The first quarter of the year felt very morose board games-wise. I couldn’t play much (adjusting to a new place, a new job, a new country), and the KS releases all felt a bit of a letdown. So I’m a bit surprised to realize that I backed many more projects than I thought I had!
I’ll start with Retrograde. I have mixed feelings about it. I mean, if I were to stumble upon it in retail, I would snatch it for sure. It’s a theme I really enjoy, I usually like board games that try to implement some sort of an arcade feel (even though I’ve never played arcade games), the custom dice are lovely, and the mechanics sound really neat. But it’s very expensive for what it is, with shipping and VAT on top of everything. So, it’s a game I was reluctant to back, but that I should be very happy to own in a few months. I’ll add that it’s a roll ‘n write, something I usually avoid, but I have no strict rule about it either.
Next: Mageling. Well, it worries me a bit that I have nothing relevant to say about it. I have broken my golden rule to read the rulebook first because I just couldn’t find the time. The group pledge I have found (and of which JW happens to be also a participant) eased a bit the costs, so it’s not the craziest expense of my life. Still, it feels too much like an impulse. I mean, I really have no clue how the game possibly plays. Except, with cards. And unfortunately, I can say pretty much the same of my third back – Worldbreakers: Advent of the Khanate. I mostly pledged for this one because a) I used to be obsessed with the Mongolian Empire; b) it’s a cool theme no matter what; and c) the idea of some sort of a campaign fits what I’ve always wanted to come up with to make a solo version out of this kind of games. Here again, I have no real clue how it plays. Still, it was kind of cheap, the art is nice, the box is small, so at the very least I’ll be happy to have it in my collection.
The fourth one is Village of Legends: Adhara. Well, for this one, I have at least gone through the rulebook. Or rather I’ve gone through the rulebook of the core game, and of the Reaper’s Hand expansion, that introduced the solo mode and the idea of adventure books – a CYOA style story across which you slowly improve your deck. Unfortunately, although reading the rules makes it very clear that it’s a deck-building game in the most traditional way, I couldn’t find the time to play it, nor the will apparently. So, I’m left wondering a bit why I did back this additional expansion. On the other hand, I know that the only alternative would have been to get rid of everything – I just can’t stand the idea of not grabbing any additional expansion of a game I own. I hate expansions so much. Please leave me alone.
Finally, and although it’s a bit borderline Q2 because it ended in April (well, I’m late, so at least we’re past it), I backed the new version of Habitats, just as I’m slightly burning out on the older one. I’m half kidding: it’s a very enjoyable tile-laying game, but I don’t think I’m making any progress skill-wise (same as in Cascadia), so it just feels like a way to spend 20 minutes and get a random score at the end based on luck of the draw. I’m not saying I’ve reached the skill ceiling (I know I haven’t), only that my learning trajectory has bogged down to a halt. Also, to stick to the tradition of backing a trick-taking game, I’ve also pledged for Yokai Septet which had been sitting on my wishlist for years so a reprint, with affordable shipping fees at that, was pretty welcome.
As you see, I’m way more lukewarm about my KS pledges than I should be. I should feel excited and happy and looking forward to receiving these games… Yet too often I’m grabbing games because I feel like it’s the only proper opportunity to get them –and that may well be true for most of them, as they are all pretty indie, except for Habitats. I’ve had much more fun getting games from retail, especially since I could focus on small-box, cheap games, which is not really the selling point of Kickstarter and its horrendous international shipping fees.