Tis the Season to get Pledging
Christmas is a weird time for Kickstarter projects. For starters, you’re more likely thinking about spending money on food and presents for other people, not on projects that might not bear any rewards for a couple of months or more. Sure, not everyone celebrates Christmas (or something like it), but it’s certainly front of mind for a lot of people. Despite this, some companies are still starting up projects that will be completing during the festive season. Two in particular have grabbed my interest lately.
First up is an expansion for a game I mentioned here earlier this year, Blackwater Gulch. Rebels & Reinforcements expands the game settings with six new gangs and nine new characters, many inspired by characters from film and TV. This is a massive expansion to the existing range, and some of the ‘inspired by’ models are drawing a lot of attention. One of the most popular gangs is the Tranquility Crew, who will become available once the project reaches $20,000 (200% of target).
This project has drawn some negative feedback, however. Those who participated in the original project have still not received their rewards. While this sounds bad, this is mostly due to Gangfight Games signing a distribution and production deal with Game Salute. This caused some big delays, while allowing the game to reach a wider audience. They have now received the stock, so backers of the first project (including myself) should get their goodies soon.
Back to this new project. While it has a relatively short time frame – only 21 days – the target has already been reached. Now it’s a matter of getting as many people to sign up as possible and seeing how many of the new gangs and characters get unlocked. Currently, the list of models goes all the way up to $50,000, with a new character or gang becoming available with every $5,000 pledged. As an added bonus, there is a link to a free PDF copy of the rules on the project page, so you can try before you buy.
Why should you pledge? If the crew above isn’t enough reason, the game itself is a lot of fun to play and the models look fantastic. It might seem to consist entirely of named characters, but that’s just there for convenience. In reality, you can easily construct your own gang from any of the models available. More models simply means you have more options for representing your chosen characters. Oh, and there are some mounted models in the works, too. They’re not part of this project, but they are coming. Finally, the cost is relatively low. US$30 gets you a gang and the single model of your choice, six models in total. And it isn’t just the US that gets free shipping, either (another Game Salute perk).
As it currently stands, backers have pledged $14,777. As a bonus, Gangfight Games have unlocked their $15,000 stretch, a roostery-looking fellow named Wayne Duke. Next up are the Tranquility Crew, so it’s a great time to get involved.
The other project is for AE-WWII by Darkson Designs (distributed by Blackball Games), a miniatures game set in a world where World War 2 didn’t end in 1945 and all sides have turned to weird science and occult powers to give them an edge. The game first released a few years back, with three books being released before it dropped off the map, so to speak. Now, the rules are getting an update and Darkson are using Kickstarter to get it published.
AE-WWII: European Theatre focuses on the western front, including the forces of America, Britain, Germany, Russia, and the anti-communist Russian Liberation Army, led by the mad monk Grigori Rasputin. American robot soldiers and skinwalkers face off against German werewolves and genetic abominations, Britain’s Ministry of Arcane Armaments pits its druids against Russian psychics, all the while Rasputin trains his followers to summon creatures from other planes of existence to do his bidding. Some of these units are inspired by actual projects, others are more fanciful and taken from myth and legend.
While it may sound like just another weird war game, these elements are optional. AE-WWII’s rules allow you to play historically realistic games just as easily. It’s points-free detachment system for building forces is remarkably easy to use, and keeps game well-balanced. On top of this, it is closer to a skirmish game than games like Bolt Action, keeping games fast and deadly. The rules are changing with this new edition, but the designers have said that they’ll mostly be minor tweaks.
It is worth pointing out that, while I mentioned the British, it is only their occult division the Ministry of Arcane Armaments who currently appear in the book. Darkson have not yet released any ‘regular’ British models, though rules did appear online. They’re out of the book for now as this project is more about getting the book published than making new models. There is a suggestion that the Brits might be included as stretch goal.
That brings us to another point. Unlike Blackwater Gulch, AE-WWII isn’t doing so well when it comes to getting people to pledge. They’re currently only just over halfway to their US$10,000 goal and the project is starting to stall. It doesn’t help that the rewards are rather limited, with no option to up your pledge to include extra miniatures or other goodies. Being able to add a second Starter Set to your pledge would almost certainly bring in some extra money, as would offering some of the older Convention Only models – like their Field Marshall Rommel model.
Bearing all this in mind, it is still worth pledging to this project. The detachments are a great deal, especially if you pick the Russian Infantry Detachment. More than enough to get you started with the game. I’m in for an American Experimental Detachment myself, but the SS Knights are tempting me, and will certainly be getting some Brits when they finally release. We don’t know what Q Division will bring with them, but it’s bound to be fun.