Gaming Report: Kickstarter Overload Edition – 10/27/22

Mammoth-hunting, exploring strange planets, and grumpily staring at obnoxiously-large boxes are just some of the things I've been up to lately...

We already did out with the old, so it’s time for in with the new! And the new. And the new… Things got a bit out of hand.

Throughout the past several years we have helped to crowdfund games through Kickstarter and the like. We did not back them within the same month, or even year for that matter, but somehow a good chunk of them fulfilled within 2 weeks of each other. What a crazy end to the month of October!

I was worried that the sudden influx of games would wreak havoc on my “Shelf of Shame.” For those who aren’t familiar with the term, board game hoarders collectors occasionally buy a game and neglect to play it. Some people try to see this situation as a “glass half full” and refer to this figurative shelf as the “Shelf of Opportunity” but no matter what you call it, the games are not fulfilling their destiny.

I’m incredibly proud to announce that so far we have managed to play every single game that has arrived. I might be bending the rules on that (I’ll explain later)…

Arrival 1 – Endless Winter: Paleoamericans

Fantasia Games

We kicked off our insane game influx in style with the much-anticipated worker placement deck builder hybrid. We had been waiting for this one for such a long time I had to dig into the rulebook right away (after ogling the lovely artwork and components).

After two plays, I’m feeling a bit conflicted about it. I’m not ready to say I’m disappointed in it quite yet, but it’s quite possible I’m leaning that way. I think the hand management in the game is extremely interesting, but there are a few things niggling at me that are preventing me from a total love-fest with this game. I definitely need a few more plays, and maybe I’ll type out more thoughts in a future update.

Arrival 2 – ISS Vanguard

Awaken Realms

Epic, story-driven campaign games are generally not my thing. In a video game, sure, but it rarely translates to fun when I get cardboard involved. Tim really wanted to go on a galactic adventure with me, and he knows I have a thing for spacefaring sci-fi so I reluctantly agreed to him backing ISS Vanguard. It arrived a few days after Endless Winter and we got it played right away.

We are two games in if you count the tutorial. We still have a lot to learn, and I struggle with the maintenance involved with the ship phase; however, the story and planetary exploration are intriguing to me and I am finding myself excited to see where we land next.

Arrival 3 – Verdant

Flatout Games, Alderac Entertainment Group

I really enjoy Calico and Cascadia by Flatout Games so I knew I was going to support the third installment in their puzzly, square-box, Beth Sobel-illustrated game series. Verdant arrived late last week and I’ve played it twice now. I feel out of all three games, the theme comes through the strongest on this one. I am enjoying the artwork and houseplant facts on the cards, although of all three games this one has the most moving parts and upkeep. Still, I think it’s a game suitable for beginners with a fun puzzle, and am happy with the choice to back it.

Arrival 4 – Flamecraft

Cardboard Alchemy, Lucky Duck Games

We decided not to back Flamecraft, then got FOMO and pre-ordered the deluxe version online. We played it this week for family game night. It’s gorgeous but to be perfectly honest, I was expecting style over substance. After one play I think there’s a really great game here. I need to play it more but I am pretty impressed so far. The kids enjoyed themselves, too, and they are a tough crowd.

Arrival 5 – Mindbug: First Contact

Nerdlab Games

I haven’t technically played the new copy of the game yet, but I do have my original review Mindbug deck so do I really need to put this one on the Shelf of Shame? I think not. I can’t wait to dig into this fun card duel again. This one is a favorite of my son, who prefers games where he can beat up on his parents.

Arrival 6 – Everdell: The Complete Collection

Starling Games

I’ve played most of Everdell before so again, I can’t put this entire thing on my Shelf of Shame. I am excited to explore the new expansion content but let’s talk about the elephant in the room… No, not a literal elephant but looking at that box it’s pretty close. I am at a loss for words at this design that spits in the face of my Kallax shelf and towers obnoxiously above the other games. Everdell is a top game for me and yes, there is a lot of content for it now, but is it “the largest game box in my collection” epic? No, it’s just not. I am annoyed every time I look at this monstrosity. I’m still processing my feelings on this one.

Ok, technically we haven’t played every new game yet but I am feeling pretty pleased that we have played full games of every single arrival we had no previous experience with. Some of these games surpassed my expectations, and others are borderline disappointments – I need more time to explore and process them to solidify my thoughts.

Am I being overly harsh and grumpy? Let me know your thoughts on giant boxes and crowdfunded games. Until next time, happy gaming to you all!

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