Category Archives: Kickstarter

Keep The Faith – Fidelitas review

Fidelitas Box

Collaborations can be great. Two incredible minds coming together, working alongside each other to create something truly wonderful… it’s a thing of beauty to behold. Of course, some team-ups can be utterly wretched (Paula Abdul and MC Scat Kat, take a bow) but generally two heads are better than one. Oddly, multiple designers on a single game isn’t something that happens that often, but some great titles have been borne of teamwork; Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling have been an award winning pair several times with games like Tikal and Asara, for example.

A fresh new collaboration now seeks your support, with two great current designers now coming together to create something that is both small and special. Jason Kotarski (creator of The Great Heartland Hauling Company and FrogFlip) and Philip duBarry (the man behind Revolution and some of AEG’s Tempest series) have joined forces to make the card game Fidelitas, and a lovely little thing it is too.

In a town, far, far away, the citizens live an unhappy life of being downtrodden by the local elite. There is only one thing to do – rise against them! However, it would seem that all of those capable of doing so got too drunk and can’t remember quite what they’re supposed to do… and this is where you and your fellow players step in. Ladies and gents, it’s time to incite some good old-fashioned revolution. Grab your pitchforks and flaming torch!

Actually, that’s not a good idea – the nobility’s guards would have you chopped into pieces in moments. What you need to be is sneaky. Whisper a few words into the ears of the right people. Get your most powerful allies into the right places and, once the word is given, a concerted attack can begin! Unfortunately, there can only be one leader (a bit like in Highlander) so everyone is trying to manipulate the same people in this terrified town; you’ve just got to make sure that it’s you.

On the table at the start of play sits a line of cards representing the town itself, four of which have two locations that are particularly prized by a certain guild. The Tavern, sat in the middle of the line, is a special place that’s beloved by all (surprise!) and  has its own ability which we’ll cover shortly. Meanwhile, the two end cards also point to other locations, the harbour and the castle. It’s these places where we’ll make our stand!

Cards are divided into two types: Missio and Virtus. Missio are your secret missions, the cards that tell you what type of people you need to be moving and where they need to end up. Meet the necessary requirements and you’ll score the points shown at the bottom of the card. Score a set amount of points (6 with four players, though you can aim for more for a longer game) and you are seen as the voice of the rebellion and win the game! Truly, you are the Mockingjay.

Or you will be if the people actually listen to you. The Virtus cards are where they are all to be found, and each person will have their own ability that needs to be taken into consideration. Each turn, you can play someone to one of the two locations of their own guild, then follow the instructions written on their card to start moving other people around the town. The previously mentioned Tavern has no guild affiliation, so instead a player must discard a Missio card when someone is sent there. Also, instead of having two differently named locations, the Tavern is just one big place – however, you must consider which side of the bar to sit, as it were. Where you are in this wicked little town is VERY important.

When you’ve played your Virtus card and done the ability upon it, you may turn in a Missio card for points (assuming that the requirements have been met. This may be gathering a certain amount of characters at a named location, or get guild pairs (ie: two people from the game guild) into a number of places. If the target has been met, you flip the card up and declare your total score, draw back up to two Missios and pass play to the person on your left. And the game is as simple as that – play a card, follow the instructions, score points (hopefully) and move on!

If there’s one word I can use to describe Fidelitas, it’s clean. Having played a fair few rounds of it now, I’ve noticed just how well put together the game is and also seen the influence of both Jason and Philip in there too. Fidelitas is a beautifully balanced game where any mistake that’s made is down to you – the position of certain characters may open up the opportunity for other players to complete their own missions, but through multiple games you’ll learn how to not get yourself into that kind of tangle. I’ve had several incredibly satisfying moments playing a Baker card allowing me to move any two cards to new locations, doing so, then swiftly scoring a Missio while simultaneously ruining the best laid plans of the other players. You’ll hear a lot of muttering under breath when a copy of Fidelitas hits your table.

