Kickstarter is without question the elder statesman of crowdfunding. As of November 2021, Kickstarter had raised $6.4 billion dollars. Lately, though, a few scrappy companies have been giving it a run for its money. There was much fanfare when Gamefound partnered with Ravensburger games. Even more recently, Backerkit, known primarily as a pledge management tool, has started their own crowdfunding site as well. While Kickstarter is currently still the king, some big names have jumped on board with Backerkit. Check out these upcoming projects if you’re looking for a Kickstarter alternative.

Monte Cook Games: The Weird – Backerkit (August)

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No one does fresh RPG settings like Monte Cook Games. Not familiar with them? Numenara is set a billion years in the future. Players can explore the ruins of 8 different human epochs, but they must be careful. Each of the previous generations of man all achieved some form of technological mastery, and the remnants of their great works still exist. Unfortunately they often take the form of toxic chemicals, misshapen creatures, and forgotten machines still struggling to carry out their programming. In Invisible Sun, players awaken to the fact that they are powerful, magical wielding creatures known as a vislae, banished to the boring world of the Grey Sun. Fortunately there are 8 other suns, each creating its own dimension, that you can travel to. 

Monte Cook also designs innovative rules for anyone who wants a break from standard D20. In our house, the super-simple rules of No Thank You, Evil! make for some quality family time. However, most of their games run on the award  “Cypher System”, including Numenara and the recent collaboration between Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell (Dungeons & Dragons), The Strange
In case that last title wasn’t a hint, the folks at Monte Cook Games like to create RPGs that are a little different. With their upcoming Backerkit project, they aim to get downright weird. The Weird will be a system agnostic book designed to help GMs craft encounters beyond the norm. The book will have thousands of weird ideas to pick from, as well as advice on the repercussions of your choice. All of the choices will be scaled by bizarreness, “from interesting to gonzo”. GMs, you’ve just been given the green light to let that freak flag fly!

Miniatures of Gloomhaven – Backerkit (Early 2023)

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If you follow board games, you know about Gloomhaven. Chances are you’ve got a copy, and for good reason. This game raised the bar for co-op dungeon crawlers and inspired a Renaissance in the genre. 

For their first Backerkit outing, the folks at Cephalofair are looking to improve on a masterpiece. This campaign will include miniatures to replace the cardboard standees currently found in the game. Which ones? Oh, just ALL OF THEM. That’s over 500 miniatures total! 

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

The campaign will also include an opportunity to purchase a reprint of Frosthaven for those of you that missed that boat initially. This expansion features 138 new scenarios, 17 new characters, as well as town building, item crafting, and seasonal event systems. Considering that it’s actually 50% larger than Gloomhaven, perhaps the word “expansion” doesn’t do it justice.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Pop & Play: A Two-Players Drink – Backerkit (October)

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Thundergryph Games is a leader in interesting, light, and highly portable games. Their “Matchbox Series” of games is just that: games that fit in a box roughly the size of a matchbox. Their “Play & Go” games, while not small enough for a matchbox, are still highly portable, quick to learn, and easy to play. Jamey Stegmair  even featured Spirits of the Forest from this series in one of his videos titled “My Favorite Game Mechanism”. High praise indeed. 

Now Thundergryph has come out with the next stage in portable games. Gum packs have already been done before, so how about…soda cans? According to the preview for their upcoming Fall campaign, that’s exactly what they plan to do. Reminiscent of the “Hapsi Soda” cans from GKR: Heavy Hitters, the plan is to package games in a handy, easy-to-store container modeled after a soda. The games each “can” will contain are described as “A series of game appetizers for two, characterized by minimalist strategy and short but tense gameplay, with colorful premium components.” Make sure to follow along. It would be terrible to find yourself on a hot day, with a powerful thirst for some gaming fun, and not be able to quench it with one of these.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Save the Red Panda: Akaneko Plush – Backerkit (October)

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Adorable red panda plushies need very little explanation. And while these obviously aren’t a game in and of themselves (unless you count a contest to see who can love them the most), they are from Paratope, the designers of the multi-player RPG city-builder, Skyclimbers

Demand for plushies based on the animal companions of Skyclimbers was so high, Paratope figured why not make a plush that might do some good as well? So they created this campaign to bring awareness to both these endangered creatures and an organization trying to save them, the Red Panda Network. All of which made them a mandatory addition to today’s list. 

Clearly this list is by no means exhaustive, and you can be sure that more Backerkit products will be making their way to on to future Kick Agency articles.

by Zane Messina

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