What were the most funded and popular board game Kickstarter campaigns over the past few years?
2016 had Dark Souls and Massive Darkness.
2017 was dominated by Kingdom Death: Monster, 7th Continent and Gloomhaven.
2018’s chart was led by Tainted Grail, Zombicide: Green Horde and Batman.
In 2019 Etherfields topped the rankings with Bloodborne close behind.
How is 2020 going to look like? While guessing the winners is near to impossible, we can already see some huge, ambitious projects slowly taking shape. Let’s look at them today!
The 7th Citadel
If the name didn’t already give it away: it’s a new game from the creators of The 7th Continent. Bruno and Ludovic from Serious Poulp could finally share something about their next project, as the final wave of shipments is complete.
The 7th Citadel seems to continue the gameplay concepts known from The 7th Continent, while also reaching new heights. The game won’t be connected to the older title by its story. Instead, we’ll explore a world that the authors describe as dark fantasy.
The gameplay is supposed to get enhanced. How? Most likely there will be a different focus, while exploring. 7th Continent’s motto said “Explore. Survive”. Finding food and shelter during your adventure were vital to completing any curse.
The new game has an “Explore. Build” written under its name. This most likely means a focus on building instead of survival. Who knows, maybe we’ll be creating the titular Citadel? We’ll have to wait for more info but guessing from how innovative 7th Continent was, I’m expecting this game to blow our minds again.
The new game designed by John D. Clair and illustrated by the one and only Ian O’Toole. Dead Reckoning is going to get crowdfunded in early 2020 and get published by AEG.
The author of Mystic Vale and Edge of Darkness plans to serve us a pirate themed, exploration heavy game. Exploring uncharted waters and finding new territories is going to be a central gameplay element here. You’ll expand your ship and improve your crew. Dead Reckoning will (similarly to Edge of Darkness) use a system of card sleeves, that can combine few other cards into one (the so called “card crafting”) and even level them up. Later on, an area control will also become important, same with the battles with other crews.
Dead Reckoning is also going to use a system of “sagas” that allows unlocking expansions hidden in the base game, thus leading to story progression without stickers or breaking the components.
Zombicide 2nd Edition
According to the latest announcements, CMON is finally releasing the updated version of the original Zombicide. The campaign should happen sometime in 2020. We already know about Teburu and Zombicide Evolution bundled with it, but the 2nd Edition is going to be a separate project.
First of all: the new version will include many gameplay improvements introduced in Zombicide: Black Plague and Zombicide: Invader games – from combat changes to additional ways to move. There will be at least 25 playable scenarios forming a campaign and 6 new survivors with their own dashboards and minis.
UPDATE: The campaign launched earlier than expected – on October 16th 2019. Shipping is planned for November 2020.
UPDATE 2: In 2020 a new game called Zombicide Evolution: Las Vegas will be bundled with Teburu device, but not many details were revealed so far.
The Great Wall
The newest project by Awaken Realms is likely to pop up on Kickstarter either by the end of 2019 or in early 2020. The game, as the name implies, will be set in China. The biggest surprise? Probably its genre. The Great Wall is actually going to be an… euro game with worker placement and resource management. As the guys at AW don’t design euro games too often, we expect some unusual ideas, likely borrowed from adventure games. The Great Wall is going to include some form of combat and will have many ways of player interaction – both positive and negative. Like with all the other games by the publisher we’re expecting high production values and plenty of gameplay twists.
UPDATE: The campaign launched earlier and we expect the game to ship in October 2020.
Second big project by Awaken Realms is still shrouded in mystery. The campaign is planned for 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2020. What do we know about the project?
Early info describes ISS Vanguard as a game about the exploration of space. It will put high emphasis on the adventuring aspect. According to the official FB group there will be some form of combat but the game will NOT be combat oriented. Instead players will look for new planets to discover, land on and examine.
Hel: the Last Saga
Mythic Games might be cooking up something really special with their HEL: The Last Saga. Joan of Arc, Reichbusters and Solomon Kane have shown, that they know how to mix deep stories and unique ideas with high quality, beautiful components.
