It has been a positive month for me at work, so perhaps that’s why I am in a more generous mood than usual. Still, generosity doesn’t mean throwing your money away. While I am more than willing to toss five, ten, fifteen dollars to a game or two every once in a while, I cannot afford to do it without caution. There are a few Kickstarters still running that have interested and excited me, but not enough to completely eradicate that caution.
Ascension Online is a free-to-play deck building game, based on the board game Ascension, and a sort of re-imagining of a title already released on iOS. The developer is seeking funding to bring the game to both Android and to PC, and maybe back to iOS with the addition of Tournament Play and a Campaign.
Though it goes understated here on Game Delver, I am a big fan of board games. Ascension was the first deck building game I ever tried (before falling in love with Dominion, that is) and still ranks pretty high on my list of solid board games to play with friends. I haven’t experienced any of the expansions to the base game, but I can only imagine that they broaden and deepen the somewhat shallow array of cards and effects. The fact is: I think Ascension is fun, and I’d love to play it online on a computer against friends or on my tablet while I lounge around. Ascension Online would be a means to that end, for sure, but I have a little hesitation left.
First: I’d be paying to support a free-to-play game. That makes business sense to me, for sure, but I have also grown accustomed to receiving something more concrete from Kickstarter investments. The ten dollar tier (which is where my money would most likely land) offers three digital expansions to the game. Why aren’t these a part of the base game? Multiplayer in any game is made infinitely worse when you partition off players from one another along lines like expansions. That may be an inevitable future with this type of game, but I don’t see why it should launch that way.
I am sure I will give in eventually, especially if it looks like the game will narrowly miss funding. We live in a time where it is actually possible, I feel, to bring board games to their full glory on our consoles and PCs. I’d actually love to see them all digitized, as long as they don’t add cat people (I am looking at you, Risk Factions).
At the Gates
At the Gates is a turn-based strategy game from Jon Shafer, who prominently worked on the Civilization series. Fellow blogger David over at Caffeineforge actually turned me on to this project when he announced he was backing it on his blog. It looks especially interesting and really appeals to the Civilization lover in me. It being already completely funded does make me a little less interested, though. I guess part of the pleasure of something like Kickstarter is the feeding of my hero complex. I get to pretend that I am a white knight, dashing in to save the day by throwing wads of cash at a Developer in Distress. Here though, I just get to ride the wave of funding.
My initial hesitation was different though. At first, I worried about combat and gameplay and specifics, but I’ve grown to actually really like Jon Shafer’s vision for At the Gates. Eventually, it was the aesthetics, which look honestly like a boring Facebook game. Then I finally looked at the planned pricing for the game come launch.
The second tier, their $25 dollar one, provides a digital copy of the game to all backers. They mention specifically that this is five dollars less than what they feel will be the final game’s price. We can argue back and forth whether this game will be worth that much money. Assuming it is good, its nature as a strategy game will probably mean that you’ll get dozens of hours of value out of it. Still, when I look at the game and I look at their Kickstarter and realize it’s a three person development crew making what looks like a Facebook game though with some serious pedigree in Jon Shafer, and I question whether I’d pay that much ever. $25 already sounded steep to me, even though I know I’d probably get lots of value from the game, but I still feel like it would be overpaying.
In other words, I hate to be that guy, but barring convincing, I’ll probably wait for the Steam sale.
Here’s a simple one: Delver’s Drop is an action-roguelike with a top down view, pretty color palettes, and a cutesy character design. I am a sucker for roguelikes. This game looks fun. And let’s be honest, any game with ‘Delver’ in the title gets an instant thumbs up here for the extra views alone!
Why the hesitation? It’s a little too simple. Sure, those are all great reasons to fund it, but at the same time they don’t really inspire me. There is some obvious passion, sure, but nothing truly proprietary or especially creative. I hope it gets funded because it looks like a solid title. It just doesn’t look like the sort of solid title that I’d want to delve into any earlier by backing the game.
Along with At the Gates, The Golem has also been getting a little press lately. Rightfully so, I think, because the Kickstarter offers up some really beautiful artwork to tell a story that I am sure most of us are familiar with and maybe even love. Actually, ever since Dragon Warrior on the NES, I’ve been fascinated by golems and the Jewish golem myth that Moonbot Studios is basing their game on. As best I can tell, this is an Action-RPG where you control a freshly built, massively-huge golem.
And that’s about all I can tell. I want to believe in this project and give it support. The art is amazing, the story will probably be fascinating, and Moonbot has the talent to deliver on both of those fronts. Only problem is that Moonbot isn’t really a game studio and I am looking to invest in a game, not a slightly interactive video, art and story be damned. That in conjunction with the asking price of $750,000 dollars and, well, it’s a no go for me. At least the game is fairly priced at the $15 dollar tier.