Saturday, December 10, 2016


This is a post about tabletop miniatures-based board games.  It's perhaps the first of a few; as my EVE career continues to cartwheel in space like a dead frozen corpse.

My current EVE career.  In stasis, awaiting a resurrection and a splitting headache.

Back in August, we went to GenCon in Indianapolis for our 3rd year, and I scooped up armfuls of new limited release Brimstone goodness (and still have a pile of it waiting to be assembled and played with, sigh).  We had a great 'con, played a lot of games and spent a lot of money, talked to game designers of 2 of our favorite games, and had dinner with old friends.

We toured the show floor repeatedly, and there was one booth that stopped me in my tracks early on day 1.  I don't say that figuratively. I actually stopped in the aisle, blocked traffic, and gawked.

It was Kingdom Death: Monster.  Hence the title of this post.

KD:M Box Cover

The models/figures were fantastic.  The art/cards/books/packaging was all so exceptionally well done.  I lurked during game demos and the gameplay seemed to hit a lot of the mechanics on my wish list.  It's a co-op game, so it's something that we can play on game night without someone having to "lose."

I could hear my visa card buzzing in my wallet.  Abavus didn't know what this was, but he wanted it.

KD:M Core Box - weighs 17 lbs.
The Flower Knight

Alas, they were sold out, but I had been ensnared.  

There's a parallel between KD:M and CCP:EVE that only occurred to me this week - what stopped me on the floor at GenCon was how gorgeous the game was.  The figures, cards, board, packaging - all done in a style that EVE players might find familiar.  CCP's branding has always been very intentional, minimal/clean, and very very consistent (even to the level of detail of how their offices are decorated).  KD:M had a very similar feel -- artful but practical, and done with an amount of talent and care not present in any other product on a very crowded GenCon floor.  KD:M is described as a "Labor of Love" by its creator, and I believe that.  He's poured his soul into this, and it shows.  

Secondly, the content of KD:M is visceral, dark, and gritty. And intended for mature audiences.  Just like EVE.

This video shows some of the art.  These very figures were the ones I saw in the case at GenCon.  The statue-motif completely rocks it.

Ok, so why am I rambling on about this now?  That was August and it's now December.

Here's why:  The second kickstarter for KD:M is currently underway.  It's becoming a big deal.

As I type, it's north of $7.3M pledged.  For a 4-person company that is self-publishing a boutique game without any corporate overlords, centralized distributors, etc. that's a big damn number.  It's the #8 kickstarter ever by size, and #2 in the tabletop games category (Exploding Kittens being #1 at $8.7M). 

The stats of the campaign is impressive:  they blew past the first edition's kickstarter within a few hours of the start and had a first 48 hours that was simply nuts.  Even if you're not a board gamer, it'll maybe interesting to watch how the next 4 weeks unfolds.  And right now everyone is talking about what a huge success this is, but nobody has really thought through what the longer term implications for the gaming market might be.  There are implications to assumptions regarding distribution channels, expected art quality, expected figure detail.  And certainly, there are some old assumptions about 'mature' content not selling well that this seems to be balking.  I don't think I'm overhyping it by saying this the kind of thing that's going to send shockwaves through the industry.

PS:  I am, of course, pledged into the KS and will be adding KD:M to our shelf.

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 -- Kicktraq Mini

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