Previously, On Kickstarter… #130

(or here’s a list of what launched yesterday that might deserve a closer look)

Project: Beyond the Monolith Core System – Conan Universe

Designer: Frederic Henry (Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, Conan, Timeline: Inventions)

Artist: n/a

Publisher:   Monolith Board Games (Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, Claustrophobia 1643, Conan, Mythic Battles: Pantheon)

Genre/Mechanisms: 1 vs. 1, 2 player, action points, action queue, adventure, area movement, dice rolling, fighting, miniatures

Player Count: 2

Solo Mode: no

Complexity: medium-heavy

Risk: HIGH

Monolith is a normally-reputable publisher, but the risk involved with the project is three-fold. 1) Comments on Kickstarter and YouTube have already heavily criticized the lack of clear information regarding this new system, that much of it does not align with what consumers want, and that it is not a good value for consumers. There’s no rulebook provided on the campaign page, and gameplay is generally unclear apart from the fact that this is a skirmish game requiring other games to play. There are also no credited artists, and in general it’s never a good idea to not credit the people helping to design your game. 2) It is expensive, and it requires already owning at least one of Monolith’s other games, which are also very expensive. Is it really worth paying this much for a 1 vs. 1 add-on? And how much functionality does it really add to Batman: Gotham City Chronicles when that game already has its own Versus Mode… especially when the entire Beyond the Monolith system is billed as a re-implementation of Batman’s Versus Mode? Aren’t you essentially paying a lot of money for something you mostly already own? Claustrophobia is a 1 vs. 1 game by design, and there’s no “Universe Pack” currently offered for Mythic Battles: Pantheon, so really the main value for this new system is currently specifically geared towards Conan and only Conan. Monolith has announced plans for their new system to eventually be compatible with non-Monolith games like Zombicide and Cthulhu Wars, but until it succeeds (and at this point, it may not), those are unrealized wishes that may never see fruition. 3) The Beyond the Monolith Kickstarter campaign recycles many/most of its miniatures from other Monolith games. You will essentially be paying for and receiving a bulk of miniatures that, as an owner of a previous Monolith game (which you are required to own to be able to play this system) you have already paid for once and already own.

All of which is to say that, despite including Beyond the Monolith here because of its high visibility, we do NOT recommend backing the project and will not be profiling the campaign in our Kickstart This! column. Monolith has probably shot themselves in the foot here, and would have been much better off going with a cheaper system that could be utilized cross-IP (and maybe should also be playable as a standalone to provide a cheaper, simpler entry point), and then added on miniature packs that were NOT simply duplicates of miniatures already owned by backers.

Summary: Beyond the Monolith is designed as a 1 vs. 1 system that can be used with Monolith’s Conan game, can be used with Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, and if all goes well, will presumably have future functionality with other Monolith and non-Monolith Games. It seemingly takes its inspiration from Batman: Gotham City Chronicles’ Versus Mode, although it can also be used with Batman: Gotham City Chronicles because of the new Mercenary Factions and Mercenary board systems.

Base Pledge (w/shipping): $131

All-In (w/shipping): $450 (price may increase beyond $450 due to additional shipping charges)

Campaign Ends: 1/20

Game Ships: Mar. 2021

Funding Status: Currently at 33%, with 6 days to go.

Project: Crimes in History: H. H. Holmes’ Murder Castle

Designers: Brandt Hoffman, Seth A. Cooper

Artist: Holly Carden

Publisher:  Blueprint Gaming Concepts

Genre/Mechanisms: action drafting, action queue, exploration, maze, modular board, murder/mystery, take that, turn order: claim action, variable player powers

Player Count: 2-6

Solo Mode: no

Complexity: light

Risk: HIGH

Summary: “Travel back in time to 1893 to explore the twisted and unpredictable World’s Fair Hotel. Race to collect evidence while battling through the absurdities of a chaotic, booby-trapped castle – all while dodging Holmes himself. ”

Base Pledge (w/shipping): $64

All-In (w/shipping): $464, includes vanity rewards

Campaign Ends: 2/12

Game Ships: Oct. 2020

Funding Status: Currently at 59%, with 28 days to go.

Project: Dungeon Ball

Designer: Gabe Barrett (The Final Flicktier)

Artists: Drew Corkill (The Final Flicktier), Ash Jackson (The Final Flicktier)

Publisher:   Barrett Publishing (The Final Flicktier)

Genre/Mechanisms: action/dexterity, card play conflict resolution, dice rolling, sports,

Player Count: 1-2

Solo Mode: yes

Complexity: medium-light

Risk: HIGH

Summary: A game that aims to combine Blood Bowl with King of Tokyo, and appeal to fantasy football fans.

Base Pledge (w/shipping): $40

All-In (w/shipping): $70, also includes The Final Flicktier

Campaign Ends: 2/6

Game Ships: June 2020

Funding Status: Currently at 67%, with 23 days to go.

Project: School of Sorcery

Designer: Steve Finn (Biblios, Herbaceous, Sunset Over Water)

Artist: Lawrence van der Merwe (Biblios Dice, Cosmic Run, The Institute for Magical Arts)

Publisher:   Dr. Finn’s Games (Biblios, Herbaceous, Sunset Over Water)

Genre/Mechanisms: 2 players, area majority, dice rolling

Player Count: 2

Solo Mode: no

Complexity: medium-heavy

Risk: medium-low

Summary: A revised and updated version of Dr. Finn’s The Institute for Magical Arts with rule changes, upgraded components, and a KS-exclusive promo pack.

Base Pledge (w/shipping): $26

All-In (w/shipping): $56, includes additional games

Campaign Ends: 1/27

Game Ships: Sep. 2020

Funding Status: Currently at 71%, with 12 days to go.

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