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July Kickstarter Retrospective – Cards Triumph Over Plastic

After a slow and lazy June, July 2018 turned out to be one of the most exciting months when it comes to tabletop games on Kickstarter. Two titles reached 2 million USD in pledges and currently place among top funded projects of the year. We’ve had great games coming out of nowhere, and less rereleases on top places than usual.

Without further ado, let’s start our monthly retrospective!

Hiking With Gloomhaven

July usually has tons of people leaving their homes to breathe some fresh sea/mountain air. Hiking, swimming, taking pictures are all great, but a small session of your favorite game in the evening sounds tempting too.

Ultimate Boardgame Backpack, that we wrote about a month ago, got funded in July. Thanks to a nice size and extendable main compartment, the backpack can hold any game from Love Letter to Gloomhaven. The campaign was a huge success and amassed over 930,000 US dollars. Too bad the shipping starts in November, so our southern hemisphere friends will most likely be the first to properly test it.

ultimate boardgame backpack from kickstarter
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Podcast Heroes

Critical Role minis project came from a collaboration between the creators of a popular podcast with the same name and Steamforged Games, known for Dark Souls and Resident Evil tabletop games.

critical role podcast minis from kickstarter
Picture from the campaign at:

The podcast consists of weekly streamed RPG sessions, prepared by Matthew Mercer. His party managed to complete their first adventure after over 350 hours, and quickly started a second one. Characters from both parties have been sculpted by Steamforged Games and offered during the campaign. Fans of the podcast didn’t disappoint and pledged over 1,1 million dollars.

Strategic Gardening and Conquering Universes

Strategy games had another strong month after June. Thundergryph Games came back to their favourite east asian themes after a short break. Their Tang Garden allows player to cultivate imperial gardens in 7th century China. You get points by properly placing terrain tiles, decorations and panoramas. Later, your creation gets visited by guests, and these have very specific tastes. Making a garden that they’ll enjoy will net you the highest scores. The campaign managed to beat everything made by the company and reached over a million dollars during its run.

tang garden board game from kickstarter
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Second strategy game, that got really popular with Kickstarter backers in July, was Eclipse. New edition of a beloved and critically acclaimed 4x strategy comes with a refreshed ruleset, new minis and many elements known from old expansions. In Eclipse players take control of one human or alien race and explore star systems, establish colonies, build fleets and  fight other species.

Plastic Surprises…

July was bound to be huge just by having a new campaign by Cool Mini or Not. And not just any campaign. Their new game takes place in the Cthulhu universe, which remains popular among RPG and boardgame fans despite decades passing. Cthulhu: Death May Die is a co-op miniature game by Eric M. Lang and Rob Daviau. “Episode packs” and “elder one boxes” get mixed every time you play, resulting in very different scenarios. Campaign was a colossal success, and collected 2,412,286 dollars during its 2 week long run.

cthulhu death may die board game from kickstarter
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Mythic Games, another Kickstarter giant, came out with their Solomon Kane project. The game is based around a victorian hero created by the author of Conan the Barbarian. It features an unique co-op gameplay, where players try to affect the actions of protagonist by controlling four Virtue characters. Mythic failed to reach the numbers of their previous project, but still ended up with over 1 million USD in pledges.

solomon kane board game from kickstarter
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…And Plastic Disappointments

Kickstarter scams aren’t anything new, but they don’t happen too often in the tabletop games category. This month proved, that some people still try to pull them off. Overturn: Rising Sands looked tempting at first, but backers quickly started noticing that something was off.

First: the company lied about the country they’re based in. They also added more early bird pledges, even though it’s considered wrong by the KS community. People have quickly found out that the bio was copied from board game industry giants with some minor changes. The final nail to the coffin was the alpha manual, which turned out to be almost completely plagiarized from CMON’s Massive Darkness game. In the end Kickstarter itself stepped in and cancelled the campaign.

And the July Winner is…

7.Ultimate Boardgame Backpack – $930,339

6.Eclipse – $958,792

5.Tang Garden – $1,004,025

4.Solomon Kane – $1,173,363

3.Critical Role – $1,188,756

2. Cthulhu: Death May Die – $2,412,286

1. Binding of Isaac: Four Souls – $2,650,692

Despite what most people expected, the month was won by a simple (yet charming) card game. Binding of Isaac: Four Souls collected a total of 2,650,692 USD beating Cthulhu: Death May Die by over 200,000. The game was less expensive than typical KS tabletop products and succeeded in attracting 38,333 backers. Great sense of humour used in the campaign also helped a lot. Just check out the social stretch goal “quests”.

binding of isaac four souls card game from kickstarter
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Binding of Isaac: Four Souls is a simple card game based around incredibly popular video game of the same name. Up to 4 players compete for the titular souls. The gameplay becomes more and more competitive as more turns pass. Card decks come filled with enemies, items and power-ups known from the original game. Higher pledge levels included additional swag from the series, made for the biggest fans.

July was without doubt amazing for Kickstarter tabletop gaming projects. Expect next retrospective near the end of August. See you next month!

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