HEL will take us to the final decades of the viking era. The northern people are dreaming of finding the mythical land of Valhalla – an utopia where they could prosper forever. Luckily a new territory gets discovered and… brings more mystery and unease than prosperity. Crews going there disappear and the whole place feels disturbing and unwelcoming.
What’s your goal as a player? With the help of your crew find out what happened to the missing settlers, explore the island and make an attempt at living there. The game is semi-cooperative. Players don’t play against each other but each of them has secret goals that translate to his or her victory points. The mystery of the missing crew is going to differ between game sessions, so expect a high amount of replayability.
Mindclash Games, of the Anachrony / Trickerion fame, is readying a pretty huge project for 2020. The game, announced back in 2016, will be named Transhumanity and it’s being designed by Richard Amann and Viktor Peter – the duo responsible for both titles mentioned above.
Transhumanity, even at such early stage, surprised us with its story. Earth’s orbit gets tampered with and our planet moves to a completely different location in the universe. Nobody knows what happened .You and your group decide to go on a quest to answer that question once and for all.
The game is fully cooperative and has a heavy emphasis on deck building. Transhumanity will use a modular board that the players traverse to solve the great mystery. We may have to wait a bit for more info, as Mindlash Games still has one KS project to release before Transhumanity.
We finally know what Martin Wallace will be up to in 2020. According to latest news, the designer known for Brass, Railways of the World, Age of Steam and many other beloved titles is designing a game about exploration of space. The game will be released by Phalanx, a Polish publisher you may know from U-BOAT and Successors board game kickstarters.
In Rocketmen players take on the roles of space conquest pioneers. The game is set in our reality, and lets us take part in the second space race, in the modern times. This time humanity wants to reach other planets and make solar system their own for good.
Rocketmen is a deck building game consisting mostly of cards, with a board. Players try to fulfill various missions from landing on Mars to building a certain space base, while buying new cards and using them to complete their tasks. Finishing missions grants victory points and whoever reaches a certain amount first – wins.
The game is slated for a October 2020 release, and the Kickstarter campaign is planned for January 2020.
In Too Deep
A game we’ve discovered recently is quite likely to hit Kickstarter sometime in 2020. In Too Deep was designed by a duo: Josh Cappel (Wasabi!) and Daryl Chow (The Artemis Project). Dominik Mayer (Concordia, Hadara) is responsible for illustrations and these look fantastic so far.
The game takes place in the second half of 21st Century and lets players become undercover police agents. They have to infiltrate local mafia, get as many data as possible, learn about its members and arrest them – all of that while remaining undercover and most importantly: staying alive. Mechanics consist of set collection, pick-up and deliver and some others.
In Too Deep is currently planned for late winter Kickstarter campaign, likely sometime in February-March 2020.
If you’re into board games and play anything other than party games – you quite probably know about Gloomhaven. The creation of Isaac Childres has been sitting on the very top of BGG’s toplist for quite some time. Recently the author has announced that a new, more simplified campaign called Jaws of the Lion is planned for new players and these who want more adventures in the same world. What we didn’t expect is that there’s yet another standalone release in the works and it should suit longtime fans even more.
Frosthaven is a sequel to the original game and takes place in the same universe. This time we will wander into frozen wastes north of White Oak city, and try to fight various evils and harsh weather. New races will appear as well as tons of completely new locations. The game is said to have a 100 scenario long campaign with lots of choices and non-linear storyline. Players will be able to choose from 16 characters – 6 of them available at start and 10 that will have to get unlocked. The flow of single scenarios will remain similar to Gloomhaven but many new activities will be available between each. That includes developing your hub-village, solving puzzles and crafting.
Frosthaven will be a stand alone game so new backers can start their adventures with it. Older characters from Gloomhaven will also be compatible. The Kickstarter campaign will launch in March 2020.
Running Quest: Soul Raiders
Does the name Marc André ring a bell for you? If you need a quick reminder – he’s the designer that gave us Splendor and Majesty. His newest project looks like something on a completely different scale though.
