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Better Living Through Kickstarter

08/02/2013

One month in to 2013 and it’s already a bit of a crazy year. I finally got around to seeing Skyfall, I have a new manager at work, I’m helping organise a charity event in March, I even talked my father-in-law into finally upgrading his cellphone. Then there’s everything else. At least the recent public holidays (Auckland Anniversary Day and Waitangi Day) have given me a little extra weekend time.

The biggest change so far this year has been around my wife and I moving in with her parents. It’s a cunning scheme to help us save for our first house, while getting some home-cooked dinners at the same time. As part of this move, we’ve placed most of our belongings into storage, keeping only the bare essentials (clothes and the like). This has meant almost all of my gaming material got placed into boxes and probably won’t see the light of day until later this year. It was hard to do, but a lot of it was in boxes already, not having been unboxed after previous moves, and most of the stuff that had been unboxed hadn’t been touched in a while anyway due to spatial issues with out old apartment. A dedicated gaming room is high on the list of things we’re looking for in a new house, so I’m sure I’ll be able to spend some time catching up before Christmas rolls around this year.

In the meantime, I’m keeping up to date with the gaming news through sites like Tabletop Gaming News. Here are some games that have piqued my interest recently.

Wild West Exodus: First up is a game that looks like Deadlands meets Malifaux meets Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Basically, Wild West Exodus is a steampunk wild west game with four factions filled with real world historical figures given a weird twist. It looks like it has potential, except for one “big” problem: the miniatures are 35mm in scale, a full 3-4mm larger than ‘standard’ miniatures. It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes the models noticeably taller and bulkier than pretty much every other wild west miniature range out there. I don’t know why they went with the (slightly) larger scale, and I’m sure most people won’t notice the difference, but I do and it bugs for me for some reason I just can’t put my finger on. The weird west buildings releasing with the game would be great for a Firefly-esque setting, however.

Rivet Wars: Jokingly referred to as “Chibi Dust” by the hosts of the Game Classy podcast, Rivet Wars is a two-player boardgame set in a world apparently stuck in a perpetual First World War. Unsurprisingly, things have been given a dieselpunk twist, with large walkers and other fantastical creations. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, and the game does have some pretty impressive pedigree (the designer worked on Rise of Nations), and backed by CMON (which practically guarantees massive success on its Kickstarter launch).

I really like the look and feel of Rivet Wars, especially the ‘plug’ feature that allows you to customise certain vehicles with different turrets and characters, but it still didn’t grab me enough to get on board. I think part of it was due to the designers mention that the game was part of a larger world, with more factions appearing in the future. This confused me a little. Was his real intention to release a wargame, not a one on one boardgame? The setup made it feel like this might have been the case. I’ll certainly keep an eye on this in the future, just to see how things do develop.

Warzone Resurrection: Back in the 90’s, the wargaming scene was very different. There was no Privateer Press, no Fantasy Flight (at least in NZ), and Games Workshop was at its monolithic peak. And then a Swedish company, Target Games, released a game called Warzone. Based on a roleplaying game (Mutant Chronicles) and series of boardgames, it presented an alternate future, one where corporations had taken over, pushed their luck too far, unleased evil into the solar system, and were now desperately fighting against it and each other. For someone who had known nothing other than Games Workshop, it was amazing. Sure, some of the models weren’t quite up to GW quality (at the time), but the system was fun, the factions were unique, and it bought a breath of fresh air into the hobby. And then the game died.

Target tried growing faster than they could manage and ended up crashing. Hard. There have been many attempts to resurrect Warzone over the years, including a prepainted 54mm game and a movie (that not even Ron Perlman could save). Paradox are giving it one more go. They’re currently teasing a new version of the game on their Facebook page, promising a big announcement on February 15. We don’t know much yet, but based on the preview images, it looks like they’re on the right track. My prediction: They’ll announce a Kickstarter which will launch the game with at least 3-4 factions, possibly expanding to more factions through stretch goals.

Godslayer – Rise of Legends: Megalith Games’ Kickstarter project that has really got me thinking. It is a fantasy skirmish game that has a few similarities with Warmachine and Hordes. Armies will be of similar size and some of the mechanics feel inspired by Warmachine. But that’s where the similarities end. The game features six unique factions, some inspired by historical societies. These include the noble Halodynes (Greeks), necromantically-minded Mortans (Romans), and tribal Wyldfolk (Celts). More details on the setting and factions are available on their website.

Their current Kickstarter is a little different to those run by other new companies. The game has already been released, along with a good selection of models, but the aim of this project is to get the game also released in German. It may seem like an odd choice, but once they meet that goal, further funds will be directed to releasing more models for each faction. They currently have just over 20 days to go and are almost 50% funded, so things are progressing well. I’m very tempted to jump in, but as I mentioned above, gaming is on the back burner for me at the moment. Who knows, if they do end up doing well enough and releasing a lot of new models thanks to this project, I might have to relent.

Convergence of Cyriss: Finally there’s the big news from Privateer Press. They announced at Temple Con that, later this year, the Cult of Cyriss will finally be making an appearance in Warmachine as a fully fledged faction. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the Cult worship Cyriss, Maiden of Gears. Her worshippers strive to better themselves through machinery, eventually transferring their own consciousness into metallic bodies.

What does this mean in the game? Well, we’re getting a faction composed entirely of robots. Unlike the clunky Warjacks of other factions, most of these robots are built with a distinctive design aesthetic and are much more elegant. They also operate differently to other Warmachine factions, with Warcasters directly affecting the models in their battle group, and some models being able to ‘transform’ to provide variety to their actions. It’s going to be an interesting faction to see in action, and one I am sorely tempted to get into. Fortunately, they’re not releasing until much later in the year, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a house and set up a gaming space before they arrive.

That’s my list. Which games have caught your eye recently?

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