There’s thousands of games out there vying for funding on Kickstarter. Today, we’re gonna take a look at the 10 we love the most.
Companies are increasingly turning to Kickstarter for board games. Why? Well the advantages are huge, as the interest often translates to a massive amount of funding from backers. But is Kickstarter just about bringing in the Benjamins?
In short, no. Kickstarters are about community first and foremost. Getting the funding to produce your game is just a bonus. As Kickstarter campaign guru Jamey Stegmaier says in his book, A Crowdfunder’s Strategy: Build a Better Business by Building Community, “crowd precedes funding in crowdfunding.”
Sure, people might be getting something in return for their pledge - a thankyou, a copy of the game, or even a Kickstarter limited edition version - but that’s not the main reason why most people give.
For the majority of backers, it’s about being part of a project. They’re passionate about getting projects they like over the line. Receiving their copy in the post a few months down the line is just the kicker. But the community input doesn't end there.
Often campaigns offer backers the opportunity to add to the game by naming or helping to design various features. Perhaps “crowd created” would be a more accurate term for what happens when a game is crowdfunded.
Naturally, we’ve got our firm favourites when it comes to crowd created Kickstarter board games. And we’ve put them in a lovely top 10 list for you (in no particular order).
Viticulture is a lot of fun. There’s usually a genuine feeling of sadness when the game comes to an end. 😔
Designed by Jamey Stegmaier, the author of the aforementioned crowdfunding strategy book, this wine-themed strategy-based board game does require a couple of rounds to get your bearings. But after that, everyone’s ready to take the training wheels off and unleash this game’s full potential, and that’s when the real fun starts.
We love playing this one as a group over a few beers. But it’s scalable, so it’s just as much fun whether you're playing with two or six players. It’s also designed to encourage “competition, not cut-throatedness”, meaning you’re more likely to have some friends left at the end of the game.
A short while ago we got hooked on social deduction games. There’s Chameleon, there’s Coup, and then there’s Secret Hitler. It’s delightfully deceptive, well-designed, and the theme adds a unique sense of historical tension - who wouldn’t want a shot at killing Hitler?!
Like Viticulture, we’re usually sad when this one comes to an end, which in game terms means either the death of Hitler or the end of free democracy.
We love Secret Hitler because it’s scalable (5-10) players, replayable (bordering on addictive), and it appeals to first-timers as well as genre experts.
It wouldn’t be a top 10 Kickstarter board games list without Exploding Kittens. This quirky, kitten-themed take on Russian roulette broke all funding records when it went live back in January 2015.
It’s success is largely due to the fact that it hits a sweet spot between simple mechanic, speedy gameplay and super satisfying (although very weird!) artwork. Oh, and did we mention it’s got cats? Lots and lots of cats. 😼
We like to break out Exploding Kittens to round up a particularly stressful day in the office. It offers the perfect balance of suspense, drama and fun - which is why it's so bloody popular!
Who doesn’t love a game based on a post-apocalyptic dystopian world?? Frostpunk is the board game version of the best selling video game by 11bit Studios, and it features a strategically deep mechanic driven by a hugely immersive storyline.
Every action you take in Frostpunk has consequences, and that’s what makes it feel incredibly interactive. For those of you that aren’t usually into the more geeky end of the market, you should definitely try this one.
It’s surprisingly easy to learn, despite its complex mechanic - and you’ll be glad you put in the time.
From the people behind Kill The Unicorns, Buurn is currently live on Kickstarter. It contains everything we love in a board game: killer artwork, a unique theme, and a super fun, super speedy mechanic.
In Buurn you’ve gotta grab totems and bid for and collect ingredients to make the hottest hot sauce. This one is bound to be a party game favourite, but it can be enjoyed by kids as well.
We recently backed Buurn, and we’re super excited to get our hands on it when it goes into production.
Cards Against Humanity
Nothing new here, but Cards Against Humanity needs an honourable mention. It spawned a whole host of tribute acts, such as What Do You Meme?, WTF did you say?, and *ahem* JOMO. 🙃
It’s got everything you need in a party game: a simple mechanic that you can easily dip in and out of between making drinks or eating pizza, and it gives gamers all the tools they need to be funny.
All in all it’s a pretty iconic game that’ll be a feature of games nights for years to come.
Santorini creator Gavan Brown describes his game as, “A highly thematic pure strategy experience featuring beautiful miniatures, game-altering player powers and 3D board.” And we couldn’t agree more.
It’s a family-friendly strategy game where you assume the role of a Greek god or goddess and race to be the first to build a three-storey tower.
What we really love are the 3-D elements to the game: the pedestal, the buildings and the characters - great work Gavan! 👏👏👏
Throw Throw Burrito
From the creators of Exploding Kittens, Throw Throw Burrito is based on the spoons mechanic. But the super fast nature of this game isn’t what makes it so great. Oh no. It’s the squishy burritos that you get to throw at your friends. And they can’t get mad, because it’s all part of the game!
Word of warning, though: this one is definitely not safe for work (or any indoor space that contains valuable items!). We tried it in the office and we’re still finding bits of broken Mac screen on the floor, six months later.
FYI: Tabletop Gaming have compiled a pretty handy list of outdoor-friendly games, which includes Throw Throw Burrito.
Don’t Get Got: Shut Up & Sit Down Special Edition
This Special Edition of Don’t Get Got is like an expansion pack of the original, with new content written by the guys at board game site Shut Up & Sit Down.
It’s the same mechanic as the original, which we loved. And it takes place during your everyday life, and challenges you - through a series of special missions - to trick other players into doing silly things. You can play whether you’re at work, at a party or on holiday.
And you get a point for each mission you complete without another player catching on to what you’re doing. With things gradually opening up, this one is ideal for a night down the pub with a group of mates.
Doomlings was a lockdown labour of love for creator Justus Meyer. The campaign only recently ended, bringing in a grand total of $653,274!
This is another one in keeping with the apocalyptic theme that’s proven very popular of late (wonder why that is??). And whilst we haven’t played it, we were won over by the Kickstarter special edition Blackbox and Gold versions - both are great examples of how the Kickstarter community can grow a game into something spectacular.
It’s that last point that really highlights the real reason why game designers seek backing on Kickstarter.
It’s not about funding (although that obviously helps), it’s about reaching out to the gaming community and saying, “Hey, do you like my idea? Let’s make a great game together.” And these 10 fantastic games are testament to that.
To add a bit of perspective in terms of the scale and reach of these projects, the total funding generated by 355,058 backers across ten campaigns (so far) is a whopping £12,391,852! 💰💰💰
That’s the equivalent of nearly 50 houses at the average price in the UK. If you’re feeling frivolous, it works out at nearly 8 Bugatti Veyron Super Sports. And for the fashionistas out there, it’s the equivalent of 13,845 of these super chic Walkers Crisps designer bags.
So as you can see, the gaming community are a generous bunch!