5 Kickstarters to Watch Out For

There are a bunch of reasons people find themselves drawn to the wonderful world of board gaming. In an increasingly digital world, it’s a nice change of pace to find yourself in the physical realm: holding cards, moving tokens etc. There’d be something almost meditative about it if you weren’t so tense and close to an agonized outburst at any given moment.

There’s the fabulous itch-scratching that comes with watching a collection build, piece by piece, boxes piling on top of each other until you’re not sure where your games end and your tabletop begins.

And then, of course, there’s the community.  Not just the immediate one sat around your table, made up of friends all sharing in the fun of the various tasks at hand, but also the wider community, coming together to share recommendations, tips, playlists and all manner of things that enrich the experience and turn it from something to while away the rainy-day into a fully-fledged hobby.

So it’s no surprise that a large chunk of the games that make their way onto our shelves get going thanks to crowdfunding. It’s fair to say that the board gaming industry has benefitted from platforms like Kickstarter more than any other, with millions of dollars being put forward to back games of all genres for audiences across the spectrum.

The success of these games has a symbiotic effect. We, as gamers, get a healthy and varied market to choose from. Meanwhile, with an active, receptive and guaranteed market, companies feel more confident to take bold creative leaps and experiment with their output.

With that in mind, I thought I’d round up a few of the games looking for backers that you might find if you go down to the Kickstarter woods today.

Tokyo Highway Rainbow City

 

This is an expansion for the base Tokyo Highway game, in which players build roadways and compete to place all of their cars on said roads first. It’s a fun and easy game to bring out right at the start of your gaming Sunday, part Kerplunk, part Jenga, with players trying to figure out how to make things harder for their opponents but not so hard they snooker themselves entirely.

This expansion brings with it a spate of new objects which serve two purposes. Firstly, bringing the cityscape to life with  – the rainbow, in particular, is deliciously twee. But second, providing new obstacles with which to scupper your fellow motorists.

Rainbow City also sees the introduction of new car types, which will allow for multiple strategic approaches, and the ability to use the new cars and items to gather more points from the Mission Board.

Fully funded and with 22 days to go, the campaign has a bunch of stretch goals that aim to expand upon the expansion and make your tabletop highway even more fun to put together…and especially to watch fall down… 

Clickport and Speedport

Okay, accusations of bias are fair and accepted, because as you have seen from our most recent Board Game Club, we’re already big fans of these two brilliant little games.

In Clickport, you’re an Etherneter responsible for fixing a crashed server and restoring the connection as quickly as possible. You’ll do this by clicking various different coloured ethernet cables into the corresponding ports as outlined on your card.

One small wrinkle – the other Ethernetters around the table would argue their solution is the more effective one. So they’ll be undoing your work and trying to get theirs in place before you. With the addition of action cards you can use to your advantage – and your opponents’ chagrin – there’s an element of chaos that makes every game unique.

Meanwhile, in Speedport, the challenge is individual, moving from a game of strategy to dexterity. Each working with a smaller server board and your own set of cables, you have to recreate the pattern from the card in front of you as quickly as possible. Once you’ve done it, yell “SPEEDPORT” and grab the card. First to five wins. It’s fast, furious and fabulously tense.

With 28 days to go on the campaign, there’s plenty of time to back it and start your quest to become King of the Net.

Kabuto Sumo Sakura Slam

 

This one’s very close to completion, and the huge support for the game has seen it smash its goal clean out of the ring.

We featured the original on 2023’s Lord of the Board, and this long-awaited sequel is a delightful variation on a well-known theme.

First of all, the action takes place in a square arena, with brand new corner posts. Yes, the wrestling half of our brains went slightly fizzy. There are also eight new wrestlers vying to take the Kabuto crown.

The mechanics remain as pleasing as they are simple: it’s coin pushing. Take your token and slide it into the ring, looking to ultimately push your opponent clean out of the arena before they get a chance to do it to you.

But the new additions certainly switch up the dynamic and bring a new set of obstacles to figure out. This time, you have to push from the corners, so you need to think wisely about not only the immediate push, but the chain reaction it might cause.

If you manage to push from each of the four corners, you get to take an additional push.

Also, if you back from a certain level you get your hands on a Mushi plushie. Which is pleasing to say, but even more pleasing to look at.

Among Cultists

It’s no secret that we love a good social deduction game at NRB. It’s a saturated genre, but it remains ever popular and with the most recent season of The Traitors coming to an end (Jazatha Christie, we didn’t deserve you), you might be looking for something to scratch that murder-mystery itch.

Enter Among Cultists. You’re making your way around a university investigating a secret society, attempting to prevent a ritual taking place that will awaken a dormant evil. But in doing so, you’re battling other players for whom that evil is their precise goal. (It’s giving Buffy.)

Each player has a hidden agenda, and along the way you’ll have encounters. Most harmless, but coming across a cultist might see you meet a sticky end. Brilliantly, though, there’s no player elimination, so you won’t find yourself twiddling your thumbs if you’ve taken a wrong turn.

The artwork on the board and character cards is divine, bringing a dark academia flavour to the proceedings and for the imaginative gaming groups, it’s very easy to see how this might lend itself to an entirely themed evening replete with costumes and playlists.

There’s still a fair bit of time left on this campaign, but it’s already seen a phenomenal level of support, proving that even in this well-populated market, there’s a strong appetite for social deduction games that bring a unique flavour to the table.

Forsaken

One from the late pledge file, Forsaken is a competitive sandbox game with a heavily sci-fi energy.

If you like your games rich with context and accoutrements, then this is the one for you. Taking place on a far off planet, strip-mined and deserted, the workers left abandoned exist in settlements just trying to survive in a land of lawlessness.

Described as an “immersive narrative adventure,” you’re taking on the role of a character with its own personalised story, each looking to forge their own path. You’ll make choices that directly impact the path your game will take, and see how that in turn impacts your character.

It looks like a game with a wealthy amount of replayability, and the many varying paths you can choose from will keep you coming back to try new strategies and create new stories.

You’ll play in a single session and your goal is, ultimately, to be the player who lives “the greatest legend.”

Forsaken hit its target and then some, but the late pledge option is still open, and you’ll be able to get your hands on all the rewards as promised!