Since discovering Sub Terra several years ago, I learnt how much smaller board game companies (and even larger ones) rely on Kickstarter to help fund new tabletop projects. I suppose you could say that I’ve been a little click-happy with Kickstarters ever since, especially with the addictive lure of stretch goals. It’s a dangerous game, backing something before it is ready – will it meet expectations, how much will change through its development?
So far though, we have been thrilled with what we have received, and have found having the opportunity to contribute towards the development – both financially, and with ideas and feedback – makes receiving the game that much more rewarding.
With COVID forcing some of these amazing tabletop projects behind schedule, we have an incredible five board games pending at the moment – some due this year, some due 2021. Here’s what we’ve been waiting for:
Sub Terra 2
I mean, how could I not support Sub Terra 2 after the first game offered what was practically my gateway tabletop experience? We were even fortunate enough to play a very early version of Sub Terra 2 at the UK Games Expo last year, and were so excited by how much they had expanded on the first game, whilst keeping some of the very best mechanics, like the random drawing of tiles and the ever-present feeling of impending doom.
In the second game of the franchise, explorers must race through a volcanic temple in search of keys that will unlock a precious and ancient artifact. Players must watch out for angry artifact guardians and hot flowing lava, whilst trying to make it out alive…
Northgard: Uncharted Lands
Northgard is one of those PC games that never gets old among my friends – there is something so chill about chatting with your friends, putting on some music, slowly expanding your civilisation, harvesting and storing food for the cold, cold winter… wait, why are ALL my villagers dead?!
This real-time strategy game sets you against some relentless, blood-thirsty AI and deadly winters in true Viking spirit, but the game is endlessly fun; one of the few games where I find it doesn’t really matter if you lose because the journey is the best bit.
When we found out that a tabletop version was being created, we were ecstatic. I think the mechanics of the PC game convert nicely to a tabletop experience, though I wonder if they will be as punishing as those brutal AI!
Divinity Original Sin
I’m currently about 55 hours into my first Divinity Original Sin 2 play-through on Steam, and it is one of the most exciting RPG experiences I have had since I played Skyrim oh-so-many years ago.
There is a group of four of us who have been playing through the story together, and I’ve enjoyed shaping my lizard sourcerer (spelt that way intentionally!) into a prudish and exotic intellectual, good at talking her way out of difficult encounters. I love exploring the fictional landscapes, stumbling upon evil scarecrows, giant bugs and, er, talking squirrels?
Though I have a lot of questions about the appearance of the tabletop adaptation – I’m curious about how the game plays around what looks at a glance like a roulette table – Neil and I backed the Kickstarter, and I’ll be interested to see if it can even come close to the greatness of the PC game. It describes itself as a ‘cooperative, storytelling adventure game’, which is everything I love about the original game, so my hopes are high.
Though I’m not a die-hard fan of the Shovel Knight franchise, Neil persuaded me to get on board with this Kickstarter as it looks so bonkers.
Still, I’m approaching this one with just a little bit of caution. I have played a ‘side-scrolling’ board game before – Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game – which I think relied a little too heavily on that quirky feature instead of making a really fun game. Though exciting in theory, in actual fact moving tiles in play can be quite fiddly and distracting. I enjoyed it at the time, but trying it again a second time last year, I didn’t like the novelty quite as much.
It hasn’t necessarily paved the way for Shovel Knight, but it seems the game offers much more than Portal: a shop for upgrading gear, loot, traps, boss battles. I think the side-scrolling will make a lot more sense with the themes of Shovel Knight as well, and is a fun nod towards that original video game. Regardless of some of my worries, I am excited about this one!
Bloodborne: The Board Game
I saved the best for last. The Bloodborne Card Game has got to be one of my favourite games of all time (in fact, I rewarded it ‘Game of the Year’ in 2019, so I’m not just saying that).
We just went all out on this one because we couldn’t believe how much content there is, and all for a franchise that we are just utterly in love with. In the board game, players must fight through tiles of enemies and survive the night – strategy, survival, horror and campaigns, it seems to have everything. Let’s hope it meets the expectations it has set itself!
What new games are you looking forward to?