this one, though. Oh god. No. NO.

Say hello to the Kickstarter for The King’s Armory, a board game simulating tower defense video games.

That’s tower defense, as in, a genre of videogame that offers a real time threat and takes care of many calculations very rapidly, thus making the most of videogames as a format. Repurposed into the format of a board game. An ancient medium which practically poops itself at the strain of offering real time gaming, and where the players must do all the calculations themselves.

I’m being SLIGHTLY unfair. The King’s Armory does promise drop-in and drop-out gaming, which is definitely a unique and pleasant thing to find in a board game. It also has art, which was literally drawn by someone who may have once drawn another thing.

The King's Armory

Look at that guy! Cripes! His face is draped over that body like a garnish. I also like that background. Was he sat in the bath then got startled by something?

Omen: A Reign of War

ENOUGH with the Kickstarter games. Let’s look at something more trustworthy for you to pre-order.

Favoured peon of SU&SD Patricio Mendez writes to inform us that a 1,000 copy print run of Omen: A Reign of War is now available to pre-order. A two player card game of different coloured Greeks.

Similar to slimy-dingy Cave Evil from last week, Omen is one of those highly spoken of games that we’ll probably never cover due to unavailability, but Patricio describes it as “simple,” “elegant,” “like Magic: The Gathering without having to buy ongoing packs,” and “best played with eyeliner on.”

Thanks, Patricio! There’s a nice review here, for anyone who doesn’t found purchases on accessorising potential.

Star Trek: Attack Wing

A grand design diary of Star Trek: Attack Wing has been posted on the insidiously sedulous Board Game Geek news blog. This is WizKids’ upcoming competitor to the hugely successful X-Wing Miniatures Game. Both of these games are based on Wings of War‘s FlightPath system, should you prefer your airborne combat a little more… down to earth?

The diary makes Attack Wing sound different without being impressive, covering cloaking, tribbles and the game’s focus on missions – in other words, anything that might distinguish it from X-Wing – but failing to make it sound like a dramatic evolution. With Fantasy Flight now putting out HUGE miniatures like the Millenium Falcon (a delicious contradiction in terms), I’m not sure things are looking so great for Attack Wing.

Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter

AND FINALLY: SU&SD turbofan Felix Strangio writes to point us towards the following…

Jordan Weisman, founder of FASA and, most recently, head of the studio behind the successful Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter, has stated that his next project will attempt to bridge the gap between videogames and tabletop games.

Golem Arcana will be a tabletop miniatures game that uses a smartphone or tablet to handle book-keeping and calculations. Miniatures and all the squares on the board will have a series of microdots, and with a glance from the device’s camera, you’ll be informed of – say – your chance to hit.

The Kickstarter for Golem Arcana will launch in August. All of which is quite interesting.

…But not as interesting as it is in context. This makes Jordan Weisman the third designer that we’ve heard is seeking to work smartphones and tablets into their game designs directly, with the other two being rumours which we can’t, as yet, say anything about.

Seems 2014 may be the year of the phone’s proper arrival on the board gaming scene, outside of the occasional naff tie-in app. Iiiiinteresting.