What has Kickstarter Become? or… How White Wizard Dropped the Ball.

This morning the Kickstarter campaign for Hero Realms went live. As of this moment it has about $49,000 worth of backers, and none of that is my money.

“Why not? I thought you loved Star Realms?!?”

This is true. I do love Star Realms, and I have purchased every expansion that has come out for it, both in card and digital form, and I will continue to do so. When Hero Realms was announced I was incredibly excited and expected that I would be auto-backing the game. So when the Kickstarter went live this morning, I clicked the link, assuming that I would soon be clicking the “Back this Project” button as well. As I read through the backer levels, I became less and less enamored with it, eventually deciding that I would not be clicking the “Back this Project” button after all.

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Brief Overview – Star Realms Colony Wars

colony_wars_box_2_large-e1452027444612Star Realms Colony Wars from White Wizard Games is the latest entry in the vastly popular Star Realms series which consists of the original game, several expansions, and an app available on iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. Star Realms is a deck building game for two players (up to four with multiple base sets) that plays in about 20 minutes. Both players start with identical decks consisting of ten cards which provide trade credits and combat damage. On a player’s turn they play the cards in their hand to the table, banking the trade and combat with which they purchase cards from the trade row and attack their opponent in an effort to reduce their authority (life) to zero. Cards purchased from the trade row are added to the player’s discard pile which is shuffled in whenever the deck runs out. Colony Wars is a stand-alone expansion meaning that you can play it straight out of the box, but the new cards are 100% compatible with the old ones. In this set they have given us a myriad new ships and bases, most all of which have similar mechanics that can  be found in the original set or expansions. One notable new mechanic is a cycle of cards (one from each faction) which state “when you acquire this card, if you’ve played a [this faction] card this turn, you may put this card directly into your hand.”

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Play testing? What’s That?

I was playing the new game Epic from White Wizard Games the other night and a thought occurred to me. “I wonder how this game would play if, when you discard down to your hand limit of seven cards, if you had to banish those cards instead?” You see, in Epic, one of the win conditions is drawing through your deck. If you would draw a card and there are no cards to draw, then you win the game. There are a lot of cards that give you choices, and one of those choices is typically to draw a card or two. So, if you consciously decide to persue a “draw out your deck” strategy, there is no penalty for drawing as many cards as you want, because the penalty for holding too many cards is that you have to discard the excess, which plays right into drawing out your deck. If you had to banish those cards instead (banish means to place those cards on the bottom of your deck) then you aren’t using a penalty to help a strategy.

This article isn’t about the game Epic, nor is it about how I can make Epic better, it is about how we as players of games think we know better than the designer, after a very small number of plays, how their game should play.

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