A solar eclipse is happening today, about now. Across the UK legions of school children have been working furiously on pinhole cameras so as to watch this dazzling intergalactic event without fear of burning a hole through the backs of their heads. Simultaneously groups of strange bearded gentlemen have thronged to Stonehenge garbed in tea-towels to reenact some ancient fertility ritual whilst sipping herb tea and scoping about in the hedgerows for any buxom virgins that might be hanging about. I myself popped out into the garden this morning armed with a fresh cup of tea a morning ciggie and a pre-prepared squint only to find the sky blanketed in low thick grey cloud cover, I could barely see the top of the roof much less the sun. Well not to panic the next one comes along in 2090 I’ll get my head frozen in preparation and hope whatever interstellar deities responsible for these shenanigans has something better to do with their time than mess with humanity and carefully prepared primary school science projects.
Following on from that disappointment there has also been some depressing Kickstarter news over the last couple of days. 5th Street Games a small publisher who had met with some recent success with Smash Monster Rampage that funded for over $52,000 announced on Thursday that they were closing their doors and filing for chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In addition to the aforementioned Smash Monster (from the unfortunately named designer Mike Swindall) also caught up in this are five further projects that 5th Street owner Phil Kilcrease had successfully funded over 2012-14, Farmageddon, Baldricks Tomb, Mob Town, Ghosts Love Candy and Chroma Cubes. In all $145,118 has vanished and 3,426 backers have been left empty handed.
Although its still not clear what has occurred here and my never be, it seems less foul play more human error and dumb luck. It appears that Phil had fallen into a classic Catch 22 situation of using funds from each successive project to fund the previous ones and somewhere along the way the cash ran out. As it stands only Farmageddon, Baldricks Tomb, Smash City and Mob Town have been printed. But in a bitter pill that I’m sure some backers are finding hard to swallow these games have bypassed them and gone straight to retail as the manufacturer’s scrabble to recoup their losses and the only way for them to receive their copies will be to pay again for postage. Ghost Love Candy and Chroma Cubes are stillborn having never made it off the draft board and those backers (myself included) will not see these.
Over the next few weeks i’m sure that a wave of backlash will wash over BGG following the fallout of this news. Gaining some perspective a man who obviously had a huge passion for this hobby has lost his livelihood and a great many designers have seen years of work rudely snuffed out, its a tragedy for all involved. What can we learn from this? well as always Kickstarter is a gamble, as a backer you are investing in a project with no guarantees and with over 200 tabletop projects currently running on the site its not a stretch to presume this won’t be the last to fail. As a backer all you can do is your research, have the company run previously successful projects, have these been fulfilled, if your still not certain then you can always wait for them to hit retail. I will continue to use the site it still is a valuable resource for small and large publishers and lets not forget many great games have sailed through these waters unscathed.
In happier news there is this.
Spotted at the recent GAMA trade show in Vegas mock up boxes for Rob Daviau’s follow up to Risk Legacy have emerged, whilst there is no official date for a release this gives me hope that its certainly on the way. I’ve had to make a big decision this very week as I was invited to take part in the final round of playtesting for this game and after much soul-searching I have turned down the offer. Much as I desperately want to play this game more than any other, i don’t want to ruin the experience of sitting down and playing the completed game and knowing in advance many of its secrets ahead of the official release after waiting this long just seems foolish. Lets move on quickly before my resolve weakens.
Fantasy Flight have commenced the battle over our wallets with two big announcements.
Set in the Warhammer 40k universe this looks like an abbreviated version of their epic space opera board game Twilight Imperium. It allows 4 players to battle it out over a condensed galaxy map for objectives, looking at the small board size and numerous forces this looks like it will resemble a knife fight in a phone box. I love the 40K setting and many years ago indulged in countless tabletop battles with the miniatures game and I’ve been waiting for an inexpensive way to get back into this rich and violent universe.
This one is due to hit later this year and I’m sure will be featured heavily at this summers Gen Con.
But there’s more.
Imperial Assault – Twin Shadows Expansion
Yep we’re getting a campaign expansion for Imperial Assault. In my recent review I lamented that what this game really needed was Boba Fett and Droids, well it appears that was exactly what Fantasy Flight thought as well as we’re getting both of them in this expansion.
This seems centered around Tatooine and will include Mos Eisley cantina as a location along with two new heroes to play as. We’re just coming to the end of our campaign for the base game and its been a hoot and its looking like we’re not going to get much of a breather before we dive back in. Look it has cute little Tusken Raider figures bless.
There has however been a disturbance in the force, whilst Mr Fett does appear on that box his miniature is only available in the next wave of Ally packs that will be hitting at the same time, oh Fantasy Flight you cads! Prepare your imperial credits for departure from your wallet before the summer.
The Thing card game! This one has long been on my radar as the 1982 film by John Carpenter is probably one of my favorite films ever, if you not seen it then go and right that heinous crime immediately. Well available on BGG is an unauthorised PNP card game based on the film, why nobody has snatched the rights for the film and published this yet is a mystery, but its good for us because its free. This features hidden traitor mechanics and is oozing with the paranoid alien terror that the movie did so well, it has RPG elements and if you’ve been following any of Charlies RPG articles this will probably be right up your ally. Its designed by Mark Chaplin a fellow brit who hails originally from my old hometown and who’s interests match my own and I fear we may have been part of some weird cloning experiment except he got all the talent and I got a beard. Mark has designed a bunch of other games available for download on some great geek movies and I highly recommend checking them out.
And whilst you are in that neck of the woods, Lifeform is his latest masterpiece that looks to combine all our favorite scary movies into one terrifying tense roller-coaster ride. No word yet on when this will be published or how but its something I’ve been waiting patiently for since it was announced. Hopefully I can convince him to sit down for a chat soon and we will know more.
Oddball’s unite. We love ourselves some oddball Aeronauts here and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of oddball’s 2 in the coming weeks, to keep yourself entertained whilst you whittle away at whatever it is people whittle check out the new oddball Scribbler that could only have come from the very odd minds of the Maverick Muse team.
And finally Board Game Hour has a podcast! Nate from BGH has featured a couple of times on our podcast’s and we recently recorded an episode with him all about kickstarter that I have yet to finish editing…. Well anyway he also has just launched an official BGH emblazoned cast of podding featuring himself and Mr Ben Maddox (dick) and despite Ben’s love for himself and strangling of numerous theasaurus’s-i its really rather amusing. Go and check them out HERE.
Right that does us for the moment. As mentioned already there is a new podcast episode forthcoming that I hope to get finished battering into submission over this weekend and then I’ll get back to the ugly business of game reviews. I have plenty to get through I just need to avoid the evil pull of netflix. Hope you have a great weekend and get some games in.