Kickstarter Weekly–April 4, 2014

4 04 2014

Hey everyone! We have some exciting news for you all! But we can’t tell you just yet! Such a let down, right?

Anyway, we’re going to jump in with this week’s Kickstarter Weekly, and there’s some cool stuff to check out from some of our favorite publishers and designers, so let’s get crackin’!


Featured Campaign!

storytellerStoryteller Cards: Fantasy – Jason Tagmire

Our good friend Jason Tagmire is back with another deck of Storyteller cards. Storyteller cards serve as a regular deck of playing cards, a creative tool, and a way to teach creativity to young gamers – think story dice. Along with the cards, your pledge will score you the Storyteller Manual–in PDF form, or as an add-on–that will have games designed by some fantastic designers specifically for the deck of cards you’ll be getting. The first game announced is Divvy In The Dungeon by the one and only Jason Kotarski, you may know him as the guy who designed a TOG favorite The Great Heartland Hauling Co. And who has a few more games hitting the market this year with Crash Games! With more to come, this campaign is super inexpensive to get into and packs a lot of potential; we think you should jump on board!

The campaign ends on April 24, and a pledge of $10 will get you a deck of your own! You can find all of the details right here!

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We Interview Crash Games’ Patrick Nickell, and Designer Jason Kotarski, About their New Games

11 02 2014

cg_logoToday we’re joined by two gentlemen who are, in their own ways, shaping the face of indie gaming as we know it today. Patrick Nickell, founder, el presidente, and Grand Poobah of Crash Games. And Jason Kotarski, designer of last year’s Great Heartland Hauling Co., which made our top 10 games of 2013 list.

Patrick, Jason, thanks for joining us today!

Before we go much further Patrick can you give us a quick recap of 2013 for Crash Games?

Patrick: It was a busy year for Crash Game in 2013. The best way for people to see what we accomplished is to check out our 2014 State of Crash Games at

Some of the highlights include: 1. Shipped out The Lost Dutchman to backers worldwide

2. Kickstarted Paradise Fallen and shipped it out to backers worldwide.

3. Kickstarted Council of Verona and shipped it out to backers worldwide.

4. Kickstarted a true, pay-what-you-want campaign for Where Art Thou, Romeo? and shipped it out to backers worldwide.

5. Attended six conventions including Spiel in Essen Germany.

What was the biggest surprise of the year for you?

P: Council of Verona, and how amazing and fast the project came together. I had a great game designer in Michael Eskue, a phenomenally talented artist in Adam McIver, and my awesome graphic designer, Darrell Louder, was able to wrangle everything together. And my manufacturer Panda Games did a good job of making things happen in a very short amount of time.

Jason, since the release of Heartland Hauling, you haven’t been resting on your laurels–you’ve been working away, designing. How many designs have you completed since then, and how many are you working on currently?

Jason: Since Heartland came out I caught the bug. That was the first game I ever designed, but since then I’ve been working on something like 8-10 more. I published a game called FrogFlip with Sprocket Games, and another game is coming this spring from White Goblin Games, as well as another half dozen that are in varying degrees of development. It’s a fun space to create in. An idea pops up and I know pretty quickly whether or not I have to work on it. Then, I get to it until I get stuck and move on to something else until I get unstuck.

Now, you guys have known each other for some time, but you most recently sat down and talked business at Unpub 4. And there’s some big news that came about from those talks…do tell!

P: I have been a big fan of Jason’s ever since hearing his story back when he first met up with Dice Hate Me Games and recorded a “State of Games” episode on Chris’ podcast. I backed Great Heartland Hauling on Kickstarter and have been enjoying playing it to this day. Jason and I always chatted at various conventions and I felt we had a really good vibe going. When we met up the evening before the official kick-off of UnPub4 I had the opportunity to play Dead Drop and I really enjoyed playing it. Later in the weekend I heard all the commotion inside the venue and went over to discover that it was coming from another of Jason’s games, this time it was Sunset Shuffle. After playing the game I knew that it fit a very specific type of game I was looking to add to the Crash Games catalog–not to mention IT WAS A BLAST! I was very happy to walk away from UnPub4 having signed both Dead Drop and Sunset Shuffle, which I am now calling Sunset Showdown.