Soul Raiders is a first volume in what’s supposed to become a longer game series. Despite that: the first installment already looks quite huge. The box will host about 1000 cards used for various purposes (exploration, combat etc). Players take on the role of legendary guardians of the realm tasked with recovering lost relics and restoring balance. To find them they will traverse various lands, countries, forests, deadly swamps and chilly peaks. The terrain is filled with hidden quests and often allows completing goals in a variety of ways (e.g. climbing a tower or finding a secret entrance). Square shaped terrain cards are unfolded one by one when players wander through them.
Soul Raiders can be played solo or in a group of up to 4 players. All characters share their lifepool, so sometimes it might be better to stick together. The game also has monsters and actual combat mechanics, which makes it more unique than other card heavy adventure games.
According to latest news, Lost Atlantis is finally going to see the light of day. The game was announced over 2 years ago and will be available on Kickstarter sometime in 2020.
Lost Atlantis was designed by Tero and Jani Moliis and will be published by AEG Games. The action takes place underwater, in a long forgotten area deep below the ocean waves – in Atlantis. The kingdom is long gone but it’s relics and treasures still exist hidden in sunken pyramids. Each player becomes an explorer with one thing in mind: finding these pyramids and becoming filthy rich. The task won’t be easy: pyramids are well hidden and all you get is a bunch of clues pointing you to their supposed locations. After finding the structure you’ll also have to deal with its guardian.
Lost Atlantis can be played by 2-4 players and is supposed to be rather fast paced (below 45 minutes). The pyramids and player’s vessels are represented by miniatures, while the board is made of cardboard tiles, which should boost the replayability by miles.
The original version of Parks, despite being a smaller game, ended up as one of the most popular and warmly received projects of 2019. The campaign had almost 10.000 backers, collected $419,675 from pledges, and the game is now out of stock. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long for another chance to get it. The new Kickstarter campaign launches in February and will not only offer the base game but a whole new expansion to it.
The original game had players collect memories from most famous national parks of the USA and celebrated nature and the entire hiking hobby: campfires, trails and stunning views. The new expansion called Parks: Nightfall focuses on viewing the night sky and includes tons of new content with 17 parks that weren’t previously present. Expect new gameplay mechanics including completely new approach to camping.
Runelords is one of the most popular fantasy novel series with over two decades of history. It started back in 1998 and now consists of 8 books – all written by David Farland. Many fans are still waiting for the ninth novel, but in the meantime they have another treat coming for them. The Runelords novels are getting a board game adaptation launching on Kickstarter as soon as February 2020.
The Runelords board game merges few different genres: from deck building card games to wargames. Players start by recruiting soldiers and mercenaries to their armies. Later they get equipment for their forces and wage wars on four special hex based battlefields that can be assembled in various ways.
The game will have a set of very different play modes from solo campaign and cooperation to full blown player versus player mode. There’s lots of storytelling included in the game, as each of 4 battlefields has its own storybook. We’re sure that the game set in rich world created by Farland will be appreciated not only by fans of the novels but by anyone who enjoys fantasy in general.
Robinson Crusoe: The Book of Adventures
Great news for fans of Ignacy Trzewiczek and his magnum opus: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. The game is about to get a Kickstarter funded scenario book and it should launch sometime this year.
Robinson Crusoe is a highly replayable (and difficult) co-op game, often regarded as one of the best in the genre. Players have to survive on a deserted scrap of land, find food, defeat enemies, build homes and fulfill requirements of the scenario they are tackling.
While the game has lots of content, you’re bound to run out of it sooner or later. So far Portal Games has published new scenarios from time to time, but this book is going to be something much bigger. Scenarios will be divided by difficulty, themes etc. Fans of the game and newcomers are bound to have tons of fun with it.
Kemet: Blood and Sand
Kemet has established itself as one of the best area control games ever. It has also managed to stay in the BGG’s top 100 for quite some time. The Egyptian themed game has players complete actions during the day phase, gain prayer points and later on: use these to get various perks. There are many ways to score points required for victory – from waging wars to building and controlling pyramids. The way Kemet explores its ancient Egyptian theme is wonderful – we have everything: gods, architecture and even the pyramid-shaped D4 dice used in the core mechanics.
