This Week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight 11/18/22

Hey folks! Here’s this week’s crowdfunding games that caught my eye.


I have a soft spot in my heart for the urban critters and so when I spotted the adorable critters in Varmints! I was of course intrigued. Varmints! is a two player game where each player has three trash bins. The goal is to rain the other player’s bins while protecting your own. Each round players will take turns playing cute critters like skunks, raccoons, and possums to their three lanes (1  faceup and the rest facedown as backup). These critters will battle it out and whoever comes out the victor will steal scraps from the their opponents trash bin.  If you manage to empty your opponent’s bins first, you win!

I like a good quick playing card game with a dash of cuteness and it’s really cool that Grubfellow Games is using their stretch goals to make donations to schools, libraries, and wildlife rehabilitation centers. You can also add a donation game o your pledge to give a free game to anyone who might not be able to afford one.  Learn more about Varmints! here on Gamefound.

Maple Valley

Continuing with the cuteness is the hand management and set collection game, Maple Valley. This one is a follow up to Creature Comforts which we enjoyed a lot and you can read all about in our review here. In Maple Valley, the winter you prepared for in Creature Comforts, has passed and now the animals are busy getting ready to celebrate spring. To get everything they need for the Spring Festival, you’ll need to assemble a team of friends to hike the trails of Maple Valley and collect ingredients to make party favors. Each turn you’ll play a friend card and use its special ability. The card determines which trail you can travel down and along these trails will be spots where you can pick up supplies. The resources you gather can be spent to craft Favours that will earn you Festivity points. The player with the most points at the end of five rounds wins.

I find this series of games so cozy and charming. The rules are simple enough that the whole family can enjoy, but the there’s enough bite to the strategy that seasoned gamers will also have a good time. Check out Maple Valley on Kickstarter here for more info.

The Last of Us: Escape the Dark

In a departure from the cute…

We are huge fans of the “Escape the…” games by Themeborne as you can see in our Escape the Dark Castle Review and our Escape the Dark Sector Review. In The Last of Us: Escape the Dark Themeborne applies their exciting dungeon-crawl style gameplay to the critically acclaimed video game Last of Us. In the game players take on the roles of survivors trying to journey across a dangerous open world map to find a safe haven from the fungal plague. each turn you’ll be able to move to a new location and either explore or camp. When you explore, you’ll turn over a chapter card which will tell a snippet of story and perhaps present a challenge. To overcome challenges, you’ll make decisions and roll dice and try to match the challenge’s requirements. If you succeed you can receive rewards that will help you along your adventure. You can expect to encounter monsters from the video game, such as Clickers, and similarly to challenges, need to roll dice to defeat them. If you manage to find the safe haven it looks like there will be one more challenge before you can win, but you’ll have to play to find out what it is.

With the “Escape the…” format you never know what will be just around the corner. It’s really exciting and makes for a really tense game. The art is a stark black and white and lends a creepy mood to the game that we love. If you are a fan of The Last of Us or just like challenging cooperative adventure games, then make sure to check out The Last of Us: Escape the Dark on Kickstarter here.

The Curse of Candelabria

The words “set in a world of living candles and huge wandering castles” set my mind a spinning when I set eyes on The Curse of Candelabria. Talk about a fascinating theme! Apparently the world of Candelabria is inhabited by sentient candles and ruled by the mysterious Flameless King. Under the king, five houses have arisen and reside in giant castles that roam the countryside searching for “three founding resources that, when consumed, allow them to live and shine forever without fear of death. ” During the game players will gather resources to create candles that can be used to take actions and trigger abilities. you can gain influence in the land by placing Candles on the map, but as castles move across the board, they’ll destroy any candles and Flames in their path so your dominance over an area might be short-lived. At the end of each year in-game players will battle over each region, winning victory points and temple levels. Whoever has the most victory points wins.

Well this one is unique in theme for sure. I’m really intrigued by the candle mechanic where you can build up and burn down your candle as you use it. The minis and art for the game also look really cool. Discover The Curse of Candelabria here on Kickstarter.


Based on the theories created by neurologist Sigmund Freud, Unconscious Mind is a worker placement, engine building, action programming game with multiple rondels (our friend Josh is going to be thrilled with so many rondels). Players take on the roles of members of the Wednesday Psychological Society and are trying to advance their scholarly reputations. Each turn you will play Ideas to use different action spaces on the board and the row you place in will determine how far your inkpot will move along your rondel. Wherever your inkpot lands, you will activate all the tiles in that row and generate Insights which will help you treat clients which will gain you victory points. Have the most victory points at the end of the game to win.

The Unconscious Mind has a lot going on and it seems like everything is connected together in a way that one action can lead to a cascade of effects. I like this style of game because when those chains of actions go off in your favor it can feel really satisfying. I also have t point out that the game includes art by Andrew’s favorite artist Vincent Dutrait so I’m sure he’ll be interested in this one. Learn more about Unconscious Mind here on Kickstarter.


What Kickstarters are you backing this week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter with #GameCrowdfundSpotlight and check back next week for more fun projects!

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