This is really cool news! First, let’s talk a little bit about Dead Drop. Jason can you tell us a little bit about the game, and how it plays? And Patrick, what drew you to the game and made you decide to publish it?

alias_tv_showJ: I guess Dead Drop started as a way to explore the microgame space a bit. I had a lot of fun making FrogFlip with my daughter, which consists of just 12 cards, and wanted to dig in a little deeper and out of my comfort zone. The idea hit me as I was watching the Alias television series this past year with my wife. In the show, the secret agents were always leaving sensitive information for each other in public locations. It was a way to pass on key information while keeping the agents’ identities a secret. So from there I worked on the idea that various organizations were racing to be the first ones to discover this secret piece of information that had been hidden. At its heart it’s a simple game of deduction and maneuvering, with some elements that make memory really important.

In the game there is a secret card, numbered 0-5, dealt face-down to the middle of the table. This is the “drop.” Then there are a number of cards that are dealt face-up to the “cache” as shared information, and the rest of the cards are dealt evenly among all the players. On a player’s turn they can swap a card with another player’s, swap a card with the cache, or add two cards together from their hand to demand that another player tells them whether or not they have a card equal to that sum, or to guess the card that’s in the “drop.” It’s a light deduction game but the twist is really in the maneuvering of the cards. You can’t just guess the card that’s in the drop and say it out loud. You have to have two cards in your hand that add up to the number on the hidden card. I’m terrible at memory and deduction but it’s still fun for me to play and to watch others have these huge “a-ha” moments.

P: I have always been a big fan of games that have a little footprint. It just isn’t realistic to drag your copy of Railways of the World to play with you at Denny’s. When I decided to publish Council of Verona I started dreaming about an entire series of small games that people could take with them anywhere and play in a very small space. This dream resulted in the Pub Series and Dead Drop is an amazing fit into the Pub Series. Dead Drop at its core is a deduction game, which is one of my favorite mechanisms. I really enjoyed several of the mechanisms in the game and with a small amount of cards and tokens it was difficult to say no to.

Sunset_in_Zadar_2Okay, now let’s do the same thing for Sunset Showdown! Aaaannd go!

P: Well I first heard people playing the game while I was having a discussion with another publisher. Once that talk was over I went over to see Jason teaching the game, and my nephew Spencer and I got in on the next game. I had the most fun that I had the entire show playing it, and I’ve been looking for a game like Sunset for quite awhile now.

J: The response to Sunset Showdown at Unpub4 was amazing. We made such a ruckus with that game. This one is a real-time dice game where players each have six dice that represent their family members who are spending a week trying to get the best spot on the beach to witness the sunset each night. Everyone rolls their dice trying to get pairs that match the three open beach spots for the round. But there is a Life Guard die that comes into play that slows folks down and gets passed around hot-potato-style. It’s a really simple, fast game that just keeps bringing great experiences out with whatever group I’ve tried it with. Think of the fun, intensity, and ease of entry of Spoons or Dutch Blitz, but with dice and some nice twists.

Will either of these games be an addition to the Pub Series for Crash Games?

P: Dead Drop will be a Pub Series game, but Sunset will not.

We’re assuming these will be crowd-funded through Kickstarter. Do you have a timetable for when we’ll see them hit our favorite Internet crowd-funding site?

P: Right now there isn’t a specific time table for either game but I would really like to try and have Sunset on Kickstarter this summer. Crash Games is publishing 8 games this year and it would be foolish for me to try and pinpoint when each one is going up on Kickstarter since there are so many parameters outside of my control.

So, what was your favorite game of 2013 that neither of you were involved in?

P: Machi Koro, which I tried to license and did not get. I also really enjoyed Keyflower and Trains.

J: That’s tough. I love Daniel Solis’ Belle of the Ball, which isn’t out yet, but I got to play the prototype a bunch at GenCon last year. And I’m pretty into Guildhall and Rampage, too.

The Lightning Round! Answer these questions with one word… or less!??

Favorite game you’ve backed on Kickstarter?