I mentioned the influence that the designers had on the game and honestly see their fingerprints all over it. The compact game set-up and lean card count says Jason to me – his love of smaller, shorter games shines through in Fidelitas – while I feel that the theme and relative complexity come from Philip’s side. I think that his sterling work on his Tempest games have rubbed off a little on him (seriously, go play Canalis, it’s incredibly underrated) and I’m honestly surprised that this effort wasn’t made part of the series – it certainly would’ve fit incredibly well. Regardless, the two have come together and made a very enjoyable game indeed.

Of course, the game is only in prototype stage at the moment and – at the time of writing – seeking funds on Kickstarter. However, the copy provided to me showed off the beautiful comic art very well indeed and the game cards are well laid out, so a hat-tip goes to both artist Jaqui Davis and graphics chap Darrell Louder for their sterling work. It can be hard getting the message across on a relatively simple card game, but they’ve done admirably.

Also of note is that this is the first release from Jason Kotarski’s brand new publishing company, Green Couch Games. We at The Little Metal Dog Show wish him the very best for Green Couch and hope that all future releases match up to the splendidness of Fidelitas! This is truly a great filler, the ideal candidate for your table when you’ve got twenty minutes or so to spare and feel like playing something that will tax your brain a little. Not too heavy, but not feather light either, Fidelitas will be making it into the Best of the Year lists of a fair few gamers when the time comes around.

You can back Fidelitas today on Kickstarter, with the campaign running until September 1, 2014. $19 will get you a copy of it delivered in the US, with international pledges running a little higher (UK gamers, you’re looking at $28 which isn’t bad at all). Designed by Jason Kotarski and Philip duBarry, it will be released in early 2015. Between two and four can play (though I’ve found it better with four) and games will take you around 15-20 minutes. 

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Kickstarter Catch Up!

There’s a few interesting things going around on Kickstarter at the moment, so I figured it’d be a good thing to point you in the right direction of them!

Character Meeples

Character Meeples

The awesome team over at Meeple Source are currently in the middle of their first campaign, attempting to bring a whole new range of meeple designs to their range with the assistance of backers from around the world. Having been lucky enough to get my hands on a bunch of them recently, I can attest that they are Very Lovely Indeed – and it’s not just standard sized meeples that they do. There are special mini ones for use in Lords of Waterdeep (as well as special tokens for use in the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion), Tzolkin corn cobs, Tiny Epic Kingdoms sets and more random wooden bits than you can shake a stick at. The main focus though is on their lovely meeples and the campaign has been a tremendous success already. Loads of new designs have been unlocked and backers can get their hands on a single set of eight meeples for as little as $10. For those looking to splash out, you can even pledge for a set of four hundred meeples which will invariably pimp out your entire games collection!

Dice & Slice

One of my dear friends, Paco Jean from G*M*S Magazine, is looking to do a gaming web series with a difference. Combining cooking with games, Slice & Dice is unlike any games show you’ve seen before, and I can also guarantee that Paco is a bloody good cook. Have a watch of the pilot video up there and you’ll see that he’s a natural on camera – not surprising considering how much video output he does over at G*M*S. The project has already funded, but if you know of any games companies out there who are looking for an interesting way to plug upcoming games, send them over to the Slice & Dice Kickstarter page.

Town Center – Fourth Edition

Town Center 4E

You will take my copy of the First Edition of Alban Viard’s Town Center from my cold, dead hands – that cardboard box with its hand-stuck cover filled with LEGO bricks is going nowhere – but it’s true to say that the game is hard to get hold of. That’s a pity because it’s a really good game – building up stacks of blocks that interact with each other as the rounds continue, stealing the ones that you know your opponents really need, it’s a very satisfying and challenging gaming experience. Now being published through Ludicreations, a copy will set you back a reasonably priced $50 which includes shipping.

Tokaido Collector’s Edition

Tokaido Collectors

 

Tokaido, Antoine Bauza’s game depicting a journey across Japan, is a beautiful thing to begin with but the new Collector’s Edition is set to push the boundaries yet further. Adding a whole bunch of extra things into the box including minifigures, a fistful of metal coins, extra wooden components and even a soundtrack to accompany your playing of the game, this is truly the ultimate Tokaido experience. A copy will cost $115 if you want the level that comes with all stretch goals, though there are cheaper options available. The question is, following the beautiful Takenoko remake, does this make Antoine Bauza the first designer to have two special edition versions available of his games?