So what will this 2012 classic be doing on Kickstarter? According to Matagot, the publisher of Kemet, the game is going to get a huge reimagination and get crowdfunded along plenty of new content. The board got a visual overhaul and features new art as well as some quality of life features like colorful statues in each city determining which player starts there. The board was adjusted to allow various player counts on the same side.
Stretch goals will offer significant component upgrades and possibly bring some expansions to the game. Owners of the old edition will be able to get an upgrade kit that will turn their copy into the 2.0 version.
Hunker may look like a kids oriented game at first but the more you read about it, the more you realize we’re dealing with a proper and quite deep euro game. The premise is fairytale like and makes for a nice background for the actual gameplay – just like Everdell and Root.
So what’s going on here story wise? A group of animals who lives in the forest decide to compete in a contest. Animals like deer, beaver or squirrel will do their best to prepare for the upcoming winter and whichever does it best – becomes the winner.
In Hunker players will use action points to move across a modular board and explore it, build structures to help them survive, collect things to eat and try to defend themselves against the chilly season. The game keeps throwing new challenges at players as every turn a die representing snowfall is rolled and determines the amount of new hexes covered by snow. This way the board keeps changing in a dynamic way as players are unable to cross tiles with heaps of white, cold obstacle. With cute meeples, modularity and tons of fun ideas, Hunker is shaping up to be something really worth waiting for.
This Fall we’re expecting a pretty big title, known well by PC and console gamers, being adapted into a board game. Frostpunk’s tabletop version was designed by none other than Adam Kwapiński, the mind behind Nemesis and many other popular tabletop games.
Frostpunk is a cooperative city builder game, where all players work together on creating their metropolis. The story though is much deeper, and darker than what you’d expect from a game like this. An unbelievable natural disaster stroke Earth and made the temperatures fall by many degrees. As a result, the entire globe is suffering from volcanic winter and it’s barely possible for humans to survive..
The invention of Heat Generation Towers – huge cores placed in the center of cities, is the only way to save humanity. You and other players will be tasked with building a settlement surrounding such device. This type of post-apocalyptic world just begs for heavy moral problems and you will often have to make decisions according to the needs of your desperate citizens. So far, the game seems as dark and story heavy as the original version.
Massive Darkness 2
CMON is back with another sequel to one of their most popular games: Massive Darkness. Just like Zombicide Second Season, the game will build upon the original one, but tell a new story while remaining fully compatible with the original installment at the same time.
Massive Darkness 2, like its predecessor will be a dungeon crawler where every player controls a character with their own classes, skills and weaponry. The creators promise a bigger scale of the story and a long campaign consisting of various scenarios. Initial teaser mentions “facing your own demons” but we might have to wait a bit longer until more story and gameplay details are confirmed.
Dice Theme Park
A brand new project from the great team of Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews, known from their work on Sagrada and other games. They’re joined by Mike Nudd, one of the designers of Dice Hospital. This time they’re tackling a strategy game about managing your own theme park.
Dice Theme Park has players become theme park managers competing to create the most successful venture in the business. While the game, as its title suggests, relies heavily on dice, there is actually no rolling involved. Instead the designers have decided to use the dice placement mechanic. Each die is supposed to symbolize a single customer, and its value corresponds with the number of rides they can visit. Each attraction visited lowers the number until they’re ready to go back home. The goal is to make them experience as much fun as possible.
Reiner Knizia doesn’t need much introduction. Most tabletop gaming fans recognize his name from games like Ra, The Quest For El Dorado and many, many others. His newest title, called Whale Riders is planned to appear on Kickstarter sometime during the second half of 2020.
The game takes place among an unique tribe, which has a tradition of riding whales and racing on them. The entire game will be decorated in an amazing, cartoony artstyle of Vincent Dutrait (Jaipur, Robinson Crusoe) and if the cover is anything to go by, it’s going to really add a lot of atmosphere.
Whale Riders is a fast paced game and allows up to 6 players. During the race you’ll have to collect pearls and make transactions with traders to get richer than other contestants. Whoever ends up with more pearls at the end becomes the winner.
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