Dollars to Donuts is a tile-laying, puzzle game where players manage their own donut shops; trying to fill up their shop with tasty treats. Each turn players will be purchasing tiles and placing them onto their player mats. The tiles show donut halves which, when matched up perfectly, will create donuts that can be served to customers. If you put together two mis-matched donuts, never fear, those unique confections can be sold off to earn money for purchasing other tiles later. Make sure to fill up your board before the game ends as empty spots will count against your score.
The unique thing about Dollars to Donuts is that the game doesn’t follow conventional tile-laying rules. You can place your tiles any which way you like including pieces that hang partially off the board. Anything goes in the wacky world of donuttery (I assume that is what we call the art of donut making). The game looks deliciously fun for all ages and I think the combination of spatial puzzle and set collection will provide players with a fun challenge to set their brains against. Order up a serving of Dollars to Donuts here on Kickstarter.
Design Eye is a game geared towards encouraging creativity and teaching players about the aspects of being a graphic designer: brand design, print design, packaging design, experiential design, web design, and motion design. Players will move around the board, completing challenges such as drawing out an idea based on a prompt and then presenting to the other players or racing against the clock to answer design theory or history questions with flash cards. By completing challenges, you’ll earn work for your portfolio and the first person to finish their portfolio wins.
Design Eye and games like it are a fantastic way to bring more engagement into the classroom. I could see this sort of game being included in high school art classes to help young minds develop their skills in putting their ideas to paper as well as presenting and critiquing. I do wish there was more description of the gameplay on the campaign page, but there is a more in-depth explanation on the game’s website. I like supporting designers like this who are finding ways to share their passions and educate through gaming. You can learn more about Design Eye here on Kickstarter.
In Dead Reckoning, players captain a crew of seafarers, exploring the seas in a 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) style card game. To build your fortune you’ll need to customize your ship, craft your crew, explore the seas, battle your opponents, and take control of the many islands that promise tempting treasures. The game uses a card-drafting system where your crew is represented by sleeved cards. As you draft new cards, they can be combined with your sleeved cards to add new abilities and skills to your crew members.
I like card crafting games like AEG’s other title Mystic Vale, but where Dead Reckoning really stands out is with it’s unique fighting systems. During a battle you’ll be dropping cubes from all participants of the battle simultaneously into a tower shaped like a pirate ship. Where the cubes land on the board, will determine the outcome of the battle. This looks like it makes fighting the game simple and fast to resolve. The game also uses a “saga” system which means that some parts of the game will remain hidden until luck or player choice reveals them over multiple games. AEG has packed a lot into this one game and I am excited for all of it. You can learn more about Dead Reckoning here on Kickstarter.
The Night Cage is a cooperative labyrinth game where players must find a way to escape a dangerous maze armed only with a candle. To escape, each player must find a key and then a gate for everyone to leave through together. If the players manage to find their way out before the tile deck runs out they win. This is easier said than done as the board is filled with darkness and only the tiles nearest to you will be revealed by the light of your candle. Once you move too far away from a tile, the darkness will devour it (removing said tile from the game). This means if you try to go back the way you came, the path will be very different so no matter where you turn, you are always facing the danger of the unknown. Hiding in the darkness are Wax Eaters and Monsters. Wax Eaters will force players to discard the top 3 tiles from the Draw Stack and then turn their player card over to the light’s out side meaning that you can no longer see the tiles that surround you.
The Night Cage looks like an unnerving game. Since you can never see the entirety of the board, you can never feel completely safe and watching the tile deck dwindle down to nothing as you search for your key will keep the tension high. The game seems deeply thematic and perfect for playing by candlelight…if you dare. Find your way over to the The Night Cage Kickstarter campaign here to learn more.
Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall is a merging of two of my favorite hobbies: board games and roleplaying games. In the game players take on the roles of members of a Chinese family running a restaurant in the 1920’s. They’ll not only have to face racism and anti-Chinese laws, but also terrifying jiangshi (hopping vampires). During the Daytime phase, the Game Master will deal out Restaurant cards that display tasks that the family must complete before night falls. Failing to complete a card means that it will turn on you and you’ll need to face the consequences of your failure. Each morning players will also have to roll to see how they slept. If they’ve had a bad night, they’ll receive nightmares which cover up valuable slots on their character sheets. To get rid of the nightmares players must discuss them with their family members. If your board is ever full you’ll start to turn into a jiangshi that the family must try to save.
The roleplaying market has really opened up in the past few years for new ideas and fresh settings, but I haven’t come across anything like Jiangshi before. It has a theme meant to provide players with a glimpse into the history and culture of Asian Americans and the game mechanics are unique and highly compelling. I like that roleplaying is baked into rules such as the expulsion of nightmares or the use of Spirit Papers to save a family member from becoming a jiangshi. With the spirit paper everyone has 10 seconds to come up with a family phrase to chant that will protect their fallen loved one. These sort of rules ensure that players interact and work together; enforcing the feeling of a familial unit. I also have to commend the artwork for this game. There are a ton of amazing artists that helped bring the game to life and their work is stunningly beautiful. Make sure to drop by the Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall campaign to find out more.
What Kickstarters are you backing this week? Let me know in the comments below and check back next week for more fun projects!