 

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Kickstart Your Weekend – #2 – 22.11.13

Another week and another whole bunch of Kickstarter projects are unleashed! Every Friday The Little Metal Dog Show looks at some of the new and exciting games that have arrived on the site and attempts to draw your attention towards them… Here’s this week’s selection.

1. Pirates!

Pirates

Kickstarter is has now moved to Australia, and Pirates was one of the first projects to launch celebrating this fact. Pirates is a card and dice game where the players must seize glory as they sail the seven seas – so much so “we’ve heard this before Michael, get on with it”. However, unlike a lot of games where you’re already established as a villain, Pirates seems to start you with the barest of set-ups then sees you actually progress. Gaining extra weapons and upgrading your vessel is the order of the day as you take down merchants aplenty. Sure, it seems to be filled with tropes and is a little factually incorrect (pirates were actually very democratic, you know), but when did facts ever get in the way of a good game? Pick up a copy for $40 AUD which works out at around £23 GBP!

2. Wands

Wands COVER

Billing itself as a combination of Magic: The Gathering and UNO (don’t run away, it seems OK!), Wands is a simple to play magical battle game which is way simpler than your average CCG. By casting spells  and counterspells, you’re looking to take your opponent down to zero health. Blasts help you along the way, superpowered unstoppable spells that are rare but ever so useful! The thing that really grabbed me about Wands though? The graphical style totally jumps out, with fantastic, crazy looking art from Lindsay Lea. It looks to play in a pretty simple fashion, but would work well as a little filler when you’re waiting about for another game to finish.

3. Elevenses – The Card Game of Morning Tea

Elevenses

Look at that title. Then look at the box. WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT THIS GAME IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Another release from Australia, this time Sydney’s Adventureland Games, I don’t think there’s ever been a game based around this subject. Players begin the game with the same set of cards, each of which has its own power – the lower the number, the greater the power – and look to serve up the best morning tea . By placing cards in specific locations, sugar cubes are handed out and rounds are won should you happen to have the most when an Elevenses card is played. I’m getting a bit of a Love Letter vibe from this one – simple rules, simple gameplay, but a splendid way to pass the time. Just like having a brew!

4. Brew Crafters

Brew BOARD

And on the subject of brews, how about something a little stronger? Dice Hate Me Games have just under three days left on their Brew Crafters campaign. Designed by Ben Rosset, players run their own microbreweries and attempt to construct the tastiest ales, lagers and stouts they can. Using a bit of worker placement, you’ll be looking to get your hands on the finest ingredients and turn out the very best brews in this game that reckons it’s “Euro Style, American Finish”. As always with DHM Games, the production is through the roof with beautiful illustrations throughout, mini-expansions built into the game from the start… Utterly lovely, and yours for a $60 pledge ($75 if you’re outside the US).

5. Pandante

Pandante STUFF

David Sirlin is a guy who knows a thing or two about games. Having been responsible for Yomi, the fantastic card game that worked like a 2D beat-’em-up, as well as the awesome Puzzle Strike, he’s now back with a game that involves… gambling pandas? Taking Texas Hold ‘Em as a starting point, he’s developed a game that uses a lot of the same rules (so there’s a lot of familiarity in there) but added in special powers and abilities to spice things up a little. Players can bluff about the cards they hold, others can accuse them of lying… it all sounds very boisterous and splendid. Get yourself in on this for $30.

And that’s it for this week! If you’re running a campaign (or are about to) and reckon I should know about it, drop me an email via michael@littlemetaldog.com and I’ll take a look. With us only covering five projects a week, space is short so get in early!