P: This is going to sound horribly biased, but my favorite game that I’ve backed is also the game that I play the most: Great Heartland Hauling Company.

J: Good answer, Patrick! I’ll say CoinAge. It’s just ridiculous.

Favorite Winter Olympic Sport?

P: Speed Skating, Luge and Bobsled. I really like too many.

J: Snowboarding

rogueFavorite X-Man? (Which could be an X-Woman…)

P: Rogue

J: Wolverine

Favorite YouTube video?

P: “Biggest Zit Ever”

J: “Inspired Bicycles – Danny MacAskill April 2009”

The movie Groundhog Day… Love it or hate it?

P: Love it and I don’t watch it enough. We better get going if we’re going to stay ahead of the weather.

J: Never made it all the way through. I’m sorry.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide—Stocking Stuffers

10 12 2013

coupcoverThis section of of our Holiday Gift Guide is for small games that can fit inside a stocking. Most of them fall into the “filler” category, but some of them have deep gameplay that belies their simple packaging.

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Kickstarter Weekly—July 17, 2013

18 07 2013

Here we go with another installment of Kickstarter Weekly, we’ve got lots to talk about so let’s give in!

Currently Running!

frog flipFrog Flip – Sprocket Games

We gave you a sneak peek at this campaign last week, and the mini game designed by Jason and Claire Kotarski funded within the first 12 hours of the campaign—coincidence? Probably. They’re looking to knock over some stretch goals, which will only add to the value of your pledge. Check out our review of the game here. The game costs you a pledge of $14; you can check out the campaign right here.

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Kickstarter Weekly—July 11, 2013

11 07 2013

Hey! Kickstarter Weekly is back! And boy is there a ton of stuff going on in Kickstarter Land, so let’s get started!

vivajavaVivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game – Dice Hate Me Games

The follow up to Dice Hate Me’s coffee game, the dice game appears to be more than just a dice version of the original VivaJava, but introduces new game play themes and concepts. The campaign funded super fast and they’ve already knocked down a couple stretch goals, with plenty of time left! $30 gets you the game and any stretch goals as well! You can check it out here! You can also check out our interview with designer TC Petty III right here!

the agentsThe Agents – by Saar Shai

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We Have a Winner—Blogiversary Giveaway #1

6 07 2013

HeartlandDid we say 7 ET? We meant 8… The response to our contest has been great so far! We appreciate you joining the crew. Our first giveaway was graciously donated by Jason Kotarski, designer of The Great Heartland Hauling Company, and all-around super-nice guy! So who won? Read on…

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Happy Independence Day! Want Free Stuff?

4 07 2013

fireworks– by Jeremiah

For those of you who are reading from the US we don’t need to tell you that today is the day we celebrate our independence as a country. We are grateful for a country where we have the freedom to write our thoughts, speak our minds, and worship our God! So what better way to celebrate than to eat delicious food, and watch flashy explosions in the sky!? Well blowing up stuff of your own would be fun, except the state of Ohio is one of the few states in America’s heartland that doesn’t allow its citizens to set off fireworks on their own.


Speaking of the heartland… You can celebrate our country’s independence yet another way: by entering to win a free

copy of Jason Kotarski’sThe Great Heartland Hauling Co.” from Dice Hate Me Games. We couldn’t be more excited about that—we really LOVE this game!! How?? I’m glad you asked!

It’s simple: This month, as we celebrate our blogiversary, we’ll be giving away as much stuff as we can get our hands on! And as our way of thanking our readers, we’re giving them away to the folks who have subscribed to the blog.

So, get yourself entered by typing your email address into the box over on the right ——>

And then tell your friends and family about our contest and have them do the same; yes, this does lower your chances of winning yourself, but it makes our little marketing scheme a success and will enable us to keep doing cool stuff like this in the future! (Plus, if your mom wins, she’ll probably just give it to you anyway…) If you’re already subscribed, then you’re already entered; thank you for supporting us during our first year!

Thanks as always for reading! If no one read, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so we truly do appreciate it. And best of luck in our contest!

Don’t forget you can find us all sorts of places on the interwebs: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!!

Happy 4th of July!

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