What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weekend R&R: The Doom That Came To Atlantic City

Normally, the focus of my Weekend R&R are to review a single RPG product -- be it old or new. But we all have different ways to unwind and I recently decided to shift towards the Call of Cthulhu RPG and, given that the time I can actually get a game together is surprisingly challenging due to either time restraints and scheduling, I will find other ways to occupy my leisure hours. I love a good board game and, with my current frame of mind, The Doom That Came To Atlantic City had a lot of the trappings I am currently immersing myself with as far as theme is concerned.

If you are someone who has followed various projects or gone as far as back some on Kickstarter, the title of the game may sound familiar. A Lovecraftian themed boardgame which took many cues from the classic game of Monopoly which raised over $120,000 in 2012 only to have the project cancelled and the money disappear.

Never underestimate the power of the great old ones though.  Another company stepped in, secured the rights, and produced the game. They even went so far as to get backers of the original project copies of the game -- something they were not required to do but awesome nonetheless.  I was never a backer though.  I missed the campaign when it ran and stumbled upon it after it had already ended. With the delays and problems, I eventually secured my own copy of the game only just recently.  Part of the reason I waited on it was because it's a pricey game but the components of the game and high quality and the game proved to be a light-hearted distraction.

In many ways, the game plays in a very familiar way but, it is very much 'anti-monopoly'.  Your goal, as one of the elder gods, isn't to build, but rather destroy.  Power (through destruction) and cultists are the currency of the game and when you have accumulated enough of both and succeed in opening the requisite amount of gates, you can bring about the end of the world and win the game.

It's a simple game and, unlock Monopoly, it will not last you hours.  It is entirely possible to play a game under an hour though, I've had a couple which went on to about an hour and a half.  Luck is very much a factor here too and the dice can be fickle.  However, you aren't just constrained to moving around the board.  You can use gates to travel to other gates and bypass sections of the board.  You also can attack your opponents and steal cultists away from him as well as rain destruction and destroy homes.  Each elder god also has abilities which can be swapped out with other ones with Providence Cards and then are are 'Chant' cards to assist you as well.  And, because of this added dynamic, there is a bit of strategy to go along with the random luck factor of the dice.

The game is good in the sense that the style and theme of the game is actually well-thought out in a cute kind of way and doesn't feel like it's just been tacked on.  But the game also manages to remain accessible.  So, between that and the visuals, the game just works and will be one that will get pulled out from time to time -- especially if I'm waiting on the late arrival of a player before we can start up a Call of Cthulhu game.

Now, I was lucky as the normal retail price goes for around $75 from what I have seen.  I basically was able to get it for a little more than half that price.  Given the quality of the components, and the beautiful sculpts of the miniatures included in the box, it is well worth the full price of the game.  Just shop around first.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kickstart This: The Hallowed Oracle (C&C)

To date, Troll Lord Games have done many successful Kickstarter campaigns.  Of course, being who they are, the products always come out even if they might be a bit late.  The various campaigns always do well and some do better than one might expect and others seem to fall short of what could have been.  Arguably, the biggest hurdle with the recent campaigns has been the nature of the material.

If we look at the last 10 campaigns, half of them have been reprints of sorts.  Going back a couple of years now, we have the latest and full colour reprints of the core set of books.  That is to say, the Players Handbook, the Monster & Treasure book, and the Castle Keepers Guide.  They are a fantastic set of books and, by far, their biggest Kickstarter.  It is also a campaign that took a while to completely fulfil.  While most of the rewards (the core books and subsequent swag) where delivered promptly enough, another massive stretch goal has just wrapped up which effectively completes the project.  With continued updates and news, fans were not worried and everybody seemed happy and other successful campaigns followed.

Amazing Adventures was a new line that went from a single softcover rulebook and got expanded into three books and TLG kept on doing a few MAJOR fundraising campaigns.  But recently, we have seen more reprints than not.  Always improved in some way which is nice but nothing really 'new' lately.  Classic Monsters, the Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde, and the Book of Familiars (both for 5th Edition and C&C) all got some attention.  But the last major Kickstarter of import was probably for the Mythos books done launched last summer (no physical products delivered yet but coming soon).

Clearly, something new is needed beyond some reprints and aside from the failed Brimstone & The Borderlands campaign, we have not seen anything new this year!

That is thankfully changing.  As TLG is wrapping up delivery on past Kickstarters, they have launched a new one and this one looks a bit different.

It's an adventure path set in the Abyss Walker universe.  The Abyss Walker is a series penned by Shane Moore -- which, for this project, means a new fantasy setting for us to explore!  The Hallowed Oracle is looking to be 200+ pages with a smaller Player Guide to go along with it.  New classes... variant rules... spells... and critters to be found as expected but what is nice about this project is that the base rules are included with the game.  In other words, if you don't have the C&C PHB, you can still play the game with just the Hallowed Oracle.

At this point, the project is already funded (it did so the first day) and it's now just a question of what stretch goals can be unlocked.  At this stage, it is already over $7,000 with almost 4 weeks left to go and the next goal is at $8,000 which means the main book is upgraded to hardcover.  Pledge levels are varied depending on what you are looking at.  You can pledge as low as $1 and then add-on stuff (if you want digital, this is your best option) but at $40, you get the physical books.  There is an interested pledge level at $150 which gets you the Hallowed Oracle, as well as a copy of the three core books!  Now these rulebooks alone would retail at $110 but there are a few other things at this pledge level which might be worth considering if you don't already have the C&C books.

Ultimately, the project looks promising and it's something new for this year which is already more than halfway done.  Now, I'm keeping things simple myself and sticking with a lower pledge tier but I'm a huge supporter of Troll Lord Games and Castles & Crusades!  I think it might be worth checking out.

To do so, you can find the project HERE.