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Kickstart Your Weekend – #1 – 15.11.13

Hey all! Michael here with what I plan to be a regular weekly slot where five games campaigns on Kickstarter get a bit of a plug. Perhaps they’re games I really like the look of, maybe it’s a small company who I reckon really deserve a few minutes in the spotlight… whatever it is, if you reckon you have a game that deserves a place on Kickstart Your Weekend, drop me an email on michael@littlemetaldog.com and we’ll see what happens. Here’s this week’s best and brightest:

1. KeyFlower: The Farmers

KeyFlower Farmers

So, this one’s an expansion and is only available for backers in the US – plus there’s less than twelve hours left on the campaign – but I figured that it’d be a good idea for anyone who has played the original KeyFlower and knows just how bloody good it is to jump in and make the game even better. Putting more of an emphasis on agriculture as you build your villages over the course of a year, you’ll score high when breeding animals and growing crops. There’s also a limited amount of promotional Storyteller tiles available, adding a bit more value to your $35 pledge. Copies are actually on their way to the States right now, so they’ll be sent out well before Christmas too. Get in there quickly if you want one.

2. Iron & Ale

Dwarven Lord

We all know that dwarves love a beer or twelve, and in Iron & Ale this passion is combined with a bit of mining, a dash of fighting and a whole lot of challenges. Yes, this is a drinking game (so it’s for grown ups ONLY) where you and your fellow players are looking to rise to the heights of Dwarven King by defeating enemies and collecting honour. Once you’ve done your turn, you must visit the Meadhall (in other words, draw a card) and challenge your opponents in a feat of skill or strength. Stuff like having someone else slap you across the face HARD. Like so:

Want in? $25 sees you get a copy in the US, $40 for Canada, $60 for the Rest of the World. They’re halfway to their $17500 goal with just over three weeks to go. Cheers!

3. Tug O’ Lords

Tug

A bit of a curious one, a fantasy card game built around a tug-of-war mechanism. Think DOTA or League of Legends on a tabletop and you’ll see what the designers are looking to achieve with Tug O’ Lords. Boiled down it’s all about controlling armies in a bid to seize your opponent’s castle through playing cards, but it looks pretty interesting in how the game has been balanced. Sure, you could focus your attention on one enemy castle but that means your attention on the other players is way way lower.  It seems like slow and steady is the key with this one, something very different to the usual hectic activity you associate with games of this ilk. With a month left on the clock they still have a fair way to go – nearly $15K – but you can get yourself in on the action for $29.

4. The Amityville Project: Phobos

MAGE

MAGE Company have shown their skills in producing games with 12 Realms and Wrong Chemistry, but now are taking a huge step with Phobos. Almost funded (they’re at 90% with 26 days left of the campaign), this is a Lovecraftian game with miniatures so you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be a Kickstarter success. While it initially comes across as something a bit like Arkham Horror, looking deeper into the project reveals that it’s actually VERY different. All players are actually representing different personalities in a single detective who is attempting to solve a case – all you need to do is wipe out the alternate personalities and become the dominant character. Like in 12 Realms, there are LOTS of minis for folks to jump in on that are sure to look great. Secure your copy for a hefty (but actually pretty good value) $100.

5. Tattletale

Tattletale

Last one, and from insanely expensive to totally inexpensive. Tattletale rides on the microgames wave and has players acting as kids in an elementary school for troubled geniuses. With a lot of bluffing and (actual) finger pointing, you’re part of a secret faction looking to gain glory on the playground and seize control of the school. Not only does the game play really well especially with a larger amount of people around the table – I managed to snag a Print and Play version – it also looks fantastic with art from Abby Howard, currently a finalist on Penny Arcade’s Strip Search. If googly eyed monstrous kids are your bag, you can pledge a mere $8 ($13 for worldwide) and get your hands on this one.

And that’s it for this week! More to come next Friday, so if you reckon you’ve seen a decent project or are running one yourself, drop me an email – michael@littlemetaldog.com. Oh, and in one shameless final plug, my own campaign for Keep Running by Sprocket Games ends Saturday night, around 7pm UK time. It’s already funded and a shade away from its final stretch goal, so if you take a look it would be delightful!

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