Welcome back to March! There are a lot of games on Kickstarter this month, and Kickstarter Wonk is here to help. Now, Zinequest technically ended on Sunday, but there’s still a good crop of zines at the tail end of the event. I’ve picked out 35 more that are worth checking out if you have any of your Zinequest budget left. And, since it is March again, we’re picking up what we can for our full game selection. Five full-sized games are here and they’re picking up where ZineQuest left off, with both old hands and newcomers casting their projects out for us to peruse.Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: March, 2021
February is only half over! Welcome to this year’s special mid-month edition of Kickstarter Wonk: ZineQuest Wonk! There are so many zines campaigned throughout the month of February that it seems particularly unfair to just highlight those who jumped to be first at the beginning of the month. That’s why this week I’m bringing another forty zines to your attention.
Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk! It’s February, and you know what that means: ZineQuest! ZineQuest is off to a roaring start this year, and even after merely two days my eyes are already crossing from all the zines I’ve seen. To make it even crazier, there are also actual full-length games still being funded, and I’m trying, at some level, to cover both. First, here’s three full-sized Kickstarter campaigns which are all worth your consideration and perusal. Second, I’ve picked out 40 Zinequest campaigns that both look cool and are currently active. Don’t think that’s enough? Me neither! Since Zinequest campaigns traditionally last 14 days, 14 days from now I’ll be posting a special ZineQuest Wonk which covers all the zines which have campaigns starting after this publication date. For now, though, let’s check out some games!
When we were kids, my sister and I played with dolls. I had a small team of GI Joes. I’m not sure when I fell out of love with them really. But sometime before they got their own movie, I had clearly decided that playing with soldiers from an American paramilitary organization was not, in fact, good wholesome fun. My sister played with Barbies which was potentially worse. Did you know she – Barbie, not my sister – runs in every presidential US election now? Her last ‘glam-paign’ promised to turn the White House pink. If this was an Onion article, I would’ve laughed. But it’s not – it’s a successful public relations program by a billion-dollar toy company. It’s a well-worn refrain nowadays that we live in a time where satire is complicated.
When I first heard of Capitalites by Samuel Mui Shen Ern, I thought it was satire – a la Crazy Rich Asians, a skewering of Asia’s wealthy. But I was wrong. Capitalites describes itself as “a slice-of-life, coming-of-age tabletop roleplaying game about young adults living in the big city” that explores “real-world themes like ambition, sex, family, and friendships and the sacrifices you make in order to grow up”.
Welcome to the first Kickstarter Wonk of 2021! I’ve been waiting nine months to write that. Now, even though the state of the world is pretty much like it was in December, we’re still facing the biggest collective New Year’s Hangover in quite some time. That collective hangover may explain why there’s…four Kickstarters this month. January is often a thin month but this is thin even for January. Still, these four are good ones, and if you stick around I’ll also throw in some commentary about the RPG Kickstarter market as a whole in 2020.Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: January, 2021
Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk for December! This has been…it’s been a year, no arguments there. We’ve had a pandemic, we’ve had an election, we’ve had so much more…and I feel like I’m still working off a sleep debt from March. No matter! The game designers are hard at work, and just in time for the holiday season we have a complete slate of Kickstarters! Ten Kickstarters, emerging from the quagmire known as 2020. Have designers been hard at work, reading my columns and heeding my advice? Well…no. Even though there have been some rookie mistakes made, there are still ten solid games listed here, ten games that deserve to get made! Will gamers heed my call? Will the designers read my summaries before it’s too late? Will the world ever forgive Brian Liberge for turning Seamus on to D&D 4th Edition? Only time will tell. For now, though, check out the games below!
Welcome back to Kickstarter Wonk! While I wouldn’t say anything is normal, exactly, we almost got a normal-sized crop of RPGs this month! I was able to rustle up nine projects that are worth a look, and nine is very close to ten! You might have scrolled down and counted and seen only eight games. That is true, and it’s because my co-authors are quicker than me! The honorary ninth campaign for this month is Thirsty Sword Lesbians, which Maria already covered in depth. Check out her article, and consider backing the campaign while you can! Beyond that, there’s a stronger flow of high quality campaigns this month, hopefully a sign that the Kickstarter market is going to pick up in the coming months. Check it out!
Oftentimes in combat within tabletop roleplaying games, the dealing of damage and conservation of health points seems to be all that matters. The concept of getting in your hits and hoping to all hope that it’s more harm than the opponent gets in. It often treats opponents in the game as a roadblock, similar to video games. “You must get past me to receive more story.”
And there’s no harm in that, on the surface at least. A challenge can be enough of a motivation for fun. Strategizing and planning to surpass the foe in front of you so you can get what you want. Video games wouldn’t have made an entire industry and genre on the concept if it didn’t work. But, sometimes you don’t want a compilation of stats and HP. Sometimes you want an enemy you can empathize with. An enemy who has motivations, internal strife/virtues and a personality that makes you feel so many conflicting emotions about them. Above all, that’s it. You want a foe you can feel for. People in real life, no matter how detestable and wretched, are rarely as binary in “100% good or bad”. Like the saying goes: People contain multitudes.
While nearly every RPG can be used to achieve this goal of a complex and nuanced villain, I’ve yet to meet one that incentives it. A game that makes it an imperative of the message within. A game that damn near bakes it into every mechanic.
Until I played this game. When I joined the playtest for this RPG, I had such fun even in it’s beta stage. It was what I had been searching for in a fantasy RPG: a game where it’s not about how big your numbers are or the modifiers on your special sword. But about how your character feels about the world around them and people within.
This game is Thirsty Sword Lesbians.
Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends… Am I referring to world events? The continuing growth of the RPG Kickstarter market? Do I just really like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer? No matter what it is, we’re back again with Kickstarter Wonk for October of 2020! 2020 is slowly coming to a close, and the RPG market is slowly recovering…while making my 10-game articles would still be tough, I’m happy to say that the five game article format has forced me to make some tough decisions between definitely more than five great looking projects. This month we also have a bonus sixth game! Fellow Cannibal Halfling Maria’s game Hero Too: Super Edition is currently on Kickstarter, and while I think it’s great and deserves your pledges I’m noting the conflict of interest here just so no one gets huffy. In addition to these six projects of note, I’ve also reflected a bit on who the Kickstarter platform is for. People sometimes get grumbly when larger or more well-known companies use the platform, but it’s worth it to set the record straight a bit on the realities of financing game design.
Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk for September! Back to school, post-GenCon rush, none of these events make sense this year, at least not in the normal way we usually understand them. Some of the pent-up demand for Kickstarters is starting to appear in the marketplace again, but everything remains muted, and likely will for some time. The five project article is going to be the norm for the foreseeable future, though luckily we’ve gotten past the point where getting five projects together took effort. Nonetheless, it’ll be a few months before we get back up to the quantity (of quality) that I was used to back when this series started. Even so, fear not! These five projects are worth a look; I even backed a few myself.