With all the impressive advancements in videogames during the last decade it’s no wonder if you feel that tabletop games are a bit old fashioned. But to those who think that the time of board gaming is over, a quick look at the numerous on-going (and often successful) board game Kickstarter projects can change your mind.
Amongst the latest of Kickstarter’s uprising success stories is Guards of Atlantis (hereon referred to as GOA), a board game designed by a team of strategy game geeks from Latvia-based start-up WOLFF DESIGNA. A week since the start of the campaign, the project has already rounded up well over half of their goal of $45 000, standing currently at roughly $28 000 with 214 backers.
GOA is a two-player strategy game. In the base game each player is given a squad of five units, although depending on the played scenario this squad size may vary. The objective of the game is also dependent on the scenario played, but some of the main objectives include destroying the other player’s units, capturing artefacts or rescuing allies. Each unit is a finely detailed figurine, representing a warrior class from one of the many races specifically designed for the game by WOLFF DESIGNA.The units also come with tailor-made character cards where their attributes are detailed more specifically.
The actual match takes place on a map divided in three sections. These sections can be placed down in any order, once again depending on the scenario played. In addition to the units, there are hexes that can be placed on the maps. These will affect the game in different ways: they can work as natural obstacles, indicate resources, provide defensive positions etc.
Currently there are only two races with five unit types available, but there are a total of 18 races already designed along with extra unit types, which will or will not become available, depending on the eventual success rate of the project.
GOA has been through quite the imaginative construction process: the rules, the pieces and the overall fantasy concept built around the game has clearly been made with care; and GOA being a board game, backers will be getting themselves an actual set of handcraft. However, as you might well guess, hand-made indie board games come with a hefty price, especially for those expecting delivery to the further corners of the world. For the full game, assuming you’re not up to assembling and painting the units yourself, you’re looking at a price of $160 (although there are still cheaper early bird offers available). And that’s without including shipping fees.
However, despite its high price, the game’s Kickstarter campaign has been faring well so far. But what makes the game stand out? GOA certainly incorporates core elements from other extremely successful fantasy games. The five-man squad size, the map layout with two home bases and the special abilities of each unit has similarities with gaming mega-hits like League of Legends and Defence of the Ancients (better known as DotA). GOA’s detailed unit figurines, which can be painted and self-assembled, share much resemblance with the figurines seen in the fantasy tabletop game Warhammer. Additionally, just like Warhammer, GOA is a turn- and luck-based game where most actions are completed by throwing a dice.
In the end it’s the feeling of the alternative reality that makes the difference between good and bad fantasy. If the characters, races and the environments evoke curiosity in you, there’s a good chance the creator has done his work well, and GOA seems to have lived up to those criteria. But for now its too early to tell, as there’s still half the pledge to be met.