Kickstart This! #183: Reach & Okazaki
Designer: Patrick Engro (Melody Station, Okazaki, Reach)
Artist: Masayoshi Ninomiya (Melody Station, Okazaki, Reach)
Publisher: Engro Games (Melody Station, Okazaki, Reach)
Genre/Mechanisms: 2 players, abstract strategy, card drafting, card game, hand management, trick-taking (Okazaki); 2 players, action/dexterity, card game, communication limited, cooperative game, simulation, three dimensional movement, variable player powers (Reach)
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Reach & Okazaki is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than the initial funding goal, with 4 days left to go on the campaign.
Player Count: 2
Solo Mode: no
What It’s About: “Two very unique 18 card micro-games for 2 players, packaged into limited edition custom designed & hand-crafted button-string envelopes.”
How It Works: “Reach is a cooperative game for 2 players. An asteroid has collided into your shuttle while your Field Engineer was performing repairs on the exterior. Their tether has broken and they are quickly losing oxygen as they begin to drift into space. They must creatively use all the tools at their disposal while the Commander makes a daring attempt to reach and save them.”
“The game is played over an undefined number of alternating turns starting with the Field Engineer. The game will continue until either the win condition or the loss condition has been met. Each turn consists of 8 phases: 1) Apply Momentum, 2) Fill Hand, 3) Check Oxygen, 4) Events, 5) Play 1 Card, 6) Keep 1 Card, optional, 7) Discard, and 8) Reach.” Several of the phases involve drawing, playing, keeping, and discarding cards. Strategically, the focus lies in Phase 1) where players apply both rotational and directional momentum, and then must spend the rest of the game managing it; in Phase 3) where players need to manage cards to make sure not all of them show the CO2 symbol, or they’ve run out of oxygen; and in Phase 8) where players attempt to reach out to each other and grab hold, winning the game if and when success is achieved.
Reach is a brilliant design capturing outer space’s equivalent of being caught in the ocean’s undertow– managing the way unopposed movement can escalate, and paired with a loss of oxygen, lead to isolation and life lost.
“Okazaki is a 2 player trick-taking game in which players race to replicate a small sequence of DNA. Players will need to manage their hands, manipulate cards, and activate abilities to gain a strategic edge over their opponent.”
“The game is played over an undefined number of rounds. Each round consists of 5 phases: 1) Play/Activate Ability, 2) Compare, 3) Mutate, 4) Draft/Write, and 5) Switch, optional.” Essentially, it’s a competitive engine-builder where players are trying to get all of their DNA strands built using additional bonus abilities they can apply when matched– insertion (red), deletion (yellow), substitution (orange), and repair (blue), with mutations allowing players to flip cards and gain even more tactical choices. The DNA-theme adds yet another clever layer to the design.
Comparisons: The best comparisons for 18-card games are probably those coming out of Jason Tagmire’s company Button Shy Games. Of those, his most successful are Circle the Wagons, Sprawlopolis, and Elizabeth Hargrave’s (Wingspan) Tussie Mussie.
Mechanically, these games are both very unique. Reach is so unique that it stands on its own; Okazaki less so, but it pairs mechanics and design in a such a truly clever way, coalescing into a tight, brilliant little package of gameplay. Both games are created and produced by beginning designer Patrick Engro, who a) obviously has some fantastic design instincts, b) has seemingly planned well for a Kickstarter of this level, and c) deserves your support to help him grow in the industry. The bespoke art from Masayoshi Ninomiya (and the packaging) is a real bonus.
What Should I Pledge?:
$14 Okazaki: 1 bespoke copy of Okazaki.
$14 Reach: 1 bespoke copy of Reach.
$28 Reach & Okazaki: 1 bespoke copy each of Reach & Okazaki.
Everything. These games are not going to retail. By backing this campaign, you are supporting a true indie designer… with his first Kickstarter project, no less. And in the unlikely event that these games ever do go retail, it certainly won’t be these handmade versions in handmade storage envelopes.
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $28 for Reach & Okazaki, plus $5 in shipping, for a total of $33.
Reach & Okazaki completes its Kickstarter on Tuesday, March 10th and tentatively ships in July 2020.