Standing out from the crowd April 2017

I thought it had been a while since I’d blogged about anything, so while I’m thinking of something more interesting here’s a snapshot update on five projects currently on Kickstarter for you to plunge your crowdfunding budget into:

#1 Peak Oil: a tabletop game about Crisis and Profit

Drill and ship oil, buy hi-tech start-ups and meddle with the media to lead your crumbling oil giant into a future without oil.

Funding: $46,544/$10,000
Time remaining: 7 days

I’ve been following Peak Oil since first discovering Heiko Gunther’s geeklist on BGG where he publishes his own redesigns, reskins and print ‘n’ play titles. Number one on that list is Peak Oil, a self-designed game (with another designer).

In Peak Oil each player is head of their own big oil company. Realising the future of oil is doomed (ie, we have reached the titular ‘peak oil’), you are tasked with steering your companies into a future where reliance on the oil industry is reduced and mitigated with new technologies.

The game mixes worker placement, set collection and push your luck mechanics into a ‘eurotrash’ mash-up for 2 to 5 players and plays in 45 to 60 minutes. Alongside the topical theme, it features stunning graphic design and art work from co-designer Heiko Gunther and some wonderfully retro looking components to match.

You can back Peak Oil for a total of $46, or roughly £36, delivered and is due for delivery in October 2017, timed for an Essen release. It’s a Spanish company printing the game, so by default it is EU friendly.

#2 Hardback: the ‘pre-quill’ to Paperback

A new chapter in deck-building/word games. Compete to build the best deck of letters and finish your bestseller before your opponents.

Funding: $198,227/$20,000
Time remaining: 7 days

One of the surprise hipster hits of 2014 was Tim Fowers’ unique blend of Dominion-esque deck building with Scrabble-like word building mechanics and now it is back with a sequel/pre-quill in the form of Hardback, which introduces a few more features to juice up the core game concept.

In Hardback the cards not only feature letters and monetary values, as in Paperback, but also one of four genres, which have their own unique abilities associated with them, and cards themselves each have their own extra abilities you can use either in combination or in isolation.

For those who are fans of Paperback, this looks to up the ante considerably and take it from a gateway style deckbuilder to a full blown gamer version. The artwork, as with its precursor, is excellent and, in my humble opinion, even better with really lovely letter forms and iconography.

You can get a copy of Hardback for a total of $33 delivered (approximately £25) and is due for delivery in October 2017. You can also pledge a total of $50 (£40) ( and get a copy of the Paperback Expansion, which adds 80 new cards with unique abilities and features. The project is EU friendly, so no need to worry about hidden extras.

#3 Brass – An Industrial Revolution

The famous industrial revolution strategy board game by Martin Wallace and a finely brewed sequel, Brass: Birmingham.

Funding: CA$520,462/$80,000
Time remaining: 22 days

The first edition of Brass is widely regarded as one of the finest economic engine games available and is considered Martin Wallace’s best design, at least for those of a heavier and more strategic taste. I’ve yet to play it as I’m not a big fan of economic engine builders and the general look of the game really turns me off.

Roxley Games, publishers of Steampunk Rally, Super Motherload (sic) and most recently Santorini, are back in 2017 with what can only be described as an absolutely stunning edition of what was previously a bland and boring looking game. I am so shallow that the look of the covers alone is making me consider backing this project.

However, it doesn’t end with a revamped edition of Brass, which features not only an aesthetic overhaul, but also some rule tweaks and changes from Martin Wallace himself, but they are also launching Brass: Birmingham, a fully fledged sequel in its own right and equally stunning, if not more so. For information, Brass has now been renamed Brass: Lancashire for clarity!

You can get a copy of either Brass title for approximately £46 delivered. Alternatively, you can pick up a copy of both for just shy of £80 all in. The game is fully EU friendly, so back with confidence that there are no hidden extras and I urge you to check it out just to see the work that has gone into the look of the game. Truly exceptional and a sign that publishers are stepping up their game in the looks department. The games are due for delivery in January 2018, which seems realistic.

#4 Petrichor

A 1-5 player highly interactive board game of controlling clouds and mastering the weather!

Funding: $51,269/$25,000
Time remaining: 20 days

I’m always a fan of games with quirky and engaging themes and this one is no exception. In Petrichor players are clouds, using the weather patterns to your best advantage and ensure you (your cloud) enables the most crops to grow.

It purports to be an action selection/area control game for one to four players (five with the expansion) with only four simple actions available each turn (each one a type of weather), which makes turns quick and simple. Designed by David Chircop (… and then we held hands and Pursuit of Happiness) and assistance from David Turczi (Trickerion, Anachrony) it has design pedigree to boot.

Looks wise, this one is lovely too. Not only is the artwork minimal and rich, but the components are ace too. The raindrops are little coloured glass beads and your cloud is a cardboard container you move around (containing your raindrops) to water upon the different crop cards.

You can get a copy of Petrichor for a total of $57 (approx £44) delivered and EU friendly, with the game due to arrive in the hands of backers before Christmas 2017.

#5 Rise to Nobility

A 1-5 player worker placement game set in a beautiful fantasy world. Become a lord and take your seat at the Stone Council of Caveborn.

Funding: $187,320/$19,000
Time remaining: 14 days

Around this time last year, Final Frontier Games created their debut Kickstarter game, Cavern Tavern. Featuring art work from one of my personal favourite artists of the moment, The Mico (Raiders of the North Sea, Valeria: Card Kingdoms), they delivered on a promising campaign.

The Macedonian Maestros are back with another game set in the same universe as their first title, this time a dice as worker placement type title where the number of dice you roll, and what is on them, defines the actions you can take. Those dice are defined by the reputation track – increase your reputation on the board to have more dice and therefore more actions. Lose reputation and you lose actions. The board itself, as with any good worker placement game, has a wealth of options to choose from to help build up your engine and generate those point scoring opportunities.

The funding has already blitzed through the initial stretch goals, so you are now guaranteed to get the best quality finish with linen finish to the heavy cardboard items, black core linen finish cards and a heap of extra cards and tiles to increase variability. There’s one more stretch goal to achieve at $200k for a sixth player.

You can get a copy of Rise to Nobility for a princely sum of $49 (roughly £38) with free delivery to US and UK addresses. Alternatively, you can get the deluxe edition, which features custom wooden components and custom engraved dice designed by The Mico, for $59/£46. The game is due to arrive by Christmas 2017.