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Three Fantastic Games, Courtesy of Kickstarter

Three Fantastic Games, Courtesy of Kickstarter

Kickstarter is an amazing platform. It allows designers with passion to bring their creations directly to you. It also allows publishers to fund and publish games that might not otherwise see the light of day. But, if we’re being honest, not every game that comes out of Kickstarter is a home run. There’s a sea of mediocrity in which a few exceptional titles rise to the top. But those titles are well worth it. Here are a few of the best examples.

Argent: the Consortium

argentsliderCrafted by first-time designer Trey Chambers, Argent: the Consortium takes place in the World of Indines, a Level 99 property that includes the BattleCon series. Argent is set in a University intent on picking its next Head Master. The players are various professors or administrators that believe they should earn that honor, but the decision isn’t up to them. It’s up to a consortium of voters, each of whom has a particular criteria by which they will cast their vote.

Two are always present. One that casts his vote for the player with the most Influence, another who gives her vote to the player with the most supporters. But the remaining ten are hidden, at least at first. A random assortment is used each game. They might give their vote to the player with the most gold or most mana. Perhaps to the player with the most intelligence or wisdom. Others favor a particular school and will vote for the player most involved in that aspect of magic.

Players determine the voters by obtaining special Marks that allow them to peak at one card. Through that knowledge and watching what the other players are doing, they can hopefully figure out enough voters to win. But that’s only half the game. Players have mages from the various schools, each with their own power, that they can place to take certain actions. They can buy artifacts, learn spells, and use said magic with brutal efficiency against their opponents.

While Argent is a little messy at times with so many interacting powers, it provides a wonderful experience. And we can thank Kickstarter and Level 99 Games for making it happen.

Blood Rage

blood-rageOn the opposite end of the designer spectrum, we have Eric Lang. Lang has been the designer behind some of the hobby’s most enduring games. So players took note when his name showed up behind a Cool Mini Or Not Kickstarter. Blood Rage is all about vikings who slay and conquer in the days before Ragnarok.

While this easily could’ve been a dudes-on-a-map game where you move in units and chuck dice, Blood Rage takes a different approach. No dice. Instead, the players begin each round by drafting cards which assist with all sorts of different strategies. Some are pure combat, allowing you to take over new areas and reap the rewards. Others focus on upgrading your units or even completing quests by taking specific areas. Some even allow you to lose the fight and still get points, opening up a strategy where you hope to be attacked.

Paired with the amazing miniatures from CMON, Blood Rage has become a hit among hobby gamers. The initial draft forces you to focus your efforts, but also to hopefully pull good cards away from opponents. The strategies are interesting and interactive. And, in the end, only one player will have the fullest glory.

Viticulture

viticulture-boxIn Viticulture, each player has a winery in the Tuscan countryside and is hoping to grow grapes, make wine, and ultimately sell it for money and prestige. The player who can get the most prestige is the winner.

Even without bloodshed and monsters, Viticulture is a fantastic experience. The players start with a small winery, barely able to pay the bills and make some quick libations. Every lira (this title’s currency) is precious and you scrimp and save to improve your business. But, as the game progresses, money starts to come in as your wines become more popular. By game end, it’s all about obtaining that prestige and the money becomes almost secondary.

Plus, it has a unique action system. It splits the board into Summer and Winter actions. The players have to place all of their Summer workers before using any for Winter. The result is that you sometimes have to deny yourself good things in the Summer in order to have leftover workers to make use of those Winter action spots. It provides a great tension in the mechanisms and a fun narrative in the theme. If you haven’t had a chance to play it, you should definitely check out Viticulture.

What other Kickstarted games do you enjoy playing?  Tell us about them in the comments.

Image Credits: Level 99 Games, Asmodee, and Stonemaier Games

Featured Image Credit: Stonemaier Games

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